* Posts by Suricou Raven

1538 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

Circuits so flexible they'd wrap around your hair

Suricou Raven

Re: You might still look like an idiot

That can be solved with clever optics. A more interesting concern is trying to actually look at anything - the image will move with your eyeball, so as soon as you turn your gaze to part of the image that part will be elsewhere. You'd need some way to actively sense eyeball position and translate the image accordingly, and very quickly too.

ATM hacker Barnaby Jack's death blamed on accidental drug overdose

Suricou Raven

Commence conspiracy theories.

So, who killed him?

I'm going for the Secret Service. The NSA might be the bogeyman of choice, but lack motive. The SS is charged with protecting important officials, some of whom have or may in future need pacemakers.

Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly

Suricou Raven

Re: hold 25% of a film.

Pirates generally go for at least 4GB for a 1080p movie, more on a long or particually demanding one, as any smaller makes the artifacts far too visible.

Snowden docs: NSA building encryption-cracking quantum computer

Suricou Raven

Re: EMP is way overblown

If you've got a nuke, it'd be a lot easier to just blow up a city. No need for an elaborate missile system then: You just slap on a FedEx label for Washington and a time or GPS trigger.

Boffins build sticky-limbed lizard-bots to tend spacecraft

Suricou Raven

Insufficient limbs

Remake it with eight legs.

Because it would be so cool if the ISS had a swarm of ROBOTIC SPACE SPIDERS.

Skype's Twitter account, blog hacked to spread anti-Microsoft messages

Suricou Raven

Skype for linux?

Couldn't they draw attention to the linux situation? Skype used to be just as stable and reliable under linux as windows, but since the Microsoft aquisition, just as many predicted, the linux version has turned to crap. It generally works for text, if you don't mind a random freeze from time to time and dropped messages on occasion (which it does warn you of), but try to run audio and you'll be lucky to get five minuts before it crashes. That's if you can get audio at all. I've got Skype on three linux machines running two distros and experience the same problem on them all, and a quick google search tells I am one of many.

Boffins invent LUMINOUS PIGS again, glow-in-dark bacon sarnies presumably imminent

Suricou Raven


It's just plain old photoluminescence - the pigs don't glow unless you shine UV light on them. That's been done already for fish. I'll be impressed when they can manage true bioluminescence. There could be a lot of money in the pet market for those, plus sticking it in plants would make a handy form of emergency illumnination. Imagine loading up a lawn with it.

Still a useful research tool though, and practice for more useful gene insertions.

Snowden leak journo leaks next leak: NSA, GCHQ dying to snoop on your gadgets mid-flight

Suricou Raven

Re: Weapons proliferators

I have to wonder if there's some sort of kill-code embeded in the radar device. Pick up the right 128-bit sequence, jam the instruments.

Snowden to warn Brits on Xmas telly: Your children will NEVER have privacy

Suricou Raven

Finance has reached a point where it is so heavily abstracted from reality that it's impossible for a non-specialist to have the foggiest idea what is going on. Non-finance experts can just about get the idea of a 'share' - but beyond that, it may as well be magic.

It's no wonder people are looking at gold or bitcoins. A sort of financial nostalgia, for times when money was money, and not actually a representation for something going on in an incomprehensibly complex network of debts.

Suricou Raven

Re: @chrisp1141

No, you can't choose not to use them. Every 'like' button you see, every twitter icon or... er, whatever google+ uses. They are all little tracking bugs. Even if you've no account with them, you can be confident they still have a profile on you. Even if it is a comparatively sparse one, no more than a list of websites visited.

Suricou Raven

Re: Kids DON'T WANT privacy

We might be happier if the massive collection of data were being used for law enforcement purposes to benefit everyone. If, upon finding your house broken into and burgled, the police could run a few database queries and announce that the spy systems recorded a suspect phone spent half an hour in the vicinity of your house earlier and detected a laptop querying for an ESSID matching your home network from a new location.

Or even if the police would just use it to more efficiently identify and convict drug dealers. How about if every stolen mobile phone and laptop was met by tracing the device and catching whoever stole it?

But that isn't what we get here. The collected information is classified very highly. Even the existance of it is classified highly. It isn't being used to benefit the people. It's being used for political purposes. The only way this will ever be used to catch criminals is if they happen to offend someone rich or powerful enough to justify breaking out the secret toolbox. Another case of one law for the rich and powerful, another for the commoners.

US Department of Justice details Kim Dotcom evidence

Suricou Raven

The usual, inflating the crimes.

Dotcom is a shady businessman who, as many businessmen do (Shady and respected), found a way to stay just barely legal while reaping profit. He was relying on a simple enough plan: It's impossible to effectively police copyright on a public file sharing service, so he knew that even if he made every reasonable effort (he did), infringement would still be rampant.

But that's not enough for the DoJ. They want the political points here, and the big political score, so some shady quasi-legal businessman just won't do. Instead they are going for some sort of mega-conspiracy angle - a weird alternate reality where something as simple and commonplace as regional caching becomes a crime, and putting a few terms into google becomes 'online undercover activities.'

Suricou Raven

Re: Guilty unless proven innocent?

The jury trial always starts with the bickering over selection. Someone I know was selected for jury duty (US, I believe). Not any mega-crime, just a routine case of a dog attack - the defendant was accused of failing to control a dangerous animal, or whatever the state crime is called. Straight away, the prosecution got her and half the jury replaced because they owned dogs, and the prosecution successfully argued this could bias them in favor of the defendant.

Eggheads give two robots vodka and tell them to text each other FOR SCIENCE

Suricou Raven

Needs more chemicals.

More chemicals to choose from means higher bitrate.

The smell of smouldering insulation can be the code for 'hardware failure: abort communication.'

Parents can hide abortion, contraception advice from kids, thanks to BT's SEX-ED web block

Suricou Raven

Re: make public its list of sites it blocks

Doesn't test the sites no-one would think to test. A better idea is a browser plugin volunteers could run that reports all blocks.

World+dog: Network level filters block LEGIT sex ed sites. Ofcom: Meh

Suricou Raven

Re: I Don't Understand

The mutterings on simulate rape so far from MPs and feminist groups suggest that when the term is defined, it'll likely be based around the ability of either party to withdraw consent throughout - ie, if one of them is tied up, it'll be considered rape even if they consent onscreen beforehand to their kinky activities. Basically, everything BDSM will be considered 'simulated rape' and liable to get anyone posessing it locked up for many years.

Google Glass pics will BAFFLE admirers: Nudge nudge, WINK WINK

Suricou Raven

And in anti-oppressive use...

Think of the potential for documenting any police abuse of power. Those in the US are well-known in some parts for being no better than the criminals, resorting to threats and intimidation to extract fines from innocent people who happen to be unlucky. Dare to question their authority, and they will find a few extra crimes to arrest you for.

Or, more likely, some influential people will just get a law passed making it a crime to film an on-duty police officer. Good luck enforcing it.

No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too

Suricou Raven

Re: No, it really isn't time to give the paranoia a rest.... @Brian Morrison 12:05

What do you propose?

Political involvement? That can work for major issues, where an election is at stake, and when there are enough numbers careing. But in this the vast majority simply don't care, and those who are left don't have the votes or connections to matter. The best we can do is slow them down a bit.

Technological countermeasures? It's possible to invest in filter-resistant technologies. Tor, freenet, retroshare, p2p distribution and communication in general. They can work, for the technologically skilled - the advantage there is with us, it'd be impossible to block them without causing serious inconvenience to everyone. It's still untidy though: While the idea of fighting for your rights may have some romantic appeal, the idea is to win, not get trapped in an unending arms race between government filter operators and investigators vs counter-government circumvention programmers.

Those are really our only options: Probably lose, or technological war. Unless you can think up some super-effective publicity campaign that lets you rally people against the filters without being branded as a bunch of perverts.

Suricou Raven

Re: "Web filtering is already the default on mobile phones."

Something must be done.

This is something.

Ergo this must be done.

When there is an issue getting a lot of public attention, it is sometimes better for a politician to do something obviously stupid and take the flak for failure than to ignore it and be regarded as disconnected and uncaring. In this particular case though, much of the pressure does appear to have initiated internally. A certain Clair Perry, MP is behind a lot of it.

Suricou Raven

There is grounds to be paranoid. Pick any oppressive government filter you want and look at how their own government refers to it. Even when the filtering is clearly politically targetted, in every case, the official government line is that the filter's purpose is to protect against indecency. Every time.

Suricou Raven

Re: Seriously?

"Presumably the hypothetical bloke could just grow a pair and explain the reasoning behind his decision."

You're not married, are you?

Suricou Raven

Re: To not be self-defeating

What makes you think it's not pointless anyway? If someone is actively trying to subvert the filter, it isn't going to pose much of a problem. Just ask anyone who actually maintains a filter professionally how often they need to revise rules because someone spent half an hour googling synonyms and found a site that slipped through.

NSA alleges 'BIOS plot to destroy PCs'

Suricou Raven

Re: Sadly Trevor

I imagine they just have a very narrow definition of 'listening.' Probably they only consider it listening if a human has personally given the order to target an individual - if they just hoover up communications through automatic means, that isn't really listening.

Is Google prepping an ARMY of WALKING ROBOTS?

Suricou Raven

Re: There is nothing evil about the military

Sort of. Remember that the purpose of any military is to beat anyone who may oppose us into a bloody, possibly dead pulp. The best you can really say about them is that there are greater evils in the world - and as the only way to fight violence is with better violence, we have to keep a bit of 'tame evil' of our own to counter it. That doesn't mean what they do is good - it just means that not doing it would be worse.

BT network-level STOCKINGs-n-suspenders KILLER arrives in time for Xmas

Suricou Raven


Vimes further up already found evidence that the filter will block all UDP-53 traffic to non-BT DNS servers as a countermeasure against that approach.

Suricou Raven

Re: Filtering

There's a clear sequence: First, block the child porn. No-one ever objects to that one, it's an easy sell to the public, and it gets the filtering systems in place. Then you can progress to blocking sites performing criminal activity. After that comes the porn - start off on the kinky stuff, less backlash, and describing BDSM as 'rape porn' assures support from certain pressure groups. A brief detour for sites deemed harmful to children like suicide advice, then start on the 'hate sites' - start off with the open racism and calls for violence, and gradually loosen the definition until you can start banning anyone who raises concern about the high immigration rate or 'promotes religious hatred' by insulting a religion. A little loosening of libel law to allow anything insulting anyone to be easily struck down by court order, and you have a government-controlled easily-censored internet - at least for those who aren't dedicated enough activists to seek out the technological underground communities.

Suricou Raven

Re: Ways around censorship

Vimes up above already found evidence suggesting that the filter also blocks all UDP-53 packets precisely to prevent that approach.

Suricou Raven

Re: The filtering isn't my main issue

I can imagine it coming up in child custody hearings - 'My X is not a fit parent, as he has demonstrated by acting to disable adult content filters on his internet connection knowing that children will be present on the property and may connect through his unfiltered connection..'

Suricou Raven

Don't worry.

If they can't manage a block on the pirate bay that takes more than thirty seconds to defeat, what hope have they of holding back all the porn on the internet?

Dimmed but not out: Lantern anti-censorship tool blocked in China

Suricou Raven

Re: Let information be free in china!

TOR was also a US-government-initiated project.

The US government is very big, and often different parts are involved in power struggles or controlled by factions with competing agendas. It's very common to find situations where one agency is either impeding the actions of another by ignoring them, or actively working to oppose them.

I KNOW how to SAVE Microsoft. Give Windows 8 away for FREE – analyst

Suricou Raven

Re: I wonder what the Pirate Bay stats are

To be shunned by pirates is the ultimate insult. A sign of a product so rubbish, it isn't even worth stealing.

Suricou Raven

Re: If not free...

That's what they already do with OEMs - if you've a big volume OEM, you can get a substantial discount. If you threaten to start seriously selling linux machines, you'll get it for almost nothing.

One European copyright law-to-rule-them-all? EU launches review

Suricou Raven

That's not how the law works.

1. Make a trivial action illegal, usually with severe penalties for breaking it.

2. Trust in the police or civil courts to use their judgement and only enforce it against the deserving.

3. When the rampant abuse of the legal process inevitably starts, deny this was your intention and claim naivety.

Suricou Raven

Re: Harmonisation...

EU or US speak. The EU likes to harmonise a lot of things - measurement systems, mains power voltages, fire extinguisher color codes, emergency service numbers, things like that. But given the political influence of the copyright-driven industries, it's hard to believe there wouldn't be intensive lobbying in the direction of 'harmonising to the strictest.'

Malware+pr0n surge follows police op to kill illicit streaming sites

Suricou Raven

Re: City of London Police

City of London Police. Not exactly like the regular police. They *are* a private army for corporations. Regular street crime in London is the domain of the Met, the CoLP are mostly concerned with financial crime.

Chinese gamer plays on while BMW burns to the ground

Suricou Raven

Could it be a fake.

The government of China has effective media control and considers propaganda to be a force for the public good.

If they are trying to deal with a precieve problem of game-obcession, it seems plausible they might seed the media with a few made-up stories on the subject to raise public awareness and concern.

TPP leak: US babies following bathwater down the drain

Suricou Raven

Re: one use for US-style copyright laws

The 'automatic copyright of everything' thing is in the Berne convention. It was put in to fix some issues with draft works. If you copyright a movie, but then someone discovers you'd been showing the script to people and hadn't written a copyright notice on it, the script could potentially be uncopyrightable. So the convention required that anything set down in a fixed form, even without an explicit notice, would be copyright by default.

Mexican Cobalt-60 robbers are DEAD MEN, say authorities

Suricou Raven

Re: Radiation Monitoring

X-ray machines generate their radiation by accelerating an electron beam into a target. Whatever the machine was that ended up in that dump, it wasn't x-ray. More likely either a radiotherepy machine or an industrial source. They are used for quality control in metalworking.

ICANN posts guidelines to avoid gTLD mix-ups

Suricou Raven

Their solution

Move to a FQDN.

ie, give our clients money!

MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners

Suricou Raven

Re: The Wild-West days are here again

A lunar elevator would actually be comparatively easy. Lower gravity means lower cable weight and thus lower tension. Lunarstationary orbit is also lower, so shorter elevator. No atmosphere to worry about allows for much less durable materials. The only problem is getting everything up there - but that doesn't need any technological revolution, just a gargantuan pile of money.

Suricou Raven

Re: simple really

Except that any such capability is an effective WMD. If you can drop on the ocean, it needs only a tiny adjustment in timing to drop onto any vaguely equatorial city*. Governments will no more allow that than they would allow nuclear weapons in private hands. There'd be some sort of treaty to outlaw space operations that involve placing engines upon an any object in space over a certain mass.

* Assuming you're dropping from an equatorial parking orbit. If you're bringing it in direct from the distant belt, polar cities are no harder a target than anywhere else.

Suricou Raven

Re: private property doesn't exist up there in space.

There is no such thing as a natural right. If such a thing existed, it would be impossible to infringe - and none are. Rights, as much as any other aspect of law, are a purely artificial construct - and Burke's insistance otherwise was no more than wishful thinking.

Suricou Raven

Re: says

No doubt automation will be heavily involved, but when you're operating a huge mining operation the machines are going to break down. I imagine moon or astroid mining operations may consist of a small 'foreman's cabin' station with a small crew in, and a large number of robots doing the actual mining. Whenever a robot breaks down another robot shall collect and bring it to the cabin, where the humans shall make the required repairs and send it out again.

Basically, Space Garage.

Suricou Raven

Re: The Wild-West days are here again

Wouldn't be hard. Raw materials can be had in space, but manufacturing capability is lacking. What do you do when the last spare microcontroller for your oxygen concentration monitoring unit dies? Unless you've got a whole silicon foundry to hand, you can't replace something like that. Skilled enough engineers could bodge things up with electromechanical systems for a while, but eventually you're going to need spare parts for something.

Brit inventors' GRAVITY POWERED LIGHT ships out after just 1 year

Suricou Raven

Re: Hydraulic accumulators

Think bigger.

Tower bridge.

It's run off a modern electric pump system now, of course. But before that, it was lifted by exactly the mechanism you describe. There's a museum near one end where they still have the equipment on display.

NSA collects up to FIVE BILLION mobile phone locations daily

Suricou Raven

Re: NSA?

Don't forget the phone companies themselves. They probably don't retain the information very long for cost reasons, but they surely log it, and probably mine it for useful data they can then sell to marketers, advertising agencies ('How many people walked past this billboard last week?') and town planners ('How many times did this road exceed intended pedestrian traffic capacity, and how much did they slow down to look at the christmas display?')

Suricou Raven

Re: Guilt by Coincidence

How do you know it hasn't happened already? If it did, you probably wouldn't get to hear about it.

Chester Cathedral smites net in Wi-Fi SMUT OUTRAGE

Suricou Raven

Re: Yawn

"Would that be the one that spams you with featured ad's instead of a 404 for mistyped URL's?"

That would be the one used by Virgin Media. Just confirmed by going to 'aosfiawre.com' - it resolves to a fake IP, which in turn redirects my browser to... er, long address, but it's on advancedsearch2.virginmedia.com.

EMC: Backup is broken, do you hear me? Now buy this other thing

Suricou Raven

On behalf of everyone,

F*ck the cloud.

DEATH-PROOF your old XP netbook: 5 OSes to bring it back to life

Suricou Raven

More on win8 please.

Given that just about any new laptop purchased now is going to come with win8, I'd like to know exactly what evilness MS has in store for those of us who want to dual-boot linux.

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