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Comment: Re:Is this an achievement? (Score 1) 45

by hey! (#47519351) Attached to: Autonomous Sea-Robot Survives Massive Typhoon

Well, you are unlikely to be the *only* one who doesn't think this is all that impressive, because you're unlikely to be the only one who didn't read the article or looking up the device on the company's website.

The robot in question is designed to capture energy from surface waves for propulsion. So it is not a deep submersible, it waddles along a six meters below the surface, tethered to a streamlined surface buoy that it drags along and uses to capture wave energy. Making it through a major storm is a significant proof-of-concept for such a system.

Comment: Disagree (Score 2) 865

by danheskett (#47512853) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

With one myth and conclusion:

"The Myth: Women should just laugh off online harassment and not take it personally. "

The problem is: there are never any police reports to go with this behavior. If anyone is reading this, especially women, and you are threatened online or in person, and the words have: the nature and content to cause or instill fear, have enough specificity to demonstrate actual malice and show intent, and from an anonymous source a crime has been committed. All of the reactions I hear about women doing are the wrong ones. You shouldn't post to Twitter to show you aren't afraid, you shouldn't pen an op-ed denouncing men or the industry or the culture or other women or whatever.

What you should do is preserve the digital evidence, go to your police station, file a police a report, and then take the police report, and go to or travel to the nearest FBI field office and ask them to open an investigation. Every time. If you get a lot of this type of activity, you should get to know the officers who will be taking your reports daily or weekly. You can usually setup a standing appointment.

Brianna Wu would do more to change the environment by retweeting a threatening post followed by a mug shot than writing a hundred shaming articles that only the people who already agree with her are going to read. Showing your solidarity, having catharsis, raising awareness among like minded people has it's value, but it pales in comparison to making them pay. Not metaphorically, by doxing them and giving them a dose of medicine, but you know, like, pay actual fines, do actual jail time, and pay actual damages. Please, women (and men, when the shoe fits) stop "fighting simultaneous urges to hurl my phone across the room in anger and cry" and take actual action.

There is a perception that these people are anonymous, that it's untraceable, but it's a lie. Whatever the medium was - email, blog post, Tumblr, tweet, etc, there are a big companies behind them. A prosecutor or even a cop can often make an automated request through the companies CALEA compliance tool to get identity data when the above criteria is met. It's not controversial or hard. The service providers all comply, and willingly, and fast. The investigators will get the IP information, and then go to the ISP, and get subscriber information. These people are not going through eight layers of tor proxies. They are home, on their Wifi, thinking that a throw-away reddit account is really anonymous. They are wrong.

Comment: Re:Competent (Score 1) 865

by danheskett (#47512789) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

But at the same time my experience within various organizations is that female programmers weren't treated any differently that I could see. It certainly wasn't ever a living episode of Mad Men.

This is my experience also, but it's somewhat limited because their just aren't that many women programmers out there as a sample size.

What I took from the article was that people in Silcon Valley are not nice, which is generally easily supported by the facts. Just go somewhere else, and you will find nice, non-bubble inflated, non-VC backed, stable businesses that will happily hire women programmers, and treat them as well as anyone else, which is to say, well. You can have a nice life filled with a good stable job doing something you love. You won't be making games, you'll be writing line of business, boring b2b business products, or backend systems that run mid and small sized businesses.

On the other hand you can go to Silicon Valley, or a few other tech spots, and live a life in an industry full of assholes. Gaming, fashion, gossip blogging, entertainment, etc. It's all assholes, all the way down. Your customers are assholes, your co-workers are assholes, the venture capitalists are assholes, the competitors are assholes.

Comment: Re:There's something touching about that comment (Score 2) 102

by hey! (#47500515) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

It's not the human *touch* that people crave in a complicated interaction with a system. It's human *versatility*.

Thus more personnel does no good, if those personnel are rigidly controlled, lack information to advise or authority to act. The fact that they're also expected to be jolly and upbeat as they follow their rigid and unyielding rules only turns the interaction with them into a travesty of a social interaction.

What would work better is a well-designed check-in system that handles routine situations nearly all the time, along with a few personnel who have the training and authority to solve any passenger problems that come up.

Comment: Re:Require H1-B visa recipients be paid more (Score 1) 527

Well for one, the AMA is a private organization, and they have tried, and failed to do what you are saying for another similar undertaking that sounds simple but is not.

The problem is that job descriptions are not uniform, and wages are not uniform. So the very thing you are trying to accomplish is technically challenging, and it will be prone to be difficult and challenging circumstances.

Plus, there is every incentive to cheat the system and a bad incentive structure to root out cheating. It's bound to fail, whether or not it's private or public.

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 1) 665

by danheskett (#47499931) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

I don't think you are going to find anyone saying that al Qaeda isn't a terrorist syndicate with aggressive goals and activities. It's pretty cut and dried.

The only thing you are going to find is people willing to go back further than the WTC. The primary grievance against the West was the co-operation between the Saudi's (who are a competing religious sect) and the West in stationing and occupying troops in the so-called holy land. It is clearly a reactionary movement. First reacting against the Soviets, and then reacting against the West and the US.

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 2) 665

by danheskett (#47499909) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

The World Trade center isn't a government site by any stretch of the imagination.
I agree with that generally. The 9/11 report went into motivations a bit, I think it's mostly as a symbol of economic power.

It is also believed the original intended targets were nuclear power plants which demonstrates these targets were picked to incite fear into Americans.
I don't think this is supported by facts. The facts indicate the last target (the one intended to be destroyed by United 93) was in Washington DC.

but the Pentagon and US Capitol attacks were strategic (foolish, but strategic) and could be classified as freedom fighters since they were fighting against their aggressors, but as soon as they also picked the WTC (along with their motive) and Bali Bombings that crossed the line into terrorism.

Pentagon and US Capitol, I think are fairly clear, are in fact legitimate military targets. It would be nice if you the other side raised a traditional army, landed an invasion force, and rolled up the the streets of Baltimore and into combat, but being asymmetric, legitimate targets.

The disagreement then is over WTC and the use of civilian hijacked planes?

For the planes issue, the collateral damage can't be the deciding factor for freedom fighter vs. terrorism. Otherwise, any military action that has civilian causalities is terrorism. For us Americans, we feel incredible empathy for the 44 Americans who died on United 93. It's a national tragedy and rightly so. Meanwhile, though, that many Iraqi's and Afghan's died every few days from simple mistakes, collateral damage, or accidents. So it's just not that clear how you decide which actions have acceptable civilian deaths and which civilian deaths are terror related.

I don't think you've clarified your position. Is the definition of terrorism only about motivations? Does that make shock & awe in general or Iraq, qualify as terrorism under that definition?

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 4, Insightful) 665

by danheskett (#47497395) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

A terrorist's goal is to frighten people into submission by causing fear of harm or death into civilians and attacking civilian's (like 9/11).

A freedom fighter makes statements to the people by attacking appropriate military or government sites

What is the definition of a government site?

The CIA waged war on the Taliban for a decade, and before that, in Afghanistan, throughout the 80's. They also radicalized the latent radicals in many Mid-Eastern countries, and then turned them loose with weapons, as a proxy against Russians and even democratic self-government movements.

Those same people then attacked the US, on US soil, hitting the Pentagon, apparently attempting to hit the US Capitol, and hitting the World Trade Center. The WTC, which by the way, contained offices of the CIA, and DOD, and the NYC government.

I just don't think your definitions are that accurate. The 9/11 terrorists attempted to attack the US seat of political, military, and economic power. Yes, a lot of very innocent civilians died. Is that the definition for terrorism? That's a tough one, it has a lot of very difficult implications behind it.

Comment: Re:NASA has become small indeed... (Score 5, Insightful) 108

by danheskett (#47497361) Attached to: A Look At NASA's Orion Project

From scratch is a term of art. Not a real description. We had been sending stuff into space before Kennedy's speech. We had been working on rocket and control systems for a bit. NASA didn't fall from the sky into existence, but was the culmination of a long-effort.

I am perfectly content at this point to just stop it all. If private individuals want to fund a non-profit organization to do the work of NASA go for it. I am all for a few regulatory changes to let it happen within a few broad parameters.

The challenges are different now, and I think well more than twice as a complex.

BUT you have a point about America:

"We used to make stuff in this country. Now everyone's just got their hand in the next guy's pocket." -- Frank, Season 4, The Wire.

Even the government can't get out of the government's way anymore. There is nothing happening that's not part of a graft racket.

Comment: Re:consider the source (Score 1) 527

I'd say the program empowers companies to be dumb in that particular way, i.e. hiring people who aren't qualified, but I'm not sure that dumbness is inherently baked into the program. One can imagine a company that actually vets its hires properly and only hires people who are actually qualified.

The fact that companies can do this, and still have success, goes to show you that even with language barriers, on the job training is really quite easy and practical. The "qualifications" are obviously not really qualifications, because if they were, the person without them would fail, and when a person who lies about the qualifications doesn't fail, it has exposed that qualification as falsely described.

Comment: Re:Require H1-B visa recipients be paid more (Score 1) 527

The government has tried to do this for other fields. They try to track what a standard medical procedure costs. There used to be 100,000 procedures, now there are over a million. The costs are regional, like salaries, so there is a complex formula that is highly political, that determines what the local adjustment factor is, and how it will be applied. Then there is the base rate, and it is also highly political.

It's been ongoing thing, at the Centers of Medicare Services, for almost 40 years. Between them an the AMA, there are, probably, 25k people who work the on the system, at all times. When it's updated, it takes billions of dollars to roll out through the medical system.

The problems are:

1. Diversity of jobs, and what they do. Not easy to classify the right job code.

2. Regional salary differences.

Even when you have it done, the problem is that employers want to be able to interchangeably abuse employees. This is the purpose of the H1B. The loop holes are so broad you can drive a 777 through them. In 1 minute I thought of 10 ways to abuse the system. The easiest being: classify the employee for a lower job description with lower pay. An American worker would be unlikely to happily accept a job that is 50% the pay, but has all the responsibilities of a higher tier job, but the H1B employee has all the incentive to suck it up and not say anything.

It's a good thought, but one that will still depress American wages, will add new government responbilities it will probably fail at, and will be abused into irrelevancy as it is. Think of it this way. The Department of Labor asks all employers to classify every employee as either exempt or non-exempt. It's binary. And it's still a vast enforcement nightmare.

Comment: Re:both? (Score 1) 77

by danheskett (#47497049) Attached to: Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

I fly kites. I have kites bigger than some of your flying machines. And they go way, way, way higher than 10 feet. I've run out 1000 yards before. I have two acquaintances who have broken 2 miles.

There is no logical basis in applying the commercial vs. private airplane scenario to drones. The commercial regulations are there to protect.. passengers. The people on the ground need the same protection from crashing planes regardless of whether it's Delta's 737 or John Travolta's 737.

Since there is no passenger to worry about in a drone scenario the only factor to consider is people on the ground, who need the exact same protection whether or not the person doing the operation is a hobbyist, an 8 year old, or a business.

"Help Mr. Wizard!" -- Tennessee Tuxedo