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Activists' Drone Shot Out of the Sky For Fourth Time

timothyf Re:hunting? (733 comments)

They're not eating them. From TFA:

The Philadelphia Enquirer reported that SHARK lobbied the Pennsylvania statehouse in January, seeking legislation that would end pigeon shooting in the state. These hunting events involve capturing or breeding pigeons in cages, and releasing a large number of birds from cages to immediately be shot or wounded by hunters.

Pigeon shooting opponents contend that these events violate animal cruelty laws, and SHARK has used aerial footage obtained from drones to strengthen that argument.

“the predictable outrage generated by gruesome videos showing captive pigeons getting released from wooden crates, attempting to fly away, only to get blasted within seconds by a shooter who’s apparently only a few yards away, reinforces both the ethical stance and the financial status of animal activists who want to ban not just canned hunting but much of animal agriculture,” read an editorial in the Drovers CattleNetwork, a beef industry news periodical.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of the practice on practical grounds (what if the pigeon gets away? you're adding to the pest pigeon population, since these are bred, not captured), but I'd say that if it's private property, drones like this deserve to be shot down.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Add Forums To a Website?

timothyf Re:vBulletin (259 comments)

*shudder* They may have patched holes and stuff, but god help you if you want to add modules to it. The "module" system is basically a fancy name for applying patches to a default install. There were no supported extensibility points, and my memory of the code was one of looking in horror at a poorly modularized mess.

Granted, my experience is with PHPBB2. Things may have improved with PHPBB3, but I doubt they've done more than polish the turd.

more than 2 years ago

How a Google Headhunter's E-Mail Revealed Massive Misuse of DKIM

timothyf Re:The Reality (115 comments)

In a nutshell:
-Email provider sets up DNS records with a public DKIM key.
-Email provider's MTA signs valid outgoing email with the private key.
-Recipient MTAs can verify the signature of incoming mail from the email provider with the public key and use this when classifying the message.
-The MTA has to receive the message contents to verify the signature.

-Email provider sets up DNS TXT records that specify which hosts are allowed to send mail for a domain.
-Email recipient verifies that the mail is received from one of those hosts and the pass/fail decision is used when classifying the message.
-The MTA can reject the message if the check fails during the SMTP HELO phase without receiving the entire message, if desired.


more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Using a Sandbox To Deal With Spambots?

timothyf Re:Old Idea (167 comments)

Feels like apples to oranges a bit. You weren't a spammer, they just disagreed with you and provided a hostile environment for expressing your views, which would discourage any normal person from participating. A spammer probably wouldn't care about the shadow ban if they discovered it and would just create a new account if they felt that the target was valuable enough.

more than 2 years ago

Khan Academy Launches Computer Science Curriculum

timothyf Re:Fail (146 comments)

Why, exactly is this the case? Why can't you teach algorithms or architecture or clean design in Javascript? Interfaces are tricky, sure; at best you have to resort to something like duck typing in asserts if you want to be sure that something implements an interface, but the rest seems completely doable in JS.

more than 2 years ago

Khan Academy Launches Computer Science Curriculum

timothyf Re:Mighty broad definition of "language" there (146 comments)

Name a language that is easier to get started in. You already have a browser that runs Javascript, regardless if you're on MacOS, *nix, or Windows (or whatever system you use most likely), now all you need is a text editor, which is built in on most systems. I don't know of any other language that doesn't require you to download and install some sort of compiler, interpreter, SDK, or whatever, all of which are barriers to entry. Plus, you have the advantage of using one of the most widely used languages on a platform that can distribute your code very easily and very portably.

You may not like Javascript--and granted, as a language, it's got plenty of warts. (Note that you can fix a great deal of these warts on modern browsers by simply including a "use strict" declaration at the top of your code). But it's a great language to start out in, if for no other reason than that the start-up cost is very close to negligible, and it's a useful language that enjoys a level of ubiquity that most other languages only dream of.

more than 2 years ago

A Week After Apple's Fix, Flashback Still Infects Half a Million Macs

timothyf Re:semantics of the term "Trojan" (161 comments)

Did the user perform an innocuous action that lead to the trojan being run? It sounds like you have to visit a website hosting the trojan with a vulnerable computer (a user-initiated action, btw) and you're infected. That seems to meet the definition of a trojan to me. If you just connect a vulnerable Mac to the network and let it sit, it won't be compromised this way.

So yes, Trojan is accurate. A user is tricked into downloading and running something malicious. A user could theoretically avoid an infection if they knew that the site was hosting the trojan, just like they could avoid running a "porn screensaver" a friend emailed them if they knew it contained a trojan. We've only developed a rule-of-thumb defense against the latter case because it's abused so frequently and exploits are relatively scarce when compared to ignorant humans.

more than 2 years ago

Valve Hiring Hardware Developers

timothyf Re:Apple? (94 comments)

*suddenly gets a vision of Jobs shambling about with a headcrab attached to his skull*

more than 2 years ago

Lack of Vaccination Sends Babies In Oregon To the Hospital

timothyf Re:Autism (1007 comments)

The problem with whooping cough in particular is that the vaccine can't be administered to the very people who are most at risk if they were to contract it: newborns and infants. So, if an infant contracts it, you have a comparatively high likelihood of that child coughing and suffocating to death. The only sane way to combat this is via herd immunity through vaccination; otherwise the alternative is to severely limit exposure. Since the initial stages of the disease looks a lot like a common cold, this is harder said than done, since a carrier of the disease may not know they have it. I'm not sure that even the (as you mentioned, non-existent) chance of autism from vaccines is worth sacrificing herd immunity like that.

more than 2 years ago

Update On Wayland and X11 Support

timothyf Re:Why? (315 comments)

Why, exactly, should we take your word for it?

more than 2 years ago

Facebook: Legal Action Against Employers Asking For Your Password

timothyf Re:Already illegal (504 comments)

Asking "Are you a legal adult?" is different from asking "What is your age?". The first question leaves a much wider range and is only to keep employers from falling afoul of child labor laws. Even then, I imagine the HR-approved way to phrase the question is to ask "Do you meet the legal requirements for accepting this position?"

more than 2 years ago

Mozilla Debates Supporting H.264 In Firefox Via System Codecs

timothyf Re:WebM (320 comments)

And guess what; Microsoft don't support h264 in IE, they just support plugins.

Microsoft has supported h264 natively since IE 9.

more than 2 years ago

Topher Grace Screens Star Wars Prequel Re-edit

timothyf Re:Already decided by courts - No, he can't. (192 comments)

Standard disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, etc.

CleanFlicks edited the movies and sold the edited copies, which was illegal. ClearPlay does something closer to what we're describing (use special DVD player that you can upload a description of an edited movie to, and have the player apply the edits to an unmodified movie), and it's survived the lawsuits brought against it. Even then, posting a description of the edits is not illegal if it contains no copyrighted material from the original movie, which should be possible.

more than 2 years ago

Is Hypertext Literature Dead?

timothyf Hypertext fiction needs multiple authors (208 comments)

A lot of people pointed out various problems with hypertext fiction, but I think one of the bigger ones is the fact that an author wants a story read from beginning to end so that they don't waste effort on stuff the reader won't read. A lot of people have also mentioned that most examples of hypertext fiction have instead been called games, and I think a successful one would probably need to be approached more like developing a game than writing a story, with multiple writers branching off of a main trunk and working collaboratively. It could be an opportunity to explore different characters, ideas or settings that the trunk hints at but doesn't develop fully. So, in a sense, one could consider all of those "universe" novels (e.g. Star Wars universe, Star Trek universe) to be hypertext fiction of a sort, since that's essentially what they do.

more than 2 years ago

AMD: What Went Wrong?

timothyf Re:Products (497 comments)

While I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, do you have any proof to back up your assertion? Or do I just have to take you at your word?

more than 2 years ago

Why Do All Movie Tickets Cost the Same?

timothyf From the theater's perspective (464 comments)

What you're buying isn't a ticket to watch a specific movie, you're buying a ticket to sit in a particular theater at a particular time--they just happen to be showing a movie at that time. Thus, the response to low demand for a particular movie isn't to lower the cost for seeing that movie, it's to show more showings of a movie that *is* getting butts in those seats. And you'll notice that's what happens. The poor performing movies fade from theaters much more quickly than more successful ones, which often times end up playing on more than one screen. *That's* why they continue to charge the same price for movie tickets.

Now, you could make an argument that the price of an individual showing should react to demand, but I'm not sure how that'd work. Responsive pricing means that the first few people get screwed on their ticket price if demand turns out to be less than expected and the price drops, or the price of the last few seats to a popular showing is going to be much higher, which probably wouldn't fly well with people, and I'm not sure there's a big incentive for the theaters to do that. Increasing the price of tickets for popular movies seems to be a great way to incentivize people who can wait for DVD releases to do so, and theaters are already struggling against that mindset.

about 3 years ago

Will Firefox Lose Google Funding?

timothyf Re:Microsoft (644 comments)

To be fair, IE/Mac was a pretty different beast from IE/Win. You might as well have been developing for a different browser altogether anyway. Granted, they may have eventually gotten some sort of parity, but it would've taken a lot longer.

Also, IE10 is what's shipping with Windows 8.

more than 3 years ago


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