* Posts by Bumpy Cat

535 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jun 2009


Rocket Lab crows about launch, SpaceX zipwires, and a monster mock-up arrives at Kennedy

Bumpy Cat

To put it charitably, the stealth helicopter was a bit pie-in-the-sky. Even one of the stated features (diesel-powered, stealth, full satellite control) would be ambitious for an aerospace start-up. The helicopter start-up failed without any real results.


The (home-made) cruise missile was a separate proof-of-concept by someone else:


There's certainly a lot of enthusiasm for aerospace projects in NZ!

Huawei pens open letter to UK Parliament: Spying? Nope, we've done nothing wrong

Bumpy Cat

Re: @Yoyna i Mor Iran


Britain and BP had a hand in the ousting of Mossadegh in 1953 (along with the US, the Iranian military *and* the Iranian Islamic leadership, although the latter are curiously quiet on that point nowadays).

The toppling of the Shah in 1979 was pretty much an internal affair, by leftists/communists/Islamists. The Islamists proceeded to murder all the leftists and communists, leaving just the ayatollahs in charge.

Self-driving cars doomed to be bullied by pedestrians

Bumpy Cat

Re: Tip o' the iceberg

@John Bailey,

It's a fair question, but the difference between a self-driving car and a manual car at a traffic light, is

- a manual car can be driven away if the vehicle or passengers are attacked, overriding safety procedures like the red light or pedestrians blocking the way

- a traffic light by definition is at a junction or area of high traffic, where overt robbery is likely to have witnesses, who may even intervene. Immobilising a self-driving car can be done at any point on any road, and naturally quiet country roads or urban side streets at night would be the prime location.

Spoiler alert: We'll bet boffins still haven't spotted aliens

Bumpy Cat

Re: why are they all pointing their lasers at us?

There's a very good bit in "The Three Body Problem" by Liu Cixin where a human manages to send a message into space, and the first reply received is "Shut the fuck up, they'll kill you if they find you!".

Britain's fight to get its F-35 aircraft carriers operational turns legal

Bumpy Cat

Re: It's like the blind leading the blind.

Osama bin Laden was never "ours" - Pakistan are quite proud of running the majority of mujaheddin opposition to the Soviets in Afghanistan. Also, Osama is quite famous for not liking infidels, and wasn't working for anyone really. He was a billionaire and had the resources and ability to run his own enterprise in Afghanistan.

Shamil Basayev was never "ours" either. There was no Western involvement in Chechnya, and I'd like to see any information that suggests there was. The Chechens didn't need help to cause all sorts of trouble for a poorly prepared Russian conscript army.

Mastercard rolls out pay-by-selfie across Europe

Bumpy Cat

Technically Her Majesty is using pay-by-selfie when paying by cash.

One-way Martian ticket: Pick passengers for Musk's first Mars pioneer squad

Bumpy Cat

A life locked in a small room with only a computer for entertainment?


Where do I sign up?

Peccant pwners post 670,000 Pokémon punter MD5 passwords

Bumpy Cat

@AC MD5 strength

I don't have my crypto notes to hand, but MD5 has been cracked to be substantially weaker than 2^64. Some attacks are down to 2^24 complexity, IIRC.

HSBC: How will we verify business banking customers? Selfies!

Bumpy Cat

A new way to DoS someone's bank account! *cracks knuckles*

Newest Royal Navy warship weighs as much as 120 London buses

Bumpy Cat

Re: "River"-Class?

Any missile that is shoulder-launched can do no more than cosmetic damage to a ship. To properly damage a ship requires a warhead weighing tens of kilogrammes at least, and that's excluding the weight of the rest of the missile.

To deliver that warhead you need a large missile, or a torpedo, or a small boat with a bomb (an IED torpedo - see USS Cole in Yemen). As soon as you start using such weapons you're getting way past the capabilities of insurgents. Even Iran's swarm tactics requires lots of money, equipment and trained people.

Microsoft redfaced after Bing translation cockup enrages Saudis

Bumpy Cat

A point of clarification

Saudi Arabia is not bombing Daesh in Yemen. As a previous comment has pointed out, ISIS is not that far, ideologically, from the government of Saudi Arabia (and if you go back to the formation of the Saudi state from 1800 - 1940 there are some interesting parallels).

Nothing lines up perfectly, but what is happening in Yemen is part of the larger Saudi-Iran conflict. Saudi Arabia is supporting the Sunni-ish government against the Houthi (Shia-ish, therefore Iran-backed) rebels, who themselves are largely a tool of the previous Yemeni president.

Meanwhile in Iraq and Syria ...

Angler hooks German's todger at nudist lake

Bumpy Cat

You caught one how big?!

You should have seen the one that got away!

Etc, etc.

North Korea unveils its home-grown Netflix rival – Manbang

Bumpy Cat

On a serious note

My Korean is terrible, but enough to make some guesses.

"Manbang" (만방) is tricky to translate, but means something like "everywhere" or "global".

"Dong" 동 (the missile name) means "east", and "nodong" 노동 means "labour" or "work".

Still funny, but it's good to know the intended meaning!

Unis don't pay ransom

Bumpy Cat

Too true

If I had to spend time answering an FOI for a company, I'd have some very choice words for them if they came back trying to market me something on the back of the FOI results.

'I found the intern curled up on the data centre floor moaning'

Bumpy Cat

Quite recent infosec support

We recently received a large number of a specific scam message, and put a warning on our helpdesk portal. I work at an educational institution, so the helpdesk portal is visible to the outside web (and crawled by Google).

Cue several phone calls from other people receiving the scam messages. I only twigged on the second call when the user couldn't provide their userid. I did help as much as I could ...

Juno shoots 'Marble Movie' of Jupiter

Bumpy Cat

Post-pub nosh

Like Io, my friend also emits great amounts of sulphur dioxide on recovering from post-pub nosh.

Bosses at UK infosec biz Quadsys confess to hacking rival reseller

Bumpy Cat

Re: Security is a cycle

In theory Certified Ethical Hacker and similar qualifications (CISSP etc) come with a code of conduct, and breaking the code results in automatic loss of the qualification. It's questionable how or if this is tracked by the certifying body, and what steps they would take against someone who has "lost" the certification but continues to claim it on the web or Linkedin.

Correction: There was no hangman's noose, claims Hyperloop countersuit ... it was a cowboy's lasso

Bumpy Cat

Re: Have the boy lay out my formal shorts

"You, Kif. You lay out my formal shorts."

Cycling paramedics in epic rush to save patient who ate stale sandwich

Bumpy Cat

Re: Swiss Mountain Patrol

The Swiss Army had a bicycle regiment until 2001, but it was decided that the gains in mobility weren't that great compared to the overhead in maintaining such a force. The bikes weighed 65kg with all equipment, so they weren't that fast. They were notionally air-transportable, but there weren't enough helicopters available to move the whole regiment. Vehicle transport was faster and more efficient overall.


Unmasking malware in TLS connections? It can be done, say Cisco researchers

Bumpy Cat

The ciphers used in TLS are only part of the detection mechanism. The other part is analysing the network flow, which gave 90% accuracy in identifying malware families.

The kit used to block this would also be using a dynamic ruleset, so it can be updated as appropriate. I think you're being unfairly dismissive of this result.

Stuxnet was the opening shot of decades of non-stop cyber warfare

Bumpy Cat

Re: What happens when real people get killed

Bombing a nuclear reactor is most definitely a war crime - explicitly so. This is classed as "an installation with dangerous forces", and the two examples given in LOAC (Law of Armed Conflict) training are dams and nuclear reactors.

The reactor in Syria that Israel bombed was not active, and was years away from having nuclear material on site, so it is not a war crime. Moreover, Syria denies it was a reactor installation and Israel is keeping mum on the strike, so if no one is willing to press a case then it won't go any further.

Current war crimes legislation dates to 1948, in the aftermath of WW2. The Allies deliberately included actions that they arguably committed during the war (mass bombing) because no-one wants to see that again. It has been done since then - possible examples are the Syrian crackdown on Hama in 1982 and Russian actions on Grozny in 1994-96 - but only in "internal" actions so who is the party who can bring this to trial?

Three non-obvious reasons to Vote Leave on the 23rd

Bumpy Cat

Re: Repeating history

C...Cromwell? Something that happened over 300 years ago? I think you are having to stretch quite far for examples now.

Can you summarise what you see your own nation as? I see a nation which has generally been ahead of the curve in individual rights, personal liberty and democracy, compared to most of Europe and the world. Shameful episodes exist - no nation is perfect - but they are smaller and rarer than other nations, especially empires on the same scale.

What do you see?

Bumpy Cat

Re: Repeating history

An incompetent or callous response to natural disaster is not the same as fascism, mass murder or genocide. Conflating the two is a very good example of "the frightful inferiority complex of the English intellectual".

Bumpy Cat

Re: So where is the post to balance this out?

This visa nonsense is an annoying sign of dishonesty or ignorance by the Remain campaign. I traveled for years on a South African passport (I only became a British citizen a few years ago) and went into several countries visa-free. Visa-free travel is nothing special and the EU is not the reason for visa-free travel by UK citizens.

Russia launches raids over Sberbank heist

Bumpy Cat

Re: Big Mistake from the gang

Pretty much what I was going to say - if they'd attacked Citibank I doubt the FSB would have been quite as energetic in tracking them down ...

хуи (hope I've got the plural correct there)

PLA sysadmin gets six months house arrest for yanking US Army docs

Bumpy Cat

Re: Have you ever worked for a foreign army?

Sounds like most military and non-military jobs then ...

With modern HR systems and self-administration, "goofing off" and "falsifying records" are actually just the side-effects of trying to do everything properly :(

Babycare e-tailer Kiddicare admits customer data breach

Bumpy Cat

Re: yet more dumbing down @FrogsAndChips

I have kids and I'm currently starting in mute incomprehension at my El Gamal notes, so it's hard to say one way or the other.

London NHS trust fined £180,000 after second bcc fail on HIV email list

Bumpy Cat

Mailing list software please

Too much of this is done by giving non-technical people a list of email addresses and a message. Does the fault lie 100% with them? Or with their management, who also don't know better? Or with the overworked IT team, who don't even know that this is happening?

We have similar scenarios, and we run mailing list software so it is very hard to make this kind of mistake. The biggest problem is actually finding the people who need this setup and training them to use it.

Hacker flogs '42.5m freshly stolen logins' for seventy-five cents

Bumpy Cat

It's like a pack of 6 hot dog buns and a pack of 8 hot dogs - you always have some left over. Likewise in this case he couldn't just throw away the accounts he hasn't exploited, so he sold them, even if it's for a notional sum.

Panama Papers graph database cracked open for world+dog

Bumpy Cat

Re: "curated information"

Citizens of the US who want to efficiently structure their business affairs for tax minimization can use the tax and business offerings of the state of Delaware, which offers similar benefits to offshoring but is conveniently in the US.

Bumpy Cat

Re: "curated information"

I did wonder about the trustworthiness of ICIJ themselves. As Fox Mulder says, "Trust no one!"

Pro who killed Apple's Power Mac found... masquerading as a coffee table

Bumpy Cat

Re: tougher than it looks @phy445

I rescued one of those cases from work, and after keeping it under my desk for a year, then taking it home (by bicycle!) and keeping it under the desk there for years, I'm too committed to it to throw it away. Also I can't let my wife win this argument.

Anyway, here is someone a lot more dedicated than me who actually did the PC conversion:


And at some point I will do the same ...

How innocent people 'of no security interest' are mere keystrokes away in UK's spy databases

Bumpy Cat

Re: It will become a lot easier for them @eesiginfo

The site uses a SHA-1 certificate, which is strongly deprecated. Google takes a much harder line on this, and Chrome will automatically throw up warnings while Firefox doesn't.

So *in this case*, Google is trying hard to protect you and you're interpreting it as sinister.

Idiot millennials are saving credit card PINs on their mobile phones

Bumpy Cat


I can understand someone not tech-savvy storing passwords on their mobile - it's another version of the post-it in the wallet. But surely people can remember a four-digit PIN?

Web backup biz Monster Cloud monstered after monster price hike

Bumpy Cat

Re: I'm not a Monster Cloud user but I'd like to know what the technorati are using?...

Owncloud is good - very easy to set up and low hardware requirements. Set up a VPN to manage external access and you don't need to worry about what your cloud storage vendor is going to do next.

This headline will, in part, cost pepper-spraying University of California, Davis $175k

Bumpy Cat

Re: Just like in Bolivia

Did they let the soldier sit the exams? It would be a wasted opportunity otherwise.

Bay Area man forced out of his $400 box home

Bumpy Cat

Re: condo prison cells at Alcatraz feature luxury units under $250,000.




So your point may be factually accurate but somehow misses the bigger picture.

I bless the reins down on .africa ... Dot-word injunction hits ICANN

Bumpy Cat

Dotconnectafrica does look as much African as the other group, though; it was founded by Sophia Bekele from Ethiopia and is based in Kenya and Mauritius. I suspect this is a conflict between an independent businesswoman and a state-sponsored group.

Sweden 'secretly blames' hackers – not solar flares – for taking out air traffic control

Bumpy Cat

I think that one is already resolved permanently - as the Red Army approached in 1945 most of the German population fled, and those that remained were expelled by 1950. The enclave is (legally and population-wise) Russian now, and giving it back to Germany would not be resolving anything.

Citrix asks you, yes you, to write its certification exams and courseware

Bumpy Cat

User forums are one thing

I frequently make use of - and sometimes contribute - to user forums, where you usually get accurate answers faster and cheaper than going to the company. It's rather a big jump from there to contributing to actual material for the company.

Surely they should be looking at some sort of reward - monetary might be difficult if the company is struggling, but how about product credit or free certification. At the very least there should be something intangible like credits in the material or forum badges.

Illegal drugs and dodgy pics? Nah. Half the dark web is perfectly legal

Bumpy Cat

Re: How do they define Dark Web?

I don't know if this is formally defined, but I've seen this clarified as "deep web" vs "dark web". "Deep web" is content inaccessible to search engines - ie intranets, content and servers blocked by security policy/systems, and (I suppose) private address space like 10.x.x.x.

"Dark web", on the other hand, is content that requires specific software to reach it - TOR, I2P (Invisible Internet Project), etc. These are actively hidden from normal use and require unusual clients to reach; dodgy stuff naturally migrates here, but I've also seen it used for free speech purposes. The latter (avoiding censorship) is the subject of my current MSc project, and was one of the original ideas behind TOR when it was developed and released by the US Navy.

MH-370 search loses sharpest-eyed robot deep beneath the waves

Bumpy Cat

Re: Waste Of Time - satellites

Did you actually read the New Scientist article? There are only a limited number of satellites, and even the NRO ones are going to be looking elsewhere. Why would they watch a random bit of the Indian Ocean?

Bumpy Cat

Re: Plane goes missing, search robot goes missing…

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

Behold, Microsoft SQL Server on Linux – and a firm screw-you to Oracle

Bumpy Cat

Re: A great week for Linux

Oracle doesn't have customers, it has hostages.

'Microsoft Office has been the bane of my life, while simultaneously keeping me employed'

Bumpy Cat

Re: Self-modifying shell scripts

If that's what runs Skynet, humanity may have a chance ...

Spare ship found to fix broken submarine cable slowing Oz internet

Bumpy Cat

Lodbrog the Viking?

The ship is registered and re-named in Denmark as Lodbrog - I can't find any confirmation, but that's suspiciously close to Lodbrok, as in Ragnar Lodbrok, legendary king and Vikingr.

Easter Islanders didn't commit 'ecocide' after all, says archaeologist

Bumpy Cat

Re: Incorrect book, and deeper evidence

@Big John

Well, that's a lot of resource usage to make and move the statues regardless, so maybe it is possible to say "Not following this cultural practice may have made the society more sustainable".

Interestingly, the parallels I mentioned above, with the Norse in Greenland, also apply. The Norse also followed cultural practices which detracted from their sustainability - in their case, looking down on fishing (seriously, almost no fish bones in middens in the Greenland settlements) and their obsession with dairy cattle as a measure of wealth. Dairy cattle require huge amounts of hay, and wood is needed for fires to clean dairy implements.

Jared Diamond highlights this, but no-one is accusing him of racism against Norwegians. Maybe people need to actually read the book. In fact, several of his *success* cases are indigenous people, especially the Polynesians in Fiji and Tikopia, and the people of New Guinea. It's hard to wave the SJW stick at Jared Diamond and say "He's racist against the Polynesians of Easter Island but not the Polynesians of Tikopia!"

I attended one of his talks in London, and there were people protesting against him because ... actually I'm still not clear why they were protesting. Something about he wasn't treating New Guineans with respect, despite living and studying there for years and praising their society as one that has managed the same area of land sustainably for several thousand years.

Bumpy Cat

- Rats eating the seeds of trees, where the seeds are not adapted to it.

- Heavy timber usage.

- Mild-to-cool climate meaning slow tree growth.

- Shallow and fragile volcanic soil, which erodes easily.

It's been a while since I read the book, so I don't remember all the factors, but the above list is a start.

Bumpy Cat

Incorrect book, and deeper evidence

The Easter Island theory is detailed in "Collapse", not "Guns Germs and Steel".

I don't think Jared Diamond's theory has been proved incorrect. It wasn't just made up - it was based on multiple sources of evidence, especially the pollen record in peat bogs (hard to fake and quite strong evidence). Rats were not introduced by Western ships, but came a lot earlier with Polynesian settlers, and the damage was done over centuries, not in the 19th century.

The Polynesian people had been extraordinarily successful in settling many islands across the breadth of the Pacific, and on arrival Easter Island looked very similar to the others. The climate and soil were not nearly as robust as other locations, but in the pre-Modern era it would have been very hard to establish that. The combination of slow regrowth, high usage and damage from introduced species (rats!) led to the gradual disappearance of Easter Islands forests.

The book also covers interesting parallels with the Norse settlements in Iceland and Greenland. This is similar to Easter Island, where seafarers from more robust lands arrive at islands which have centuries of forest growth looking much like previous islands. High usage of the timber exceeds the regrowth and exposes fragile soil, which erodes, leaving no chance of the forest being sustained. Greenland collapsed and Iceland came close.

Certainly the arrival of Western slavers and disease dealt the final blow to Easter Island, but the archaeological record suggests other significant events prior to that.

Idiot e-tailers falling for fake patch that exploits year-old Magento hole

Bumpy Cat

Re: The most annoying thing about this sort of stuff...

It's hard to usefully give that info. Magento is very popular, so there are tens of thousands of sites that use it. As a result it's not practical to give a list of affected sites, not to mention the possibility of legal threats or action if someone publishes a list of vulnerable sites.

The usage of Magento is detailed here (linked from the report):


It's also hard for an individual user to determine whether a given site is vulnerable - the w3 analysis site uses a lot of aggregate data: