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Comment: Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 3, Insightful) 375

by hey! (#49193289) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Personally, I don't see that any of these things as compelling practical advantages, given that the kids already have dual Swedish and Belgian (and therefore EU) citizenship. If they were Moldovan and South Sudanese, that'd be a different story. Or if they were citizens of a country from which getting a visa to enter the US might be difficult in the future.

But most importantly I think this is one of those decisions that you just don't make primarily on a cost-benefit basis. It's not like deciding to join Costco or subscribe to Hulu. Citizenship entails responsibilities. If you want your kids to shoulder those responsibilities and feel allegiance to the US then it makes sense to get them that citizenship come hell or high water. But given that they already have two perfectly good citizenships from two advanced western democracies with generally positive international relations worldwide, I don't see much practical advantage in adding a third.

Still, I wouldn't presume to give advice, other than this. The poster needs to examine, very carefully, that feeling he has that maybe his kids should be Americans. The way he expresses it, "sentimental reasons", makes those feelings seem pretty trivial, in which case it hardly matters if they don't become Americans. After all, most other Belgians seem to get along perfectly well without being Americans too. But if this is at all something he suspects he might seriously regret not doing, or if it nags him in ways he can't quite put his finger on, he needs to get to the bottom of that in a way random people on the Internet can't help him with.

Comment: Your friendly neighborhood word pedant here (Score 0) 123

by hey! (#49191827) Attached to: Developers Race To Develop VR Headsets That Won't Make Users Nauseous

... with some food for thought.

The ending '-eous' or '-ious' is added to a noun to produce an adjective that means producing whatever that noun is. Something that is 'advantageous' produces advantage for example. Something which is ignominious produce ignominy (shame, embarrassment). Something that is piteous arouses pity in the onlooker.

I think you see where I'm going with this. The word the headline writer should have used is 'nauseated', although making users nauseous in the pedantic sense would certainly be a concern for the developers of any product.

Comment: Pity it is done in iD Tech 5 (Score 1) 59

by Sycraft-fu (#49186897) Attached to: New Wolfenstein Game Announced: The Old Blood

But other than that, wonderful. New Order was a fantastic game. Such a strong showing for a first game from a studio. It isn't often you can have a game that is good, silly fun where you do crazy shit like dual wield assault rifles, and yet still have a solid story that makes you care. Good mechanics, good levels, good story, good visuals, good setting, just well done all around.

Only thing I would ding it on is the engine choice. iD Tech 5 just isn't very good compared to Unreal Engine, Cryengine or Frostbite. Even on my system with a XP941 SSD I can get some texture pop-in when I move the camera fast and while the visuals are good from a distance, they break down close up. I understand the choice, Bethesda owns the engine so it makes sense to use it, but I can't help but think it would look more impressive in a better engine.

Comment: Re:Why can't they fairly negotiate? (Score 1) 61

by hey! (#49184405) Attached to: SpaceX's Challenge Against Blue Origins' Patent Fails To Take Off

There was a period in the early 00's when one of the my company's manager would periodically walk through my office door and the first words out of his mouth was "I just read about this patent..." and I'd stop him right there.

"This is going to be one of those things where the extent of the filer's 'invention' was to take something people were doing with LORAN fifty years ago, cross out 'LORAN' and write in 'GPS', isn't it?"

"Well," he'd begin.

"I don't want to hear about it. It's guaranteed to be invalid on the basis of obviousness, but if they get lucky in court and I've actually read or even heard about that specific patent they'll be able to take us to the cleaners."

You'd be amazed at some of the technology patents the patent office grants. Stuff anyone who'd been a practicing engineer for more than a few months would laugh his ass off at if he were patent examiner.

Comment: Remembering Nimoy this way is illogical. (Score 5, Informative) 217

by hey! (#49183661) Attached to: <em>Star Trek</em> Fans Told To Stop "Spocking" Canadian $5 Bill

His family has requested that donations be made in his memory to one of the following charities

Everychild Foundation http://everychildfoundation.or...
P.O. Box 1808
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Foundation http://www.copdfoundation.org/
20 F Street NW, Suite 200-A
Washington, D.C. 20001

Beit T’Shuvah Treatment Center http://www.beittshuvah.org/tre...
8831 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Bay-Nimoy Early Childhood Center at Temple Israel of Hollywood http://www.tiohnurseryschool.o...
7300 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Source: http://www.startrek.com/articl...

Comment: Re:The obvious solution (Score 1) 59

by hey! (#49183073) Attached to: US Air Traffic Control System Is Riddled With Vulnerabilities

How it was initially deployed is known only to its makers, but Stuxnet was designed to enter an isolated facility on a USB drive. Once on the LAN it would propagate to other computers, and potentially to other networks via an infected laptop, which is how it ended upon the Internet.

You can use your imagination as to how they got the USB into the target facility. It might have been as simple as dropping the USB stick in the parking lot of a vendor, but given the resources needed to create the worm itself you can't rule out some kind of black bag job or human asset.

Comment: Re:The obvious solution (Score 1) 59

by hey! (#49182649) Attached to: US Air Traffic Control System Is Riddled With Vulnerabilities

I really don't see that as a the most vulnerable point. Not by a long shot. Tapping a digital fiber link wouldn't be like US submarines tapping Soviet analog telephone cables. The data on the link can be encrypted and authenticated at either end such that it's not really practical to modify or impersonate without the kind of assets in the organization that would make an inside job a lot simpler.

The real problem is human factors. Air-gapping sensitive systems is a sound idea in principle but in practice it often fails because it's too cumbersome for users who then undermine the system. And Stuxnet showed that it's possible for a sufficiently advanced opponent to target systems of the far side of an air gap.

So the problem is with the notion that separate parallel systems separated from the outside world are a "simple" solution. They're a potential solution, but if you want to have confidence in that solution there's a lot of work analyzing and policing the behavior of the people who use, maintain, and produce the equipment.

Comment: Re:Also can be some of one and some of the other (Score 1) 651

by Sycraft-fu (#49179099) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Just saying that is an issue that would have to be overcome. It is a case where the trial could be fair, and the jury could believe he acted in good faith and the best interests of the public and still find him guilty, and have that upheld. Just further emphasizing how tricky the situation is. It isn't a case of "If they give him a fair trial he'll walk." No, in fact in a fair trial he could be convicted if the jury decided not to nullify.

Comment: Re:There is science here (Score 2) 21

by hey! (#49178195) Attached to: Rosetta Photographs Its Own Shadow On Comet 67P/C-G

Hmmm. While your explanation is unquestionably true, I don't think you quite understood what the poster was asking. His question is, I think, about the sharp shadows behind ridges on the surface, not the shadow of the vehicle itself.

I think his problem is an implicit assumption that if you drew a line from the center of the sun through the spacecraft, it would intersect the surface at a right angle. In that case you wouldn't expect cracks on the surface to display in such relief. However I believe that assumption is faulty, and that the rays of the sun intersect the surface at a considerable angle.

This is not unlike seeing the shadow of a plane you are riding in on the surface of the Earth. Unless you are in the tropics, that shadow won't be directly beneath you. It will be off to one side. It will also be distorted as it is spread out across the non-perpendicular surface, but you won't necessarily notice that because of foreshortening.

Comment: Re:Easier to Analyze or Change == More Maintainabl (Score 3, Interesting) 244

by hey! (#49177955) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

I once took over 30,000 lines of code that had been written by a subcontractor and trimmed it to around 4000 LOC. And you better believe it ran faster! Not because refactoring is magic, but because once all the mind-numbing almost-repetition was mucked out you could actually see what the code was doing and notice that a lot of it wasn't really necessary. Ever since then I have always maintained that coders should never ever copy and paste code. I've had people disagree, saying that a little bit of copying and pasting won't hurt, but I say if it's really such a little bit then you shouldn't mind re-typing it. Of course if you do that very soon you start putting more effort into devising ways to stop repeating yourself, which is exactly the point. Repeating yourself should be painful.

That's I think a reliable litmus test for whether you should refactor a piece of software. If it's an area of code that's been receiving a lot of maintenance, and you think you can reduce the size significantly (say by 1/3 or more) without loss of features or generality you should do it. If it's an area of code that's not taking up any maintenance time, or if you're adding speculative features nobody is asked for and the code will get larger or remain the same size, then you should leave it alone. It's almost common sense.

I don't see why anyone would think that refactoring for its own sake would necessarily improve anything. If an automotive engineer on a lark decided to redesign a transmission you wouldn't expect it to get magically better just because he fiddled with it. But if he had a specific and reasonable objective in the redesign that's a different situation. If you have a specific and sensible objective for reorganizing a piece of code, then it's reasonable to consider doing it.

Comment: Re:Also can be some of one and some of the other (Score 1) 651

by Sycraft-fu (#49176779) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Well in the case of civilians, you are in a special situation when you have access to classified data. You agree not to release it on penalty of criminal charges and you do so explicitly to be granted access. If you aren't ok with the restrictions, then you don't agree, and don't get clearance. Normal people like us aren't under any such restrictions, which is why the press doesn't get in trouble publishing it. They never agreed to shit.

As such it could be a situation where even if they agree it was just, it was still illegal.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 2) 651

by hey! (#49175719) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Well, this is the thing about civil disobedience. The classic formula is to keep up awareness of your issue by forcing the government to go through the embarrassing and drawn-out process of prosecuting and punishing you. I'll bet they had to drag Thoreau kicking and screaming out of that Concord jail cell when some joker finally came along and paid his poll tax for him. Holding court for his admirers in the town pokey no doubt suited his purposes nicely.

In that spirit, this announcement is very effective. When was the last headline you read about Edward Snowden? If he comes back for a long and drawn out trial that'll show he's pretty hard core about this civil disobedience thing -- if leaving a cushy, high paying job in Hawaii with his pole-dancing girlfriend to go to fricken' Russia wasn't enough.

It occurs to me, though, that this situation is a lot like what I always say about data management systems: the good ones are easier to replace than the bad ones. Likewise the better governments, the ones with at least some commitment to things like due process, are much easier to face down with civil disobedience than ones where being a political threat gets you a bullet in the head, like Ninoy Aquino or Boris Nemtzov. If Snowden *does* come back, and if he ends up "detained" in limbo somewhere, then it'll be time for everyone to go into the streets and bring the government down.

Comment: Also can be some of one and some of the other (Score 1) 651

by Sycraft-fu (#49175649) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

He's leaked a lot of things. So even if the jury agreed that some of it was justified, a situation where the public's need to know outweighed his promise to keep it secret, they could rule that on other things that wasn't the case. It isn't the sort of thing that would have to be taken as part and parcel.

As you said though, even in cases that people feel are justified, he still might be held guilty. The agreement regarding classified information you undertake doesn't have exemptions, it doesn't say "You agree to keep this secret unless you think the public needs to know," it is pretty cut and dried. So even if the jury believes he did the right thing, they very well could find him guilty because he still broke the law.

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.

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