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Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

l2718 PRELIMINARY injunction (263 comments)

The summary above is highly misleading, possibly because of the bad headline the NYT editor put on the story. The judge didn't rule on the merits at all. All he did is issue a preliminary injunctiion, which forces the drug company to maintain the status quo for the duration of the trial. The judge didn't "block an attempt by the drug company" he just deferred the attempt until the case is over. If New York wins its case, the judge will actually block the attempt by entering a permanent injunction.

In other words: this ruling only reflects a judgement that, until we know who wins, it's better to force the company to keep the drug on the market, which is obvious to everyone. It doesn't reflect a judgement on whether the drug company may legally withdraw the drug.

about a week ago
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Congress Suggests Moat, Electronic Fence To Protect White House

l2718 Expertise in Congress? (213 comments)

So when did these august Congresscritters aquire expertise in installation security? I have no opinion on whether a moats would be a good or bad idea, but surely the Congressmen have no idea either.

about a month ago
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Firefox Signs Five-Year Deal With Yahoo, Drops Google as Default Search Engine

l2718 Bing indeed (400 comments)

You're right, but probably Microsoft wasn't interested in paying them while Yahoo! was.

about 1 month ago
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Firefox Signs Five-Year Deal With Yahoo, Drops Google as Default Search Engine

l2718 Competition with Chrome (400 comments)

Now that Google has every reason to crush Firefox, what is Mozilla's market share going to be in 2019?

I agree that the Google being both a competitor and (until now) a sponsor is the major consideration here, not the quality of search results. The question is whether Google really are more motivated to support Mozilla when they are getting revenue from browser searches than when they aren't. Quite possibly the Mozilla Foundation concluded that Google would compete with them in any case.

about 1 month ago
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Firefox Signs Five-Year Deal With Yahoo, Drops Google as Default Search Engine

l2718 Difficult to assess (400 comments)

It will be hard for anyone here to assess this move. Having not used Yahoo! search for a long time, I have no idea about the quality of their search results. It is even less clear whether the typical Mozilla user will care about any possible differences, or the extent to which Mozilla users might change browsers because of this

If I had to guess, I'd say that very few people choose their brower based on the default search engine, and therefore very few will change browers because of this. If the userbase is really fixed then Mozilla should try to maximize their revenue by letting Yahoo! and Google bid for the rights.

about 1 month ago
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Denmark Plans To Be Coal-Free In 10 Years

l2718 Good idea beyond the "renewable" fad (332 comments)

Coal is both extremely polluting and costs lives to dig out of the ground. Phasing it out is a great idea.

On the other hand, unless fusion arrives before 2050 (not very likely), fission is a much better idea than "rewneables" like wind and solar which are very expensive and (with wind) environmentally damaging..

about 1 month ago
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Researcher Finds Tor Exit Node Adding Malware To Downloads

l2718 Re:Downloading unsigned binaries? (126 comments)

I you really let me sit between you and the source of the download, I can mess with your download of the public key, and therefore replace signatures.

In other words, OS updates cannot be attacked this way (presumably OS vendor's the public key is included in the installation). But if you patch my download from www.example.com, you can also patch my download when I get the public key used by www.example.com to sign downloads.

about 2 months ago
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Researcher Finds Tor Exit Node Adding Malware To Downloads

l2718 Downloading unsigned binaries? (126 comments)

Digital signatures is exactly the technology that solves this problem. If you download binaries from the internet (especially if you have need to use Tor to get them!), check the signatures!

Now, it may be possible to also dynamically patch the signatures when these are downloaded -- but that requires much greater control since signatures can be obtained separately, and since Tor can mitigate the problem by routing different downloads through different exit notes.

about 2 months ago
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AMD Building New GPU Linux Kernel Driver To Unify With Catalyst Driver

l2718 Interesting legally (56 comments)

Moving binary blob into user space while keeping the kernel driver free would be an excellent move. I'm of course assuming that this "open source" driver will actually be free software like the current X.org driver.

about 2 months ago
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Ebola Vaccine Trials Forcing Tough Choices

l2718 Don't beg the question (178 comments)

Of course, if the experimental vaccine is effective, then we should be keeping people from dying and we don't need a control group. But this is an unwarranted assumption: we don't know yet if the exerimental vaccine is effective -- this is what we are trying to determine, and we won't have the answer until after the experiment.

You say "we already know the death rate of ebola through empirical observation", but the death rate depends on many variables. For example, health-care workers probably have better habits than the average person, but they are exposed to Ebola more than the average person. Suppose after the vaccine we see a lower death rate. Are we sure this is due to the vaccine? Perhaps the workers who got the vaccine were from volunteers from Sweden, and Swedish people are more resistant to Ebola? The point of randomized trials is exactly to account for any known and unknown effects of this type by randomly choosing who gets the treatment and who doesn't among a reasonably uniform population. This way the people who get and don't get the treatment differ statistically only in the experimentally tested property, and we can have some confidence any observed effects are due to the treatment.

about 2 months ago
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The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

l2718 You miss the point (651 comments)

The goal is not to make untraceable weapons – that's merely a side effect. The goal is to make the weapon yourself as opposed to buying it from a large manufacturer.

about 3 months ago
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Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

l2718 Cotton is a big culprit (151 comments)

Cotton is an extremely water-intensive crop. Until quite recently it was pushed on developing economies as an "export crop" for industrialized agriculture, replacing local food prodcution. This has generally been a disaster. For water-poor countries, growing cotton for export amounts to exporting expensive water to water-rich countires.

Diverting water for agriculture simply makes no sense. It is cheaper and more efficient to import the end product.

about 3 months ago
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Obama Administration Seeks $58M To Put (Partly) Toward Fighting Ebola

l2718 "Scarcity" of ZMapp (105 comments)

ZMapp is not a mass-produced medication. It is an experimental treatment. Calling it "scarce" gives entirely the wrong impression -- it is amazing that it is available for clinical use at all.

It's certainly worth it to produce ZMapp in significant quantities -- people would rather take an untested drug than try to survive Ebola -- but there is no "scarcity" here. Perhaps if many people wish to try it we'll have a better idea if it actually works.

about 3 months ago
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Email Is Not Going Anywhere

l2718 "The web we lost" (235 comments)

The author is quite confused: email predates the web by decades. It predates the internet.

about 4 months ago
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Maryam Mirzakhani Is the First Woman Fields Medalist

l2718 "Good math doesn't know gender" (75 comments)

Yes, the math doesn't know gender, but the mathematicians who evaluate each other (say for promotion or for prizes) do know. Yes, the situation today is very different from the past, but biases do exist. For a strongly worded view point on this try Izabella Laba.

about 4 months ago
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SpaceX Chooses Texas Site For Private Spaceport

l2718 Why the "incentives"? (113 comments)

These $20M are good for SpaceX, but why are they good to the taxpayers of Texas? This feels like the "incentives" provided to sports teams where somehow the projected benefits to other local businesses never materialize.

about 4 months ago
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Comcast Carrying 1Tbit/s of IPv6 Internet Traffic

l2718 Re:IPv6 How will it happen? (146 comments)

Why should users care? How many "users" are aware of IP addresses, or view them as anything but a string of meaningless digits? The "complexity" of IPv6 falls entirely on sysadmins and on those who implement IPv6 stacks, that is on experts. It's possible some users will have a home network on the 192.168.x.x IPv4 range connected via a NAT to the IPv6 internet, but this choice will be made for them by the people who write NAT software: home users universally use first-come-first-served DHCP to assign addresses on their home network so they never see even the local IP addresses. I like to remotely SSH to my home computer, so I note the IP address assigned to my NAT by the ISP, but a typical user can't pull that off. I also like to have fixed IP addresses inside the home network so I can reliably use SSH between the machines. You might be diong the same. But the average user can't and doesn't feel the need to.

about 5 months ago
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Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

l2718 bad for standards (194 comments)

Mozilla capitulating on the tag has serious implications for web standards. By including patent-encumbered code in the browser they take the rug from under those in the www foundation that argue for free web standards. Yes, some websites wanted to use H.264 for video encoding, but Mozilla shouldn't have abetted them.

about 5 months ago
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White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

l2718 Alcohol is a consumer good too (382 comments)

Post-prohibition most states regimented the alcholic beverage distribution chain into a three-tier system: producers, distributors, and retailers. As you can see this is even worse than with cars. For example, vinyards often cannot sell directly to the public, and they can't sell directly to pubs or wine stores. The middlemen must be paid ...

about 5 months ago
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BMW, Mazda Keen To Meet With Tesla About Charging Technology

l2718 Standardization is critical (137 comments)

For wide adoption there needs to be a full market around electric vehicles: opportunities to build charging stations, sell home charging equipment and so on. Gas stations are possible since practically all cars use the same fuel, but also because they have very similar intake openings so that the pump can stop by itself.

Tesla by itself is too small to set standards, so this is good news. It also shows how disclaim in patents helps: the benefit from a greater and more active market exceeds the payoffs from discouraging competition.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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HTTPS everywhere via a free Certificate Authority

l2718 l2718 writes  |  about a month ago

l2718 (514756) writes "A major barries to universal encryption of web traffic is the difficulty of obtaining and managing server certificates,. including the costs imposed by current Certificate Authorities.

Let's Encrypt, an initiative announced today by a group of secutiry researchers together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla, Akamai, Cisco and IdenTrust, is aimed at solving these problems via automated certificate-handling scripts and an automated CA offering the certificates for free. Prospective users will install a client program on their webservers that will autonomously handle verification (proving to the CA that the client indeed controls the domain), installation of certificates, renewal and (on user request) revocation. The proposed protocal specification for client-CA communcations has been posted to Github."
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The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents

l2718 l2718 writes  |  about 2 years ago

l2718 (514756) writes "The Electronic Frontiers Foundation announced today a large donation by Mark Cuban and Markus Persson to the EFF Patent Project. Notably, part of Cuban's donation is for the creation of the "Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents" (the first holder is current staff attorney Julie Samuels). Time will tell if the new title will help her advocacy work."
Link to Original Source
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Predicting extreme longevity using genetic tests

l2718 l2718 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

l2718 (514756) writes "Cue the Howard foundation? Boston University researchers published yesterday a paper in Science, claiming to be able to predict using genetic testing whether (controlling for lifestyle-based risks) someone will have "average longevity" or "exceptional longevity" with 77% accuracy. The densely written paper itself is only available to subscribers."
Link to Original Source
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Diebold vote-tabulation software loses votes

l2718 l2718 writes  |  about 6 years ago

l2718 (514756) writes "A bug in Diebold's vote-tabulation software has come to light, where the software may ignore some votes if other Project". It seems Diebold knew of the bug at least since 2004. Probably posting the source code on-line before the elections would be a nice complement, as well as verifying that the software you run is the software that gets posted."
Link to Original Source
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Voting machine discrepancies in NJ primaries

l2718 l2718 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

l2718 (514756) writes "Prof. Ed Felten has posted a voting machine summary printout from the recent New Jersey primaries, clearly documenting a bug in the Sequoia "AVC Advantage" machines used. Specifically, the machine claims 362 Democratic ballots and 60 Republican ballots have been accessed, while at the same time recording a total of 361 votes for Democratic party candidates and 61 for Republican party candidates. The results literally do not add up. Sequoia's concern that the State might arrange for independent investigation of this bug is what prompted the nastigram we discussed yesterday."
Link to Original Source
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Warner Music CEO: war with consumers was wrong

l2718 l2718 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

l2718 (514756) writes "Edgar Bronfman, CEO of the Warner Music Group, publicly framed the music industry's failure to accomodate file-sharing as an "invadvertent" war on consumers. I'm left wondering how you can file a series of lawsuits inadvertently.

"We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding ... By ... moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."
"

Link to Original Source
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Vodka used as medicinal alcohol

l2718 l2718 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

l2718 (514756) writes "A large dose of ethanol is commonoly used to treat poisoning by other alcohols. When Australian doctors ran out of pure alcohol while treating an Italian tourist who drank ethylene glycol, they tried an alternate medical protocol instead.

"The patient was drip-fed about three standard drinks an hour for three days in the intensive care unit," [a doctor] said. "The hospital's administrators were also very understanding when we explained our reasons for buying a case of vodka."
"
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Reports: Voting machines fail review

l2718 l2718 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

l2718 (514756) writes "The California Secretary of State has released the reports of the teams studying e-voting machines from Dieblod, Hart InterCivic and Sequoia. These were three source code study teams (one for each manufacturer), a "red team" tasked with developing exploits, and an accessibility review team. The conclusion: in all cases the design and implementation are extremely insecure and vulnerable. See also the reactions by Ed Felten and Avi Rubin."
Link to Original Source
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l2718 l2718 writes  |  about 8 years ago

l2718 (514756) writes "Novell has made their next move in their lawsuit against SCO. Clause 4.16(b) of the contact of sale for UNIX System V between Novell and the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO's predecessor), says, in part:
at [Novell]'s sole discretion and direction, Buyer shall amend, supplement, modify or waive any rights under, or shall assign any rights to, any SVRX License to the extent so directed in any manner or respect by Seller.
Background: After SCO claimed to terminate IBM's UNIX license, Novell directed them (on June 9th, 2003) to waive their right to do so. If granted this motion will make another part of SCO vs. IBM go away — IBM's attempt to enforce the clause in their amdended license agreement saying the license grant is irrevocable and perpetual. Fortunately the same district judge and magistrate judge are overseeing both cases."
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l2718 l2718 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

l2718 (514756) writes "Recently installed in Boston University's campus is the world's first mix-to-order ice-cream vending machine. Controlled by a standard PC board and running a Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP combo the machine makes any of 96 flavours of ice-cream as requested by the customer, and can be remotely monitored and controlled. This should be an interesting AMD-Redhat flavour to try."

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