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Comment: Re:Abbott is a moron (Score 1) 296

by Maow (#49803919) Attached to: Australia's Prime Minister Doesn't Get Why Kids Should Learn To Code

Personally I don't know how you guys have managed to remain as sovereign and independent as you have been considering the proximity of the USA.

I'd answer, "With limited success."

We used to be able to watch the worst excesses of American culture and, upon reflection, say to ourselves, "Let's not do that, m'kay?"

Now our PM sees the worst of American political culture and thinks, "That would work here." And, sadly, it does.

As far as Harper is concerned, do the majority of Canadians hold similar views to your own? Or are they too blind to see what is going on?

He was elected with ~40% of votes cast in last election, so I would humbly suggest that my views are not too out of line with the norm.

There was a split on the left / centre votes (NDP & Liberals) with a Liberal party leader that was not terribly charismatic and who was savaged repeatedly, ad nauseam (literally) by vicious (and hypocritical) attack ads for ~2 years prior to the election.

He taught Canadian Studies at Harvard (going from memory here) and was labelled as a traitor / foreigner who was "just visiting" to win as PM. Of course, the right wing loves highly talented people who can write their own ticket to work in any jurisdiction that can afford them, except when it's in their own interests to slander such people (Michael Ignatief was the man).

Oh, can I mention that the previous Harper government was a minority who insisted on ruling as a majority, despite basic democratic principles. They were finally found in Contempt of Parliament. The first time in the history of the British Parliamentary system that it's ever happened.

Canadians rewarded the traitor with a majority government. I'm not happy with my fellow citizens, even though election fraud was rampantly used to sway the outcome and they only got 40-ish% of the vote -- that's far, far too much.

It's all quite sickening and I'm not sure the Harper Regime will finally fall in the next election. Honestly, sick-making.

Tony Abbott's staggering incompetence would be a huge relief.

Apologies for the lengthy, ranty reply.


The Case For a Muon Collider Succeeding the LHC Just Got Stronger 43

Posted by timothy
from the other-people's-money dept.
StartsWithABang writes: If you strike the upper atmosphere with a cosmic ray, you produce a whole host of particles, including muons. Despite having a mean lifetime of just 2.2 microseconds, and the speed of light being 300,000 km/s, those muons can reach the ground! That's a distance of 100 kilometers traveled, despite a non-relativistic estimate of just 660 meters. If we apply that same principle to particle accelerators, we discover an amazing possibility: the ability to create a collider with the cleanliness and precision of electron-positron colliders but the high energies of proton colliders. All we need to do is build a muon collider. A pipe dream and the stuff of science fiction just 20 years ago, recent advances have this on the brink of becoming reality, with a legitimate possibility that a muon-antimuon collider will be the LHC's successor.

Comment: Re:UAT (Score 2) 350

by Maow (#49800617) Attached to: Crowdfunded, Solar-powered Spacecraft Goes Silent

I'll never understand how groups (Especially NASA) can spend millions, or even BILLIONS on projects like these and not even complete the sorts of rudimentary testing that those of us in the professional software fields have to do every day.

This is not a NASA project, so you've made a stunningly basic error in your first sentence. Not looking too good for attention to detail for someone "in the professional software field".

Regardless, if you want to see how NASA does software, or for anyone even remotely interested in how the best practices for true mission-critical software gets written, you can't find a more interesting story on the creation of space shuttle software:

The right stuff kicks in at T-minus 31 seconds.

As the 120-ton space shuttle sits surrounded by almost 4 million pounds of rocket fuel, exhaling noxious fumes, visibly impatient to defy gravity, its on-board computers take command. Four identical machines, running identical software, pull information from thousands of sensors, make hundreds of milli-second decisions, vote on every decision, check with each other 250 times a second. A fifth computer, with different software, stands by to take control should the other four malfunction.

But how much work the software does is not what makes it remarkable. What makes it remarkable is how well the software works. This software never crashes. It never needs to be re-booted. This software is bug-free. It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Consider these stats : the last three versions of the program — each 420,000 lines long-had just one error each. The last 11 versions of this software had a total of 17 errors. Commercial programs of equivalent complexity would have 5,000 errors.

This software is the work of 260 women and men based in an anonymous office building across the street from the Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, Texas, southeast of Houston. They work for the "on-board shuttle group," a branch of Lockheed Martin Corps space mission systems division, and their prowess is world renowned: the shuttle software group is one of just four outfits in the world to win the coveted Level 5 ranking of the federal governments Software Engineering Institute (SEI) a measure of the sophistication and reliability of the way they do their work. In fact, the SEI based it [sic] standards in part from watching the on-board shuttle group do its work.

The group writes software this good because that's how good it has to be. Every time it fires up the shuttle, their software is controlling a $4 billion piece of equipment, the lives of a half-dozen astronauts, and the dreams of the nation. Even the smallest error in space can have enormous consequences: the orbiting space shuttle travels at 17,500 miles per hour; a bug that causes a timing problem of just two-thirds of a second puts the space shuttle three miles off course.

Some of my favourite parts begin with the following quote:

The process can be reduced to four simple propositions:

1. The product is only as good as the plan for the product. At the on-board shuttle group, about one-third of the process of writing software happens before anyone writes a line of code. NASA and the Lockheed Martin group agree in the most minute detail about everything the new code is supposed to do — and they commit that understanding to paper, with the kind of specificity and precision usually found in blueprints. Nothing in the specs is changed without agreement and understanding from both sides. And no coder changes a single line of code without specs carefully outlining the change. Take the upgrade of the software to permit the shuttle to navigate with Global Positioning Satellites, a change that involves just 1.5% of the program, or 6,366 lines of code. The specs for that one change run 2,500 pages, a volume thicker than a phone book. The specs for the current program fill 30 volumes and run 40,000 pages.

That is how one writes software. NASA cannot be beaten when lives matter.

Comment: Re:Abbott is a moron (Score 1) 296

by Maow (#49800405) Attached to: Australia's Prime Minister Doesn't Get Why Kids Should Learn To Code

He is an idiot. Total numbskull. He's a great leader since everything he says can be guaranteed to be stupid. You know where you are with Abbott and so does the rest of the world. No worries Tony. You can be titular head of whatever you want to be, just ignore all the stuff going around you and everything will be ok.

And this is why I'd trade Abbott for Stephen Harper in Canada.

Both are within the same political spectrum, but Abbott seems too stupid to accomplish much and is easily challenged and mocked.

Harper, on the other hand, is highly effective in implementing his regime's policies through being an effective liar, at stifling opposition, at muzzling the media, at avoiding parliamentary traditions, avoiding transparency; at viewing laws as mere obstacles, and is someone that disrespects every basic tenet of democracy.

Basically at ruining everything the country is known for.

If one must have a PM that is beholden to the fossil fuel industry, uses the military as props in photo ops, and wishes to veer the country hard to the right of politics, it's best if that PM is an utter buffoon who cannot really implement those goals.

And for those reasons, I'd rather have Abbott (or even Rob Ford) as PM than Harper.

Comment: Re:Yes, let's INCREASE waste (Score 1) 270

by Maow (#49702913) Attached to: Here Comes the Keurig of Everything

Regular coffee pot + 1 coffee bean grinder + 1 lb bag of beans = 1 possibly recyclable / compostable bag plus a hundred + cups of coffee.

Keurig setup + 1 kcup insert = 1 cup of crappy coffee plus an unnecessary environmental impact in the form of an non-reusable cup.

Why in this day and age are we engineering waste INTO products when we should be engineering waste OUT of the product? It doesn't make sense.

I agree with most everything you've said, however, a month or so ago I was at someone's place and they offered a coffee.

It was surprisingly good. Turned out to be my first Keurig experience. I guess it depends on the coffee itself? I think she said it was "Blue Mountain" or something.

All in all, I was quite surprised that it didn't suck when I found out I was drinking one of those infernal machine's product.

Comment: Re:overturn murder conviction? (Score 1) 141

by Maow (#49660133) Attached to: Prison Messaging System JPay Withdraws Copyright Claims

Oh but what if he is innocent ?

The GP asked you to look at the cost of death row prisoners. I think what he means is paying compensation to relatives for a false conviction is cheaper than keeping them alive until the appeals process is finished, and that he personally feels that this line of logic is acceptible. Personally, I consider this attitude murderous in and of itself. Perhaps the GP will voluntarily submit to the death penalty...?

With capitol offence level stupidity, the voluntary part shouldn't be necessary.

And I'm sure the OP would be okay with it, since it fits within their world view so well.

Nah, they probably whine up a shit storm over getting a minor traffic ticket.

Comment: Re:We can do good technology when we have the will (Score 3, Funny) 136

by Maow (#49626229) Attached to: Opportunity Rover Reaches Martian Day 4,000 of Its 90-Day Mission

Yes indeed. Opportunity has to stand as one of NASA's greatest post-Apollo accomplishments.

*looks at parent's nick*

Oh, of course you'd say that.

You're probably Opportunity itself posting here.

I'm sure Slashdot user MightyHubble would have something to say about that.

But in seriousness, I agree with you.

Comment: Re:Stupid. (Score 2) 247

by Maow (#49306381) Attached to: France Decrees New Rooftops Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels

People made the same comment when the gestapo came for the Roma, and then the Jews. People talk about the slippery slope because it's real. In the mean time, we'll welcome people who want to build out new manufacturing workspace.

Well done, Godwin.

"If you put this murder in jail now, next it'll be the Roma, then the Jews. Argle bargle ``Hitler!''"

Also, manufacturers won't likely be too upset by being required to put some solar panels up, which will eventually save them some money by the time they've depreciated to worthless. Then will continue saving them money on electrical and cooling costs.

Comment: Re:Getting sued costs money (Score 1) 52

it might if it draws more customers to TekSavvy.

Well, they're getting a new customer for their DSL and TekTalk services next week.

To be honest, we're switching my Mom to them not because of this decision but because I'm a satisfied customer.

But the timing is excellent.

Also, during March, TekSavvy is waiving the $50 activation fee on DSL, so another excellent reason to sign up now.

Tell 'em CID135285 sent you - I then get a diminutive but helpful $1 / month off my bill for each referral.

If TekSavvy turns around and advertises the fact that they are an ISP willing to standup for their customers that would work well in their favour I'd imagine.

As much as I despise advertising, I do wish TekSavvy got the word out more about themselves. No one here in BC seems to have heard of them.

I seem to recall a bus stop ad one time, and I don't have TV or radio, so I may miss their adverts, but they need to get their name out there better and not just with the "Tech Savvy" folks who might want to "pirate" content, but with everyone.

Comment: Re:I see a problem here and it isn't Snowden/Germa (Score 1) 337

by Maow (#49303031) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden

Thus as we hear about judge after judge giving their blessings to insanely unconstitutional behaviour, and we hear about watchdogs that aren't watching keep in mind about who vetted these people in the first place.

I'm not going to claim that there is no problem (and the biggest problem the country faces is inside the PMO), but the courts have been pretty damned good at blocking the Harper Regime's unconstitutional laws.

Everything from

Federal Court rightly strikes down Harper’s refugee health-care cuts

Supreme Court prostitution ruling forces issue on Harper

Supreme Court strikes down assisted suicide ban

Supreme Court softens Tories' tough-on-crime sentencing law

As for over-seers, we do need more and better ones, but let's not forget Sheila Fraser


Kevin Page who was actually appointed by Harper (and I imagine Harper regretted it):

His approach of questioning government estimates and issuing reports that are at odds with official government forecasts has created controversy. "There are former parliamentarians saying I should be held in contempt of Parliament and should be fired, but I’m okay with them saying that. That’s just part of the debate."[9] He has been unapologetic about his desire to give the Parliamentary Budget Office a significant role in informing Parliament and Canadians about government finances, saying "I went to the OECD, and they said the Americans have the best budget office, bar none. Why can't we be the best in five years? If that's overstepping my mandate, then I'm earning my money."[10]

Comment: Re:I see a problem here and it isn't Snowden/Germa (Score 1) 337

by Maow (#49302825) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden

What hope do they have against actual terrorists with an IQ over 90? Or lone wolves who communicate with exactly nobody?

My assessment of all these laws is that they are there to protect vested interests.

Your assessment is useless. It apparently isn't even infomed by anything so pedestian as Canadian newspapers that have carried many stories on people being arrested for involvement in terrorism.

Thus showing that the current laws are working.

Comment: Easy for the Chinese... (Score 0) 31

by Maow (#49257243) Attached to: Algorithm Clones Facial Expressions And Pastes Them Onto Other Faces

Easy for the Chinese researchers, since... Chinese Faces All Look Alike.


Thank you, try the waitress, tip the salmon, something-something "all week".

(And for the humour-impaired, I certainly don't think "they all look alike", I live with a Hong Konger... Just playing with an old trope.)

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