Languages are dying. Which will remain?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Billy T, Sep 4, 2012.

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Languages are dying. Which will remain 2000 years from now??

  1. English

    6 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. Mandarin

    4 vote(s)
    40.0%
  1. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Nah, only like 55% of Chinese people can communicate in Potunghua. And that's after an entire century of one central government or another pushing for its universal usage.
     
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  3. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    In the first place, I suspect that your "dart-board" experiences are nothing of the sort, and are instead simply you struggling with your own ignorance of Indian English. The fact that these differences in preposition usage remain comprehensible to you is, again, a signal advantage of English when it comnes to world language questions.

    So having an explicit class of words dedicated to expressing relationships is a crappy way to do so? Seems strange, but okay...

    That kind of begs the questions of whether we need any new prepositions in the first place, does it not? We know that English has no trouble with adding new words and usages, so it would seem on its face that the absence of newly invented prepositions is evidence of an absence of need for such.

    Like what? What are the prepositions that we are missing, and how have any other languages excelled in this regard? What are these "new kinds of relationships" that we are unable to express?

    Now this is just getting tortured - you aren't citing actual prepositions (i.e., "relationships" between words) but simply listing new adjectives that we've invented. The fact that we needed some new adjectives is no criticism of preposition usage, nor is the invention of these things a "new grammar rule" or an evasion of prepositions. This is just silly.

    That is silly.
     
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  5. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Not sure who "we" is there, but Fraggle Rocker has pretty clearly lapsed into arguing that Mandarin is superior to English as such, and BillyT doesn't seem to ever have been interested in this topic as anything other than a pretext to argue that China is economically superior to the USA.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The prepositions are not comprehensible. The relationships can be inferred from context. I'm quite familiar with Indian English and I know that they're taught British usage of prepositions. About 25% of the Indians I know pride themselves on their communication and they use them correctly. The other 75% find prepositions to be as ridiculous as I do, in 90% of cases, so they don't put any effort into mastering them. In the 10% where it matters, it's not so hard to choose the right one. "There are doughnuts on the conference table" makes sense. "We're going to spend the first ten minutes of the meeting on download protocols" does not.

    Geeze, you're such a knee-jerk chauvinist about your language that you must be of British stock. You've actually picked one of English's most deficient paradigms--in fact one of the most deficient paradigms of the entire Indo-European family--and you're defending it! An explicit class of words dedicated to expressing relationships would be very nice if it were a living class which could be freely augmented the way nouns, verbs and adjectives can be.

    But we are not allowed to invent new prepositions. We can't borrow them from other languages, we can't synthesize them from Latin and Greek roots, we can't build compounds (more than once every couple of hundred years, e.g., "atop" or "beside") and we can't even make up slang words to serve as new prepositions. We're living in the Post-Industrial Era, discussing relationships that didn't exist in Chaucer's time, but we're still trying to get by with Chaucer's prepositions. About thirty, in a civilization with hundreds of kinds of relationships. It's no wonder that we've pressed adjectives (absent) and gerunds (regarding) into service as faux-prepositions. Nor that we've thrown up our hands, given up on this useless paradigm, and are now coining noun-adjective compounds to take the place of the missing prepositions.

    You're just flat wrong about this. English prepositions are not entirely meaningless and not entirely useless, my rant notwithstanding, but they are woefully inadequate and surely the Achilles heel of our communication. Trying to discuss the complex relationships in a software system using English prepositions is like trying to solve partial differential equations using Roman numerals. This is why we now have given ourselves the ability to say things like "a fuel-efficient engine" and "a labor-intensive project." We're replacing the missing prepositions with adjectives, creating a new grammatical form.

    You'll go to any length to defend your beloved language. As I've pointed out, we have created new prepositions over time. Aboard, about, above, virtually all of the multi-syllable ones starting with A are contractions of phrases beginning with "an," which was the original Anglo-Saxon form of "on." On-board, on-by-out, on-by-over. It's just a creaky way to do it and we haven't managed to create enough new ones to satisfy the demand. The fact that we've given up on prepositions and are moving toward noun-adjective compounds to express relationships more precisely is the evidence you're looking for that prepositions are Stone Age relics.

    How about fuel-efficient engines, labor-intensive projects, capital-deficient corporations, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, user-hostile software interfaces, child-inappropriate movies, relationship-wary divorcees? These express the relationship between engines and fuel, projects and labor, corporations and capital, bacteria and antibiotics, software interfaces and users, movies and children, and divorcees and relationships.

    I suppose I could say that English is a relationship-inexpressive language, whereas Chinese is relationship-expressive.

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    Some of these become institutionalized as new adjectives, like fuel-efficient and user-friendly. But the paradigm of appending an adjective to a noun to describe another noun's relationship to it is a living paradigm. We can coin them at will and never use them again. No one will blink an eye at the construction "relationship-wary divorcee," but I doubt that anyone will pick it up and start using it.
     
  8. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

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    The propability of a world with multi powers, is most likely, I don't see a hunch of poor and weak countries and one ruling rich country wich is USA today, I see rising powers, and rising tentions in some areas.
    But as soon as oil becomes not necessery for energy, everything will change and here comes what you say, & not necesserly a one world country.


    You must be from Utopia to think that the world is close to being united and living happily ever after.
    The reason why body counts diminish in numbers, is because some armies, killing civilians, who also have developed weapons and armed vehicles not to mention air forces, against civilians who are untrained and with old undeveloped weapons.
    Another reason is, the use of non-American soliders; it is when some poor people from different parts of the world decide to join the US army, and go to war, and get paid for that, & if they live they get a green card and full papers and live in USA, so when you hear in the news that only 5 American soliders died, it is because only 5 American soliders died.
    & it is also abit naîve to ignore the rising tensions in the middle-east, the deep debts crises in the world ennuf to take the whole world into more crisis.


    That is debatble, apparently not only relegions push people to kill.
    This is also naîve to blame it all on relegions, as you know ,everything is relative and anything can be turned into a weapon, even a fork, you can kill someone with that, it is called, fanatism(!), it can start in everything.
     
  9. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

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    4,160
    I thought that it is Chinese that have over 2,000 caracters.
    & yes Japanese have actually 3 alphabets, Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.
    Hiragana is used for normal writing, and for Japanese names, foreign words and names are written by using Katakana, and Kanji is tha alphabet that is used to make shortcuts for words (Chinese origin), and it is somehow like drawing.

    & yes, I did memorize the Hiragana, and Katakana, and only few from the Kanji, wich I forgot some of caracters since I quited learning it last year.

    I'd have to take a look at Chinese then.
     
  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Really? So the newspaper was just pulling the legs of us ignorant hill billies?
     
  11. Pious Registered Senior Member

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    Both languages will survive, I guess.

    Also, I think that Modern English will be more similar to Future English of 2000 from now, than it is to Middle English of 600 years ago. Because of increase in written communication, all of the languages that are standardized, and taught in schools and used in electronic and print media, don't seem to be changing as much as languages of the past used to change.
     
  12. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    I've worked with dozens of Indians over the years - to say nothing of the dozens more Indian in-laws I have - and have never encountered any issue with usage of prepositions. I think this is in your head, possibly stemming from the weird misunderstanding of prepositions that you display here.

    There you go again, speaking for people you have no standing for. This is unimpressive, not to mention offensive.

    Sure.

    Dude, that is a standard preposition usage common in American and British English. I have no idea what you think you are implying with this, but it's coming off as nonsense. You're seriously asserting that the usage "to spend <time/money/effort> on <whatever>" is incomprehensible nonsense?

    That is again pretty offensive - both to me and to the British people whom I have nearly zero ancestry from.

    What I'm trying to do is simply understand your loopy assertions about prepositions.

    What is stopping anyone from inventing new prepositions?

    Why not? Who is stopping anyone from doing any of that? Can you demonstrate that it is not simply an absence of particular need for new prepositions? Probably not, since you keep invoking adjectival phrases as if they were prepositions, indicating that you don't really understand what prepositions are and what role they play, but anyway...

    Meanwhile, you go on to admit that we do, in point of fact, introduce new prepositions from time to time.

    Again, what are these word relationships that did not exist in Chaucer's time? You haven't demonstrated any. All of the examples you give are adjectival phrases, not prepositions.

    Wikipedia lists a lot more than 30 prepositions currently in common usage:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_prepositions

    Moreover, what are these other types of prepositional relationships we aren't capturing? "User-Friendly" is an adjectival phrase, not a preposition. Alternatively, if you are going to insist that those things are prepositions, then we are not lacking in new prepositions nor in the means of generating new ones. Either way, your argument falls apart.

    Those are fully-fledged prepositions. Why would we be bothered by words that can act as prepositions or adjectives?

    If you're thinking of adjectival phrases, those aren't prepositions. They're adjectival phrases - phrases that work as adjectives.

    About what? You were responding to a question, there.

    If so, then you should be able to provide some clear examples of such. So far, all of your examples have demonstrated only that you don't have a clear understanding of what a preposition is to begin with.

    And yet, I manage to do so every day without difficulty, and English has always been the lingua franca of software and computer technology.

    Those aren't "missing prepositions," they are missing adjectives and the adjectival phrase is a standard part of English, not some hack to get around "missing adjectives."

    Alternatively, if you insist that those phrases are prepositions, then how is this a "new grammatical form" and not simply a straightforward means for introducing arbitrary prepositional phrases - a means you complain that English signally lacks. What would you replace these phrases with, and how would that be preferable?

    ? Dude it's a straightforward question about your ill-posed chain of reasoning. If you can't handle that without getting personal, you shoudl resign as the moderator of this subforum immediately. Heck, if you can't even master basic linguistic issues like this without going off into crank territory, you should resign just for that.

    Again, your examples are of adjectival phrases - phrases that function as adjectives to describe some noun.

    And, again, your whole complaint here is based on the supposition that we can't create new prepositions so WTF?

    The fact that you don't understand the difference between adjectival phrases and prepositions is no criticism of English.

    And none of them are prepositions. By your "logic" here, any phrase is a "preposition" becuase it expresses a "relationship" between "words." Hell, every sentence in English is a "preposition" under that nonsense definition.

    Again you are inconsistent - it's somehow bad to have a living paradigm, and also bad to have a fixed paradigm, and English apparently is simultaneously both.

    Your argumentation here is self-inconsistent, relies on nonsense definitions, and is moreover peppered with offensive personal aspersions. You should go ahead and issue yourself an infraction for this misbehavior.
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    My friends call me "The Last Hippie."

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    Nonetheless, look at the evidence. Within my lifetime, Europeans were shooting each other. Now they're lending each other money.

    No, I'm talking about total body count, not just my own people. Genghis Khan killed ten percent of the people in the region his armies could reach with the transportation technology of the era. The transportation technology of the 20th century made the entire world population reachable, yet World War Two killed only three percent of them. The conflicts since WWII have been notable for their ever-lower casualty figures. It's too early to assume that humanity has crossed this threshhold, but it's not too early to be optimistic.

    Most of which are the fault of the USA. Assassinating Saddam Hussein was one of the stupidest things we've ever done, on a par with overthrowing democracy in Iran and restoring the Shah sixty years ago, and with joining a bunch of undisciplined militias in Afghanistan into a force to defeat the Russians' own militias--which after their victory turned into the Taliban. Nonetheless, it's important to recognize that the tension in the Middle East is not between the Arabs and Israel, and not between the Arabs and the USA and other nominally Christian countries. It is between the Sunnis and the Shiites, which are now much stronger since we turned Iraq over to its Shiite majority so they can align themselves with Iran.

    Sure. Germany's financial crisis propelled Hitler into power, but we mustn't forget that Germany's financial crisis was exacerbated by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Both Hitler and his people could legitimately be angry at the winners of WWI for that debacle. It's not clear whom anyone can blame for this next possible worldwide depression. The American banking system for inventing subprime mortgages? The Greeks for lying about their financial status? The Germans for not bailing everybody else out? China, simply for still being prosperous, and much of Latin America for the same reason?

    If the future is as bad as some people predict, America and Americans will be as hard hit as anyone. Whom should we take out our anger on? Most of us realize that our own government bears as much responsibility as any player in this drama. Despite our folly, all the world is still willing to buy our bonds and do their part to bail us out, because they have no realistic alternative. So we can hardly hate them. I suppose we could identify Iran as a surrogate boogeyman and secretly tell the Israelis that it's okay to bomb them. Oh wait, we probably already did that.

    I think a very large proportion of the human race, especially those who have the power to make war, understand that war won't solve this problem.

    I didn't say they were the only motivators. But they are motivators, and currently religion is one of the primary motivators for violence in the world.
    Again, I didn't blame it all on religions, but religion is the prime cause of the specific violence in the Middle East.

    There are more than 70,000 han zi. Most of them are only found in ancient writings so only scholars bother learning them. A university graduate needs to know 5,000. I'm not sure how large a subset is used in newspapers, signage and legal documents, that the average Chinese with a high-school education needs to know.

    The Japanese use a subset of 2,000, the "Tokyo Daily News" standard vocabulary. North Korea has officially outlawed han zi, and South Koreans only use them for their names and ceremonial purposes. Vietnam gave them up a long time ago.

    Properly speaking, none of these are alphabets. An alphabet is a set of symbols in which each one represents a single sound--or at least pretends to, as in English and French.

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    Used correctly (that's an impossible goal but a few languages like Czech and Finnish come close), each letter represents one consonant or one vowel.

    Hiragana and Katakana are called syllabaries because each symbol represents an entire syllable: one vowel, optionally preceded by a consonant. The Cherokee writing system invented by Chief Sequoia is also a syllabary, and a few other languages use them.

    The Chinese writing system does not fall into any of these categories because it is not phonetic. Each symbol represents an entire word (or a morpheme, to be precise) and gives no clue to its pronunciation. These are called logograms. The advantage of logograms, as we see here, is that multiple languages can use the same logograms. This works well in the Chinese languages, since they use almost identical syntax. It doesn't work so well with Japanese, which has inflections and other morphemes that Chinese does not have, and therefore there are no symbols for them.

    There are other writing systems. An abjad is similar to an alphabet, but it has no vowels. This is suitable for the Afroasiatic language family (which includes the Semitic languages) because vowels are not phonemic. Words can be interpreted correctly from just the consonants. An abugida is similar to a syllabary, except there is a system to it. Each symbol contains a sign for a consonant and a marker to indicate the attached vowel. They can be stretched and twisted to accommodate each other, but the components are still recognizable. And of course ideograms are a step beyond logograms. Each symbol represents an idea or concept, rather than a word. The arrow sign on a highway meaning "Keep Right" is an ideogram. So are the stylized portraits of a male and female human on restroom doors. They don't tell us to come here if we're looking for someone of a certain sex; they're telling us that this is the bathroom for our gender.

    "Hillbilly" is one word. It's quite possible that someone was pulling the leg of the newspaper editor.

    Grammar and pronunciation are not changing as quickly as they used to, but vocabulary is changing faster.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
  14. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Shooting each other?, No try mass genocide both systematic in death camps as well as just running through slavic towns and cities killing everyone in site, then bombing every major city except Paris to the ground. MAD works to keep the peace, super capitalism has made many countries too dependent on each other to contemplate war, and the average standard of living world wide has been on the rise, things have gotten better. Sure we have got problems, global warming, cheap fossil fuel depletion, the rise of those evil hive-mind china men (Billy really worried about that one) but compared to Nazism taking over the world or all out nuclear war between the Soviets and the USA, our problems today are tiny. You simply can't compare our problems today to how we went through several decades of being just a red button's press away from several hundred million people dieing instantly by white hot light and several billion more dieing by cold starvation over a few years. ***Sorry for this rant its just I had to deal with several Jehovah witnesses today telling me the end times are upon us, I gave them this basic rant***

    Wow something the NK did right! The Korean writing system is far better for them, its a modern (invented in the last 600 years) writing systems that is both alphabetic and syllabic, specifically made for their own language. Now if only the Japanese could settle on one writing system instead of four, they could spend less time learning how to write and more time jerking it to anime figurines, or what ever else they do in their free time.

    I don't believe its impossible, IPA does a fine job writing down any language into an alphabet, all you have to do is learn ~150 character and all the modification to impart stress, diacritics, tone, etc, etc. I'm sure an artificial language could start out with a writing system which was phonetically accurate, of course if the language is allowed to evolve like a natural language it will lose its phonetic accuracy as words will no longer sound like they are spelled.

    Now this is not quite true, most chinese characters up to 83% are logosyllabic or carry some syllable or phonetic meaning. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_characters#Formation_of_characters
     
  15. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

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    4,160
    They are a union, they must help each other or the whole union would fall if some major parts of it fall.
    & lending money isn't always a way to help others.
    Lending money is a weapon you know?

    Not to forget, that wars became economic, like international companies, debts, aids, etc...
    I meant don't tell me that they want to help Africa, or that they don't want Africa to be like this today.

    When the time comes, for example when the middle eastern have to deal with an ennemy, like israel, sunnis and shiites would fight on one side as you know, even if not the kings and dictators, it's the people, in case the war reached civilians of those countries.
    It's not the people who are against the shiites and etc... it's the kings and dictators who are Israel's allies, and who do not represent the will of their people, that's another reason no one wants democracy in the middle-east.
    & Israel is the ennemy in the middle east, and to all arab people (but before that we are the ennemies of ourselves) and this would be another discussion that should be in another thread.

    Maybe another financial crisis produce another mad dictator, well I like to call him an ambitious dictator like Hitler.
    & what I meant by the financial crisis results, chaos and rebellions all over the world, or at least where things changed dramaticly.

    I think that Iran is a secret ally to USA and everything you see is a play.

    But it's not them who decide, if the goverment want to make war, and the people are not ok, they will just make a reason to make it ok.

    Wich the same relegion was the motivator to creating a prosperous islamic civilisation from east to west with many achievements(no need to mention them) and great roles (like perserving the greek knowledge and developing it).
    & then fall into the dark ages wich is today.

    It's always the people, it always been.
    You can use a fork to eat with, and you can use it to kill someone with.

    That was iformative

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    Abjad? The arabic alphabet is called Abjadia btw, and it uses what you call ideogram, for example, if you add ' to e, it becomes é, or è, or ê; ë, wich are different pronounciations or accents, for example you have "b" in arabic, you add something to it, and it becomes ba, or be, or be, etc... like the accent adding in french.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    Done properly, it helps both borrower and lender. That, plus the Industrial Revolution, is the basic principle of capitalism: the most productive use of surplus wealth.

    Just about anything can be used as a weapon. That doesn't mean that its primary purpose is to kill.

    At the level of the world leadership, and of the more enlightened populations, everyone knows that it's to everyone's advantage to lift places like Africa up to our level. Better-educated workers, better-fed children, healthier citizens, modern infrastructure, efficient government, responsive economy... all of these things help a region take its place in the modern world, increasing productivity and prosperity for everybody.

    Look at the miracle of Mexico: One generation ago it could have been called a Third World country, but today it is on the verge of becoming a true middle-class country. It's GDP has skyrocketed, its birthrate is down near replacement level, its people are educated, well-fed and healthy. Its economy is booming and it enjoys a trade surplus with the USA. It's major remaining problem is the idiotic American "War on Drugs," which kills ten thousand of its people every year.

    Brazil has become the world's sixth-largest economy and is helping to lead Latin America into the 21st century. The entire world has benefited from this. The desperate European banks want to borrow money from Brazil!

    The only people who want Africa to remain the way it is are the selfish, despotic leaders who run so many of those countries and regard the people as their slaves, and a few selfish businessmen who think it's still the 18th century and they can use Africans as slaves to mine their diamonds and titanium. Fortunately the Electronic Revolution allows downtrodden people everywhere to communicate with each other and organize.

    The era of the despots in Africa (and everywhere else) is drawing to a close. Less than half the people in Africa now live in poverty, less than one billion people live in poverty worldwide, and every decade sees a larger percentage of the human race living under more-or-less representative governments.

    It's the responsibility of the USA to make sure that Israel does not become their enemy. Many Muslim countries have established peaceful relations with Israel, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Turkey was one of those countries until the idiotic Israelis killed Turks who were trying to bring much-needed aid to the Palestinians.

    I appreciate your point of view but it is not supported by people who make it their business to study the region. If Israel would simply stop punishing the Palestinians for the Holocaust (because we never allowed them to bomb Germany after WWII), the Muslim nations would tolerate them peacefully.

    That's certainly an extraordinary assertion that requires evidence. None of my Iranian friends agree with you.

    Today's wars, like today's civil crimes, are increasingly performed with computers, not physical weapons. China has quietly infiltrated every U.S. corporation. The Russians shut down Estonia for half a day with a denial-of-service attack. Stuxnet ruined Iran's nuclear program.

    That's where we got the word.

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    It's like "alpha-beta," the names of the first letters in the series.

    No, those are not ideograms. It's still a phonetic writing system in which each symbol transcribes a sound, not a whole word or a concept. Those little marks are called diacritics in English.
     
  17. superstring01 Moderator

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    That's a bit of a stretch.

    ~String
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Over a year ago the Washington Post reported a consensus of cybersecurity experts and economic analysts. They said that the Chinese had indeed hacked into every major American corporation.

    I was one of the first data security managers in the country. I look around and see that while over the past 30 years the state of the art in protection has kept up with the state of the art in intrusion, few organizations actually implement the state of the art, whereas all hackers all do.

    It's very depressing. We're spending trillions of dollars we don't have in order to prevent another 9/11, but we're doing nothing to prevent China, Russia, or even our "dear friends" in Israel from sabotaging our infrastructure.

    The biggest weakness is in process-control software. Companies that use it naively assume that it can't be hacked because even their own administrative employees don't have a formal path into it. That doesn't stop the hackers, who build their own paths. The only thing that keeps a terrorist (or an American wacko) from knocking out our entire power grid is our penchant for chaos: the various privately-owned power companies aren't physically connected.
     
  19. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    I really find that hard to believe, can you cite evidence and I don't mean some "expert" screaming the sky is falling but actually evidence of Chinese hackers penetrating deeply and so universally into American industry?
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    No. But the Washington Post is regarded by many as America's newspaper of record (others cite the New York Times). They have access to the most knowledgeable people in their fields.

    As a former data security guru, I have no trouble at all accepting this as fact. Very few people take cybersecurity seriously. It's the typical American attitude toward risk management: "Aw hell, it will probably happen on the next guy's watch. I don't want to have to explain to the stockholders why I spent all that money on something so esoteric that they couldn't possibly understand it, and so secret that only twelve people in the company know more about the project than its name." This is exactly how Y2K became a crisis requiring every retired Cobol programmer on Earth to be called back to duty... and we still only managed to remediate the most critical systems by 1/1/00.

    In my day data security was a matter of not writing your password on the wall next to your workstation, and stopping to wonder why the guy in the Sparkletts uniform spent the whole afternoon wandering through the building, looking over everybody's shoulder, but was never carrying a full or empty bottle. Everybody could understand that and it wasn't hard to police. But today there are worms, viruses and other self-replicating weapons that nobody sees... until they get an e-mail from their grandmother advertising Canadian Viagra.

    The weakness is still in the connections, but back then most of the "connections" were human hands and eyes. Today they're all electronic. Just a month or two ago, there was an article about two guys who, just for their own edification, attempted to break into process-control computers at a number of companies. They were so successful that it frightened them. In most cases they could have caused the company a tremendous economic loss (for example, mixing chemicals in the wrong ratio), but in others the stakes would be much higher (for example, releasing those chemicals into the atmosphere). Before long they realized they had to go public with this. First they warned the companies they had hacked, but then they went to the press to let the world know that these kinds of intrusions are child's play for a good hacker.

    The problem was that no one realized that it was possible to get onto the internet, and using the right software, find a path from the public network to the process controllers. Nobody imagined that there would be one, but there was. Not just one, but thousands. And of course because the owners believed their processes were protected by physical separation from the outside world, they never implemented any decent password protection.

    There aren't a lot of people who understand process control software. It's a rather arcane specialty within IT, like avionics (which, I suppose, is actually a subset of process control). There are a zillion people who understand the recordkeeping software every company relies on. We've been writing that stuff since the first 1401 was installed in a bookkeeping office instead of a laboratory. (Well that was a few years before my time. OS/360 was already out.) So imagine how many people have both the skills and the lack of scruples (or the patriotism to some country instead of ours) to hack run-of-the-mill back office applications?
     
  21. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Oh I don't doubt American industry is full of security holes and risks and I applaud ideas to enforce a CYA philosophy against it, but that is irrelevant of the very BOLD claim that the Chinese have already hack into every major industry in the USA, that requires far more than anecdotal evidence. Simply because it could be does not mean it is, but that should not prevent being cautious, preventative and down right paranoid, to prevent what could be from being what is.

    My personal experience with viruses is that they riddle the third world far FAR more than the USA, in peace corps nearly anyone stupid enough to trade flash drives got them, except me because of my ubernerdish fixation with Linux, this back fired in that I was cleaning everyone flash drives for them. At my former university none of the computers working the instruments could be allowed to be connected to the Internet, NONE, I don't see why companies can't have similar policies for their "process-control" system and R&D computers. Further more software or operating systems could be used that restrict plug & play drives and data copying, Networks with encrypted single-point WANs, and a gallows outside the corporate office where employees are hanged for even minor security violations.
     

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