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Comment: Quite interesting (Score 4, Informative) 38

The explanation is interesting. The moon is half the diameter of our moon, which means 8 times smaller in volume, and possibly mass. Tidally locked to a much bigger planet Saturn, compared to earth. The only thing against "mountain range fell from the sky scenario" is that, we normally do not see 1300 km long objects in space that are just 10 to 15 km in diameter. One possibility is that a loosely accreted comet was pulled into a long string by the gravity of Saturn, (Remember? the Schoemaker - Levy comet colliding with Jupiter was pulled in to a string of rocks. ). And this moon got in the way and got whacked in the process. May be the accretion of matter into a spherical moon did not quite achieve completion.

Till we see 1300km long and 10 to 10 km diameter asteroids in space, we just have to file it under, "it is the best we could do, under these circumstances".

Comment: Hit the school where it hurts. (Score 3, Insightful) 660

Suspend it from foot ball league. As long as we value football trophies more than the mental health of the students, this will continue to happen.

Even though the recordings have been deleted, the officials can be called in and to testify what they saw. The teacher who was allegedly present in these bullying sessions can be called in to testify. Collect evidence of bullying and have the school suspended for three years. That will teach them.

Comment: Mean number of vulnerabilities is a good metric? (Score 3, Insightful) 180

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46759969) Attached to: The Security of Popular Programming Languages
When you reduce a complex issue to just one number, like "mean number of vulnerabilities", it is often an over simplification. It is tempting to think it is better than nothing. But are we really better off making decisions based on an overly simplified view of things?

One bug that allows silent remote code execution on the WAN side and another bug that is a privilege escalation possibility on the LAN can not be treated as one bug each, right? This is not limited to just security vulnerabilities alone. Many software company top managers insist on looking at bug counts, sometimes sorted into 5 priority/severity levels or so.

It gets worse in the planning and progress monitoring. They use fancy tools like rallydev.com or something, but they allow each team to define its own story points. The Bangalore team uses 1 story point = 1 engineer week. The Boston team uses 1 story point = 1 engineer day. The Bangkok team uses engineer hour. And the top management gets the report, "This SAGA feature story was estimated to take 3264 story points, and it is 2376 points complete". Complete b.s. that is.

We pay ridiculously high salaries for the top management, and instead of expecting them to put in the time, energy and effort commensurate with that kind of pay, to make valuable judgement, hard decisions, step on people's toes, tell it like it is, and paint an accurate picture of the state of the company, we let them shirk their responsibilities.

Comment: Re:Grudgingly reluctantly... (Score 2) 376

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46759723) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?
The "givers" were the beneficiaries of investment done by the government. By the earlier generation of tax payers. A venture capitalist might fund 10 or 15 projects, hoping to strike it rich on one or two and be willing to write off as a loss the remaining projects. Same way, all the investment government did in establishing the rule of law, investments in irrigation projects, road projects, public education, very long term R&D, etc are all partly responsible for the success of the makers and the givers. Of course many of the makers worked hard and were very resourceful. But not all, some were lucky, some inherited their wealth.

So all in all, it is a fair system where the successful people of one generation, pay the dividends to the original investor, Uncle Sam, so that the gig can keep going for another generation.

You car argue about what is the fair split, what part goes to Uncle Sam and what part the "makers" get to keep etc. And you need to keep the Uncle Sam's part low enough to encourage innovation and hard work and enterprise. But at the same time, you need to watch out for people who would game the system and try to dodge paying their fair share. Making blanket statement that all taxation is theft is dumb.

Anyway that is what I believe in and vote accordingly. You may think differently and vote according to your belief. I think the system is fair and I am staying here. If you think the deal offered by the USA is not good enough for you, pack your bags and leave. Good riddance.

Comment: When it looks hopeless ... (Score 1) 317

I listened to the NPR piece on the netflix band width consumption. Looks like most in the media do not get the basic issue of "truth in labeling". If Comcast sells 6 Mbps connection and does not deliver it, it is no different from Subway foot long sandwich being 11 inches long or the net weight of a bag of potato chips being less than the weight marked on the package. Either they don't get it, or they are paid not to "get" it.

But when it looks hopeless, just remember the dark days of Microsoft monopoly. By 1998-2000 time frame, Microsoft could kill projects and make venture capital vanish for its upstart competition just by issuing press release about vaporware. It really did look hopeless back then, how any one could fight that behemoth. Now Microsoft is still pulling in huge revenues, but it does not look like the unbeatable titan it was seen to be.

Right now, the last mile wiring cost is so high, Comcast has this monopolistic advantage. But wireless-in-the-loop (WITL fiber optics to neighborhood pillar boxes, and wireles from there) technology or micro cell or femto cell networks or something we don't know yet might come in and upset the apple cart for Comcast. WITL is quite effective for sparsely populated rural areas and is quietly building up strength and robustness there. If/when it transitions to compete with wired connections to homes, it could prove to be effective.

Only thing that will save us is competition.

Comment: Grudgingly reluctantly... (Score 3, Interesting) 376

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46756975) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?
That is how I pay my taxes. But I do pay them. That is how I pay my taxes. I do not see taxation as theft, as many conservatives, libertarians claim. I see government as a long term venture capitalist, who invests in the entire next generation of America. Some of them will strike it big, and others will strike out. If I am one of the fortunate group that was able to take full advantage of the investment the government made in me, investments that protected my earning potential and my property rights, then the tax I pay is just dividend to the venture capitalist. So despite all the reluctance and the pain associated with parting with my money, I know it is the right thing to do. The government investment in the next generation depends on it. I can invest better on my children, and the government investment is creating competitors to my children. If I believed in Social Darwinism, I will fight taxes tooth and nail. But I believe human beings should rise above this level of self interest and pay the taxes. --

Comment: Reluctantly, grudgingly, (Score -1, Offtopic) 142

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46756757) Attached to: How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture
That is how I pay my taxes. But I do pay them.

I do not see taxation as theft, as many conservatives, libertarians claim.

I see government as a long term venture capitalist, who invests in the entire next generation of America. Some of them will strike it big, and others will strike out. If I am one of the fortunate group that was able to take full advantage of the investment the government made in me, investments that protected my earning potential and my property rights, then the tax I pay is just dividend to the venture capitalist.

So despite all the reluctance and the pain associated with parting with my money, I know it is the right thing to do. The government investment in the next generation depends on it. I can invest better on my children, and the government investment is creating competitors to my children. If I believed in Social Darwinism, I will fight taxes tooth and nail. But I believe human beings should rise above this level of self interest and pay the taxes.

Comment: So we are going to let the banksters off the hook. (Score 1) 607

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46755671) Attached to: IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt
It is really sad that IRS, in its bumbling bureaucratic wisdom, enforces the law passed by congress critters to the letter and gets all the bad rap. Most of it, richly deserved. But it is also prone to be gamed. All those banksters and hedge fund managers who caused the financial collapse argued, "contract is a contract and my promised bonus must be paid" and got paid for their misdeeds on top of that. They all know what shenanigans they had pulled. They would jump at any opportunity to mess with the statuette of limitations and shorten it. I am sure, when it is all said and done, the time period will be shortened to six or seven years and these billionaire cheaters will get off the hook, again.

Comment: Ah! Now it makes sense. (Score 4, Interesting) 31

There was a electromagnetic simulation software called Ansoft-HFSS. Most structures it dealt with were IC chips, packages, PCBs and antennae. Most of these were drawn in microns, or mils (milli inches, don't ask), mm or at the most in meters. But the drop down box for unit selection went all the way to light years. I thought must be some inside joke, some user must have complained some unit was not available and the developer, in a fit of indignation, must have added every damned length units he/she could find. Now it makes sense. You can use that software to simulate black holes gobbling up stars.

Comment: Re:Private sector and efficiency. (Score 1) 103

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#46749293) Attached to: Why the IETF Isn't Working
Actually it is a lot more funny than this. You are only looking at crony capitalism of railroads. Expand your horizons to include transportation in general.

In the 1700s canals were the big thing. A nearly bankrupt Brit baron built a canal to deliver his coal to a harbor and became fantastically rich. Then there was this canal building boom. Eminent domain to take land and give to canal companies, tax incentives, tax abatements. Lots of speeches about how canals are going to create jobs and development would pass the city by, unless the poor, the unwashed and the indigent chip in to pay taxes. Canals were built. Early canals really created prosperity. But almost all the late canal extensions were boondoggles.

Then the railroads came in. The canal companies hated the railroad companies. Canal towns created stumbling block for the railroads. Local ordnances, zoning rules, misinformation campaigns. Rail roads passed the canal towns by. You can still see quaint little abandoned villages and hamlets all along the Erie canal untouched by progress. Rail road barons, who were canal barons earlier, ran the same damned schemes all over again. They got so egregious their exploits are more remembered than their fore runners in the canal era.

What is history if it does not repeat itself. When Eisenhower kicked off the interstate highway construction boom, the railroad towns fought the highways tooth and nail. But high ways also had powerful cronies based on the illegal cartel of Firestone, Ford Motor Company and Standard Oil. So railroads towns did not win completely. But there are hundreds of railroad towns like Altoona PA that made sure no high ways come close to them. Altoona with its location on strategic location in the Appalachia is still holding on to rail roads because almost all the East-West rail road traffic must go through that town. But it made sure I-76 came nowhere near it. Till data all auto traffic between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh curve sixty miles south to avoid Altoona. https://www.google.com/maps/@4... (The mountains in between are not the issue. All the railroads go through Altoona. The passage has been graded ages ago, with bridges too. Would have been cheaper to build the new highway through Altoona. But the resurrected the old turn pike)

America has always been afflicted by this crony capitalism. But our Democracy was bringing sanity and regression to the mean, till about 1980s. Then Reagan came, and they perfected the art, nay science, of persuading folks like our friend roman_mir to vote against their own self interest. No wonder we are going down the drain now.

Comment: Nothing special. (Score 3, Insightful) 303

This was one for the first exercises done in Introduction to Computing 201, using a random number generator to find the value of PI. I did it in FORTRAN back in the days with punch cards in IBM370/155. Recently I did it again to teach myself MPI. This is a basic exercise in Probability and Statistics course. Once can draw a circle in fly paper. The number of bugs caught inside the circle to total number of bugs caught would be approximately PI/4. But that would get you a better headline, "Bugs commit suicide to tell us the value of PI".

Comment: Re:Follow the money.... (Score 1) 838

First episode is already done. Second, "Your Inner Reptile" is next Tuesday. I have read the book, so I know what is coming. Truth be told, I was very surprised to see Charles Koch foundation funding a real science documentary in the liberal bastions PBS and NOVA.

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.

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