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10 posts • joined 18 Nov 2011

NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS


EFF reports additional evidence that heartbleed was already being exploited by spooks in 2013


Not conclusive on its own, but still another piece of evidence pointing to our "democratic" surveillance infrastructure betraying the public interest, and exploiting rather than reporting security holes.

CIA hacked Senate PCs to delete torture reports. And Senator Feinstein is outraged


Re: Schadenfreude

"nothing to fear" ... except losing the Senate majority to the Republicans in November, if they can feign outrage and indignation better than the Dems do during the campaigns.


It's an election year.

While Feinstein's own seat isn't up in November, how she responds to abuses by the intelligence community will have an effect on whether the Dems retain their senate majority and perhaps gain a house majority.

As Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, she is the key figure in intelligence oversight, yet it is obvious to anyone paying attention that she has failed in her duty to protect the Constitution. As a politician, she has no recourse now but to blame the subjects of her oversight.

Because Congress has failed so pathetically and dismally to take their oversight role seriously, and has completely ignored the public interest, and because the public is now slightly more awake and know this, politicians will be scrambling to absolve themselves of their failure and blame everything on the intel community directly.

That being said, the intel community have done their level best to skirt and undermine every manner of public oversight, but that doesn't justify Congress' continual use of a slack leash.

Though it is sad that it took such a massive whistleblowing event for the public to pay attention and for the politicians to make even an obviously disingenuous gesture of caring about oversight, there is some slight hope that Feinstein's latest feigned indignation is a sign of a turning political tide, towards tightening the leash and putting some sort of meaningful limit on secret unaccountable power.

For this chance at fixing our democracy, we owe Mr. Snowden our thanks.

The next step is up to the public themselves, since, in the absence of public vigilance, our elected officials will go back to rubber-stamping every form of war and torture and spying desired by the Executive branch.

Who's who: 12th Doctor has been chosen, will meet you on Sunday night


How about Robert Sheehan from Misfits?

Great energy and comedic timing, with the right kind of Socratic "above it all" vibe.

'Asteroid mining company' makes classic hypegasm debut today


Re: yes, this has no chance of backfiring


Even if they don't go as far as dropping a large mass of ore on us, just extracting significant mass from very-near-earth asteroids will change their orbital paths beyond our ability to reliably predict, and give us a bunch more potential collision events to monitor.

I would suggest that the risk of adding more potential impacts is itself an environmental argument that ought to outweigh the environmental arguments that focus on the pollution due to terrestrial mining.

Trojan sneaks into hotel, slurps guests' credit card data


Who would'a thunk it? Large treasure troves of data are now hacker magnets.

The benefits (convenience and speed) offered by putting everyone's data in one place in increasingly being offset by the costs (the target stands out like a sore thumb).

When are these idiots gonna realize that best practices demand a distributed storage model? Why turn your system into a high-value target and then advertise it? Hey, everyone! Look at me! I have millions of names, addresses, dates of birth, employment history, medical records, social insurance records, investment records, bank numbers, credit card info, other financial info, etc. etc.

Organized crime has teams of well-paid hackers searching for these high-value targets. Why make it so easy for them?



"The threat to privacy is mainly caused by centralized gathering of increasingly detailed personal information... To allow citizens more privacy, we have to design systems that are decentralized and require less personal information."



Apple wins skirmish in HTC-Google patent war


If Apple pushes too hard, they'll lose their 'friendly' reputation and alienate consumers

Apple originally stole their GUI concept from Xerox, to make the Lisa and then the Mac. Neither Mac nor Windows (nor Gnome, KDE, etc.) would exist if not for that "theft".

If this was about decompiling and reverse-engineering actual code, I could see their point, but this is largely about the superficial touchy-feelies.

Apple has to let this go and not be so anal about protecting every little user gesture and feature, because they've done (even recently) their share of copying too. This attitude will destroy their corporate image, and ultimately their corporate culture.

BUSTED! Secret app on millions of phones logs key taps


Still waiting for a FOSS smartphone

These ongoing security scandals with iOS and Android are exactly why we need a free-open-source smartphone OS. Or if true FOSS is too ambitious, then at minimum, something like Ubuntu.

I'd be quick to pick one up, once it's available. It's time!

Ubuntu savaged by rivals infected with fondleslab fever


Drivers, drivers, drivers

Whoever can get their *nix to install seamlessly on an Android or iOS tbalet, and work without fighting with it, will win this war.

The issue of "Unity vs Gnome 2" is trivial compared to this.

The main R&D investments to make are:

- hardware drivers that work on the more popular devices, and

- an easy and automated installation process that doesn't require much knowledge.

Without this investment, widespread use of open-source linux on touchscreen devices is a pipe dream.

Open source team creates apocalypse survival kit


uh, power ?

So, how do they expect to power these devices (well, the ones that need power) post-apocalypse? Presumably, all the oil rigs and refineries will be offline or destroyed. There isn't going to be any oil or gas.

Further, nearly all the "low-hanging fruit" (easy-to-reach) oil has already been extracted, requiring a higher level of technology to reach the deeper stuff that remains. Solar and wind are very limited, especially if you have to power large machinery.

Our golden age has been fueled by petroleum, and was possible because oil was easy to reach. It is no longer easy to reach. So the technical threshold needed to bring back the golden age will be much higher than it was to get it rolling the first time. Yeah, MUCH higher.

Knowing this ought to provide some extra incentive to do what's necessary to prevent the collapse of civilisation in the first place.

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