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The Argument For a Hypersonic Missile Testing Ban

youngatheart Never make it too easy to break the rules (322 comments)

One rule I try to remember is to never make a rule that can't be enforced. With nuclear bombs, there is seismic and radioactive evidence, so you can know if somebody is breaking the treaty. I doubt that such a thing exists for hypersonic missiles.

about two weeks ago

Theater Chain Bans Google Glass

youngatheart Re:Battery Life (376 comments)

It isn't just a bit of regulation that will be required. The freedom of the press means that anyone who wants to, or even claims to eventually want to publish has a right to take pictures and video in any public place so long as their rebroadcast of copyrighted material falls into the fair use category. The right of free press doesn't give people the right to infringe on copyright or the right to privacy, but the right to privacy doesn't extend to public places. Even preventing perverts from taking upskirt videos and posting them on the web wasn't simple to legislate and that relied on defining privacy in a way that was painfully obvious already.

Consider that a ban on public photography is pointless if it applies only to g-glass since there are dozens of alternatives to clandestine video already available and dozens more will spring up as soon as g-glass is banned on a widespread basis. Contacts that take video and hidden cameras doing constant upload that melt without any provable trace of what they were doing will inevitably spring up to meet the demand. More sinister is that the fight against g-glass is is actually a fight against the right of the people to know what is going on. Nothing would make a corrupt government happier than to know that they need not fear public proof of wrongdoing.

The fight against paparazzi has been going on for many, many years and this is just a discussion of one of their most obvious potential tools. This problem isn't confined to g-glass, but the potential remedies to the problem it presents must be considered carefully if they are to have a result which doesn't cause other problems worse than the ones they solve.

You don't want to lose your privacy, and you have a right to that privacy. You're already guaranteed the right to privacy in certain circumstances, such as in your home and on your phone conversations, but that only extends to certain points. Federal wiretapping laws prohibit someone from recording your conversations on the phone unless the person you're talking to knows it is being recorded. Donald Sterling's recent time in the press shows that even in your own home, your privacy isn't guaranteed.

What kind of laws exactly do you propose where amateur journalists and bloggers can still record and report news they feel is in the public interest without having to fight a legal battle against big money and corrupt government interests?

about 3 months ago

Efforts To Turn Elephants Into Woolly Mammoths Are Already Underway

youngatheart Re:Times sure are changing (147 comments)

We're already doing things that could wipe out the human race overnight. We're already dealing with pythons in the Everglades and zebra mussel epidemics. We've wiped out mammoths, passenger pigeons and very nearly the rhino.

If we can take steps toward showing the world what we've lost by introducing something that will demonstrate how valuable the species we've wiped out were, then I'm a happy camper. (I'll be camping in a kevlar tent with my rifle handy if we manage to reintroduce dire wolves and saber-tooth tigers, but I'll be happy doing it.)

about 4 months ago

Efforts To Turn Elephants Into Woolly Mammoths Are Already Underway

youngatheart Re:so... (147 comments)

It doesn't make me angry that people have tried to create greater biological diversity, it makes me sad that they have failed. If they fail, then I will be sad, but if they succeed then I will be happy that the world holds something amazing which might help lead to the development of a world where rhinos and mammoths contribute to something even better: a world where the mistakes of our ancestors can be mended.

about 4 months ago

Efforts To Turn Elephants Into Woolly Mammoths Are Already Underway

youngatheart Re:More "tradition medicine viagra" to sell ... (147 comments)

You know what, I wish you were right.

There is little that I would enjoy more than seeing biological and ecosystem diversity empowered by the ignorant and foolish.

The idea of a world where rainforests and rhinos are abundant as a direct result of stupid people putting their money into funding it makes me so giddy that my cynicism filter cuts in.

about 4 months ago

Massachusetts Court Says 'Upskirt' Photos Are Legal

youngatheart Re:Now that's news for nerds (519 comments)

How do you determine who isn't a public figure?

about 6 months ago

Website Checkout Glitches: Two Very Different Corporate Responses

youngatheart Re:Same rules apply (303 comments)

My daughter convinced me to take her to Kohl's for some basic shopping. I checked in on 4square and was surprised to find that it got me a discount. Then at the register, when they rang me up, it was less than expected even with the discount. I was happily surprised to discover after paying, that the receipt showed another discount which I commented on to the cashier. I was happy to hear that they often give those kinds of discounts.

The point is that when you get extra discounts, you don't assume they're made in error, you assume that you are being given a treat, probably something they are advertising and you just didn't see, by the seller.

about 9 months ago

Preventing Cheating At Hackathons

youngatheart Re:Just another level of hacking (104 comments)

See the 6 different instances of "slow down" explaining when they stop speeding at F1 races on wikipedia.

There are rules for a reason in racing and in hacking competitions. There are no rules if you do it outside a group event, and as a result the risks are significantly higher.

1 year,4 days

GameFly Scores In Longstanding DVD Mailing Complaint

youngatheart Re:Reclassify as a competitive product? (147 comments)

From TFA:

by reducing the price for a two-ounce First-Class flat-shaped round-trip DVD mailer to the price of a one-ounce mailer First-Class letter-shaped round-trip DVD mailer

They see the DVD mailing as competing with the internet option, therefore giving them cause to support DVD mailing by discounting the price.

I'll tell you the truth and its up to you to live with it.

1 year,15 days

Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

youngatheart Re:Source code (211 comments)

Oh cool! I known that shutdown -r -t 600 works on Windows when I expect it to finish installing an update and I'm ready to go for a coffee, but I never remember what it is in Linux. Thanks to your tip, I now know I can use shutdown -h but I know the Linux guy had to put a number, so let me try shutdown -h 0 and see what it tells me about how

1 year,17 days

Researchers Discover Way To Spot Crappy Coffee

youngatheart Re:Money well spent on that research (184 comments)

I'm surprised to see this comment rated so highly.

If you are paying $15 a cup for coffee then presumably you have super awesome taste buds. So why do you need chemically analyse your coffee to tell if it's the real deal? You're coffee is either worth $15 or it isn't based on what it tastes like.

Taste is a very variable thing. If you're trying to train yourself to distinguish different tastes, then you need to try different things to learn what tastes you are capable of recognizing. If you're basing your experience on faulty information, then you're being cheated of your option to learn something. If you are going to try to learn the difference in sushi or wines and you are trying to learn the differences in tastes of different options, being lied to about what you're tasting means you won't be able to tell the difference between different grades of tuna, or different types of dry red wines. As a result, you're robbed of your ability to learn what brings you pleasure and what is worth spending the extra money on.

What a pointless bit of research. Have we now solved so many of the world's important problems that the top of the list is now "make sure hipsters are drinking genuine cat's bum coffee."

If you know absolutely everything that is important to know then you're a terrible person for not sharing your insight into how to solve every world problem. For everyone else, doing research that you are able to do that adds to the sum of human knowledge is valuable. Just because you don't know how to cure cancer yet doesn't mean you shouldn't put effort into finding a malaria cure. Curing world hunger is something we'd all like to know how to do, but if you don't know how to do that, it doesn't mean that there is no value in studying computer science. The best thing to spend money learning about is something where you can hope to find some success in learning something useful. Building a machine that can detect organic compounds may sound useless to you because you don't care about coffee, but good research results may mean that same technology can be applied to better bomb detection or allow computers to do what animals already do and actually detect cancer better. Saying the research shouldn't have money spent on something you don't care about is saying that people shouldn't do what good they're able to actually able to do.

If everybody had the mentality that nothing should be done if it wasn't working toward the big problems, we'd loose all the little great things that contribute to a better world.

1 year,29 days

US Lawmakers Want Sanctions On Any Country Taking In Snowden

youngatheart Seriously? What am I missing? (650 comments)

So we know that the NSA lied to Congress and about half of the representatives want to stop the spying that Snowden told us about. That would seem to make the implication that Congress has realized that the few people who actually seem to care are in the majority against it. So Snowden shouldn't be that big a fish. We have federal laws against illegal immigration but the feds have decided not to put any effort into enforcement since it isn't popular. We have federal laws against marajuana, but with states making it legal, the feds have decided not to put any effort into enforcement. Now we have one guy and enforcement isn't popular, but yet they're making a big deal of enforcement?

On the one hand, I kinda get it, you have to enforce the laws to keep your secrets safe. On the other hand they're doing that already and have made it impossible for Snowden to return to the US without likely imprisonment. Isn't that more than enough? I'm surprised they'd do something to harm international relations over it.

Is it possible that Snowden has more information they're afraid that he'll turn over to another government? If he does, what could it be to be worth this witchhunt? It reminds me of Assuange which became a much bigger witchhunt than it seemed to warrant. I'm beginning to think that there must be some really ugly skeletons in the closet if Congress is this worried about people spilling secrets.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Automatically Sanitize PDF Email Attachments?

youngatheart Re:Sumatra PDF (238 comments)

I'm with you in spirit but stuck in a situation where our single most important software vendor has incorporated interactive forms using Adobe PDF reader. Replacing it is so far beyond our budget that just discussing what it would take turns the discussion into a five year plan.

Doing our own software to replace it is even worse in terms of budgeting. If you'd like to make yourself a couple million dollars and a career for the next twenty years, you can go for it, but the initial investment requirements are going to be in the same range and it'll probably take a minimum of five years for you to get a new system past all the regulatory hurdles and any adoption.

If you do all that, drop me a line. We'll be looking for somebody new about that time.

For people stuck in reality: Our solution is to try to be very suspicious of PDFs that come into the system, but trust the ones already in there. It's not a great situation to be in but I hope this forum will give me some ideas on how we can better protect ourselves from the potential dangerous PDFs coming in.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Automatically Sanitize PDF Email Attachments?

youngatheart Re:Print to PDF (238 comments)

Good points. I rather like the idea of something that removes every PDF from the incoming email but sends a follow up message "Your recent email with the subject line 'blah blah blah' sent at 'sentdate' had an unsafe type of attachment. You can download a safe version with 'this link' or you can contact the administrator if you require the unsafe version."

I wonder if procmail could do that for you?

about a year ago

PCWorld Magazine Is No More

youngatheart Re:A Quibble (164 comments)

Really? Personal Computer means Windows only in the heads of Microsoft marketing drones. It wasn't that long ago that PC was synonymous with Home Computer which certainly would have included Apple computers.

about a year ago

The Pentagon's Seven Million Lines of Cobol

youngatheart Re:now there are multitude of pay levels. (345 comments)

I was thinking pretty much the same thing. The right approach for this is to figure out how to answer these questions:

  • Who gets paid?
  • When?
  • For what?
  • How should they be paid? (not how they are paid)
  • How do you maintain it?

The questions are simple. The process of answering them is hard. Building the software to handle the result is moderately complex but not nearly as hard as getting the answers.

The question of "how did the old software do it" should be irrevelant and it shouldn't matter that it was written in COBOL or how it worked. Fixing the software is the wrong approach and I suspect a doomed attempt from the beginning. They should have been working on how to build the right system instead.

about a year ago

The Pentagon's Seven Million Lines of Cobol

youngatheart Re:Let me have a go at it.... (345 comments)

Give me a billion dollars.

What, you want more? If you give me a billion dollars I will take it and make a very convinicing show of working hard to deliver whatever you want while I build up my "disappear and retire accounts" with only a small percentage of the money.

about a year ago

Orson Scott Card Pleads 'Tolerance' For Ender's Game Movie

youngatheart Re:Boycotting the movie (1448 comments)

Of all the comments and passion I've seen on this story, this is the first time something got to me and made me actually sad.

about a year ago

Orson Scott Card Pleads 'Tolerance' For Ender's Game Movie

youngatheart Re:less than human? (1448 comments)

Ow. You make me feel dense.

"By denying someone the right to a federally approved marriage of their preference, you're treating them as less than human." I've seen variations this argument repeatedly and that weakness never occurred to me. Whether you agree or disagree, I think you should consider the legitimacy of any argument worth discussing... and I totally missed that insight.

about a year ago

UCSD Lecturer Releases Geotagging Application For "Dangerous Guns and Owners"

youngatheart Re:1 2 3 4 I declare flame war (976 comments)

Stigma? My first thought was "I better tag my house" because even though I don't actually have a gun, I would like any potential thieves to think I do. Plus, where I come from (yes, Texas) gun ownership is seen as a good thing. People use their concealed carry permits as their preferred bragging type of state issued ID around here.

about a year ago


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