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Comment: Conservation of momentum (Score 1) 430

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49596179) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive
There is no law of physics that says physical propellant is necessary. Any light bulb and mirror can create momentum, with no propellant expended. SF writers have known for a long time that, in principle, electromagnetic effects like powerful lasers can create thrust. I need more details to make sense of this article.

Comment: Re:isn't IBM already mainly a services business?! (Score 1) 208

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49579677) Attached to: IBM CIO Thinks Agile Development Might Save Company

[IBM] attempts to transition from a hardware-dependent business to one that more fully embraces the cloud and services

I though that IBM was already mainly a services business...

Which makes sense enough. If you are a services company, getting complex enterprise solution projects up and running is what you get paid for. Agile can help there, even if it is not a magic bullet that will save you from an architecture that looked good on the power point slide but fails at scale, for example.

It is a dirty little secret that complex enterprise solution projects fail more than half the time, often to the tune of 8 figures. Companies do not issue press releases about the money they threw down the toilet on IT, so getting statistics on this kind of thing is difficult unless you delve into the fine details of the quarterly reports.

Comment: Re:Fast track (Score 3, Interesting) 353

I am sorry unless you have hard evidence of a major and specific conspiracy that everyone of your students participated in you CANT fail an entire class. The reality is there was probably a few students who are innocent or whose infractions don't justify an automatic failing grade, so its punishing the innocent. The optics of that just are not appropriate for an academic institution.

Yup. By making a blanket judging that is clearly unfair to at least a few students, the professors is demolishing his own case. Challenging the 'F' is a slam dunk. When it came to having guards in his class, he should have quietly made his ultimatum to the department already -- that they were going to back him with X, Y, and Z or he would resign. That it came to this suggests egregious failures by the school itself.

Comment: Re:Good for Amazon! (Score 1) 83

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49546381) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
Shipping costs for Amazon is steadily climbing, while revenue for shipping is flat. For all the squeezing of the carriers, they are still bleeding there. Amazon is basically paying a $3-$4 billion dollar subsidy to their online business to elbow aside the competition, by eating half the costs of shipping.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 406

(BTW, kudos for your coherently made points.)

I guess the heart of the matter is what is "reasonable suspicion" in this context and what "reasonable suspicion" allows. Police can do all kinds of positive information gathering actions based on "reasonable suspicion" based on good sense in the given context. Did the officer in question have "reasonable suspicion"? Did the kind of "reasonable suspicion" here, presuming he had such, justify detaining a citizen?

It is not obvious, given the law of the land. The Court made a determination that sounds okay to me.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 406

That you for the clarification, but my point still stands. The officer did not have probable cause to force the citizen to stay put beyond the time to complete the write up of the citation, which is a kind of detainment, for him to acquire the additional resources to employ this other kind of evidence gathering that steps up to the line of the 4th amendment. What the officer in question did, in some sense, laudable, obviously; but not all arguably laudable police actions are legal under the 4th amendment.

Whether the dog or psychic or dowsing rod is in his vehicle, right now, or 8 minutes down the road is irrelevant. In his good judgement, he should have more resources on hand to employ this other kind of inspection.

My reading of the Court ruling is that he had the option to use his dog immediately. That he chose otherwise is probably wisdom -- he does not want his unprotected back turned to a possible criminal if he stumbles upon evidence of a crime. Good for him.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 5, Insightful) 406

Hmm...actually the ruling is more narrow than that. The Court seems to be saying that if the police officer happens to have a dog on hand right now it can sniff around the car. But it is not reasonable to keep a citizen waiting around for the convenience of the police officer to use every possible implement that comes right up "to the line" of the citizen's rights.

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 540

I am not going to rebut that article, so much as respond with a "So what?" The massive increase in costs are most likely explained by the enormous changes in women's professional prospects since 1970. The costs per pupil have approximately doubled during a time period that women's median incomes have also approximately doubled. Obviously, the business details of how schools are run are more complicated than such a simple model as that. But the Cato Institute understands this data and the obvious implications of this correlation, and they are using a lot of smoke and mirrors to keep the discussion superficial enough that you might not notice. There are some interesting questions to investigate regarding trend comparisons between states, but that article only scratches the surface of the topic.

Comment: Re:a phone (Score 1) 237

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49479969) Attached to: Chess Grandmaster Used iPhone To Cheat During Tournament
Which is indeed a great accomplishment. But whether it is the equivalent of being as good a chess player as the best human is a choice of definitions. Normal humans do not get to claim to be the best player of game X, without grinding through the ladders and/or tournaments. That is a very real cost with potential significant long term downsides the computer player skipped over.

Comment: Re:a phone (Score 1) 237

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49472483) Attached to: Chess Grandmaster Used iPhone To Cheat During Tournament
LOL. My serious counterargument is to be genuinely as good as a human player, the computer program should qualify for the big name tournament by entering lesser many tournaments and racking up a game history that could be studied for weaknesses. IMHO Kasparov played on a not level field, because his long career was open to study and his computer opponent's was not.

Comment: Re:Reason: for corporations, by corporations (Score 1) 489

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49464177) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

And I would further emphasize that my argument is actually the solid libertarian one: What does the contract say? A real libertarian would go straight to that point. But this author is not a libertarian -- he is a ridiculous shill for rapine corporations.

Mind you, I might actually be okay with the ISPs spelling out the truth: "We promise X bandwidth for our Comcast High Speed Certified Content Providers (tm) and Y bandwith to the real internet." But Comcast does not want to spell out the truth. They just want to break the contract and blame someone else, as an excuse to demand more money, precisely because they know that this is area of law exists in a libertarian dystopia where it is not practical for individual customers to enforce the contracts in court./p?

Comment: Re:Banalities.. (Score 2) 109

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49447863) Attached to: A Data-Driven Exploration of the Evolution of Chess

As someone who has played little chess but quite a few war/board games, the article is unsurprising, too. At first glance, chess looks like an offense heavy game. In offense heavy games, aggressive moves, even aggressive moves from novices, often provoke errors from novices forced onto defense. But as the game is studied, how to build efficient defenses with implied counterattacks converts offensive potential into defensive potential. Not every game works out that way, but the ones we keep going back to play again and again certainly do.

We could imagine a variant of chess where the first player advantage were much larger. If 80% of the victories went to white, chess would just not be considered as interesting a game. A degree of lopsidedness can actually add to the game, playing black is a slightly bigger challenge, but there is a point where people tend to throw up their hands. The lopsidedness between colors in chess is quite small, as these things go.

Comment: Re:Reason: for corporations, by corporations (Score 5, Insightful) 489

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49441019) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

The article is a really painful read that takes forever to get to the heart of its points, which seem to be:

In fact, ISP price discrimination is as likely to help new entrants as hurt them. Non-neutrality offers startups the potential to buy priority access, thus overcoming the inherent disadvantage of newness. With a neutral Internet, on the other hand, the advantages of incumbency can't be routed around by buying a leg-up in speed, access, or promotion.

That an incumbent content provider might enter into an agreement with an ISP to gain advantage over its smaller competitors in a non-neutral environment may be a reason to scrutinize such agreements under existing antitrust laws. For instance, if an ISP with dominant market share refused to give access to online content that competed with its own, antitrust law might look askance at such conduct. But it doesn't justify presumptively hamstringing an ISP's commercial arrangements when such conduct isn't remotely typical."

These are actually gobsmacking arguments for any serious libertarian to make. First of all, the idea that a new service should rightly throw money at the problem because new guys cannot compete by merely being simply better on an even playing field completely demolishes the heart of libertarian theory. Second of all, "gee, the gov't might save us from this abuse with antitrust laws" is an endorsement of the idea gov't should solve these kinds of problems. If antitrust law is good, perhaps net neutrality rules would be better? You cannot fall back on gov't competence in an argument against gov't oversight.

But for me, neither argument matters, even if they were correct. The real problem is the ISPs are making clear promises to their customers, and then they are trying to shake down the content providers with the threat of failing to meet the customer's reasonable expectations, based on what is written in the contract. When I pay for a promise for bandwidth, I want that bandwidth. I do not want the ISP to make secret re-negotiations about what bandwidth really means.

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 0) 489

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49440745) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

Actually, you counterargument does not address sribe's point at all. An UNARMED suspect fleeing the scene is (almost) by definition someone who fails to meet the threshold of "poses a significant threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or others".

In fact, even an armed suspect may fail to meet that standard, which is the actual reason the courts spelled this out in the first place. "Well, he was armed and seemed angry and failed to comply with police orders" is not sufficient reason to gun down a fleeing suspect, unless you know specifics about the suspect that indicate that they are someone likely to use lethal force.

Comment: Re: Oh, Okay (Score 1) 587

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49415097) Attached to: Hugo Awards Turn (Even More) Political
I agree. Even before 1960, retreads of "Frankenstein's monster runs amok" and "here in our dying galactic empire..." were run of the mill. In fact, Asimov's great accomplishment is to figure out how to start discussing ideas about how robots might affect human society that did not involve any machines running amok.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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