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China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

markhahn Re:The hypocrisy (192 comments)

OF COURSE China has people paid to troll slashdot. in the cyber-age, I suppose that's a compliment.

about 3 months ago

China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

markhahn Re:Occupation (192 comments)

oh, nonsense. look at a map.

about 3 months ago

China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

markhahn NOT seriously disputed (192 comments)

China's claim is absurd; no one else in the world considers these islands disputed. No amount of dredging is going to change that.

about 3 months ago

Supermicro Fails At IPMI, Leaks Admin Passwords

markhahn user error (102 comments)

it's crazy to expose IPMI to the public net. yes, that might mean you need separate wiring for an internal subnet, and you might not be able to use all your ports for public access - just read the docs before you buy it.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

markhahn ERP (552 comments)

First, recognize the need for empirical information on the state of your loved-on. It is of very little use to make subjective observations, since humans are incredibly good at finding patterns where none exist.

Second, recognize the difficulty of what you're undertaking. Humans are at the very beginning of understanding how our bodies work, and we have essentially no model to predict when patients will, or never will, recover from injury like this. What makes it hard is that this ignorance means that you will be trying to make decisions under extreme uncertainty - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do so. For instance, there should probably be a time past which you withdraw life support when there are no signs of recovery. No one knows how long that should be, but the key thing is whether there are signs of hope.

What would be such signs? You've already read something about the locked-in phenomenon. First, CT cannot possibly provide any information about function: it measures x-ray density, and provides only structural information. At best, it might show which tissue has died - but unfortunately, we have very primitive knowledge of how that relates to function (or recovery). ERP (scalp electrodes) are MUCH more relevant: there is a huge literature describing the sorts of obligate responses made by sensory portions of the brain (our understanding of less sensory processes is rather spotty). PET can map metabolic activity, but that has a much less obvious relation to organized, functional brain activity. I think ERP monitoring should be your primary path forward. There is lots of research on this topic, and pretty much any university psychology/neuroscience/psychiatry department would have well-informed people you could talk to, often ones able to perform ERP tests for brain function. (The technology of ERP is very not hard, and designing effective tests is somewhat subtle. But if a test is supposed to guide a decision like continuation of life-support, it's not a casual trip-to-radioshack kind of project.)

In short, find a non-self-deluding way to gather empirical signs of functioning personhood; in the absence of such signs, figure out how long to wait.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

markhahn Re:As painful as it is... (552 comments)

this is NOT insightful.

we (medical or scientific communities) do not have the understanding to guide such a decision. we simply can't tell when a patient will never recover.

I personally would not want to be kept alive without prospects of a quite high quality-of-life. others certainly have different thresholds, and none of us can gainsay that preference. to do so is murder.

about 4 months ago

SanDisk Announces 4TB SSD, Plans For 8TB Next Year

markhahn arrgh (264 comments)

ssd vendors should be rushing to get nvme out the door, rather than wasting time on capacity. flash does not and simply never will scale the same way capacity in recording media (including that mounted in spinning disks) does...

about 5 months ago

Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

markhahn why not just OD? (1198 comments)

I'm not convinced capital punishment is a sound choice, but why do they make such a big deal about it? there are opioids that would cause prompt and relatively peaceful death, not to mention extremely powerful muscle-relaxants.

about 5 months ago

SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

markhahn duh (256 comments)

with spinning rust, you might re-engineer the bulk process that coats your disks, but the boost in recording density depends on changing the parameters of the head. bulk process and one device. compare to flash, where to boost density, you have to tweak each storage cell, controlling for defects and manufacturing flaws, where the yield of each cell multiplies, so defects are exponentially likely.

disks (and to some extent tape) will always have scaling advantages over litho-fabed storage.

you can certainly argue that latency and bandwidth also suffer by the same process - but for the most part, disk performance really is fast enough for most uses. it's a bit surprising that more disk vendors haven't tossed onboard a small flash chip (to all lines of HDs).

about 5 months ago

Why the IETF Isn't Working

markhahn the concept of IP is the problem (103 comments)

"Intellectual Property" that is, not Internet Protocol. IETF succeeded when participants were motivated by something other than staking out as much turf to monetize. The basic premise of modern business is "do whatever it takes to get away with as much as possible", which is emphatically not part of the thought process that brought us TCP/IP, SMTP, SSH, HTTP, etc.

The problem is lawyers and MBA weasels who tell everyone that monetization is their primary duty, and that lockin and the resulting "rentier" revenue streams are the ideal course.

about 5 months ago

The Era of Facebook Is an Anomaly

markhahn network effect iff vendor lockin (260 comments)

lockin/networkeffect is so much easier a business model than competing based on excellence.

it's an interesting question to ponder: at what level of clue do customers begin to care? does the mass market ever reach that level? implicitly, sure - a service won't succeed which can't interoperate at least well enough. but how many customers really understand the concept of protocol or API - understand it well enough to realize that it permits vendor-independent services?

about 6 months ago

Russia Blocks Internet Sites of Putin Critics

markhahn Fascism and demographics (309 comments)

Obviously, this kind of thought-control, especially when combined with state capitalism/oligarchy/kleptocracy, is what we in the west would call Fascist. It is perhaps an interesting real-life demonstration of newspeak that much of Putin's fervor, at least for public consumption, is directed *against* Fascists in Ukraine. For him, the f-word means neo-nazi, or perhaps just ultra-nationalist for any nation other than greater Russia. It's really weird and mindbending, but you can find a lot of his undiluted propaganda on the web (, plenty in youtube, and planted comments on just about any relevant news article in any media...)

I find this fascists calling each other fascists thing quite interesting, but it seems to depend on a highly prepared political environment. The ex-USSR population seems to be uniquely primed to equate fascist=nazi, with all the baggage of WW2 (including the meme that the hard part was fought in Russia, not western europe, and that the cold war was essentially a continuation of WW2, with nazi-derived forces still conspiring against The Fatherland.) I imagine that works best for the older generation, but surely any Russian under 30 must look at the internet and see something closer to the truth...

about 6 months ago

Oops: Security Holes In Belkin Home Automation Gear

markhahn MOAR IETF! (77 comments)

IETF made everything possible, but has unfortunately been somewhat abandoned, or at least isn't functioning as a mooring-of-sanity as it used to. In some ways, this is inevitable, since the e-world is big enough that even a small company can do its own thing, and still succeed big.

This matters for IoT, since most cloud-enabled IoT devices do totally random things: poke through firewalls with UPNP, shove your private data into some random website, potentially over insecure protocols. (Or protocols that could be secure, but are implemented poorly or are simply in need of an update.) At some level, the problem is really that the easy path, for any given cloud vendor, is to set up their own cloud infrastructure (though it might be layered on Amazon, etc). This is bad for the customer because what happens when the company crashes, or gets bought and dissolved, or when the company just decides to stop supporting the device?

IETF should be thinking along the lines of a *local* data hub that you own, that your devices talk to over a simpler, standard protocol. Not that security can be ignored just because traffic is local, but an extra level of indirection makes all the difference in hardware as well as software. Whether that local hub is intelligent, whether it has storage - open question. And maybe devices need to fall back to trying to talk to the external cloud. But customers will eventually realize that they should want their own data to at least potentially be under their own control, not inherently subject to the vagaries of some whispy, transient external cloud. You don't want your fire alarm dependent on random external sites, or your internet-enabled door locks, or your thermostat, etc.

about 7 months ago

Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science

markhahn systematicity (625 comments)

People often confuse systematicity with science. Which means they don't really get the point of science, of course. But this also explains things like Kabala, Homeopoathy, betting systems, orthodox religion, some diets, as well as the astrology thing.

about 7 months ago

IBM Employees Caught Editing Wikipedia

markhahn provenance (112 comments)

let people perform whatever edits they want, but track the provenance of *everything*. let readers select some function of provenance as a rendering option, with the default being provenance of a pretty high standard of quality and non-conflicted-interest. letting people attach endorsements or upvotes is a pretty valuable kind of metadata anyway.

the problem seems to be the very idea that wikipedia should present a single, canonical version. absolutes are only found in faith, not the real world...

about 7 months ago

LLVM & GCC Compiler Developers To Begin Collaborating

markhahn It's time for RMS to retire. (279 comments)

He played an important part in the history of open source, but the movement is well-enough established that ideological purity is no longer necessary.

about 7 months ago

Gnome 3.12 Delayed To Sync With Wayland Release

markhahn vapid idiots are running the store. (204 comments)

the big problem is that all this desktop crap doesn't matter. oh, sure, it's pretty. does it get work done? compared to, say, OLVWM from ages ago. sure, I think wiggly windows are a cool hack, and like to use a GPU to make things smoother. but most of this desktop stuff is just masturbation-by-coding. dbus, systemd, wayland, most of gnome, any form of skinning, etc.

yes, X-over-ssh is non-negotiable. it would be great if the X-now-wayland wankers did their wanking on some more-async, lower-bandwidth interface that didn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. VNC, I think not. Xcb was about the last good idea to come from these people...

pretty soon desktops will be completely irrelevant, since the only GUI of the future is html*.

about 7 months ago

ShapeShifter: Beatable, But We'll Hear More About It

markhahn symptomatic relief (102 comments)

They're treating the symptoms of the problem, not the cause. This is usually a bad idea.

about 8 months ago

200 Dolphins Await Slaughter In Japan's Taiji Cove

markhahn click-bait? (628 comments)

No, this is not clickbait.

Normal, mentally-healthy humans have a lot of empathy - otherwise we're psychopaths. Sure, the amount of empathy varies - mainly as a function of whether the animal in question tends to act human-like. We should embrace this, not cynically write it off - empathy *IS* humanity.

Yes, that also means that anyone who is intelligent and reflective will be uncomfortable with eating meat, concerned how the animal died, and of course what kind of animal it was. This is basically orthogonal to issues of environmental or ecological impact.

about 8 months ago

Hackers Gain "Full Control" of Critical SCADA Systems

markhahn unlocked doors (195 comments)

These systems are the moral equivalent of leaving your door not just unlocked but ajar. It doesn't change the morality of anyone trespassing to steal or destroy, but it does make the owner much more culpable. We do not face a threat to our cyber-infrastructure, but rather have irresponsibly left the infrastructure unprotected, and should not be surprised that people of varying motives might take advantage.

We do not need a cyber-infrastructure police force, unless they're actually tiger teams who publicly shame the idiots who leave their systems unprotected...

about 8 months ago


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