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The High-Tech Warfare Behind the Israel - Hamas Conflict

wheelbarrio Misleading headline (402 comments)

That's not an article about the high tech warfare behind the Israel-Hamas conflict. It's an article about the alleged use of some pretty run-of-the-mill technology by one side (Hamas) with no reference to the actual sophisticated technology used by the other side (Israel). If the article in itself isn't necessarily so, the phrasing of the headline and the summary here is an attempt to portray this conflict as something other than the massively one-sided affair that it actually is. It's a whitewash pure and simple. I wish both sides would just stop killing each other but seriously, "cloud-based launching software"? So Hamas can launch unguided rockets without having to stand next to them. Sounds pretty nasty compared to sophisticated air defence, MBTs, total air superiority and massed artillery.

about 5 months ago

WikiLeaks Cables Foreshadow Russian Instigation of Ukrainian Military Action

wheelbarrio Re:"pro-Russian forces in Crimea" (479 comments)

Did you actually what I wrote? Do you know what moral equivalence is? Hint: it's what you're peddling. At what point do I suggest there is any high ground to be had here, by anyone? The reason I can judge Russia's actions critically is the same reason I judged America's actions critically when they invaded Iraq in 2003. It's called intelligence, and partisanship doesn't play any part in it. I'm not even American.

about 10 months ago

WikiLeaks Cables Foreshadow Russian Instigation of Ukrainian Military Action

wheelbarrio Re:"pro-Russian forces in Crimea" (479 comments)

The whole point is that you cannot speak of "the revolutionaries" en bloc - there were a bunch of people protesting Yanukovich's reject of the EU agreement in favour of closer ties with Russia, and their cause was jumped on by extreme Uke nationalists who were welcomed and in some cases invited to the party by the Russians - they aren't reflective of most Ukrainians' wishes but they do make the whole anti-Yanukovich crowd look extreme and can be used to justify an extreme response. This is classic false flag stuff that the Russians are so good at, much better than the West. Even if the nationalists were genuine home-grown idiots the level of their activity scarcely justifies an invasion by Russia, it's not like Russian nationals are being killed in the streets, or Russian assets being pillaged.

about 10 months ago

WikiLeaks Cables Foreshadow Russian Instigation of Ukrainian Military Action

wheelbarrio Re:"pro-Russian forces in Crimea" (479 comments)

I'm sorry but that is just the weakest moral equivalence BS. The fact that both parties to a dispute have tarnished reputations has no bearing on the rightness or wrongness of their current cause. Some details for you to think about, if you care to come off the fence:

* Ukraine has been pretty badly run since independence but it's hardly a "failed state" - at 117 out of 178 countries it's not even in the bottom half of the index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Failed_States_Index) - the US is 159 if you want to know.
* The overt and covert hands of Russia are MUCH more evident in Ukraine than the West's. US foreign policy been incredibly inward-looking of late and not much bothered with the complexities of post-Soviet states' politics (a mistake). EU is in play but mostly economically - this is the proximate cause of this whole recent mess.
* The 'Ukrainian people' means different things to different people - if you're an ethnic Russian in Crimea you live in Ukraine but probably have much more allegiance to mother Russia than the government in Kiev. If you're a kid in Kiev born post-Soviet era to ethnic Ukrainian parents, different deal. Ethnic Tatar, different again.
* People who live in Ukraine should decide how they are governed. If that means some regions split off and join Russia leaving a rump that is European-looking, fine.
* The one certainty once Russia gets involved militarily is that people will needlessly die, many Ukrainians will lose the right to choose their destiny, and the West will look foolish for having dealt with Putin's Russia as anything except an nuclear-armed oligarchic petrostate, i.e. a bad actor. How European countries let themselves become dependent on Russian oil and gas supplies with no thought for exactly this kind of contingency is beyond me. What are they going to do now, threaten economic sanctions that involve turning off their own heating?

So let's be careful before casting judgement but don't just throw the hands up and say "pot, kettle". I blame FOX (because I can) for having destroyed the critical thinking faculties of a generation of Americans with their discovery/invention of the "Fair and Balanced" trope, even amongst people that don't watch the damn channel.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?

wheelbarrio well-established pattern (465 comments)

Axiom I: Generalist IT skills (CS, systems analysis) do not evolve that quickly, but specific ones do

Lemma I: Most IT employers don't don't plan to be around in 10 years - I don't mean they actively plan to go out of business, they probably all dream of living forever or something, but they don't have - and probably can't have - a specific plan for how technology will be supporting their business model at that point.

Axiom II: Younger folks are less interested in the idea of a single-or-few employer career these days, and more willing to leave at short notice

Corollary: Most IT employers don't want to employ someone who has the potential to be a useful employee, but only after they have invested time training them in the requisite skills - they want someone who can start now, finish this 12-month project, and maybe hang on to them afterwards if the relationship pans out ok.

It's an arms race between employer and employee, with diminishing returns. If you are lucky, you will find people on both sides of this relationship who see this for the evil that it is, and move beyond it.

1 year,23 days

Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics

wheelbarrio Re:Hold up. (600 comments)

Guys, we've been down this road about a million times in physics.

presumptuous, much? Stupid question I guess but did you even read TFA? There's no suggestion that this work is positing new physical dimensions. It's a calculational technique. In fact from TFA and the lead author

But the new amplituhedron research suggests space-time, and therefore dimensions, may be illusory anyway. “We can’t rely on the usual familiar quantum mechanical space-time pictures of describing physics,”

I'm a particle physics PhD and although I'm not qualified to judge in detail (not my exact area) this has the smell of something new and exciting. These are very smart people in their field.

about a year ago

Equipment Failure May Cut Kepler Mission Short

wheelbarrio Aliens! (76 comments)

Obviously the Galactic Ghoul operating on an interstellar scale. I'd be taking a good hard look at the systems next up on Kepler's observing schedule...

about a year and a half ago

Compared to its non-Super version, I most prefer ...

wheelbarrio Superfluity (288 comments)

e.g., this post, but reaching its acme in the so-called "Maximally Superfluous Model" of physics, in which all untestable theories are safely assumed true

about a year and a half ago

Google Reader Being Retired

wheelbarrio Clumsy move (386 comments)

I accept that Google knows their own metrics and usage is declining, but am surprised no-one in marketing asked - what *kind* of users are the ones who still use Reader? Because the answer is - evangelizers. Sophisticated technology users who find RSS incredibly useful. More broadly, folks that love their technology, and many who see Google as a great technology company. This is in practice, if not intent, a narrow-beam fuck you to those folks. Oops.

about 2 years ago



Imparting malware resistance with a randomizing compiler

wheelbarrio wheelbarrio writes  |  about 7 months ago

wheelbarrio (1784594) writes "From an Economist article — inspired by the natural resistance offered to pathogens by genetically diverse host populations, Dr Michael Franz at UCI suggests that common software be similarly hardened against attack by generating a unique executable for each install. It sounds like a cute idea, although the article doesn't provide examples of what kinds of diversity are possible whilst maintaining the program logic, nor what kind of attacks would be prevented with this approach."


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