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Comment: You need to look beyond the math. (Score 1) 218

by westlake (#49753175) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

When it comes to risk assessment, there's one type that humans are notoriously bad at: the very low-frequency but high-consequence risks and rewards. It's why so many of us are so eager to play the lottery, and simultaneously why we're catastrophically afraid of ebola and plane crashes.

Playing the lottery is a daydream that anyone can indulge in for the expenditure of a few dollars --- an impulse buy and a month's entertainment for the price of two rentals from the Red Box.

On 9 November 2005 a Boeing 777-200LR, dubbed the Worldliner, completed the world's longest non-stop passenger flight. It traveled 21,602 kilometres (11,664 nmi) eastward...from Hong Kong to London, in roughly 22 h 22 min

Non-stop flight

Ebola is simply a reminder of how quickly in the modern world a new and deadly infectious disease can spread beyond its origins. Replace West Africa with Central America and the Caribbean and see how you like the odds against containment.

The geek is not particularly good at distinguishing between singular incidents that have a massive --- long term -- social impact beyond a simple count of the number of dead and dying and those with occur randomly on a small scale across an entire country or continent and which can be absorbed without much difficulty.


Australian ISP Offers Pro-bono Legal Advice To Accused Pirates 65

Posted by timothy
from the they-got-really-skinny-for-the-role-too dept.
New submitter thegarbz writes: As covered previously, after losing a legal battle against Dallas Buyers Club and Voltage Pictures the Federal Court of Australia asked ISP iiNet to hand over details of customers allegedly downloading the movie The Dallas Buyers Club. iiNet has now taken the unprecedented move to offer pro-bono legal advice to all of its customers targeted over piracy claims. "It is important to remember that the Court's findings in this case do not mean that DBC and Voltage's allegations of copyright infringement have been proven," Ben Jenkins, financial controller for iiNet wrote. Also, as part of the ruling the court will review all correspondence sent to alleged copyright infringers in hopes to prevent the practice of speculative invoicing. Unless it can be proven exactly how much and and with how many people a film was shared the maximum damages could also be limited to the lost revenue by the studio, which currently stands at $10AU ($7.90US) based on iTunes pricing.

Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos 369

Posted by timothy
from the you-belong-to-the-state dept.
sandbagger writes: Anthony Mazur is a senior at Flower Mound High School in Texas who photographed school sports games and other events. Naturally he posted them on line. A few days ago he was summoned to the principal's office and threatened with a suspension and 'reporting to the IRS' if he didn't take those 4000 photos down. Reportedly, the principal's rationale was that the school has copyright on the images and not him.

Comment: Re:I weep for my country (Score 1) 203

by drsmithy (#49739561) Attached to: Australian Law Could Criminalize the Teaching of Encryption

Every non-aboriginal inhabitant of Australia is an immigrant.

Complete bullshit, as it seems you well understand:

Even the aboriginals are fairly recent arrivals if your perspective is wide enough.

I don't understand the racist hate.

No racist hate here, simply someone who thinks immigration should be controlled and targeted in the best interests of the country.

However, successive Australian Governments for a decade or more have been running record immigration rates - mostly under the guise of "skilled immigration" and associated hangers-on - with the twin primary objectives of suppressing wages and maintaining the property bubble. Simultaneously, they have been demonising the weakest and most helpless fleeing for their lives, who account for a rounding error in our immigrant intake.

Unsurprisingly, this systemic view of people as cogs in the machine to be used and discarded on demand has led to a similar culture amongst employers, most recently exposed by the exploitation and abuse of short-term holiday visa holders (usually "backpackers") by the farming industry.

As usual, the Greens have the right idea. Knock down the skilled immigrant intake substantially and increase the humanitarian intake. The footsoldiers of economic immigration can go somewhere else, we should only be importing the best and brightest through our skilled immigration plans, maximising the national interest, and using the rest of our "quota" to help as many people threatened by starvation, torture and death as possible.

When even the dodgy headline unemployment rates are running at 5%+ (real unemployment into the teens), the idea we need to be importing even more people to fight for fewer jobs is just flat out insulting - but the political right seem to believe they've reached the endgame and they're not even trying for a facade of propriety or governance in the national interest any more.

Comment: Re:How the executive wipes away democratic power? (Score 1) 121

by westlake (#49719601) Attached to: Learning About Constitutional Law With Star Wars

I thought the political message of Star Wars was clear: a powerful executive gradually demonizes, marginalizes, ignores and then disbands a representative body...

Whatever their faults, the prequels make it plain that a decadent Republic and Jedi Order were ready to be shoved over a cliff before Palpatine came along.

The signs of sterility and paralysis can be seen everywhere you look.


How Windows 10 Performs On a 12-inch MacBook 239

Posted by Soulskill
from the burning-questions dept.
An anonymous reader writes: As Microsoft prepares for the launch of Windows 10, review sites have been performing all sorts of benchmarks on the tech preview to evaluate how well the operating system will run. But now a computer science student named Alex King has made the most logical performance evaluation of all: testing Windows 10's performance on a 2015 MacBook. He says, "Here's the real kicker: it's fast. It's smooth. It renders at 60FPS unless you have a lot going on. It's unequivocally better than performance on OS X, further leading me to believe that Apple really needs to overhaul how animations are done. Even when I turn Transparency off in OS X, Mission Control isn't completely smooth. Here, even after some Aero Glass transparency has been added in, everything is smooth. It's remarkable, and it makes me believe in the 12-inch MacBook more than ever before. So maybe it's ironic that in some regards, the new MacBook runs Windows 10 (a prerelease version, at that) better than it runs OS X."

FBI Alleges Security Researcher Tampered With a Plane's Flight Control Systems 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the feel-free-to-not-do-that dept.
Salo2112 writes with a followup to a story from April in which a security researcher was pulled off a plane by FBI agents seemingly over a tweet referencing a security weakness in one of the plane's systems. At the time, the FBI insisted he had actually tampered with core systems on an earlier flight, and now we have details. The FBI's search warrant application (PDF) alleges that the researcher, Chris Roberts, not only hacked the in-flight entertainment system, but also accessed the Thrust Management Computer and issued a climb command. "He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights. He also stated that he used Vortex software after comprising/exploiting or ‘hacking’ the airplane’s networks. He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system." Roberts says the FBI has presented his statements out of their proper context.

Comment: Re:USA in good company... (Score 1) 648

by westlake (#49703941) Attached to: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Gets Death Penalty In Boston Marathon Bombing

Slapping him in maximum security prison for life with no chance of parole might as well be death, but is something like 1/10th as expensive as execution.

The economic argument against the death penalty doesn't work when you compare the state and federal systems. It would be trivially easy to dispose of the federal death row inmate if anyone really wanted to do it.

The number of federal prisoners on death row is 61.

27 are on death row for crimes committed in Texas, Missouri and Virginia. 2 for crimes committed in California. Federal Death Row Prisoners [March 24]

The number of California prisoners on death row is 743. Death Row Inmates by State and Size of Death Row by Year [January 1]

Comment: Re:A Lot of Software Defies Easy Explanation (Score 1) 244

by Ash-Fox (#49696349) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

A UI is part of the system architecture, and architecture fundamentals do need to be defined early in development

I am inclined to agree and disagree. I have been on one Agile project that had significant UI redesigns (a mostly mock application). This was done as part of R&D to understand what was an optimal UI as the client had difficulty knowing what they really wanted. From this, requirements were fully fleshed out with the client. Documentation tended to be written post fleshing out of documentations at the end of a development cycle (where it would go into two detatched iterative processes for manual testing and documentation writing).

Agile is definitely not "making stuff up as you go along".

But Agile methodology can certainly be used to figuring things out and rapidly delivering mock applications that can then be developed into more solid fleshed out requirements.

Comment: Re:A Lot of Software Defies Easy Explanation (Score 1) 244

by Ash-Fox (#49696331) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

Fuck you, Agilisita.

You do realize there are development methodologies this is incompatible prior and post creation of Agile, right?

What that means for a technical writer is that if you UXtards are still fucking with six UX designs in 12 colors, I'd much rather let the screenshots get out of date for a couple of weeks while you fuck around with the UX, than to spend every fucking day taking 100 screenshots that will be obsolete by tomorrow's standup.

I only ever had one project doing that (constant UI redesigns) and that was while the product was still going through significant R&D work before it would ever reach real world users. Nobody was expecting user documentation to be produced for that stage.

You give me a shippable product, I give you docs.

Funny you should complain about Agile then, considering the ethos behind it is to deliver something frequently. Personally, as someone whom has done documentation, I found Agile easier to work with, small changes to documentation for each cycle, rather than blatant complete rewriting of documentation that has to be rushed for each release due to significant changes which often don't quite match the documentation that was written against original requirements since the original requirements were insufficient / badly architected / didn't take certain things into account.

You can fool all the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. -- Joseph E. Levine