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* Posts by Robert Long 1

1109 posts • joined 15 Jun 2009

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Would it be BAD if the Amazon rainforest was all FARMS? Well it WAS, once

Robert Long 1
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Re: Not fields as we know them

"Grains of corn boiled with lime and water are easily milled to obtain a nutritionally rich dough or ‘masa’."

I'm not sure why you think they had any major trouble based on the linked article, and they didn't.

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Robert Long 1
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Not fields as we know them

They were eating Maize which has a seed to yield ratio of 350:1, compared to European grains which, at the time, were having a spectacular harvest if you got 10:1.

So, if you're imaging English countryside you're imaging the wrong thing and wide open fields imply weren't needed to support the population.

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Hey Microsoft: You want to keep hardware partners onside? Stick to software

Robert Long 1
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Re: Hey Microsoft: You want to keep hardware partners onside?

"I imagine the feeling is mutual"

Yeah, it's one of them there self-fulfilling dohickies. And thus, evil contains within it the seeds of its own destruction.

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Robert Long 1
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Hey Microsoft: You want to keep hardware partners onside?

Answer: no, not particularly. MS wants to make money; hardware partners can expect no loyalty whatsoever if MS finds a way to cut them out.

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UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill

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Re: @Robert Long 1

"That's an interesting point of view, and of course I cannot argue against it because I don't like party voting and the whipping system, but I wonder how the democratic movement intended to run the country at the turn of the 20th Century, when there was no mass communication, rapid transport was still fairly basic, and the public at large were largely uneducated?"

I'm not knocking representational democracy; I'm saying we don't have one.

The answer to your question is that the whip system is specifically intended to prevent democratic activity in the Houses and the system of open voting supports that by revealing who voted which way instantly. Neither were technical requirements of the day.

The combination gives huge powers to parties and raises a massive barrier to independents who simply can't get any traction. Neither are required and in particular having voting patterns kept secret until the election would seem to be worth trying. That would cripple the power of whips and party leaders. Revealing the votes in the runup to the election would still allow the electorate to hold MPs to accounts.

But there's other approaches which are more radical and don't require any sophisticated technology - treating MPs in the way that juries are done is one: every year 1/4th of the Commons is randomly replaced by a random selection of adults capable of passing a minimal "sanity" test (e.g., "what's your name?"). There are other options and many more today.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: @Forget It

"It really is representational democracy. Your constituency selected a representative (your MP) by a majority of those who bothered to get up off the sofa to vote, and they have voted on your behalf. Just because they did not represent your view does not make it undemocratic."

My constituency selected a representative who then voted on behalf of the PM and his American pals. There's no connection with democracy here except that the system was hammered out in the early 1900's specifically to combat the democratic movement and protect the party system that was in place at the time. By calling it "representative democracy" the ruling elites were able to undermine their opponents using the oldest propaganda trick in the book: label what you're doing what people want you to do while changing nothing of any substance.

'"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill'

How would he know?

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Watch: DARPA shows off first successful test of STEERABLE bullet

Robert Long 1
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Re: DARPA: The Better To Murder You With, My Dear

"Are you enjoying the DARPA developed internet?"

Ah, the old "if the military didn't take all our money and spend it on toys and prostitutes no one else would ever think of a way to use it well" argument, eh?

I'll take the chance, frankly. The only reason we need a military is to protect us from the sort of person that joins the military; we don't need to be grateful to them as well.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: My hopes are dashed

"Maxim may have been disappointed had he lived to find that artillery and disease were the greatest takers of life between 1914-1919."

Mostly because his gun made it impossible to infantry to be mobile in the way it had been, so they ended up in unsanitary trenches that they had to be blown out of.

Anyway, Maxim didn't care one way or the other as long as the royalties rolled in.

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

Robert Long 1
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Re: Is it just me.....

@Risky: "Do you just make this up or to have a set of bookmarks on Area51, Bilderberg, Protocols, Illuminati etc"

How many times do these people have to be caught being totally dishonest evil thugs before you stop believing their bullshit? Have you been asleep for 80 years? We're talking about the only country that has ever used nukes on a (beaten) opponent and who supplied Saddam with chemical and biological weapons for years when they were fighting Iran. When it comes to weapons of mass destruction they have the longest track record of any country in the world!

Why would anyone be so naive as to think they would NOT hold onto smallpox (just as, I'm sure, Russia and China have)? That's the crazy talk.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Is it just me.....

@DownVotes Are there really people out there that think the US doesn't have stockpiles of smallpox? I suppose you're expecting gifts from Santa this year too, huh?

The story goes that when the WHO arrived to certify all batches destroyed the military simply put them into the canteen fridges for fifteen minutes and them back into their normal lab fridges once the inspectors had gone. Specifically true or not, there's not a chance in hell that the US would really destroy such a potentially powerful weapon.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Is it just me.....

"But why do they need to confirm if it is viable smallpox?"

To see if it's worth adding to the US's weaponized smallpox stockpile.

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'BIGGEST BIRD EVER': 21-foot ripsaw-beaked flying HORROR

Robert Long 1
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"Could it take off from water?? Otherwise, it would seem like a Darwinian dead-end. Then again, it is extinct..."

In the long term, we're all Darwinian dead-ends.

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Google de-listing of BBC article 'broke UK and Euro public interest laws' - So WHY do it?

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Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth

Robert Long 1
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Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

"But no, Osborne had to sell them off for a pittance. The man should be ashamed of himself."

I can't imagine Osborne being ashamed of anything; he reeks of ill-educated entitled arrogance.

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When PR backfires: Google 'forgets' BBC TV man's banker blog post

Robert Long 1
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Re: Stupid decision, stupid story, stupid people

I have read both. The Reg article (and previous ones) is all about why Google should suck it up and stop whining about having to follow EC law while ignoring the fact that a company is being forced to act as a free filter for the courts in support of a deeply dangerous and flawed ruling by an unelected panel of unaccountable judges.

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Robert Long 1
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Stupid decision, stupid story, stupid people

The whole concept behind this ruling was moronic and the idea that it's fine for Google or any other company to have to filter the thousands of "take my selfie" requests it generates is just as bad. An application to a court should be the FIRST stop. What is the point of sending it to Google so that they can send it you your local court system? Waste of time, waste of money. Particularly since this way encourages morons to send off spurious requests; they would think harder about it if they were sending it to a legal office.

So, the story. A company is being sent requests to squelch free speech - not "correct mistakes", but to remove correct factual information. It's pissed off JUST LIKE YOU ALL SHOULD BE, so it's trying to breath some publicity into the problem. Strangely they didn't try doing that by contacting their local chippy. They went to a journalist. How very fucking strange. Imagine contacting a news outlet about the abuse of power by an idiotic half-wit judge that confused the "right to privacy" with the "right to hide information in the public domain about something I did and don't want people to know about". That's not privacy, that's secrecy. Different thing.

So we get stories like this, and pages of comments, by people who can't see past the "Google is Evil" slogan - which, haha, I agree with - to the real attack on real rights and freedoms encoded in this ruling which should at the very least be struck down and in an ideal world would lead to the sacking of the judge(s) concerned followed by their trial for professional negligence.

But judges are above the law to nothing will be done. Unless journalists start putting pressure on those that actually have the power to do something about it - it's a long shot, but Google thinks it's worth a try and I agree.

God, it's embarrassing how easy it is to distract people from the real story.

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Lindsay Lohan sues Grand Theft Auto V makers for 'using her image'

Robert Long 1
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Re: "Rockstar and Take-Two’s use of her likeness was done solely to make money"

"The point of the lawsuit is that she's entitled to make money from her own image and other people aren't."

Is she? Aren't they? I don't remember voting for that.

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Remaining Snowden docs will be released to avert 'unspecified US war' – ‪Cryptome‬

Robert Long 1
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"If the only thing you care about is yourself, and fuck everyone else (alive now or those who are to come) then you are a sociopath. At which point, I have no respect for you, or your opinions."

Well, isn't that exactly the stance of the US establishment (NSA, Pentagon, etc.)? In which case why are you worried about them being harmed? Ultimately, if leaking secrets lead to people dying it's not a lot different from allowing other people to die because you didn't leak, which, to me, seem to be the choices here (just based on track-record, not based on Cryptome's strange claims). The US is upset because the people who are in danger after the leak are Americans. But the US isn't the whole world and I don't count each American death as worth 10000 non-American deaths as they seem to.

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You're inventing the wrong sort of tech for bad people who want to buy it. Stop it at once

Robert Long 1
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Actually...

"The first point to make is that no one can decide what represents value for other people."

Wrong. What one can not do is decide what other people will like. That's different.

Deciding what represents value is something that we all gain from experience - it's the bedrock of good parenting - and some people have a lot less experience than others. That's why older people are more cynical: they've probably already seen this crap before.

It's not fool-proof and experience can mislead us when faced with the genuinely new, but judging value is something we should all be getting better at every day of our lives.

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Luxembourg patent troll suing world+dog

Robert Long 1
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Re: Non-Practising Entities: USE IT OR LOSE IT

"Similar to hardware patents, software patents should only cover the method, not the result."

Which copyright already does for software; hence there is no need for software patents.

However, monopoly patents (to use their full name) have outlived their social usefulness and should all be scraped, hard or soft.

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EXPLICIT PICS: We take you inside Adobe's Creative Cloud update

Robert Long 1
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Just add...everything

Yeah, just buy our software and at the click of a button it will teleport you to Tibet, hire a monk to pose and then arrange the lighting and costume and $24,000 worth of camera, lenses, and reflectors. And then you can crop it or something. Hardly matters at this point; just use Paint.

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Microsoft C# chief Hejlsberg: Our open-source Apache pick will clear the FUD

Robert Long 1
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Re: Thought I was losing my mind..

"Having it placed under ISO means that Microsoft cannot just change it at a whim. It goes to trust. Remember the debacle about how Office documents were defined by what MS Office did?"

As opposed to now when they're defined by an ISO document that no one can implement and which doesn't actually reflect how the real format works?

MS will and can still change it at a whim. Why couldn't they? Developers will develop to MS's "standard" in order to be able to put their work on the MS platforms. ISO is a worthless rubber stamp.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: I hope Apple do similar

"A prerequisite for ISO adopting the standard was that Microsoft " stuffed the ISO board with its cronies again.

ISO is a joke.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Like Linux....

"Companies/ideas/people change."

I agree but it's worth remembering that they change only when forced to. Like politicians who all line up to say how great Democracy is while allowing companies to dictate legislation, given the slightest chance these people will revert to lining their own pockets as soon as they find themselves in a position of strength again.

If MS can be held down long enough the internal culture might change but I don't think we're anywhere near that point yet.

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Marc Andreessen: Edward Snowden is a 'textbook traitor'

Robert Long 1
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Moron

"What Andreessen said he doesn't understand, given how long the NSA has been around and the amount of money it draws from the US federal government, is how anybody could pretend to be surprised to learn what the agency is doing."

So any long-established organization which gets its pay from the government is automatically a criminal conspiracy to subvert the constitution of the country?

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Patch NOW: Six new bugs found in OpenSSL – including spying hole

Robert Long 1
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Re: Quick to fix in Open Source, but it leaves questions.

"OpenSSL hasn't suddenly become open source, it was so from the start."

As previously mentioned, OpenSSL has suffered from the complacency that comes from being around for so long that people assume someone else must have already checked it.

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DevOps is actually a thing – and people are willing to pay for it

Robert Long 1
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Re: CI != Code Review?

"We do things on a 2 week sprint cycle, which means every task, change request or feature we do must be fully complete, tested and deployable by the end of those nine days (or it gets re-scored for the next sprint)."

Except when the client or management say that it HAS to be patched up and out the door for the trade show or that there's no more money left and we have to go with what we've got (plus a little unpaid overtime).

There's nothing special about the idea that development is "fully complete, tested and deployable" by a deadline. What agile does is create completely artificial deadlines that ignore the reality of what's going on in the company and the marketplace.

My experience of it is that it doesn't really insulate the dev team from any of the normal problems with budgets running out or holes being found in specs or what have you. In fact, it's made almost no difference to how I develop other than to dramatically increase the number of meetings with stupid people I have to attend while still drinking my first cup of tea of the day.

CI doesn't do anything interesting at all, as far as I can see. "you can be confident that you can always push to live without breaking things" is tautology. What is it you're confident about pushing? Stuff that's been tested! Well, duh!

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Robert Long 1
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Really?

"The idea of releasing code to production more frequently is certainly appealing"

Is it? As a user and a developer I'd say the opposite: fewer releases with much deeper testing beats having to worry about 10 significant updates in a month, let alone a day.

I'm all for security patches, but I'm all for considering whether what you've just done turned out to be a good idea after all. Many CI-trumpeting projects just seem to be a pile of scar tissue and I know in theory there should be no relationship between the frequency of releases and the quality of integrated (as opposed to unit) testing, but there is.

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Linux users at risk as ANOTHER critical GnuTLS bug found

Robert Long 1
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Re: Open source was supposed to be secure

"Open Source was claimed to be safe because everybody had already looked at the code and found nothing wrong"

Oh, you're just going to HAVE to provide a link to that one, I think. Assuming you can provide links to things that just happened in your head.

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FORGET OUR PAST, 12,000 Europeans implore Google

Robert Long 1
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Re: Confused

"No, I didn't think these would require a jury. I also don't have such a jaded and hopelessly cynical view as you on our courts, which are independent and whose judgements are accountable, and can be appealed to higher courts with multiple judges."

Yeah, right. You've never seen a real court case, have you?

Apart from anything else, we're in this mess because of a judge's decision and that particular judge has no appeal level above them, which sort of undermines all your naive beliefs at a stroke.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Confused

"Peter Sutcliffe cannot have his past forgotten because it is still relevant."

Says who? You? Sutcliffe? Or some faceless unaccountable judge well past the first stage of altzhiemers?

You didn't think these decisions would be made by a jury did you?

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Why is Google in charge of the process?

"The "12,000" figure is part of a PR campaign"

Well, sure, but at the same time we need to remember that what's going on here is that information in the public domain (ie, on the web - for now) is being censored for reasons other than inaccuracy.

Let's not get distracted by whether Google is evil or not; that's not the important issue. This is Stalin's airbrush back from the grave.

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You've got two weeks to beat off Cryptolocker, GameoverZeus nasties

Robert Long 1
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Re: Clicking links ...

"The fact that I cannot tells me that software writers have been pissing away their time tweaking the interfaces and adding nice-to-have features rather than addressing the real purpose of these programs."

It also tells you that governments have consistently refused to enforce normal rules of "fitness for purpose" to software and users have consistently kept buying crapware that has a long track record of failure. So the free market delivers what the free market always delivers: a de facto monopoly churning out low grade product for huge profits.

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Robert Long 1
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Yawn

I wonder how much it costs MS every year to make sure that no one EVER reports these things as Windows viruses instead of generic "threats".

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Samsung in a TIZZY: OH PLEASE make apps for our Tizen Z mobe

Robert Long 1
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Re: Looks great, can it run Android apps?

What about CP/M? Or DOS?

I have literally no apps on my Samsung SIII-mini that I would miss other than a basic browser and this thing has something a bit up from that.

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Google ECJ case: No commish, it means we don't need right-to-be-forgotten rewrite

Robert Long 1
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Re: Yes but

The thing is that newspaper themselves are online now. Is the ECJ saying that the newspapers own (searchable) archives must delete stories even if they're true? Is that okay just because the story is no longer "lost in microfilm records in a local archive or the newspaper office"? I don' t bloody think so.

It's a crazy, stupid ruling by morons in fancy dress trying to drum up more work for their mates in the legal industry. These same knobheads will be the ones arbitrarily deciding that this fact is historically valuable and that one isn't and since they're the top of the legal tree in Europe there's nothingyou can do about their decisions.

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London cabbies to offer EVEN WORSE service in protest against Uber

Robert Long 1
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"London Taxis are a rip off, they are driven by mostly racist, sexist twats who think they know better than anyone.

...

Whenever I've used a London minicab it has been an Indian chap who barely speaks English"

Irony is dead, eh?

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The amazing .uk domain: Less .co and loads more whalesong

Robert Long 1
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Re: .GB vs. .UK

"Well, the ISO 3166 rules assume that countries change their system of government more frequently than their borders, so the bits of the name that refer to that aren't usually used."

ISO "rules" says whatever they've been paid to say by the highest bidder, so that would just change if needed.

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China 'in discussions' about high-speed rail lines to London, Germany – and the US

Robert Long 1
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Faster access to Europe for fascist super-state

That's progress compared to, oh, I don't know, 1939, say?

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Minecraft players can now download Denmark – all of it – in 1:1 scale

Robert Long 1
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Re: Baltic?

"I have always understood the term "Baltic country" to refer only to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia."

I've never heard that usage. I've only seen "Baltic States" refer to those three; "Baltic country" is a more generic term and seems fine to me.

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EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?

Robert Long 1
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Re: Speculation

"Speculation is taking a risk (that is the definition), therefore, speculators are buying risk from those who want to reduce theirs. In doing so they automatically bring information to the market, assisting in price discovery. All of that also means that they create liquidity which makes markets more efficient and less costly for other participants."

Bollocks. Speculation is part of the bubble process and in the medium term destroys liquidity by funnelling money out of the system and into the pockets of a tiny number of aristocrats who can then live the rest of their lives without contributing anything to the economy, as can their kids.

As to market efficiency, all speculators do everything they can to manipulate the market and make it more opaque as that gives them inside information which can be leveraged. Maybe in lala land where all the people involved are working for the Greater Good what you say is true, but it never has been and never will be in the real world.

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OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts

Robert Long 1
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Noone Looks at Old Code

Part of the problem is complacency with old packages. There's an assumption that code that's being run for years "must" be bug-free, so less effort goes into checking it.

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Snowden lawyer PGP email 'crack' flap: What REALLY happened?

Robert Long 1
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Patriotic?

"US security experts with a patriotic – generally pro-NSA – perspective"

Trampling over the constitution and ignoring everything that the country is supposed to stand for is patriotic now?

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Revoke, reissue, invalidate: Stat! Security bods scramble to plug up Heartbleed

Robert Long 1
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That's "TDD", not "TTD". How appropriately ironic.

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Robert Long 1
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"I notice that Microsoft have a TLS reference implementation written in F# that has been mathematically verified."

Yeah, well, who verified the model used to verify it? Or the program that ran that model? There's no perfect system. I see TTD leading coders into all sorts of complacency issues every day because they forget that the same error-prone people who write code also design and write tests.

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Robert Long 1
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Is this really as bad as it sounds?

Okay, the attacker gets 64K of memory which may contain passwords and other important stuff. That's bad, sure. If the attacker then asks for another 64K is there any guarantee that they get a different chunk of un-zeroed memory?

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Jeff Bezos reveals Amazon's brutal scale in annual letter

Robert Long 1
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No mention of tax?

But then I suppose there's no entry in the company's accounts for that either.

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Running OpenSSL? Patch now to fix CRITICAL bug

Robert Long 1
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Re: And this is why you cannot trust open source

"How does one pressure the FOSS community to conduct regular, professional security audits?"

By emailing them? I mean, maybe you have a direct line to Bill Gates or something but by and large multi-billionaires don't really give a toss about your concerns. What are you going to do about it? Take the money back off him?

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Furious MyCloud users descend on WD website as borkage continues

Robert Long 1
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Gee

I put all my files on a computer I have no direct access to, owned by a company I have no control over, using infrastructure I hire from a faceless multinational. How could anything ever go wrong with that?

Welcome to the cloud - computing like it was 1967 all over again.

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Hyper-V telling fibs about Linux guest VMs

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