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Following FEMA's Zombie Preparedness Plan Could Land You On Terrorist List

panda Re:So, here's a question... (527 comments)

They should just be accepted as a cost of freedom and rejected as a highly improbable occurrence.

In addition, the U.S. gov't should stop oppressing people both at home and abroad. If they spent as much time looking after the interests of the average citizen and the common good of all Americans, and not just the wealthiest, most influential in the top one tenth of one percent of the population, we would not be the target of terrorist attacks.

more than 2 years ago

Your Passwords Don't Suck — It's Your Policies

panda Re:What puzzles me... (487 comments)

It's very simple. Issue certificates to your users. Only let them into your site if their browser presents certificates signed by you. You can use fields in the certifcate to identify the user of your site.

Certificate management isn't that hard. Most private keys are protected by passwords, but still, I think it is a damned sight better than just username/password.

more than 2 years ago

Could a Computer Write This Story?

panda Re:Editor AI (101 comments)

In my experience, humans have a tendency to overestimate their intelligence and the intelligence of our species. I specialize in automating "knowledge tasks." The people that I work with are very often surprised at just how much of what they think of as requiring human intelligence can actually be broken down into algorithms that are then applied to the data. Very little of what people actually do on a daily basis is more than the algorithmic application of knowledge.

I agree that there are some things computers cannot do just yet. Those jobs requiring creativity for instance. You could program a computer to imitate Picasso or a certain writer, but I doubt we'll be seeing computers creating truly original works of art or literature in the near future.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Assembling a Linux Desktop Environment From Parts?

panda Used to do this (357 comments)

I used to do this: running everything in blackbox window manager with different panels and other launcher applications. I actually stuck with blackbox for a long time because I liked being able to edit the desktop window in a text file and open applications just by right-clicking on the desktop and choosing from a menu. I gave up on using other launchers and panel applications. I really liked the minimalism of black box.

Now, I'm using Unity with the Launcher on Ubuntu. I find it usable for the most part, and once you alter habits to work with its paradigm, it doesn't really hinder productivity.

about 2 years ago

Fed Audit's Initial Report Reveals Trillions in Secret Loans

panda Senator Sander, you know better. (499 comments)

"No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the president," Sanders said.

Since when is the Federal Reserve an agency of the United States government? Last time that I checked it was and still is a privately owned corporation.

more than 3 years ago

Man Ordered At Gunpoint To Hand Over Phone For Recording Cops

panda Re:UNacceptable (983 comments)

This is exactly the type of abuse of power that the Second Amendment is meant to prevent. When any and all citizens could be armed, the government agents have to deal with them as equals or risk being killed. When all of the risk is on the unarmed populace, the thugs are free to act with impunity.

Tyrants prefer unarmed peasants.

more than 3 years ago

Americans Favor Moratorium On New Nuclear Reactors

panda Bleeding Obvious (964 comments)

I hate to state the bleeding obvious, but it seems that I must.

Why would you want more nuclear power? There is only so much uranium to be mined. It really doesn't matter how long estimates say the uranium reserves will last, there is still only so much to be had, and then what? Eventually, we'll run out of uranium, just as we'll eventually run out of oil and coal. Sure, we'll have more some day, if you care to wait millions or billions of years. Frankly, I don't have the time.

The best source of power beats us on the head every day, the Sun. We should be seriously investing in solar, wind, and tidal for power generation. These sources are not likely to run out for the lifetime of the planet, and that's a damned site better than relying on finite resources that take millions of years to replenish.

NOTE: There are more ways to use solar power than just photovoltaic cells.

more than 3 years ago

Wikileaks' Assange Begins Extradition Battle

panda Re:Is it me (479 comments)

Bingo! We have a winner!

more than 3 years ago

Spam Levels Lowest Since 2009

panda Re:Yeahbut... (104 comments)

My experience is that the spambots are currently more compliant with RFCs than most legitimate servers.

more than 3 years ago

Goldman Sachs Says No Facebook Shares For US Investors

panda Re:A Way To Get Around Regulations (529 comments)

No. G-S are not "trying to be good guys." They are trying to make money in a scam investment in a way that is illegal in the U.S. They are obeying U.S. law to avoid being sued or whatever. This is purely a cover-your-ass move.

more than 3 years ago

Scientists Advocate Replacing Cattle With Insects

panda Re:You're kidding, right? (760 comments)

I mean, what happened to fish?

Have you had a look at the ocean lately? We've eaten or poisoned the fish to near extinction.

It is also my suspicion, supported by research that I'm too lazy to look up, that farm-raised fish are fatter and less full of the lovely acids that makes their wild counterparts so healthy to eat.

more than 3 years ago

Open Source After 12 Years

panda Re:12 years? (174 comments)

In my day, we just called it "software."

more than 3 years ago

TSA Investigates Pilot Who Exposed Security Flaws

panda Re:So i love the sarcastic comments (394 comments)

I'm going to do the same thing about it that we do about the 40,000 odd traffic fatalities every year: Nearly nothing.

We don't invade privacy and remove freedoms because so many people die in traffic accidents. Why should we because of some vague "terrorist" threat? Honestly, airport security never has and never will stop a determined terrorist. We need to simply have an adult conversation with the American people and perhaps increase the educational investment in mathematics education. Perhaps, if they understood statistics a bit better, then they wouldn't run around like idiots demanding that something be DONE about what amounts to a non-threat.

Yeah, I know....

more than 3 years ago

Why Money Doesn't Motivate File-Sharers

panda Re:Information wants to be free. (633 comments)

You know, everyone keeps quoting "information wants to be free" out of context. Stewart Brand also said in the same breath that information wants to be expensive. He was talking about two sides of the equation, the consumer side that wants to be free, and the producer side, that wants to be expensive.

I personally get very tired of the producer/consumer economic model that keeps getting shoved down our throats by the old economic models and the industries that cling to them.

The Internet and affordable technology enable us all to be producers and consumers of each others' digital works. The whole tired argument of information wants to be free/information wants to be expensive should really be a moot point by now.

more than 3 years ago

Panda Dung Statue Sold for $45,000

panda Heh. (5 comments)

I should probably make some kind of joke here, but words fail me.

more than 3 years ago

The Golden Hour of Phishing Attacks

panda Re:Education is the best medicine (59 comments)

Quoth Bruce Schneier:

There's nothing we can do to educate users, and anyone who has met an actual user knows that.....Rather than focus on what can we do to educate users, we need to focus on building security that doesn't require educated users.


more than 3 years ago

KDE 4.6 Beta 1 – a First Look

panda Re:I think I'll pass on this (224 comments)

I worked on KDE 2.0, did some coding for KMail, and then because of time constraints from job and family had to give up on it. I quit using KDE soon after because I realized that other than one or two applications, I spent 90% of my day doing command line stuff. I used the BlackBox window manager for many years. Then, last year, I tried KDE 4.something again. Man, was I disappointed. The environment may have been nice and the look much improved, but very basic stuff was missing from a lot of the applications. Konqueror was hardly useable as a browser. There was no way to manage certificate and key stores, even using the dedicated application for that. Basic stuff that was there in 2.0 was simply missing. I don't know what discussions were had or what decisions were made since I left the community but someone seriously screwed the pooch on version numbering. To my mind, 4.4 or whatever I was using should have been a 4.0 pre-release. I got the impression that KDE's focus now is on the gee-whiz bells and whistles and they are less concerned with shipping something that works.

These days, I really don't give a crap about "desktop environment." I use the applications that I use, and again, I still spend a lot of my day writing command line applications to get real work done, mostly shuffling data from place to another or fixing problems created by user or programmer error. Frankly, KDE 4 felt like it was getting in the way, and its native applications (and I know some are written by the KDE team and some not) were lacking in features. I was forced to use applications that didn't integrate with the environment just to do something useful.

BTW, I feel pretty much the same way about Gnome, but I suppose that I am using Gnome since I switched from Kubuntu to Ubuntu. I really don't care, since the applications that I use don't integrate with any desktop environment.

more than 3 years ago

Student Googles Himself, Finds He's Accused of Murder

panda Re:That's nothing! (184 comments)

Yeah. That's one of the best films ever.

more than 3 years ago

Student Googles Himself, Finds He's Accused of Murder

panda Re:That's nothing! (184 comments)

Heh, "file directory" should be film director.

more than 3 years ago


panda hasn't submitted any stories.



Prostitution versus Politics

panda panda writes  |  more than 4 years ago

While writing this comment I was struck again by the strangeness of politics being legal and prostitution being illegal in most of the U.S.A.

When you think about it, the transaction between a prostitute and the customer is typically fair and honest. Both parties know pretty much what they are going to get. The prostitute gets X amount of dollars, and the customers gets Y amount of sex. With the exception of pimping, no one is forcing either party into the transaction. Both are free to say no and to walk away. (In principle, they are, and in reality, too. The trouble is that most people have swallowed the whole victim of circumstances mentality that they're now too chickenshit to stand up for themselves in the most basic ways.)

The transaction between a prosti..., sorry, politician and a large donor is much the same, except that the donor gets a less solid guarantee that the prosti..., sorry again, politician will do the utmost to ensure that the customer's, sorry, donor's desires are fulfilled in the law. This pretty much resembles the transaction between prostitute and customer with the exception that the prositician can easily take the money from the customer and not fulfill any of the customer's expectations, thus essentially committing fraud (and if it were a truly commercial transaction, it would be fraud and politicians would be sued and quite often).

The transaction between a prostitician and the voters is even less honorable and even more closely resembles fraud. The politician will make vague promises. The politician will present a certain public image. The politician will claim to fight for the people (who are analogous to the customer above), when the politician has already made other promises that quite possibly run counter to the interests of the very people whose votes are needed to get elected. The politician in this case lies, or at best, obfuscates the real agenda behind the drive to office. Once elected, the promises of the campaign are no longer required and the prostitician can get down to the business of satisfying the client's, err, donor's desires.

So, tell me again, why prostitution is illegal and political campaign contributions aren't? Free speech? Really? You believe that garbage about money being speech? This is about commerce, plain and simple, about exchanging money for getting service that you want.

Aside: Has it really been nearly four years since I felt compelled to write something in here?


I don't know...

panda panda writes  |  more than 8 years ago

As for me, I don't know. I don't like a lot of the disccussion in this thread or what I read in the linked article. I certainly believe that some degree of voter fraud happened in 2000 and 2004, but that much?

I think I want observers from the UN to monitor our elections in 2008.


Just a passing thought.

panda panda writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I mentioned once before that /. needs better journal navigation, like a page that can list all the users's journals. I've started checking up on a few from time to time and it's quite fun. I've even taken to moderating discussion in some journals.

Maybe I'll take a look at the SlashCode sometime to see what can be added for better journal handling. The link to the code is staring at me right there to the left....

RSS feeds for journals, too. I'll need to check if that's here already...



panda panda writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Today's has to be one of the funniest April Fools' on /., ever. When I saw the "OMG!!! Ponies!!!" I nearly sprayed the monitor with Coca-Cola. My 5-year-old daughter is into the My Little Pony stuff, so it had a certain meaning to me.

Also, linking to CuteOverload was a good move. Going there and reading about them being discovered by /., and the remarks over there about a Slashdotters favorite activities.....Heh, I especially liked the comment about our egos being more fragile than a butterfly fart!--There is some truth in the funniest comments.

I saved a screenshot for posterity.

The link to the screenshot no longer works, and hasn't worked for maybe two years. It took me that long to go back to perusing my journal.


Journal Navigation

panda panda writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I was just perusing some other /.ers journals and actually moderating the discussions attached to the journal posts and discovered that the journal navigation tools on /. are pretty lame. I'll have to do some more poking around and maybe I can enumerate the problems later.

Heh, I know....I'll just grab the latest slashcode and go to town hacking it over the "long" weekend. Um, yeah, right.

Something else hit me, too. Roblimo has a lower ID than I do, but I'm sure I "joined" before he came on board. I remember his column at before they bought /., and I used to read it and /. All the IDs below 1,000 must be reserved for editors and future editors. That's what I'd do if I were setting something like this up. Wonder who gets ID 666, then?


Beam me up, Mr. Scott.

panda panda writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I don't generally consider myself to be superstitious, but then, who does consider himself to be superstitious? Anyway, I was cruising the WWW and clicked on a link for horoscopes and put in my star sign. The following sentence from what I read made me laugh, and I thought that I'd stick it in here so that I wouldn't forget it:

Just be sure to wear the gold uniform when you beam down -- you know what happens when you wear the red one.


Why I moderated something Funny.

panda panda writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I moderated as "funny" because email service is actually rather unreliable in the first place. Anyone who understands how it functions would know that it should not be relied on as a sole means of communiction for anything truly important.

Reading that comment made me laugh, because I could read irony into it. Whether or not the irony was intended by the poster, I can't say.


Perils of Tabbed Browsing

panda panda writes  |  about 10 years ago

As someone who has been surfing the WWW since the days when IE and Mozilla were one product called NCSA Mosaic, I've never really felt the need for tabbed browsing. Being a long-time user of the X-Windows interface, it has always seemed natural to me that each document should get it's own window. As a result, I've never seen the need for all the added visual clutter involved in tabbed browsing and so, I've not ever really used it.

With the recent announcements of vulnerabilities that seem to require the use of tabbed browsing, I have yet one more reason for my didain.

That said, I'm not trying to tell anyone else how or how not to surf the WWW. If you like tabbed browsing, then continue to surf that way. Myself, I prefer to deal directly with the information that concerns me and to not have all the visual clutter of extra widgets. If I need to visit more than one site at a time, I'll just open another browser window. As I have at this moment 3 windows open & 2 of them pointing at /.

Please, feel free to post your comments below. If you love tabbed browsing, then by all means expound upon its virtues, etc.


Why I am planning to vote for Michael Bandnarik.

panda panda writes  |  about 10 years ago

All I can tell the "lesser of two evils" folks is that if they keep
voting for evil, they'll keep getting evil. If you don't like the way
things are, how do you change it by voting for more of the same?

Those two sentences from U.S. presidential candidate Michael
Badnarik convinced me that to vote for him in this November's
U.S. general election would not be a wasted vote. For quite a while
since he was announced as the Libertarian Party's nominee for
president, I had been waivering on casting my vote for him or for
Senator Kerry. The reason that I waivered was that I do not want to
see President Bush get re-elected, and while I'm not too fond of Kerry
either, I had thought that casting my vote for the "lesser of two
evils" was better than throwing it away on a third-party candidate
with no real chance of winning. However, Michael Badnarik's words
above convinced me that voting my conscience is indeed the right thing
to do.

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