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1426  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: November 12, 2013, 04:18:52 PM
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1427  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: November 10, 2013, 05:53:40 AM
^^ Moronic.

More absurdity:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
UK Gov't Losing The Plot: Now Claiming Snowden Leaks Could Help Pedophiles
from the wtf? dept
Having already gone down the crazy path to arguing that journalism can be terorrism if it's "designed to influence a government," in the David Miranda detention lawsuit, the UK government is also claiming that the Ed Snowden leaks may help pedophiles. This seems to be a dystopian updated version of copyright maximalists trying to use child porn to support their own arguments. The general thinking is "just make some sort of nonsensical connection to child porn, and that'll show people how serious this is." The reality is that since most people can think, they realize that there is no connection to child porn, and thus the claim makes no sense. Same thing here, but at an even more bizarre level of insanity.
    Paedophiles may escape detection because highly-classified material about Britain’s surveillance capabilities have been published by the Guardian newspaper, the government has claimed.

    A senior Whitehall official said data stolen by Edward Snowden, a former contractor to the US National Security Agency, could be exploited by child abusers and other cyber criminals.
How? Uh, don't ask silly questions like that. The government has said "child abusers" so shut up and be scared. The Telegraph article, by David Barrett, admits that the government didn't explain how it made this connection, but then attempts to connect the dots for you:

    it is well known that many paedophiles use the internet to share child pornography and to groom potential victims. They also use “peer to peer” groups on the web to communicate with other child abusers.

    Any clues about how to evade detection which have been provided by Mr Snowden’s leaks could help paedophiles to cover their tracks.

But, under that argument, any privacy or encryption could be lumped into that same camp. Does David Barrett or the UK government refuse to use SSL on webpages, since encryption can be used to cover the tracks of pedophiles? The argument shows just how painfully desperate the UK government is in this case -- and also how petty and jealous it appears the Guardian's UK competitors have become, in that this is reported as if Snowden's efforts seriously would "help pedophiles."
1428  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Issues in Windows 8.0 and 8.1 migration on: November 10, 2013, 05:02:27 AM
Well, so far, there seem to be some really indifferent experiences with Win 8.0 and some bad experiences with Win 8.1 (I thought Win 8.1 was supposed to overcome the Win 8.0 limitations?).
Many people on this forum and others seem to be holding back and staying with Win 7 (those that want a Windows OS, anyway).
I think I'll just keep the migration on ice for a while and see how things pan out for Win 8.1 or maybe 8.2.
I only bought the Win 8.0 because the special price was about to run out, and so I thought I'd get it in anticipation of installing it at some later stage. But that stage is not now.
I am usually an early adopter of technology that looks useful, but not of OSes. You can end up investing a mountain of unproductive time in an OS, if it flaky.
1429  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What *Should* We Be Worried About? on: November 08, 2013, 02:09:25 AM
I'm so worried about what's hapenin' today, in the middle east, you know. ...
Yep. Now I are especially worried too, after reading this (which just might turn into something that could keep us all awake at night - if there are any of us left to worry, that is):
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Snippets from Israel daily news stream

1. The US and Iran hope to reach an agreement by Friday that would lift some sanctions of the international sanctions for six months. In return, the Iranians would curb their uranium enrichment program. McClatchy News sums up the deal so far:
At the heart of the proposal is the demand that Iran halt the expansion of its ability to enrich uranium, presumably by not buying new centrifuges, the equipment used in the enrichment process. That’s a change from previous demands that Iran stop enriching uranium past a certain purity.

Israel opposes the proposal. AP‘s fact checks what Israel claims the Iranians are doing.

2. The Saudis bought nuclear weapons from Pakistan, according to the BBC. They’re even ready for delivery:
One senior Pakistani, speaking on background terms, confirmed the broad nature of the deal – probably unwritten – his country had reached with the kingdom and asked rhetorically “what did we think the Saudis were giving us all that money for? It wasn’t charity.”
Another, a one-time intelligence officer from the same country, said he believed “the Pakistanis certainly maintain a certain number of warheads on the basis that if the Saudis were to ask for them at any given time they would immediately be transferred.”

This might potentially be a tad worse than an itty-bitty radiation leak at Fukushima (where apparently no-one was killed or is dying of radiation poisoning, and no deformed births are expected as a result).
1430  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: November 06, 2013, 08:17:05 PM
But before you go even that far, I meant it at a people level, it's a theme vs the whole Snowden mess. "You don't have a privacy violation if you don't know it exists" type of comments!
Absolutely. Those are words one could wish one had not uttered. Very damning and at the same time illuminating words.
I suppose it's a variation of "ignorance is bliss", but it would not be correct to call it a rational justification of illegal actions.
For example:
"Sure I stole the old lady's money out her handbag, but she never knew of it, so, like, no harm done, eh?"
Yeah, right.
1431  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: November 06, 2013, 07:46:16 PM
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. – C.S. Lewis
Here's a little bit of help from about 1985!
Stabilizers - Tyranny
That has reminded me of the SF story about the inventor who designed a robot with built-in programming to ensure the health, safety and happiness of humans, and other programming to enable it to be self-replicating and able to improve on the basic engineering design, as and when necessary.

A swathe of the robots offered themselves up to a grateful mankind as personal servants. They automated all the dangerous things like cars, motorbikes and so forth, even bicycles, so that people could not get hurt using them any more. No more rock-climbing though, for example. They steadily took all the fun out of life that comes from risky behaviour and skill development.

The inventor realised that he had let an awful and unstoppable tyranny loose on the world, and he could see no way to reverse it. He became terrified of the robots. The robots were concerned for him as they strove to ensure his health, safety and happiness. And though he tried desperately to hide his unhappiness from them, they were skilled in human psychology and could see that he was not happy, and so did the best they could for him and gave him a frontal lobotomy, after which he seemed quite happy.
1432  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Issues in Windows 8.0 and 8.1 migration on: November 06, 2013, 04:40:31 PM
Thanks @Ath. No, I had not seen that particular one.
1433  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Issues in Windows 8.0 and 8.1 migration on: November 06, 2013, 07:37:16 AM
To be, or not to be...

On 2013-02-01, for $49.99, I bought Windows8 Pro Upgrade. However, I have held off installing it due to the advent of Win8.1.
After reading this: How to uninstall Windows 8.1 | How To - CNET, I have to admit to being a little uncertain.
I would be interested in the advice/experiences of DCF members regarding this migration.
My current OS is Win7-64 Home Premium, Build 7601.
1434  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: November 06, 2013, 07:22:28 AM
...Really? Smog limits visibility to 3 m and they're worried about national security?
You can't make this stuff up.
But you might be wrong. Maybe you can make this stuff up - after all, Chinese magicians have been able to perform fantastic feats using smoke and mirrors...maybe they are worried that the general populace will become expert in it too...

On another topic:
"The entire history of America is towards concentration of power and oppression."
- Barrack Obama (Strassman interview August of 1995)
So, one valid question would seem to be: Is he intending continuing that history, or doing something about correcting it?
1435  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: November 04, 2013, 04:52:53 PM
@tomos: ^^ Interesting.
Colour me skeptical. I wonder whether the German government would offer Snowden asylum, after talking it over when they sobered up in the morning.
Certainly, Snowden could arguably be said to have provided a service to Germany and other EU countries, and though by giving him asylum, the Germans might be hoping to take the opportunity to impotently thumb their noses at the US for spying on their government ministers, the satisfaction could be short-lived when they start to appreciate the awful reality of US pressures that could be brought to bear. Snowden might end up being extradited to the US within a couple of months, regardless of what the German government might have promised him. It might already be a ruse to entice Snowden into a country from which he could be more readily extradited to the US. There's no honour amongst thieves.

In any event, if even the Russians were apparently too frightened to commit to full asylum for Snowden in the face of potential/threatened US pressures, one doubts whether a gnat like Germany would be able to prevail where the Russians would not even try.
1436  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: November 04, 2013, 02:08:22 PM
I don't recall having seen that quote of his until yesterday. The full context is:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    C. S. Lewis
    English essayist & juvenile novelist (1898 - 1963)
Snowdengate has shown this tyranny to be prevalent unequivocally in the US presidents and their administrations (e.g., including Bush, Obama), and now unequivocally in the UK (e.g., including Cameron). In the UK, they have also taken censorship a stage further by having the Privy Council (a law court run by government officials) giving the green light to a bill/tool for gagging the press - laughably called a Royal Charter. They've not quite done that sort of thing yet in the US, I gather.
When flying to either country, one could be forgiven for singing:
Back in the US,
Back in the US,
Back in the USSR!

1437  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: November 04, 2013, 08:09:09 AM
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. – C.S. Lewis
1438  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: CryptoLocker and CryptoPrevent on: November 04, 2013, 04:40:32 AM
Further to the ethics points, I am seeing a surprising number of people, not companies, pay up.
Pay for the likes of MBAM pro and you are half, it's never a full step anymore, a step ahead
Yes, I always regarded my investment in a licence for MBAM Pro to be preventive, rather than curative. MBAM Pro has realtime scanning, which is apparently an effective Crilock avoidance tool - assuming that you keep it enabled. There doesn't seem to be any cure for Crilock, and paying the ransom does not mean that you won't get immediately reinfected - as some people have found out to their chagrin.
1439  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: November 03, 2013, 08:09:58 PM
Interesting perspective of peer-reviewed literature from a science journalist - John Horgan - who kicks himself for a lack of investigation when writing an article in 1983 about Jerrold S. Petrofsky, a biomedical engineer at Wright State University who had been trying to help paralyzed patients walk by electrically stimulating their muscles with a computer-controlled device.
In 1985 he finally completed some investigation and wrote a report which corrected the matter, but nearly got him into some trouble - until his report was subsequently vindicated.
(see the link to the PLOS Medicine paper.)
(Otherwise copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Cross-Check: Critical views of science in the news
By John Horgan | November 2, 2013

I’m moving soon, and so I’m riffling through the files I’ve accumulated in my decades as a science writer and chucking those I’ll never (I hope) need. Carrying out this archaeological dig into the strata of my career, I’m struck once again by all the “breakthroughs” and “revolutions” that have failed to live up to their hype: string theory and other supposed “theories of everything,” self-organized criticality and other theories of complexity, anti-angiogenesis drugs and other potential “cures” for cancer, drugs that can make depressed patients “better than well,” “genes for” alcoholism, homosexuality, high IQ and schizophrenia.

Nanette Davis stands at the podium during her graduation from Wright State University in 1983, an event that raised hopes that electrical stimulation of muscles would soon help paralyzed people regain control of their limbs. Davis was helped to the podium by engineer Jerrold Petrofsky (right), the designer of her muscle-stimulation system.

I graduated from journalism school in 1983 hoping to celebrate scientific advances, but from the start reality thwarted my intentions. I got a job as a staff writer for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a trade association. One of my first assignments was profiling Jerrold S. Petrofsky, a biomedical engineer at Wright State University trying to help paralyzed patients walk by electrically stimulating their muscles with a computer-controlled device.

Petrofsky was a lavishly honored star of the IEEE, whose research had reportedly enabled Nanette Davis, a paralyzed student at Wright State, to walk on stage and receive her diploma during her June, 1983, graduation ceremony. His work was lauded by major media, including the BBC, TIME, Newsweek, Nova and 60 Minutes. In 1985 CBS produced a television movie, First Steps, starring Judd Hirsch as Petrofsky.

I wrote a puff piece about Petrofsky–based primarily on interviews with him and materials supplied by him and Wright State–published in the November 1983 issue of The Institute, the monthly newspaper of the IEEE. It never occurred to me to question Petrosky’s claims. Who was I, a mere rookie, to second-guess him, Wright State and media like 60 Minutes?

Then other biomedical engineers wrote letters to me complaining that coverage of Petrofsky’s work was raising false hopes among paralyzed patients. At first, I thought these critics were just envious of Petrofsky’s fame, but when I investigated their complaints, they seemed to have substance.

I ended up writing an article, published in The Institute in May 1985, presenting evidence that Petrofsky’s methods for helping paralyzed subjects were less effective than he claimed. My original November 1983 article, which Petrosfsky had approved before publication, stated that Davis, while accompanied by Petrofsky during her graduation ceremony, controlled the stimulation of her own muscles and did not need his assistance.

Actually, Petrofsky held the device that stimulated Davis’s muscles, and he and another professor had to prop Davis up during the ceremony because the device malfunctioned. Davis also told me that before she met Petrofsky, she had trained herself to stand in leg braces for hours. In other words, her graduation feat was less impressive than it appeared. The muscle-stimulation method was also not risk free; Davis broke an ankle during a training session in 1984.

In my 1985 article, I argued that Petrofsky’s work raised questions that went beyond his case: “Has Petrofsky gone too far in seeking publicity for his work, as some of his peers suggest? Or should he be praised for being an effective communicator? In addressing these questions—which are echoed in other fields of research as well—perhaps some answers may be provided to a broader and more important question: What can engineers and scientists do to inform the public about their work, while ensuring that it is not misrepresented?”

This episode also taught me some lessons about science journalism that my subsequent experiences reinforced. First, researchers, when accused of hype, love to blame it on the media. But media hype can usually be traced back to the researchers themselves.

I also learned that critical journalism is much harder, more time-consuming and riskier than celebratory journalism. My 1985 investigation of Petrofsky, which I toiled over for months, made my editor so nervous that he wanted to bury it in the back pages of The Institute; I had to go over his head to persuade the publisher that my article deserved front-page treatment. After the article came out, the IEEE formed a panel to investigate not Petrofsky but me. The panel confirmed the accuracy of my reporting.

Since then, I keep struggling to find the right balance between celebrating and challenging alleged advances in science. After all, I became a science writer because I love science, and so I have tried not to become too cynical and suspicious of researchers. I worry sometimes that I’m becoming a knee-jerk critic. But the lesson I keep learning over and over again is that I am, if anything, not critical enough.

Arguably the biggest meta-story in science over the last few years—and one that caught me by surprise–is that much of the peer-reviewed scientific literature is rotten. A pioneer in exposing this vast problem is the Stanford statistician John Ioannidis, whose blockbuster 2005 paper in PLOS Medicine presented evidence that “most current published research findings are false.”

Discussing his findings in Scientific American two years ago, Ioannidis writes: “False positives and exaggerated results in peer-reviewed scientific studies have reached epidemic proportions in recent years. The problem is rampant in economics, the social sciences and even the natural sciences, but it is particularly egregious in biomedicine.”

In his recent defense of scientism (which I criticized on this blog), Steven Pinker lauds science’s capacity for overcoming bias and other human failings and correcting mistakes. But the work of Ioannidis and others shows that this capacity is greatly overrated.

“Academic scientists readily acknowledge that they often get things wrong,” The Economist states in its recent cover story “How Science Goes Wrong.” “But they also hold fast to the idea that these errors get corrected over time as other scientists try to take the work further. Evidence that many more dodgy results are published than are subsequently corrected or withdrawn calls that much-vaunted capacity for self-correction into question. There are errors in a lot more of the scientific papers being published, written about and acted on than anyone would normally suppose, or like to think.”

So whatever happened to Petrofsky? He reportedly left Wright State in 1987 and ended up at Loma Linda University in California. The only article I could find online that mentions criticism of his work at Wright State is a 1985 New York Times report on the angry reaction of biomedical researchers to the film “First Steps.” As for Nanette Davis, after her famous 1983 graduation “walk” she “returned to her wheelchair,” according to a 2010 report in the Dayton Daily News. She is now a mother and teacher.

Photo credit: National Center for Rehabilitation Engineering, Wright State University,
1440  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: good Videos [short films] here :) on: October 30, 2013, 03:12:50 PM
@Deozaan: Out of Sight - my son Brian (age 3) likes this one. Thanks.
1441  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: October 30, 2013, 06:46:19 AM
I am actually getting a bit confused by this SnowdenGate thing and the relative importance that various nations' political players are giving it. They each seem to be taking it a bit differently:
Cameron: GCHQ surveillance of UK citizens and the Internet in tandem with US NSA surveillance was and is necessary for national security purposes. Yes, we know it is and was illegal, because GCHQ kept telling us - actually they were a little bit nervous about that being made public. I mean, good grief, they're not idiots, you know.
By the way, the whistleblower Snowden is a criminal for releasing this information.
The Crown is going to to throw the book at the reporters involved in Rupert Murdoch's News International's scandalous, disgraceful, illegal phone hacking. We can't have that sort of thing going on in a free democracy like the UK, after all, can we? Ruddy heck, before you knew it, we'd all be hacking into each other's phones what with the GCHQ doing it in spades already. Oh, wait. ...Did I say that?

Obama: I know I promised to encourage whistleblowers and reduce NSA and other surveillance of citizens and the Internet but in fact, as SnowdenGate has revealed, it has been increased to cover all citizens and all foreign nations and external networks. But it's OK because we need the surveillance for national security purposes - really, we do, you can trust me on this one.
By the way, the whistleblower Snowden is a criminal for releasing this information.
Rest assured we have not carried out any surveillance of our European allies ... Oh, wait. What? We have? Merkels' phone too? How the @#$%^ did I forget that? @#$%^!

US Security Chiefs: We actually need to increase the existing levels of surveillance for national security purposes.
By the way, the whistleblower Snowden is a criminal for releasing this information.
Yeah, actually we did tap into Merkels' phone and all the other EU political leaders, just to get to know them better, not so as to spy on them or anything like that. That would be ridiculous.

Germany, France, and other EU nations:
Merkel & Co.:  @#$%^ing Americans, why can't you @#$%^ing keep your @#$%^ing noses out of our @#$%^ing affairs? If we @#$%^ing wanted you to know anything we'd @#$%^ing tell you, for @#$%^'s sake. You can just @#$%^ off and @#$%^ you, you @#$%^ing @#$%^hole @#$%s.

New Zealand:
Key: Ah @#$%^ing hell, the whole @#$%^ing world knows now that we knowingly @#$%^ing @#$%^ed NZ law over big time when we @#$%^ing illegally surveilled Dotcom's @#$%^ing busines networks and contacts in cahoots with those @#$%^ing FBI and NSA @#$%^tards. Now I look a real @#$%^ing idiot and it's coming up to @#$%^ing election time.
I tell you, @#$%^ing heads are going to roll for this one and it won't be @#$%^ing mine, you @#$%^ing DCSB @#$%^wits. And @#$%^, @#$%^, @#$%^ @#$%^ing Dotcom. I wish I'd never heard of that @#$%^ing @#$%^hole @#$%^ing comedian. Why the @#$%^ did we let him into New Zealand anyway, and why the @#$%^ did we let the @#$%^ing FBI @#$%^ing push us into @#$%^ing breaking the @#$%^ing law? I'm @#$%^ed if I know.
@#$%^ me I need a cup of tea and a @#$%^ing lie-down.

What we can draw from this is the possibility that neither the EU countries nor NZ consider the whistleblower Snowden to be a criminal for releasing the information that he apparently did.
1442  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Google Reader - Mini-Review on: October 29, 2013, 08:42:22 PM
Thanks for spotting that. That could be quite useful to know. I had pretty much given up on Feedly.
1443  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: on the 'benefits' of technology... on: October 29, 2013, 08:22:09 PM
I recall reading a few SF stories, years ago, that dealt with the question "What if increased automation causes an atrophy of human skill-sets and brain learning/functionality?"
Those stories preceded and arguably predicted pretty accurately what we are seeing today.

One remarkable atrophy that was predicted was in the use of skills for basic arithmetic and logic. This at any rate is something that we can observe with our own eyes.
For example:
  • Calculator arithmetic: The non-development or non-use of basic mental arithmetic skills due to people's reliance on handheld calculators for (say) adding up a set of numbers.
    I have even seen people mindlessly add up 2 and 2 on a calculator, producing the surprising result = 4.
    However, the irony of that is - as any accountant should be able to tell us - that handheld calculators are unreliable for (say) adding up sets of numbers, because people make mistakes using them (e.g., punching the wrong keys) and have no way of knowing - no trace - that they made a mistake. The only reliable ones are those with an add-list (printout) that enables you to find the human error as you tick off every number in the addition/subtraction to ensure that it has been correctly entered. You could even make mistakes in the ticking-off process too, of course.
    I have even seen people add up the same list of numbers twice, using a handheld calculator, apparently on the misconception that repeating the process through a second operation was somehow going to magically check/prove the first operation. Depressing, really.

    The barcode scanners at supermarket checkouts automate this sort of process a step further, eliminating that simple human error at the data entry point. The role of the teller then becomes just a mover of parcels from conveyor belt into the shopping basket. Even that role could become redundant with the introduction of self-service checkouts.

  • Cross-casting errors: A common error in Excel spreadsheets is where a table - containing columns of numbers where the columns are all totalled at the bottom - has been added up wrong, because of a simple error in a formula somewhere. The authors of these spreadsheets assume that it is added up correctly, because - well, heck, it's been added up by a computer, right?
    Well, yes, and added up wrongly, using exactly the logic it was told to use.

    The quickest way to prove the arithmetic accuracy of such tables is to use Excel to cross-cast them in the spreadsheet - i.e., add them up across and down and check whether they come to the same grand total - but that will still not identify where there may have been a compensating error.
    Quite a lot of people, including several accountants I have met - seem to be unaware of the principle of this simple check and are amazed when you show it to them...

It's like we seem to underestimate our own role in things, making ourselves subservient to and placing such store in computers as to lose sight of the fact that we are a major source of error and that the computer thing is an idiot automaton that is unable to detect a human error. We are dumbed-down, or dumb ourselves down, in this way.
Nevertheless, the user is and remains responsible for building-in checks to prove the correctness of the spreadsheet, just as the pilot is responsible for knowing which way to pull the joystick in an emergency if the auto-pilot fails.
So don't blame the technology. If the responsibility is not there/taken, and (say) the plane crashes, then it is arguably the process of pilot training that has failed to develop/maintain those infrequently-required skills in the pilot, not necessarily that the technology has somehow made us stupid or atrophied our skills. It is a failure of pilot training, which would have run quite contrary to standard pilot training practice - which is to drill, drill and drill again in standard/common emergency procedures.
1444  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: October 29, 2013, 05:50:18 PM
/rant on
Could we please either drop or move to a separate discussion thread the irrelevant discussion in this thread that has arisen regarding the defending/arguing/rationalising/reinforcing or self-justification, or whatever, of our moral belief system in human honesty and integrity in society?
It is becoming a tedious distraction.
Whether one believes or is of the opinion, or whatever, that honesty and integrity are vitally important in a person's character, or in society generally, or not, that's just fine. However, and though I could be wrong, of course, an argument over the rightness/wrongness of the belief would seem to have two-fifths of ¼ of sod all to do with the thread Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage.
/rant off
1445  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: October 29, 2013, 02:29:53 AM
Marriage - This attempts to illustrate the full logical consequence of recent UK legislation.
"Good morning. We want to apply for a marriage license."


"Tim and Jim Jones."

"Jones?? Are you related??  I see a resemblance."

"Yes, we're brothers."

"Brothers?  You can't get married."

"Why not??  Aren't you giving marriage licenses to same gender couples?"

"Yes, thousands. But we haven't had any siblings. That's incest!"

"Incest?" No, we are not gay."

"Not gay??  Then why do you want to get married?"

"For the financial benefits, of course. And we do love each other. Besides, we don't
have any other prospects."

"But we're issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples who've been denied equal
protection under the law. If you are not gay, you can get married to a woman."

"Wait a minute. A gay man has the same right to marry a woman as I have. But just because
I'm straight doesn't mean I want to marry a woman. I want to marry Jim."

"And I want to marry Tim, Are you going to discriminate against us just because we are not

"All right, all right. I'll give you your license. Next."

"Hi. We are here to get married."


"John Smith, Jane James, Robert Green, and June Johnson."

"Who wants to marry whom?"

"We all want to marry each other."

"But there are four of you!"

"That's right. You see, we're all bisexual. I love Jane and Robert, Jane loves me and
June, June loves Robert and Jane, and Robert loves June and me. All of us getting
married together is the only way that we can express our sexual preferences in a
marital relationship."

"But we've only been granting licenses to gay and lesbian couples."

"So you're discriminating against bisexuals!"

"No, it's just that, well, the traditional idea of marriage is that it's just for couples."

"Since when are you standing on tradition?"

"Well, I mean, you have to draw the line somewhere."

"Who says?? There's no logical reason to limit marriage to couples. The more the better.
Besides, we demand our rights! The mayor says the constitution guarantees equal
protection under the law.  Give us a marriage license!"

"All right, all right. Next."

"Hello, I'd like a marriage license."

"In what names?"

"David Deets."

"And the other man?"

"That's all. I want to marry myself."

"Marry yourself??  What do you mean?"

"Well, my psychiatrist says I have a dual personality, so I want to marry the two
of us together.  Maybe I can then file a joint income-tax return ?"

"That does it!? I quit!!?  You people are making a mockery of marriage!!"
1446  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: October 29, 2013, 02:16:25 AM
Amazing. Looks like direct threats are now being made by the UK PM to the Grauniad (and others), if they do not self-censor the SnowdenGate leaked material. Must be getting pretty desperate to gag them to do that.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
David Cameron Threatens Newspapers Publishing Snowden Leaks
Matthew Feeney|Oct. 28, 2013 3:08 pm

Credit: The Prime Minister's Office / / CC BY-NC-NDCredit: The Prime Minister's Office / / CC BY-NC-NDBritish Prime Minister David Cameron has made a scary statement about the publication of Edward Snowden’s revelations.

From Reuters:

    Oct 28 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday his government was likely to act to stop newspapers publishing what he called damaging leaks from former U.S. intelligence operative Edward Snowden unless they began to behave more responsibly.

    "If they (newspapers) don't demonstrate some social responsibility it will be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act," Cameron told parliament, saying Britain's Guardian newspaper had "gone on" to print damaging material after initially agreeing to destroy other sensitive data.

It is worth remembering that British officials already threatened The Guardian, which has been publishing stories relating to Snowden’s leaked documents, with legal action if servers containing copies of the information Snowden provided were not destroyed. Officials justified the move by claiming that Russia or China could hack into the servers and access the documents. Technicians from the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) oversaw the destruction of the servers last July, despite the fact that Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger had told government officials that copies of the information were stored outside of the U.K.

The news of Cameron’s comments come days after NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander said that “We ought to come up with a way of stopping” reporters from “selling” secrets.

Thankfully, it is unlikely that any government action in the U.K. is going to stop the information leaked by Edward Snowden from being revealed. As Rusbridger told British government officials, copies of the information is stored outside the U.K.

The latest NSA revelations have damaged the Obama administration’s relationship with some Europeans. It has been reported that the NSA monitored tens of millions of Spanish and French phone calls and that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone was targeted.

The reporting since the latest NSA news reveals that the U.S. government doesn't have its story straight when it comes to the NSA’s activities. After last week’s news relating to Merkel’s cell phone being targeted White House Press Secretary Jay Carney denied that the Obama administration was targeting Merkel’s phone saying, “The president assured the chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor.” However, reporting from the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper, based on information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, suggests that Obama did know about surveillance on Merkel’s phone, but that he only found out about the snooping in 2010 after being personally briefed by Gen. Alexander.

Whilst I consider that the shocking anti-democratic editorial religio-political bias of the Grauniad speaks for itself in many of its articles and propaganda over the years, I am impressed with the way they have stuck to their guns so far on this one (SnowdenGate).
It will be interesting to see what it takes to make them cave in. I gather that they have apparently been running at a financial loss for some time and have tried to diversify into other areas of alternative funding (e.g., running a coffee-shop), even apparently angling to get themselves the status as some kind of State-funded news organisation (a la BBC).
I can't see how sticking to their guns in SnowdenGate is likely to further their prospects for alternative funding via the government. The government is potentially fascistic enough to stomp on them with GBJ (great big jackboots) and wipe them out in the name of "security".
1447  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Google's Storage Problem on: October 29, 2013, 01:52:18 AM
Thanks @Deozaan. Do you think you might be in a position to do a mini-review of BitTorrent Sync?
I had been meaning to trial it and write a review, but haven't had the spare bandwidth until recently.

In my comment above, I neglected to give the link (below), showing tracks for what others in DCF have discussed re BitTorrent Sync.
...I would like to know why the service had to be killed.
   I guessed that the reason was probably a financially non-viable business model, or infeasibility, or police/SS pressure that led to this "cryptographically unbreakable" data backup service being closed down. I suppose another reason could be a mixture of all three reasons.
   Because the Digital Lifeboat system was redolent of BitTorrent functionality, today I did a search of BitTorrent-related comments in the DC Forum, and then I realised why Digital Lifeboat may have been shut down - viz: it is an application concept that seems to be already being worked on and moved into the public domain.
   For example, including:

   I suspect that such a P2P "cryptographically unbreakable" data backup service would be anathema to the police/SS/NSA from a surveillance prospect.
   The thing about Cloud storage and Cloud-based services is that (as we now know thanks to the Snowden leaks) the "Big Data" and "Social Network" providers  - including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, for example - have been obliged to act as data suppliers to the NSA, for NSA (and other) surveillance agency purposes. So you categorically cannot expect the common "Big Data" and "Social Network" providers to be not breaching your privacy/security/confidentiality.
   Since Them are bigger than Us, I suspect that it may be only a matter of time before operating such P2P "cryptographically unbreakable" data backup services in what could effectively be a virtual "Dark Net" could become illegal, or at least "showing a suspicious intent".

Note: This might be handy as a BitTorrent summary: 4 Things You Didn’t Know About BitTorrent
1448  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: October 29, 2013, 01:18:58 AM
...Hm, I'm not sure what you're getting at with comparing the two. If you don't like the BBC, at least you can switch it off... I'm not sure the same can be said about the NSA...  Wink

Well, I was not so much comparing them as showing how the BBC could be talking about itself, as paraphrased.

Some people (not me you understand), might say that they are both organisations that are apparently completely out of control, that are funded by a compulsory tax levied on the taxpayer (and in the BBC's case, extracted with threats and actual violence/intimidation), and that each in it's own way would seem to be variously oppressive/totalitarian, anti-democratic, operating sometimes illegally, and corrupt/corrupting (QED - including, for example, Savile affair, SnowdenGate). However, I couldn't possibly comment.

Some people (not me you understand), might go on to say that the ability to "switch off" the BBC is an illusory differentiation to the NSA at best, as, even if one does not view or listen to the BBC TV/radio broadcasts programs and propaganda, one is effectively obliged to continue to pay the tax to fund them and all of the BBC's other activities, and that the BBC has shown itself to be a monstrous statist anachronism and a blight on freedom and democracy.  However, again, I couldn't possibly comment.

Mind you, looking at what those people might say, one could suppose that they might be talking about the BBC or the NSA using much the same words, but this could be a coincidence, so whether it demonstrates for certain that the two organisations were similar could be a moot point.
1449  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Japanese to blow up a portion of Asteroid 1999JU3 on: October 29, 2013, 12:04:32 AM
Very interesting. Thanks.
1450  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Google's Storage Problem on: October 28, 2013, 11:50:36 PM
I'm looking forward to the prospect of decentralization, people using a "buddy system" (or whatever) to send backup copies of their files to friends' drives... rather than DEPENDING on the free (or freemium or commercial) offerings of commercial entities.
Storage capacity is cheaper-than-ever, yet people have allowed themselves to be steered into using phone or tablet form factor computing devices having minimal storage, with no choice (no SATA or USB port on the device) but to "upload it and store it in the (their) cloud". Post raspberryPi, I believe we're only a device generation (or 2) away from personal ARM -based wearable computers. In that scenario, I do expect the "personal cloud" paradigm to shift toward wearable and /or home-based "personal server(s)".
In the meantime, OwnCloud seems to be gaining traction. But (I say) if ya gotta authenticate through THEIR server... what's the sense in that?

Yes, very good points. Reminded me of Digital Lifeboat - probably the most impenetrable encrypted "Anonymous buddy Cloud-based backup/recovery system" on the market. Except it is no longer on the market, having been inexplicably withdrawn.
There are two videos about it, but the most informative one is linked to in the quoted post below. I have copies of both in case they are expunged/censored from YouTube.

Doing some research to see if there was a really secure Cloud-based backup solution, I googled the subject, and one of the things I came up with was a rather novel (to me) service called Digital Lifeboat. The service was apparently launched sometime in early 2011, however, for unexplained reasons it is to be shut down on 2013-06-28.
If you go to their website:
you get shunted to:
- where you get this message: (see attachment in previous post)
The email sent to users apparently said (this from a utorrent forum post): (see attachment in previous post)
What is Digital Lifeboat?

  • The operational principle of the service seems to be automated data backup via distributed encrypted file fragments (using steganographic techniques) across a P2P network, offering a highly secure and sort of virtual RAID storage with "repairable" data. It looks amazingly secure and potentially useful for any PC user wishing to have a high level of security, privacy and anonymity of backup.

  • The concept is explained:

Whereas I would always evaluate such a service after trialling it and before using/buying it, my initial impression of this untried service is that it would seem to meet all the requirements for a high level of security, privacy and anonymity of backup, with the major potential costs being:
  • (a) the direct costs of service and
  • (b) the indirect costs of bandwidth utilisation.

Like most other Cloud-based solutions, one major risk this service has/had would relate to its potential for persistent reliability (QED, it has just been unilaterally and summarily discontinued). I would like to know why the service had to be killed.
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