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Comment: Re:Is this an achievement? (Score 1) 20

by gstoddart (#47517185) Attached to: Autonomous Sea-Robot Survives Massive Typhoon

If the water is deep enough and the USV can dive deep enough, its trivial to wait it out. A submarine for instance has little fear of a hurricane unless its stuck trying to get out of port because they waited too long.

Except, the difference in this case is this thing is at the surface.

Which means it couldn't dive to wait it out.

It's submerged, but only a little, and it has a mast sticking out of the water.

So, how trivial is it to ride this out when you're barely under the water? It seems less so.

Comment: Re:ads (Score 1) 132

by gstoddart (#47517057) Attached to: Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims

Don't suppose you also sell tinfoil hats that could protect me from the NSA's mind-reading rays?

The problem is, the current version of the rays can penetrate tin-foil.

What you need is a layer of pudding between your head and the tinfoil, chocolate works best. You'll need to shave your head first to be ensured of it working.

Comment: Re:Is this an achievement? (Score 1) 20

by gstoddart (#47516955) Attached to: Autonomous Sea-Robot Survives Massive Typhoon

Well, James Gosling was mentioned, so that's pretty impressive, right?

You know, I've been trying to figure out WTF that mention was all about.

So far, I've got nothing other than it serves as a very oblique reference to 2011.

As 'news' reporting, I rank that right up there with "in 1984, the same year Sally Baker showed me her underwear, there was a chemical leak in Bhopal India".

It's just spurious junk.

Slashdot continues to decline, and the 'editors' continue to be a joke.

Comment: Re:The problem is... (Score 1) 182

So the only thing destroying live smallpox samples does is reduce the chances of a catastrophic screw-up.

You seem to underestimate the historical tendency of crazy tyrants to decide "if I can't win, everybody dies".

WTF do you think "mutually assured destruction" was all about? The premise that nobody would actually be crazy enough to destroy the entire world.

I think you attribute too much rationality to geopolitics. Now think of North Korea, and tell me just how much rationality you see.

Comment: Re:The problem is... (Score 1) 182

Don't forget the goofy comic relief character. There's always one of those.

Oh, and you need the military guy (or the guys in dark suits and sunglasses) in charge of making the weaponized version just in case, and who demonstrate that the good guys are sometimes crazy delusional bastards, and that morality is a grey area (especially when you think you're defending your country).

There needs to be the greedy capitalist only interested in profit, even if that means some loss of life.

You may also need a puppy to complete this trope. Or some other foil which has natural immunity that everybody needs to capture first.

You might also need Steven Seagal just in case things get testy, but if he's the sherrif you're covered.

Comment: Re:The problem is... (Score 1) 182

If we voluntarily destroy all our samples, and some other nation doesn't, then there will be that much less smallpox. This is a valuable goal in itself, even if it doesn't mean that the virus has been completely eradicated.

Except that governments have essentially stated that they're not willing to get rid of their stuff, in case someone else uses it.

So, lots of research is conducted under the guise "well, we can find a cure in case someone else does it". The problem is, that same research can be used to make the weapons in the first place.

You're saying the GPs argument doesn't make sense, but in fact governments have been using it for decades.

It's real, and it's happening right now. If you don't think that's true, then you're somewhat out of touch.

Comment: Good luck with that ... (Score 1) 77

The researchers were hoping to leverage the power of presence: the idea that people recognize another sentient being in the environment, and are more responsive as a result. ...

The interviewer isnâ(TM)t quite a sentient AI; it relies on a dialogue tree similar to telephone customer service: tell the computer all the simple things, then press 0 for a human to explain the story behind your streaking arrest.

In other words, it won't understand you, has a limited set of responses it knows how to deal with, and will piss people off.

And some fed (who had to wait around for your interview and strap you into the electrodes anyway) will come back to an apoplectic interviewee who is tired of the stupid machine because it doesn't understand nuance, inflection, or anything else. Which is precisely why trained humans do this job.

Tell you what though, I hear they have this really cool program which pretends to be a 13 year old speaking his non native language.

I just don't see this being anything more than a gimmick to get funding, and will never actually amount to anything in the near term.

Comment: Re:soddering (Score 1) 60

by gstoddart (#47516181) Attached to: Researchers Successfully Cut HIV DNA Out of Human Cells

that you don't speak the L in solder is completely new to me, what would be the reason?

Well, the obvious answer is several hundred years of separation before we had any form of telephony or occasion to hear it spoken.

Take Newfoundland (a province of Canada), for example. There are Irish accents which haven't existed in Ireland for a few hundred years. Why? Because they were remote places, without a lot of interaction, and the accent remained intact even after it had died out in County Cork.

Why is there High German and Low German? Again, either geography, class, or something else. My guess is mostly class.

In North America you're talking about a huge land area, settled over time by people from all sorts of places, and with no fast transportation between them.

Even regionally the pronunciation can change quite a bit. Heck, I don't have the same inflections as most of my family does. I've actually been asked where I'm from by people who grew up in the same area.

In the UK, there's massive differences in accents -- some class based, apparently, and some region based. There are plenty of people in the UK who, as far as I understand, will say "hise" instead of "house". Why that would be, I have no idea.

For instance, I have known more than a few Brits who almost can't say "th". So, instead of "thought", it comes out as "fought". They don't even hold their mouth/tongue the way you would to make the "th" sound, they make an entirely different sound, essentially the way I'd make an "f" sound. Similarly, in my limited experience, a lot of German speakers turn the "th" into more of a "z" sound, so you can get "zinking" instead of "thinking".

Beyond that, you'd need to ask a linguist. Over time, what you grew up hearing and saying defines how you say it, and what you can say. I strongly suspect there are some sounds that some people simply cannot make if they didn't learn early enough.

Sometimes, I do wonder if accents aren't sometimes the equivalent of a regional speech impediment, and they will always affect how you speak. :-P

The longer I live, and the more non-native speakers of English I meet, the more I have a hard time explaining all of the corner cases in English, because it's made up of stuff from so many different languages.

Comment: Re:Incompetent developers? (Score 2) 33

by gstoddart (#47516017) Attached to: CNN iPhone App Sends iReporters' Passwords In the Clear

Instead of talking about "malicious actors", the article should be talking about malicious developers.

Or, and I think this is more likely ... malicious management who is more interested in getting something out the door than giving a damn about how much it sucks.

Find me a developer who has never been told to "just do it" and put some garbage out, and I'll show you a lucky (wo)man.

From what I've seen, this is caused by the people who make the decisions deciding they don't want to wait, or spend the time implementing security.

Comment: Re:No excuse (Score 1) 33

by gstoddart (#47515931) Attached to: CNN iPhone App Sends iReporters' Passwords In the Clear

There's an easy answer: companies are more interested in "ZOMG, we have to have teh app" then they are in spending time and resources in making the app not suck.

Any app which goes out the door which is sending passwords in plaintext was either written by someone who was incompetent, or who was told by management to just ship the damned thing and get on with it.

In my experience, it's usually the latter.

And, since companies don't really bear any liability for implementing terrible security, I don't see this changing.

My bet, there were a few people who knew this, pointed it out, and got told to STFU. If nobody knew about this, well, then we'll revert back to incompetence and people who have no idea of how to write for security.

Comment: Re:soddering (Score 1) 60

by gstoddart (#47515403) Attached to: Researchers Successfully Cut HIV DNA Out of Human Cells

Uh, it's spelled "solder" in the US, too.

Yes, but how do US people pronounce it?


OK, smartass.

How do you say "walking"? Do you pronounce it wallking?

How do you say "talking"? Do you pronounce it tallking?

How about these? calm half salmon talk balk would should

"We should cut the salmon in half and talk calmy" is pronounced by most English speakers without a single audible L in it.

Let's face it. English is a screwed up language, and inherently affected by accent and upbringing. And it's full of exceptions and things which make no sense.

Now, tell me how many Brits say "idear"? Do the words "tire" "tower" and "tar" sound any different?

How many Brits essentially can't say "th" and turn it into a V or an F? Because I've certainly heard people say what sounds like "wevver" instead of weather.

So, when we hear a uniform dialect of English in the UK, we might take you seriously. But the reality is, we don't.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 542

by gstoddart (#47514875) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

The only lies exposed by that fiasco is that of the mortgage applicants lying on their loan-applications. Most of those folks have never been to Wall Street.

Not so. Back in about 2005 or so, I remember reading articles about NINJA mortgages -- No Income, No Job, No Accepted (or No Income, No Job or Assets). At the time I remember thinking it was a stupid idea, and made no sense at all.

The lenders were going on a drunken rampage giving loans to anybody with a pulse. But they knew they were doing this.

But, make no mistake, this wasn't borrowers lying on their applications. This was lenders approving any application which came across their desk, and was known to be a risky investment at the time.

What subsequently happened was that junk debt, (which they knew was junk debt, and was junk debt because they were just giving anybody with a pulse) was then bundled up into derivatives, treated as if it was AAA rated debt, and then sold off onto the market. And then everybody else bought bad US debt, and it trickled throughout the world.

Essentially the US lenders got themselves in deep shit, packaged up that shit as if it was caviar, and then let everybody else deal with the problem.

That, my friend, was Wall Street. And it was more or less theft writ large. They lied about the risk of their securities in order to get other people to buy them.

Basically they sold magic beans to the rest of the world, so that the debt was no longer their problem. When that debt collapsed, it undermined the house of cards which had been built on it.

"High Frequency Theft."

No lies there. In other words, fail.

You don't think the act of skimming money out of the market by making a large number of trades to allow yourself to do arbitrage and exploit the fact that you have direct access to the system is theft?

I think when they do this they more or less inject themselves as a middle man who creates no value, and distorts the market to their own ends. I see HFT as nothing more than institutionalized theft.

They don't 'earn' it, they don't generate value, they just sit in the middle and take the vigorish and act like they're entitled to it. It's just siphoning money out of the economy for their gain.

My person may be anecdotal evidence, but the Economist's article puts more solid statistics behind it.

My problem with the conclusion of the article is that it places the issue at the feet of Socialism. Since they only studied East Germany, they can't really say it was Socialism which caused it, only that in this particular case.

I'm not defending Socialism -- at least, not the form the Soviets were following. But, as you say, the attitude of "it's OK to screw the government" can spill over into a more generalized "it's OK to screw anybody".

I don't dispute that the people who grew up in East Germany were more prone to cheating a little. I do disagree with the conclusion that this was the result of Socialism -- I don't think they had enough to make that claim.

If it was true, I would assume you, and everybody who grew up in such a country would also be prone to cheating.

So, either you're a cheating bastard, or their conclusions are overly broad. ;-)

Pick any place with a failed economy, or where the penalties of cheating are outweighed by the rewards, and people will simply cheat. No matter your system of government.

Be that Wall Street, or East Germany.

Comment: Gee, you think? (Score 2) 110

by gstoddart (#47509467) Attached to: UK Users Overwhelmingly Spurn Broadband Filters

The report, from regulator Ofcom, didn't bother to judge if the filters actually work, however.

Because they don't know, and don't care if they work.

This is just another "oh god, we have to protect teh children" things, and there wasn't evidence to make the choice, so they're sure as heck not collecting evidence as to how well it works. This is purely a "we have to do something" kind of response.

Most of us know these things simply do not work, and end up blocking stuff they shouldn't, and missing stuff.

That most people have no interest in being baby sat by a state sponsored filter comes as no surprise.

But, hey, when you're still considered subjects to an archaic monarchy, that's what you get.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 3, Insightful) 542

Citation needed.

Enron. Bernie Madoff. Asset Backed Paper Commodities. High Frequency Theft.

According to TFA, it does indeed. But far less than Socialism.

Meh. I read the paper as for this specific group of people, coming from a system which was pretty much flawed and unfair, people have decided that "fuck it, why play by the rules" is a perfectly good strategy.

I don't believe that socialism (or capitalism) inherently create more cheating.

I simply believe that once people believe the system is unfair, or the penalty of being a dick is sufficiently small, why bother playing by the rules?

Humans are greedy, self absorbed, and selfish. And any system which favors one set of people over another will lead to people deciding if the system isn't fair, why play by the rules?

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.