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Comment Spark Filters' IBM 402 (Score 1) 618 618

My favorite story in this category has to be Sparkler Filters based in Conroe, TX. Apparently, they still have a IBM 402, the only known remaining working system of this classic 1948 model. The Computer History Museum tried to coax the company in selling their system to them as an exhibit, but apparently, they failed. The company will reconsider as they slowly phase out the punch card system for PC's.

Comment Suffering of a few vs. suffering of a billion (Score 1) 93 93

It's an unfortunate situation for those with the rare conditions; there's a lot more potential profit in finding a way to genetically prevent pain for billions of people than it is to cure the handful with the condition.

This one line in the opening comment rubbed me the wrong way, that some how, the pain and suffering of those billions of people is less important than the handful ill with a rare condition. It's not just crassly about profits, but it's a real ethical dilemma - maybe for the greater good, greatest bang for your research buck, focusing on those billions is a greater benefit to humanity than the small handful with an extremely rare condition. I hate making this statement because I don't want to downplay the severe suffering of those with rare genetic disorders, but I feel the issue is more nuanced than the hand waving the original post does on the trade off.

Comment Have you even looked at their reports? (Score 1) 154 154

Clearly you don't read GAO's reports: they have an entire section dedicated to all the problems in the Federal government including F-35 or defense acquisition as a whole. Unfortunately, the people who they report to, Congress, doesn't seem to really pay attention to what they publish unless it aligns with their scapegoat of the day.

Comment Maybe Not Specific Degree But General Direction (Score 1) 306 306

I always viewed the bachelors degree not as a gift of learning but as a demonstration of basic literacy in a particular subject area. I don't expect an engineer to be an expert in their field coming out of college, but if they have an engineering degree, I can have some confidence that they at least understand basic chemistry, physics and more complicated mathematics while also being able to handle a little bit of stress and get stuff done. Same with an art degree - they may not be an expert in their particular field, but at least they have demonstrated some level of competency in terms of artistic sense, a level of "trainability" in the tools used in the art field, and the minimum grit in getting things done. Certainly not saying that people without a college degree don't have these characteristics, but a college degree at least provides an easily visible certification that helps reduce the risk of a dud hire.

Comment Re:Wasn't Really Trying to Hide in the First Place (Score 4, Informative) 219 219

Should add... if you actually read the article, the "pseudonym" he was posting under was nothing more than the title of "Shahjahanpur (City) News" with his photograph right there on it. He just setup a second Facebook account act as a news feed.

Comment Wasn't Really Trying to Hide in the First Place... (Score 2) 219 219

Even though he went by an alias on Facebook, he did post his own picture on the account. I don't think he was even seriously trying to conceal who he was; he probably didn't expect the corrupt official to take such a drastic step. Given that case, there's nothing that Facebook can do in this kind of situation.

Comment Sounds like the Internet (Score 2) 176 176

All kinds of engineering talent, organizational expertise, a logistics and trade network that spanned the Mediterranean world; were necessary to run something like the Colosseum. Those loads of wild animals(some pretty exotic) and ample supplies of variously trained gladiators don't just deliver themselves, you know; nor is building that much stadium seating with rocks and manual labor exactly trivial.(Never mind the 'let's flood the place and have a lethal naval battle' days, those are a huge pain.)

Sounds kind of like the Internet - millions of advances in science, engineering, commerce and logistics across the entire planet so individuals can get cat videos and porn on demand.

Comment CMU Should Have Had "No Poaching" Clauses (Score 1) 234 234

I am really surprised that CMU didn't include any "No Poaching" clauses in their partnership with Uber. This is standard practice in most partnerships in the private sector for this very scenario. Clearly CMU didn't, or didn't do it correctly, and Uber took them to the shed - stepped in with the partnership, identified the people who were key, then quickly gutted the institution of their key talent. Maybe there was arrogance on CMU's part, thinking that their professors and researchers would not be tempted away from tenure and university prestige for something like money... not realizing the kind of money that Uber would throw around.

Comment Re:Looks like the prophet's gunmen (Score 1) 1097 1097

Completely agreed. People want causes, a purpose for their lives. Whether it be following God, bringing about the "proletariat revolution", liberating your "people," defending the Republic, or whatnot, people look for causes and many of them don't mind martyrdom in the name of that greater good.

Comment Kicked around not just large powers but NGO's too (Score 1) 161 161

Not to be too cynical, but the Bolivians are used to being kicked around by larger countries. They know what to expect and how to respond and fight back. Assange however takes this to a new level of humiliation for them: the Bolivians have found out that they're now pawns of a western megalomaniac who before they assumed was an ally or at least a friendly. That, and at least the large imperialist powers had the courtesy to apologize. Assange doesn't even bother, saying that his role in violating Bolivian national sovereignty was for the "greater good."

It's like an out of control police force, who, operating on an anonymous tip, kicks down your door and beats you, violating your civil rights. Yes, that's bad, but it's even more humiliating when you find out that the guy who dropped the tip was supposedly a friend you had been working with, who involuntarily sacrificed you as a pawn for what he perceived as the "greater good."

Comment Re:Ballsy, but stupid ... (Score 2) 308 308

We can even take this one step up. The gate crashers come up to a security checkpoint, and when asked routine questions, they accelerate off and ram a marked car with security personnel in it. Any armed security guard, witnessing a clearly hostile vehicle employing lethal force (i.e. trying to ram a coworker) in order to breech a secure perimeter, would probably open fire at that point, not just military or police.

Comment This is Why Government Contracting is Expensive (Score 3, Informative) 71 71

If anyone ever wondered why government contracting is so expensive, this is it. The government customers demand customization of commercial products that drive up development costs and complicate manufacturing while the bureaucracy's demand for documentation and "transparency" places a massive overhead burden on contractors to meet the requirements. Add on to it the government's lack of discipline in developing requirements and making changes, and your "cheap" program triples in cost with delivery moving two years to the right. As someone who worked in a business that dealt with both commercial and government clients, the former looks for a product that fits their needs then buys it whereas the latter looks for a product, modifies it, then continuously alters the requirements over and over right up to production.

Sometimes, I think this is also the reason why the government clings to cost-plus contracting: with fixed price, they have to be disciplined about the requirements because once the fixed price contract is in effect, they can't tinker with it any further. Cost-plus, they can keep changing requirements, and the contractor will simply roll it into the bill.

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