* Posts by Suricou Raven

1546 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

US Homeland Security Dept to collect immigrants' social media handles and more

Suricou Raven

I see the plan.

1. Impose the strictest possible vetting procedures.

2. Admire the new five-year backlog.

3. No more dirty foreigners coming in!

Spanish govt slammed over bizarre Catalan .cat internet registry cop raid

Suricou Raven

Re: Information is a dangerous good

It actually works pretty well. The more hoops you make people jump through to read something, the fewer people will read it. Yes, the hardcore activists will mess around with VPNs in their quest for unfiltered information - but the common internet user will simply find another site to read, one a bit more sympathetic to government interests.

Suricou Raven

Re: Scottish one

The binding power of independence referendums really depends upon the same thing that underpins all governments: Firepower.

What happens if the result is 'yes?' That looks like it could happen, skimming over the opinion polls. The only way Spain could respond then would be to directly attack political leaders - compile a list of everyone in the Catalan parliament who supported the referendum, arrest them all for sedition. As the police seem to be loyal to Spain rather than Catalonia, there's nothing much anyone in Catalonia could do about it.

Suricou Raven

Re: the English want to keep Cymru and Scotland.

People in Scotland may disagree on that. As UK government is run from London and dominated by English politicians, from the Scottish perspective it's not so much the United Kingdom as 'England et al.'

DRM now a formal Web recommendation after protest vote fails

Suricou Raven

Pirates actually don't like 4k rips. They are really huge to download, and few people actually benefit from them. Even if you have a silly-high-resolution big-screen TV, you still have to get that picture through a comparatively limited retina.

Suricou Raven

I like this idea.

One DRM encapsulation, in something the an attack surface as big as a browser?

It'll last about three hours before the first crack. In a month it'll be as full of holes as a Labour budget.

Bill Gates says he'd do CTRL-ALT-DEL with one key if given the chance to go back through time

Suricou Raven

Re: Bill Rewriting History again

It's called a Trojan login, and it's got a long history. I once wrote one back when I was in school - it looked exactly like the Netware login screen, written in quickbasic. It sufficed to fool our IT head/network manager. Requiring ctrl-alt-del as a preventative measure is effective - the only way to change what those keys do is by altering the interrupt vector list. That can't be done without administrator access, and even then it's tricky because you need to do kernel-level stuff. Your malware would need to be a device driver.

Pretend Python packages prey on poor typing

Suricou Raven

This should be easy to detect.

Just calculate the Levenshtein distance between each pair of package names. Any pair with distance <=2 should be taken as a sign of suspicion and sent to the site admin team for manual review. Repeat for each new submission.

This article has been deleted

Suricou Raven

In the US, the definition of prostitution varies by state. In some of them it is very broad.

Suricou Raven

Re: WOW, a real danger to the community shut down. Vicious criminals beware.

Probably not. I know a bit about that sort of busybody. They usually operate through a local organisation or mailing list. Only one of them has to actually encounter the offensive material. That person then writes up a description of it and sends that out to the group, and the group members in turn use that to get offended second-hand and write up their demands that law enforcement Do Something. So most of the complaints may well be from people who have never had any first-hand experience of the activity are trying to stop.

The FRC actually has a leaflet on their website advising people on how to get offensive businesses shut down. That's one of the strategies they suggest. They actually advise that people refrain from looking at the material before writing their complaint, as it may be spiritually dangerous.

Please, pleeeease let me ban Kaspersky Lab from US govt PCs – senator

Suricou Raven

Makes some sense

There is no evidence that Kaspersky has ever been manipulated by the Russian government for espionage purposes, but they could do it if they wanted to. It's possible that in five years relations between the countries might have deteriorated to the point that happens. Security means seeing potential threats, not just countering those that exist.

For exactly the same reason, I'd expect the Russian government to do all they can to minimise dependence upon software developed by American companies. There's no evidence that the NSA has ever used Windows Update to distribute malware, but they could probably do that if the need was great enough - just a matter of turning up to Microsoft HQ with a USB stick and a 'if you breathe a word of this then you'll never see daylight again' form.

Prejudiced humans = prejudiced algorithms, and it's not an easy fix

Suricou Raven

Re: Orwellian redefinition of "predjudice"

Putting aside political insults, it does describe a certain tension. ML engineers are interested in developing the most accurate statistical models possible, but sometimes accuracy must be compromised for social or legal reasons. If you machine learning engine crunches numbers and decrees 'arrest all the black suspects' or 'stop treating cancer patients over 80, they don't have enough years left to justify the expense,' then it might very well be giving statistically valid conclusions - but people are still going to be very upset if those acted upon.

Simple conclusions like that can be ignored, but the bias may not always be so obvious. When your program for estimating car insurance premiums is a black box made by a ML process, it can be difficult to determine if it is incorporating gender or race into the model. Even if you exclude that information on the input, it can be inferred from other things.

US government: We can jail you indefinitely for not decrypting your data

Suricou Raven

Re: Facts

I doubt the evaluation was that deeply rooted in analysis.

A more likely cause of reasoning is "These images make me feel disgusted, so they must be banned."

Suricou Raven

They have strong evidence that he collects child abuse images. Even without proof, they could probably charge him with sinking the Titanic and still get a conviction. Do not underestimate the sheer hate that is directed towards this particular class of criminal. The inability to actually prove guilt is widely regarded as letting them get away on a technically.

Don’t buy that Surface, plead Surface cloners

Suricou Raven

Open up!

I want to 1. See inside and 2. See if it can actually go back together afterwards, unlike the Surface.

Kiwi prankster 'oinks' down cops' radio and sings Old MacDonald

Suricou Raven

Re: direction-finding...

75MHz is within feasibility for a loaded whip antenna on a vehicle. It'd look just like the antennas commonly seen for CB. If he can't be tracked, it's quite possible that is because he is constantly moving - either working with a driver, or playing pre-recorded insults.

VW engineer sent to the clink for three years for emissions-busting code

Suricou Raven

Wrong emissions.

This scandal is about smog-making emissions, not climate-changing emissions.

Uncle Sam outlines evidence against British security whiz Hutchins

Suricou Raven

Re: Fucking law enforcement.

You are guilty of having been accused of possession of child abuse imagery. That's enough to seize every electronic device you own. You were fortunate in this case that they swiftly identified their real target and decided you were no longer of interest.

US prosecutors drop demand for 1.3m IP addresses of folks who visited anti-Trump site

Suricou Raven

Re: Oops... those files are gone

Yet Trump has made no effort at prosecution, even though it was a major theme of his campaign.

Perhaps his lawyers have explained that if he tries, at best she will be found innocent, and at worst has fellow Republicans will be terrified of bring next up, given how rampant off-the-records dealing is by both parties.

US DoD, Brit ISP BT reverse proxies can be abused to frisk internal systems – researcher

Suricou Raven

He was studying reverse proxy hacking. In the process he inadvertently triggered a response from BT's transparent proxy.

Suricou Raven

Re: Think of the children

The government is already on the verge of demanding all encryption have a back door to allow snooping, though.

It's really just a matter of claiming pedophiles are using https to bypass filters designed to block child abuse images. The Mail will love it, and few MPs will dare to protest for fear of being denounced as supporting child abuse.

Russia's answer to Buckminster Fuller has a buttload of CGI and he's not afraid to use it

Suricou Raven

Re: The beds have a flaw

The video does show the beds include an air tank and water. If there's a chemical CO2 scrubber under there as well, perhaps that's the plan - just keep the entombed customer alive for a day or so while the rescue services dig their way down. I'd hope there's a signalling device in there beyond just banging on the lid

Suricou Raven

The beds have a flaw

All very well if you sleep in the designated position. But people don't. They sleep crosswise, with arms or legs hanging over the edge, curled up in a ball, or sprawled with limbs as far apart as possible on a hot night.

That thing will take someone's head off!

Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

Suricou Raven

Re: At the risk of inciting... something..

There's the problem, though. If you do use blind recruiting - and it can be done, simply by withholding names and photos from the people who make the hiring decision - what you end up with is not a diverse workforce. What you end up with is a workforce made up mostly of men (who are more likely than women to study computer science) and entirely excluding people from low-income backgrounds (Who can't afford to take a three-year full-time degree course). And, because ethnic group and income correlate for historical reasons, it'll be mostly upper-middle-class white men.

At which point the HR department does their survey and expresses their great concern that the workforce is not very diverse at all, and that this reflects poorly on the company, and that the only way to address the situation is to deliberately seek to focus hiring and promotion efforts on the under-represented groups.

Shortly after, those white, male, upper-middle-class employees start to get angry because they notice they are being passed over for promotion in favor of some less-qualified black woman.

Suricou Raven

Re: Somewhat related: The War on Fake and Oldthink News is Advancing

Most amusingly, though, if you go and read some of the right-leaning news sites they express equal anger that Google's search engine is not ranking some leading right-wing websites as high as they feel is deserved. The anti-abortion organisation Operation Rescue has gone so far as to accuse Google of censorship after a sharp drop-off in traffic via Google following the last round of algorithm adjustments.

There's no escaping it: Google is now one of the most indirectly powerful companies in the world, and when you get that big everyone is going to hate you.

Suricou Raven

His fundamental argument may well be valid - equality of opportunity does not imply equality of outcome. But he messed it up by filling the memo with childish political insults as well.

Suricou Raven

Re: Just to clarify

Never accept an interview with a political commentator unless you have years of experience in interviews. It is their job to manipulate their subjects into saying things which will bring in the ratings.

Trapped under ice with no oxygen for months, goldfish turn to booze. And can you blame 'em?

Suricou Raven

So, about those tank oxygenators...

Does this mean you don't need them for goldfish?

Place your bets: How long will 1TFLOPS HPE box last in space without proper rad hardening

Suricou Raven

Re: Not a good test

Yet another reason I don't think a manned mars mission is going to happen.

I'd like it to happen. I think it should happen. I wish it would happen. But in the end, it won't - because some group national leaders is eventually going to have to look at the bill and realise that's a hell of a lot of money even by government standards. Especially as the public is going to insist upon bringing the astronauts back again afterwards.

Suricou Raven

Re: Sol help us

Simple thermostat without a microprocessor: Temperature sensor, power MOSFET, comparator circuit, trim pot to set temperature, two resistors (inc. hysteresis)

Simple thermostat with a microprocessor: Temperature sensor, power MOSFET, PIC microcontroller. Plus it can do PWM with PID feedback, and soft start.

It's common in electronics to use microcontrollers for absolutely everything now because they are of near-negligable cost and can usually do the task of several more basic components.

Suricou Raven

Not quite how I'd have gone about things, but I assume the experts know what they are doing.

I'd have sent a box packed with many different sorts of chips running software to detect and quantify errors, with the aim of figuring out exactly how much ECC and self-validating software it takes to make sure a computer can operate reliably even with the radiation. Perhaps eventually involving having two less-than-reliable conventional processors operating in lock-step, with a third rad-hardened, very minimal chip constantly comparing them and initiating a reset every time they do something different. It'd probably weigh less than packing everything behind a big sandwich of plastic, lead and boron.

Gov workers told their social posts are more believable than politicians' statements

Suricou Raven

Papering over the problem:

Problem: Politicians have such a reputation for dishonesty that the public will place more trust in a rumor spread by the office cleaner than they would in an official pronouncement.

Solution: Make sure the office cleaner doesn't say anything that might contradict the official line.

It doesn't seem to address the underlying issue at all. Some sort of public conduct policy for government workers is clearly required, because you can't have them telling stories of their workplace that might leak confidential information, but this one does seem a bit too much influence from the Ministry of Truth.

Dark web doesn't exist, says Tor's Dingledine. And folks use network for privacy, not crime

Suricou Raven

Re: He's right. The "dark net" doesn't exist!

My pet peeve with journalists on this subject is their constant confusion of 'dark net' and 'deep web.' They mean very different things, but journalists can't seem to tell them a part.

Suricou Raven

Been there.

I've not looked at Tor dark web, but I have on Freenet, and this is what I found:

- Activists.

- Religious end-times paranoia.

- People making fun of religion.

- Tons of porn.

- Piracy.

- Sites advocating for recreational drug use, sometimes with not-entirely-trustworthy instructions.

China crams spyware on phones in Muslim-majority province

Suricou Raven

Re: Obvious Comment

I see it as a repressive government verses a ridiculous superstition. I can't really cheer for either side here.

Suricou Raven

I would prefer not to divide nations up based on ethnicity. It is not a good road to go down.

Suricou Raven

Re: Spyware and Intelligence Gathering.....

And what do you propose we do? Here are some options:

1. Send a strongly-worded letter via the UN for China to ignore.

2. Impose economic sanctions on the world's second-largest economy, upon which we are heavily dependent for both raw materials and manufacturer goods.

3. Attempt military intervention and initiate global nuclear war.

None of these sound like a very good option.

Judge uses 1st Amendment on Pokemon Go park ban. It's super effective!

Suricou Raven

Re: THE POOL IS CLOSED DUE TO AIDS AND STINGRAYS (who also have aids) desu desu desu

Let me quickly check.

Yep, it exists.

My brain hurts.

Suricou Raven

Re: Amend this!

An amendment cannot be entirely repealed. There's no provision for that. Once it's on, it stays on. The 18th was not repealed - it is just countered by a later amendment, the 21st, which states that the 18th is repealed. The 18th is now a vestigial growth on the constitution - a no-longer-active bit of text, legally irrelevant, but stuck there as an eternal reminder that the US tried to ban alcohol and the attempt did not turn out very well.

It's worth noting that when the time came to ban all manner of other recreational drugs, there was no need for an amendment to the constitution, as by that time the supreme court had ruled that such affairs were within the jurisdiction of the federal government under the commerce clause - even if an individual trade was not inter-state, the economic ties of supply and demand mean that all commerce is inter-state commerce, even if indirectly.

Good luck building a VR PC: Ethereum miners are buying all the GPUs

Suricou Raven

Re: An Exercise in Futility?

1) Cryptocurrency was born of the crypto-anarchist community. They don't trust banks, and they certainly don't trust governments. Crypto-currency provides a means to do away with the middle-men who take their cut and play games with your money to their benefit. This does make it especially appealing to the criminal underground, and to people who object to any government regulation of finances for ideological reasons.

2) When something is that easily moved around and so interchangable with others of itsself, currency and commodity are really the same thing.

3) Certainly. But people are selfish bastards. They'll happily burn up power if it brings them money. If you wish to be better than that, please go ahead and donate your idle processor time (and thus electricity bill) to a worthy distributed computing project.

Suricou Raven

Re: Catchy name

Currency hasn't been physical for a long time.

You think your money is real because it comes in little bits of paper or coins of negligible metallic value? That's not money. It's just a convenient way of counting it. Money is an abstraction - it's valuable because there is a widespread agreement that it is valuable, which lets you spend it to buy things of actual utility. Or because the tax collector will send men to arrest you if you can't supply enough of it.

If you look at a bank note you'll find a notice on there: "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of x pounds." That's a relic of where notes come from: They used to be an indicator of debt. You'd give the bank your bag-of-gold and they'd give you notes for it. Very handy things, as gold is bulky and heavy. The notes were as valuable as the gold because you could always take them back to the bank and have a legal guarantee that they would return said gold, and you could trade the notes in lieu of the gold. Then over time the actual piles of gold in the vaults were accessed less and less often, until it was possible to do away with them altogether. That's where we are today: Money is a shared fiction, but simply having enough people act as if it's real can make it real.

Suricou Raven

Re: Rejoice

Etherium's hash function was specifically designed not to be ASIC-friendly. Specifically it needs a lot of memory to compute. Even low-end graphics cards can't, they just don't have enough video memory to hold the entire structure needed at once.

Suricou Raven

Re: "Why would anyone need two graphics cards?"

"so that it makes some sense to expose the main memory to the GPU processors, "

Until some OEM has a flashback and recalls that they can just dump all the GPU memory entirely and use main memory for the card instead, thus allowing them to sell a cheap-GPU machine while fiddling the specs.

DeepMind says it's given AI an imagination. Let's take a closer look at that

Suricou Raven

Re: Hype

Remember that fuss a while ago about Google being given access to a vast trove of NHS medical data?

Deepmind is why. Playing games is a good way to refine the technology, but it's all just data in the end. Blocks in a warehouse, counters on a go board, features on an MRI scan. The first applications are already in use - the NHS uses a program called Streams that analyses blood test results in conjunction with patient history to spot imminent kidney failure. Nothing that a human specialist couldn't handle - but the software does it faster. It's based on machine learning by the same Deepmind division that produced this game-playing research.

Pastor la vista, baby! FCC enforcers shut down church pirate radio

Suricou Raven

Conspiracy theory ahoy.

I give it a week or so before someone puts out the first column claiming this is another case of the government trying to silence Christians. They'll probably blame Obama loyalists within the FCC.

Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'

Suricou Raven

Re: Do as I say, not as I do.

They do have quite the persecution complex. The American ones especially. It's a recurring theme in the Christian media I follow for entertainment. Anything can be persecution.

The biggest one right now is non-discrimination laws - some states have laws that prohibit businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation of their customers or employees. Or, as the Christian press describes it, anti-Christian laws that 'criminalize those who take a biblical stance on human sexuality.'

Suricou Raven

Re: Do as I say, not as I do.

A taboo on mockery only protects bad ideas. An idea with strong evidence behind it can endure mocking.

Suricou Raven

Re: @Wolftone - the whole bible?

The bible, like most holy books, reflects the reader. Every believer will focus upon those verses they personally approve of, and either quietly forget or make excuses for all the bits that would inconvenience them.

Tremble in fear, America, as Daesh-bags scrawl cyber-graffiti on .gov webpages no one visits

Suricou Raven

The mosque was for the wrong type of Muslim.

Much like Catholics and protestants. They had the same holy book, followed the same god, and were all very devout. But still took turns executing each other as heretics.

As you head off to space with Li-ion batts, don't forget to inject that liquefied gas into them

Suricou Raven

That was CFCs.

These are HFCs.

They are actually remarkably safe and only slightly damaging to the environment, which makes them the go-to replacements for CFCs.

If you can get them fully fluorinated, they are near-indestructable chemically. That fluorine-carbon bond takes a silly amount of energy to break, so they just won't react. That's how Teflon works.

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