Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Math (Score 1) 96

by Kjella (#49752733) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

An asteroid may kill a lot of people, but it will not cause global extinction. No asteroid strike has ever completely wiped out life on earth.

Isn't that argument a bit like "I plan to live forever, so far so good"? After all, if it did wipe out all life well then we'd be dead so obviously it hasn't happened yet. Some large extinction event seem to happen once every 50-100 million years, what does a once in a billion year event look like? Ceres, the biggest object in the asteroid belt is about a million times bigger (10^20 kg vs 10^14 kg) than the dino killer. That one isn't going anywhere, but there's clearly quite a few potential total extinction candidates if they came to intersect with Earth's orbit.

Comment: Pot, meet kettle (Score 1) 96

by Kjella (#49752453) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Excessive hyperbole is silly, yes...

Each year that passes sees roughly a 0.0000005% chance of a species-threatening asteroid coming our way, while real threatsâS - âSenvironmental, medical and political (i.e., war)âS -âScould literally wipe us off the face of the Earth in the blink of an eye.

Global warming is a sloooooooooooooooooow process and even if you burned every bit of coal and oil you wouldn't make Canada into Sahara, it's hardly an extinction level event. A modern day pandemic could presumably kill millions, but it's hardly an existential threat to the human race. Same goes for total thermonuclear war, there's be a lot of direct deaths and many more indirects deads from nuclear winter and starvation but not enough to wipe us out.

Tsar Bomba (most powerful nuke): 50 MT
Chicxulub asteroid (dino killer): 100,000,000 MT

We're not even remotely in the same league. The odds are small that it happens tomorrow but in terms of "worst case" asteroids have everything us humans can come up with beat by far.

Comment: Re:How could you protect against this? (Score 1) 115

I can only come up with the obvious client-side encryption, but will the network as a whole still be able to use the data as it's supposed to (in this case; find adult friends)?

This. It seems sexual preferences, age and location is rather essential for the service they provide and email, well how else are they going to notify you that someone has taken an interest in you or that you got a reply? You can't ask a doctor to not work with medical data, there's of course good and poor security but at the end of the day if there's a total system compromise you're screwed.

How could you protect against this?

Best practice seems to be as follows:
1. Public facing server makes web service call to locked down proxy server.
2. Proxy server validates every request thoroughly, everything that looks even remotely funny is rejected.
3. Proxy server queries stored procedure in locked down database, no SELECT * for you.
4. The results are serialized back to XML and sent to the public facing server for display.

A lot of work if you want to do it right, but you get a fairly good barrier to a total breach from the outside. Of course they could compromise your web server and start harvesting data, but you should have some sort of tripwire system for that with audits and logs checking for abnormal activity.

The other way in is of course from your network, if they can compromise someone on the inside with database access or developers to plant vulnerabilities that'll go into the production system. But that's usually a much tougher route and really no different from breaking into any other secure network.

Comment: Re:Quite the Opposite (Score 1) 248

by Kjella (#49749133) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

I could go on an on about the differences between an Engineer, a Tech, a Manager, and a Team lead. It sounds like what you are looking for in a manager is really a team lead position.

Formally, you could be right. Informally, both the team leader and manager hat usually end up on the same person, even if he lacks one title or the other. If you haven't got a team lead it's pretty obvious, if you do have a team lead then in my experience the manager does the HR/administrative bits and leave the actual work management to the team lead or the project manager if you work on a project.

For example, with no formal title I basically had the responsibility to:
1) Execute the actual project
2) Delegate as possible to the two juniors
3) Support the two juniors
4) Train the two juniors

Sure, there was a project manager dealing with the contract and formal contact with the client. There was a manager dealing with formal HR bits. But I felt I was a bit project manager, a bit team lead, a bit manager and a bit mentor all at once. It was a constant prioritization between:

1) What must I do to get the project done?
2) What can I delegate to free up my time?
3) What should I delegate to teach them?
4) What should we walk through together?

When you're in practice managing 100% of their time, you get all the hats whether you want to or not.

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1065

by Kjella (#49735729) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

"More useful" by whose definition? Money is llike water - it can only generate power if it's moving. That 'useful stuff' you speak of often looks like putting the money behind a dam, where it does nothing to stimulate the economy. Consumption, on the other hand, drives the economy.

That's a fairly flawed interpretation, globally all that is consumed must be produced so the only way to raise total consumption is to increase total production. If we consume more than we produce we run a deficit and are either living off means we already have or incurring a debt, which means we've spent less in the past or will spend less in the future. Increasing consumption won't grow the economy as such.

However circulation helps the economy find the most efficient means to produce what we want so I pay McDonald's because it's cheaper than growing and harvesting and cooking my own meal. They again buy from their suppliers and so on stretching your money so you get more for less, but all of this is because of advantages of scale. The value-add comes from us being more efficient when we're specialized, not because we play musical chairs with our money.

Comment: Not Just Marvel (Score 2) 228

by sonicmerlin (#49730369) Attached to: Marvel's Female Superheroes Are Gradually Becoming More Super

Honestly this is a trend in all of TV, and to a certain extent it's really silly.

Show writers desperately want to put women in positions of power and control, essentially switching the male and female roles. Take "The 100", where literally every military (and thus population) leader of the Grounders is a female. Except... that doesn't even make sense. In what universe have women ever aspired to be military leaders? You have some native american tribes for example, where the female "healer" or "shaman" might be a clan's spiritual leader, but they put women in positions that are so diametrically opposed to how women behave in real life, it becomes a laughably unrealistic scenario.

I mentioned this in another thread, but other shows like "The Flash" depicts every single fracking woman as a supersmart, unmatched computer or mechanical engineer, programmer, physics whiz, etc. What universe does this show even take place? When was the last time you saw more than a tiny fraction of women showing interest or excelling in something like engineering or computer programming? Heck in "The 100" the best mechanic to grace the Sky People in 52 years is a young woman named Raven. Really??? My university had something like 95% male engineers, 5% female. And the brightest were always guys. It's almost laugh out loud funny how out of place these actors seem in their roles. Well it might just be the bad acting, but that's also magnified by bad casting.

Comment: Re:Power savings (Score 2) 98

One has to give it to AMD. Despite their stock and sales taking a battering, they have consistently refused to let go of cutting edge innovation. If anything, their CPU team should learn something from their GPU team.

Well unlike their CPU division the GPU division hasn't been the one bleeding massive amounts of cash, at least not until the GTX 970/980 generation from nVidia. Though with the R300 OEM series being a R200 rebrand they seem to be running out of steam, one limited quantity HBM card won't fix their lineup.

This kind of power savings combined with increased bandwidth cna be a potential game changer. You can finally have a lightweight thin gaming laptop that can still do 1080p resolution at high detail levels for modern games.

You still need power for shaders that is about 80-90% of a GPU's power consumption. In fact, AMDs problem is that even if they could swap out the GDDR5 for HBM today they still lose on performance/watt to nVidia's Maxwell 2. And the interposer is basically a giant semi-processed silicon die, it might be good for performance but it's probably not good for cost.

Anyway, the slides are kinda impressive just like with their Zen processor and whatnot. But AMD has a rather poor track record of delivering products on schedule that live up to their hype. It's now been eight months since nVidia launched the GTX970/980 and we're still waiting for something new from AMD. You can't win if you don't get your tech into products and ship them.

Comment: Needs a self-driving car (Score 1) 284

by Kjella (#49719445) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

Smart phones killed dead time, if you have five minutes riding the bus or whatever and you can rather instantly find/read/check anything you might need which is rather convenient. It's rather limited how entertained you can get while driving a car, since your attention is legally required to be on the road. And if you're only two you're usually socially required to be in the front seat making conversation, not zone out in the entertainment system. Really it's most kids in the back seat who get to do that and then why not on their cell phone or tablet or 3DS or whatever? You need a significant value-add to make up for the fact that it's stuck in the car. And as long as you're driving, the car's handling is going to be a big deal.

Now if we're talking a self-driving car where it's really my en-route entertainment center that's an entirely different matter. You just tell the car where to go and it goes, how it is to drive doesn't matter. It probably doesn't even matter if it takes a few minutes longer because you got to play another round of Candy Crush. In this case, yes having an Android/iPhone dock so it could integrate with the rest of my entertainment world makes sense. Until then, I'll be busy limping along bumper-to-bumper listening to the radio....

Comment: Re:Yeah, disappointing (Score 1) 768

Unlike what Hollywood thinks not all problems are solved simply by running across a border. Have you ever: tried to get a passport for a minor without the other parent's signature? tried to travel as the sole parent of a minor? tried to enter a country as the sole parent of a minor?

Went on two weeks vacation to the US from Norway with my cousin when I was 16, zero parents seemed to work just fine. Of course I already had a passport, in Europe that's like travelling to another state. I'm assuming my cousin had some kind of permission slip though I never saw it, but that seems easy to forge. And with all sorts of long-distance relationships and immigrants travelling back and forth I really can't imagine crossing the border with one parent raising any flags unless the child's name already is on a kidnapping victim list.

Comment: Re:The Flash (Score 1) 768

Oh right lol Starbuck.

In general in BG the men were incompetent emotionally unstable and violent fools while the women were the rational and stable ones who got the job done.

One of the issues is how out of place the females look in their roles. In Flash for example all the female scientists and engineers look completely out of their league. You can tell how strange the role is for them. It makes for terrible acting performances. Actually one of the coproducers is gay and has publicly stated it's his goal to include more gay characters and actors. Eddie Thawne's actor is actually a very flamboyant gay person in real life (just watch an interview), which may explain why he looks so stiff and awkward playing the role of police jock/boyfriend to hot girl.

Comment: The Flash (Score 0) 768

I haven't seen this movie, but you can see a rather annoying pattern in network TV. Take the Flash, where every single woman is a super smart engineer, computer programmer, or tough as nails military soldier or policeman. How many women do you see in the hard sciences? Their personalities also suck. They're entitled spoiled brats with no empathy or understanding. Take Battlestar Galactica, where Apollo, a male in the original series, was replaced with a very masculine female in the Sy Fy version. She's a real pain in the neck. In reality very few would bother with a long term relationship with someone so irrationally short tempered and whiney. Or Fringe, where the male and female roles were essentially switched, but the personalities weren't, leading to a very awkward situation where the guy acts like the passive sidekick and states he wants to "stay by her side", referring to the female protagonist. Or Dexter, where a policewoman character has the personality of an extremely douchey guy.

None of these character really fit into their roles well. I can't imagine the actors feel all that comfortable. The audience can't relate well because the personalities are so different from what we encounter in our own lives. On the other hand there's a show like Daredevil, where the female is unashamedly a secretary, and emotionally is an understanding girl who tries to keep her guy friends together. Oh and she asked a married guy out for a drink because she really liked him (women are attracted to married men like bees to honey). Her character reflects what women are like today. And it doesn't stop her from having her own scene where she saves her own life.

Comment: Re:MIssing Option ? (Score 1) 164

by TheRaven64 (#49710395) Attached to: I spent Mother's Day this year ...

Celebrating the person who brought you into the world,

Some of us are lucky enough to have parents who made a conscious decision to have children, worked out what it would cost them, understood that it was a responsibility and a commitment, and decided that the costs were worth it. Some people have parents who fucked and forgot the pill (or whatever) and decided that keeping the child was the path of least resistance. For those of us in the first category, one day a year per parent is nowhere near enough - we owe our parents a lot for the advantages that we had early on that let us succeed later in life. For people at the opposite extreme, even one day can seem like an insult.

wiped your ass for you and taught you right from wrong, for one day per year,

You don't need to do any of that to qualify as a mother, you just need to make it to childbirth. If you're in the first category that I described, then please do remember to appreciate your parents, but please also remember that those advantages that you're thanking your parents for giving you (teaching you right from wrong, as you say, and hopefully teaching you to value education and how to be happy) are not universal.

Remember, occasionally, just how lucky you are. If you're born in an industrialised society, in a stable family, with supportive parents, then that gives you a huge advantage in life.

Comment: Re:Couldn't care less. (Score 1) 239

by TheRaven64 (#49710319) Attached to: How Windows 10 Performs On a 12-inch MacBook

Tried that but wasn't able to get something useful from "cat /proc/cpuinfo".

I had exactly that experience! Though mine was on Linux and was one of the things that pushed me to *BSD. An unstable text-based format that varies between architectures and between kernel versions turns out to be a piss-poor way of getting information from the kernel.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 2) 527

by TheRaven64 (#49710163) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint
I can't speak for other universities, but we (Cambridge) publish undergraduate admissions statistics (though the 2013 figures are the latest published so far, I think 2014 is out soon). If you look on pages 13 and 14, you'll see the gender ratios for applications and acceptances. 8 subjects have more female applicants than male, 7 have more women accepted than men. 18 have more men apply than women, 19 accept more men than women. In total, 54.4% of the applicants and 53.1% of acceptances are men. I'd hardly call that underrepresentation. You are right that the figures look slightly different if you exclude STEM. For Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, 43.8% of applicants and 42.6% of acceptances are men. White men and women make up 74.7% of our applicants and 75.6% of our intake. It's pretty hard to argue that white people are under-represented here.

If you look at other top-10 universities in the world, you will see a fairly similar picture. A big part of our admission training is getting interviewers to understand their subconscious biases (usually this means 'people like me', although the aspects of 'like me' that they think are important are quite varied). There's no affirmative action or direct equivalent (the closest thing is a set of targets for state school applicants, which we usually meet).

Don't hit the keys so hard, it hurts.