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Comment: Re:Lying again? (Score 1) 121

by Dun Malg (#38846707) Attached to: Railroad Association Says TSA's Hacking Memo Was Wrong

Terrorists must be anyone who isn't an old rich white guy. If they talk funny, look different, or behave differently due to cultural differences, they must be terrorists.

No, it's not like that at all. See, for example, Senator Paul getting escorted out of the terminal for refusing a pat down. The problem is that there isn't any official attempt at profiling. Instead, they have a completely asinine random selection system for triggering detailed searches, and despite the fact that it's bloody obvious that a 6-year old girl or an elderly woman in a wheelchair with a colostomy bag aren't going to have any explosives on them, they still search them. The only profiling by TSA gate personnel is unofficial, unsanctioned, and largely driven by pigheaded individual ignorance on the part of the TSA agent. No, the system as it is now has the TSA agents who follow the rules searching obvious non-threats based on a random die roll, and the rule-breaking TSA assholes doing their own seat of the pants profiling and doing detailed searches on Sikhs because they wear turbans, and Bangladeshis because they look suspiciously dark skinned. Neither approach is even remotely reasonable or effective.

What they should be doing is what all other reasonable countries with a terrorist problem have been doing for decades: First, you take the fucking badges of the TSA. They aren't fucking cops, and nothing about their job should give them the impression they have power. Second, you replace insane regulations against box cutters and baby bottles with what we had pre-9/11. 9/11 isn't going to happen again, because no one will ever cooperate with lightly armed hostage takers anymore. Third, you hire trained, intelligent interviewers. These interviewers take each group flying together (i.e. a whole family) and ask them a few simple, relaxed questions about their trip and destination. This technique is sufficient to pick out the suspicious from the innocuous. People planning criminal acts on an airplane have certain characteristics: they're usually male, young, flying alone, don't have much baggage, can't usually provide plausible details about their plans at the flight's destination, and on top of it are often very nervous. Note that none of this profiling involves skin color, ethnicity, or country of origin. It does, however, work extremely well. When's the last bomb or hijacking of El Al?

But we'll never see that. TSA is makework bullshit security theater, and everyone knows it.

Comment: Re:Don't you have anything better to do? (Score 1) 393

by Dun Malg (#37504828) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Calculators With 1-2-3 Number Pads?

I know that there are those of us who like to learn, and therefore use efficient memory techniques, and that there are those who ridicule those of us who learn. On a website for geeks, I had expected to find the former, not the latter.

I'd say the fact that keypads being evenly split into two opposing formats makes using muscle memory/spatial patterns a decisively non-efficient memory technique, and the reason you're seeing ridicule is your insistence upon pursuing it anyway, even to the extreme of reordering your computer keypad and scraping the PCB of your calculator to create one-off device layouts no one else uses.

Comment: Re:Don't you have anything better to do? (Score 4, Informative) 393

by Dun Malg (#37504764) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Calculators With 1-2-3 Number Pads?

Either way, it's a wasted question. Years ago, when Ma Bell was the only phone company and they came out with touch-tone phones, they patented the arrangement with 1-2-3 at the top. So if you want to make a calculator that uses that, you'll have to pay a fee.

That's not true. There's no patent for the 1-2-3 keypad (nor was Bell/AT&T the only phone company in the US, but that's not relevant here). Calculators in the form of mechanical adding machines predated the DTMF keypad by decades. When Bell came up with the touch-tone system, they actually spent a lot of money researching whether it should be adding machine layout, or 1-2-3 from the top. As it turned out, even experienced ten-key operators were able to dial phone numbers faster on the 1-2-3 pad because everyone--- even tenkey operators--- approached the task of dialing a phone with their index finger alone, regardless of whether it was pushbuttons or dial, because they were already in the habit of doing so with dial phones. 1-2-3 keypads are faster to use when visually hunting and pecking with one finger. Given that no one was ever going to be doing rapid data entry on a phone, it made more sense to use top-to-bottom order, because the reverse order of tenkey exists only to make rapid multi-digit data entry faster (i.e. zero under the thumb, pinkie for enter, and most common digits under the fingers as per Benford's Law)

I don't know what the hell is wrong with the OP that his brain doesn't have room for two different keypad layouts.

Comment: Re:Not a replacement (Score 1) 93

I think the thing that voice recognition proponents are missing is that all non-text entry via a voice command system has to happen in band. This creates the problem of either a) systems that erroneously respond to conversations that aren't directed at them, or b) systems that are so tightly limited to very specific cues that they're difficult to use. The infuriatingly non-intuitive escape sequences necessary to switch between direct literal transcription and command entry just add fuel to that fire. Voice command is a great workaround for the problem of doing anything with a electronic device while driving, but my GPS still frequently thinks I said to it "voice command" when I am talking to my passenger and said something only vaguely similar.

Comment: Re:Cringe (Score 1) 392

by Dun Malg (#34962958) Attached to: J.J. Abrams Promises 'Fringe' Will Die Fighting
That's always been the entire point of "science fiction", from the very beginning. Science fiction without even a token attempt to work from a basic factual grounding in *actual* science is just *fiction*. Fringe is so unimaginatively bad that it fails to leap even the low hurdle of suspension of disbelief found in early 30's pulp SF.

Comment: Re:double standard (Score 1) 611

by Dun Malg (#34787544) Attached to: Man Arrested For Exploiting Error In Slot Machines
The gaming commission has nothing to say on the matter of slot machine programmers using version control or any other facets of good programming practice. Gaming commission only cares that machines pay out honestly. If they can somehow make an honest machine by dumping /dev/random to a microcontroller, that's within their right.

Comment: Re:double standard (Score 3, Interesting) 611

by Dun Malg (#34787496) Attached to: Man Arrested For Exploiting Error In Slot Machines
They don't have to cry to the government to stop you winning by counting cards. They are allowed to simply bar you from gambling at their tables. There's no law that says they are REQUIRED to let everyone gamble. Truly effective card counters are so few that all the pit bosses know them on sight and instruct the dealers to not deal to them. That's why card counters write books on card counting, because they can't make money at cards anymore.

Comment: Re:How do we make sure? (Score 1) 206

by Dun Malg (#34361118) Attached to: Who Will Win Control of the Web?

I think reddit has finally killed slashdot.

Pretty much. I jumped ship to Reddit months ago. Between the perpetual obnoxification of the Slashdot interface, the stupidification of the Slashdot "editors" and their inscrutable logic in approving idiotic stories for the front page, and the hordes of trollish mundanes that have watered down the geek quotient, I hardly bother to check Slashdot anymore. Back when it was CmdrTaco posting cool dork/nerd shit he found on the internet it was pretty fun, but now... meh.

Comment: Re:I don't care. (Score 1) 335

by Dun Malg (#34204134) Attached to: Mystery 'Missile' Identified As US Airways Flight 808

Why does Occam's Razor favor the airliner when there is a very distinct history of missile tests off the coast of southern California and from Vandenberg on the coast of southern California?

Because 1) the military never says "missile? what missile?" when they've done a very obvious launch, and 2) Vandenberg is 150miles northwest of Los Angeles and a launch from there wouldn't be seen to the west of Manhattan Beach. I've seen Vandenberg launches from that area, and they look like they're coming from land, as Vandenberg is effectively behind the Santa Monica Mountains from that vantage point.

Comment: Stupid test (Score 1) 325

by Dun Malg (#33848630) Attached to: What Tech Should Be In a Fifth-Grade Classroom?
This idiotic "Laura Ingalls Test" is utterly pointless. Some things--- including teaching elementary basics of reading, writing, math, etc.--- remain the same over the years because the efficient use of these things requires no additional technological complication. Laura Ingalls would also still recognize a kitchen table, a fancy restaurant, and a pair of fucking work boots in the modern age because the basics of such things simply do not change. Really, this article reeks of the same tripe we had to hear back when it was television that was going to revolutionize education. A TV in every classroom! It will change everything!

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.

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