* Posts by h4rm0ny

4573 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

Russia claims it repelled home-grown drone swarm in Syria

h4rm0ny
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We're not at war with Russia, you know. (Despite the best efforts of the USA). And Russia have done more to combat ISIS in Syria than we have so... why not?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: RE: "The thousands of German V1 attacks on southern England"

Fun and amazing fact: although British pilots were instructed to shoot down the V1s., their gyroscope ceased working if inverted. That is to say that if you could get the missile to fly upside down it would immediately crash. British pilots would sometimes fly alongside the missile and get their wing under its fin and flip it over.

Interesting book that mentions this: Empire of the Clouds by James Hamilton-Paterson. (No, I'm not touting the book and no connection. Amazon's just the easiest link).

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Russian tech hacked by Russians?

Governments generally have a pretty good idea of who their weapons are reaching. Which is a very different thing from publicly admitting it or it being done legally. And when weapons end up in "the wrong hands", it's as often simply a matter of time and shifting allegiances than error. Arms dealers are VERY aware of who governments will be okay with them supplying and who will get them into a very nasty situation.

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Re: Russian tech hacked by Russians?

You're suggesting the Russians are bombing themselves. Quite frankly we know the CIA are present in Syria and have been supplying expertise and equipment to Al Quaeda and similar there. Western assistance to build these is not remotely implausible.

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h4rm0ny
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A low-tech device that does the job is better than a high-tech device that does the job for one simple reason: For the price of a single US$500,000 device, you can get thousands of cheap ones.

If you can build a model plane out of balsa wood and a cheap motor with enough range, that's what you do. Besides, the sophisticated part of these was the guidance systems which aren't shown in these pictures.

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Memo man Damore is back – with lawyers: Now Google sued for 'punishing' white men

h4rm0ny
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Re: I am confused

I'm not sure if you genuinely don't understand or if you are, as I suspect, simply determined that I must be wrong. To extend the benefit of the doubt one last time:

It very much does have to do with sexism. I provided good quality primary data showing that computer classes have higher female participation in sexist countries than they do in less sexist ones. I even helpfully directed you to examples of both countries as the data set is large. The reason for this is because in these more sexist countries, women have less career choice. You're less able to become a doctor or a lawyer or a manager, etc. When choice is restored, e.g. Sweden, you find participation drops because more often than not a female student will pursue a career other than a purely technical one.

The first are well-demonstrated facts. The conclusion is directly derived. If you again try to shift ground or dispute this, then I don't believe you're arguing honestly.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: I am confused

>>That is unfortunately true in both USA and UK. It is significantly less true elsewhere. The gender ratios in STEM in continental Europe with the notable exception of physics are reasonably sane.

STEM is not the subject. That covers academic research, sciences in general, teaching STEM subjects. The subject covered by Damore is explicitly tech jobs of an engineering kind - programming, chiefly. Even there he draws a distinction between front-end work and back-end work because there's another significant gap there. You'll find the gender ratio is a lot more heavily slanted towards men amongst Sysadmins than those creating GUIs. The contention is not that men are more capable as sysadmins, but that in general men are more likely to put up sitting in a frozen maze of server racks talking to a screen all day.

We have to stay off broadening into "STEM" as a whole because it misleads. For example, women are OVER-represented in teaching STEM, iirc.

You're factually wrong, when you say it's a more "sane" ratio on continental Europe. See the link I posted elsewhere. Countries that score extremely highly in the Gender Development Index still have ratios far from that of the general population. Sweden has 30% female in computer classes. And that's high-ish. New Zealand has 20% and Canada 24%. And of those, many women will on graduation take it towards teaching or a related administrative or managerial role associated with their degree. Contrast that with Guyana (54% female computer class participation) or Zimbabwe (41%).

All this supports the conclusion that necessity increases female participation in programming, not choice.

>>That is one area where women are better than men - we get that from our simian ancestry. Women are significantly more adept in maneuvering a social situation so that they do not need to deal with an arsehole

Anecdotal but I am terrible with people. Also, "arseholes" are sometimes necessary. Singular leadership and a measure of punitiveness by an authority figure can be more productive than a tendency to prefer consensus by default. Elevating consensus to be an inherent good can be very destructive to a group's success.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: I am confused

>>This is a very strange claim? Is there a source for that or is it made up?

Thank you so much for the accusation. Here are sources you can review. Rather involved, but you're welcome to check my conclusions through the figures:

http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/vgalpin1/ps/Gal02a.pdf

http://hdr.undp.org/en/composite/GDI

To get you started, you can compare countries that are very low on sexism such as Sweden, New Zealand and Canada against some that score badly on the Gender Development Index (I would suggest Thailand, Guyana, Iran, Zimbabwe if you don't have any prepared subject area). And with this comparison you can see that these least sexist countries actually do worse.

It seems like an odd idea to you because your preconception is that women are held back from computing and advanced countries should hold women back less. In fact, what is happening is that these MORE sexist countries are blocking careers like doctors, management, law, etc. whilst the LEAST sexist countries do not. The greater freedom of opportunity in these less sexist countries leads to women choosing other careers over programming, typically.

As to your vague suggestion that I should look at "official figures", I hope you now see that I actually have a passable knowledge of what I'm talking about.

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Re: I am confused

Okay - you're working in places where discussing politics or religion are explicitly grounds for a reprimand? This is some serious bullshit you have to contend with. Never would I work at a place where I was forbidden to discuss current affairs or history with my friends and colleagues. Combining this with your 50:50 gender split, there's something very atypical about these jobs you're talking about.

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Re: I am confused

That an astonishing ratio. I've worked in places I didn't find sexist in any meaningful way and there was nothing like a 50:50 gender ratio amongst programmers in any of them. Do you mind identifying the field we're talking about, and which country you're from? We're ARE talking programming jobs here? Front end or back end?

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Re: Blind auditions

It didn't "plummet". It was around 8%. But that's sufficient to be significant and more than sufficient to show there wasn't bias against women in hiring. There was a similar but smaller effect for racial minorities.

Link

It's blackly amusing reading the foreword trying to downplay the conclusions and subtly argue for the body's continued funding.

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Re: @h4rmony @Kristian Walsh

>>"Before going any further, though, I will say that I find it very hard to believe that he was fired just for writing this document."

People have often been fired due to a public witch-hunt. Hell, do you remember those two programmers at Pycon who were fired because Adria Richards was sitting in front of them and overheard one make an innocuous joke about "dongles" and tweeted to her 12,000 followers a photo of them saying sexism 'not okay' and accusing them of creating an atmosphere hostile to women? I do - because she single-handedly made women in tech everywhere look like humourless bigots in one afternoon. It was eventually and partially cleared up but it's a good example of how a company can and will throw an employee under the bus if that employee is being targeted online for racism / sexism / whatever. You're very wrong to think that he couldn't be fired for this memo. It went public. He was promptly fired. It was, based on documented emails from other employees saying they wanted to get him fired, likely leaked with that aim. You're dismissing this because you want to, not because it isn't sound.

>>Dismissing a permanent employee is not something that any company (even an American one) does lightly - it often, as in this case, ends up with both the employer and employee in court

And has done. But in the court filing, one of the emails points out that Damore and the others are employed "At will" which is common in the USA and it points this out specifically to highlight that these employees can be fired with little risk. The USA has fewer protections for employees than most of Europe.

>>This document is one part of a bigger story, and none of us know the whole story yet, but my suspicions are that it's a story in which Damore may not be the hero.

My contention is that you base this on your dislike of his memo rather than a reading of the court filings which I am now on page 27 of.

>>I didn't make any comment one way or the other on gender representation, but Damore's point about never achieving a 50/50 balance is a straw-man argument

50% is not randomly picked. It more or less corresponds to the proportions in wider society and which Google uses to assess their own diversity. He argues that it will never be 50% because he's arguing that it will never match the general population. This is a key part of his argument which you must understand. He's saying that you can't use the general population as your determiner for what is a "correct" diversity ratio in your technical hires. There's no strawman. It's the point of his argument.

>>These policies aren't looking to pass over men and replace them with women - that's an example of the "zero-sum" thinking I criticised

He cites several programs that are discriminatory to men. Some of them are innocuous (imo) such as outreach programs to encourage young women to enter tech. I have been involved in such efforts myself. Others are far more insidious such as hiring practices that lower the bar for certain groups, diversity targets for departments which incentivise preferential hiring and promotion. So you're incorrect. Policies DO exist that pass over men in favour of women.

>>I believe he is deliberately misrepresenting a policy of preferring minority candidates who meet the requirements for a position, as one where such candidates get the job without meeting the requirements.

I find it hard to credit that you can write this without seeing anything wrong with it. Policies that prefer candidates based on racial or sexual identity are wrong. And yes, I understand the distinction you are trying to draw between meeting the requirements and not. It's wrong. Also, highly hypothetical. And also contradicted by having diversity targets that inevitably is going to lead to overlooking weaknesses in the candidates from the desired group.

>>At the end of the document, he has his list of "recommendations": this is where he makes his pitch for what the ideal solution will be. And when you look at it, it's just a rollback of measures Google has taken to stop its workplaces being so hostile to people who aren't nerdy white men.

Well, setting aside the pejorative language in your last paragraph (and also that it's men in general), what is wrong with rolling back discriminatory measures? It's you that think that these policies are what stops Google being so hostile to men. Based on everything he's cited from the culture, that doesn't seem likely. Further, the policies don't 'prevent the workplace being hostile to women'. They introduce a discrimination in favour of women. It's on you to prove that any of the policies he recommends changing lead to "hostility to women" because I don't see it.

>>"But that doesn't stop this memo being a poorly argued whinge about having to share the the office with people who see the world differently to him."

Damore's memo plainly isn't that at all. And I'll support that by simply linking to it for anyone to read: Link

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h4rm0ny
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Re: difference of opinion is not the same as calling management as incompetent

Yes. Sundar Pichai actually got a lot of grief online for not condemning Damore enough, which is worth mentioning. I think your analysis is spot on.

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h4rm0ny
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Paris Hilton

Re: I am confused

I think there is an element of chicken and egg. I think it's less to do with role-models and more to do with the fact that at 14 you find yourself having to choose whether to go into a class with all your friends or be one of three girls amongst approx. 20 boys. (My experience).

However, there has been a LOT of effort to increase the number of women in tech. One of the interesting observations in Damore's memo which addresses your point is that the disparity in tech INCREASES with career opportunity for women. I.e. in poorer countries where there's greater pressure to work and provide for yourself, gender ratios in tech are more even. This is also true in the USA historically where women were well represented in the emerging field of computers. What Damore concludes from these examples are that women are just as capable as men at programming but that as society opened up other careers to women that had previously been closed (doctors, lawyers, managers), career-minded women tended to pursue these.

A credible case is made that reduction in career sexism in the USA has DECREASED the number of women programmers because women could always pursue a programming career (many early programming pioneers were women) but were formerly excluded from these other careers. That lends support to his view that there is a significant biological preference in general rather than it being primarily education and role-models.

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Re: I am confused

Lewis Page is, as I understand it, legally prevented from discussing his departure. But it was abrupt and he didn't leave for another position elsewhere as would be normal if it were voluntary. He was immediately trying to find other work. And there was an accompanying political slant that appeared in El Reg. around the same time. So I'm reading between the lines, but I think that writing is pretty clear.

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Re: 2 Points

Someone leaked the memo and it was highly unlikely to be Damore himself. Quite a lot of people within Google were able to access it. Thousands, I believe, if they chose to be involved in that particular diversity group. However, I'm not aware they've ever been identified and seen little to no interest in discovering it (if that were even possible). From the court filing it seems there is no shortage of possible culprits. Multiple emails and comments are cited from Google employees who said they would "try to get him fired."

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Where are the women in tech jobs?

The important thing people keep dropping from Damore's works is "on average" and "in general". At no point does he comment on or exclude individuals based on their sex. That is critical.

It's okay to say men or women tend towards different things (if you can support that). It becomes discrimination when you say "you are this sex therefore you the individual must do such."

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Re: Where are the women in tech jobs?

>>"On the other hand, if your recruiters are calling 50 new graduates a day, that's how many candidates you get. What difference does it make if they call the women first?"

Depends if you're one of the men and you lose out to someone less qualified than you because of your sex. And it would be the same the other way around, to be clear.

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Re: difference of opinion is not the same as calling management as incompetent

Damore didn't publish the memo. It was maliciously leaked to create a circumstance in which he'd be fired. And the memo board he did publish it was specifically soliciting opinions on diversity in Google. You accuse him of trying to cast himself as a "doomed whistleblower" but in fact feedback was encouraged and going public was not by his choice.

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h4rm0ny
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Muslims, like everyone else, can choose what they wish to do. If a muslim wants to go the bar, the only person stopping them is themself. I don't accept that Allah is telling them they can't even if they believe He is. They don't have to drink, either. I'm a vegetarian. I'll still go out to restaurants where my friends are eating meat.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: So they want the right to express discriminatory views?

Well firstly, the memo is not discriminatory. Secondly, they have never objected to anyone else expressing views. They objected to things like being fired and held back because of their views.

So it's not really the hypocrisy you paint it as.

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h4rm0ny
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I'm a woman and I would not have a problem ruling in Damore's favour if his case is correct. I reject Identity Politics and it's rather patronising to assume that a judge would decide based on some arbitrary "team" they're told they're a part of, whether that be sex, race or orientation.

You oppose prejudice against your group. That is fair and right. But it doesn't mean you seek to disadvantage someone else on theirs.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: @Kristian Walsh

I wouldn't thank them. I would instead read the memo yourself. It's not long and it's been linked just a few comments above. To pick just one example of Kristian Walsh's misrepresentation they say that:

>> From the get-go, by denouncing every program to change it, he takes as given that the current status-quo is the best possible in the tech industry

No. He doesn't say that nor is it a logical inference from what he says. He says that enforcing a goal of 50:50 representation is flawed because it assumes a natural 50:50 break down in available qualified candidates. And that Google has created discriminatory programs designed to bring this about. His argument that hiring should be merit based and allowed to find whatever natural balance comes about through people's choice of what careers to pursue is very different to stating "current status quo is the best possible" as Kristian tries to present it above.

With fewer qualified female candidates than male (demonstrated amply in his memo by referencing university figures), hiring policies designed to bring about 50:50 ratios inevitably manifest as unequal treatment of men and women by the company itself.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Oh the misleading...

I woud say less "personality issues" and more "didn't fit the group think". The court filing depicts a very politicised atmosphere in Google that affected multiple people. And not simply asserting that but providing numerous examples of it. It's a class action suit, rather than solely about him.

In any case, he has been turned into such a hate-figure - and the media has helped with that - he will probably never have a normal career again.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Punishing discrimination is not discrimination

No. But it assumes he was being discriminatory and having read both his memo and substantial parts of this court filing, I don't think he was and has in fact been the real victim of discrimination. He was unquestionably fired for his views, not any action. And his views were not discriminatory. He was very clearly advocating a merit-based approach rather than race / sexuality approach that Google demonstrably is using.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: and not based on their individual merits?

Are you always against former employees suing for wrongful dismissal? Or just in Damore's case?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: and not based on their individual merits?

>>You'd think he'd be able to find a job based on his "merits".

Really? Any company that hires him will be set upon by online hate campaigns. You know this is the case. So why snarkily suggest he's unemployed because he lacks skills.

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Re: Funny how...

>>I meant to ask: What does "SJWing" - as a verb - mean in this context? What exactly are the Google staffers doing that can be described as SJWing?

It means, basically, sticking your nose in people's business and advancing SJW agendas and control. So examples from the court filing would be the attempts to exclude people from meetings because they were a known Trump supporter or get people fired because they'd openly expressed contrary views (e.g. that chromasomes determine if you're a man or a woman) or creating hiring policies that discriminate against people who are male, as is the case in Google. Basically, SJWing is doing what SJWs do.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Funny how...

No. SJW (Social Justice Warrior) are people who see everything in terms of advancing groups, rather than seeing people as individuals. So for example doctrine of White privilege trumping an individual's actual circumstances. Which is obviously a negative because people aren't defined by their skin colour, sex or sexuality.

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h4rm0ny
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Good code, low bugs, willingness to work hard near deadlines are not "wrong ideas" acquired through a history of "White males". They're objective qualities that remain the same for anyone of any sex and any skin colour. Your post is terrifyingly wrong.

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Re: I am confused

El Reg also threw out any pretence of objective reporting right at the start when they called his memo an "anti-diversity essay". I've read the entire thing. Some parts I don't agree with, some I do. But his contention was not "anti-diversity". It was that to a greater degree than men women choose other fields than tech and that therefore, policies designed to drive towards a 50:50 split on the assumption any imbalance was due to systemic sexism was flawed. And indeed manifested as bias against men. And he adequately supported this argument.

I've read about a third of Damore's court-filing (it's very long). I recommend anyone with half an hour to spend read it. It makes a fairly convincing picture of a hostile environment towards those who didn't share the Google group-think with numerous documented examples that would be evidence of constructive dismissal in the UK.

I suggest El. Reg strive to be a little more objective in their reporting. Although it took a marked political shift a few years back with the dismissal of Lewis Page and I've noticed a very Silicon Valley slant in recent years.

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UK Foreign Sec Bojo to tell Kremlin: Stop your cyber shenanigans... or else!

h4rm0ny
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Wrong!

>>The UK doesn't give a damn about Russian gas. We get ours from Scotland and Norway.

We bought gas from Russia only last week. Because I suspect you'll quibble, I'll cite specifics. Novatek (a Russian gas producer) sold 170,000m^3 of LNG to Petronas LNG UK for distribution throughout the UK. It's a joint Russian-France-Chinese venture. Novatek is the majority share-holder.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Madness. Madness everywhere

I am (genuinely) interested in any citations you have for European anti-Frakking protests being subsidised by Russia or Russian business.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Brass neck....

Boris has only one goal - the advancement of Boris. If (as I think most likely) it was Boris who pushed for himself to go to Russia it's either because he thinks there's some meaningful achievement he can take credit for or else he thinks it's a good photo-op. It also keeps him away from the debacle that is Brexit negotiations and stops too much of that contamination getting on him (he thinks, anyway).

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Oi, force Microsoft to cough up emails on Irish servers to the Feds, US states urge Supremes

h4rm0ny
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Re: Looks like a market opportunity...

Data havens will be the new tax havens.

If they aren't already.

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FCC douses America's net neutrality in gas, tosses over a lit match

h4rm0ny
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Re: That Video

House of Cards (US version) is a fantasy series about politicians and lobbyists being more dignified and giving more lip-service to democracy than they actually are and actually do. It's not realistic. Their version of cloak and dagger includes the cloaks.

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h4rm0ny
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Seen on Reddit:

Q. What is the difference between Ajit Pai and Hitler?

A. Hitler had one more ball.

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Kaspersky: Clumsy NSA leak snoop's PC was packed with malware

h4rm0ny
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Re: China did it! Not us! @ST

It came with a "Designed for Windows Vista" sticker too.

We put it on the bin in our office.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Who to trust? NSA or Kaspersky?

Well of course you should never trust anyone if you can help it. But logically I'd rather the Russians knew if I did something wrong than my own government. Russian police are unlikely to show up at my door because I committed a crime, joined a political group or said one of the ever-expanding list of things considered hate speech or harassment on Twitter. Putin doesn't get off his bear for less than an international incident!

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Mocus! Found on the PC of Bickus Dickus!

Why on Earth would the NSA of all people want to help create a more secure OS? That's like expecting bank robbers to want to help create a better safe.

That's not what they do.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: China did it! Not us! @ST

So your theory is that the NSA put highly valuable software and its source code on a laptop to see if Kaspersky would upload the files rather than, say, opening up "Settings" and toggling the Participate in Kaspersky Security Network or whatever it's called on or off. Or guessing that Kaspersky, like all the other antivirus vendors might have such a feature as is standard practice today?

>>"Interestingly enough, the NSA analyst isn't formally charged."

Yeah, I'm not really expecting to see a public trial over the NSA's widespread and dubious legality attempts to hack the world's computers. The guy will be lucky if he isn't Seth Rich'd a few miles from his home (or David Kelly'd as we call it in the UK).

>>"Now Kaspersky has a problem: they don't really have a plausible and innocent explanation for how exactly the stuff from that analyst's laptop showed up at the FSB"

I think the story is more than plausible. Idiot takes work home with him, probably because some technical restriction on his work laptop or rules about where things can be stored got in his or her way. Dodging around "stupid" company policies is almost routine for many developers. I once replaced my work computer's entire OS with Ubuntu because I didn't want to use Windows Vista. Smart idiots are the most dangerous of all idiots.

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Wheels are literally falling off the MoD thanks to lack of cash

h4rm0ny
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Headmaster

>>so the vehicle looses the wheel complete with hub and brake assembly.

I want to correct your spelling, but technically it still works.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: I think Britain should dump Trident in favor of Tomahawk cruise missiles

>>What more can I say?

Only that it costs fifteen billion pounds and we don't need it.

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Why you can't boycott the Mail: Google makes a mint from 'fake news'

h4rm0ny
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Re: And the advertisers wonder...

More like auto-play video ads are despised. I'm actually sympathetic to your post - I recognize that websites need to make money and I have resisted using an Adblocker for a very long time. But when I open a tab and it immediately starts emitting sound from my speakers or playing distracting animations alongside the article I'm trying to read, it's an automatic tab close most of the time. So I'm at the point where yes, even though I am fine with ads in general, I'm setting up an ad blocker.

NO AUTO-PLAY ADS!

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US voting server in election security probe is mysteriously wiped

h4rm0ny
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Big Brother

>>I'm not sure even what that means? Can he be hated too much?

Oh, not at all. In fact, we recommend that you get together with like-minded people for a short period, perhaps two minutes, to get your hate done in one nice go.

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Re: You can get it back

What *I* do to erase an SSD is delete the encryption keys. Does others do differently?

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NHS could have 'fended off' WannaCry by taking 'simple steps' – report

h4rm0ny
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It's always "simple steps".

That's what most computer security - "simple steps". But you have to complete a hundred of them and the attacker only has to find the single one you missed. With hindsight you can almost always point back at something and say "this wasn't done". Yes, but how many people were doing how many things?

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NSA bloke used backdoored MS Office key-gen, exposed secret exploits – Kaspersky

h4rm0ny
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Re: He's hosed.

>>Actually I don't think they're that desperate for money.

I know that you're trolling (the troll icon gives it away!), but seriously - Microsoft have been fighting an expensive and ongoing legal action against the US government to prevent them being able to access Azure data in their Ireland data centres. They've been doing so because they know allowing this would be a big blow to their sales in Europe. As I said, if there's money involved, they'll even stoop to doing the right thing if they have to.

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Brave Twitter axes Russian media ads 11 months after the fact

h4rm0ny
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Personally I find it deeply shocking that a media outlet such as Russia Today should be purchasing ads for itself in the run up to the USA's largest media event. What were they up to?

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