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Comment: Re:How did your senator vote? (Score 1) 428

by Frobnicator (#48420873) Attached to: Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

That's cool... is there some sort of OKCupid interface to it yet, so you can see which representatives match your interests the best, and alerts you when they vote against what you say you're interested in?

Bills are not that simple. By the time they are entered into THOMAS for tracking they have already been through many different groups. Lots of fun little additions have been made. Also by design it is extremely difficult to track down who added what and when; there is no button to track down the details of an individual line like you get with version control; it becomes "these were attached by someone" rather than "Sen. Johnson added line 47 requiring additional oversight, then Sen Smith modified line 47 to remove the oversight". Common citizens do not see the change log, they are only allowed to see specific checkpoints.

Critically, these are NOT little 10-line precise changes. Instead, this is a bill that adds some limits to NSA spying, and a bill that re-authorizes the patriot act, and a bill that gives the Attorney General the ability to rubber stamp "emergency production" of business records acquisition without a judge, and a bill that grants immunity ("liability protection") to those who hand over records without a court order, and a bill that pays people under the table for giving information to the government if they bypass the courts and just hand it over, and a bill that allows the DNI and AG to bypass the requirement to declassify information, that is, a bill to decrease transparency and remove important data from federal reports. And more.

It is 7000 words and 46 pages. Many similar bills exceed 100 pages. Some bills, especially those with critical financial items, grow into the thousand page range with all kinds of ugly growths attached.

Hooking that up with an OKCupid style is quite difficult. Did they reject it because of the NSA spying portion? Did they reject it because of the pen register changes? Did they reject it because of the declassification portion? Did they reject it because of the additional ability to bypass the courts? Did they reject it because it re-authorizes the USA PATRIOT act?

Trying to match it more in an OKCupid style, you may really like the beautiful eyes, but find the cluster of moles and cracked teeth rather ugly, the personal history of high school dropout insufficient, the three aborted teenage pregnancies and collection of STD's rather bothersome, and the extensive criminal history and drug additions are not exactly spouse material ... but those eyes, they are really quite lovely.

Comment: Re:So basically (Score 1) 428

by Frobnicator (#48420667) Attached to: Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

It curtailed some domestic spying, but extended it in other areas, and also extended the PATRIOT Act. My guess is you would have criticized him if he voted in favor of it as well.

That's the issue with so many of these bills. Politicians start with an important bill that is very likely to pass, and then attach all kinds of unpalatable features to it.

They are not little 10-line precise changes to policy. This particular bill is 7000 words in a 46-page PDF. Often they are in bills that are tens of thousands of words, sometimes hundreds of thousands of words, and hundreds of pages in length.

It is easy to headline "${PoliticalParty} objects to bill with ${Feature}" but to not mention the fact that the bill included several hundred additional features.

You've got a headline "Thirsty person rejects glass of water", but buried deep down in the details you will read the water is yellow and brown and came from the toilet. The thirsty person will turn that drink down and wait for something a little more palatable.

Comment: Re:Silly article, waste of time (Score 1) 316

Well there's the crux of their whole flawed argument. They're conflating "correct decision" with "best outcome" possible. Human judgement and morals don't work on what will result in the best outcome, but what will result in the most reasonable outcome.

Very true. Also, different humans have different versions of "most reasonable outcome".

Many deaths through history are caused by quite conflicting goals. War, obviously, is different groups killing over conflicting outcomes. Mafia/cartel/gang/etc kill to get their own best outcomes even though other groups strongly reject the premise.

Comment: Re:Or just practicing for an actual job (Score 1) 319

by Frobnicator (#48373325) Attached to: Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

Would using frameworks make you a cheater? Would copying a very know pattern deem you a cheater? ... If you want to stomp out cheaters, come up with problem domains with very unique and strange processes that wouldn't be found in the wild.

The class is algorithms and data structures. The entire point is to learn the internals of common structures. The student needs to write and learn about linked lists, not learn how to use a linked list library. The student needs to write and learn about trees, not learn how to use a tree library. Learn about and implement several different sorting algorithms, not how to use a sorting library.

A student's role is different than a job in industry. A student is attempting to learn the material. They need to learn how the internals work. Many of these algorithms and data structures are used all over inside standard libraries. They are so common that every professional should know them flat-out. For a class about the algorithms and data structures they need to write their own tools. For a class about something else or in the industry they can use a library if they want.

It is the same reason we teach kids times tables and make them do long division rather than just hand them a calculator in the third grade. When the study is covering mastery of the material and understand how things are manipulated they need to do it by hand. This way the student will actually develop the ability to use the knowledge when they need it.

Comment: Re:Yeah, right... (Score 2) 458

by Frobnicator (#48361841) Attached to: Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

Argh, didn't proofread my edits and two links broke the gender gap paragraph. Forgot that greater than and less then signs get treated as html blocks and get eaten.

From various reports the first one in a tab I closed, the second one like this we get stats. Poor mothers, UNDER $25K, usually stay at home. About 45% work. Once the individuals in the family make between $30K to $60K each it is common for both to work, with 77% of mothers in the workforce. But once they enter the "highly paid" range of over $90K of husband's salary the mothers start to tend to stay home, and once the husbands hit $150K it drops back to 43% of the women working. A large part of the gender gap in tech jobs comes from worker choice, not employer bias.

Comment: Re:Yeah, right... (Score 4, Interesting) 458

by Frobnicator (#48361757) Attached to: Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

Well, according to government statistics, the "Percent Black or African-American" represent about 7.1% of 2011 graduates and about 7.4% of the workforce, and both are trending upwards. Compare the roughly 7.4% of black computer programmers with 10.8% of the general population. So a smaller percent of the population get the training, but those who get the training are not discriminated against for hiring purposes. (Not talking about wages, just hiring diversity.)

From the same report with a 10-year granularity, females make up about 33.9% of the 2011 graduates and about 26.6% of the computer programming workforce. Women are also making up an increasing number of the workforce that changes based on age. The report notes "these estimates could be consistent with an age effect. That is, when women are young, they are more likely to be employed in STEM, but as they age, they move out of STEM employment." The trend lines show 35-year-old females in the group as a growing population, with the growth dropping rapidly by age groups. Compare that with the 48% females in the general national workforce. So in hiring diversity women do make up a lower number by diversity but it is largely by their own choice rather than hiring discrimination.

One of the real problems with the gender gap is that many times it is a sign of wealth or poverty -- that is, in various demographics of wealthy households and poor households women are not part of the workforce. It forms a bell-shaped curve. Poor mothers ($90K) the line starts to rapidly drop again. So splitting out the numbers, if the individuals are making $30K-$50K then often the mother is educated and also the mother works. But once the family has highly paid workers, with the husband highly paid making >$90K then the women again tend to stay home with children rapidly trending back down to about 43% working once you've crossed the roughly $150K husband's income. Since the tech field is very highly paid that puts the gender gap as a voluntary choice, not an involuntary hiring discrimination.

Based both on what I have seen and also what I have read in various reports, the problem (if there is one) is at the source end of the education pipeline. When it comes to "Black or African American" demographics the number of graduates and number of workers is at parity. When it comes to females, the numbers are that women who choose to stick with the field are readily employed and that many women leave as they age at a rate far more rapid than other fields.

Comment: Re:Vote by mail. (Score 1) 388

by Frobnicator (#48314619) Attached to: Another Election, Another Slew of Voting Machine Glitches

Yeah, no one could ever tamper with the mail.

So you start with a fairly reliable delivery service, add in severe federal penalties for tampering with the mail, then additional severe federal penalties for interfering with an election.

If you are worried about tampering (or if you didn't send your ballot in time, they must be postmarked the day before the election) you can deliver them yourself to any polling place or the election office on voting day. If you still don't trust that a paper ballot delivered to the polling place will be tampered with, you are more paranoid than most.

And as others have mentioned, compare the risk of a mailed ballot being lost or tampered with versus an electronic vote being lost or tampered with. I have more trust in the mail-based paper system.

Comment: Vote by mail. (Score 4, Interesting) 388

by Frobnicator (#48314369) Attached to: Another Election, Another Slew of Voting Machine Glitches

Meh. I voted by mail a week ago. Got a paper ballot. Had lots of time to look up details on all the issues, including the judges, some obscure issues, and the people I'd never heard of.

Much better solution. No lines. No scheduling around work. Several weeks to study out everything.

I highly recommend it for everybody.

Comment: Re:18 US Code 1343, Wire Fraud (Score 4, Interesting) 206

Re:18 US Code 1343, Wire Fraud .... Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud [...]

No fraud took place. Hoax, perhaps, but not fraud...

Keep trying...

So first you demand that people cite actual laws, and you refuse to accept things like "copyright infringement", "slander of title", or "defamation of character".

And then when someone cites chapter and verse of the law you reply with a wikipedia link saying it isn't correct.

No, for the law cited above it was fraud. The definition in that chapter is clear: "For the purposes of this chapter, the term “scheme or artifice to defraud” includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services." They were expecting the honest service of the specific newspaper. Instead they received a different service, an intentionally deceptive site that transmits something called a "computer contaminant" in the law. Chapter 63 (criminal fraud) doesn't have any of the now-common exceptions "except for law enforcement as part of an investigation". Officers can commit quite a lot of what would normally be crimes when they get court approval, but fraud is not on that list.

Their malware is covered under at least one of the variations in the state law, RCW 9A.52.110, 120, and 130. Since the government may argue it wasn't done with the intent to commit another crime (since they were intending to enforce laws but accidentally committed crimes in the process) then 110 may be out, but 120 and 130 both apply.

For copyright, you can pick quite a few different laws under title 17. Several of the exclusive rights in 106 were violated, as were 113. Their designs were protected so 1301. You can pick and choose quite a few more under Copyright as well, with a notable absence of court-authorized police action exemption.

For trademarks the newspapers have certainly trademarked their logos, names, and probably a few other distinctive elements.15 USC 1114 seems to have that covered quite thoroughly, including penalties against DNS hijacking. And thanks to 15 USC 122, they cannot claim immunity for that one.

Defamation is pretty strong since their use injures the newspaper's reputation. People will now pause and think "why should I go there since the government hijacks them"? While there is the statute, it is now the court's test that qualifies it. The four-prong test by the court is, first, a false element purported to be fact (in this case, they communicated that the false website was true), second that it was published (clearly the fact was published), third, actual fault on the person making the statement amounting to at least negligence (in fact, it amounts to the level of fraud, as covered above), and fourth, some harm to the subject of the statement (which can be shown as a harm to trust and harm to their stock). Again, there is no "official government action immunity" to commit fraud thanks to 42 USC 1983. Now if they had limited it to the very specific individuals under investigation this one might not apply as a legal intercept, but since they chose to throw a broad net and infected thousands, causing a huge impact to their brand the single authorized intercept exemption doesn't apply.

I'm sure there are many more, but while some laws make exception for court-authorized police action, these specific laws do not.

Comment: Re:So, perfume? (Score 1) 53

by Frobnicator (#48234833) Attached to: Rosetta Probe Reveals What a Comet Smells Like

Sounds like a list of ingredients for perfume. Rosetta perfume, anyone?

Sure! I mean, I may not care much for horse urine, but we use components of urine in lots of perfumes.

The combo of eggs, almonds, and vinegar sound tolerable as pickled eggs are a popular dish in many countries. And alcohol scented, no problems there. Sweet ether sounds reasonable, as well.

Time to fire up the marketing machine.

Comment: Re:At last... (Score 1) 79

by Frobnicator (#48205223) Attached to: DHS Investigates 24 Potentially Lethal IoT Medical Devices

Looks like it is out in more than just the report. More news agencies are publishing extra details.

The news agencies are pointing out the brand (Hospira) and the exact models of devices that are Internet-controllable. They mention the type of signals that need to be sent (multiple commands to infuse the drug) and they discuss the security measures already in place.

It seems the only thing they left out of news stories is the actual payload.

Comment: Re:At last... (Score 1) 79

by Frobnicator (#48205173) Attached to: DHS Investigates 24 Potentially Lethal IoT Medical Devices

This statement comes so late... The security community has been saying that for years! What happened to forward-thinking?

In the engineering community that is so standard it entered into the common usage. "Fail safe", meaning that for any failure you need to go to the safe option. A gate or switch or lock should either fail open or closed, which one is safe depends on the circumstances.

On a more prophetic note, the story two weeks ago predicting the first online murder by the end of the year seems that much closer. The reports nearly give explicit instructions.

Seems like this Billy Rios researcher identified the problem but didn't kill anyone with it. But he could have if he wanted. Someone else could read the details and figure they are anonymous enough to flip the switch just for grins and giggles.

Comment: Re:"Productive" has a pretty clear definition (Score 1) 253

by Frobnicator (#48153201) Attached to: Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If women want to take all of the jobs, I'm good with that. I'm looking forward to being a 1950's house wife in 2015 -- you know, with modern kitchen appliances, big-screen tv's, music in every room, and modern cleaning tools. I'll even throw in DIY home renovations if it means that I don't need to deal with commuting, clients, bosses, and, you know, actual work. We won't even discuss spending time with children. Men, it's time to let women work hard and pay for everything. I'm ready to stay home and cook -- I love to cook.

I did the "stay at home Dad" thing for a few years. It is a pretty sweet deal in many respects. Today I do contract development work and am at home as often as I can be.

Many of the parenting tasks were mind numbing and thankless, but that's so different from software development. My wife would sometimes complain that I was putting too much effort into child activities, but I think think the results were awesome. Not only did I get to spend a bunch of time with my kids during their formative years, I got to live many things vicariously (I was a latchkey child and missed a lot), I had frequent trips and annual passes to local zoos and the local aviary, but we also spent a lot of time at learning-oriented parks, museums, libraries, and more. We did lots of tech experiments and science stuff, including playing around with microcontrollers and circuit boards and servos, dabbling in chemistry, making model rockets, and assorted other geek stuff. The kids are all intellectually skilled, great readers, and both talk about and do big things. One of my daughters (now in high school) complained about how petty most of her classmates are, more concerned about friends not immediately returning texts or teachers demanding that they actually turn in homework (gasp!) rather than bigger issues, and I openly commiserate while inwardly praise just how awesome she turned out.

Yes, stay at home if you can. It is worth it. Women who want to work all day can have it! Contract from home in your spare time, software development is a great field for that.

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score -1, Troll) 265

by Frobnicator (#48132435) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

OP might just be getting a lot of legitimate list traffic that they signed up for. That isn't spam, you asked for that and need to hit 'unsubscribe'.

For me personally, I don't use gmail regularly, only to get access to Google's services. I'm careful to NOT opt in to anything with the account on the very rare occasions I need it. On the ultra-rare occasion I need to log in to the gmail account it is always filled with spam --- from Google itself. Whenever I add a Google service it automatically opts in by itself to spam me.

Just checking it now, I've got an enormous list under a tab called "promotions" with ads from Google Play. I've got a similar list under "Social" filled with weekly ads from YouTube. And I've got a weekly notice of how other people are using AdSense. Then I've got a bunch of "circle requests" from a bunch of spammy-looking people.

So gmail's spam filter works for me --- if it ends up in gmail, it is spam.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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