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Comment: So H-1B or offshore??? (Score 2) 157

by iamacat (#46791841) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers

That would be completely different things with very different consequences. H-1B is a Visa to work in US, so jobs would not be offshored, just outsourced to a contractor (article mentions Infosys). Employees will be still paying taxes, and salaries can not be that low as they incur living expenses similar to US citizens. Added difficulty of changing jobs while on a visa does depress wages to some degree, but IT workers generally expect to live well.

Offshoring of course means no tax revenue for US and much lower living standards and expenses, so low salaries that US residents can not accept without starving.

It's unfortunate that the article doesn't make clear exactly what is happening.

Comment: Re:LaserJet II and LaserJet 3 (Score 1) 561

by hey! (#46791117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

The most wear sensitive part of a laser printer is the copy drum. If I recall correctly the old LaserJets had the drum integrated with the toner cartidge, so you replace to most quickly wearing part of the printer four or five thousand pages. It's no wonder they lasted so long. The mechanical parts that move the paper through the printer are pretty robust, so I wouldn't be surprised if the printers go until the capacitors in the electronics dry up, or the internal power connectors go bad.

Comment: Re:Sorry (Score 1) 23

"I think that anecdote points to a broader, American Exceptionalism-based difficulty: we regularly hold peaceful revolutions at the ballot box. While the rest of the world, and Russians are arguably among the more egregious cases, have much greater policy time horizons, the U.S. has trouble remembering anything."

Too much truth to that, but it does not mean we should not try to do better.

"The State Department should provide a more "traditional" geo-political interface, but then you come to the question of to what degree agreements with the U.S.S.R. hold any sway. One might be tempted to pretend something like the referenced agreement never happened. Fine. But you really don't want the Russians weaponizing space, as we agreed to eschew in the Outer Space Treaty, do you?"


Now with that thought in mind think back on how the US government has in fact treated Russia since the Soviet Union dissolved. Is it just me or does it seem like our government as a whole actually WANTS to provoke them into something drastic like that? First off, why expand, instead of disband, NATO if we are not planning to attack Russia? And why pour all this 'democracy promotion' money into the likes of Svoboda if we are not actively scheming against Russia? I have no trouble believing this has been on the Russians minds all this time because it has certainly been on mine, and I cannot come up with another credible answer.

The Europeans were involved at first and they were thinking of expanding the EU to the Ukraine (which was probably a bad idea from the get-go given their economic woes) but they have since backed off quite a bit. Less because of their economic woes and more because of the sheer unsavoriness of the new regime.  You could see street protests bring down several EU governments if they even get close to admitting a country where the likes of Svoboda is in government, and I've started seeing admissions that there is no way in hell Ukraine will be invited to the EU for the foreseeable future.

"While I understand that paranoia is the Russian national sport, I still thing BHO was a complete fool for, inter alia, abandoning the missile shield in Poland."


What value would it have been?

I mean in general I think interceptors are a great idea, but there? Whose missiles would it ever have a chance to intercept, if not the Russians? The Iranians never had missiles with that range and are unlikely to develop them, and still less likely to actually use them. Turkey is a member of NATO after all, and who else outside of Europe has the range to hit that area? Seems like a damn short list.

It does not seem paranoid to me for them to worry that a missile site ostensibly aimed at Iran, yet not in range of Iran, but nicely in range of them, might actually be intended for use against them. Combine that with the color revolutions, the expansion of Nato, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the recent events in Libya (Russia agreed to a resolution with strict limitations only to see the limitations ignored basically from day one, and a regime friendly to them eliminated as a result,) and Syria (where the Russians have refused to agree to even a token resolution because after Libya they simply do not trust us not to do the same thing again) - I do not think it's paranoid for the Russians to feel a bit persecuted.

That's without even mentioning some of the cruder anti-russian propaganda that you can be sure is being rebroadcast for them with captions.

Comment: Re:A bit of background for slashdotters (Score 4, Informative) 247

by hey! (#46790777) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

This isn't a case "insisted upon by a conservative group". This is Mann suing a journalist for libel, and the journalist requesting info from the university under FOIA to prove his case.

That would be interesting, if it were true. Here's what TFA says:

The ruling is the latest turn in the FOIA request filed in 2011 by Del. Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) and the American Tradition Institute to obtain research and e-mails of former U-Va. professor Michael Mann.

"Del." I assume is short for "delegate". According to their website, the American Tradition Institute's tag line is "Free Market Environmentalism through *Litigation*" I assuming this means they aren't pals with Greenpeace, or even The Sierra Club, any more than the National Socialists in Germany were pals with the socialist Republicans in 1930s Spain.

Comment: Re:Why do these people always have something to hi (Score 4, Insightful) 247

by hey! (#46790657) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

Depends on what you consider "hiding the research". A fishing expedition through a scientist's personal correspondence is an invitation to judge his work on *political* grounds.

In science your personal beliefs, relationships, and biography are irrelevant. There are evangelical Christian climate scientists who believe climate won't change because that would contradict God's will as expressed in the Bible. These scientists may be regarded as religious crackpots by their peers, but that hasn't prevented them from publishing in the same peer-reviewed journals as everyone else. Since their papers invariably are climate-change skeptic, clearly they are publishing work which supports their religious beliefs. But their motivations don't matter. What matters is in their scientific publications.

In 1988, Gary Hart's presidential bid and political career were ruined when he was photographed cavorting on a yacht named "Monkey Business" with a woman that wasn't his wife. Now I didn't care how many bimbos he was boinking, but a lot of people *did*, which made it a political issue (albeit a stupid one in my opinion). Do we really want to use the coercive power of the state to dig through the private lives of controversial scientists?

It's a pretense that that would serve any scientific purpose. Maybe Mann is intent on overthrowing capitalism and creating a socialist utopia. That would be relevant if he were running for dogcatcher, but it's irrelevant to what's in his scientific papers. Scientists publish papers all the time with ulterior motives, not the least of which is that they're being paid to do research that makes corporate sponsors happy. As long as what's in the paper passes muster, it's still science.

Comment: Re:authenticity (Score 1) 55

by hey! (#46789973) Attached to: Lying Eyes: Cyborg Glasses Simulate Eye Expressions

What about acting? Or fiction? These are artificial experiences that evoke real emotional responses. Once the right buttons in your brain are pushed, most of your brain can't tell the difference between what is real and what is synthetic.

Granted, authenticity in human interactions is important, but it's overrated. Fake engagement often is a perfectly acceptable substitute. Situations where people put considerable effort into *seeming* pleasant usually *are* more pleasant than they would be if everyone felt free to paste their indifference to you right on their faces.

So this is a very interesting technology. What's disturbing about it isn't that people might be fooled into thinking the user is truly interested; it's that the user himself no longer puts any effort into creating that illusion. What if that effort is in itself something important? What if fake engagement is often the prelude to real engagement? Maybe you have to start with polite interest and work your way up to the real thing; I suspect the dumber parts of your brain can't tell the difference. If that's true, taking the user's brain out of the interaction means that interaction will automatically be trapped on a superficial level. This already happens in bureaucratic situations where employees are reduce to rules-following automatons. Take the brain out of the equation and indifference follows.

I suspect that the researchers are well aware of these issues; I believe that I discern a certain deadpan, ironic puckishness on their part. People who truly view engagement with other people as an unwelcome burden don't work on technologies that mediate between people.

Comment: Re:do they have a progressive view? (Score 2) 304

by BobMcD (#46789453) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

Never actually been to the "bible-belt," have you? It shows in your bigotry against those of us who actually live here, the irony of which is not lost on me.

Having moved from the Ozarks to Dallas, I can comfortably say 'bible belt my ass'. DFW is heathen by comparison to the actual bible belt.

Comment: Re:wait, what? (Score 1) 456

by BobMcD (#46789345) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

He is right to contrast Whole Foods with Walmart:


In short, stupid people shop at both Walmart and Whole Foods. It's just that the Whole Foods stupid people are trying to let other people think for them, where as the Walmart stupid people don't particularly care.

Comment: Re:Bennett's Ego (Score 1) 226

by BobMcD (#46789139) Attached to: Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

Do you think that statement is incorrect? That for $10 million worth of effort, you could always find a new vulnerability in Apache, no matter how many iterations of bug-fixing you've already gone through?

I certainly do. First of all, there are only so many lines of code. Once you hypothetically 'fix' every one of them, you're done. Vulnerabilities exists because people are fallible and make mistakes, but ultimately there will be a limit and the assumption that this limit is effectively unreachable is absurd enough to require evidence on your part.

Programmers and crackers are equally human. They're using the same hardware and software systems to do the analysis. Assuming that the latter will ALWAYS win an arms race is flawed logic. And to be clear, you absolutely did communicate that there will never be a scenario where attackers can't find new exploits no matter how many iterations the programmers do.

Cynically true? Sure, go with your badself if it helps. But actually, honestly true? That's going to take some evidence on your part. Moreso than "I met this guy once".

Comment: Suggestions (Score 1) 1

by Arker (#46789127) Attached to: Thrifty system for volume billed Internet. -HELP
I dont think OS matters too much, but I would recommend Slackware specifically, since most Linux based systems these days have a lot more automatic stuff to disable for what you want.  But you can do it with any OS if you take the time to customize.

For the web browser you want to disable loading of images, scripts, and other extraneous nonsense automatically. This could mean lynx or links or emacs-www but it could also be FF with no script and request policy.

Seems to me the most important thing would be to have your own meter running though, so you have a way to check where you are at on your quota. I dont have a solution there, offhand.

Comment: Certainly semi-public state is the worst (Score 1) 161

by iamacat (#46787549) Attached to: Heartbleed Sparks 'Responsible' Disclosure Debate

Once the discoverer of the bug patched their own servers and the software creator has an official fix, the only ethical thing is to tell everyone at once. It is not realistic to expect a secret to be kept in a dozen independent companies with thousands of employees each. Also, why should Facebook get an unfair business advantage over Yahoo? Most users having dozens of accounts where overlapping private information is stored and get no benefit from just one server being patched.

Make sure a fix is available and then publish quickly so that bad actors have less time to develop exploits.

Comment: "A bit of urban grit"?? (Score 1) 1

by BobMcD (#46787205) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

This is good news if you are shopping for a place to live and don't mind a bit of urban grit. A quick search on Zillow indicates you can buy an apartment in Detroit for about what one of those high-tech cars costs.

Does that quick search on Zillow tell you whether or not that's a viable place to actually, you know, live?
Violent crime rate in 2012
Detroit: 1,206.8
U.S. Average: 214.0

It's later than you think, the joint Russian-American space mission has already begun.