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Comments

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Developing the First Law of Robotics

plover Re: So, a design failure then. (158 comments)

You missed the jokes:

1. Will Smith starred in a recent movie adaptation of "I, Robot". [Minor spoiler alert] His character is tormented by the fact that a robot (applying the three laws) chose to save him over a young girl in a drowning accident because the math for survival worked in his favor, not hers. If the robot had attempted to save the little girl instead, Will Smith's character would have died in the accident and there would have been no story; hence, a boring movie.

2. [Spoiled child alert] Will Smith has a real life young son, Jaden Smith, who is widely renowned as an absolutely terrible actor. But, since his daddy is a genuine Hollywood A-list movie star, he gets to appear in any movie he wants. If Jaden was in a boring movie and a robot saved him so he could keep acting, the movie would be even worse.

yesterday
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Developing the First Law of Robotics

plover Re:So, a design failure then. (158 comments)

I would grant that "fretting" was poetic license. Consider that the life-saving robot must continually evaluate all factors.

Let's say I was closer to a lava flow than you, but your path was on a slightly more direct course into it than mine, and the robot is located at the lava's edge midway between both of us. I will hit the lava in 30 seconds, but you will hit it in 20. The robot needs two seconds to have a high probability of saving someone, but one second is enough for a moderate chance. Factoring in the motion required, the chances of saving us both is high. As you are in more immediate peril than I, it should intercede on your behalf first, so the robot starts to move in your direction. Now, I change my course slightly so I will hit it in 15 seconds. The robot still has time to save us both, but the chances are slightly lower. It moves on a path to intercept me first. You then change your path so you will hit it in 10 seconds. The chances of saving us both is now only moderate, but still possible. So the robot alters its path again to save you first. Now, we both steer directly toward the lava, with only one second to intercept for either of us. The robot's continual path changing introduced so much delay it was no longer in a position to save either of us. We both die.

To the outside observer, it fretted, but the algorithm made continually logical decisions.

yesterday
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Developing the First Law of Robotics

plover Re: So, a design failure then. (158 comments)

"Women and children first" seems the obvious choice.

No, it should be programmed to save Will Smith first, otherwise it's going to be a boring movie. Besides, what if it saved Jaden Smith first? The movie would go from "boring" to "terrible" in a big hurry.

yesterday
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The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading

plover Re:NSA probably already has this technology (119 comments)

They don't need a warrant if they're not trying to gather admissible evidence. See "parallel construction" for an example of what they do with this data.

3 days ago
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The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading

plover Re:NSA probably already has this technology (119 comments)

Not at all useless. Simply decode all possible sequences and rank them, ranking the most self-consistent interpretation highest. You may also have other sources of data to help correlate the interpretation (there was an article earlier this year about measuring sound using the video footage of a mylar potato chip bag's vibrations.) Even if the room is crowded, it might be possible to identify a few isolated words from the audio recording of the conversation.

The next thing you do is throw away those conversations that you're not interested in. Regardless of whether the conversation resulted in "You punched a fish" or "You munched a dish", neither is going to have value when you're searching for criminal activity. But if your streams could be "I bought the ammo so we can rob the bank" or "I mopped the jam up sorry can you mop the tank?" one of those could be valuable.

99.999% of conversations are inane drivel. If this technology is applied, the number of false positives is going to rapidly overwhelm a system. More discrimination and correlation is going to be needed to actually produce intelligence from this data. But never think that data is worthless or unusable.

3 days ago
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Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

plover Re:Why is this legal in the U.S.? (149 comments)

Don't forget we used several trillion dollars to prop up our banks and financial firms when, through their own incompetence, our financial system went into meltdown. These folks then used the taxpayer money to give themselves bonuses for the great job they did AND have told us taxpayers to go pound sand any time it is mentioned they should thank us for protecting them.

The only thing I would disagree with in this statement is the word "incompetence." It seems to me that any banker who could walk away with millions in bonuses after all that theft is an extremely competent criminal.

5 days ago
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Mining iPhones and iCloud For Data With Forensic Tools

plover Re:Last link suspect (85 comments)

You don't need access to their PC if you have a copy of its credentials (otherwise, yes, it's a lot of effort to dig stuff out of a phone that probably could have come from the PC itself.) But who knows what kind of access you have to their PC? Perhaps you can send a corrosive DLNA packet to iTunes and get the credentials that way. Or maybe a snatch-and-grab phishing attack has only the capacity to send a few hundred bytes before it gets shut down, instead of letting you download all the juicy gigabytes of backup files.

Attacks don't always have to be directly on the repository of the info; sometimes it's very useful to be able to make them from a distance.

about a week ago
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Mining iPhones and iCloud For Data With Forensic Tools

plover Re:Secondary password... (85 comments)

Oh, the fools! If only they'd built it. with 6001 hulls! When will they learn?

about a week ago
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Mining iPhones and iCloud For Data With Forensic Tools

plover Re:Last link suspect (85 comments)

It's not really a MITM attack, it's spoofing credentials. It's copying the credential token from machine X, installing it on machine Y, then telling machine Y to connect to iCloud pretending to be machine X, and then downloading all the ancient backups in hopes they contained undeleted and unprotected juicy information.

In the past people have used "sort-of" MITM attacks* for jailbreaking, specifically to keep your iPhone from "upgrading" itself to the new version of iOS. The jailbreakers had figured out that they could restore from an old version of iOS and jailbreak it, so Apple wanted to stop that. They introduced SHSH blobs that contained your phone's signed version info, and when you wanted to install an old version of iOS from a backup, they would check to make sure you hadn't upgraded to a newer version. So the jailbreakers came up with a program called TinyUmbrella that you would load up with your iPhone's old SHSH blobs, and it would pretend to be the official Apple blob server. You'd modify your hosts file to redirect the Apple server at your local host, run TinyUmbrella, then launch iTunes. When iTunes wanted to restore the user-specified version of iOS, it would request the latest blobs, but TinyUmbrella would deliver them, tricking the phone into staying at its older version of iOS. In more recent versions of iOS Apple required the server to securely exchange the messages so iTunes could no longer be fooled, but this worked through about iOS version 6 or so.

Of course, this is not a MITM attack against iCloud, but rather against their update process. Still, it was a pretty clever hack.

* I say "sort-of" because TinyUmbrella did not intercept the blob exchange itself; it only stood in as a phony Apple server for a SHSH blob you had to extract on your own, using another tool.

about a week ago
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Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

plover Re:Wrong Title (499 comments)

I was a member of my high school's student parliament but wouldn't think to report that during a background check and wouldn't consider it any more relevant than what this woman did thirty years ago.

Was your high school's student parliament dedicated to the violent overthrow of the US government? Don't you think that's maybe the kind of student activity you might find rather difficult to forget? Then it's probably not the same thing.

about a week ago
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When Scientists Give Up

plover Re:Stop using tax dollars (347 comments)

Private research dollars are expected to produce profitable innovations. Bell Labs wasn't run for the good of all humanity, it was run to innovate in the communications space, and it did. They made tremendous amounts of money on the research their lab produced. And the rest of us have continued to benefit from the existence of the transistor. But even though they were wildly successful, where are they now?

Government funded research isn't expected to produce profit, but instead to the betterment of all. Look at any the Big Science projects, such as anything NASA does, or the Human Genome Sequencing project. These projects aren't intended to produce money, they are intended to further our collective understanding.

If private labs are profitable, they are built and run. Google Labs, Microsoft Research, etc., they do a lot of useful stuff and donate much of it. Even the research universities are not contributing as much to the common good as they once did, and are now becoming profit centers for their schools. A tiny example is to look at how much money the University of Minnesota's ag laboratories have made patenting apple hybrids. This is something that once upon a time would have been shared with everyone.

Private money isn't the only answer.

about a week ago
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When Scientists Give Up

plover Re:If you think medical funding is bad (347 comments)

I've always said that when I retire I'm going to go back to school and finish that physics degree.

If it's something you're passionate about, don't wait. I went back as soon as my son left the house, and I found I had more free time. Very satisfying.

about a week ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

plover Re:Bullcrap (381 comments)

The entire premise of the article is bull. Are companies ever going to get off this fixation on specific programming languages?

No. Companies (at least the executives running them) look at their code base differently than technologists. They see the cost of maintenance as X$, and if it's written in ten languages, the cost of hiring ten people to do maintenance is 10X. If you say "one person can know ten languages" they assume such people are expensive and very hard to find.

They want a simple way to manage the cost of maintenance. Cutting the number of languages in use accomplishes that goal, in their minds. Therefore, this practice will continue at companies that don't have unlimited IT budgets.

about a week ago
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UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

plover Re:Meanwhile in the real world... (427 comments)

This. Something like 5-15% of people are immune to logic, and you just have to ignore them if you want to make progress. What it means is that you have to convince more of the people in the "unknown" category. The problem is that of those logic-proof people, some have a strong financial incentive to sway opinions to their side, so it becomes a tough battle.

about a week ago
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Ask David Saltzberg About Being The Big Bang Theory's Science Advisor

plover Re:Advancing science (226 comments)

Not the whole audience. Some of us actually do care that they're not spouting the technobabble you hear in the typical Sci Fi shows, or that when the characters do make mention of it, it's to mock it, just as we do.

about two weeks ago
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Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

plover Re:sensationalism, ahoy (237 comments)

Normal cell conversation encryption isn't end-to-end. GSM encryption only protects the conversation from your phone to the tower you're talking to. You're right in that both parties each need one of the high security phones to support true end to end encryption. I've heard it said that at Facetime and iMessage used to be secure, but the tinfoil hat crowd has claimed Apple has since had to provide "lawful intercept capability".

about two weeks ago
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Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

plover Re:sensationalism, ahoy (237 comments)

Because the baseband systems are generally invisible to the phone OS, and because the phone OS is usually the place people are interested in hacking, they have not received much attention. Still, there are quite a few researchers who have begun hacking the baseband stack, and in general they've found them to be very poorly coded, and riddled with security vulnerabilities. They have discovered serious flaws that allow malformed packets from the wireless network to hack the phones. While it may be "unlikely", it could certainly be possible.

Also, take a look at CANDYGRAM.

about two weeks ago
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Banks Report Credit Card Breach At Home Depot

plover Re:chip and pin? (132 comments)

The US is finally going to Chip and PIN next year. It just takes a long time to get a million businesses to spend the money needed to convert their readers.

about two weeks ago
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Banks Report Credit Card Breach At Home Depot

plover Re:Chip and PIN (132 comments)

Sure, chip and PIN messages can be intercepted, but the data that can be intercepted cannot be reused dor a second fraudulent transaction, and cannot be tampered with.

Chip and PIN moves the trust out of the merchants' terminals and out of the network. Only the chip and the bank's systems have the secret knowledge needed to participate in the conversation. You no longer have to wonder if Home Depot's readers are safe, because it won't matter.

about two weeks ago
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Hackers Behind Biggest-Ever Password Theft Begin Attacks

plover Re:Too late (107 comments)

With a billion credentials, they certainly haven't had the chance to exploit them all yet. It's too late for 0.01% of the victims, but not too late for the rest of us.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Supervalu Becomes Another Hacking Victim

plover plover writes  |  about a month ago

plover (150551) writes "Supervalu (NYSE:SVU) is the latest retailer to experience a data breach, announcing today that cybercriminals had accessed payment card transactions at some of its stores.

The Minneapolis-based company said it had "experienced a criminal intrusion" into the portion of its computer network that processes payment card transactions for some of its stores. There was no confirmation that any cardholder data was in fact stolen and no evidence the data was misused, according to the company.

The event occurred between June 22 and July 17, 2014 at 180 Supervalu stores and stand-alone liquor stores. Affected banners include Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy."

Link to Original Source
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Smithsonian Releasing 3D Models of Artifacts

plover plover writes  |  about 10 months ago

plover (150551) writes "The Seattle Times reports "the Smithsonian Institution is launching a new 3D scanning and printing initiative to make more of its massive collection accessible to schools, researchers and the public worldwide. A small team has begun creating 3D models of some key objects representing the breadth of the collection at the world's largest museum complex. Some of the first 3D scans include the Wright brothers' first airplane, Amelia Earhart's flight suit, casts of President Abraham Lincoln's face during the Civil War and a Revolutionary War gunboat. Less familiar objects include a former slave's horn, a missionary's gun from the 1800s and a woolly mammoth fossil from the Ice Age. They are pieces of history some people may hear about but rarely see or touch."

So far they have posted 20 models on the site, with the promise of much more to come."
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Why iFingerprinting Makes You Legally Unsafe

plover plover writes  |  about a year ago

plover (150551) writes "Mark Rasch, an attorney specializing in privacy and security law, has taken a look at using the iPhone's fingerprint access to protect your privacy. He believes that you can sometimes be compelled by a court to provide your password to unlock an encrypted file, depending on the circumstances. But you can always be compelled to provide your fingerprints, and that the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed there is no Fifth Amendment protection against it. That means if you lock your phone with only a fingerprint, the government will almost certainly be able to compel you to unlock it. If you lock it with a passcode, there's a chance you can refuse to provide it under the Fifth Amendment.

The new iPhone 5s’s biometric fingerprint scanner can actually put consumers (or merchants, for that matter) in a worse position legally than the previous four-digit PIN. In fact, the biometric can open the contents of a consumer’s phone and any linked payment systems, accounts or systems—including contacts, email and documents—less legally protected than the simple passcode. This is because the law may treat the biometric (something you are) differently from a password (something you know).

"

Link to Original Source
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FinSpy Commercial Spyware Abused By Governments

plover plover writes  |  about 2 years ago

plover (150551) writes "The NY Times has this story about FinSpy, a commercial spyware package sold "only for law enforcement purposes" being used by governments to spy on dissidents, journalists, and others, and how two U.S. computer experts, Morgan Marquis-Boire from Google, and Bill Marczak, a PhD student in Computer Science, have been tracking it down around the world."
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Iran Admits Stuxnet Impacted Their Nuclear Program

plover plover writes  |  more than 3 years ago

plover (150551) writes "According to this article in the Guardian,

Ahmadinejad admitted the worm had affected Iran's uranium enrichment. "They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts," the president said. "They did a bad thing. Fortunately our experts discovered that, and today they are not able [to do that] anymore."

"

Link to Original Source
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Jury awards $1.5 million to Capitol Records

plover plover writes  |  more than 3 years ago

plover (150551) writes "In the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case that never ends, a Minneapolis jury has awarded Capitol Records $1.5 million dollars.

Thomas-Rasset is expected to appeal and it the case could wind its way to the Supreme Court."

Link to Original Source
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Ars Technica Forums Abused by Phishers

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Some Ars Technica members received phishing attempts purporting to be from SunTrust this morning. Here's the posting on the Ars forum explaining what happened.

It seems that many users received phishing attempts to Ars only email addresses this morning. We're working on it and will update this post when we find something out.

We believe that our previous forum provider has some exploit that allows people to send messages to private email addresses through their servers. Every report we've seen has originated at one of their web front ends. If we are correct, your email addresses have not been compromised. It's obviously pretty bad to be getting phishing attempts forwarded through someone else, but not quite as bad as if an email DB had been jacked or something.

We have emails out to them. There's a chance we won't hear back for a couple of hours since they're on pacific time, but we're doing what we can.

That's got to be one stupid phisherman to try phishing from the members of Ars Technica."

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US Admits Most Piracy Estimates Are Bogus

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "According to this article on Ars Technica, the GAO admitted that the estimates of the impact of piracy have no basis in fact.

After examining all the data and consulting with numerous experts inside and outside of government, the Government Accountability Office concluded that it is "difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts."

"
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Senate Votes to Replace Aviation Radar With GPS

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "The U.S. Senate today passed by a 93-0 margin a bill that would implement the FAA's NextGen plan to replace aviation radar with GPS units. It will help pay for the upgrade by increasing aviation fuel taxes on private aircraft. It will require two inspections per year on foreign repair stations that work on U.S. planes. And it will ban pilots from using personal electronics in the cockpit. This just needs to be reconciled with the House version and is expected to soon become law. This was discussed on Slashdot a few years ago."
Link to Original Source
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Do your developers have local admin rights?

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "I work as a developer for a Very Large American Corporation. We are not an IT company, but have a large IT organization that does a lot of internal development. In my area, we do Windows development, which includes writing and maintaining code for various services and executables. A few years ago the Info Security group removed local administrator rights from most accounts and machines, but our area was granted exceptions for developers. My question is: do other developers in other large companies have local admin rights to their development environment? If not, how do you handle tasks like debugging, testing installations, or installing updated development tools that aren't a part of the standard corporate workstation?"
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Wal-mart Hacked in 2006, Details in Wired

plover plover writes  |  more than 4 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Kim Zetter of Wired documents an extensive hack of Wal-Mart that took place in 2005-2006. She goes into great detail about the investigation and what the investigators found, including that the hackers made copies of their point-of-sale source code, and that they ran l0phtCrack on a Wal-Mart server.

Wal-Mart uncovered the breach in November 2006, after a fortuitous server crash led administrators to a password-cracking tool that had been surreptitiously installed on one of its servers. Wal-Mart’s initial probe traced the intrusion to a compromised VPN account, and from there to a computer in Minsk, Belarus.

Wal-mart has long since fixed the flaws that allowed the compromise, and confirmed that no customer data was lost in the hack."

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Ex-CIO Blames Microsoft For Security Breach

plover plover writes  |  more than 6 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Hannaford is a grocery store chain who lost 4.2 million credit card numbers earlier this year as a result of a security breach. Their former CIO is directly blaming their use of Microsoft as the reason they were breached.

"None of the breach was anything related to Linux. All of it was Microsoft."

Asked whether he believed that Microsoft is less secure because it's truly less secure software or whether its overwhelming marketshare makes it a cyber thief target, Homa said it was the other way around. Microsoft's marketshare is not what attracts so many attackers. "Microsoft is so full of holes. That's why it's still a target," he said.

"
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Hannaford's CIO Blames Data Breach on Microsoft

plover plover writes  |  more than 6 years ago

plover (150551) writes "Hannaford is a grocery store chain who lost 4.5 million credit card numbers as a result of a security breach. Their former CIO is directly blaming their use of Microsoft as the reason they were breached.

Homa has become a fan of simplification in battling security. "We used a lot of Linux," Homa said. "None of the breach was anything related to Linux. All of it was Microsoft."

Asked whether he believed that Microsoft is less secure because it's truly less secure software or whether its overwhelming marketshare makes it a cyber thief target, Homa said it was the other way around. Microsoft's marketshare is not what attracts so many attackers. "Microsoft is so full of holes. That's why it's still a target," he said.

Would he counsel other CIOs to avoid Microsoft like the plague? "That's what I'd do. If you limit your exposure to Microsoft, you're going to be in a more secure environment," he said, adding that Microsoft's philosophy is decentralized, forcing IT to manage more points. That means more license fees for Microsoft and more potential security gotchas for the CIO. "Hence, you see my aversion to Microsoft."

"

Link to Original Source
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plover plover writes  |  more than 7 years ago

plover (150551) writes "According to this Star Tribune story, police, with the court's permission, attached a GPS tracking device to a suspect's motorcycle and tracked his activity to the site of a theft. On Monday the thief pled guilty and was sentenced to five years."
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plover plover writes  |  about 8 years ago

plover (150551) writes "
Wearing a blue suit and a tight smile, the fed faced his audience.
And this wasn't just any audience. It consisted of 300 potential offenders, rounded up on Tuesday so Jon Dudas could lay down the law to them.
In this Star Tribune story, Jon Dudas, the director of the USPTO was speaking to an elementary school assembly of second through fifth graders. So instead of "students" or "kids", it's now acceptable for reporters to refer to them as "potential offenders"? This is plus ungood."

Journals

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PC Invader Costs Ky. County $415,000

plover plover writes  |  more than 5 years ago The Washington Post is reporting a complex hack and con job resulting in the theft of $415,000 from Bullitt County, Kentucky. The story is fascinating, and is filled with detailed information regarding the theft.

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Warner Music about to sing a new tune?

plover plover writes  |  more than 6 years ago Warner Music Group's CEO Edgar Bronfman sounds like he's publicly acknowledging what we've known all along: consumers like the iPod, the music business has changed, and that the music industry was wrong to attack their own customers. Might this speech mark the start of the end of the insanity?

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Game time!

plover plover writes  |  more than 7 years ago Thanks to this posting, Rupert and I are now playing a game: Find the highest Google maps route distance to great circle distance ratio.

Rupert started it with this:

Fairbanks to St. Petersburg.
Great circle distance: 3,840 miles
Google directions distance: 9,631 miles
My score: 2.508

I answered by stretching his route slightly: Kantishna Station, Alaska to Skarsvag, Norway. It's a pretty long journey no matter how you look at it.

Google's route: 10,411 miles
Great circle distance: 3,141 miles
It has a score of only 3.315, but it'll take 34 days to make the journey!

This one seemed like a good North American entry:
Google's route
gets a score of 3.7.

But North America is tricky. Just about every goat and Jeep trail is mapped, and we Americans cannot abide straight lines that aren't paved. Rupert's still managed to find some good ones: Route to distance gives a very respectable 5.6.

I've headed over to the Balkans, where the maps are usefully short on detail. Here's my latest entry. Lecce, Italy to Tirane, Albania: Route to great circle.

1267 km by Google, 216 km straight arc. Score is 5.866.

It's kind of a pain because you have to snarf the lat/lon from Google's URL and adapt it to the great circle calculator, but it's fun to exploit holes in Google's map coverage.

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YASS - Yet Another Story Submission

plover plover writes  |  about 8 years ago

Wearing a blue suit and a tight smile, the fed faced his audience.
And this wasn't just any audience. It consisted of 300 potential offenders, rounded up on Tuesday so Jon Dudas could lay down the law to them.

In this Star Tribune story, Jon Dudas, the director of the USPTO was speaking to an elementary school assembly of second through fifth graders. So instead of "students" or "kids", it's now acceptable for reporters to refer to them as "potential offenders"? This is plus ungood.

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On the date of my birth:

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago helicobacter has launched a /. meme. Go to wikipedia and type in the month and day (no year) of your birth. Pick out three interesting events, two births and a death, and post them in your journal.

EVENTS:

  • 1986 - Halley's Comet is visible in the night sky as it passes in its 76-year orbit around the sun.
  • 1962 - Ranger 3 is launched to study the moon. The space probe later missed the moon by 22,000 miles (35,400 km).
  • 1802 - The U.S. Congress passes an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol; eventually this becomes the Library of Congress. It's a geek thing.

BIRTHS:

  • 1961 - Wayne Gretzky, Canadian hockey player, coach, and team owner.
  • 1918 - Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian dictator (d. 1989.) I only picked Ceausescu because I remember how much the Romanians enjoyed executing him.

DEATHS:

  • 1997 - Jeane Dixon, American astrologer (b. 1904.) And she never saw it coming!

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Merry [Christmas|Hannukah|Kwanzaa|Yule|.*] to you!

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I just wanted to wish all of you well this holiday season. I know some of you aren't religious folk (neither am I), but that won't stop me from hoping for happiness for you now and in the coming year.

And money, too. Yeah, I may as well wish for something practical for you all while I'm at it.

So have a happy new year and I hope you get money! :-)

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Another submission: this year's Ig Nobles have been awarded

plover plover writes  |  more than 8 years ago Here's the text I submitted. It's probably already been submitted, but hey, they're likely to publish at least one of them (and if Zonk has anything to do with it, they're likely to publish ALL of them! :-)

The BBC is reporting on this years winners of the Ig Noble awards, honoring science achievements that "cannot, or should not, be reproduced". For example, this years winner for Medicine was the inventor of Neuticles, rubber replacement testicles for neutered dogs.

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Submitted an interesting story

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago Here's my submission:

In the story Hacker Hunters, BusinessWeek Online documents how the Secret Service turned a member of the ShadowCrew and was able to arrest dozens of the members of the phishing ring.

From the article: "Law enforcement officials are often loath to reveal details of their operations, but the Secret Service and Justice Dept. wanted to publicize a still-rare victory. So they agreed to reveal the inner dynamics of their cat-and-mouse chase to BusinessWeek. The case provides a window into the arcane culture of cybercriminals and the methods of their pursuers."

I thought it was a fascinating read, anyway.

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Another submission, and it's not a dupe!

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago This is the text I submitted under the heading "Vex, a New Robot Kit available at Radio Shack Soon"

While Lego Mindstorms are fine for creating autonomous toy robots, there's still a lack of kits for constructing larger, sturdier do-it-yourself remote controlled robots. Enter Vex, an Erector/Meccano-style robotics construction kit. According to PCMagazine, (beware, popunder ads) Radio Shack is set to roll these out to consumers beginning in May. No computer control (yet) but they sure look fun!

So, if the story gets rejected, you still might want to check them out. I can't wait!

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Another midnight, another submission

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago Best Buy to Eliminate Rebates

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (free registration required,) "In response to customer complaints, Best Buy, the world's largest electronics retailer, promised today to eliminate mail-in rebates within two years."

Can it be that we're finally nearing the end of one of the most hated marketing ploys of all? What is the world coming to?

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I'm hopeful about this submission!

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago This one is actually news.

plover writes: Because of Congressional legislation passed quietly in 2003, the Air Force Space Command will no longer distribute space surveillance data via NASA. There was supposed a three year transitional period where the data was to be made available via a NASA web site, but earlier this month their transitional server went down hard, and NASA has decided to not rebuild it. (It was scheduled to be shut down on 31 March 2005 anyway.)

The only way to obtain satellite data now is by signing up with the official Space-Track website. Part of the agreement to obtaining data from their site is that you agree to not redistribute their data.

Of course, amateurs are still free to redistribute their observations, including those of classified satellites.

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Another rejected story prepared

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago Well, I keep trying. Here's the latest scoop.

According to Reuters, the chairman of Apex was arrested in China. Chinese officials have confirmed the arrest, but have not made the charges known yet. A supplier recently came forward revealing Apex owed them $4.3 million, and fraud charges are suspected. Apex is a maker of inexpensive DVD players that are widely known for the ablility to turn off their region codes.

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New submission prepared for rejection

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago This one was titled "SCO sales tanking?"

The SCO Group reported their fourth quarter income on Tuesday, and according to The Register, this quarter's earnings are down to $10.08 million, compared to $24 million last year. Their licensing revenue is virtually non-existant, at only $120,000 compared to $10 million to Q4 in 2003. Darl's statement to stockholders began by reporting 'Fourth Quarter achievements demonstrate continued progress at SCO.' I guess progress doesn't imply direction...

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Quick, a story that hasn't been rejected yet

plover plover writes  |  more than 9 years ago I submitted this story this afternoon.

'Researchers are saying that caffeine withdrawal should now be classified as a psychiatric disorder' states Sid Kirchheimer at WebMD. In this article he examines a new study that shows caffeine withdrawal produces symptoms that render a person so dysfunctional that it should be classified as a psychiatric disorder. (The article also takes great pains to say "don't panic.") Caffeine withdrawal is nothing new to me, but having it ranked as a "disorder" does trouble me a bit.

Lets see if they can set a new land-speed record in story rejection...

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Another story submission (quick before it's rejected)

plover plover writes  |  about 10 years ago NewScientist.com is running a story that NASA is going to use two helicopter stunt pilots to catch a sample capsule that will be ejected by the Genesis spacecraft. Genesis has been collecting solar gases for the last couple of years, and the scientists need to retrieve it quickly to preserve the samples.

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Story submission (not rejected yet)

plover plover writes  |  more than 10 years ago Here's the scoop I submitted:

The New York Times is running this story (privacy violations required) discussing the new trend towards global movie premieres, and how this model leads to less piracy. Finally, the movie studios are trying something intelligent to combat piracy, rather than lawsuits.

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plover plover writes  |  more than 11 years ago The new sig,
John
Karma: Fair and Balanced (mostly affected by a Fox News lawsuit)

is in honor of Fair and Balanced Day on the Internet (August 15th.) which I found from this link from BoingBoing.

The story is Fox News is suing Al Franken over the title of his new book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right." As if anybody who watches Fox News would a) read Al Franken ANYTHING; and b) be literate enough to actually read at all. None of those people have enough neurons to connect the two anyway.

I think the whole thing is a Fox marketing ploy just to get their slogan out. It's certainly the first time I've ever even heard that they have one.

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Obituary column

plover plover writes  |  more than 11 years ago JADNT, AT&T Globalyst S40, 1995 - 2002.

We are saddened to announce the passing of JADNT, whose electrons were returned to a lower energy state on Friday, October 25, 2002.

JADNT was a workhorse server. It began life as an evaluation candidate for an enterprise server, but was replaced early on as it was recognized as too small to perform the required duties. It was moved to its home in JADs cubicle where its dual Pentium Pro horsepower was quickly put to use in reducing compile times. As the software it supported was obsoleted, it took on other tasks where it quietly but efficiently monitored the status of other machines, provided a historical development platform, and constantly served up a variety of utility tools and command scripts.

JADNT fought bravely in its last few remaining hours, the spindle of drive 4 noisily attempting to cooperate with the SCSI controller's pleas to spin, while drive 1 was attempting to recover from a massive bit hemorrhage induced by a power failure on Monday evening at 5:30.

Tuesday morning, technicians attempted to perform an organ transplant. The donor S40 had been removed from life support and kept in storage for over a year, but by the time the drives had been removed and brought to the fourth floor it was too late to save the ailing JADNT. Both weakened drives had lost motor control leaving JADNT in a BIOS coma, gasping for a boot sector. On Friday morning, accompanied by faithful friends, the decision to pull the plug was made.

We will all fondly remember JADNT's famous lizards, and are saddened at the senseless loss of such data as troops.mov, the immensely useful and popular swiper and even its network attached Handspring cradle.

JADNT is survived by CDGU5, D2094REG2010 and JAD2K. It was preceded in death by CAMELOT, JOHN0S2 and 4680JAD. An open case viewing will be held throughout the weekend. Interment will be next week in a closet on third floor, where it is hoped that its RAID cage may some day help restore health to other Globalyst S40s.

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I now have a better sig

plover plover writes  |  more than 11 years ago It won't get our company's IP address banned, either, Rupert.

John
Karma: Excellent (mostly affected by bribing CowboyNeal)

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