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Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists

whitroth If you want someone who *did* compromise security. (175 comments)

How 'bout Dick Cheney? There *were* news stories (rapidly not followed up) when he leaked to the reporter that Valerie Plame was CIA, that a number of covert intellegence agents she personally was running disappeared, presumed dead.

Oh, that's right, no one was ever convicted of leakiing that, just one for "obstruction of justice".

                        mark

yesterday
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

whitroth ROTFLMAO! (265 comments)

A COBOL programmer, in 1998, is utterly beyond fed up with dealing with code for the upcoming y2k, and has himself put into cold sleep until after the year 2000. Something gets screwed up in the records, and he's left to sleep away millenia. Finally, they wake him up. He's appalled to learn it's the year 9998, and everything and everyone he knows is gone. On the other hand, he's *really* in The Future, and is looking forward to all the amazing things we've done.

"Just one question", he asks the team that woke him up, "why now?"
The leader answers, "Well, we're about to roll over the year 10,000, and your records say you're a COBOL programmer...."

                  mark

2 days ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

whitroth Some of that sounds awfully familiar (943 comments)

From a lot closer to home in the US... no teaching evolution, or claiming "creationism" is as good or better a theory, limited study of history, cut budgets for scientific research....

They'll get along with the GOP really well.

                    mark

2 days ago
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Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry

whitroth Re:Tricky proposition (64 comments)

Yes, and unfuck you, too.

Oh, and your infantile "union-y" - your damn GOP have outsourced a *lot* of the government, so they can claim to have "cut the size of government" (and prevent people from joining unions). It's saved *so* much money... NOT. For example,
I, personally, am a sysadmin for a federal contractor, and therefore "an engineer working for the US government". Your tax dollars not only pay me (and I get paid *exactly* comparable to GS salaries, and my benefits are similar. Oh, and you're paying for the contract administrator's time (a fed), and you're paying for my "on-site managemenet support" person's time (contractor), and our project manager's time (contractor), and *their* management, and, oh, yes, my company's profits.

SO much money saved... and many of the poisonous envrironment is due to GOP rules intended solely as anti-union (you don't beleve in freedom of association, either).

So, thanks *so* much for the ad hominem attack on *me*, and on the people I work with. You're an asshole.

                      mark

2 days ago
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U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

whitroth Re:If it happened in China or North Korea or Iran (223 comments)

Give me a break. This happend under *your* guys, W and Cheney, who brought you monstrous deficits via an illegal and immoral war of conquest (see the papers the US and the UK signed around, what, 05?), and tax breaks. Of course, you didn't get the real payback, but you imagine that Any Day Now, you'll be rich, and so they won't spy on you, or tax you....

                mark

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

whitroth Witch hunt (499 comments)

So, skimming part of the article, she was affiliated with two groups that had "ties" to extremist organizations.

Please define the word "ties". For example, prove with hard evidence that the members of the group knew that they were directly supporting extremist groups. Or even that the officers were. Or that ANYONE OTHER THAN, say, one or two people who were *also* in other groups, including the fringe around the "terrorist" groups.

Go look up the Attorney General's List from the fifties and sixties. "Womens' Strike for Peace" was on it, and try to tell me that was a "terrorist" organization.

Fuck, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade was on it - they were Americans who went to Spain in the mid-thirties, to fight with the legally-elected left wing government against the fascists of Franco, who was supported by Hitler and Mussolini, and that's *NOT* an exaggeration. Oh, that's right, they were "pre-opposing" the fascists.

Yeah, "ties" - that's nothing more than a GOP, neofascist witch hunt against the woman.

                      mark

about a week ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

whitroth And we still have an embargo *why*? (534 comments)

I mean, most of the first wave that left Cuba with the Revolution were supporters of the Battista dictatorship, and the Mafia (who ran Havana). Come on, tell me that's not the case, and I'll call you either ignorant, or a liar.

But the US used to support *any* tin-plated dictator with delusions of grandeur, as long as they loudly and vocally claimed to be anti=Communist, never mind what they did to their own people. We "engaged" with China... what reason is there for the embargo?

                  mark

about a week ago
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China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion

whitroth Re:Been there, done that. (100 comments)

Here's a possibility: they want to make their goals.

First, remember that the GOP in the US Congress almost killed US participation in the Space Station in the early nineties, and has kept the budget as low as they could.

Second... my late ex, who was an engineer at KSC and worked on both Station and Shuttle, told me how they got an Italian module for the Station... and connector valves were the *wrong* metal (she was also a metallurgist), which would have cause metal/metal corrosion, not really a good thing when you're in orbit. (Ask someone about, say, copper/steel (see ).

                  mark, who remembers when the US actually *meant* going to space

about a week ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

whitroth Does the OP know what they're talking about? (385 comments)

Let's talk about R. Do they know what it is? I don't use it... I'm a sysadmin. But a number of my users do, heavily.

How 'bout if I describe it this way it's free, and so it's a *lot* less expensive than the alternative: MatLab. That *is* what it's used for, guys. So, maybe it's "less popular" becuase the audience that uses it doesn't write, say, games or websites in it?

                  mark

about two weeks ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

whitroth What, cut into profits? (814 comments)

And CEO salaries? Why, when we can just laugh (other than at the cost of unscheduled landings and takeoffs) at people who can't afford business class?

What did you think steerage was? Are you *so* last century that you rembember free checked luggage, and free food (since you'd paid so much for the flight)? What, just because Americans have been growing larger for the last century (men going into the US Army, in WWI: 5'6, WWII, 5'8", 'Nam: 5'10") why should we make enough room for the majority of the population?

You don't like it, take the train (but we won't fund it, the way we do planes, with tax-paid airports, and transportation to the airports....)

                    mark "how many airline CEOs can fit in steerage with the rest of us?"

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

whitroth LISP (729 comments)

Ok, someone has to mention lisp.

Item from 15 or so years ago: a guy posted online that he'd broken into the Pentagon's computers, and found the code for SDI, and it was written in lisp. He didn't want to break US security, but he did post the last five lines of the code.... (stupid slashdot edit filter - 5 lines of ) was not junk... at least, not in lisp....)

                  mark

about two weeks ago
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Is There a Creativity Deficit In Science?

whitroth A lot of it is budgetary (203 comments)

Keep cutting back on all that basic science, most of which is done by universities and the government. "Oh,", the Libertarians reply, "But companies will do the basic research, because it will lead to new things to monetize!"

Let's ignore that most companies are forward-looking... to *maybe* the next quarter. Let's ignore the fact that basic research may not pay off for years, or decades, or may not directly ever pay off in something that you can sell, the Sacred Free Market will take care of it all, and if it doesn't, it wasn't needed anyway.

                  mark, watching folks leave due to US fed gov't budget cuts....

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

whitroth Nastiest? (729 comments)

The alter command in COBOL.

Lo, these many years ago, when I'd just read it in a manual, and discussed it with my boss (who would have given Dilbert's a run for his money, but...) and asked him if he'd defenestrate anyone using it before or after firing them, and he told me before.....

                    mark

about two weeks ago
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Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

whitroth no... (231 comments)

I was too busy reading, easily a book a day.

                    mark

about two weeks ago
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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

whitroth I asked for news, not tweets (441 comments)

Excerpt:
That is not that case, authorities tell the L.A. Times.

"It didn't start with the books and it didn't end with the books," State's Attorney for Wicomico County Matt Maciarello told The Times. "It's not even a factor in what law enforcement is doing now."

In fact, McLaw has not been arrested. No warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Concerns about McLaw were raised after he sent a four-page letter to officials in Dorchester County. Those concerns brought together authorities from multiple jurisdictions, including health authorities.

McLaw's attorney, David Moore, tells The Times that his client was taken in for a mental health evaluation. "He is receiving treatment," Moore said.

Because of federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations mandating privacy around healthcare issues, he was unable to say whether McLaw has been released.

McLaw's letter was of primary concern to healthcare officials, Maciarello says. It, combined with complaints of alleged harassment and an alleged possible crime from various jurisdictions led to his suspension. Maciarello cautions that these allegations are still being investigated; authorities, he says, "proceeded with great restraint."
--- end excerpt ---

http : // www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/la-et-jc-teacher-was-not-placed-on-leave-over-books-authorities-say-20140902,0,1577239.story

                  mark

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Desktop x86 Motherboard Manufacturers?

whitroth Don't buy just-released boards (294 comments)

If you get one that's been out for 3-6 months, and is popular, it's got a really good chance of everything being supported. 9 months, and it's most likely got pretty much full support. If it's from a major manufacturer, and isn't targeted at a specific market, it's likely supported.

I bought a Gigabyte Series 7 m/b late last year. Back in Jan, my 6-yr-old m/b died, and I rebuilt my system. I run CentOS, same as RHEL, which is *not* "cutting" (or bleeding) edge like fedora, and *everything* was supported. Just watch out for FUD, and try to get some feel whether there's a *lot* of screaming out there about Linux not supporting something, or it's just one or two idiots making a lot of noise that's getting propagated.

                    mark

about two weeks ago
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

whitroth Question #0 what were they eating? (588 comments)

Were they eating *exactly* the same foods, bar the differnce in fat and carbs, AND NOTHING ELSE?

Even more, which group was getting more high fructose corn syrup?

              mark

about two weeks ago
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Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

whitroth Does *anyone* have a link to a news story? (205 comments)

Or anything other than this? I mean, "detained for 15 days" - is that like "arrested and jailed for two weeks (or whatever) for disobeying a police officer", that happens in the US all the time? And at least he didn't put his hands up and yell "I'm not armed", and get shot down by the police officer.....

Now, for you slashdotters who have no clues whatever, who've never actually, you know, gone out to a protest in the RW, in their meat bodies, here's what actually happens: a) there's the folks in the legal protest area; b) if it includes this, there's the civil disobedience area, where they sit down, and the cops arrest them and put them in a holding tank in jail, c) there's the roving civil disobedience, and d) there's the crazies and agents provocateurs who break windows, or (rarely) burn cars, etc.

Now about a news story: where was Dmitry, and how did he happen to face a police officer, and what happened? The story, as posted, is not a story, just a few tweets by the guy in question.

                    mark

about two weeks ago
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Brian Stevens Resigns As Red Hat CTO

whitroth Re:...goes to show... (39 comments)

And they'll reboot RH using grub2

            mark

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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About the teacher busted for self-published novels

whitroth whitroth writes  |  about two weeks ago

whitroth (9367) writes "I was waiting for an actual news story, not just tweets. Here's the real story:
Excerpt:
In fact, McLaw has not been arrested. No warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Concerns about McLaw were raised after he sent a four-page letter to officials in Dorchester County. Those concerns brought together authorities from multiple jurisdictions, including health authorities.

McLaw's attorney, David Moore, tells The Times that his client was taken in for a mental health evaluation. "He is receiving treatment," Moore said.

Because of federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations mandating privacy around healthcare issues, he was unable to say whether McLaw has been released.

McLaw's letter was of primary concern to healthcare officials, Maciarello says. It, combined with complaints of alleged harassment and an alleged possible crime from various jurisdictions led to his suspension. Maciarello cautions that these allegations are still being investigated; authorities, he says, "proceeded with great restraint."
— end excerpt —

In other words, the guy has real issues, and they're not related to the books, which one assumes he gave those themes to, so as to gain popularity due to current shootings — a PR decision.

And a side note: the president of a local sf club has read at least one of the books, and reports that it's material that wouldn't get past a slushpile reader....
mark"

Link to Original Source
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Bacteria that eat electricity

whitroth whitroth writes  |  about 2 months ago

whitroth (9367) writes "There's a story in New Scientist about them: STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein's monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these "electric bacteria" are very real and are popping up all over the place.

Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.

My first thought is to wonder if mammals generate enough electricity for them to be able to infect us... and if so, what problems they might cause, such as cardiac arrythmia?

                      mark"

Link to Original Source
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De-Liberator, the plastic gun

whitroth whitroth writes  |  about a year ago

whitroth (9367) writes "Lewis Page, of The Register, writes, "When the nail hits the cap in the cartridge base in a Liberator, the expanding gas likewise pushes the lead bullet off the end of the cartridge and down the "barrel" pipe. Much of the gas leaks past due to the loose fit and soft material of the "barrel". The lump of plastic with the nail (probably) stops the cartridge case spitting out of the back, which is pretty easy as the bullet pops out of the extremely short, basically smooth* "barrel" almost immediately with very little push from the gas required. Most of the cartridge's hot gas spills out of the muzzle without getting a chance to do any work on the bullet, which is the main reason the cruddy "barrel" doesn't (always) come to bits on the first shot and the cartridge case (probably) doesn't just spit backward into the user's face.

The Liberator's bullet emerges going very slowly and wobbling or tumbling due to lack of spin. It might go almost anywhere, though not very far, and is unlikely to do much damage to anything it manages to hit."

Back to making zip guns with *real* steel pipes, kiddies, until you have a 3D printer that can print with steel, or something that strong.

                  mark"

Link to Original Source
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Bad software runs the world

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 2 years ago

whitroth writes "Excerpt:
What do most people think of when they think of software? A decade ago, probably Microsoft Word and Excel. Today, it's more likely to be Gmail, Twitter, or Angry Birds. But the software that does the heavy lifting for the global economy isn't the apps on your smartphone. It's the huge, creaky applications that run Walmart's supply chain or United's reservation system or a Toyota production line.

And perhaps the most mission-critical of all mission-critical applications are the ones that underpin the securities markets a large share of the world's wealth is locked up. Those systems have been in the news a lot recently, and not for good reasons. In March, BATS, an electronic exchange, pulled its IPO because of problems with its own trading systems. During the Facebook IPO in May, NASDAQ was unable to confirm orders for hours. The giant Swiss bank UBS lost more than $350 million that day when its systems kept re-sending buy orders, eventually adding up to 40 million shares that it would later sell at a loss. Then last week Knight Capital — which handled 11 percent of all U. S. stock trading this year — lost $440 million when its systems accidentally bought too much stock that it had to unload at a loss.* (Earlier this year, a bad risk management model was also fingered in JP Morgan's $N billion trading loss, where N = an ever-escalating digit.)

The underlying problem here is that most software is not very good. Writing good software is hard.
--- end excerpt ---"

Link to Original Source
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What's wrong with slashdot recently?

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 2 years ago

whitroth writes "I've been reading slashdot since the late nineties. We always had the libertarian idiots, but you got *some* rational comments out of them sometimes.

In the last few months, it seems, I'm suddenly seeing blatant racists rants, and the kind of idiot cascades that contributed to usenet's downward trend. Just look, for example, at the comments following the huge Indian power failure: one thread of nieve wind power comments, a racists rant, and no real discussion of what happened or why, or what realistically needs to be done (cut corruption? have outside inspectors? power consideration?).

So here's an ask slashdot: how can we go back to actual nerdy conversations about how to actually do things in the real world?

                  mark"
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Why There Are Too Many Patents in America

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 2 years ago

whitroth writes "The judge who just dismissed the lawsuit between Apple and Motorola writes a column explaining what he considers to be a resonable use of patents, and unreasonable ones. One of his thoughts would be to require a patent holder to produce the patented item within a certain time, to cut out patent trolls."
Link to Original Source
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Time for a new movement: Ugly Email

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 2 years ago

whitroth writes "I just finished my annual (idiotic) security refresher, with its usual explanation of phishing, etc., and I think it's time for a new movement, one that might actually gain traction in companies if enough of us push it: the Ugly Email movement.

Simply enough: plain text, only. All pics, spreadsheets, etc *not* inline, but attachments. How complicated is that, Barbie?

It would shove in everyone's face that "Click here to contact your company/security/bank/offshore account" is going to gotyourinfonow.com

Opinions? Alternate names? Locations for demonstrations?

                    mark"
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How to get providers to drop dnsbl.manitu.net?

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 3 years ago

whitroth writes "I'm fed up, and I'm sure tens of thousands you slashdotters are, too. dnsbl.manitu.net has been offering their "service" to block spammers for a long time... and using an "algorithm" that would have worked 15 years ago, but these days is hostile to non-spammers, and useless.

He appears to target mailhosts of spammers. In these days, however, where hosting providers support tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of domains (many running Windows, and so infected), and all the mail goes through one mailhost, this means many of us get unfairly blocked. And it's not like the hosting providers don't try to stop spam going out.

This has been going on for a long time, Years ago, Cogeco in Canada used him, and I was blocked, on and off, for months from emailing a friend. Right now, I'm being blocked from a CentOS mailing list, even though I did a remove.

So, suggestions as to how we can get this hostile force dropped by most providers?

                    mark"
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What's with slashdot's javascript?

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 5 years ago

whitroth writes "Folks,

      What's with slashdot's javascripting? As of a few weeks ago, I pull up slashdot, and I'm watching my browser peg my CPU. Just today, I went to a story, and fired up top before I did so (openSuSE 10.3), firefox 2.0.0.11), and watched top report about 30 seconds or more with firefox running over 93% CPU usage.

      This never used to happen. slashdot *used* to load fast....

              mark"
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whitroth whitroth writes  |  about 8 years ago

whitroth writes "Ten years ago, Received Wisdom said that virtual memory should be, on the average, two to two-and-a-half times real memory. In these days, where 2G RAM is not unusual, and many times that not that uncommon, is this unreasonable? What's the sense of the community as to what is a reasonable size for swap these days? mark"

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