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Comment: I don't know about this one... (Score 5, Insightful) 376

by Alex Vulpes (#47336899) Attached to: Google Is Offering Free Coding Lessons To Women and Minorities
I get what they're trying to do, but this seems like the wrong approach. You don't fix discrimination with more discrimination, even if it's in the opposite direction.

Seems like it would be better to find out why the industry is so racial/gender imbalanced, and try to solve that problem (whatever it turns out to be) rather than covering up the symptoms.

Comment: Re:yayy!!! Cheer our corporate fascist state! (Score 2) 87

by Alex Vulpes (#46802469) Attached to: SpaceX Successfully Delivers Supplies To ISS
Oh for goodness sake... governments pay companies to do things. It's normal, it happens all the time. (Ford makes police cars, for example.) Even when the government "does it themselves" there are usually contractors involved. The difference here is that the deals with SpaceX and Orbital are more hands-off than the old ones with Boeing and Lockheed. (And also cheaper -- Flacon 9 costs a lot less than Atlas V or Delta IV.)

Fascism, from my understanding, originally meant a system where the government controls corporations. It has more recently come to mean a system where corporations control the government, or a system where individuals have litte or no freedom. Regardless, none of these really has much to do with the contract SpaceX is working under. Yes the government is heavily involved (helping pay for development in addition to the launches themselves, etc), but compared to traditional contracts it's a step away from corporations being intertwined with government.

Comment: Not sure how I feel about this... (Score -1) 214

by Alex Vulpes (#45980217) Attached to: Microsoft Remotely Deleted Tor From Windows Machines To Stop Botnet
While the intention was definitely good, I personally would not want to use a machine that the could be remotely accessed in such a mannter.

True, something like anti-virus software self-updating and removing a threat would be acceptable to most users. But this is more akin buying a car and discovering the manufacturer has a master key and a representative can come over and drive it around whenever he/she wants, and it's fully legal and you can't do anything about it.

In the end, for better or for worse, I think it's important that we actually own the devices we buy and pay for. Cases like this, and similar ones with Kindles and mobile devices remotely being accessed and modified or used to spy on us, are strong evidence that we do not. (I know that this particular case is not a big deal in of itself, but the fact that Microsoft can do what it did is not good news.)

Comment: Possible but not popular (Score 1) 254

by Alex Vulpes (#45930931) Attached to: I think wearable computing will take off...
For a lot of predictions of future tech, we eventually wind up at a point where we have the technology, but no one's really interested. Things like voice-activated elevators, for example. We could make those easily in the present day, but almost all of us would rather just push a button.

I think in this case most people would rather have something that fits in their pocket than something sewn into their clothes.

Comment: Maybe... (Score 2) 267

by Alex Vulpes (#45615983) Attached to: Moore's Law Blowout Sale Is Ending, Says Broadcom CTO
But an end to Moore's Law has been predicted before multiple times, and it hasn't happened yet. (Things have slowed down, yes, but they're far from stopping.) A few years back hard drives were predicted to reach a storage density limit, but this was solved by turning the magnetic cells vertical. So Moore's Law may finally be coming to an end, but don't be surprised if something new comes along and blows silicon transistors away.

Comment: This is not the solution (Score 1, Informative) 381

by Alex Vulpes (#45509511) Attached to: Code.org: More Money For CS Instructors Who Teach More Girls
The problem isn't that girls are denied an opportunity to learn coding when in college. The problem is that they're denied this opportunity when they're younger, they're told it isn't for them. Here's a good illustration. To solve the gender discrepancy we need to go for its roots, not try to cover up the symptoms.

Well that, and there's the sexual harassment issue, but the same thing applies. Don't try to force girls into computer science; make the environment more comfortable and welcoming, and they will come on their own.

Comment: Units (Score 1) 132

by Alex Vulpes (#44732053) Attached to: US Uncorks $16M For 17 Projects To Capture Wave Energy
Is it just me, or is "watt-hours per year" an unnecessarily complicated unit of measurement? I know it's commonplace, but there are just too many time units going back and forth. A watt is a joule per second, so a watt-hour per year is a (joule per second)-hour per year.

A watt-hour is 3600 joules, and 1400 terawatt-hours per year (aka 1.4 petawatt-hours per year) comes out to be just under 160 billion joules per second, aka 160 gigawatts. It seems like the unit (gigawatts) is already there, so why invent a new one? (Seems a bit like a case of Imperial vs metric units, but in this case they're both metric. The only conversion factor is different units of time.)

The amount of weight an evangelist carries with the almighty is measured in billigrahams.

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