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Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 356

If I hadn't already commented above, I'd mod you down ;-)

Seriously, though, any complicated moderation system would be just that: complicated.

As it is, moderation is a lot like life: arbitrary and unfair.

It would be interesting to put Reddit style +/- buttons beside the posts, develop "clouds" of people who think alike, then only show you the posts that agree (or disagree) with your point of view. In a system like this, I'd opt to see the posts that are universally accepted - appealing to the largest constellation of viewpoints - first.

So, who owns /. these days? Are they willing to invest $100K in developing, testing, and rolling out another Beta?

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 356

If the test specifies performance under specific conditions, it can be assumed that performance under "real world" conditions will vary from the test. Whether real world emissions performance is worse, or better, than during the test conditions isn't really an indication of cheating, any more than the variance between advertised city/hwy fuel economy and real world conditions.

If you want your standards to apply to real world conditions, your standard test needs to exercise the unit under test in real world conditions. Anything "simpler, for practicality's sake" will necessarily be an approximation at best, uncorrelated at worst.

Comment Re: Debian Spiral (Score 1) 170

I don't know the intricate details, I do know that updating Raspbian on a Pi2 to use systemd reduces boot time from 30 seconds to 15... that's pretty cool in my book.

I'm sure there's some way to get that 15 second boot time without using systemd, but I challenge anyone to do it more simply - starting from a standard distro.

Comment Re:Cultural? (Score 1) 472

>minimum number of people that would need to be in on it

3-7: The writers and approvers of the local market specification
3-7 more (possibly overlapping): The writers and approvers of the local market acceptance testing protocols
"A couple" more: The guys who actually coded the specific thing
"A couple" more (supposed to be different from the last couple): The guys who actually tested the thing
3-7 more (possibly overlapping): The people who read and approved the testing report
"A couple" more: Quality guys who audited and approved the whole thing.

Best guess: a minimum of 15-20 people overall had some responsibility to detect this kind of deviant behavior; of those, sadly, probably only 4 or 5 were paying attention when it happened "on their watch."

The people who are on these signing party approver lists often don't read what they're signing, which is a broken aspect of quality culture everywhere.

Comment Re:Cultural? (Score 1) 472

Anything resembling an ISO9001 quality system would require a specification and acceptance criteria that demonstrate that the specification has been met, with documented testing... if a company the size of VW has "a couple of engineers" who fulfill the roles of: product definition and specification, implementation, test, and quality control - they're intentionally putting people in conflict of interest positions - which should be violating other 9001 (or whatever is the automotive specialization thereof's) requirements....

Comment Re:A remarkable number of people are idiots (Score 1) 361

Less than 100 IQ is supposed to be 1/2 the population, but it rarely works out that way.

My psychology professor administered a "demonstration" IQ test in class, possible scores ranged from 100 if you got everything wrong to 130 if you got everything right. Actual IQ tests aren't this bad, but they are skewed in this direction.

If you did disenfranchise 1/2 the population, it would likely be the 1/2 of the population that's easily manipulated and motivated to revolt... I like to avoid revolting political systems when I can.

Comment Re:Do you want me to code, or deal with the suits? (Score 1) 325

So, talking to the suits is a job - it doesn't have to be a boss' job.

You might think that all suits give orders that must be followed, but a smart suit knows that his minions know their jobs better than he does, so, if you can convince somebody with 100x the net worth of your average skilled worker to be humble enough to listen and cooperate with the people who make money for him, he just might make more money than if throws his weight around and tells them how to do things that worked best 30 years ago when he made his fortune...

So, if your investors / board / etc. are cool with that kind of thing, then they just need liason, communicators - which are essential in any organization of size. It's a traditional "boss" role, but I've seen the good managers of the past 20 years or so backing away from that kind of "hands on" management. The top level, not so much, but the good middle managers aren't bosses, they are insulators, noise filters, and communicators of the things that matter.

Comment Re:What makes someone a Troll? (Score 1) 153

Patents were conceived when 17-20 years was a reasonable time to protect something - things were slower to develop and market then.

In the world of software patents, 17-20 months would be a more reasonable time frame. After which point, I would suggest an escalating "patent protection tax." Say you've patented a profitable idea, and at 18 months you're starting to see revenues build. Is it worth $10,000 to continue patent protection? If yes, pay the tax and get your protection continued, if no, let the idea fall to public domain (never to be patentable again). Review again at 36 months, but raise the cost to $20,000, again at 72 months with a cost of $40,000, again at 9 years with a cost of $80,000, and keep doubling the cost of "renewing patent protection" every 3 years until it is more economical to allow the idea into the public domain. Truly valuable patents will be protected for "a nominal fee" while nuisance trolls won't have any way to finance the cost of a submarine long enough to make it pay.

I think the same should be done for copyright - if Mickey Mouse and Lord of the Rings are valuable enough to keep protecting, then pay a tax and keep your exclusive rights, but make sure that the tax increases at a rate substantially higher than inflation, so that, eventually, these things find their way into the public domain.

Comment Re:just a few companies. Pay defendants' legal cos (Score 1) 153

If the system had an escalating charge system like: first suit every month is free, second one you pay, third one you pay double, etc. it could make life more difficult for single entities... they'd have to fragment their identity to make the trolling cost-effective. Then you have to place a suitable cost on fragmenting of identities, which is another thing we've needed for a long time (the cost of creating a shell corporation is just too damn low.)

Comment Re:That may or may not be true... (Score 1) 405

I'm semi serious about Cowspiracy - some numbers thrown around in the movie are clearly off the wall, but they're making a valid case about a valid point: the meat we eat has a bigger impact on the environment than we, and all our factories and cars and planes and ships, do.

If you think clean energy is a hard sell, try convincing the majority of people to eat tofu when they can afford steak.

Comment Re:That may or may not be true... (Score 1) 405

You can't run a petroleum extraction and refinement operation without governments noticing. Governments have the power to levy taxes. It can be done, if enough governments have the political will to do so, and the ones that may not be eager to do so can be influenced to join in lots of ways. Political will comes from the people who put governments in power - in theory: the voters, in practice: the people who control the voters opinions via education, propaganda, and in some places extortion and bribery. There are also dictatorships and other forms of government - but, in the current global picture, democracies (including quasi-democratic oligarchies and representative republics) are the majority controlling force, if the "democracies" decide something, the dictators and others can be brought in line.

For a fun look at another angle of the problem, see "Cowspiracy" - but, just because kooky movies make the future sound all doom and gloom - doesn't mean the kooky movies aren't right.

Even if we get the political will to convert from fossil fuels to something cleaner, we're also going to need to fix other problems, ultimately including the population boom.

Comment Re:That may or may not be true... (Score 4, Insightful) 405

If the "externalized costs" were incorporated into the prices you use to make your decisions, then you would decide more wisely.

The cost of a pack of cigarettes isn't just the cost to grow, process and deliver the tobacco to you, it is also the cost of treating lung cancer - not to mention the social cost of pissing off everyone who doesn't want to die prematurely.

The cost of continuing to pump greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere isn't just the cost of extracting the fossil fuels and using them, it's the cost of relocating our cities to higher ground, and other very expensive consequences. We may pass this cost off to future generations and get away (dead) without paying for it, but it is a price that will be paid.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly