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Comment: I thought the point of the charge ... (Score 3, Interesting) 38

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48929295) Attached to: Spider Spins Electrically Charged Silk

I thought the point of the charge was to make the "wooly" side-fibers of the strands wrap around the prey's limbs and/or the microscopic irregularities in the exoskeleton, tangling to it. "Tying" the fibers to the prey would have a similar binding effect to gluing them to it, without the need for glue, and lots of little fibers could make a very strong attachment.

(Stretching fibers made of long chains makes them stronger by aligning the chains along the direction of the stretch.)

Comment: Re:this is a mountain out of a mole hill. (Score 1) 344

by evilviper (#48929211) Attached to: Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure

I use i3lock, which would mean attackers would have to find a way to get into /usr/bin to usurp my locker

Umm... No. Changing your PATH, setting LD_PRELOAD= or one of many other envs, changing Xsesson scripts or your WM's menu entries... Any of those would do just fine.

You also missed the entire point of the article, that an X11 screen-locker is just a normal user application like any other, a black image over top and only just TRIES to steal focus and input.

Comment: Re:Privacy (Score 5, Informative) 50

by swillden (#48929123) Attached to: Amazon Takes On Microsoft, Google With WorkMail For Businesses

Though you have to trust AWS with the plain text at some time since every mail server and client has to hand the message over in plain text (it may come in over an encrypted tunnel, but it needs to be decrypted by their mailservers).

No, it doesn't. S/MIME, PGP-mail, etc. Of course that only works if the party you're e-mailing can also use client-side e-mail encryption.

Google is working on enabling OpenPGP-encrypted e-mail for Gmail with a Chrome extension:

Comment: Also: lots of code has been vetted for decades (Score 1) 46

Why are they still using C to deal with network protocol? Is the performance so critical that it's worth all the troubles?

Also, because there's a lot of C code that has been in heavy use, and tested for correctness, for decades, suitable for reuse with substantial confidence that it's correct (though you check it anyhow...).

Let's see you find code like THAT for a language that hasn't been AROUND for decades. B-)

Comment: Everything is bigger than Hollywood (Score 1) 131

by swillden (#48928943) Attached to: The American App Economy Is Now "Bigger Than Hollywood"

Meh. Everything is bigger than Hollywood.

Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but honestly, on the scale of major first-world institutions that people know and recognize, Hollywood is pretty small potatoes. Apple alone rakes in more than double the entire worldwide film industry's take. 2013 worldwide film industry revenues: $88B, and Hollywood is only about 2/3 of that. 2014 Apple revenues: $183B. IBM also is also bigger than Hollywood. Google is about as big as Hollywood. Ford is bigger than Hollywood. GM is bigger than Hollywood. Exxon Mobil is more than six times as large as Hollywoood.

The film industry is almost noise in the US national economy. It's chump change.

Where Hollywood is a heavyweight, though, is in politics. It has massively disproportionate power in comparison to its segment of the economy. Why? Simple: political power is about influence, not money, and Hollywood has direct access to the voters' brains. Large quantities of money can also buy access to said brains, but there is no amount of money that could buy as much political advertising as Hollywood can pack into its entertainment output. And any individual actor of note can stand up and say something and get press coverage that would cost tens of millions if purchased, free.

Luckily, Hollywood isn't politically homogeneous, so to a large degree the politics of our entertainment media reflect the same varied sets of opinions found in the nation as a whole. Not perfectly, but largely. There are some areas in which the interests of Hollywood are highly homogeneous, however, such as around copyright law, and there they wield incredible clout.

Anyway, my core point here isn't about that, it's just that Hollywood's visibility and influence makes it seem much bigger than its actual economic status.

Comment: For starters, because it's transparent. (Score 1) 46

Why are they still using C to deal with network protocol?

For starters, because it's transparent. The "K&R compliant assembly laguage", as one of my former colleagues once characterized it, translates to object in a clearly understandable way (especially if you turn optimization down or off). Though it gives you more opportunities to create bugs, it makes it hard for the bugs to hide from inspection.

The "higher-level" the language, the more it takes over and inserts its own stuff between you and the metal, and the more opportunity for that to inject an invisible vulnerability - which you might have trouble removing even if you DO discover it.

Meanwhile, many of the things "higher-level" languages protect you from can also be detected and flagged by both modern C compilers and code examination tools - starting with the venerable "lint".

Comment: Re:First they came for... (Score 0) 217

by circletimessquare (#48927655) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

what have you "won" exactly?

You "win" Turkish citizens annoyed with their government -- a win in the only venue likely to be able to create change there.

i stopped reading there

how did that work with cuba? iran? north korea? china?

what you're asking for is massacred citizens

iran for example

no matter how many intelligent, forward thinking students you have agitating in the cities, the government just calls up busloads of basiji thugs from the countryside and cracks skulls until change seekers shut up in fear. or worse:

slow stead engagement is what really works

reactionary inflexibility simply means no change at all

welcome to reality

this is you:

pragmatism, flexibility, realism, compromise always wins

inflexible ideological dogmatism is how you lose and are ignored

Comment: Re:Eisenhower said it (Score 1) 202

by circletimessquare (#48927567) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

well yeah, by definition a rock star is very rare

so if you want a rockstar working for you, you better be ready to shell out big money or provide truly extraordinary perks

you can't just expect or demand rock star status from average or even above average programmers. you can't mold people's personalities like their technical proficiency. i suppose there does exist stress mitigating strategies someone can consciously adapt. but from the rock star i met, it is a sort of chilly immunity to even the concept of stress that is quite awesome to behold

that's why i quoted eisenhower

because when i met such a person, i immediately thought of someone functioning under the stresses of extreme combat. i thought of this person on the eastern front in wwii. what it would take to survive *real* stress, because stress in programming, while real, taken in perspective to something like fields of combat, is a joke

i always wondered if this person had indeed been in such an extreme stressful environment, like war. a sort of "once i've seen that, none of this shit impresses me." because indeed, nothing seemed to impress him. you could scream in his face and he would react the same as if you were casually discussing gardening. nothing phased the dude

Comment: Re:Eisenhower said it (Score 1) 202

by circletimessquare (#48927469) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

I haven't met or heard of anybody who is a "rock star" by your criterion. The closest I met was a person of very resilient personality, capable of working hard and steady through great stress, and who had an average level of talent. Not a bad person to have as part of a team, but in no way a rock star.

i have met a person with that stress proof personality, and above average talent. they exist. those are the rockstars

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl