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* Posts by Mephistro

1003 posts • joined 8 Oct 2007

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What a pain in the mass! Euro craft Rosetta to poke its probe in 10-BILLION-tonne comet

Mephistro
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Pint

Re: when giving figures like this

"The linked ESA blog entry noted that it was “1×10^13 kg” — i.e. 10 Pg = 10 Gt = 10 billion (short scale) tonnes."

He he, you got me there. That's a secondary effect of posting at ~5 a.m. and under the influence of insomnia.

Anyway, I think that this somehow strengthens my point, i.e. that the use of the word billion in some contexts, without an indication of which scale is being used, is quite confusing. The use of derived S.I. units instead of the base ones (tonnes instead of kilograms) only worsens the problem.

Anyway, this one is on me ;-).

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Mephistro
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Re: Mephistro (@ Mike Belll & Diodesign)

"Billion is always 1,000 million."

Not for about a third of the Earth's population, including some English speaking countries. From the relevant Wikipedia article: "However, in most of these (English speaking) countries, some limited long scale use persists and the official status of the short scale use is not clear."

I'm only asking for more clarity in the articles. If you don't want to specify which scale is being used, then at least use exponential notation or write the whole number. Not a great deal, is it?

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Mephistro
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Re: when giving figures like this

"...set of standard SI prefixes which one could use to unambiguously specify..."

True, but:

a) Readers need to perform some mental arithmetic. Some will, some won't.

b) It's only useful for SI measures. Talking about, e.g., 'tera-dollars' or even worse, 'tera-times' sounds freakish, at least to me.

c) The article used 'billions' without indication of which scale was being used.

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Mephistro
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"...a mass of 10 billion tonnes..."

It would be nice for Elreg to specify whether they're using 'Short Scale' or 'Long Scale' when giving figures like this, or alternatively use always the same one. (In this last case, my vote goes for Long Scale).

This time they are using Long Scale, i.e 10 billions = 10^13.

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Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?

Mephistro
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Re: Rising spectre

"Was ectoplasm involved?"

"Or was it wind"

Both things, sometimes simultaneously. The horror! The horror!!!

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Mephistro
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Angel

"Ghosts are also a hot topic for Brits, with Rossendale Council answering questions on how many times it had paid for an exorcist, psychic or religious healer ..."

You all may scoff at this, but it's a real problem!. I personally have been haunted by a ghostly apparition every morning since I was twelve. Watching your bed sheet elevating by itself when you aren't yet totally awake is a distressing experience!

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Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report

Mephistro
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Re: Is it a false economy (@Tom 7)

Related anecdote: in my first job, shortly after V.A.T. was introduced in my country, I had to explain the accountant honcho how to calculate the original price from the price+V.A.T., because he was doing it consistently wrong. Didn't get much sympathy from him either. :-)

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Visual Studio Online goes titsup as Microsoft wrestles with database

Mephistro
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Another day...

... another cloud SNAFU.

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Anonymous threatens to name cop who shot dead unarmed Michael Brown

Mephistro
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"Because vigilantes are never wrong..."

Vigilantes usually sprout in areas where there is no justice. Not saying that that's a good thing, just that that's the way things are.

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Whoops, my cloud's just gone titsup. Now what?

Mephistro
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"then that would be 525600 minutes"

I think the author meant a 99.99 percent or 9,999 per 10,000. Agreed with the rest of your post, though.

I'd also like to call fellow's commentards attention to the fact that the cloud provider is not the only possible source of downtime for the customer. Screw ups by the telcos probably will cause localized outages more often than the cloud provider does.

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BANGKOK-BLOCKED: Thailand's dictators 'ban dictator sim Tropico 5'

Mephistro
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Re: Too good to be true?(@ silent_count)

Tropico 4 wasn't a crappy game at all, it was real fun to play. I would buy also this new instalment if the game didn't require a DirectX 11 graphics card. Throwing away a rather good two years old graphic card and spending more than one hundred bucks to purchase a new one just to play a game seems a little excessive, no matter how good the game is.

I'll probably buy it in two years, from the offers bin, for ten €. This was a really stupid decission by the developers, IMO.

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Home-grown Xiaomi crushes Samsung in world's biggest market

Mephistro
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Re: BEFORE he died?

And staying always in an urn!

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NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

Mephistro
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Re: Questions for rocket scientists:(@AC)

"a photovoltaic panel working at 40% efficiancy shouldn't be able to collect 5000x more energy than a reflective sail working at 90% efficiancy."

Use both. A toroidal mirror-sail concentrating lots and lots of sunlight in a smaller solar panel (or another different device for energy production, e.g. a stirling engine) and you have the best of both worlds. That is, if the results obtained insofar are not a rounding error. Crossing my fingers on that part.

With a little bit of luck we could be sending fecking tourists to Mars in a few decades!!!

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We sent a probe SIX BILLION km to measure temperature of a COMET doing 135,000 km/h

Mephistro
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Re: Impressive and I'd expected it to be *much* colder

"...the comet has some kind of internal process going on."

I'd put my money on some amount of radio isotopes in the inside. It could even have a liquid core and some primitive life.*

What puzzles me more is the crust of dust, as every time the comet goes near the Sun said crust should be ablated. I hope Rosetta carries some means to ascertain the composition of said crust.

*Both these hypotheses have been stolen'borrowed' from some of Gregory Benford's books. ;-)

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REGULAR FISTING is GOOD for your HEALTH, says respected surveyor

Mephistro
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Devil

So, fisting prevents the spread of E. Coli?

Sounds legit. ;-)

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CIA super-spy so sorry spies spied on Senate's torture scrutiny PCs

Mephistro
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Happy

Re: Doesn't Utah still have firing squad as a method of execution?

"I'll pay for the bullets and I already have a shovel."

Cut the middleman and execute them with the shovel!

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'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter

Mephistro
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Re: @ AC (was Expect nothing less (@ JeffyPooh))

"DasBomber has to actually confirm them as followers so simply following him will not give them access to his tweets."

Or, alternatively, ask the 'concerned citizen' for a copy of the tweets in question, or a re-tweet.

"and I suspect a prolific tweeter tweeted more than just a few."

Disingenuous. They only needed to read the ones relevant to the issue, not his entire posting history.

"They phoned him and he agreed to the time"

If you think he was given any chance to disagree to the time, you may also be interested in purchasing this little bridge, really cheap...

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Mephistro
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Re: @ AC (was Expect nothing less (@ JeffyPooh))

"And since only confirmed followers can read the tweets how do you propose the police checked the facts?"

Easy peasy. They create a tweeter account, or use one they already had, then 'follow' DasBomber, then read the tweets at leisure. Five minutes work at most.

"so presumably there was a lot of tweets to put into context"

No, just a few of them. A one minute read, if the plod had chosen to go that way.

"The phrase "several hours" is also ambiguous and open to interpretation"

Yeah, at least two hours, beginning at 1 AM, for fuck's sake!

"The cops who did this did their job"...

... poorly.

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Mephistro
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@ AC (was Re: Expect nothing less (@ JeffyPooh))

"Once something like this (alleged bomb threat) is reported to them they do not have the luxury of being able to just ignore it no matter how credible they think it is"

Sorry to disagree, but if there was an easy way of checking the facts -e.g. reading the tweet- before bothering an innocent citizen, they should have done that. On top of that, why the heck did they have to 'interview' him for several hours? Stupidity? functional illiteracy? Incompetence? Sadism?

The cops who did this should be reprimanded, at the very least.

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Mephistro
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Meh

Re: Expect nothing less (@ JeffyPooh)

"..they'd have kicked the door in without warning, and shot everyone..."

There are lots of shades of grey*. The situation you describe would be pitch black, what the cops did was ~50% grey, and what they should have done -i.e. read (and understand) the entire fucking tweet, and don't bother the author of said tweet- would have been pure white.

*: Sorry

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Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins

Mephistro
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Devil

Re: If only they'd let Jesus into their hearts

"JC still existed before he was born though, it's an important aspect of the orthodox trinity."

Wut??? So Mary was kind of a teletransport machine?

I prefer the other version: "Joe, you aren't going to believe this, but..."

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Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate history' story made into TV series

Mephistro
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I love alternate realities...

... mainly because they highlight aspects of 'real history' (whatever that is ;-) that are usually left aside. In this genre, TMITHC is one of my favourites, up there with "Bring the Jubilee". I'd also recommend a newish novel, "Mysterium", that describes an America withering under the boot of an Inquisition-like religious institution.

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US judge 'troubled' by Apple's $450m bid to end ebook price-fixing row

Mephistro
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Re: This looks like an exact clone of...

"How is that a new trick?"

New for Apple. And I don't mean necessarily that they didn't know the concept before, just that they didn't dare to use it, perhaps afraid of the PR backlash or the judges reactions. It would seem that nowadays they don't give a shit.

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Mephistro
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This looks like an exact clone of...

... the agreement in the "no poaching agreement" case against Apple. And I'll say the same thing I said then:

This agreement is an insult to justice.

It would seem that Apple has learnt a new trick. To boot: negotiating out of court agreements that are good for the lawyers but not for the plaintiffs.

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Debian Linux, Android share a bed in upcoming distro

Mephistro
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Re: Who invented permissions transparency?(@ Eulampios)

Oppsss... sorry, I forgot this:

"An API bug which was fixed in the latest versions of Android. Bugs happen, can't see the nightmare in that either."

In the real world, given the way Android updates reach the customer's devices, fighting an uphill battle against the phone makers and the telcos and the crud they both install, I'd be surprised if more than one in ten handsets out there are correctly patched.

Perhaps you're right, and this is not a security nightmare. It's just the frecking Hamburger Hill! ;-)

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Mephistro
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Re: Who invented permissions transparency?

"you can't deny an app access to your GPS hardware You will be able to with SELinux soon."

Which has nothing to do with what we're discussing here. Actually, in my first comment, I expressed my hope that this VolksPC distro would fix this particular issue. And that would be a good thing, as Google doesn't seem to have too much interest in fixing it.

However, don't install an app if it requires something you don't wanna give it or it doesn't need it it for what it is supposed to do.

That's precisely what I do. On the other hand, 99.9% of Android users have no idea of what said permissions mean, and just click through the installation notices. And that, added to the fact that most apps are closed source and the review process by Google isn't exactly too thorough, gives a -...wait for it...- security nightmare.

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Mephistro
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Re: Who invented permissions transparency?

"2) (various guid's) permissions that you could see before installing"

Apples and oranges, Mr. Eulampios.

The apps you install in Android are -mostly- closed source. The permissions are given in an 'all or nothing' basis, so, e.g. you can't deny an app access to your GPS hardware, your mic or your contacts, even when that particular app doesn't have any conceivable reason to access said elements. Not much transparency here, I'd say.

1) apps run under separate uid's

Which somehow doesn't prevent said apps from leaking data to other apps, as has been already reported in Elreg and other technical forums.

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Mephistro
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Re: what's that?

"Can you specify what this nightmare is? Thanks in advance."

From the top of my head:

Lack of fine grained permissions control.

Bugs in some apps allow their data to be accessed/modified by other apps.

Is that enough for you?

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Mephistro
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"...by running both Linux apps and Android apps in native mode."

If, while they're at it, they also fix the nightmare that is Android permissions and security, they can count me in.

If they don't, well, one of the main reasons for using Linux is security, and adding Android to Linux would totally invalidate this reason.

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Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops

Mephistro
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Devil

A low-priced version of Windows 8.1 dubbed "Windows 8.1 with Bing"

They should have dubbed it "Leprosy with Syphilis". It sounds far better! ;-)

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Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files

Mephistro
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Joke

Re: Manco

That must to be the reason* there weren't any Japanese players in WOW Spanish servers, as 'manco' is also the Spanish equivalent of 'noob'. Probably all of them committed seppuku after their first error in a raid.

* That and the language barrier, and the lag. ;-)

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German government orders local CIA station chief to pack his bags

Mephistro
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FAIL

Re: Mephhead Ole. Jule A mild reaction (@ Master Bullshit)

" In his post. Trying reading before bleating, mmmkay?"

Again, he wrote "... jailed and charged ...". Who's bleating, Matty?

Oh, hell!. I'm trying to reason with Matt. That's a waste of bandwidth. I'm really really sorry.

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Mephistro
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FAIL

Re: Mephhead Ole. Jule A mild reaction (@ Master Bullshit)

"but that's not what the original indignant poster demanded, they want jail without charge or trial"

Exactly where does the 'original indignant poster' demand jail without charge or trial? What he actually wrote was "... jailed and charged ...". .

Another low quality straw man argument from Matt. Colour me surprised. ;-)

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Mephistro
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Devil

Re: Ole. Jule A mild reaction (@ Matt Bryant)

"the correct chain of events would be charged, tried, then if convicted, jailed"

No. For serious crimes and with some evidence the suspect is put in custody -i.e. 'jailed'- until a judge assesses the case and decides on escape risks, bailout and such.

And I'm glad to see you don't like the way they do things in Guantánamo.

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Mephistro
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They should have sent the ambassador packing too.

Now, THAT would send a clear message!

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NSA dragnet mostly slurped innocents' traffic

Mephistro
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Re: Oh, well... (@ Bernard M. Orwell)

I had figured out that much, but the vetting process is very subjective, and prone to lots of false negatives and false positives.

Another issue is that people changes over time. They acquire new relationships, new relatives, new vices and even new mental issues. In order to counter that, the vetting process should be continuous, and include all the vetted analyst's family and relationships. Which sounds like just another recursive security nightmare. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

In my opinion, due to these and other circumstances, mass data slurping can't be made 'safe enough'. The guys that set up this massive surveillance system should have known better. Or maybe they just didn't give a shit.

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Mephistro
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Facepalm

Oh, well...

We all seem to be forgetting an important point in this discussion.

Those mountains of data the NSA and their chums are slurping & keeping are not only being accessed by three letter agencies. They are being accessed by tens of thousands of analysts (~80,000*, from what has been stated in other articles) under quite lax security rules, as has been proved without doubt by the Snowden leaks and the LOVEINT report.

Now, please consider this:

Of those 80,000 (or whatever is the exact number) analysts, how many can be blackmailed/bribed/coerced by third countries secret services? How many of them have been/can be 'turned' by said secret services? How many of them are cheating on their partners? How many have committed serious crimes? How many are closet homosexuals? How many have relatives or beloved ones that can be used as 'hostages'? How many are degenerate gamblers?...

From what we know about human nature, I'd be really surprised if there weren't several hundred analysts already working for third parties, be it state actors, private companies or criminal groups.

Actually, the NSA and their pals are making things easier for Russia, China, the Norks, Israel, the Mafia, [Insert your favourite baddies names here]. These third parties have/can gain access to already filtered and classified data for peanuts, compared with the expenses of setting up and maintaining the NSA operations.

As an example, consider carefully what this means in the context of witness protection programs.

Note*: Or whatever the real number is. I've read articles stating that the real number is 60,000 and others claiming ~100,000.

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Insecure AVG search tool shoved down users' throats, says US CERT

Mephistro
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Re: KM Player installs -- is it ever anything but a way to trash your PC?

"(and any of my computers that I let family or friends use)"

Easy peasy. Create an account without admin rights for your family and friends, and protect the admin accounts with a password only you know. That won't totally protect your important accounts from zero day exploits and/or some viruses, but it's a step in the right direction and will save you lots of sweat.

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Storm-battered Rockall adventurer recalls 'worst experience of my life'

Mephistro
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Re: I'll just repost this

Holy shit! a 50 meters tall wave!!!

If it had been one of these the one that hit his pod, the lack of food would be the least of his problems.

Balls of steel, indeed.

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NSA, GCHQ spies have hurt us more than they know – cloud group

Mephistro
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Angel

the "FUD factor" increased, but given the actual number of breaches, "there is a massive gap between perception and reality".

This gentleman is naively assuming that the people that answered the survey:

a) Were aware of all the security breaches

b) Were interested in disclosing said breaches

What is next? Bigfoot and Elvis Presley living in a condo in Albuquerque?

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Germany dumps Verizon for Deutsche Telekom over NSA spying

Mephistro
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Happy

"The US government cannot compel us to produce our customers' data stored in data centres outside the US"

This statement reminds me of that episode of Breaking Bad where an undercover cop tells Badger that "the Constitution doesn't allow cops to lie to suspects" or words to that effect.

It's really close to implying that the German Govt. is about as intelligent as a meth addict. He he he. Great!.

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Brit bank Barclays rolls out voice recog for telephone banking

Mephistro
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Facepalm

Sigh...

My take on this is that with all the loss of information due to sound codecs, noisy environments, different phone models and such, the voice recognition can't be too picky. This tolerance* will in turn make it relatively easy to make a program that can change any voice sample to mimic any customer's voiceprint.

So if this tomfoolery ever catches on, miscreants will be cruising the streets and shopping malls with sound recorders**, in order to capture customers voices and -with a bit of luck- even the security codes themselves. Of course, this last part assumes that the bank asks for the security codes to be spoken aloud (suicidal), instead of being input through the keyboard and then giving the customer a random list of common words to be used in the voice biometrics part.

The next step is using stolen/imported/whatever phones and SIM cards to, probably with the aid of a fat laptop, fool the voice recognition system.

"4: Profit!"

* & **: These two points have been already made by several commentards in this thread.

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Judge could bin $325m wage-fixing settlement in Silicon Valley

Mephistro
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Re: Add another 3 Zero's!!!!!!!

If the fine+compensation these companies have to pay is smaller than the money they 'saved' by acting illegally, they still have a big incentive to do it again. This 'agreement' is an insult to justice.

And any fine should also include the harm done to American IT workers as a whole, because the consequences of this collusion by the biggest IT employers in the USA indirectly affects every IT worker.

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YouTube will nuke indie music videos in DAYS, says Google exec

Mephistro
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Re: Don't Be Evil

" I have yet to meet someone who has side-loaded anything on their phone"

You should get out more and meet more people! ;-)

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Crooks use Synology NAS boxen to mine Dogecoin, yells Dell

Mephistro
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Happy

First, Bitcoin, now Dogecoin...

It's as if, one week after the tulip market crash in the Netherlands everybody started investing massively in, say, daffodils. Human gullibility, when paired with greed, knows no limits.

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Blame WWI, not Bin Laden, for NSA's post-9/11 intel suck

Mephistro
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Re: Mephhead Maphhead All Governments are ...(@ MasterBollocks)

Yawn...

Yawn...

Yawn...

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Mephistro
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Re: Mephhead Maphhead All Governments are ...(@ MasterBollocks)

Yawn...

Yawn...

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Mephistro
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Re: Mephhead Maphhead All Governments are ...(@ MasterBollocks)

Yawn...

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Mephistro
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@ John 62 (was Re: Mephhead Maphhead All Governments are ...(@ MasterBollocks))

"King William III introduced the first UK government bonds, predating the Federal Reserve by quite some time"

Both are different mechanisms, even when both can be used to finance wars. Government bonds have to be purchased by private investors, but the Fed can create money from thin air, though the citizens will be ultimately the ones that foot the bill, through inflation.

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Mephistro
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Re: Mephhead Maphhead All Governments are ...(@ MasterBollocks)

"I don't remember the Chewbacca Defence being providing verifiable facts you cannot debunk?"

Hello, Matt!

The facts you provided were either orthogonal to the issue at hand -e.g. the number of French casualties vs. the economic costs of the war- or downright false -e.g. the commies causing the German Hyper-Inflation. My former comment debunks all those 'verifiable facts' of yours, and whoever bothers reading both your comments and mine and check the 'facts' -someone with lots of patience- will probably agree with this statement.

As usual, your strategy seems to be ignoring the points in my comment, trying to transform them into straw man arguments, using elementary fallacies and peppering everything with ad hominems (you love that expression, don't you, Matt?).

I could go on debunking the quite obvious BS you spewed also in your last comment, but, you know what? that's not necessary. Both your comments and mine are in the record in these forums for everyone to see -and judge. In this last comment of yours, as usual, you're just rewording your former BS, dodging, misrepresenting, lying and ignoring the objections.

The part about why I read Das Kapital but wasn't able to finish Mein Kampf has a funny answer. I did it as a part of a sort of dare in an informal discussion group -basically a group of friends that met once or twice a week, originally to play computer games, tabletop games and roleplaying games while listening to loud music and smoking some pot. It took us almost a year to finish the thing and I even took some notes :-). I also coded some simulations to try to prove or disprove some of the points in Marx's book, but my dear Commodore 128 just lacked the horsepower to reach too significant conclusions in a reasonable time. Only two of us finished it, but everybody in the group participated in the discussions, which were really interesting.

And yes, Matt, I'm aware thad DK and MK are not history books. But as they were relevant to parts of the discussion, I listed them in my comment, but clearly separated from History books and magazines. The fact that you interpreted that as proof that I believed those two books to be History books says a lot about you.

Oh, and good luck with that Marathon race. I bet you'll be here in a few days telling us how you won the race, even when you were caught on film taking a cab halfway through the race and were disqualified by the organizers. It's more or less the same thing you use to do in Elreg forums. ;-)

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