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Comment: Re:No hardware or software fault? (Score 1) 79 79

That is probably what actually happened. It got some command, it knew it was garbled, so it did not execute it. Then what? More commands are sure to follow. Ground control would assume the command has been executed. It can wait to check status, it takes 5 hours for the status to be reported back. The ground control thinks the machine is in some state, but the machine knows that is not true due to one skipped command. So it probably sends out a status update saying, "Need to synch everything up. Going back to safe mode, known state". It takes 5 hours for ground control to know this. Another hour or so of procedures to restart from the known state safe mode. Then 5 more hours to send more commands to the probe, 5 more hours for confirmation that it is back to normal.

Comment: Let them go, they will come back. (Score 3, Insightful) 401 401

Movement from India to USA used to be a one way street. Indians come over, become hyphonated Americans, to borrow Jindal's phrase, and stay. That was the norm till about 2000. Then it began to change. Most of the top grads from IITs and IIMs, no longer are coming over. Those who came, many have left, returned back to India to start companies over there. The ones who came over, learnt the system here, some got US degrees, some did not, established connections, then lots of them returned.

Not all of them returned, heck not even most of them returned. But risk-tolerance, ambition etc are not distributed uniformly, it follows the power law. So the 20% who returned took with them 80% of the risk-tolerance, ambition, entrepreneurship with them back to India.

So let Greece give up euro for drachma, let drachma fall as low as INR. It will thrive on tourism, and the Greeks coming back to start companies a few years down the road.

Germany has benefitted a lot by the economic union. Had Deutschmark stayed out of euro, its exports would have become so expensive no one could import them. 80% of Germany's exports are to rest of Europe. Capital would have naturally flowed to less expensive countries, and they would have the companies and employment restoring the balance. Greece leaving euro is going to be a bigger blow to Germany than to Greece.

Comment: Re:Find the source code on GitHub (Score 1) 94 94

Brilliant, people can start translating the comments in the source code from Italian to English!

Comments in Italian is actually a blessing for English speaking coders. Dijkstra's dictum was: "Never debug the comments. Always debug the code". (I could not find the reference, if he did not say it, someone equally great said it, because it is certainly not my original idea. ) Often comments are redundant, insanely stupid, misleading or obsolete. The only useful comments I find in my own code are along the lines of: "Yes, this function searches through the entire edge list, we tried to speed it up, but the complexity and the cost of maintaining a sorted set of edges were not worth it". Something that documents a dead end code that had been removed.

Comment: Re:No hardware or software fault? (Score 2) 79 79

I would guess "fault" is their word for crash. This one did not crash, some audit method failed, it entered a safe fall back mode.

Can't blame NASA though, when the commands are transmitted over 3 billion miles, the signal would degrade so much it is possible some critical command or an command argument was not correctly received.

Comment: 67% is 75th percentile (Score 0) 292 292

Group 1: Between 0% and 25% flops (25 th percentile) in the classification set

Group 2: Between 25% and 50% flops (50 th percentile) in the classification set

Group 3: Between 50% and 67% flops (75 th percentile) in the classification set

Group 4: Over 67% flops in the classification set

(Emphasis mine)

The study, available in MS-Word format in a link posted by a kindly slashdotter, contains this gem. 67% is 75th percentile? People who trust the findings of such articles are the harbingers of onslaught of stupidity.

Study seems to based on popular household products like swiffer, arizone iced teas, diet crystal pepsi, etc.

Comment: There is another possibility too.. (Score 3, Insightful) 186 186

International law firm ReedSmith weighs in on this point as well: '[O]nce the Department begins to audit and assess customers located within the city, many of those customers are likely to demand that providers collect the tax going forward. As a result, many providers will likely feel the need to register to collect the taxes, despite lacking nexus, and despite having strong arguments against the Department’s expansive interpretation of its taxing ordinances.'"

When the government starts auditing people and dunning for money, their first reaction is going to be, "how do I throw these clowns out of office?", they are not going to make a hue and cry and demand their service providers to collect taxes. These providers are also savvy, they will spend a little on lobbying, fund a few challengers and some incumbents ...

Knowing Chicago it looks more like another shakedown to get some campaign cash than to collect a new tax.

Comment: There is a bug in google SMS+hangout? No! (Score 1) 62 62

Whoever thinks that mess has just one bug? In my android phone it merged SMS and google. Some contacts will allow me choose sms or hangout. Some will give me only hangout and some only MMS. Google, and probably all the small screen players, keep introducing new icons, new clickable, touchable, swipable interfaces. And it is not obvious or intuitive at all. May be the younger generation that seems to be texting all the time get it. But it is quite frustrating to someone who is used to the desktop and mouse for ages, since the days of MicroVAX workstation.

Comment: How did Rockefeller protect his pipe lines? (Score 4, Interesting) 198 198

Rockefeller built up Standard Oil in the era of unfettered capitalism. It was a no holds barred fight. He had secret agreements with railroad companies to undercut his competition in transportation costs. As his oil competitors went bankrupt he picked their properties on the cheap. Then he bypassed the railroad companies by building his own pipelines to transport oil. He had enemies in the oil business, railroad business and his workers. His enemies hounded him for decades and eventually that billionaire was reduced to fleeing in a rickety car dodging federal subpoena. But they did not sabotage his pipelines.

You could understand the railroad companies not sabotaging pipelines because the railroads too have long equally vulnerable railroads and they did not want to trigger retaliatory sabotage from Rockefeller. But his disgruntled bankrupt oil competitors, the labor they would not be above sabotage. It was really war. Carnegie hired the Pinkertons to kill agitating workers. His henchman was shot, and survived, by one of the workers. Corrupt sheriffs would break up labor organizers and the anger and hatred was mutual and ran very deep.

Still, mile after mile of tin pipes traversing and crisscrossing Ohio, Western PA and later Indiana were left unmolested. How was that defended? How could one defend the fiber optic lines?

Comment: Quite understandable. (Score 4, Interesting) 184 184

These people bet their lives on a very risky venture. They must have higher than normal anxiety. It is only natural. Most of the startups fail. A few succeed spectacularly and a few more give non trivial returns. But majority of them face the prospect of closing shop and getting into the daily grind, but five or ten years behind their batch mates. It would be depressing.

Also 7% being depressed in general population is definitely an underestimate. Till Obamacare came along some 40 million Americans had no access to healthcare. (Now that number is believed to be 25 million). Among the rest mental health screening is not covered for most of the lower end plans. Further given the taboo associated with mental illness even those with access do not get checked for depression. It is possible I myself would be diagnosed with depression, if I give the shrinks half a chance. Tech founders typically have enough resources to make it to college. They would get tested more than general population.

I think depression is more prevalent than assumed. And logically there are lots of reasons why most people, young ones more than others, should be depressed.

Comment: Should set the incentive correctly (Score 1) 123 123

When UK used private companies to transport convicts to Australia, it initially paid a lump sum per convict. The voyage and conditions were appalling and a huge percentage of them died at sea. No amount of rule making could prevent it as it was nearly impossible to enforce the rules. Then the government changed the mode of payment. A simple change. It started paying only for the convicts reaching Australia alive and well. Suddenly the trends reversed and the ship captains delivered almost all the convicts alive.

NYC should have tied the payments to Verizon to the number of homes wired up or number of customers signed up.

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