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Comment: Re:The (in)justice system (Score 1) 291

by Cytotoxic (#48844029) Attached to: Innocent Adults Are Easy To Convince They Committed a Serious Crime

One could argue that there's a no need to have a court system. If a cop pulls you over for a traffic violation, you're guilty.

For many traffic violations, this is indeed the case. I know in Georgia the only defense against a radar clocked speeding ticket is one of three questions: Was the officer properly trained? Was the instrument properly calibrated? Was his location proper (not too close to a curve or on too steep of an incline)?

That's it. The court is not supposed to consider any other defenses. "I didn't do it." is not an admissible defense. "I have a video tape showing that I didn't do it" is also not an admissible defense. Or at least it wasn't the last time I interacted with the georgia traffic court system.

Comment: Re:It worked on me (Score 1) 218

by Cytotoxic (#48842613) Attached to: Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

That's exactly the kind of people I am talking about. Just loads of talent, even if it isn't being used properly. Someone who is very skilled in a certain area is impressive in their own right. Like a John Paxon firing in jump shots. If you were a basketball player you could see yourself doing that with enough hard work in practice over enough time. Then you see Jordan take off from the free throw line. And you know instantly that you are never going to be able to do that no matter how hard you work.

  (to the argument about entering a field and doing good work whatever your talent: there are a lot of guys out there with the athleticism to take off from the free throw line and throw it down. There are still very few people mentioned in the same conversation with Jordan. Talent isn't everything. )

Comment: Re:It worked on me (Score 4, Interesting) 218

by Cytotoxic (#48826585) Attached to: Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

Yeah, I have seen all of that. But when I say "speak" math, I don't mean "speak knowledgeably about math". I mean "speak it like a native speaker speaking in his own language". When I was a student I was a musician as well. I played in a couple of working bands and had a few solo gigs. I received several full ride offers to college. But it was because I worked my ass off. I was only modestly talented. When I started meeting people who were really destined to be musicians, the difference was trivial to spot. Where I was feverishly doing math in my head and transposing like a madman, they could do all of that deep in the background. When they played music, they were simply expressing ideas. Those thoughts came out through their hands as easily as you form your thoughts into words. It was both humbling and frustrating.

If you meet real math people, they are the same way. They have an intuitive understanding of the language of math that allows them to explore the world of physics and mathematics the way that you might explore the mall. A lot of it is practice - the hours of hard work that go in to reaching a certain level. But there is something more in a small percentage of people who are particularly gifted for the topic. Their ability to speak math as easily as you speak english allows them to explore their ideas much more rapidly and in a different way than I would. While I am busy translating from english to math and back again, they speak math in the native language. If you ever work with them, you'll know. There is no way to fake your way through it.... any more than Michael Jordan could fake his 44" vertical or Charlie Parker could fake his improv skills. If you are knowledgeable in the field it only takes a few moments to spot a virtuoso.

But you could be right about the kind of people who don't care about such things. Many people reach success because they ignore obstacles, perhaps they are even blind to them. People like Donald Trump come to mind.

Comment: It worked on me (Score 5, Insightful) 218

by Cytotoxic (#48826233) Attached to: Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

I don't know about women, but it certainly kept me out of theoretical physics. It also delayed my entry into the computer industry by about a decade.

As a student I loved cosmology and particle physics. Then I met the guys who were working on their PhD's. I was good at doing math. They spoke math. It was clear that they were in a different category from me, and even though I might be able to do it with hard work, I would never be one of them. At the time you had to be a math major to get a degree with a concentration in computer science. Again, I met folks who were real math majors. They also spoke math as easily as John Coltrane spoke music. I knew I could never compete in their world. So I didn't.

As it turns out, my friends in comp sci were right to encourage me to join them. Just because I was never going to be the next Alan Turing doesn't mean I couldn't have been doing good work.

Anyway, there is definitely something to the notion that certain fields appear to require a certain type of brilliance. Music. Athletics. Field theory. Topology... Fields like these all appear to require special gifts. LeBron James and Tiger Woods have abilities that 99% of us just don't have. The same goes for Eddie Vedder and John Lennon. Or Alan Guth. But that doesn't mean that you can't participate in athletics if you aren't Michael Jordan. There are gym coaches and trainers all over the place making a living in athletics. There used to be music teachers at all the elementary schools. And there are loads of people working in applied mathematics crunching numbers for companies and governments for various purposes, doing perfectly good work in a field they love without being a 1% talent.

But I certainly didn't believe that when I was 19 and trying to decide where to dedicate my life's work. So I agree with that part of the premise. What in the world that has to do with gender, I don't know.

Comment: Re:I hope they succeed, but... (Score 2) 426

by Cytotoxic (#48793299) Attached to: Chevrolet Unveils 200-Mile Bolt EV At Detroit Auto Show

Tesla's advantage with their charging network is hardly decisive. GM probably could buy Tesla outright with their coffee and bagel budget. Putting up a network of charging stations would not be a challenge for a company with their resources, even on the heels of a bankruptcy.

I'd say execution on the concept will be their biggest challenge. As Jeremy Clarkson once said of an American car - "It's just that everything inside looks like it was made by the lowest bidder." He said it about a Chrysler, but it could easily describe any GM offering as well.

Comment: Re:Only 30 Grand? (Score 2) 426

by Cytotoxic (#48793231) Attached to: Chevrolet Unveils 200-Mile Bolt EV At Detroit Auto Show

I think the Saudis and other OPEC leaders have made it pretty clear that they are targeting low oil prices to kill the new production in North America from shale oil and tar sands. Once they force all those plains state oil operations into bankruptcy, they'll move prices back up.

It seems like they will probably be successful. I am pretty sure I remember reading that $60 per barrel was the point at which these newer oil recovery technologies become profitable.

Comment: Re: Umm, no. (Score 1) 187

I have hired some top people from India. I have also worked with some developers out of India that were extremely... not top people. So, your mileage may vary, I guess.

There do seem to be lots of Indian development groups that will pound out the fastest, sloppiest mess possible to meet a deadline. But I wouldn't put that down to being Indian, I'd say it is more a function of attempting to be an ultra-low-cost vendor. What is it they say about fast, good and cheap?

Comment: Re: Why do I want to upgrade? (Score 1) 437

by Cytotoxic (#48763457) Attached to: Is Kitkat Killing Lollipop Uptake?

This latest update has had some major issues on several devices - particularly the Nexus 7 and Nexus 4 and 5. We have a couple of Nexus 4's and they have been rock solid since they came out. Until now. Battery problems and crashes abound. They are improving though, without any updates from google. So I'll surmise that they are due to issues with 3rd party apps.

Still, it is disconcerting to have your phone working as a pocket warmer and running out of juice before lunch.

Comment: Re:MicroSD card? (Score 1) 325

by Cytotoxic (#48722197) Attached to: Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit For Shrinking Storage Space In iOS 8

You don't need to root your device. Android has allowed moving apps to the sdcard for years.

It is pretty complicated though. You have to go into the "Settings" and select "Apps" from the menu. Then you have to select an application and press the "Move to SD" button. At least that's how it worked two phones ago. My Nexus devices don't do the SD card thing, just like Apple devices.

Comment: Re:Nobel? (Score 1) 288

by Cytotoxic (#48683841) Attached to: The Interview Bombs In US, Kills In China, Threatens N. Korea

The part about the depiction of Kim Jong-un being perceived as dangerous is very believable. The Vice Guide to North Korea rather powerfully demonstrates the absurd levels of state propoganda in North Korea. The government portrays their dear leaders as a sort of god-man who is regarded as the greatest of all leaders by every nation on earth.

A film that mocks the leader as a buffoon and crybaby would indeed be a very dangerous thing inside that country.

Comment: They do have one advantage (Score 4, Insightful) 232

by Cytotoxic (#48668299) Attached to: Should Video Games Be In the Olympics?

Video games have at least one advantage over many of the Olympic sports: They can have clearly defined objectives and scoring. Many of the Olympic sports don't really qualify in my book because they rely on judges to tell us who was better. Even if they were fully objective in every respect, it still smacks of a beauty contest rather than an athletic competition. If we play a match of FIFA 2015 there will be absolutely no question as to who the winner is.

I still think it is silly to talk about video games as an olympic sport, but it is also silly that we have sports like ballroom dance and synchronized swimming in the Olympics. My rule of thumb is "if you have to ask someone else to tell you who the winner is; it isn't a sport, it is a recreational activity."

Comment: Network Level (Score 4, Insightful) 97

by Cytotoxic (#48639753) Attached to: Staples: Breach May Have Affected 1.16 Million Customers' Cards

It seems that these POS systems should be more restricted at the network level. In our communications with our banking partners we have single IP address access to the communication server - among other measures (well, dual actually in some cases.... in case of system outages). Only specific IP addresses using specific ports are allowed to traverse the network to even reach the machine. That's before you even start talking about any real security measures.

If that were in effect for the POS systems, the malware would dump its payload down a black hole unless it also compromised the routers along the way. Maybe that's asking a little much for a bunch of retailers, but it is pretty simple to implement.

Comment: Re:America, land of the free... (Score 4, Insightful) 720

by Cytotoxic (#48542877) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

I agree with the concepts your are talking about, but I cannot imagine an IT shop failing to check the background of a system administrator who will be working with banking systems, for example. Think about the fallout if Deutsche Bank hired a database administrator with prior convictions for banking fraud, only to see that employee steal 100 million from the bank.

I'm going to bet that criminal convictions are pretty important in the relevant areas, even in Europe. They probably do a better job of discriminating which information is relevant and which positions are sensitive.

The part where they ask about prior history might also be different in Europe. In the US I think a large part of the reason for asking about prior criminal history is to set up a situation where it is easy to terminate an employee if they lie on the application. In Europe they might not have to ask before running a criminal background check. And lying on the application might not make a difference when it comes time to terminate an employee.

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