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Comment: Re:$50 billion is not Huge, anymore (Score 1) 48

by jbolden (#49628477) Attached to: Report: Microsoft Considering Salesforce Acquisition

The 90% bracket was on individuals. The corporate tax rate was never that high.

Most likely what you are concerned about is that capital gains aren't taxed very much so it pays for corporations to hold income and not pass it on as dividends. Things like: taxing assets mark to market (i.e. you pay on what the asset is worth each year), lower unearned income taxes along with higher capital gains taxes would get the effect you are looking for.

Comment: Brillant (Score 1) 297

by DrYak (#49624057) Attached to: Single Verizon IP Address Used For Hundreds of Windows 7 Activations

I cut my teeth on Applesoft BASIC, but I used only the integer subset; the floating point was too demanding, although now I don't recall why. Whether it ran too slowly, was too resource intensive, or-- probably-- was too hard to program and debug. I did some home accounting/budgeting, but did it all in pennies rather than dollars, and avoided division operations.

And that was a brilliant idea.
Floating point can have weird rounding errors if you don't understand clearly how they behave. (see here for an example).
Using an integer number of a smaller unit (pennies) is better in those cases, and "LONG" data type can still represent a big amount of pennies for your situation.

Several real-world finance software do actually use the same approach (a integer "BIGNUM" of a small unit, instead of floating point).

Comment: Or end-to-end encryption (Score 1) 147

by DrYak (#49622979) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

Interesting problems would include 1) being able to falsify the vocal aparatus in such a way that the voice-print recognition doesn't work, AND doesn't flag as not working and 2) creation and use of non-libraried phoneme/phonology/grammar sets so that recognition is not available by lookup.

Or use plain simple end-to-end encryption. (Constant encryption all they way between the two correspondents)

instead of using Skype (bascially a black box, and back befor microsoft them, their EULA mentionned that they'll collaborate with any local law enforcement agency) or analog POTS, try instead using standards like SIP or XMPP/Jabber/Jingle with proper encryption (e.g.: Jitzi is a software that implements SRTP/ZRTP encryption)

Then anyone trying to tap into that communication will only get noise.

Not that it's impossible for the NSA to do anything against this (they'll happily try to abuse any backdoor that they know of at each end-point).
At at least it will make it a bit less trivial for them to plain scan anything.

Comment: Re:Mitt Romney Deux? (Score 1) 545

by debrain (#49613825) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

What socialism is going on?

You mean what socialized programs are in the states? The list is pretty long, inluding e.g.

- Military
- Medicare
- Police
- FBI
- Public education
- Food assistance
- FEMA
- Road infrastructure
- Air traffic control

Of course there is also the socialization of losses on Wall Street, with the bailouts of the big banks by taxpayers.

Just some examples. Or have I misunderstood the question?

Comment: Tesla DOES use laptop batteries (Score 2) 65

by DrYak (#49607355) Attached to: Tesla Adds Used Models To Its Inventory, For Online Purchase

No, the ones in our notebooks and phones don't last so long, because size and weight are more important than lasting 10 years. Cars are designed differently, for different longevity/size/weight tradeoffs than are portable electronics.

Except that Tesla (and Smarts, and the few other cars which use batteries manufactured by Tesla) use *the exact same kind* of battery cells as regular laptops (on purpose, because they are cheap and easy to source due to the economy of the scale at which they are produced).

The difference isn't the battery it self (it the exact same cell), it's the battery management software, and the usage pattern.

- Lithium batteries age with the number of cycle they go through. It happens really often that a laptop is drained all the way down to 0% or nearly 0% (lithium batteries hate that). Whereas most of the daily commute Tesla cars are subjected to are short trips that only eat a fraction of their charge.

- The more violent the discharge rate, the faster the lithium battery will age. Under heavy load, a laptop battery will get completely drained in hour or two max. On the other hand, given its range and typical speed limitation, it would take at least 4-5 hours to drain completely a Tesla. i.e.: overall the Tesla eats up much more total power than your laptop (obviously), but each of the cells is put to less stress as it needs to deliver a much lower peak current.

(The two above are also the reason why the *extended life* batteries (e.g.: 9 cells instead of 6 cells) in laptops tend to age much slower).

- Also lithium batteries are very sensitive to temperature / environment. Whereas it's not that much controlled in a laptop (the battery tends to be right next to very hot components like CPU and GPU), Tesla car batteries have almost their own A/C system.

so in short:
- no they are exactly the same batteries. but each takes completely different kind of abuses and thus at the end they tend to age differently.

Comment: Public acceptance (Score 2) 46

by DrYak (#49605805) Attached to: Robots In 2020: Lending a Helping Hand To Humans (And Each Other)

I'm really surprised that fast food and other low-skill, low-wage work hasn't been replaced by robots already. {...} Fast food isn't a skill. It doesn't even come close to coffee shop barista {...} If it costs $200,000 per year to pay employees to work a fast food restaurant, and that cost can be reduced to $60,000 per year by the introduction of a half a million dollars of machinery that will last for a decade, these companies would be nuts to not replace workers with robots.

Indeed. But on the other hand, we human tend to be social being. And we tend to appreciate contact with other humans.
Some older people would insist that they *definitely* need to interact with a human being taking order at the cash register, and they *definitely* need to see humans flipping burger in the kitchen behind.
They would find alienating to pass order to a machine and have their burger prepared by a assembly-line machine.
And add to that, that people will be down in the streets protesting that they are loosing jobs, and you can see why fast-food chains are a bit reluctant to start automate everything.

But old people get older, and newer younger generations come. And our current generation, is way too much self-absorbed to care. We are too much busy tweeting and posting on facebook while in line to even care if our orders are taken by an automat or a real person : it's just a distraction delaying us from typing a reply to a youtube comment on the smartphone.

The barriers to accelerating fast-food with assembly-line like robots isn't a technical one, but a sociological one. The fast-food companies needed that the population gets used to it.

Comment: Re:And then, go after the USPTO (Score 1) 104

by jbolden (#49601351) Attached to: Vizio, Destroyer of Patent Trolls

Why the hell should companies, including tax payers (costs of running courts & all) have to pay for the USPTO's fuckups?

There are two different issues here.

For the USPTO to vet patents properly would require a substantially higher cost per patent. The tax payers through their elected representative did not allow for patent fees to go high enough to cover that cost nor subsidies to cover that cost. They are the most responsible party for the policies.

As for companies. Companies don't have to pay for the USPTO. What they do have is a situation where their patents are registered but unvetted. They have to understand what they bought. They didn't buy much more than a filing.

Either the USPTO didn't do their job right (incompetence gets you fired in the real world, but not if you're a bureaucrat apparently)

In the "real world" offering a lower quality product at a much better price is applauded. It doesn't get you fired it makes you rich.

#1 Richest man Bill Gates got their for cutting the cost of desktop software.
#2 Warren Buffet got their for cutting the cost of running insurance companies
#3 Larry Ellison got their for reducing administrative expenses

etc...

What does often get people fired in the real world is blaming others rather than owning your mistakes. If people want a better patent system where the USPTO vets patents rather than registers them, they should pay for that system and stop pretend the reason they aren't getting such a system for 95% off is because patent examiners are being lazy.

Comment: Depends (Score 2) 76

by DrYak (#49596103) Attached to: Once a Forgotten Child, OpenSSL's Future Now Looks Bright

For the "many eyes" to work, there are quite few requirement.

Yes, being opensource is a requirement, but is not the single only requirement.

The code need to be actually readable and to attract users motivated to check it.
That wasn't the case. OpenSSL's code is known to be really crappy, with lots of bad decisions inside. Any coder trying to review it will have their eyes starting to bleed.
It doesn't attract people who might review it. It only attracts the kind of people who just want to quickly hack a new feature and slap it on the top, without having a look at what's running underneath.

The code need also to be reasonably accessible to code review tools.
Lots of reviewers don't painfully check every single last line of code by hand. Some use tools to do controls. OpenSSL has had such a series of bad decision in the past, that the resulting piece of neightmare is resistant to some types of analysis.

Comment: Tool assisted review (Score 1) 76

by DrYak (#49596057) Attached to: Once a Forgotten Child, OpenSSL's Future Now Looks Bright

The problem is that some of the design decision behind openssl are so aweful that some of the code review tools just don't work well to detect bug.

Hearthbleed has specifically resisted to valgrind, because the geniuses behind openssl had implemented they own memory management replacement functions in a way that is resistant to memory analysis.
The memory porblem went undetected.

Comment: Re:Pontifical Academy of Sciences (Score 2) 700

by debrain (#49577681) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

in fact most of the information that survived through the dark ages survived because of monks

Much survived because of monks, but if my history is right (and it's probably not) the enlightenment came from knowledge that survived via the Arabs. Hence we have names like Algebra (from Al-Jabr), for example.

I am seem to recall that during the dark ages the Romans/Italians had around 2-5% literacy rate. Not much knowledge survived there.

There was progression by monks during the middle ages, notably time-keeping and eyeglasses. But I am not sure how much historical knowledge was retained by them. It might be lots - but I've just not seen any historical books to that effect (though I would enjoy reading knowing more).

Comment: Corrections (Score 1) 374

by DrYak (#49576123) Attached to: Who Owns Pre-Embryos?

The problem is that there are NO children yet. Only cells with 2 half nuclei inside (= pre-embryos)

Small correction: apparently you still call it "pre-embryo" even later than that, as long as they aren't implanted into an uterus yet (and they haven't formed a primitive streak. I didn't remember at all this latter part).

Comment: Pre-embryo (Score 3, Informative) 374

by DrYak (#49576105) Attached to: Who Owns Pre-Embryos?

Who Owns Pre-Embryos?

From a scientist: What the fuck is a pre-embryo.

Wikipedia is your friend.

Basically:
- Bunch of cells, still disorganised (apparently, you wait until for the primitive streak to call it proper "embryo". I didn't remember that from my lectures)
- They float around, they haven't implanted into an uterus yet. (That I vaguely remember from my medical studies).

(Well, of course, they were fertilized *in vitro*. It would be hard to find an uterus to implant onto at the bottom of a test tube).

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