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Comment: Re:Compactness and Readability (Score 1) 163

by Kjella (#49357573) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?

Well in this case I'd say there's Google and Wikipedia, use them. The source code is not the right place to teach someone about what CRC32 is or when, where or why you might want to use it. It's almost as bad as comments that try to teach you the programming language you're in. If you're implementing something that's not in an RFC or standard of some sort, I'd agree with you.

Comment: Re:Pilots must remain in control (Score 1) 283

by Kjella (#49356183) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Or they could start making horribly bad decisions because they have no clue what to do when the computer glitches, like with Air France 447. I don't know the number of ways an airplane could break and probably neither does the pilots, they just drive the thing. I'm pretty sure the engineers at Airbus and Boeing can simulate a whole host of instruments failing or malfunctioning to add redundancy and determine which instruments are actually unreliable, probably far better than a pilot. If we increase engine power and our airspeed doesn't go up, are the engine control failing or the airspeed measurements? There's probably other instruments that can tell you the difference, but I wouldn't have much faith in the pilots figuring it out on the spot. Degraded autopilot mode might still be better than manual mode.

Comment: Re:Don't make it impossible, just make it hard (Score 1) 283

by Kjella (#49355957) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

The whole point of the cabin lock-out is that a terrorist can't threaten/torture the code out of a crew member and gain access to the cockpit. All you need to do is add a second terrorist to press the other switch and they now got access to the cockpit. That would be silly.

The right solution is always having two persons in the cockpit. That way one would have to assault and incapacitate/kill the other which is a pretty big psychological barrier compared to turning a few knobs and waiting for impact. Anyone in mortal danger will also put up a good fight and hopefully alert other crew, who may then try to unlock the door and divide the attacker's attention. Or with luck maybe the attacked person can manage to hit the unlock switch.

It's not a perfect system but you should also realize the current crash was probably not the fastest way to crash the plane. There's almost certainly a "you're malfunctioning, give me manual control" override on the flight controls and after that a pilot could send the plane nose down in a spin which would make it almost impossible for any other crew to reach the cockpit within a matter of seconds, be almost impossible to recover from and with impact in less than a minute from flight altitude. The Germanwings pilot crashed it slow because he had all the time in the world as long as he kept the captain locked out.

Comment: Re:Memorizing site-unique passwords isn't possible (Score 2) 245

by Kjella (#49349625) Attached to: Generate Memorizable Passphrases That Even the NSA Can't Guess

The real solution is to use password management software like KeePass, LastPass, or 1Password. Lock your password program with your good password from Diceware, and use unique, truly random passwords for all the websites you've registered on.

At the cost of travelling around with the keys to the kingdom. Imagine you're on vacation and you want to pop into an internet cafe and log into /. because abstinence. Except it has a keylogger/trojan that'll steal your key file and your master password. Now you've compromised your email, online bank, ebay, paypal, steam and all the other passwords that might really matter. Personally I tend to keep three:

1) My mail, because it gets all the password resets.
2) My bank, but it's using two-factor anyway.
3) My "assorted junk" password where I might lose my forum account or whatever that doesn't *really* matter.

I really try not to use the first two on an untrusted device unless I really have to, because afterwards I need to change it. In fact if I know I will need to use it I'll change it on a trusted device up front and restore it later, good memorized passwords are a pain to relearn.

Comment: Re:Still waiting for a "hackability meter" (Score 1) 157

by Kjella (#49346733) Attached to: Many Password Strength Meters Are Downright Weak, Researchers Say

What we need is a meter on a web site describing how much effort they put into server security, how big their target profile is (how many entry points they have) and a sign that says "??? days since a total data breach!", and then the user can decide if they want an account there at all. How's that coming?

Are you secretly planning to use it as a Dunning-Kruger meter and avoid all that self-rate as 10 out of 10? Because if you think you'll get anything else useful out of it, I want some of what you're smoking...

Comment: Re:Absolutely crucial (Score 1) 135

A good start would be what is proposed in the press release: Harmonized VAT rates and rules for digital goods.

The problem is that unifying VAT and classifications basically regulating half a tax system without regulating the other half. You can tax income and you can tax consumption and there's pros and cons to both. If we're forced to lower our VAT, the other taxes would probably increase to compensate or the other way around. In addition many of the VAT brackets are made for a specific purpose because the goods are either particularly good or bad for society, like taxing books less (knowledge is good) and tobacco more (very bad for public health).

For example, around here we have about half VAT on food. If we can't keep that exception, prices would rise 10%+ on the spot. So would our taxes, in practice we'd probably funnel that money into agricultural subsidies instead which would make our food cheaper, thus creating an even more heavily protected, subsidized agriculture. And the things we want to punish, just add other taxes instead of VAT, unless the EU wants to regulate all consumption tax. That would be a tough sell, I think.

What products and services end up in what VAT bracket is sometimes controversial, for example here in Norway at the moment there's 0% VAT on buying a physical newspaper and 25% VAT on a digital newspaper, because it doesn't meet the criteria for an exemption. Also eating at a restaurant and takeaway ended up in different brackets, so if you take your burger outside and eat it on the sidewalk it's cheaper than sitting down at McDonald's. We have an exception for culture, they were probably thinking more like theater, opera, concerts but exotic dancers won at court as an "artistic performance".

Not saying it can't happen, but if it does it's a big step on the way towards a "United States of Europe".

Comment: Re:Leave then (Score 1) 854

by Kjella (#49339635) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

No one is forcing you to associate with anyone. But as a BUSINESS, you will provide the same service to everyone regardless of race/creed/religion/etc.

Funny, that never seems ot work when the elementary school teacher also dances at the local strip club. Then it's never about non-discrimination based on job performance and all about your employer's right to not associate with you anymore. Let's face it, you've picked some attributes that have hardly anything to do with your job performance like race, religion, sex etc. and "blessed" them while other equally irrelevant attributes can get you fired on the spot.

And a white baker should not have to serve a black customer, right? (...) You may not like being "forced" to serve black people.

I'm not sure why you need to put "forced" in quotes. If you're a white supremacist running a self-owned bakery and wouldn't serve a black customer voluntarily, then clearly it's involuntary aka forced. As forced as the health and safety regulations and paying your employees minimum wage I guess, but it's something the government tells you that you must do. Now I know certain libertarians try to make great leaps of logic to act like they're different, but fundamentally they're not. If you want to throw out all government regulation, you also throw out what keeps the baker from refusing to serve the black guy.

Comment: Re:Nukes will always be in our back-pocket (Score 1) 228

by Kjella (#49337893) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

Your argument sounds roughly like the one I heard was common after WWI, after millions dying in static trench wars they thought barbed wire and machine guns would basically end war since any attacker would be sending their troops into a massive suicidal bullet rain. At the time it was probably true, remember the car was in its very infancy. Except over the next 20 years the Germans created Panzers and Blitzkrieg tactics outmaneuvering and overrunning France in six weeks.

So maybe in the 1950s or 1980s you could send ICBMs and have them reach their destination, but they're always working on laser weapons, missile-destroying missiles like the Patriot missile and a host of other highly classified projects. In case you missed the memo NATO has been working on a ballistic missile shield, allegedly against rogue nations like Iran and North Korea but Russia is also not amused. There might come a time where the "mutually" part of "assured destruction" is no longer valid, it's not like we invented nukes and war is now over, forever. Then you're being extremely naive.

Comment: Re:No such thing (Score 1) 339

by Kjella (#49332415) Attached to: Feds Attempt To Censor Parts of a New Book About the Hydrogen Bomb

No such thing as a real secret any more, if there ever was. If the "secret" is based on scientific research, it's been published

This may come as a shock to you, but most large companies have a big R&D division that follow the scientific method while rarely or never publishing their work. Intel knows a lot about making CPUs. Boeing knows a lot about making planes. Ford knows a lot about making cars. They're going to use that to make money, not to blab away the details to their competitors. Sure, Intel's processors are based on physics... but good look making a 14nm processor from their PR slides.

Comment: Re:How many minutes until this is mandatory? (Score 1) 280

by Kjella (#49332219) Attached to: Ford's New Car Tech Prevents You From Accidentally Speeding

If the conditions are so bad you can't read road signs, you shouldn't be driving.

Under the right conditions snow will stick to the signs looking like these signs even though it's otherwise clear. It doesn't happen often, but when it does I think the self-driving car is pretty much screwed. Humans seem to get by on a combination of routine and heuristics.

Comment: Re:Amazing post (Score 2) 487

by Kjella (#49331735) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

That they need to eat 10,000 calories a day to sustain them doesn't mean they could eat 2000 kcal and net a -8000 loss. The most strenuous one day event I've done burns 5-6000 kcal, anything less than 3-4000 kcal in and you're likely to run into a proverbial brick wall. It's common to try overdoing it on exercise while cutting the intake and the result is a body with no power at all, that engine needs fuel to work and pure body fat won't do.

But over to the obese people, when I started out I could do maybe 350-400 kcal/hour and I'd probably not last the full hour. And the body feels like total shit afterwards, it's real easy to end up with excessive strain due to weight on muscles and joints that aren't used to it. It's almost like a U-curve, if you're fat and don't strain your body you're pretty comfy. If you're healthy and exercise you're comfy. But in the middle is a rather ugly place. So you come home, feel bloody miserable but hey you exercised and did good so you can give yourself a little bonus right? Turns out the kind of bonus you need on your high-sugar, high-fat diet pretty much negates any calorie benefit.

If you don't start with your intake you'll never get anywhere. Exercise is a nice accelerator, but it's really, really hard to counteract a +500 kcal intake with exercise. And that's not particularly much soda, snacks, sweets and junk food.

Comment: Re:eliminate extra sugar (Score 3, Interesting) 487

by Kjella (#49331515) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

The thing is, you don't really need to all OCD on the calories, just get it ballpark right.

Veggies and fruit? Mostly <50 kcal/100g
Lean food? 100 kcal/100g.
Average food? 200 kcal/100g.
Fatty food? 300 kcal/100g
Sweets? 400 kcal/100g
Snacks? 500 kcal/100g

Oh and beer 200kcal/0.5L... partying is hard on your weight :/ particularly since it makes me hungry for late night supersized junk food too, which is as stupid as it gets. Volume is also a big thing, when I wanted to binge I could make myself 300 grams of pasta, add 400 grams of sausage and pour a glass of 500 ml sauce over it. That's a 3*350 (uncooked, ~100 cooked)+4*200+5*40 = 2000 kcal dish. I knew it was too much, but I guess I just didn't want to know how much. These days I make about 40% of that and it's still a slightly oversized dinner. So I'd say weighing it is the main thing, you can mostly ballpark how healthy it is.

The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at least until we've finished building it.