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Comment: Also, the "size" claims are silly (Score 1) 133

by Ecuador (#49385047) Attached to: World's Largest Aircraft Seeks Investors To Begin Operation

They say it is larger than the 747, but the comparison is meaningless, since they should be comparing the cabin of the airship to an airplane - otherwise we might as well add the length of the jet fumes to the length of a plane. In fact, the lift capacity of the huge airship is quite disappointing, it can only carry 10 tons of cargo. For comparison a 747-8 can carry over 150 tons...
I like the idea of airships in general, but I can't say they would be a game changer, weather, lift capacity, speed, cost, all being factors. The huge advertising space I guess is the one advantage I can see.
Coming from a country with many islands, the one mode of air transportation I thought would make a comeback someday is seaplanes. They seem to me like the best way to transport a few people from one small island to the next (I would pay a premium for that service over the hassle of an airport), however nobody seems to think about seaplanes anymore. Oh, well, maybe I'm biased from growing up with "Tales of the Gold Monkey"?

Comment: I have to agree, it is cultural (Score 4, Interesting) 233

I did my MS in a top-30 US program. It was a state school and roughly half of the students were from India. This also made roughly half the TAs Indian. Although I come from a country where cheating is common (and professors know it so are out to prevent it), I had never seen such mass-scale cheating and collusion before. You see, the Professors did not expect any academic dishonesty - especially large-scale one and trusted their TAs as colleagues.
Example: in a database class as homework for one week we were to implement a flight booking system that given departure/arrival airports used sql queries to find the appropriate flights with up to one interim destination. You were given the database contents and the test cases you were to perform to confirm your project works properly. I left it for the last minute (naturally) so in my hurry the java UI had a minor bug. I don't remember exactly, but it was not something of consequence, the point of the exercise was the sql. I got 95% and I thought it was a bit strict, but anyway. A few days later while I was browsing my home direct on the student server, I noticed that many students still had world readable home directories. You were expected to manage it yourself, so if you wanted to put stuff there you were supposed to secure it. One of the accessible ones was of the TA that had given me 95% and I checked it out. Sure enough, he was putting stuff there without bothering to change the permissions , and one of the "stuff" was an excel sheet with the results of the exercise. I opened it and found out that every Indian had 98-100%. You might say the were the great students and it was not that hard of an exercise, but I knew at least some of those 100%s as weak students. So I went back to the home directory list and found one of the 100% people that did not look 100% material with an accessible directory and their homework right there :) I opened her java file and what do I see: no db stuff at all! No connection to the db, no queries, nothing. Hard-coded in java were the test cases...
By the time I finished the program I knew very well that Indians considered cheating and plagiarism as the norm, as was helping out each-other with that stuff. Also bullshitting came naturally. For example I was representing an office at the job fair and was accepting CVs from graduate students for a position. I was supposed to give my boss the best candidates for an interview. I was surprised to find out that most of the Indian resumes were almost identical. They had all finished an IIT with a great grade (meanwhile back in my home country the top undergrads could perhaps hope for close to 8.5/10 final grade), had all been placed first in a Mathematical Olympiad of some unknown place (town? village? cricket club? who knows?), had some great professional background in an Indian company, some of them who were in my class had developed a "robust airline reservation system" that was presented as being in line to replace the software at Delta... I could not tell them apart. At all. I mean, I knew we had some Indians who were amazing students. I mean, half of the students were Indian, so about half of the top students were also Indian. But their resumes looked the same, based on them I would either send all of them or none for an interview. In the end, I sent the ones that from our brief interaction seemed to have the best communication/interaction skills, but in any case it is indicative.
A year after I finished, an Indian was caught cheating on a test for the second time by a Professor. He told the student he was getting an F. His reply was "why give me an F when all the class submitted the same course project?". The Professor asked the TA for the submitted projects and found out that almost all Indian students in the class (the number was about 20 IIRC) had submitted a copy of the same project, and the TA had dutifully marked all with an "A". There was talk about expelling all of those involved, but in the end they allowed them to continue with an F in that course. Perhaps after that they started checking up on them...

Comment: Ah, now I see why he quit the Daily Show (Score 1) 296

by Ecuador (#49291977) Attached to: To Avoid NSA Interception, Cisco Will Ship To Decoy Addresses

I expected him to go into politics or something like that. But I guess Cisco security chief is not that bad. Not as funny probably, although I do laugh at some of their obscenely overpriced stuff.
Quick question, how exactly do they establish these fake identities? It would not be such a good scheme if all it does is flag shipments for NSA "hey, look at this, we don't want you to know where it is going"...

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