* Posts by Robert Helpmann??

1082 posts • joined 31 May 2011

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Reckon YOU can write better headlines than us? Great – apply within

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: Pet Peeve

Why? Because it is vastly more convenient and productive to discuss ideas and bounce around headlines, puns, contacts, background info, and so on, if the team is all physically present. Although we have a staff IM system, actual face time is much, much preferred at The Register.

On the other hand, you limit both your available choices of staff and the geographic range said staff can cover. It seems a bit odd that a journal that covers the cutting and often bleeding edge of technology seems a bit hung up on its use. Video and teleconferencing: you might have heard of it.

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FORK ME! Uber hauls GitHub into court to find who hacked database of 50,000 drivers

Robert Helpmann??
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WTF?

Re: I thought this was part of their business model...

The post noted that the company had "not received any reports of actual misuse of information as a result of this incident."

This is a bit suspicious. Perhaps it has to do with the method of notification being the placement of a small ad in a local newspaper?

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Net neutrality: The world speaks its brains on secret 'open' 'net rules

Robert Helpmann??
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Godwin's Law, MK II

Godwin's Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1. There is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.

So, how do we rework this to handle overblown, partisan rhetoric by pols? Perhaps something like this:

In any public political statement concerning a matter of partisan disagreement, the current matter will be compared immediately to the major partisan disagreement of the last preceding election. By tradition, whoever made the comparison should be censored ...er... voted out of office ...um... shot along with everyone else who uttered a word on the subject.

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Iran hacks America where it hurts: Las Vegas casinos

Robert Helpmann??
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Breathtaking Irony

...belligerents could target “supply-chain operations to insert compromised hardware or software”, a feat revealed to be the mastery of the NSA...

Who better to know than someone who has already done so? This points out a basic problem of developing new weapons: eventually, they will be used on you, too.

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EPIC asks FTC to stick a probe up Samsung over 'snooping' smart TVs

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I'm innocent, I tell you!

Samsung, meanwhile, maintains that it has done nothing wrong.

Boilerplate denial. Even if it were to go to a criminal trial and became clear that they did something awful with malice aforethought, they would beg for a settlement in which they admitted no wrongdoing over everything else. It is quite possible that the execs truly believe that they have done nothing wrong, but I would guess they are really more concerned with preserving their reputation and saving face until the situation can be corrected.

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EFF fears crims are getting smart to Superfish SSL flaws

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Who's laws would they be breaking?

A lot depends on where they are based, where their customers are, damage done, intent, and the quality of the lawyers involved. They might be liable for simple negligence or creating an attractive nuisance. Gah! I can't imagine taking this to a jury trial. Trying to explain technical info to a non-tech is bad enough. I would hate to have to do so with 12 at once through a trial lawyer acting as interpreter.

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Net neutrality secrecy: No one knows what the FCC approved (BUT Google has a good idea)

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Re: To Lag Behind and to Erode--Just like the middle class...

Watch for technology in the US to lag and erode.

You say that as if it is not already the case.

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Google to tame Android's Wild Wild West to please suits

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Re: Androids and iPhones are great for big businesses...

Has the employee given their informed consent to have their device used to track their movements?

I would imagine that in being issued the hypothetical phone, the hypothetical employee signed a hypothetical document that acknowledged the hypothetical employee had read and agreed to the hypothetical rules of its hypothetical use, including that its hypothetical location would be hypothetically tracked. Of course, your mileage may vary based on your legal jurisdiction.

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Bank of England could mint own brand of Bitcoin

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HTTP What?

...the paper says the equivalent of HTTP for money will be needed...

HTTPS I hope, or perhaps HTTP$.

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How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: Degree qualifications

Confident, cocky, lazy, dead.

So you have things to overcome. Everyone does, whether they admit it or are even aware that they do. From what you said in your article, you have reached the point where you need to take action to continue to grow. Do so! Talking about what you have going on is good in as much as it helps you and others with similar issues, but ultimately acting, whether leading the way or following in others' footsteps, is what matters. Keep writing about it. If raising awareness is helpful, demonstrating that there is real reason for hope is even more important.

Good luck

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Robert Helpmann??
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Re: Degree qualifications

They're called "customs and border patrol". And they absolutely do check. Every single fucking one. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Yes they do. One of my friends from DragonCon came down to volunteer for the event: they stopped her. It got worse when they found out she was helping organize other volunteers. They eventually let her go, but it was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever been around or heard.

As far as whether you should sign the paper: what makes you think that doing so will change who you are and the way you act? Everything that I have seen in your writings says to me that you have a firm idea of who you are and what your values are. Surely, you have enough strength of character to stay true to that; I just don't see how that could be the issue. Self-evaluation and the self-doubt that comes with it are all well and good, but I hope you are not allowing fear of success to hold you back.

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Amazon tries to patent 3D printers on trucks

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: How on Earth is this patentable?

...I [am] surprised they would think it worth the time even trying to patent this.

Perhaps the idea is not to get a patent but to generate some cheap publicity. Either that or Amazon is taking the throw enough stuff and see what sticks approach.

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Red or alive, you're coming with me: Feds offer $3m reward for 'CryptoLocker baron'

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: Hmmm... have they offered the Russian government the reward?

Nah, Bogachev should be able to continue making them money whereas the FBI's offer is a one time deal.

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Why does the NSA's boss care so much about backdoors when he can just steal all our encryption keys?

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: I'm a little confused.

To follow that up, then the argument that encryption technology is equivalent to weapons would seem to imply that Americans have a right to it under the Constitution. To take the analogy a bit further, while it is fair to say that rights have limits, stipulating that any encryption must have a government-accessible backdoor is akin to requiring gun owners to only use guns that can be taken away by the government (and essentially anyone else) at any time.

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SSL-busting adware: US cyber-plod open fire on Comodo's PrivDog

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: If I were a layman

As long as people use this practice of 'breaking the chain of trust' there are bound to be some who implement it utterly wrong.

In other words, as long as it is possible to exploit this, someone will. Not exactly deep wisdom, but true nonetheless. It seems it is past time to plug this gap.

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Glad you're not on the Anthem hacker hit list? Not so fast – millions more affected

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Unhappy

Re: tn?

Since the legislative/regulatory path is proving ineffective, what does that leave us? Legal action? That just means that the lawyers get rich and the damage really does not get undone or prevented. As this issue extends far beyond the health care industry, my guess is the best way to deal with it is through more far-reaching legal reform. Unless a bunch of pols have their identities stolen - then we will have immediate, misguided action which will cause unintended consequences for years to come.

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Cert-slurping security firms chop super-fishy features

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A step in the right direction

The program was designed to replace malvertising with legitimate ads...

So going from worst to bad, then? A real "win for users" would be the elimination of anything that looked or behaved like the original from their point of view. Just get rid of the advertising entirely and remove the temptation of OEMs to treat their customers like products. Greed will always be open to exploitation.

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Google opens 'Inbox' heir-to-email trial to biz users

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Re: Open source

I understand Google is always working on new ways to "reinvent" old products. They have been a bit frustrated with their reworking of water as "Kool Aid" has already been taken. They continue to ask us to drink it, though.

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Give us a week to GUT Superfish, begs Lenovo CTO

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Re: Exploring a wide range of options..

Hortensius also makes the point that Superfish was only installed on kit aimed at consumers

So what is installed on business machines instead of Superfish?

The only way around it, is to kill everything on the drive and start from scratch

And then along came the NSA.

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Google looks to scrape away scumware, as only it can

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Being Monstered

Yeah, but what about when all of the torrent and "adult" sites are blocked? Mountain View will burn!

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A billion things are already on the IoT: Verizon

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And furthermore...

IT pros asked to implement IoT strategies need to assume they have to build-in security from the start...

Assuming they should is a far cry from actually doing so. As quite a number of El Reg articles have shown, not all developers are on this same page. Also, it is inevitable that vulnerabilities will be found in all of these devices. Being able to update them and verify that they are patched is going to be one of the larger challenges offered by the brave new world of the IoT. Considering the examples of the various hardware and software vendors out there now, I believe I have only seen a worse case example in Adobe. I don't believe I have run into any that I would label "best."

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FCC Republicans slam brakes on net neutrality, but this wagon ain't slowing

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: I always expect a lot of noise from the Hill (flatulence, mainly)

My prediction on the upcoming vote: no matter which side "wins" they will manage to FUBAR the whole thing. The only difference between the parties is the manner in which things will be screwed.

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Mozilla mulls Superfish torpedo

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Joke

What's in a name?

Superfish. In retrospect, they made it really easy to spot that it was doing something smelly. Note to OEMs: don't install anything with a name like "Ubermalware" or "Ultratrojan" on your products.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: El Reg eggs Benedict

Robert Helpmann??
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Facepalm

Re: Hollandaise ingredients?

If you're in the US you can buy Clarified Butter... or, to follow up Daniel von Asmuth's comment, you can buy ghee from a grocer that carries Indian or Pakistani goods. It begs the question as to why. One of the main purposes of making ghee is to preserve it, which is also why butter is often salted. Just zap unsalted butter in the microwave and skim any foam and you're done. Why spend more on it when it really is the work of a few seconds to make?

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Lenovo to customers: We only just found out about this Superfish vuln – remove it NOW

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Coat

Not limited in...

Meanwhile http://trends.builtwith.com/websitelist/SuperFish reckons there are currently "2,881,734 active sites using SuperFish"

So what you are saying is that their efforts scale well? Mine's the one with the fake cert in the pocket.

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Norton Internet Security antivirus update 'borked Internet Explorer'

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A Good First Step

I have started recommending to my customers to wait a couple of days after Windows updates are released before they install them

@thatwasit, you might want to encourage them to set up a test environment, too, to round out their basic handling of change management. It's better to let the test boxes take bullets like these than to hope your production environment is bulletproof.

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Have YOU got Equation NSAware in your drives? Meh, not really our concern, says EU

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: add 1000% TAX on all hardware and software from US (and UK) companies

Where did I ignore that other countries are doing the same thing?

So perhaps "ignore" is not the most accurate of terms. Perhaps "omit" would better fit.

...more to the point, since when is "they do it, so it's okay for me to do it" a legitimate rationale?

Rather I was pointing out that focusing on one bad actor to the exclusion of others would seem to give the rest a free pass. So, sorry for the misunderstanding, but the intention was precisely the opposite of that.

What are you, two years old?

Moving on...

And you don't get to invoke Godwin's law. Godwin's law only applies when the comparison is not justified. It's perfectly justified in this case.

OK, so I am guilty of trolling you a bit...but no, it applies simply based on the perception of hyperbole. From my perspective, once the comparison is made, most people look at it as simple hyperbole and ignore the rest - whether or not it is accurate. If you just throw out a statement and expect everyone to follow you with nothing more than your say-so, you will only be drawing people who already believe what you are saying, not convincing anyone of its veracity. You are quite capable of making cogent and well-reasoned arguments, whether or not we agree. More of that, please.

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Robert Helpmann??
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Re: add 1000% TAX on all hardware and software from US (and UK) companies

Sorry, Trevor, but I am invoking Godwin's Law. Don't become so focused on the misdeeds of one country that you lose sight of the fact that are doing the same.

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Babar the Elephant: Another malware plague with a cute name

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Lost a bit

Babar was first mentioned in documents from Canadian intel agency CSEC...

Babar is significant because it represents hard evidence that the NSA and its Five Eyes allies are far from alone among Western intel agencies in brewing up malware.

I should assume from this that it is not a Quebecois effort? That other state made malware exists is not particularly surprising. All governments spy and since so much of the world is online, it is safe to assume that they spy there, too. Besides, I seem to recall the German police had access to spyware from some time back, even if they did not produce it themselves. I guess it just works better to develop the stuff in-house.

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

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Re: Criminal

Yes, the article mentioned a "blatant man-in-the-middle attack malware breaking privacy laws." This strikes me more as smelling of racketeering and fraud, though.

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This one weird script continually crashes Android email

Robert Helpmann??
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What's best in life?

The best way would be for their mobile providers to allow them to update their operating systems to a newer version which closed the vulnerability.

FTFY. Even if Google can be bothered to patch older versions of their OS, which is doubtful based on history, how likely is it that the majority of customers will be able to receive the update? Not very, again based on history, as mobile providers have proven to be less than reliable in this area.

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Prawn cocktail offers hot new way to make solar cells

Robert Helpmann??
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Seconds?

This is the second article I have read today which focuses on efforts to replace expensive platinum-esque materials. The other didn't make me hungry, though. It makes me wonder what the inspiration for using shrunken shrimp shells was.

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Obama turns back on spooks: 'I'm on the side of strong encryption'

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Re: UK

Interesting how the Presidents cell phone is one specially encrypted by the NSA.

There are specific security requirements concerning who handles the data on cell phones used by public officials. I would not expect any official, of any country, who handles sensitive information on their phones to use straight commercial off-the-shelf equipment or to rely on a commercial ISP to handle their accounts.

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Check Point buys bare-metal security upstart Hyperwise

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Bare bones, indeed

This posting was more of a comment than an actual article or story. There are so many questions that it begs to answer.

Israel-based Hyperwise’s CPU level threat prevention technology is designed to throttle malware-based attacks at birth. What is "CPU level threat prevention technology?" I couldn't find an explanation on the company's web site. I don't recall running into the term before.

Incorporating Hyperwise’s technology will help Check Point block previously undetected attacks, thereby increasing Check Point’s Threat Emulation malware catch rates. Again, how does that work? What proof is there that this is actually the case?

Check Point said that the transaction won’t have a material effect on its financial results. Why go through the trouble if it will have no effect? Surely the idea is to have a positive effect, if only in the long term.

Sorry, John, this is little more than a press release. I would prefer a little more meat on those bones.

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BBC: SOD the scientific consensus! Look OUT! MEGA TSUNAMI is coming

Robert Helpmann??
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Go! Go! Godzilla!

"...expected Godzilla to make a guest appearance, or at very least Al Gore."

You missed the real news here: Al Gore is the larval form of Godzilla! As far as the content of the show, perhaps some additional credibility might be gained by mentioning the energy needed to generate a wave of the depicted magnitude might theoretically be gained by having sharks firing lasers into the landslide just as it hit the sea. Pew, pew!

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DARPA's 'Cortical Modem' will plug straight into your BRAIN

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Re: how are they going to ask the Zebra Fish if it works?

can Zebra fish read digital clocks?

Dunno. Do androids dream of electric sheep?

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Microsoft's patchwork falls apart … AGAIN!

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What do you mean "some?"

It's also not good for the rest of us as decreased confidence in Redmond's updates may mean some admins delay patches.

I would think that increasing the number of admins who delay installing patches in production until they have been properly vetted in a test environment would be a good thing, though this is not the way I would go about making that happen.

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'Come on, everyone – block US govt staff ogling web smut at work'

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From the Redundancy Department of Redundancy

It is a firing offense to view porn on government work computers. Banners are displayed for users before they are allowed to log in. They are told and reminded that this is not acceptable behavior at work - don't do it. And yet some few still manage to get caught looking at smut every year. Surely, passing one more law, adding one more layer of rules, letting everyone know one more time that this just won't do will put an end to these unwanted acts. Yep, that ought to do it.

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An NSA spy, a Fed and a sysadmin walk into a bar – that's Prez Obama's new cyber-security order

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Trust Issues

Rights-warriors at the EFF are not impressed by politicians' efforts to push through security information sharing – for one thing, there already are ways for companies to swap stories.

Actually, having a single clearing house for this makes more sense if your goal is to actually share information. However, as Doctor Syntax astutely points out, there is a lack of trust between businesses and governments (not only within the US) that is not likely to be relieved any time soon. Having separate silos for inter-business and government-business postings is probably the most likely to succeed for the time being.

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Google cuts Microsoft and pals some slack in zero-day vuln crusade – an extra 14 days tops

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Still Unclear on Concept

"Google, meanwhile, said that an arbitrary deadline, albeit a nondiscriminatory one, is the best vendors can hope for."

Well, they have this one hammer, so they will be beating people with it for a while. What's it called again when someone decides what's right for everybody else and takes preemptive action based on that arbitrary decision? Vigilantism? Tyranny? It makes me wonder if Google is trying to redefine the way people use their name in conversations from "I needed to do some research so I googled the subject," to "Wow! He really googled that! I bet he never does that again."

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Accused Goldman Sachs code pilferer sues FBI for 'wrongful arrest'

Robert Helpmann??
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FAIL

Re: Not arrested for his constitutional rights

And this matter has absolutely nothing to do with any constitutional rights

From the linked article: "His lawsuit contends the FBI agents ...violated constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. The lawsuit said the agents further violated his rights by retaining and transferring evidence seized during his arrest..." So perhaps it does, just a little, have something to do with those basic rights.

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Ex-NASA boffin dreams of PREDATOR-ish tech in humble microwaves

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Vaporware?

While the microwave is a cute idea...this gear is vaporware and may never come to anything, like hoverboards from Back to the Future.

You say "vaporware." They say "Hendo". I say "people who shouldn't be allowed to use their own product."

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Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this

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Re: Not really much of a problem

While stuff like Facebook isn't worth saving...

Hold on just a moment there! Archaeologists have been digging through modern landfills for more than 40 years. One man's garbage is another man's research paper.

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Hey, NUDE CELEBS! Apple adds SWEET 2FA to iMessage, Facetime

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Re: Pointless Picture

Yes, but it ruins the joke if you have to explain it.

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FOCUS! 7680 x 4320 notebook and fondleslab screens are coming

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On Being Human

But, being human, I'd have to stick it to my eyeball to notice the difference ...

Good point. This would find better use in a VR headset than a laptop.

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TITANIC: Nuclear SUBMARINE cruising 'Sea of KRAKENS' may be FOUND ON icy MOON

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: Why a sub?

What would a submarine be able to give you that a ship equipped with lidar and sonar to map the depth of the sea wouldn't?

I think you missed the bit about the “benthic sampler.” It's pretty much the same with any mission of this nature in that you get much more data if you can dig down into the surface than if you use a more limited set of measurements. That and because it is a lot more fun to touch than to look.

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'Giving geo-engineering to this US govt is like giving a CHILD a LOADED GUN'

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Unknown Inaccurate Models

So the real issue in this is that the tech is not yet developed and the models are untested? Fine, let's terraform Mars. That way, we will know that the tech works and how well. As a bonus, we will have some additional real estate with which to play.

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IBM says dating apps can give you a nasty infection DOWN THERE!

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Re: Thanks IBM.

More ammo for defeating the idiotic push to BYOD.

Indeed, how did the 60% of dating apps with vulnerabilities stack up to other apps in general? Probably about average or perhaps a bit above, I would guess.

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HIGH-RANNOSAURUS WRECKED: Druggie dinos tripped balls on psychedelics – boffins

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: This reminds me...

I wonder how common it was/is for different species to consume halucinogens (by accident or on purpose), and how this has affected their development.

It is quite common for animals to consume fruit that has started to ferment. Drunken elephants are quite dangerous. I shudder to think how a drunken sauropod might act, much less several of them getting into the prehistoric equivalent of a bar fight. As far as other naturally occurring psychoactive drugs, just think of what it would have been like to have the munchies millions of years before the invention of Twinkies. Bummer!

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Uber: Sorry we're really awesome and all that (oh yeah, and for leaking your personal info)

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Spear Phishing Opportunity!

Scores of items reported missing by Uber passengers... were listed alongside the names and phone numbers of the customers and their drivers...

“Uber’s Lost Items feature has helped thousands of riders reconnect with belongings left behind after a trip."

"Dear Sir/Ma'am,

We have recovered your lost $item in one of our cabs. However, the owner of the vehicle is on vacation in another country. To have your $item sent to your location, please send $6.43 for shipping and handling to the following account..."

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