* Posts by Suricou Raven

1310 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

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Lib Dems to oppose porn checks in Blighty's Digital Economy Bill

Suricou Raven
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Re: Dark Web no longer optional?

I think a great joke here will be that the porn filtering might actually make police work harder.

Right now, if someone is on the darknet, they are probably up to No Good. You don't go there unless you have something to hide. Anything from petty piracy to drugs trading or child abuse imagery. It's a lot of hassle to navigate, so you don't go there without reason. I used to play around on Freenet, and it's really limited to three groups: Criminals, activists, and paranoid nutters planning for the day that Obama starts rounding up his opponents for the concentration camps. Most of the criminals are just pirates.

Now start trying to filter porn, and what happens? Ten million new users rush to the darknet. Now it's flooded: You have a much larger pool of suspects to sort, and most of them are just looking for smut. Smut which is itsself now unpolicable, because what very little regulation we have right now would become entirely impossible to enforce once the industry is driven into the shady world of tor and bitcoin.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: The more publicity this gets . . .

Deleting the browser history is only a minor inconvenience to a proper forensic examination. If you want to browse without trace, your only option is to use a liveCD that never writes to the hard drive, or a VM image that snapshots before use and reverts after - and in that case, you still need to zero out free space on the host OS to be sure.

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Suricou Raven
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Just claim that VPNs are used by pedophiles. The public will be instantly outraged, and no-one will dare to publically question your demand for strict regulation for fear of being seen as supporting the most hated criminals in modern society.

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What you need to know from re:Invent – FPGAs-as-a-service and more

Suricou Raven
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Right now, a lot of bitcoin miners are trying to calculate if there is some way to use these in a profitable way.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: configure & spin up Linux servers for internal use with strict security & access permissions.

When doing anything on the 'cloud' or transmitting across the internet without using encryption between trusted endpoints, it's probably safe to assume you have at least a couple of intelligence agencies taking records.

The good news is that, unless you are either 1. A troublesome activist 2. An actual terrorist or 3. Involved in the most serious forms of organised crime, they aren't going to waste their time on you. Not because they have any sort of ethical restraint, just because they don't have the resources to investigate every petty pirate and pot-smoker they find.

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Three certainties in life: Death, taxes and the speed of light – wait no, maybe not that last one

Suricou Raven
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Re: Faster computers?

It's a lot worse than that for physics. If you can send information faster than light, you can send it in such a way that it arrives before it leaves. The first message you get back from your FTL transmitter might be the lottery numbers.

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New state of matter discovered by superconductivity gurus

Suricou Raven
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It has copper, it has oxygen, and the rest can be put down an effort to express something a layperson can understand without feeling too uneducated.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: "Energy"

Practical applications for a room-temperature superconductor?

Really efficient motors. Really efficient power converters. Really efficient long-distance power transmission. Mostly the same stuff we do now, but smaller and with less wasted energy.

You can also use them to make things hover a short distance, which is good for bearings and silly toys.

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Fleeing Aussie burglar shot in arse with bow and arrow

Suricou Raven
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Re: Bloke was lucky

The aim of the advice is to make sure the robbery remains a robbery, and doesn't escalate into a murder. Police prioritise life over property, so from that perspective it's better to let the thief get away with it and hope to catch him later than to encourage the property owner to defend his home and risk one or the other ending up dead.

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UK prison reform report wants hard-coded no-fly zones in drones to keep them out of jail

Suricou Raven
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Re: punt gun

Prisons are often in populated areas. Not so much because they are built there, but because the populated area grew to encompass the prison.

I still favor the other low-tech solution: Put up a net over the yard. And if phones remain a problem, several companies make conductive paint that can be used for radio screening.

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NASA wants to sell International Space Station to private enterprise

Suricou Raven
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Re: Trying to avoid de-orbit costs?

How hard can it be to hit a target the size of the Pacific?

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Computer forensics defuses FBI's Clinton email 'bombshell'

Suricou Raven
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I sense political meddling.

Someone has been promised a budget increase if Trump wins.

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Swiss, geez: Robo-hooker coffee shop to be erected in Geneva

Suricou Raven
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Engineering challenge

Has anyone a robot to actually do this? A simple reciprocating and sucking action is easily done, but I don't know if that will be enough to result in properly satisfied customers. A really decent blowbot is going to need actively actuated soft body components, including a tongue mechanism, with enough degrees of freedom to avoid repetitions - all under the control of a program able to analyse the input from an array of sensors and dynamically adjust the movements to maintain comfort while maximising pleasure.

This is a really tall order. A Venus 2000 isn't going to cut it.

Not that it matters, though. The critics are right on one point: There is no way the government will allow this. Even if it is legal now, the law would be swiftly changed to correct that.

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Facebook ads in race claim

Suricou Raven
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Re: standard advertising practices

Translation: Pulling a Chick.

People respond better to advertising when the characters they see match their own race. So now you can make one ad with a smiling white couple enjoying your product, one with a smiling black couple enjoying your product, and one with a smiling hispanic couple enjoying your product. Then apply the magic of Facebook's super-specific targetting (That's where they make their money) and everyone sees the version of the ad they are most likely to respond to.

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Alleged ISIS member 'wore USB cufflink and trained terrorists in encryption'

Suricou Raven
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The old scattergun approach?

File enough charges, something has to stick.

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Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works

Suricou Raven
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Check China's population growth rate. It was almost 3% in 1970. It's 0.5% now. That's less than the US, and about even with the UK. It's on a downwards trend too, and may even go negative.

The government of china may be oppressive, but they are also practical.

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Suricou Raven
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2. Is pointless. Both the labor pool and consumer demand scale with population. If you halve the population then you halve the number of jobs required to meet demand, and overall unemployment doesn't actually shift that much.

You don't need to incentivise, anyway. There's a consistent pattern that happens in all countries as they develop: First there is a long, long period of steady population, in which short live expectancy and high infant mortality balance a high birth rate. That's the bit where every family has six children. Then there's an explosive population growth when industrial agriculture, sanitation and medicine come along: You still have the big families, but now people aren't dying any more and population shots up, more than doubling in a generation easily. Then a remarkable thing happens: The birth rate falls. Higher educational standards and sex equality serve to discourage people from wanting children until much later in life, and contraception gives them the option. Population can actually start to fall. This creates its own problems, like an overburdened health system.

Some countries have had to resort to coercive population control during the explosive growth period, but even China is phasing out their population control efforts now - they recognise that their need has passed.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: I'm not paid a lot

The non-necessities. It's called a 'basic' income for a reason: It's supposed to give you enough money to live on, and that's about it. If you are happy in your little low-rent flat, watching TV and roaming the internet, that's fine. Good for you. But if you have expensive hobbies to pursue or desire a more luxurious standard of living, you can go join the queue for employment. It may take a long time before you strike lucky and get a job, but with the basic income to support you there is no hurry.

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Suricou Raven
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There's one huge flaw in the whole thing.

It assumes demand for goods in general is really elastic.

The people of old who predicted automation would bring about a three-day work week were wrong because they assumed demand would be inelastic: That the people would want only so much 'stuff' and so with increasing per-person productivity there would come a point where that demand would be satisfied with only a small number of people in employment. This didn't happen, because with falling cost of production consumption increased accordingly: Even the low-income today live a lifestyle that would have been the envy of a preindustrial king. Clothing so cheap that people will throw away a piece rather than spend time stitching a hole? Items imported from half-way around the world just to decorate our homes? Holidays to exotic locations?

If we all lived like an 1800's peasant, we really would need only a fraction of the population in work.

An important question is how far this can be taken. If further automation leads to even greater per-person efficiency gains, what happens? Do we reach the point where clothes are so cheap people will throw them away each day rather than wash them and just buy anew? There has to be a limit to how much useless tat people want in their lives - and there are only so many hours in the day to watch television. Even if consumption continues to increase, there are other costs to this solution: Massive resource usage and environmental impact.

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New measurement alert. The Pogba: 1,200Pg = NHS annual budget

Suricou Raven
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Re: Monty Python reference

I understand Welsh sheep are the fastest. Something about regular exercise.

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Google: We look forward to running non-Intel processors in our cloud

Suricou Raven
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48V.

48V is an old telco standard. It was chosen as 48-ish-more-or-less volts because that's what you get if you connect four 12V lead-acid batteries in series, and back in the dark ages telephone exchanges used that as their UPS. 48V is what gives you a dial tone, and it's at the sweet spot in another way too: High enough to send power very long distances (ie, your phone) but low enough that it's not going to kill anyone*. It also, by fortunate coincidence, is just the right voltage for DC distribution in a data center. All that needed changing was to set a formal standard for acceptable deviation from 48V nominal.

48V is also the supply for PoE, and for phantom microphone power. For much the same reason: It's low enough to be safe and practical without requiring too much insulation, but high enough that current and drop are manageable.

Take a look on eBay: There are tons of 48V supplies.

*It hurts, though.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Blast from the past

1) Because it's the means by which you install the OS, or at least configure it for network boot in order to make it install an OS as needed. And diagnose problems or view error messages that prevent network connectivity. And do firmware configuration.

2) Because it's cheap, and because VGA KVMs are really, really cheap, including the sixteen-port-per-unit, stackable sort of KVM you want in a datacenter.

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Russia tests sat jamming

Suricou Raven
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Counter-researching time.

Time to launch some really directional antennas.

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Russia mulls pirate penalties

Suricou Raven
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Sounds like a token.

Why should Russia spend money on copyright enforcement? The victims are overwhelmingly non-Russian, and it keeps a lot of money from leaving the country. Russia serves Russia - they have no obligation to the rest of the world.

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UK will build new nuclear bomb subs, says Defence Secretary

Suricou Raven
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Re: Elephant in the room

No matter how the economy runs or how much public services cost, there is *always* money for more military spending. Somehow.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

They should just hire the guy who names Ubuntu releases.

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Suricou Raven
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There's an obvious counter to intecepters: Send more missiles. That's why countries that have nukes tend to have a lot of them. You only need one per city to get through.

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Yahoo! couldn't! detect! hackers! in! its! network! but! can! spot! NSFW! smut! in! your! office?

Suricou Raven
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Re: Meh

It's a tool. From a technical perspective, there's not much difference other than scale between the corporate filter to keep the employees from facebook and the national firewall to keep the people from reading news about how corrupt and oppressive their government is. I'm sure Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and (what's left of) Syria are looking at how to plug this technology into their filters to make sure all those corrupting western women with low-cut tops. They might need to retrain it to local standards.

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Uni student cuffed for 'hacking professor's PC to change his grades'

Suricou Raven
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Re: It might not have been War Games...

My preferred explanation is that they let him go for reasons of cover-up. A trial, prosecution and imprisonment would have meant risking the world finding out how close they came to WW3, and the embarrassment of national security being compromised by a teenager. So they let him go, with the warning that if the government ever catches him trying to pull a stunt like that again he won't get a trial, he'll just join the list of unsolved murder cases.

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Suricou Raven
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Idiot.

Changing a grade from a B to an A, or a C to a B, might go unnoticed. Might. It's a big risk, because there's a good chance the professor will look at it and recall that isn't the grade he gave, and it won't match up with paper records. That's even if they don't have electronic audit.

But F to an A? You're going to get caught.

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If we can't fix this printer tonight, the bank's core app will stop working

Suricou Raven
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There's an old hack.

Don't know if it's work on something from the mainframe days, but the old Centronics parallel ports could be tricked by poking a wire in the right holes so that the source's 'ready' is fed straight back into 'acknowledge.' The source sees a printer attached, and keeps on sending. The data is lost, of course, but it's handy if you just want to test some program that produces printer output without wasting paper.

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TRUMP: ICANN'T EVEN! America won't hand over internet control to Russia on my watch

Suricou Raven
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Re: I honestly don't know who'd be worse

I am confident that Hillary will not be responsible for instigating nuclear war.

I cannot say that about Trump.

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AT&T tries broadband over power lines again

Suricou Raven
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This looks familiar.

This is Tesla tech. Signal transmission using a conductive solid waveguide, and the signal propagating through the surrounding space coupled to a surface wave. Tesla developed that, though using a different shape antenna (A horn, with the wire passing through the middle).

It doesn't look entirely practical. You'd have to fit the rather expensive equipment to the top of every single pole along the path, and a fault with even one of those devices would render all of the downstream network inaccessible.

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HP Inc's rinky-dink ink stink: Unofficial cartridges, official refills spurned by printer DRM

Suricou Raven
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Re: @ Dr. Sytax

Gillette are usually (if only half-correctly) credited with inventing the business model. They patented an easy-swap razor blade. Sold the handle and a first blade, but because only they could manufacture new blades their customers were then locked into them as a supplier of consumables that had a substantial profit margin.

It's a common myth that Gillette sold the handle at a very low price, or even at a loss, but that part isn't true. There were fears about devaluing the brand. Their real genius was in advertising 'no honing' razors, which spared the user the time-consuming and fiddly process of resharpening the blades - while also greatly increasing the number of blades they would need. In the modern printer world, this is like fitting a printer with mechanisms to prevent refilling the cartridge.

Gillette didn't sell handles at cost, but some of their competitors did the moment their patent expired in an attempt to lure Gillette customers away. Why buy a pricy pack of Gillette blades when Ever-Ready are selling a new handle and some blades at a lower cost?

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Suricou Raven
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The surest sign of scumminess.

Why the time delay?

I can only think of one reason: They knew it would be resisted. If they just released a firmware update then it would hit sites like the Register and Slashdot within a day, and administrators all over the world would hasten to disable automatic firmware update.

But then some executive with HP (Who I like to imagine in a top hat, cape, and very wide moustache) realises the solution: Time delay! By the time anyone realises that the new firmware is not in their best interests, it'll be too late - every printer will have it!

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EU ends anonymity and rules open Wi-Fi hotspots need passwords

Suricou Raven
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Don't blame Pirates.

If it hadn't been copyright, it would have been child abuse. If it hadn't been that, it would have been terrorism.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Meh

A small business is not capable of managing identity verification for transient customers affordably. The usual solution is to just contract the role to a company that specialises in running public hotpots and can do just that.

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VW Dieselgate engineer sings like a canary: Entire design team was in on it – not just a few bad apples, allegedly

Suricou Raven
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Re: They couldn't —but they did

It's a balance.

Fast.

Clean.

Efficient.

Pick any two.

They have it run fast+efficient on the road, and clean+efficient in the test room. By greatly reducing power output.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: If the government had better tests...

Or the cheats might just have to be more creative. Perhaps give the firmware a list of known government testing facilities and have it go slow-and-eco when the GPS picks it up as near one.

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Google-funded group mad that US Copyright Office hasn't abolished copyright yet

Suricou Raven
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Re: "Individual property rights"

The UK extended the copyright term for music recently. From fifty years to seventy. Got to make sure the Beatles keep making new music somehow.

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Suricou Raven
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Lack of respect for a law.

People have no respect for copyright law any more. Or a lot of other laws too, but let's focus on copyright. Why is this the case, and what can be done to fix it?

Firstly, people won't respect any law that they see being violated with great frequency and little risk of enforcement action. But copyright is practically impossible to enforce online - this has been the case ever since the introduction and immediate explosive growth of Napster.

Secondly, people won't respect a law that they see as being crafted to benefit a particular group that they are not a part of. That's not how copyright was intended, or how it used to be, but as copyright terms grow so respect for the law lessens. It is hard to believe that copyright law exists to give creators an economic incentive to create and the chance to make a living from doing so when the copyright term is seventy years after the creator is dead. While it's true that every person is technically able to benefit from copyright protection, few actually have need to do so.

There are some ways to fix this, but they are legally difficult. The first one isn't a policy issue, it's a cultural issue. Culture carves its own course, subject only to a little direction via forceful nudges by those trying to steer it. There's no hope of effective copyright enforcement on an individual level, but there are other routes. Apple, Amazon and Netflix have gone some way towards this by providing a means of legally getting access to desired content that is every bit as convenient as piracy yet also easily affordable. In the end though, I think it just has to be accepted that casual copyright infringement is and will remain rampant.

You could try education campaigns, but these have a poor history. Such things as Don't Copy That Floppy, Knock-Off Nigel and You-wouldn't-steal-a-car have provided rich fuel for satire, but they haven't actually achieved their objective at all. People are stupid, but they are not complete idiots - they can recognise blatant attempts to manipulate them.

The second part is easier though: Shorten the copyright term. A lot. If you did that then you might see fewer people decrying copyright as corporate welfare. This is unlikely to happen though - it would require international negotiations, while being fought by some of the world's most skilled and well-funded lobbyists. You might also consider looking to the French model, rather than American, which puts more focus on the non-commercial rights of individual creators (Attribution is very important) rather than viewing copyright as purely a source of profit and economic incentive. Very few people are going to make a significant amount of money off of works they have created personally, but anyone who has doodled a crude sketch and uploaded it to DeviantArt will be able to take pride in their creation.

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Petulant Facebook claims it can't tell the difference between child abuse and war photography

Suricou Raven
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Money isn't the problem - it's network effect. A social network is useless if none of your friends are on it, and they are in the same position. Look at how Google Plus turned out: It has the backing of one of the biggest giants in technology, is also free, yet remains a fraction of the size and influence of Facebook.

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Suricou Raven
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Why is this surprising?

We all know what's happened here.

Someone ticked report. That resulted in the image getting shown before one of Facebook's content inspectors - probably someone fresh out of school in Bangladesh where wages are low, who has a very simple task: Take these photos, and this list. Tick the appropriate boxes.

They look at the list. Somewhere on the list is an entry that says 'images of children with genitalia exposed.' Yep, the image fits, tick the box. Job done. Facebook doesn't want their inspectors making subjective judgements, because that would result in inconsistency.

Then there is a bit of upset about the 'censorship' - enough to get noticed by someone higher up Facebook's chain of command, who spots what's happened and ticks the 'special dispensation' override box as well. Problem solved. At least for this image.

You're going to see this sort of thing in any large organisation. Consistent behaviour demands clear procedures, and these clear procedures cannot handle every situation - the best they can do is allow for escalation to someone who is authorised to deviate from the procedure.

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Intel's makeshift Kaby Lake Cores hope to lure punters from tired PCs

Suricou Raven
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Re: Thunderbolt & USB

It's very desirable if you seek to get your hands on the encryption keys for that DRM.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: DRM is evil

The expiration of copyright is barely applicable - very few things produced in your lifetime will be public domain before your death. The only way it can happen is if an author dies while you are young, and you get to see the copyright expire seventy years later.

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Mozilla breathes petition-of-fire at EU copyright laws

Suricou Raven
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Re: Mickey Mouse Protection Act

If you believe the account of the bible, they are inspired by God. As the copyright term fit an individually authored work in most countries starts ticking down upon the death of the author, that means they would be still under copyright.

However, the books themselves include explicit permission to reproduce and share freely. There's a very strongly-worded clause near the very end of Revelation forbidding alteration though.

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Quake-hit Italy: Open up Wi-Fi

Suricou Raven
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Re: That's daft

They just lost some funding: One of their offices just kicked out a volunteer who wandered in and just say around praying publically, so now a 'wah, wah, persecution' story is running in the right-wing American media and a boycott movement is forming.

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Watch the world's biggest 'flying bum' go arse over tit in a crash

Suricou Raven
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Re: Bah!

The main aim of this design is to solve that problem. It's not a purely helium-lift - it has ducted fans too. Without those it's actually just a little heavier than air. The fans can respond very quickly in order to maintain attitude.

That's the idea, anyway. Looks like they still need to work a few bugs out.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Almost impossible to create?

Helium production by that means would be ridiculously expensive. Helium currently produced is a byproduct of natural gas production - over geological time enough has accumulated from captured alpha particles that it can be (just barely) profitable to purify and ship it.

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A USB stick as a file server? We've done it!

Suricou Raven
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Idea.

Could it, with a bit of firmware hacking, be adapted as a piratebox?

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