* Posts by Gary Bickford

170 posts • joined 27 Jan 2009

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Microsoft researchers smash homomorphic encryption speed barrier

Gary Bickford

bit locker is old hat - self encrypting drives are already here

Bitlocker is about "data at rest", while homomorphic encryption is about data in process and SSL (for example) is about data in transit. At present nearly all server class hard drives are self encryping, and most consumer drives though it may not say so on the label. I am told that by the end of this year nearly all HDs and SSDS of all types wi) be. All Apple products have been for years. What's been missing is a standardized library, which now exists (OPAL) and a widely accepted API and user/OS interface, which is now in the process of being accepted - see the Drive Trust Alliance (http://drivetrust.org iirc)

An SED drive keeps all the data encrypted all the time using an internally generated 256 bit key. Another set of keys - passwords - can be set externally. Resetting the drive's internal key effectively erases the drive as brute force decryption would require millions of dollars worth of cpu time at present.

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Stephen Hawking reckons he's cracked the black hole paradox

Gary Bickford

Re: Would you like another dimension with that, sir!

This reminds me if an old SF story, where a scientist announces hechas found the equation that determines the entire universe. When he presents it on a chalkboard, one if his colleagues shoutts out, "You are incorrect! You have inverted a sign at step 14!"

Sadly, the scientist begins to erase his work. And as he does so, the Universe disappears.

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Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

Gary Bickford

EVERYTHING's syntax is easier than Perl's ...

Except maybe APL ... or Brainfuck. Actually in both cases its not the syntax per se. ;)

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Bloke sues dad who shot down his drone – and why it may decide who owns the skies

Gary Bickford

Re: FAA

I could just as easily argue the opposite - the excessive cost and delay involved in FAA (and FCC) approval has resulted in many newer advancements not being available, or too expensive to bring to market, or too expensive for normal people to buy. Case in point - 30 years ago $2500 aircraft radios had terrible sound quality and not very good reception or reliability compared with $100 CB radios, largely because the amortised cost of approvals by both agencies when even one resistor was changed on the circuit worked out to over $1000 (1980 dollars) per unit - after development costs. From what I've read even today much or most aircraft equipment is using seriously old technology for the same reason.

In truth, there is a happy medium somewhere.

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Gary Bickford

Re: the problem with drones...

Paintball would be interesting.

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Gary Bickford

Re: @h4rm0ny - What is the sky?

Re calling the police, it's probable that the police would not come for such a 'trivial' complaint, unless they were nearby and there was nothing else going on. They'd probably send someone in a day or two. Note that in that case, determine whose drone it was would be hard or imposdible for lack of evidence.

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Gary Bickford

Re: What is the sky?

Effective weapons range has a strong historical precedent. The original Three Mile Limit in maritime law was (according to references I read some time ago) based on the practical point that it was the maximum range of cannons of the time.

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Thinking of buying a Surface? Try a modular OLED Thinkpad first

Gary Bickford

Has Lenovo given up their spy/adware?

I recall that last year Lenovo was caught putting (what I read was) unremovable crapware onto their systems. Has that stopped? How do we know?

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Ed Snowden crocked cloud, says VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

Gary Bickford

There may be a way - split-key encryption

I was just discussing a similar issue with the CEO of Bright Plaza (and inventor of self-encypting drives) - http://brightplaza.com. Without going into gory detail, one can strongly encrypt a file in country X using split-key technology. Put portions of the key in countries with strong privacy, without moving them over compromised links (i.e. US pipes). Then the data can be transmitted anywhere and stored anywhere, securely. Done correctly this would prevent any legal method to force exposure of the key. To access the file, simply return the encrypted file to the original country (or transmit to another desired country, where the split key can be restored and the file decrypted.

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Gary Bickford

Full encryption, all the time - possible, but hard

One way to protect data from snooping is to maintain it in encrypted form, not just 'at rest' in hard drives etc., but in computer memory and even in processing. This sounds impossible, but it's not - quite. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homomorphic_encryption. This fairly new science or methodology performs all the minimal required computational activities - add, multiply, boolean ops, etc. - on encrypted data using encrypted algorithms. It was long thought impossible but now has been proven to work at least to some extent. IDK if Turing-completeness has been shown.

This methodology would allow a dataset and all of its operations be unsnoopable, even in a compromised computer whose memory can be read by a third party. I believe that this will eventually become an essential tool for the post-human set. A computer intelligence or 'uploaded human' is basically a large complex 'agent' that can move itself around the cloud, and process its functions on any computer in the cloud. But to maintain its identity it _must_ have boundaries, _must_ be able to keep secrets about its internal state. To do so in a complex unpredictable cloud where the agent (or components thereof) may be running on any computer anywhere, every bit of information within the agent must be protected even from memory dumps. AFAIK homomorphic encryption is the only way to assure that.

There is a huge price, which will make computer makers happy. Unless I'm wrong, or quantum computing or something takes over, this method will require two, three, or four orders of magnitude more processing power to accomplish any task.

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Silicon Valley now 'illegal' in Europe: Why Schrems vs Facebook is such a biggie

Gary Bickford

Re: Mainly a public sector issue

I'm not sure, but if an encrypted copy were sent to another jurisdiction (e.g. USA), but the keys were never sent out, that might provide backup with reasonably secure privacy. It would have to be sent back to EU before decryption, slowing things down a bit, but small price. The USA copy could be safely 'disclosed' in its encrypted form without violating privacy. Of course it would be necessary to use multiple keys, at least one for each small unit of data like a file.

It would also be useful to store the encrypted data on drives with Full Disk Encryption, with the disk key(s) also stored in a special system outside the jurisdiction. The US Fifth Amendment actually protects against forcing a person from disclosing a password to an FDE drive, _if_ the person has never written it down or disclosed it to anyone (verbally, email, whatever). The court case regarding a corporate person's privacy and what constitutes disclosure if the data is on a special server would be interesting.

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Gary Bickford

Re: Lars Agreed

It's worth adding that most of the objectionable provisions of the Patriot Act were already in place for use in the "War On Drugs", and had been in use for years. How do you think they nabbed that Panamanian dictator (and former CIA contractor), and all those Columbian drug lords?

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Gary Bickford

Re: Lars Agreed

In today's climate (no pun intended), the only real limitation is the cooling capacity of computing facilities. NSA's Signals Division spends more on computing than NASA's entire budget. Of course, that is matched by the National Reconnaissance Office and USAF satellite surveillance, which is also more than NASA's entire budget.

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Gary Bickford

Re: Agreed

IIRC at one time Sweden had a very strong privacy law, and an enforcement arm that could go into any business to assure that they weren't storing personal information unnecessarily, nor passing it to anyone else without permission. But that was a long while ago, IDK what the present situation is.

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Infosec bods rate app languages; find Java 'king', put PHP in bin

Gary Bickford

Re: Look at what they are actually measuring.

Indeed. It was proved back in the 1980s that black box testing can never (*) find more than about 30% of the bugs that exist.

(*) probabilistically speaking

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Gary Bickford

Re: It's not the language

Yes, using C would explain how Microsoft's OS and apps managed to avoid all those exploits over the years ... Oh, wait...

Historically, writing apps in low-level C has been by far the largest source of actual exploits, lately due to lack of language support for even basic protections. C is all very well for device drivers and kernels, but "programming without a net" s a bad methodology fir today's networked application environment.

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Work on world's largest star-gazing 'scope stopped after religious protests

Gary Bickford

Re: Bad Old Days

Your point about the 'sacred Moon' is actually something I, as an advocate of space development (see http://thespaceplan.com), am worried about. There is already a small but vocal cadre who say either that all of space should be left 'pure' for scientific research, or that it should be off limits to the 'evil humans who pollute everything". I am fairly confident that a significant attempt will be made to block all attempts at commercial or other non-governmental space activity, including habitation. I could see this both on the US and Euro stages, and in the UN.

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Gary Bickford

Re: this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything

Umm... Most of the extreme green activists are decidedly _not_ GOP.

Historically the GOP has been a much better supporter of science and research than the other side. Not completely unrelated: The GOP are also the party that introduced the first Civil Rights Act in the late 1800s, and voted almost unanimously for the very similar 1964 Act, passing it over the Democrats' attempts to defeat it. IIRC less than 1/3 of the Democrats voted for it. Somehow that fact never gets into the media's narrative, nor the education establishment.

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Who owns space? Looking at the US asteroid-mining act

Gary Bickford

No space faring nation has signed the Moon treaty

AFAIK no nation with the actual capability to go to Space has ever signed the Moon treaty. The wording of the Outer Space treaty is a subject of intense debate among experts. Iow the author knows not whereof he speaks, gas no dog in this fighg., and us I St trying to enable those the extreme greenies. I expect he will probably try to ban all human exploration to preserve the universe from "evil mankind". It appears he also is ignorant of biology. Humans exploring and populating Space, (and taking all of Earth Life along) to propagate across the solar system and beyond are doing nothing different than every species has always done, only the distance are larger. We are an expression of Life, carrying Life with us as we go.

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Balloon-lofted space podule hits 30,000m

Gary Bickford

Not space, tossing away helium, and where will the balloon end up?

I'm sorry, despite the company's name and FAA stipulation, IMHO that's not space. I would be happier with their system if they weren't letting a large amount of helium go bye-bye. And I don't see any reference to a method for managing the balloon after separation - will it just float around for a while, acting as a hazard to aviation? (Perhaps it has a 'dump valve' and a radar reflector, which would be better than nothing.) For the cost of another two hundred kilos the system could decompress mist of the helium and open its own parachute, ride down with the capsule, or (coolest but most difficult) zip open a couple of seams in the balloon to become its own parachute.

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Hacker mag 2600 laughs off Getty Images inkspots copyright claim

Gary Bickford

Lots of poor lawyers

Actually yes, there are a lot of poor lawyers. Like rock bands, a few make the headlines, most of them toil away in the legal equivalent of neighborhood bars. I read several years ago that at that time the average pay of sysadmins was about $65K, and of lawyers about $61K. I think this is because a large fraction of lawyers spend their days doing legal research for big enterprises, another large fraction work defending (or prosecuting) low level defendants. These latter don't get paid to sit around and wait for clients. I've been to the offices of independent lawyers defending DUI clients (not me) - they tend to have offices near the courthouse in very cheap office space with very used furniture.

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Falcon 9 fireworks display grounds SpaceX

Gary Bickford

Re: Ha, ha, ha

It's important to distinguish subsidies from purchases. SpaceX has not to my knowledge done any cost-plus contracts with NASA or any other gov't agency. But NASA does buy stuff from them, including paying for launches. I expect, but don't know, that NASA may also be paying for additional development costs for features that SpaceX wouldn't otherwise have any use for. That's also not a 'subsidy' but payment for product or service.

Recognize that their fixed price (the catalog price is on their website) being less than 1/2 the price of of the 'old space' firms like ULA has caused ULA in particular to reorganize their entire company to reduce their operational costs so they can compete with SpaceX. This is resulting in huge savings for NASA (notwithstanding the lack of Congressional wisdom.)

Several tourists have paid the $20 million or so it costs to do a stint in LEO on the ISS. But AFAIK nobody has proposed a cost to go around the moon under $400 million, and while some Russian oligarchs and Arab sheiks have paid that much for their new yachts, you can use a yacht for more than a week. For national agencies, just riding in a capsule around the Moon doesn't have enough benefit to justify the cost. A couple of companies have come up with lower cost moon landing proposals - Golden Spike company comes to mind - pricing at $1.5 billion for two people to land, stay a week, and return. But there hasn't been much interest. I think it's just too early.

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Gary Bickford

Re: Debug Question ?

In addition to other answers, accident forensics is an extremely interesting discipline of science, art, deduction, and thorough knowledge of physics in context. Fire investigators, collision investigators, and murder investigators have a lot in common - sometimes in the same incident!

I'll just make up an example. In the wreckage a particular piece of metal is found, which is bent and twisted in a certain way. By analyzing how it is bent and twisted a fairly good idea of which way the other components were affecting it can be determined. This can be confirmed using a Finite Element Analysis and simulation, played in slow motion to confirm. Minor scuffs or paint chips may be indicators of impact by another object, which leads to the question of what other object _could_ impact it in the situation, and where that object might be now. If there are burn marks, soot, etc., then from things like which parts of the twisted object's surfaces have soot on them it may be possible to determine whether the burn came before or after the twisting, and which direction the flame came from. Also, from the 'stretch marks' in the bent portion, one can notice whether the cracks have soot in them. If not, then the bending happened afterwards. A classic question in the event of an explosion is whether the metal is bent in (meaning an external impact) or out (meaning an internal explosion), or both (a missile impacted punching a hole, then exploded.)

NTSB examiners have many times basically re-assembled an entire airliner on a frame in a hangar, hanging as many of the pieces as possible on the frame in their original locations, to help determine what happened. I think that was done in the case of TWA flight 800, when they determined that an explosion inside one of the fuel tanks was the cause, leading them to the short in the wiring that went through the tank.

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The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

Gary Bickford

US Doctrine of governmental 'taking'

Tom,

The problem with your thesis is that under US law (legislation and precedent), if the City Council were to just zone the property as park or whatever, reducing the value of the property by $38.5 million, the present owner could take them to court for the difference in value. There are some circumstances under which it can be done, but in general any zoning or other action after the fact that reduces the value, or the owner's right to 'enjoy the benefits', without compensation for the lost value, is an illegal taking.

The most recent major case I can think of was in Oregon, where a business in Tualatin had a back parking lot that abutted the Tualatin River. The City decided to install a "River Walk" to allow folks to enjoy a walk along the river, and attempted to use Eminent Domain to take the land from the business. The business, which was about to lose several of its parking spaces, sued and won (IIRC after it went all the way to the Supreme Court). Had the City made the River Walk easement a condition of the original construction of the business, there would have been no case. This was about 10 years ago so I may not have all the facts right ...

What makes it interesting is that the right of the public to travel along the river is unimpeded - it's a navigable waterway. But there was no way to walk along it on that side at that point. I don't know what the final result was.

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Does Linux need a new file system? Ex-Google engineer thinks so

Gary Bickford

Multiple projects can be a good thing

Back in the heyday of Japanese 'Asian Tiger" when their cars were eating everyone's lunch, one of the methods they were using for development of new products (or so I read at the time) was to assign the same project to two or three independent teams, who each competed to come up with the best new design. At some point either a winning team was selected, or the best points of all of them were merged and the most successful team was given the lead to finish.

This seems more expensive, but it probably greatly reduces the probability of abject failure so is probably cheaper and almost certainly better in the long run.

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One in eight mobile calls in India drops out __ ___ middle of your chat

Gary Bickford

Not so bad ... :(

So, if I move to India I'll get better service than I have now? Cool!

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Neat but narky at times: Pebble Time colour e-paper watch

Gary Bickford

Re: I see the usefulness, but not at full price

Hey, you might as well send Pebble an email at least. Maybe they'll do something about your screen.

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Arctic ice EMBIGGENS, returns to 1980s levels of cap cover

Gary Bickford

Re: Good news for Polar Bears

Hmm. Increased snow, longer winter ... So, the next Ice Age is happening as some scientists have predicted for a while now?

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SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

Gary Bickford

Re: SpaceX Management is to blame, not a broken strut.

I wouldn't put it this strongly - Musk himself mentioned complacency, and it's easy to ascribe blame from outside. But I think in this general sense, you have a point. Until now, SpaceX has benefited from 'lean and mean', entrepreneurial style systems but with this failure, and especially as they progress toward man-rated systems, both the hardware and the systems for building and launching will inevitably have to move somewhat toward more rigorous systems with additional checks at every stage in the process, which will likely increase their operational and launch costs, although I don't expect them to go as far as the 'old school' methodologies. But at the same time, additional analysis may discover additional cost savings in other areas, as their technology matures, so it may be a wash.

SpaceX has already revolutionized the cost structure of orbital launches with the fixed price approach and roughly 50% cut in that price from traditional ones - ULA, Orbital ATK and Boeing are all working on reorganizations that will allow them to cut their costs to be more competitive.

Finally, assuming SpaceX gets the reusable first stage working with a 30% or better success rate, that will reduce the costs some more. I assume that SpaceX pricing will take into account the success rate so SpaceX will eat the costs of the failures to return the first stage. So in the long run, even with the increased carefulness, launch costs will continue to come down. ... I hope! :)

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Why SpaceX will sort out Sunday's snafu faster than NASA ever could

Gary Bickford

Re: NASA inefficiency: The hint is in the name

In fairness, everyone I've met from NASA has been a committed, dedicated, talented and skilled professional. It does have a big-organization decision methodology, replete with the usual politics and administrative complexities. But NASA has been very creative in providing a variety of support for outside efforts - they really want the 'people' to succeed where they are not allowed to go.

There was a milestone back in the late 1960s or early 1970s - I'm too lazy to look the date up just now. At the time, the NASA team were working on an advanced nuclear engine based on the NERVA program. The engine had progressed to the point where they had successful test stand firings, and were preparing to move to the next phase, building it into a new second stage for the Saturn V. This engine was considered essential to a variety of heavy-lift jobs after Apollo, notably a not-yet-official Mars project.

But certain members of Congress thought all of space was a boondoggle, and killed funding for the nuclear engine specifically to prevent any thought of going to Mars. This was the first time I know of when the politicians really imposed their rules on NASA, which had been working on the magical can-do Apollo project till then. NASA had no choice but to cancel the engine, and put the Mars project file on a shelf. And since that day, NASA has been subject to Congressional and Presidential whims, trying to survive the Washington bureaucracy as best as possible.

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Bitcoin, schmitcoin. Let's play piggyback on the blockchain

Gary Bickford

Transactions will be by far the more important application in the long run

I first learned from an online security professional (he teaches this stuff) that the importance of Bitcoin is not Bitcoin but the protocol, which will allow, for example, two entities who are remote from each other to transact business and sign and execute contracts, neither necessarily knowing who the other is or where they are depending on the situation, securely.

My favorite application is the following: This will become an enabling technology for space development and business where two parties to a transaction may be separated by thousands or millions of miles. Thus a party on Mars can agree to a contract with a party on the Moon or mining asteroids, with a complete distributed transaction record.

But in order for this to be viable in the long term, the system needs to support several orders of magnitude more transactions. This is analogous to the IPV4 vs. IPV6 problem. IPV6 was made large enough to support any foreseeable expansion of the internet address space.

The blockchain protocol needs to be expanded similarly, either to a size that contemplates the huge potential expansion in human population across the Solar System (one trillion people?), or incorporates a way for multiple blockchains run by different vendors (or governments) to be managed cooperatively with interoperability. In fact the latter would be a good way to do that, by adding one or a few extra fields to the transaction data to identify the vendor and protocol (if they aren't already there.)

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Ecobee3: If you're crazy enough to want a smart thermostat – but not too crazy – this is for you

Gary Bickford

Nu-heat bad, warm water radiant floor good

I wasn't familiar with Nu-heat so looked it up. While radiant floor heating has a lot going for it, _electric_ radiant floor is just a bad idea. Warm water radiant floors have been shown to save more than 30% on heating costs in at least some studies, and they can use things like solar to make the warm water. (Warm water systems are also completely different from hot water systems of the past.) Their biggest disadvantage is the cost and PITA of retrofitting to an existing house. But going back to the topic, radiant floors are also not a particularly good candidate for these thermostats that change the temp setting multiple times per day - their time constant is much longer.

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Gary Bickford

Re: Does it really save that much?

I think what we're all talking about here is that we're gradually going to build house HVAC and lighting systems that do the misering for you, which is a good thing.

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Gary Bickford

Re: Does it really save that much?

The problem I've noticed in the past with stats on the radiators is that there is a very inaccurate relation between temp near the radiator and in the rest of the room. But having a thermostat in every room, or even multiple per room, does make sense. As the article notes, this Eco-whatever unit averages those thermostats to determine the useful room 'temp'. Also, if a particular room is only used for one hour per day, it seems to me that it would be better to allow that room to drift, so having some knowledge or setting regarding the time of use would also be beneficial.

A co-worker used a Commodore Amiga back in the early 1980s to control his combination oil-fired hot water and solar hot water. In the summer oil-fired hot water is inefficient. So his system monitored the temperature outside and some other things, and balanced available solar heat with the oil-burner.

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Gary Bickford

Re: USA-isian only

A small number of electric baseboard heating systems in the US use line voltage (120VAC) thermostats - presumably for reasons of cheapness and simplicity.

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A pause in global warming? What pause?There was no pause

Gary Bickford

Lies, Damn Lies, and ...

... Statistics - the three kinds of lies, according to Mark Twain.

Bonus: "Suppose you were a [politician]. Now, suppose you were an idiot. But I repeat myself."

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The 'echo chamber' effect misleading people on climate change

Gary Bickford

Re: Consensus is not science

It's easy to say we know how CO2 works, but that is not the whole story. You left out the effects of, among other things, H2O, whose effects in both directions on climate are IIRC actually at least two orders of magnitude stronger than CO2, and whose effects are still poorly understood and modeled, with significant drivers of cloud cover at different elevations still not included in most models. A 1% variance in predicted cloud cover has a much greater influence on the heat equation than any projected variance in CO2.

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Gary Bickford

Political definitions

These apply to more than climate change, can be applied generally, or with regard to specific topics:

"Moderate" :== "Agrees with me"

"Commie Leftwing Wackjob" :== "more liberal than me"

"Fascist Rightwing Nutcase" :== "more conservative than me"

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YouTube Kids 'showed nippers how to make nooses, play with fire'

Gary Bickford

Re: Whats up doc?

I understand why those WWII cartoons have been kept under wraps for a long time. But now I'm thinking that in the right context (i.e. people of other races in one's own classroom), they might be a good education about how perceptions change, and enemies need not remain enemies. It's a question worth asking.

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Gary Bickford

So YouTube is becoming more like real life

The young-child subculture was documented by Piaget decades ago as having its own life, including a lot of things that parents were never aware of. Kids have always been exposed to much more than their parents recall from their own youth. I would argue that this is a kind of anti-viral process, where learning about the real world early helps prevent improper learning later. E.g. if you've seen cows and cats doing it, a lot of the mystery of sex goes away, and a proper, basic understanding of biology stands one in good stead in later life.

I knew how to make things early - I made my own toy box, including running the table saw, drill press, etc. at the age of five. I was also making fire and blowing (small) things up not long after, but I had an older brother who was also pretty good at teaching how to do things safely. For that matter, I was experimenting with household electricity more-or-less safely at the age of five. And we were making rockets and other things when I was no more than eight.

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SpaceX Dragon crew capsule in 'CHUTE ABORT drama – don't panic, no one died

Gary Bickford

Not dead, but dizzy

Watching the vid, my first thought was, "they won't be dead, but I'll bet they threw up!" - the capsule was swinging wildly until they main chutes took over. My second thought was, "How do they cram all that equipment into that tiny capsule? Especially considering that under the nose cone is the complete exit and entrance hatch system, plus no doubt umbilicals for connecting the capsule to the space habitat, plus probably some other stuff. Totally amazing engineering, good job all round.

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VMware sued, accused of ripping off Linux kernel source code

Gary Bickford

Re: interesting

Unremarked idiosyncracies can be a very powerful tool for proving ownership. Mapmakers have used this technique for at least 100 years, probably more. They will purposely insert 'mistakes', or extremely minor variations (possibly as small as a subtle shift in a pattern for swamps, or a street that ends 1/2 block short or has an extra bend in it), in several places around the map. Then if another map ever shows up with those glitches, it's proof that map was copied.

A software library could do that as well, without violating accuracy, numeric rigor, etc.

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Google MURDERS Google Code, orders everyone out to GitHub and co

Gary Bickford

Please keep linkage to the replacement projects

Following the classical rules of web usability (honored unfortunately more in the breach than in the observance), for every one of those projects that actually survives being moved, Google should provide a valid link to the new home, for at least five years. As numerous usability experts have noted, it costs almost nothing for a company that reorganizes its website, to provide a simple redirect/link map from old website URLs to new ones. As a search engine, I would think Google knows this better than anyone. So whattay say, Google?

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DARPA: We KNOW WHO YOU ARE... by the WAY you MOVE your MOUSE

Gary Bickford

They should try the Kaje Picture Password SAAS

I've actually talked with Novetta, they may become an affiliate. The Kaje Picture Password SAAS (http://ka.je) and follow on products brings two things - cognitive testing and separation of password information from identity. The SAAS can support almost any type of Proof of Knowledge, and could support this biometric method as well.

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Samsung snub sends Qualcomm into a spin over Snapdragon 810

Gary Bickford

Re: Think of it another way...

It can be taken farther - this is from the boat industry but I'm sure it happens in the car industry. At various times Volvo engines were actually made by Perkins, and Perkins engines were made by Volvo or Kubota, or Isuzu or something. I forget the specifics, but in many cases the exact same make and model engine might have come from three different actual makers. Conversely, the same engine might be labeled under three or more different makes and models.

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China 'upgrades' Great Firewall. Oh SNAP! There goes VPN access

Gary Bickford

Time for a steganographic VPN

A VPN could be implemented as a stream of encoded normal-text, using some long standard text. It could use any part of the text - extra spaces, or substituted words. Making it still seem like normal text to censors while having some efficiency might be difficult.

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Why Microsoft's 3D HoloLens goggles aren't for Google Glassholes

Gary Bickford

A lot of potential

With a bit of effort I could probably come up with 1/2 dozen new applications that folks might use everyday. For starters - some carmakers are talking about heads-up displays reflected off the windshield, but it might be better to just wear these and have the car talk to them. You could include stereo cameras on all four corners of the cabin, giving stereo vision that can see over the car in front of or behind you. These might be the same ones the car is using for automatically maintaining distance, monitoring road conditions, etc.

Right now I'm using a ViewSonic projector to display a 1080P image on my wall for a second screen, and I'm running the Compiz Desktop Cube to give me four workspaces. All that could be done inside the goggles with no worries about darkening the room. I've wanted 3D workspaces / "desktops" since at least 1978, when I first started working with 3D programming. With these goggles I could wander around the house, go get a drink, etc. while watching a video, or shift from sitting to standing, change rooms, whatever while working.

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I'll build a Hyperloop railgun tube-way in Texas, Elon Musk vows

Gary Bickford

Build the test track between Houston and Dallas

Then expand it until it reaches both cities. Or near DFW, between Dallas and Fort Worth. Both of those routes are good candidates for a route. The slog by car between Dallas and Houston is a huge PITA for many folks, at 240 miles it's shorter than the SF-LA route, Texas is a better entrepreneurial environment, and the only train route takes 22 hours as it goes through San Antonio.

Dallas-Fort Worth (would probably actually be Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth) is only about 40 miles, so that's a pretty reasonable commercial beta. That's a developed (metroplex) environment, so cost per mile would be higher unless the State provides some support regarding the right of way.

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Gmail falls over after hitting 'Great Firewall of China' – report

Gary Bickford

Re: Protectionism

Yes. Google + US might well consider filing a WTO complaint.

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No, I won't SNORKEL in your server room at STUPID-O'CLOCK

Gary Bickford

One large bank - initials start with "J" - had tens of thousands of servers in the basement, which all went under 12 feet of water. Fortunately they did have a backup server plant in New Jersey so actual operations were transferred over pretty quickly. But the cost of lost equipment was $millions. If I recall correctly they did not replace the basement server room, but built a new one somewhere else.

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