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Comment Re:If ancient people taught us anything... (Score 1) 394 394

Rightfully, your post is currently showing for me as +5, Interesting. Unfortunately, that fact kinda invalidates your point. So, now we're apparently stuck in the "this sentence is a lie" paradox. Fortunately, it's also completely off topic, thus re-validating your point and setting the universe right again. Yay!


US, Israel Behind Flame Malware 382 382

The Washington Post is reporting that the sophisticated 'Flame' malware was created by the United States and Israel in order to collect intelligence on Iranian computer networks. The intel was to be used in a cyber-sabotage campaign intended to slow Iran's development of nuclear weapons. This follows confirmation a few weeks ago that the U.S. and Israel were behind Stuxnet, which caused problems at Iran's nuclear facilities. From the article: "The emerging details about Flame provide new clues to what is thought to be the first sustained campaign of cyber-sabotage against an adversary of the United States. 'This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,' said one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who added that Flame and Stuxnet were elements of a broader assault that continues today. 'Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.' ... The scale of the espionage and sabotage effort 'is proportionate to the problem that's trying to be resolved,' the former intelligence official said, referring to the Iranian nuclear program. Although Stuxnet and Flame infections can be countered, 'it doesn't mean that other tools aren't in play or performing effectively,' he said."

Comment Re:What do you expect? (Score 2) 488 488

The problem is that decision makers need actionable data in order to inform decisions. Whether this is for legislators parceling out funding or administrators deciding on admissions, it applies across the system. The system is designed so that the system works smoothly; not so that children are educated nor that society is improved. I would love to agree with you and say "let's just fix this glaring problem"; But, how? Just about everyone I've ever met who's associated with the education system knows that standardized tests are a joke; and they want, desperately, to enrich children's lives. But the system fights them at every turn. It's no conspiracy, it's emergent behaviour. How do we push this side-effect out from the system?

Comment No big deal (Score 2) 301 301

That's okay, I'll just head down the street to buy a copy from .... Oh, wait .... I know! I'll just go online and order it off .... Oh, shoot. Hmm, where did all the competition go? Oh well, I guess I'll just read whatever B&N or Amazon recommend for me..... Aaah, Excel For Dummies. Excellent.

Comment headline incorrect (Score 5, Insightful) 177 177

I love to hate on twitter as much as the next slashdotter, but the summary makes it clear that the headline is incorrect and misleading, possibly to the point of damaging Twitter's reputation. What you *meant* to say was:

Afghanistan news site TOLOnews Leaked Obama's Visit To Afghanistan (via Twitter)

Comment Re:"Yes, the January birthstone." (Score 3, Informative) 36 36

Actually, I found that little tidbit amusing, and I was surprised to see that nobody else commented yet on the irony of a connection between January and an optical diode

In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions,[1] thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past. The Romans dedicated the month of January to Janus.


MIT Fusion Researchers Answer Your Questions 244 244

You recently got the chance to ask a group of MIT researchers questions about fusion power, and they've now finished writing some incredibly detailed answers. They discuss the things we've learned about fusion in the past decade, how long it's likely to take for fusion to power your home, the biggest problems fusion researchers are working to solve, and why it's important to continue funding fusion projects. They also delve into the specifics of tokamak operation, like dealing with disruption events and the limitations on reactor size, and provide some insight into fusion as a career. Hit the link below for a wealth of information about fusion.

Comment Re:Titanic is sinking (Score 1) 440 440

Wrong analogy. A better one would've been the coach for a losing team. Say, the Toronto Maple Leafs, for example. Jim Balsillie should've completely stepped aside *at least* a year ago, and not doing so was a reckless move that cost the shareholders millions of dollars, and cost the company to miss a critical window to "get back in the game". Things don't look good for RIM right now, and from the outside, that appears to be largely due to this man's arrogance and pride. Maybe he had the "captain of the ship" analogy in his mind as well; who knows? Whatever the explanation, his resignation is long overdue and quite possibly too late.

This is a pretty sad story for me. As a Canadian IT worker, it will definitely impact my career; as someone who holds insurance and pays into the government's retirement fund, I know I've lost money even though I'm not technically a shareholder. I have friends who've worked for them and co-oped for them while getting their CS degrees at U of Waterloo. It's pretty sad to watch such a blazingly spectacular failure unfold from a company that had *everything* going for it.

Comment Measurement Error (Score 4, Insightful) 1276 1276

A scientist (or any academic) can always produce an interesting study with an interesting result, when they get to frame the question. This article summary starts out:

'The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea. But...

There's your problem right there. The democratic process does not exist to choose the "best" candidate or policy. Democracy is advocated on the belief that all individuals have an inalienable right to a degree of self-determination; to participate in the maintanance of the system that governs them. It is about being fundamentally free, not correct.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis