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* Posts by Charles 9

3695 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

So, Linus Torvalds: Did US spooks demand a backdoor in Linux? 'Yes'

Charles 9
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Re: Don't know about that

I know there's at least one culture that intentionally swapped their nods and shakes to stave off trouble from oppressive overlords while at the same time end-running a "cannot tell a lie" canon. Even after they were freed, the trend stuck.

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Hiroshi Yamauchi, bizlord who gave the world Donkey Kong, dead at 85

Charles 9
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Re: Not sure if it's true....

Just a slight pedant alert. In Japanese, when they're trying to accommodate a foreign word, they differentiate it by using an alternate phonetic alphabet: katakana (vs. the traditional hiragana you used).

To translate the word "monkey" into katakana would be 「モンキ」, though as you say Japanese has a direct term for monkey and wouldn't need katakana.

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Charles 9
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Joke

Oh? I'd have figured either poison mushrooms or infection from a turtle bite.

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I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Charles 9
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Re: Nice article, but way over-simplistic

1) Isn't that what the criminal code is for: to weed out dangerous elements like power-mongers?

2) There's the condition of "ignorant bliss". Unless you say the desire to live is innate and fixed, there may be a point where people enter the world not knowing better.

3) There will still be a desire to improve things. The thing is, the best designs tend to come from people who can devote their energy to the task. Thus why we value masterpieces and such. Even in the past there were people like artists who found natural talents and made use of them.

4) There will still be a need for doctors, but the economics of medicine will change. Doctors would be doctors because they WANT to be doctors, not out of any economic pressure. I will concede there may be a point where the desire to be a doctor could be too weak, so another thought process would be needed.

5) Don't be so sure. We're clever little ticks and since pathogens needs to interact, there will always be ways in. There's current research into Quorum Sensing disruption, for example (though I concede the supposed adaptation-free QS disruptors might still be evolved beyond perhaps by rotating QS indicators).

6) Did you know they are researching ways to produce sythetic hydrocarbons using the excess energy from nuclear reactors? Navies in particular are funding this research since it reduces logistics for aircraft carriers. This goes to the bigger problem of needing more ubiquitous sources of energy.

7) Explain why it would require complete and immediate world cooperation for this to work.

8) Like with doctors, there will still be a need for policemen (think career cops; some people WANT to protect and server).

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Charles 9
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Re: Bleak

But it speaks to a bigger problem. Humans have a maintenance cost (we eat, drink, require space to live, etc.) which taxes into currently-limited resources: resources that robots can't improve anytime soon. What the unrest in the Middle East (and occasionally in Europe with the odd rumbling in North America) tells me is we are approaching a "danger zone" where the population is tipping beyond a sustainability threshold that can trigger resource conflicts (which historically tend to spawn the worst wars). When you need fewer people to sustain the world, the question eventually goes to, "Do you really NEED that many people on the planet?"

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Charles 9
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Re: Not going to happen

"No they can't. That's just wrong and the evidence is all around us. Most people when asked "how much do you want" really, deep down, think "all of it". What it is hardly matters at all."

But then, after the think it over REALLY really well they realize, especially for some things, "Well...maybe not ALL of them." I mean, having ten million T-shirts is one thing...until you notice the size of your closet. Imagining having all of the cake sounds nice until you actually get around to eating it (otherwise, the buffet business wouldn't be viable). There ARE limits. Part of our life experience is learning them.

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Charles 9
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Re: Hardly new idea

"Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought of as a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt. ;-)"

Trouble is, that adage falls apart when the presumption of idiocy is already beyond the point of doubt. At which point, you have nothing to lose anymore and might as well speak out on the chance of removing the possibly-erroneous assumption.

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Charles 9
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Re: We work because we *have* to

"And it's not because of how much it costs to put food in our mouths, it's because of the cost of having somewhere to live: something which requires almost zero ongoing input of labour (bar a small amount of maintenance), but which has a huge scarcity premium."

An interesting thought that, too. And there is a tradeoff to the rural/city equation. It's easier in cities to find what you need because everything's closer, but BECAUSE of that, space is at a premium, leading to what you describe (you can see it in any big city--New York is notorious for it). OTOH, rural space is perhaps underutilized in terms of human capacity--likely because being sustainable there is more complicated.

And since we are not in an age where vital resources like energy are ubiquitous, there's no cure-all solution as of yet.

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Charles 9
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Re: If you live in a lake, it takes longer to walk to the well

"The step change comes when it becomes practical to have semi autonomous robots doing jobs that currently we have to use people for - cleaning toilets, making burgers, assembling motorbikes."

One thing we've learned in the automation push is that robots tend to be at their best when the process is controllable. You always assemble the car the same way. you always build microchips the same way.

When the environment becomes less controllable, then Murphy strikes. There's debris in front of the toilet (including possibly a passed-out drunk) that confuses the robot heading for the toilet, or the burger doesn't flip right and instead flops elsewhere. Ever noticed there aren't really robots for picking tree fruits or for picking grapes without breaking a bunch of them? Many kinds of crops have such natural randomness to them that even our cleverest minds can't build robots that can handle them: especially when a soft touch is needed (thus they tend to compromise on man-machine interfaces where the machine provides assistance only--a simpler way for human pickers to collect the crops).

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Charles 9
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Re: I see a flaw.

"There are some solutions. The government could issue a basic income, perhaps, though funding it would be a great difficulty. Or abandon market solutions entirely for the most vital goods like food and go full-on communist, nationalising production."

Until then, however, some of our most precious resources are still limted. Food, water, energy. Without them, we're basically dead, destitute, or otherwise in dire straits. While reading this article, I thought back to Star Trek's universe and recalled some of the things that allowed its society to function. Two things in general allowed what was essentially communism to both be accepted and work there: ubiquitous energy (so much energy ordinarily they never felt much of a concern it would run out except in specialized circumstances--we're talking routine compact generators capable of multiple GW) and the ability to use that energy to fulfill the other needs (synthesizers and replicators--the ability to convert energy into different forms of matter). We would need that level of ubiquity to be able to accept what's proposed in the article. Otherwise, the potential for it running out will always keep us, at least nominally, at the neighbor's throat in the event of a crisis.

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Torvalds shoots down call to yank 'backdoored' Intel RdRand in Linux crypto

Charles 9
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Re: Host key generation is more of a risk

Some implementations store some of the random data on shutdown to help jumpstart the generators on next boot. That would reduce the window of vulnerability in that regard.

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Charles 9
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Re: Who can tell?

But we just read that mixing RNGs in particular ways can't hurt and only help. How can mixing RNGs reduce their reliability? Are you saying an adversary could create a stream designed to negate (and thus sabotage) an RN stream? Or is something else involved?

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Charles 9
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Re: Android

Android is based a lot on Linux, and /dev/random IIRC isn't too different from its predecessor. However, since most Android devices use ARM, it doesn't have access to a hardware RNG. It can draw in a number of sources of "noise" like network transmissions and user input to help with the entropy issue, but perhaps it lacks the entropy for a more serious implementation.

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Charles 9
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Re: drivers/char/andom.c

There is research into alternate sources of entropy from other parts of the CPU. Given a sufficient workload, the registers and other internal workings of the CPU are volatile enough to create a source of entropy (this is the theory behind HAVEGE). Perhaps more research into other independent sources of entropy could be found (I can't think of any, though, off the top of my head that couldn't be subverted in some way).

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Life … moves … in … slow … motion … for … little … critters … like … flies

Charles 9
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Re: For killing flies.....

I've seen them. They're really popular in Southeast Asia. Clear your room of skeeters and get some exercise at the same time. They're actually available in America, too, though I disagree with the prices.

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Charles 9
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Re: Killing flies ...

Experience tells me they do go forward but can react to the air from your hand. I've found better success with a cupped hand. The wind forces are different, so the fly can't detect it as easily, plus it can catch the fly in a trap if they think the cup is safe (it isn't; when you slam down, you make a shockwave in the air trapped by your hand; said shockwave can be surprisingly effective on the fly even if you don't directly smash it). I've had some success swatting houseflies bare-handed this way. Also, try tensioning your arm so that you slam down as quickly as possible when you release.

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Charles 9
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Re: Time Perception.

Something has occurred to me: something related to the perception of time.

Perhaps our perception of time can be affected by state of consciousness, too. I once recall a few mornings when I was groggy, having just gotten up, and happened to look at the wristwatch I had at the time. I could've sworn I was seeing the seconds tick by pretty quickly, but by the time I was fully awake, things seemed to be normal again. Now, I knew time hadn't sped up while I slept, so I wondered if grogginess caused us to perceive time differently as well. Have there been experiments into the perception of time in differing states of consciousness?

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Charles 9
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I'd always figured the big reason small animals perceived faster was simply because their nervous systems have less distance to travel. Barring everything else, neural impulses still travel at some fraction of the speed of light, and inter-synapse chemical reactions should still propagate at the same speed regardless of species, so all speeds being equal, it's quicker to navigate a two-inch brain than a ten-inch one.

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Psst.. Know how to hack a mobe by radio wave? There's $70k+ in it for you

Charles 9
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Re: Google wins

Too bad I don't use mobile Chrome. I tend to stick with Opera Classic. It's a bit clunky these days, but it doesn't crash a lot the way the Webkit-based Opera does.

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Do you trust your waiter? Hacked bank-card reader TEXTS your info to crims

Charles 9
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Re: The U.S. Credit Card industry *MUST* go to 100% adoption of smart chip cards

I'd like to know how sporadic they account (as in, how many minutes per day on average). Plus, many of these mom-and-pops may lack the resources or the desire to step up, meaning the credit card companies face a possible trade-off: force them and some of them could walk away. Plus, card companies in the US may not see enough of a risk-benefit to moving to Chip-and-PIN (US laws ALREADY protect consumers in the event of credit card fraud, capping liability). They already have robust anti-fraud measures in place, and this does very little for the shoulder-surf-and-slug or for e-commerce where you're basically back to the old-fashioned way. Also, there's a competing push: contactless cards.

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Charles 9
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Re: The U.S. Credit Card industry *MUST* go to 100% adoption of smart chip cards

They CAN'T.

Some places are SO remote that TELEPHONE access is sketchy. These kinds of places aren't even on stripes but still use the good-old-fashioned IMPRINTING machine. If you can't convince these types of people to switch to stripes, how in blazes are you going to take them the additional step(s) needed to to to Chip-and-PIN?

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Charles 9
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Re: Two part PIN?

Still a compromised terminal can act as a Man In The Middle. Last I checked, the terminal performs some negotiation with the card prior to performing the transaction. Unless a number of exploits have already been addressed and new cards issued, these transactions can be altered to make the cards more vulnerable.

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Chap unrolls 'USB condom' to protect against viruses

Charles 9
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Trollface

Re: Pedant alert

All right, then, nano- or picocomputers to satisfy the trend.

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Charles 9
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Re: Such 2-pin power-only USB cables have been around for years

"Anyone else notice that in Asia they provide public 'Charging Stations' in airports, ferry terminals and almost anywhere. Meanwhile in some parts of the Americas, if you plug into a wall outlet at the airport, you'll be instantly tasered half to death and dragged off to serve 20-years."

Airlines are catiching on to the idea of charging stations. Depending on the airport, you can find them for your favorite airline free of charge (DTW, for example, has plenty of them at Delta gates). As for doing this more generally, I've given it a thought. Could make for an interesting startup opportunity.

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'Liberator' 3D printed gun enters London's V&A Museum

Charles 9
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Re: What kind of 3D printing... Ammunition & Philosophy & Clarification

While nothing is more research, researching a COVERT means of killing a man is not only highly researched, but also due to its nature full of TRADE SECRETS. Especially since these can be tools of the state (like the ricin umbrella), so plans tend to stay away from the public eye. Plus, with each discovery, the circumstances become more difficult. Right now, distance and security at the gate are the main things protecting VIPs who must speak in public. A gun would beat the distance problem in a way few others could, and those others would have difficulty beating the security at the gate (springs are invariable metallic, a bow would be harder to conceal and still be effective, especially if they can't be metal limbs, and a blow weapon would probably lack accuracy at range if its size is limited).

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Charles 9
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Re: What kind of 3D printing...

Plus there's the matter of the reduced metal content: handy for someone wanting to get past a metal detector and still be able to kill at 5-10 meters or so. The only thing you'd need beyond the liberator is a nonmetallic cartridge (has anyone tried using a ceramic slug in a carbon fiber casing or the like in one of these, resulting in a fully-nonmetallic distance weapon)?

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Microsoft's swipe'n'swirl pic passwords LESS secure than PINs, warn researchers

Charles 9
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Re: Reposition Characters OnScreen

Probably because some people rely on muscle memory to recall things like PINs. Some people don't like it when you mess with muscle memory.

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Charles 9
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No, more like downvotes to an overly-used cliche. Also, the thing about mobile devices is that it's more difficult to type things in. That's why a focus on gestures and PINs (which can use larger buttons). How many times have you missed on a virtual keyboard?

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Charles 9
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Re: Extra dimensions!

Write your signature twice at your normal speed. Note how different the two of them are, not just in appearance but also in time taken. Circumstances can alter our strokes and our timing, meaning unless a timing-based check is forgiving, we have a passing fair chance of missing. That's probably why timing hasn't been used much in current gesture checks like those seen in Android.

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TWO can play this 64-bit mobile game, says Samsung, crossly

Charles 9
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Re: 32bit NT4.0 Enterprise

There is concern when it comes to pointers, which would have to be twice as big. Also, data alignment could be more costly for small values, as not accessing an aligned memory space usually incurs an access time penalty. So there are tradeoffs.

Another thing I've been thinking about is the increased address space could play into increased memory mapping of devices and so on. Would there be any benefit to, say, mapping the internal flash or some of the other internal devices (I suspect many of them are already mapped in the 32-bit space as few devices go beyond 2GB RAM).

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Charles 9
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Re: Which fab are Apple using?

"Samsung is also working toward designing their own ARM cores like Apple (and Qualcomm) are doing. The current Exynos CPUs are using ARM designed cores so they are comparable to the Apple A4 and A5, where Apple designed the SoC but dropped in ARM cores licensed from ARM, Ltd. It is quite possible Samsung's 64 bit ARM will be their own core, rather than using the A53 or A57."

No argument there. Odds are Samsung's 64-bit CPU will be an ARMv8-based Exynos SoC.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why oh why

"But when Epic came up demonstrating their new game, at the same event, they said they got 5x the speed of iPhone 5. And they attributed that only to the 64-bit architecture. I'm not exactly sure how graphic calculations benefit from more bits."

I suspect this was less to do with the bit count than with the increased register space (more and bigger registers), allowing for faster memory transfers.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why oh why

But in terms of moving raw data, if a register is twice as wide, it can hold more in it (8 bytes vs. 4). Since the busses are also twice as wide, it shouldn't take twice as long to load 8 bytes onto a 64-bit register vs. 4 bytes onto a 32-bit one. Plus, 64-bit CPUs tend to have more registers than their 32-bit counterparts, meaning more transfer space, potentially meaning faster memory transfers.

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Google swaps out MySQL, moves to MariaDB

Charles 9
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Probably due to architectural differences. Whereas MariaDB is basically a fork of MySQL, designed to be a drop-in replacement, PostgreSQL is a whole other beast which basically means a learning curve.

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Charles 9
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I guess to each his own. If your setup isn't overly complicated, migrating to MariaDB shouldn't break anything. It's designed as a drop-in so everything can be preserved, usually. Mine was simple enough: a few CLI commands and everything ported no sweat. But, your mileage may vary. It's worth at least a look and perhaps some time on a test rig.

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ATTACK of the ROBOT BANKERS brings stock market to its knees

Charles 9
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Re: Attack of the High Frequency Trading systems.

As for the idea that a transaction fee will stop HFTs, given that the companies with the capital to build and operate an HFT routinely operate with billions of dollars at a time, any kind of non-exorbitant transaction fee would likely be absorbed by them as The Cost of Doing Business. And beyond that, suppose these companies decided to end-run around transaction fees?

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Charles 9
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Re: Attack of the High Frequency Trading systems.

But there are too many bags for that to happen, and more keep on coming every day. Part of the HFT's job is to FIND the bags...FIRST. And when a trade tales MILLIseconds, every NANOsecond counts. This is "first in wins" taken to inhuman extremes.

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Charles 9
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Re: What is a stock market for?

I suspect any attempt to curb HFT outside of the law (and the financial sector is one of the most influential in government) would just be sidestepped if necessary by means of their own feeds or markets.

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BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

Charles 9
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Correct. Rose was left alive in Pete's World along with the cloned Ten (which I'm sure most are figuring is what David Tennant will be reprising for the special). Given the clone's circumstances, this would also allow for Tennant not to have to look younger for the special, either (since the cloned Ten was more human than Time Lord and therefore aged).

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Charles 9
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Re: The geek in me is compelled to mention...

Never thought of it in those terms. My thought was that the Other, like Eight during the Great Time War, was probably forced into some bad but necesary things. He couldn't have done them "in the name of the Doctor" because this was before he became the Doctor (and that's why I don't think it's Eight; at least Ten acknowledged what Eight did--regrettably, yes, but it didn't seem like Eight abandoned the title during the Time War and resumed it when becoming Nine). I think of it like ultimate motive: why did the Doctor become (and assume the title of) the Doctor in the first place? It's not as if this has been discussed in significant detail, has it?

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Charles 9
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Re: The geek in me is compelled to mention...

But he also got flak from the old school at the same time, so there's pressure in both directions.

It'll be curious to see how things are steered once Peter Capaidi becomes Twelve. After a rash of young Doctors, I have to wonder how an older one will be handled these days.

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Charles 9
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Re: The geek in me is compelled to mention...

I think Moffat's been doing that since Matt Smith became Eleven. There's already a lot of edgy stuff and looks into the Doctor's sordid past.

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Charles 9
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Re: The geek in me is compelled to mention...

My money's on 0, as in Hurt's the Other: the Doctor before he was the Doctor.

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NIST denies it weakened its encryption standard to please the NSA

Charles 9
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Re: American Institutions

But then who do you trust for anything with global relevance? Who's to say YOUR non-US government isn't doing the same thing and just weren't caught doing it? The REAL real problem is we're at a lot point in the world of trust, and trust is an essential part of security. But in terms of security, our trust has become so ephemeral we're almost to the unusable "trust no one" state.

We're floating towards Descartian "Evil Genius" territory, and unfortunately (Sorry, Doc Smith), there is no genuine, imitation-proof symbol of trustworthiness in the universe (at least that we know of).

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Charles 9
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Re: Paranoia

Two phrases come to mind. One: "Paranoids are just people with all the facts." Two: "It isn't paranoia if everyone really IS out to get you."

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Charles 9
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Re: Lying is still not always legal

"Just because you can't tell the truth doesn't mean you're allowed to lie. If, for example, you are an executive at a corporation, making statements about company activities which are later shown to be objectively false is actually illegal under SEC regulations, and you can end up in prison for that (though more slowly than you might for telling the truth). The only thing that you can do with impunity is refuse to comment."

Unless the "refusal to comment" amounts to an implicit affirmative answer, since if they weren't involved, they would be able to answer in the negative. IOW, a "we can neither confirm nor deny" answer basically equates to an answer meaning "we're keeping a secret".

So what if you're caught between two laws, one saying you can go to prison for telling the truth, another saying you can go to prison for lying, the question is a direct yes/no, and vacillating amounts to admission?

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Google scrambles to block backdoors

Charles 9
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Re: I really don't understand this move@Doug S

And what if your data goes into the cloud ALREADY encrypted by an open-source and well-vetted algorithm? Remember, while the US itself may not publish codes they can't crack, last I checked they didin't restrict the IMPORT of outside algorithms, and there are plenty of sharp minds outside the US.

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That earth-shattering NSA crypto-cracking: Have spooks smashed RC4?

Charles 9
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Re: The sky is falling?

Wiki covers the subject pretty well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RC4

And relax, it's full of citations where you can get further information.

In a nutshell, RC4 has flaws that reveal key information about the plaintext in the cyphertext. Using that, one could reconstruct the plaintext with some patience (or access to a cloud because RC4 usually doesn't have a lot of bits). Klein's attack, for example, could analyze the cyphertext from a bunch of WEP-encrypted frames and use them to recover the WEP key. Since it could be done over the air and in a short amount of time, WEP was essentially no good anymore.

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Charles 9
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Re: Really ..

So why haven't they done anything about quantum encryption, which if performed properly is provably secure by science (the flaws in it have come from implementation flaws, not in the fundamental theory)? Unless you're saying the NSA has defied international science (including science outside US control) and created a way to break Quantum Key Distribution undetectably.

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Charles 9
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Re: OMG, the laziness!

But then again, how can Alice be certain she's meeting Bob and not Eve posing as Bob (and before you bring it up, Eve's a tomboy and an expert male crossdresser)?

The most difficult part of a secure conversation is STARTING it, because that requires a level of trust. Thing is, how do you do that in a DTA environment: one where anyone you meet could be the enemy?

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