* Posts by Charles 9

4149 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?

Charles 9
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Re: All this reminds me of something from Jerry Pornuelle

You forget. Every aircraft carrier currently in service in the US Navy is powered by a reactor. That was the idea: use leftover reactor power during quiet moments to churn out jet fuel, saving the logistics of porting to get more.

Anyway, put this together with much-safer (and perhaps much-smaller) reactors and you can see a track to true energy independence.

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Buses? PAH. Begone with your filthy peasant-wagons

Charles 9
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Re: Has the author not heard of TFLs Live Bus Arrivals?

Does little good for you, though, if you have to make a connection that never coincides...

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Charles 9
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Re: the above problems point to one root cause

There's also the matter of zoning. It's easier to make one large commercial or industrial zone with all the associated infrastructure set up for it: like with like.

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Charles 9
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Re: The best urban transport

"You get cold & wet walking to your car or waiting for a bus."

That's why they invented parasols. At least you can use one en route to the car or while standing at the bus stop. Once you're inside, though, you're in an encapsulated vehicle that keeps you dry. Cycles are open-air and not well-suited for inclement weather.

Manual bicycles are also ill-advised for areas that are full of uneven terrain. Hilly San Francisco springs to mind, as does a place I know nearby that's in the Appalachian foothills.

Perhaps what's needed is an encapsulated bicycle with optional motor a la a Derny. This would be the most versatile kind of vehicle: no wider than a bicycle, protects from bad weather, and optional external power in case of uphill climbs or other tricky terrain.

Then again, there's still the matter of large shopping trips. How will we get our stuff (too much for the bike) home without having to do a boomerang trip with a vehicle rental?

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Q*bert: The Escher-inspired platform puzzler from 1982

Charles 9
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Re: There was a lot of originality back then

Another note about that 6502. It was doing nearly all the sound work. There wasn't a dedicated sound chip in Gottlieb/Mylstar's games. They simply hooked the 6502 to a DAC and let it have at it. The only thing that wasn't generated by the 6502 was the voices created by the Votrax SC-01 speech chip. BTW, I call it a bit of comical sound genius to direct the SC-01 to play random phonemes as needed to produce unintelligible speech. About the only time the SC-01 plays a predetermined sound is for death screams when Q*Bert or Coily fell off the pyramid.

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GCHQ: We can't track crims any more thanks to Snowden

Charles 9
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Re: How to eliminate drug lords

Fine, then, leave the existential threat there to destroy you...

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Charles 9
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Re: How to eliminate drug lords

Because the country may not be on friendly terms with you. Meaning you're between a rock and a hard place. Going after him's bad enough, but you can't leave him there, either.

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Charles 9
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Re: How to eliminate drug lords

"If you think you've found a criminal, get a warrant."

And if the criminal is operating in a country that won't respect your extradition request?

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Armouring up online: Duncan Campbell's chief techie talks crypto with El Reg

Charles 9
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"All you armchair security experts are aware there are protocols for blinding traffic analysis, right?"

And there are ways to beat the blinders, too. You don't need traffic analysis when you pwn one of the endpoints.

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Charles 9
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Re: a nice try....

"That assumption is still too strong, since many compilers operate on input beyond the source, and the toolchain required to build an executable often involves more than just a compiler. Compilers and other build tools may embed timestamps, for example. They may need to embed references to libraries and other data that's outside both the compiler's control and the application source corpus."

Timestamps can be matched up, and the experiment assumes no external libraries (self-contained source) and considers any assemblers, linkers, etc. to be part of the self-contained suite. gcc IIRC is self-contained in this regard.

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Charles 9
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Re: a nice try....

"The whole thing seems to be dependent on an unjustified (and demonstrably incorrect) assumption: that two functionally equivalent programs produced from the same source by two different compilers will (always?) have bit for bit identical executable code."

They get around this by making the two different compilers compile a third one. No matter the result, as long as the third compiler acts deterministically, then when you compile the third compiler using the results of your first two compiles (both of which should be functioning identically since both were built from the same source), then the end result should be two identical compilers. If not, either (a) the third compiler is nondeterministic, or (b) one or both of the first two were tainted.

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Charles 9
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Re: Horses for courses

Maybe not ROT13 but perhaps something just a touch more difficult like an unpatterned substitution cypher (ROT13 is patterned). I once had fun playing with a cypher based on a #, and X, and a dot. If Big Sis is a bit smarter, perhaps something a bit more elaborate to mask spaces and punctuation.

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Charles 9
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Re: Abandon SMTP

"Set the wayback machine to the 1980s and see how X.400 looks as a concept. An email setup designed from the ground up to support authentication, anti-tamper, encryption, and so on. Even been proven to work, on battlefields and the like."

Also as I recall proven to be a right mess. It's just plain too complex, as anyone who's had to untangle a misdelivered X.400 message can attest. You need a secure solution, yes, but it has to be a SIMPLE secure solution. Otherwise, you run into the wrong end of the secure-vs.-easy to use scale. In order for something to actually be practical, it has to be in the MIDDLE of the scale: BOTH secure AND easy to use--otherwise people either end-run around the encryption or it'll be full of holes.

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Charles 9
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Re: Truecrypt is a threat

"The prosecution have to prove on the balance of probabilities that you have not handed over the keys..."

The argument is that TrueCrypt has deniable encryption. And the plods are well aware of TrueCrypt's ability to house a hidden volume. Which means, unless the outer volume is full (which prevents the creation of a hidden volume), you could be hiding something and you're lying (which is what anyone with something to hide would do). There's your balance of probabilities right there.

"Also, the penalty isn't life imprisonment, but that's a side issue."

It's an "infinite loop" punishment. Each time you refuse, you get thrown in jail and the encrypted volume is still there, unopened, meaning the moment you get out they can just ask you again, ad infinitum.

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Charles 9
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Re: My only comment

I'm curious about VeraCrypt, but the fact it's hosted on CodePlex, a Microsoft site (and using a Microsoft-based license), raises a cautious eyebrow. Why here and not, say, SourceForge?

I'm currently trying DickCryptor on and off. It specializes in whole-volume encryption, but it's not as well-rounded. I may give VeraCrypt a test spin.

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Charles 9
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Re: Truecrypt is a threat

That may be true in Britan, but people in America are protected by the Fifth Amendment, where one has the right to remain silent and not self-incriminate. Even if compelled to speak by subpoena, one may simply answer, "I plea the Fifth." Not even Congress could get around that answer, not even during the famous Red Scare.

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No NAND's land: Flash will NOT take over the data centre

Charles 9
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Re: Last hurrah

"Not sure how well a cold disk will respond after a few years on the shelf."

Compared to flash, I hear it stores better. Meanwhile, tape is only economical these days for enterprises. For the consumer market, it's pretty much hard drives or bust for the time being. To that end, I double-provision with a one-year rotation and use parity archives within for the occasional bit rot.

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Charles 9
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Re: "what comes after is breathing heavily down the neck of flash"

I think the term you're looking for is "meme". The term has ascended beyond its clinical definition, much as "xerox" and (as mentioned above) "drive" have become memes. Who cares if they're not exactly right? They still evoke an appropriate image, just as the icon of a floppy disk still evokes the image of saving, so we're gonna use it regardless.

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YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

Charles 9
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Re: Very pleased with Linux

I think that's a "just in case" maneuver, in case there is a need for an essential Windows-only software that's not WINE-friendly.

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Movie industry's evil plan to destroy the internet is going precisely nowhere

Charles 9
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Re: Cheaper content

Guess you've never heard of "captive markets" before.

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Charles 9
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Re: My tuppence worth....

They're complaining that they're not getting as much as they figure they can get. It's like expecting a box of donuts to have the baker's dozen of 13 but only getting 12. It doesn't matter that they're setting records because they want to break those records even higher. Piracy to them is a controllable cost so they're going to work on it regardless of the return.

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Charles 9
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Re: Control your media better.

"I remember he was pretty adamant in stating that content never traveled over a network."

As I understand it, it IS an option (for locations with high-speed data connections), but the preferred method is by external hard drives. I recall the keys can also be sent by a USB dongle. Still makes me wonder if they've been careful about potential exploit entry points via USB and so on.

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Sony hackers dump more hunks of stolen data, promise another 'Christmas gift'

Charles 9
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Re: Sticking it to the Man is one thing

Hubris? Is that related to Pride? I can't think it to be Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth (as I know the other six).

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Charles 9
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Re: Sticking it to the Man is one thing

Worse than that. They've threatened to bankrupt Sony Pictures, if not Sony International, turning this into an existential threat. Sounds to me like they're still holding some "nuke": like private signing keys or perhaps evidence of serious criminal activity.

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Net Neut: Verizon flips the bird to FCC on peering deal crackdown

Charles 9
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"It often appears that ISP has segued from Service Provider to Service Preventer in many locations."

But then again, if it wasn't Verizon (with its exclusivity contracts), it would likely have been no one, as no ISP is willing to wire out to The Middle of Nowhere™ without assurances.

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Charles 9
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What if ISPs responded to a Title II declaration by raising prices across the board and blame it on increased administrative costs? Sounds like a lose-lose to me since changing ISPs isn't an option for most Americans.

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That sub-$100 Android slab you got on Black Friday? RIDDLED with holes, say infosec bods

Charles 9
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Re: Yay scareware stories

Proprietary SoCs with patented hardware wrapped in NDAs happened.

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Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

Charles 9
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Re: 'Flashmob' screening

Ever heard of EMP? South Dakota is the center of the US geographically.

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Charles 9
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Re: "All eyes are now on the hacker's next move."

"The only way to stand up to a bully is hit him as hard as you can in the mush. You might get some bruises, but keep it up and he'll go away eventually."

Except when it backfires, he and his gang beat you into the hospital and rear-door you while they're at it and then escape prosecution because the leader's dad is the mayor and they know secrets that can topple several members of city council.

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Charles 9
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Re: Grow some balls!

"Come ON! There is no likelihood of this threat being acted upon, the resources necessary to carry out the threat make it impossible, even for "a rogue state"."

Three guys with fertilizer, diesel, and a rent-a-truck demolished a major building in Oklahoma City 20 years ago, without any state backing. A bunch of guys turned airliners into fuel bombs in 2001. The Target and Home Depot hacks and now Sony Pictures (perhaps even the mother company). Who are we to prove what's possible and what's not in today's society?

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Charles 9
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Re: Grow some balls!

Not thinking so much the US (though if they did, think a high-altitude blast over South Dakota--just ONE EMP's bound to be murder). But what about Seoul? That alone could be enough to seriously destabilize the region, would be pretty easy for them to pull off (Seoul's within artillery range of the DMZ), and recall Kim Jong Un isn't exactly what one would call the rational sort.

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Charles 9
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Re: Grow some balls!

And if the criminals are backed by a rogue state and know where you and your family live and have threatened to blow up your house while you sleep? That's the level of the threat being posed right now: it's getting personal.

Also, don't forget that the Norks carry what's considered the ultimate trump card. Even if they don't turn nukes on America, there's always Seoul to worry about. A target that close they don't need to shoot a missile; it can just be smuggled in Sum of All Fears-style.

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Charles 9
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Re: Terrorists win BIG time--America is now a nation of cowards

Thing is, at least the Soviets were reasonably rational and wouldn't have fired the nukes unless actually threatened. That's why Mutual Assured Destruction worked with them.

With the Norks...you're not so sure. Kim Jong Un may well consider World War III preferable to the movie being released. What do you do against a madman with no regard for life and his finger pressed on a Dead Man's Switch?

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ESA: Venus probe doomed to fiery death on weird planet's surface

Charles 9
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1. it'd be a bit hard to read from so far away (JOKE!).

2. Most fuel gauges get vague at low fuel levels because the means of measurement can only go so low before it bottoms out (SERIOUS). Consider your car's fuel gauge.

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Charles 9
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Probably confusing the leap year with the leap second, which is applied to UTC (whose second is not based on rotation) to re-synchronize it with GMT (which is a solar time). Leap seconds are because the earth's rotation is slowing down oh so slowly and this is our way to keep our reckonings stable for the time being.

IOW, I don't think a leap second is going to help correct a Venusian reckoning that's off by that much.

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Can't stop Home Depot-style card pwning, but suppliers will feel PCI regulation pain

Charles 9
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Re: when will they have to comply?

"The standard is worthless and meaningless, as long as the companies are allowed to simply purchase insurance to cover their negligence and eventual breaches."

But don't the insurance companies get theirs back at the retailers by hiking their rates after a breach? I know that's how it's done in the auto insurance industry and other insurance industries: the higher your risk profile, the higher your rates.

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FLASH! Aaa-aaah. 3D NAND will save every one of us

Charles 9
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Re: More storage, faster storage where the hell is Reliable longterm storage?!?!!

It's your 25 years that's the problem. Technology is moving SO rapidly that the means to retrieve that 25-year-old data may disappear well before then. Consider this. 20 years ago the 1.4MM floppy was standard issue. Now you know any computers that pack one? Same with Travan tape drives.

IOW, trying to actually keep a storage medium viable for a quarter century is a crap shoot. So the general recommendation is to rotate the backups every few years as technology advances. As of right now, tape has the edge when it comes to cold storage, with spinning rust edging out current flash technology and optical discs for second (leaving it the most viable option for consumer backups at this time).

If you find an inexpensive means to store data by the terabyte and can survive, say, five years in storage, I'd love to hear about it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Half a century is a long time to be #1 in computing

THIS time, though, spinning rust is itself up against the magnetic limit. 3D flash actually has a genuine physical advantage this time: it stacks MUCH better than spinning rust.

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Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

Charles 9
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Re: But...

I believe that was made for laptops with built-in cameras that provide a fixed reference point. I'm also not sure it was ever actually released to the public.

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Charles 9
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Re: How about getting written text translation right first?

We also have to recognize that textual translation and speech translation are two entirely different beasts. With text translation, positioning and emphasizing formats need to be understood.. Whereas with speech, inflections and other auditory cues (ex. pauses) need to be understood. IOW, what you learn in textual translation probably wouldn't translate well to speech translation and vice versa.

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Charles 9
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Re: German

What I'm curious about is how well the system handles homophonic phrases. For example, are you telling someone to "Regognize speech" or "Wreck a nice beach"?

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Hooker beating: What if you read the Bible AND play GTA5?

Charles 9
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Re: "That's a flawed argument if ever I saw one."

"Someone well-versed in their Bible or with a grab-bag of stock Christian Apologist counter-points would bring up that most cherished passage in John about 'casting the first stone'."

I've always been curious about that passage, considering what if someone just-baptized had come along at precisely that instant. Part of the ritual of baptism is the forgiveness of past sins. So if he'd been there, he'd be without sin at the time, creating a loophole that would've allowed the execution to proceed anyway. Sort of like the total innocent who wasn't afraid to reveal the Emperor's New Clothes.

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Charles 9
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Re: "That's a flawed argument if ever I saw one."

"Er, yes it is. Whether or not Christians choose to adhere strictly to the old testament, it doesn't say stuff like "optionally you may, if you so wish, stone someone to death". It deals in absolutes. The fact that the new Testament lurches in the opposite direction, advocating forgiveness and some measure of tolerance doesn't change that fact."

Especially, according to Matthew, Jesus specifically noted that the old laws as laid down in Leviticus and so on still apply:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (the Old Testament) until everything is accomplished." - Matthew 5:17-18

And the punishments laid down by the Torah were quite specific and explicit, so that supports the idea that the Bible, by its own admission, is brutal and misogynist at the very least.

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Solar sandwich cooks at 40 per cent efficiency

Charles 9
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Re: Photovoltaics is a one time, one way molecular erosion PARLOR TRICK !

"Concrete production emits a great deal of CO2. Have you seen a nuclear reactor? They take a decade to build and cost billions. All that emits CO2."

And how much concrete is needed in a modern baseload coal or oil plant? Here's a thought--what about the dams needed for water storage or hydro power?

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Charles 9
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Re: 0% efficiency...

"Or just network power in from somewhere the sun is still shining."

If they're willing to part with the power they get at that time. But that would require getting the world's nations to cooperate. Pardon me if I place my bets on a curling match in the seventh circle occurring first.

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Net neutrality: Cisco, Intel, IBM warn FCC NOT to crack down on ISPs

Charles 9
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"If the profit is in the line itself, as it should be, then they will continue putting lines in the ground."

But what if it was like that then but not now? IOW, what if it's no longer practical to invest in infrastructure. Think running out to the sticks: it's essential from a moral and systemic point of view, but from an economic point of view, it's a money sink because the population density's too low. Why do you think so many small towns had to agree to monopolies just to get wired? Because the telecoms companies would accept no less, and the alternative was going without, which is increasingly becoming a deal-breaker for getting people to move in.

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Charles 9
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The companies will just yell, "SOCIALISM!" and threaten Congress unless they restrict the FCC. Then they'll raise bills several times the actual cost and say it's all the FCC's fault.

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Charles 9
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Re: "This is not idle speculation or fear mongering..."

But many of the ISPs are actually or are subsidiaries of publicly-traded companies. Meaning they have the investors to please, and definition or no definition, the investors don't like risk; it's their money on the chopping block, after all. If the risk is too high, they'll bail: sell their stocks and go to some other company. In this environment, there's a limit to the level of risk you can try, and since we've had a number of high-profile busts lately, that tolerance is going down not up.

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Put me through to Buffy's room, please. Sony hackers leak stars' numbers, travel aliases

Charles 9
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Re: Just wondering

I suspect celebrity reservations are planned out well in advance, meaning when the moment comes, the junior staff are off for the day so are blind to what happens. Meanwhile, the senior staff is savvy enough and trustworthy enough to stay mum.

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Google kills CAPTCHAs: Are we human or are we spammer?

Charles 9
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Re: Just another form of pattycake with the spammers and scammers

"If the google were sincere about fighting the problem, then they would go after the spammers' business models."

How specifically can you attack a business model that is profitable at a one-to-BILLION ratio? And has a moving target with known anti-West havens to hide in? Not to mention innocent computer users caught in botnets? Frankly, I don't know how you can squelch spammers without squelching the Internet itself. It's sort of like critical speech. You can't squelch critical speech without squelching speech itself.

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