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The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers 478

Posted by samzenpus
from the riddle-me-this dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: The latest biography of Elon Musk, by technology journalist Ashlee Vance, provides an in-depth look into how the entrepreneur and tech titan built Tesla Motors and SpaceX from the ground up. For developers and engineers, getting a job at SpaceX is difficult, with a long interviewing/testing process... and for some candidates, there's a rather unique final step: an interview with Musk himself. During that interview, Musk reportedly likes to ask candidates a particular brainteaser: "You're standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?" If you can answer that riddle successfully, and pass all of SpaceX's other stringent tests, you may have a shot at launching rockets into orbit.

Comment: Re:I just have to laugh! (Score 1) 527

by Assmasher (#49710605) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

So you went to a Bay Area High School for a few years and you think that makes you dis-advantaged? LOL.

Talk about crap...

How was your childhood before that, in regards to education and parental support/motivation?
Did you run away from home or did you have the tacit permission and support of your family in China?
Did you live on the streets or, if you were basically penniless - how'd you avoid starving death entirely on your own?

I'm willing to bet you had PLENTY of educational advantages. This doesn't detract from what you've accomplished at all - congratulations on bootstrapping into Taco heaven. :) BTW - San Jose La Taqueria on 4th in San Rafael - amazing super burritos. Best in the world.

The problem is that you think everyone is like you, so they should be able to do 'like you.' It's just not the case.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 527

by Assmasher (#49710547) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Actually, regarding the Jewish case in particular - Numerus clausus - it was oddly enough motivated primarily (it would seem) by anti-Semitism but also from the overwhelming prevalence of Jewish faculty and staff in schools that did not follow these strictures in the same areas.

It isn't interesting because they were Jewish, replace Jewish with anything - it was interesting because it was a case of the empowered (white/male/protestant) being out-advantaged by a minority (Jewish mothers!)

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 527

by Assmasher (#49710455) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

...Ultimately, admission is still done purely on merit. Let's be absolutely clear about that.

That's just not the case though. Merit likely plays, by far, the most important part of the selection process; however, enforced diversity exists and is prevalent at "not for profit" universities and colleges. Heck, the older form of it was referred to as Numerus clausus. It still exists today in a more legally acceptable form and with much better intentions.

There are positive and negatives aspects of that behavior. There will always be people complaining about the process as well.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 527

by Assmasher (#49710397) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

While I can appreciate your intentions, the irony is that - as with schools and everyone involved in this topic (myself included) - you are projecting your own discrimination on the process.

The entire process of selecting students is discriminatory and openly acknowledged as being highly subjective; otherwise, a trivially simple software application would resolve the matter in a few hundred milliseconds.

Why isn't it discrimination to select students who score higher on a standardized test?

If you want to argue that this selector speaks directly to the abilities as a student, then we're back to arguing that there are selectors that *others* believe speak directly to student abilities as well - some of which you may not agree with.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 527

by Assmasher (#49710355) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

I would suggest that the difference at Caltech is two part:

                1. Their requirements are so high that you can weed out the 'grinders' whose parent only care about those specific numbers.
                2. When you get there, if you don't have the real goods - you'll drown.

I've got an old work buddy who got in '89 (iirc), and it was so brutal that he dropped out in his sophmore year. He's a brilliant guy, and he wasn't angry/bitter - he said he just couldn't cope with the pace.

Comment: Re:Contract: No! (Score 2) 353

Yes, any contractor who has any idea of what is at stake should incorpate as a Chapter S at least.

Ignoring the huge tax advantages that comes with a Chapter S, it is the most protection for the least amount of effort.

If you're doing it full time, or you make at least $20k/year in income from your contracting, it's crazy to do anything else - it more than pays for itself. That $500 tax prep bill is worth every penny I saved by claiming capital gains on distributions.

Comment: Re:Contract: No! (Score 4, Interesting) 353

You are conflating two different yet semantically related things.

"Work For Hire" and "Works For Hire" (sometimes referred to as "Works Made For Hire".)

Work For Hire refers to the actual work done by an employee/contractor that has been designated as falling upon the IP rules of Works Made For Hire.

Works Made For Hire is part of the the IP doctrine of copyright law.

If you are a contractor, and you do not have the money nor legal team to fight off an IP assignation case, you must carefully and clearly stipulate who owns what IP REGARDLESS OF WORKS MADE FOR HIRE. It IS ambiguous, and a contract lawyer will tell you - do not leave it up to interpretation outside of your contract..

I had a contract just two years ago that ran into an issue where the client (and their a**hole lawyer) were getting confused because I was going to provide them a solution that was built off of some code of mine that I owned all of the IP for.

I clearly delineated that they would own the solution, but that they were only receiving a license to use my previous inventions (and here's the part they choked on for a while) and any necessary extensions to my product that were necessary in order to provide them with a solution.

Their lawyer spent weeks arguing that they needed to own the changes I made to my existing product. That didn't happen...

So, as anybody who has dealt with an unfriendly lawyer would tell you - don't ASSume anything. Don't assume they won't be jerks, that they're not idiots, that the court isn't stupid, that jurors aren't stupid, et cetera ad nausem. Make it clear in your contract, as in 'clear to a 4 year old', who owns what, when, and for how long.


Ask Slashdot: How To Own the Rights To Software Developed At Work? 353

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-ask-now-or-cry-later dept.
New submitter ToneyTime writes: I'm a young developer building custom add-ins for my company's chosen SAAS platform as a full time staff member. The platform supports a developer community to share code and plug-ins with an option to sell the code. While I don't plan on having a breakthrough app, I am interested in sharing the solutions I create, hopefully with the potential of selling. All solutions are created and made by me for business needs, and I aim to keep any company's specific data out. I have a good relationship with management and can develop on my own personal instance of the platform, but would be doing so on company time. Going contractor is a bit premature for me at this stage. Any advice, references or stories to learn from?

Comment: Re:"The Ego" (Score 2) 553

by Assmasher (#49616259) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

Be glad that you've never been in the corporate world at a level to watch the incompetent sychophants rise despite clear reasoning why they should be let go (much less 'not promoted.')

I've seen mid-level executives receive promotions for 'not being in the red' because for the three years they ran a division they re-org'd every year because the years you perform a re-org your numbers were given HUGE discrepancy allowances. One guy lost more than 10 million (on a budget of 7 million) a year for 3 years in a row and was promoted - through this trick.

Worse, I've known people who were CTOs of actual Silicon Valley tech companies (not huge ones, but worth a couple of hundred millions dollars) who DID NOT KNOW WHAT TCP/IP WAS OR WHAT A SOCKET WAS. Not CIOs, or CISO - CTO. It's okay though, he looked the part, and he said yes all the time.

Crazy man. Crazy.

Comment: Re:This again? (Score 1) 480

by Assmasher (#49601111) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

They're measuring an anomalous force in an electromagnetic cavity. That's a measurement, a concrete fact. They're claiming that they'll be able to make a starship with it. That's beyond any credibility. It's totally delusional.

Jesus H you're dishonest. They HOPE to use it to propel objects from LEO to GEO. The reason that NASA is looking into this is in the HOPE that it bears fruit. NOBODY said they WILL be able to make a starship with it.

Some of the statements get rather ambitious, but they aren't statements of fact they're suggestions about what COULD be possible if this pans out.

Comment: Re:This again? (Score 4, Insightful) 480

by Assmasher (#49596367) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

That's just silly. The people reporting this observable phenomenon do not claim to understand why this happens - in fact the point of the article is that we should strive to understand why this works.

Just because YOU don't understand why this works doesn't mean that they are claiming to be violating the conservation of momentum - especially since they are not. Most especially because there's a clear expenditure of input energy - a grossly inefficient (it would seem) one.

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins