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Obama Says He May Or May Not Let the NSA Exploit the Next Heartbleed

localroger This has nothing to do with Snowden etc. (134 comments)

I'm fully with the "buck stops here" theory of governance. The problem is that this isn't even a buck. How, exactly, do you think that the information that an exploit like Heartbleed exists migrates in a compartmentalized agency like the NSA from the group that identifies it to use in spying to the group that perhaps looks to protect us from foreign spies? How does it migrate to top administration? The answer is that it doesn't. It can't. Maybe it should, but as the NSA (and probably any practially workable version of it) exists there simply is no channel for that information to move from those who are using it to others who might have a need, on wholly different merits, to know it.

It is very unlikely that the guys who discovered Heartbleed as a SIGINT opportunity had any channels at all to warn other arms of the agency that it might be a vulnerability on our side; consider how such channels could and would be misused in so many other situations. The spooks would never implement such a thing. From the SIGINT side Heartbleed is a low-level technical detail, hardly worth the attention of a Civil Service level adminstrator except for the ops that it makes possible.

about a week ago
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Obama Says He May Or May Not Let the NSA Exploit the Next Heartbleed

localroger The President doesn't micro-manage this stuff (134 comments)

Really, anybody who thinks anybody cabinet level or higher even knows about this kind of logistical detail is an idiot. This isn't at all like the torture thing which is a basic human rights violation; nobody is questioning the NSA's right to spy on certain people, and this has nothing to do with any accusation that they're spying on people they shouldn't be spying on. This is about technological implementation, and it's part of NSA's purview as a spy agency to explore technologies that further their ability to do their job. Part of that is discovering weaknesses in cryptographic systems which are trusted by the people you want to spy on. Having discovered such a useful weakness they aren't obliged to report it, although they are obliged not to use it (or any of their other techniques) against our own citizens.

about a week ago
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How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

localroger Re:In a cochlear implant users own words: (509 comments)

El Rushbo's deafness isn't natural, it's the result of adult opioid abuse, so the treatment may be different than for non drug-addicts who are just naturally deaf.

about two weeks ago
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The Rescue Plan That Could Have Saved Space Shuttle Columbia

localroger If you have a time machine with a short range (247 comments)

...of only a few days, then this would be quite useful. You could get Denzel Washington in onthe project somehow.

about 2 months ago
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The Neuroscience of Computer Programming

localroger I have always felt coding was a language skill (161 comments)

Even though computer languages are different from human languages in major and universal ways we do use the same mental muscles to comprehend computer languages as we do human ones. This is also why it is much easier for children who are exposed to programming early to pick up the knack than it is if they aren't introduced to coding until they are adults.

While computer languages are about math a lot more than human languages, coding isn't really like doing math. It's more like telling the machine how to do math, which the machine then does for you.

about 2 months ago
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'The Color Run' Violates Agreement With College Photographer, Then Sues Him

localroger Re:Trademark powers? -- NO. (218 comments)

This is all actually fairly straightforward if a little weird under boilerplate copyright law. First, lacking model releases of his own, Jackson cannot use the photos for commercial purposes. He could use them as part of a portfolio but as soon as he puts one on a billboard or in an ad, he needs permission from the individuals who are identifiable in the image, which he doesn't have. Second, in the absence of a contract Jackson owns the images, full stop. Nobody can put them on a billboard without his permission. He gave permission to put them on Facebook, but the going rate for use on billboards and in ads is much higher. $100K is not unreasonable for the level of use that has been demonstrated. Third, Color Run almost certainly has a model release embedded in the paperwork the runners sign to enter the race, so they have the right on that count to use the pictures. They would be OK if they compensated Jackson, but they are not OK if they do not compensate Jackson. This is the ONLY way it is OK to put those pictures on billboards -- Jackson has to give permission to do so, for which he deserves much more compensation than he would get for use on Facebook, and Color Run has to do the publishing because they have the model releases. The Color Run people are way out of line here and probably indulging in a snit because their authoritah was disrespected. But they are very clearly in the wrong. As for trademark, that's completely irrelevant, since Jackson has no right to publish the pictures commercially without the model releases that Color Run has. However, Jackson DOES have certain Fair Use rights, such as releasing a few examples in the course of presenting his side of this story, as long as there is no danger of the images being misinterpreted as a commercial representation by Color Run themselves and as long as they serve certain alternate purposes, for which "news" qualifies.

about 2 months ago
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Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

localroger XP doesn't allow hardware access either (526 comments)

The 16-bit Windows -- 3.x, 95, 98, and ME -- allow DOS style direct hardware access for things like sound and serial hardware. The Windows NT derivatives including NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and 8 do not allow application program access to hardware at all due to the underlying security model.

about 2 months ago
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Metal-Free 'Rhubarb' Battery Could Store Renewable Grid Energy

localroger It's not for cars (131 comments)

For grid storage your battery will be a building. It can be as large as necessary; it's the price of the infrastructure and reactant to store and re-create enough energy to get the solar farm past a rainy day which are limits.

about 3 months ago
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Metal-Free 'Rhubarb' Battery Could Store Renewable Grid Energy

localroger It's not about density (131 comments)

It's about storing a large amount of energy in a very large amount of electrolyte without similarly large plates and electrical connections. For power storage they are thinking in terms of batteries the size of buildings, perhaps built like current sewerage-treatment plants, to store energy in the electrolyte and move it along, bringing it back to the electrical assembly with pumps as needed. It can be considerably less energy-dense than current batteries in pounds per erg and still be far more practical for the kind of large-scale storage the tech is aimed at.

about 3 months ago
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KOI-314c: Weird Small "Puffed-Up" Exoplanet Discovered

localroger Can't possibly be rocky + H/He (29 comments)

Planets like Earth don't hold on to hydrogen and helium even without nearby atmosphere-ripping stars in the mix. What is much more likely is that it's an entirely solid world with no atmosphere but made of much lighter elements than the Earth. Carbon mantle over rocky core would be just about right for 1.5 times the density of water. Of course, having once been the core of a gas giant, the planet's surface could very well be a gigantic diamond.

about 3 months ago
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4 Tips For Your New Laptop

localroger Re:Interesting potential issue (310 comments)

Yes the ransomware will encrypt your cloud backups and mounted network drives -- it's not at all limited to your user folder. If the cloud backup service keeps an archive then you might be OK, but the free DropBox service doesn't.

about 4 months ago
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Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines

localroger Re:No Sympathy (413 comments)

I suggest you ally yourself with an actual business and try to apply these lofty principles. I'll know your education is complete by the peals of laughter and sound of doors slamming behind you.

about 4 months ago
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Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines

localroger Re:No Sympathy (413 comments)

This is really unrealistic. What if the original hardware supplier is out of business or has discontinued the product line? The supply chain for many industrial systems of this type can be 10 levels deep, and it's simply impossible (unless you make the kind of hyper-expensive arrangements the military does so that they can keep 50's era computers running today) for contractors in that chain to do as you suggest. Commodity computers are so powerful and cheap with such ubiquitous development tools and talent that it's hard for suppliers to ignore what's available just because traditional ideas of longevity can't be trusted.

about 4 months ago
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Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines

localroger Re:No Sympathy (413 comments)

Lots of process control and data acquisition systems have proprietary hardware whose drivers haven't been or can't be migrated. A security system has many candidates for such a dependency.

about 4 months ago
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UK Retailer Mistakenly Sends PS Vitas, Threatens Legal Action To Get Them Back

localroger Re:Greed, pure and simple (617 comments)

I have been in this situation several times. The company has never wanted the cheap item I got by mistake back and has always shipped the more expensive item I actually ordered as soon as the mistake was pointed out to them. US law seems to be pretty clear-cut and honest retailers understand this.

about 4 months ago
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Chinese Chang'e-3 Lunar Rover On Its Way After Successful Launch

localroger Re:It's "Iridum", not "Iridium" (101 comments)

My Rand McNally map of the Moon has it labeled Sinus Iridium, so maybe you should give them a call to complain.

about 5 months ago
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A 'Smart' Bathroom Mirror Powered by Android (Video)

localroger The original version: Star Trek Experience (71 comments)

If you had the chance to visit the late lamented Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton when it still existed, and if you had visited the gentlemen's toilet, you would have unzipped before a urinal topped by a mirror. Upon tinkling, the mirror would proceed to display an amusing ad for some silly personal product only available in the Star Trek universe. It was so amusing that there was a constant stream of guys sneaking their girls into the men's room to show it off. Apparently there was a similar gag in the Ladies' at the wash basin, but the ladies report that it wasn't nearly as funny.

about 5 months ago
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Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

localroger Only life insurance is affected (961 comments)

Suicide does not affect any of the other things you list, and if you pay through the nose you can get a life insurance policy that even covers it.

about 5 months ago
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Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

localroger Yeah, and if you commit suicide (961 comments)

...you can expect a really, really long jail sentence. And the health care in those for-profit prisons sucks.

about 5 months ago

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