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Comment: Re:May contain traces of irony (Score 1) 132

Sorry, in those days there were no links. Indeed, there was no Internet. I offered the anecdote purely as something I remember because it made a deep impression on me at the time. (The same mathematician who told me about it had also been refused entry to the USA because he had recently attended a conference in Poland, then a communist state).

Comment: May contain traces of irony (Score 2) 132

Many years ago, I recall that the US government refused entry to certain Russian mathematicians coming to attend a major conference in the USA. The reason given was that the commies were obviously trying to steal good ol' American know-how. The funny part was that the Russians in question were actually the world experts at the time (in that particular field), so the only people who lost out were the American mathematicians who had hoped to learn from them.

It's one thing to have a policy of pretending that all worthwhile innovation originates in the USA. It's quite another thing to start believing that's true. (See, for example, Joy's Law: ""No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else”).

Comment: Re:I've worked with many Russians... (Score 3, Informative) 132

If you're old enough, you can distinctly remember when exactly the same thing was said about Japanese products. (I refer to the post-WW2 period, roughly from 1950 to about 1970). Then Japanese products suddenly became synonymous with quality so high that most US companies couldn't begin to match it.

Comment: Re:Medicalizing Normality (Score 1) 558

LMAO, you don't know how evolution works, do you? What possible advantage could autism provide, when it renders most afflicted persons unsociable and awkward and therefore highly unlikely to pass on their genes?

Have you ever wondered why homosexuality persists, in that case? Once you give it a little thought, you can see that there may be all sorts of unobvious benefits. And equally obviously, heterosexual couples have been giving birth to homosexual offspring as long as there has been a human race.

That being so, why wouldn't the same apply to autistic people? If you believe in technical progress, and want it to continue, we need more people who are mostly interested in truth, logic, numbers, and scientific inquiry.

Comment: Re:bus drivers (Score 1) 367

by Archtech (#46600811) Attached to: More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use

In the special case of bus and taxi drivers (and ambulances and police vehicles and fire engines and...) there are strong arguments for allowing communication while driving. They aren't just chatting for the sake of chatting - and they often can't afford to pull over and stop before they talk. However, such people can be (and are) trained to keep communication to the minimum, so they can get back to driving (or whatever).

Comment: So much for multitasking (Score 1) 367

by Archtech (#46600805) Attached to: More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use

Far too many people nowadays seem honestly to believe that it's a more efficient use of time to juggle several activities at once. If they only knew, even a computer (single-core) doesn't run several programs simultaneously; instead, it time-slices them. The big difference is that, when a computer process is preempted, its data is safely stored on the stack whether it's two bytes or 20 million. Human short-term memory evolved to handle half a dozen or so items, not more - and it's apt to drop them on the floor if it gets a sudden shock or surprise.

Comment: Re:I've implemented something similar (Score 1) 90

So what happens when your hard drive goes or you switch computers, then your data is gone because the key stored in the local storage that is no longer accessible!

Actually, that objection applies to all encryption systems. You must have a key - which must also be hard to guess, thus fairly long and random - and that key must always be available to YOU. Once you recognize the necessity, there are many ways to handle it. Two or three USB sticks, for example (in case you lose one).

More generally, the objections to this approach seem to be largely based on cost and inconvenience. That's fine: you simply have to take a view of how much security and privacy are worth to you.

Comment: Re:Reciprocal course? (Score 1) 491

by Archtech (#46565627) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

Sorry, the story I linked to related to the International Date Line not the Equator. I was thinking of the much older stories about an F-14 or F-16 that flipped upside down when it crossed the Equator due to some software bug. Here is a reputable source for that (but only as a rumour):

Comment: Reciprocal course? (Score 1) 491

by Archtech (#46565559) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

I may be wrong, but looking at the map it seems the plane was on exactly the opposite course from where it should have been going. Strange problems are not unknown with computer-controlled navigation systems going haywire when crossing the Equator, and oddly enough MH370 went AWOL quite close to the Equator...

Comment: Re:No nuclear propulsion - My God, how primitive! (Score 1) 298

by Archtech (#46562827) Attached to: Iran Builds Mock-up of Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier

The Iranians are a subtle people. Maybe its only purpose is to tie up thousands of American intelligence analysts and generals racking their brains to think what it's for. To the detriment of useful work. It might also deter the Pentagon from sending its carriers too close to Iran, just in case. That would be a bonus.

There's even an amusing moral: stick your nose into other people's business, where it doesn't belong, and you may end up with a severe headache and nothing to show for it.

Come to think of it, the Chinese and the Russians have a reputation for subtlety too, as well as extremely long memories. Looks as if Uncle Sam is making the wrong kind of enemies these days.

Comment: Re:We need a US base in the Ukraine (Score 1) 623

by Archtech (#46559631) Attached to: Russian Army Spetsnaz Units Arrested Operating In Ukraine

'Tacit repayment of Lend Lease by the British included several valuable technologies, including those related to radar, sonar, jet engines, nuclear weapons, antitank weaponry, rockets, superchargers, gyroscopic gunsights, submarine detection, selfsealing fuel tanks, and plastic explosives. Many of these were transferred by the Tizard Mission. The official historian of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, James Phinney Baxter III, wrote: "When the members of the Tizard Mission brought the cavity magnetron to America in 1940, they carried the most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores."'

The generous US government naturally wrote off the debt after WW2 ended - NOT.

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.