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Comment Public v Private Charity (Score 1) 539

Compared to charitable support for domestic poverty relief, Federal programs are large and strongly counter-cyclical â" growing as the economy weakens. Unemployment assistance climbed from $33 billion in 2007 to $158 billion in 2010, before declining back to $68 billion in 2013. Food and nutrition assistance rose from $54 billion in 2007 to $110 billion in 2013, the Earned Income Tax Credit from $38 billion to $58 billion in 2013. These three programs alone total $236 billion, compared to $40 billion of private charitable giving to human services. While charitable support was at best stagnant during the recession, government safety net spending on these three programs increased 89% between 2007 and 2013.

Comment An Evaluation Of His Bullshit (Score 0) 387

Per TFA: "... arguing that the disclosure of the scale of surveillance by US and British intelligence agencies was not only morally right but had left citizens better off.

Based on what Ed has released thus far, the onus is on him to show that he didn't scoop up everything his could lay his file system on, and intends to make all of it public. On the face of it, he was no more focused on domestic intel gathering than Chelsea Manning, and not much more emotionally mature. What is his rationale for highlighting foreign intelligence gathering?

It doesn't matter, because there is no rationale that keeps him out of pound-me-in-the-arse prison. He needs to remain an example of how emotional immaturity and naivete is rewarded in his line of work.

Comment Logo: Too Bad It Did See Wider Use (Score 1) 68

As a part of a comparative languages class in my comp sci program in the '80's, I look ExperTelligence's ExperLogo for a spin on the Mac. I ended up having to drive up to their offices in Goleta, CA to pick up a copy. I liked the syntax, and using what I suppose was a JIT compiler, it was reasonably quick. But, there was no way to create standalone binaries, ExperTelligence didn't stick with it for long, and Logo as a whole didn't get a shot at going beyond a classroom tool.

Kudos to Dr. Papert and Mr. Feurzeig for their contributions to comp sci and education.

Comment FreeDESQView? (Score 1) 211

I'd think the more "DOS-like" way to multitask would be to launch DESQView from FreeDOS and spawn processes from that. While DESQView can be freely downloaded and passed around, I don't believe Symantec has ever released the source to this bit of Quarterdesk flotsam. Bummer.

Why more "DOS-like"? DESQView sucks up 150KB, plus 30KB per task. IIRC, about the minimum Linux memory overhead from among the low footprint Linux distros is about 7MB, although perhaps one can do better with Linux From Scratch. But then who's got less than 7MB nowadays? ;-)

Comment Espionage Act Meets The Digital Age (Score 1) 383

TL:DR, Ed will not be pardoned, as an object example to a potentially very leaky age.

Per TFA: For the first 80 years of its life, it was used almost entirely to prosecute spies. The president has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all president before him combined. His Justice Department has vastly expanded the scope of the law.

There's a good reason for this. The digitization of most current technical, planning, organizational, and intelligence information means that it can be distributed in mass in ways detrimental to the interests of the United States by any metric. Manning and Snowden have demonstrated the risk from users inside the system. One can lock down systems, but all for not unless the vast majority of users elect not to try. Like so many aspects of criminal law, so many perps slip through without justice being meted out, that those who do get caught, tried, and convicted oftentimes get the book thrown at them as an example to others. "See Dick do something bad? Don't be a Dick." This isn't going to change in the foreseeable future.

So, while Chelsea and Ed may have provided a degree of public service by bringing to light certain practices "we" as a body would prefer the government not engage in, they also dumped boatloads of information that do nothing - much less than nothing - to protect the liberties of Americans. So, Ed will remain a wanted suspect, and if caught and convicted like Chelsea, will do hard time.

Comment Example Usage: Slashdot Story Drill Down (Score 1) 145

I first heard of sci-hub via a /. story not too long ago. Subsequently, when the "Prescription Meds Get Trapped In Disturbing Pee-To-Food-To-Pee Loop" story was posted a couple of weeks ago, linking to a paywalled academic paper, I followed my usual steps:

  • 1) try the link, sometimes the paper turns out to be free to read;
  • 2) hit the university home pages of the authors, who often have at least the final draft as a free to read PDF;
  • 3) punt...

But not this time. I surfed directly to the sci-hub home page, and stuck the paper title into the search box. Success! Having RTFP, I could follow up in discussion with a better idea of what the hell was going on. Whether I should have left it at punting this time is another discussion.

Comment Unknown Water Treatment Method (Score 1) 134

Abstract: the water may have just been treated for bacteria, and that hasn't cut it for urban effluent for at least a decade.

I've read the paper, and I was disappointed to find that the researchers didn't provide any context regarding the type(s) of treatment used on the wastewater before it was dumped into the irrigation systems.

I followed up with one of the footnotes: Wastewater treatment and use in agriculture - FAO irrigation and drainage paper 47, where I find in section 2.3 that for water to be recycled for crops that were likely to be eaten uncooked, the FAO is just talking in terms of stabilization ponds for killing off the microorganisms. That's not enough. It also needs to be filtered, as if they were dealing with brackish or seawater.

I'd been to a couple of American Water Works Association conferences in the aughts, so I know the treatment industry has been aware of and has the techniques for clearing what goes into our toilets out of the waste water at manageable costs. As of the 2007 conference, the main concern was to avoid loading up the critters downstream from the waste water plants with caffeine, birth control hormones, pain relievers, and recreational drugs.

But, given the anticipated growth in water reuse for both irrigation and drinking, water system managers were already anticipating the need to do better. In this case, the Israelis obviously need to do better.

Full disclosure: I served on a water supply board for 5 years.

Comment Prolly Not A Smoking Gun (Score 1) 354

I suspect the reason(s) why the Administration doesn't declassify the redacted pages of the 9/11 report has to do with intel sources and methods, rather than any smoking gun.

G-fucking-WB didn't help his PR when he facilitated flying home members of the House of Saud and their retainers who happened to be in the US on 9/11. Sure, the King and lead princes were probably worried about Arabs being beaten in the streets of the US, and at that point not knowing whether or not one of their number had a direct hand in the attacks, whether family in the US would be rotting in jail during a prolonged investigation.

Plus, the extended Bush family and their Dallas cronies owe their personal connections to the Sauds for making buckets of money on SA business. The President should have sucked it up and reordered his priorities. Like I said, bad PR, at the very least, when he didn't know if the Royal family was involved.

Declassification or no, the real issue we already know: in the 1930s, the Royal family handed over the religious education and indoctrination of SA to the knuckle-dragging Wahhabi imams in exchange for keeping the S in SA, while cranking billions into foundations that have fed Wahhabi crap into generations of international Moslem youth.

Comment She's Assuming Naive Devs, Then (Score 1) 184

Granted, it's a bummer that Apple hasn't tended to the Git client shipped with Xcode.

That said, I'd argue just about anyone who takes the trouble to install and use Xcode and the associated command line stuff that comes with it is going to know how to steer ($PATH) around (fink, macports) a problematic tool once informed about it.

She got this onto Slashdot, so the hard part is on its way to being handled: getting the word out.

Comment "Of Course"? (Score 1) 139

"Of course, the hackers had no clue what they were modifying."

The report discussed the intruders having little apparent knowledge of what they were doing. The anonymous reader assumes this to mean that the intruders didn't know they were screwing with a water treatment SCADA system.

I think it just as likely that they had figured out they had tapped into a process control system, and were figuring out how to manipulate the system... driving by Braille.

The RISK report report authors could have summarized the situation by reaching back to the prophetic words of Simon & Garfunkel: Clowns to left of me, jokers to the right, Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Comment Wages Are Up, Not Govt. Regulation (Score 1) 954

You're right, he's bluffing, and bowlshyting. Mr. Puzder is trying to divert attention by blaming the Federal government for his problems, when what's really going on is the labor market: it's lost a lot of the slack Puzder and his ilk have been coasting on for six years, and thus he's looking at having to raise wages to get and retain staff.

If wage pressures become high enough, CKE Restaurants will invest in technologies to improve productivity members. This is a good thing, since if people were always cheaper than capital equipment, we'd still be using manual typewriters... if we had any time to spare after working the fields with a scathe. Taken at face value, that's the model Puzder apparently prefers.

Submission + - Wi-Fi hotspot blocking persists despite FCC crackdown (

alphadogg writes: The FCC has slapped hotels and other organizations with nearly $2.1 million in fines since the fall of 2014 for blocking patrons’ portable Wi-Fi hotspots in the name of IT security, or more likely, to gouge customers for Internet service. But Network World’s examination of more than a year’s worth of consumer complaints to the FCC about Wi-Fi jamming shows that not all venue operators are getting the message.

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