47 posts • joined 12 Jun 2007
Re: the public was never in danger
I disagree. The greatest risk was that if she hadn't discovered the explosives she would have be arrested as a terrorist on her next flight.
Re: In one word - transients
//So how do you get from here to there?//
Perhaps by changing the rules so far off in the future that the changes will be priced in by the time we get there? I've heard this method proposed a the strategy for reducing agricultural subsidies.
I'm a bit concerned about the zombie/vampire situation.
The traditional shambling zombie horde is clearly inferior to new improved turbo-zombie strains, and it makes sense to split vampires into gothic and cute types, but what about the various and diverse zombie-vampire hybrids as seen for example in "I am legend"? Where do they fit in?
Also, perhaps there should be a category for other aggressive hegemonising swarms. Mantred, the Borg, SG-1 replicators and the like.
"a brief physical search"
"Judge Roberts said that the old rules couldn’t apply to modern mobiles, because they were a technology whose scope was unheard of when the laws were put in place."
So in America, police are allowed to look in your pockets and wallet, and read your address book without a warrant. Briefly, apparently. Can they take your address book away and photocopy it, or do they have a certain time to look at it and identify the information they're interested in?
If you were carrying a diary, would they be allowed to read it?
Re: Language skills?
//Choosing a character for which English is not the primary language//
That together with pretending to be thirteen seems like cheating to me. Else, why not claim to have a three-year-old battering away at the keyboard?
Now he can go out and fight crime in his spare time.
Re: Not quite as impressive as advertised.
I've looked at the paper, and I think this post warrants a point-by-point rebuttal:
> The DNA of that bacterium consists of a couple of million "base pairs",
E. coli genome size : about 4.6 million basepairs
> what they've done is replace ONE base pair with a synthetic pair which is sufficiently similar to the real deal that it doesn't break DNA replication.
> Even though only one base pair was changed, the protein the gene coded for was broken by the insertion (a so-called reading frame error*),
False. It was a base *replacement*, and *not* in any protein-coding sequence. Where did you get that from?
> which is why the bacterium grew more slowly
False. Because a) the above, and b) because the unnatural bases and plasmid didn't make it grow more slowly. Expression of the protein required for transport of the unnatural bases into the cell did, but did so in the absence of these bases. Adding the bases caused no significant further reduction in growth rate.
> (and presumably why they didn't let it replicate more than 15 generations - it was a death spiral).
False. They report the plasmid replicating for approx 24 (plasmid) generations (over 15 hours of growth). They analysed reversions of the modified base position at that point; this was below their limits of detection. If they didn't supply more of the unnatural bases (which degrade over time in the culture) then over the following 6 days of growth, the plasmid would either be lost from the cell or acquire a reverting mutation. This is in no sense a "death spiral" - while the necessary materials are supplied, the modified base is maintained pretty well.
Re: Interesting what this does to the range of codes
pedantic clarification of my above point:
With an extra basepair *type*, there would be two more types of base (6 rather than 4 possibilities) at each position of a triplet codon : 6^3=216
Re: Interesting what this does to the range of codes
Your maths is wrong.
A (natural) codon is 3 bases each of 4 possibilities : 4^3=64.
With an extra base-pair, it would be 3 bases each of 6 possibilities : 6^3=216.
Re: So a hashed set of words?...
No. I skipped too much of the detail to properly understand, but it's not a general hash table. That would be an obvious flaw.
Looking at it again - the user computes a search token using their private key and the search-word. The server then computes search tokens for every document key they have access to using "deltas", which are "cryptographic values that enable a server to adjust a token from one key to another key". (I didn't worry about exactly how that works.) The deltas can be reused for other searches - they are generated by the user on gaining access to the document (i.e. getting the key to decrypt it) in the first place, and given back to the server at that point.
There are still risks to this scheme, which they mention in the paper.
For example if you search maliciously supplied data (e.g. a dictionary), then the adversary can match the word to the user's token, hand hence determine the search word. So they mitigate that - you need to explicitly accept access to a document.
I wondered that, and looked at the paper just long enough to find out that on encoding a document the system also encodes a list of the words it contains.
To search a document one supplies encoded words - the server can then say whether there's a match, but not what the words are.
Presumably though if the spies were already interested in a particular document, they could observe searches which gave hits in it.
Re: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!
I ended up entirely confused by that as well.
However - the Office for National Statistics releases lists of baby names every year. They only redact names with a count of two or fewer babies in a year for being personally identifiable information. That seems reasonable to me. One could apply that test to any population from which information was demanded.
I don't think that's fair.
New or improved drugs /have/ been developed in recent years, in spite of greatly increased regulatory costs and increasing difficulty. (The difficulty is increasing because the bar is raised. And the lowest hanging fruit has already taken.)
Many of the 'me too' drugs you mention are because of the large amount of research - a seminal discovery is published and multiple pharmaceutical companies use that as a starting point, investing the next 10 years and 1.3 billion dollars developing what turn out to be similar compounds.
Publically funded research is important, certainly. But there's a reason the rights get sold off. It would be entirely possible to develop drugs all the way to market in a nationally owned organisation - you would just need to fund it appropriately.
abandon all hope
from the article: //"You had no portfolio you could share with the world," said another insider on life after working at Amazon. "The argument this was necessary to attract talent and to retain talent completely fell on deaf ears."//
I think the insider quoted is undermining their own argument.
Amazon may find it harder to attract talent, sure. But once employed, your resume goes stale; it gets progressively harder to leave. From Amazon's perspective, retention should improve.
Re: "Not everybody believes that RDRAND falls into the same category"
//Messing with the XOR instruction so that it behaves differently when used with RDRAND as an input is a different issue that was brought up mainly by the tinfoil hat brigade; it would be hard to implement, trivial to detect, trivial to defeat and would be an awful lot of investment for something bound to target only one implementation of one system. Plus, it would be pure commercial suicide.//
However, messing with the XOR instruction isn't the obvious attack.
If the attacker can access the stored pool, merging input with it by XOR makes it trivial to create whatever output the attacker desires. This includes sequences which look random, but arn't - in any subtle way the attacker needs.
no possible chance of that backfiring
restrictive incompatible annoying limp insecure mushy
antitrust vulnerable MICROSOFT clippy broken dubious
bloated infringing flaccid lock-in predatory incompetent
I'd be interested in knowing exactly how this was illegal.
I mean, I've read the settlement and it goes on about them spying on customers (which this apparently wasn't) and it being a botnet (which it is - if you accept wikipedia's definition, but then is presumably just there to sound threatening). As clearly stated in the article, it looks like the announcement is full of misinformation.
Perhaps the issue was simply doing something they didn't mention in the licencing agreement. Many programs get run without any licencing even being seen. Online games, even advertising on web-pages. I'm sure I've seen web-pages which try to do useful stuff for the host in the background. It seems a pretty grey area.
It seems to me that ESEA have been quite unfairly treated. Although maybe they shouldn't have agreed to the settlement. Could they have agreed the wording of the announcement as part of the settlement?
 "A botnet is a collection of Internet-connected programs communicating with other similar programs in order to perform tasks." Presumably all the @home style systems qualify.
If you go to the wayback machine and read the FAQ you will find out that they do drop things from the archive based on the current robots.txt. It's not a secret.
In that case I think you should paint the ears green.
And it it means they have to be green for the flag side too then so be it.
Re: What took them so long?
What took them so long is that actually it _is_ quite complex.
Phages are also not as easy to use as antibiotics - they're quite specific, which means you need to know what you're dealing with before you can treat. Also, they can only be used externally (counting the gut as external - which it is, topologically speaking).
All of this together means that there's relatively little money to be made from them for most applications.
So the upshot is that they're great when you're dealing with known outbreaks, or a chronic, recalcitrant infection. The former is what the Russians were dealing with. The latter seems to be the niche targetted by this work. I suspect that this has only recently become common enough to be a worthwhile approach.
I'm thinking of creating a website for psychics.
To enter you'll be shown a blank image, and have to guess the word the server is thinking of.
Rat control the cook!
Looks to me like the one on the right in the picture is being controlled by a rat.
"...I put a backdoor in your backdoor"
This should have a name. I suggest 'catflap'
Re: @Lee D
//The trouble is you'd have a perfect digital copy of a compressed frame (because it came from a compressed source) with artifacts and all. If you then tried to put this back into a compressed container, you would compound the artifacts and the resulting file would be measurably inferior to the original (double compression).//
While this is true for naive recompression, in theory it must be possible to regenerate the original compressed data from the uncompressed output.
There is potentially a difference.
Perhaps the distinction they're making is that cruise missiles attack stationary targets. Bunkers, buildings, bridges or other infrastructure. Or mobile stuff which is known to be parked at a particular position. The target is designated by humans ahead of time.
However, a truely autonomous weapon would decide on its own targets during the mission. So it could hit mobile targets like tanks, personnel carriers, infantry, ships &c.
I'm not an expert, but that seems like a decent distinction.
Whether banning weapons of war is a good idea or not I'm unsure. Why not ban everything, so soldiers have to fight unarmed, hand to hand?
It does seem a funny name for the front page.
Re: Nukular material
Reminds me of Mr Burns' Grandfather:
"Come on, come on! Crack those atoms! You, turn out your pockets. (worker does so) Atoms! (counts them) One, two three, four… six of them! Take him away!"
Re: And this is why...
" For example: you may let the BBC use your picture but refuse it to the Daily Mail. The next day you change your mind about The Daily Mail. You cannot do this with a restrictive CC license. The whole point is to make a sacrifice "for the good of the commons", aka, The Greater Good."
Um, what Creative Commons licence is it that precludes you (as the copyright holder) giving out other licences?
Looking at the Creative Commons website, at page creativecommons.org/licenses/ :
This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially."
And in the licence deed for that :
"Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder."
Or did you mean some other 'CC'?
Or did you mean that you can't change your mind after licensing something with a *less* restrictive CC licence? (And also mean "you may let the BBC use your picture *and also* the Daily Mail.")
"The model lamented the lack of big stick under local law for snapping people's privates."
Am I alone in thinking that's a little bit harsh?
Precidence not necessary
The thing is, this is regarding a trade-mark, not a patent. The rules are different.
Trademarks apparently don't require precidence - how else would someone be able to trademark "Keep calm and carry on"?
However, I am not a lawyer; I don't know whether what Games Workshop have allow them to block books with those words in the title.
Re: Has nobody thoughtof the children?
"Frivolity aside, couldn't they have used some other protein sequence to achieve the same effect?"
Theoretically perhaps, but practically using proteins has some issues.
1) Protein sequencing isn't anywhere near the same league as DNA sequencing. We can just about determine the sequence of a few residues from one end of a protein. If it's pure.
2) Proteins often don't store well. DNA in dry form stores really well.
3) In-vitro protein synthesis is not easy. The usual way to get a protein sample is to produce a gene encoding it then put it in an organism which will make it for you. Then extract and purify it.
So apart from writing, reading and the wait in between it's a potentially effective approach.
To answer what I think was your real concern, creating what is to a cell essentially random DNA really isn't a big risk. Apart from that, the paper isn't about storing information in living cells, all the above comments notwithstanding.
I don't understand why he didn't use time along the x axis and coloured lines for the different catagories.
If they get enough traffic through the 'contact us' captcha, they won't need to hire anyone to provide the service.
worker bees not identical sisters
"The whole hive of honeybees are genetically identical sisters..."
I believe this is not actually true.
Worker bees (and the queen) are diploids, meaning that they have two sets of chromosomes. But - the way the workers are generated involves a haploid (single set of chromosomes) egg being fertilised by a haploid sperm.
Chromosomes are allocated at random to eggs, and generally there's at least one cross-over involved between each pair.
Therefore the worker-bees are presumably not genetically identical.
(The same assortment process also occurs in spermatozoa in many species, but not honey bees; drone (male) bees are haploid so all sperm must carry the same set.)
Re: I for one would welcome....
I'm thinking that the easiest way of reducing the bug-introduction rate would be to put more statements on each line.
Somehow you miss titles when they're gone.
Olympic gold medals are made of steel now?
Oh oo oooh!
I so want this certificate!
It'd look great on my CV.
I'm sure I could ace the test first time - I've been practicing my observing through bus windows skills.
It's more likely that he's been disappeared by the FBI, at the bequest of the mayor of Tuttle City.
Phoible. (foi-bell) n. A weakness for spelling words in a whimsical manner.
Re: Moore's law?
didn't you hear that China's first CPU had six million crystal tubes?
I went to Taiwan earlier in the year, and experienced the ridiculousness of the regulations.
At the time (and as far as I know, these rules haven't changed) you were allowed to take liquids (and gels etc) in bottles with individual capacity no more than 100ml in a transparent zip-lock bag, with a max capacity of 1 litre. Part-full containers in excess of 100ml are not permitted, which ignores the fact all passengers now have a transparent zip-lock bag with a capacity of 1 l.
Strictly speaking the rules don't say anything about solids, so technically you should be able to freeze anything you want to take on. But I wouldn't trust them to follow the letter of the law in that case.
What isn't really considered in all the above about the liquids rules is the many other stupidities of the system. For example, at Birmingham airport we were told you are not allowed knives or imitation weapons, carefully searched and went past a big glass display-case of the penknives and toy guns they've taken off people. Well, OK. I think it has been pointed out before that the snaking back and forth line of people waiting to get through this heightened security makes a new target.
Then we got to the secure area, where you can buy a meal which is served with a metal knife and fork. You then have a good hour or two to sharpen them before you get on the plane (without any further security checks).
It'll all end in tears, mark my words...
comment title required indeed.
I'm with Marvin. Just paint your rusty old laptop with hammerite.
The mountains in those two pictures in the article are different. I think they went to the wrong place the second time. Mystery solved.
Use a proper unit.
Football, soccer, whatever - as people have pointed out, the pitch isn't precisely defined, so it isn't a good unit of measurement.
Therefore, I've converted it into something more useful.
The lake was 1.95 to 2.34 micro-areas-the-size-of-Wales.
Hope this helps.
RE:probably not legal in many countries
They're modifying the yeast. Genetically modified, but it is still yeast. Since they're not even putting a working gene in, it won't change the yeasts properties (unless they insert their watermark sequence into something important).
Whether they'll allow genetically modified whatever is another matter.
RE: Unique DNA
The sequence of DNA in an organism may be unique or not. Since yeast is asexual (mostly), the descendants of a cell are identical, barring the odd mutation. If I took some of your yeast culture it would have the same sequence (if anyone went to the considerable expense of sequencing both strains). But so would your grandmothers culture, and anyone else's she'd given it to.
So someone might claim to have the same strain independently. If you can modify the DNA sequence of your special strain in a proveable way, then you can clearly prove that they got it from you.
Whether this matters legally may or may not make a difference.
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