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Comment: Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 506

by MorePower (#47759507) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels
I'm not the original poster but - um what?

Do I lay down on an empty train/bus? No because its in public and people would stare.
Do I lay down in the office? No, because that's considered unprofessional.
Do I always lay down at home? Abso-fracking-lutely!
Do I lay back in my chair in front or the TV or while using my laptop? Well, I usually lay on the floor, not in a chair, but yes.
Laying down is the only position I find truly comfortable, and I generally do lay down either in bed or on the floor as much as possible except when eating (as that gets too messy).
Furniture is for guests.
Cellphones

China Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Apologizes For Unauthorized Data Access 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the our-bad dept.
SpzToid writes Following up an earlier story here on Slashdot, now Xiaomi has apologized for collecting private data from its customers. From the article: "Xiaomi Inc said it had upgraded its operating system to ensure users knew it was collecting data from their address books after a report by a computer security firm said the Chinese budget smartphone maker was taking personal data without permission. The privately held company said it had fixed a loophole in its cloud messaging system that had triggered the unauthorized data transfer and that the operating system upgrade had been rolled out on Sunday. The issue was highlighted last week in a blog post by security firm F-Secure Oyg. In a lengthy blogpost on Google Plus, Xiaomi Vice President Hugo Barra apologized for the unauthorized data collection and said the company only collects phone numbers in users' address books to see if the users are online."
United States

When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You 120

Posted by timothy
from the we-may-or-may-not-have-done-that dept.
The Washington Post reports in a short article on the sometimes strange, sometimes strained relationship between spy agencies like the NSA and CIA and law enforcement (as well as judges and prosecutors) when it comes to evidence gathered using technology or techniques that the spy agencies would rather not disclose at all, never mind explain in detail. They may both be arms of the U.S. government, but the spy agencies and the law enforcers covet different outcomes. From the article: [S]sometimes it's not just the tool that is classified, but the existence itself of the capability — the idea that a certain type of communication can be wiretapped — that is secret. One former senior federal prosecutor said he knew of at least two instances where surveillance tools that the FBI criminal investigators wanted to use "got formally classified in a big hurry" to forestall the risk that the technique would be revealed in a criminal trial. "People on the national security side got incredibly wound up about it," said the former official, who like others interviewed on the issue spoke on condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity. "The bottom line is: Toys get taken away and put on a very, very high shelf. Only people in the intelligence community can use them." ... The DEA in particular was concerned that if it came up with a capability, the National Security Agency or CIA would rush to classify it, said a former Justice Department official.

Comment: Re:Southwest Boarding Policies (Score 1) 928

The big pluses of Southwest are no fees for checked baggage (there's no way my work stuff is fitting in carry-on) and the ability to change tickets for no extra fee beyond the difference in ticket price (I almost never correctly guess when I'll be finished with a work assignment).

This plus the fact that you can buy a ticket last minute and still have a shot at a decent seat (and now that I am A-list, I am guaranteed a decent seat) have always made Southwest super attractive to business fliers like me who usually book last minute and frequently need to change return tickets.

Comment: Re:Southwest Boarding Policies (Score 1) 928

Their boarding system is Awesome, assuming that you fly alone and know their process. Basically Southwest wants business travelers like me, who rarely fly together with anyone else and fly frequently enough to learn and remember their system.

Knowing to check in 24 hours in advance gets me a low number boarding ticket, and now that I am "A-list" I get to board at the end of A group even if I check in late.

Southwest is pretty much designed around frequent business travelers so it sucks for families and people who don't fly much.

Comment: Southwest Boarding Policies (Score 5, Informative) 928

For those who don't know, boarding order is critical on Southwest. You don't get a seat assignment, its first-come-first-serve, like riding a bus, once you get on the plane.

You get a boarding pass with A 1 thru 60, B 1 thru 60, or C 1 thru 60 and everyone boards in that order. The A people get great seats and C people get crap (center seats, back of the plane, no seats together for people traveling together, etc).

Frequent fliers get to skip ahead board between A and B groups (assuming they didn't have and A anyway) which still has lots of good seats free. Families traveling with children 4 or under also get to board before the B group (so they can get seats together).

This guy probably had high number B or C tickets and wanted to use his "A-list" frequent flier status to board early and get 3 seats together with his kids. But his kids didn't have "A-list" status and where too old to qualify for family boarding so they would have wait for their high boarding number to get on the plane.
Math

Mathematician Gives Tips On How To Win $1 Billion On NCAA Basketball 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the winning-the-pool dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Jake Simpson reports at The Atlantic that Mathematician Tim Chartier, a Davidson College professor who specializes in ranking methods, teaches a math-heavy form of bracketology — the science of predicting the annual NCAA college basketball tournament at Davidson College in North Carolina. Chartier's academic research is in ranking methods where he looks at things like the page-ranking algorithms of Google. 'In 2009, my collaborator Amy Langville said: "You know what? ESPN has this huge online bracket tournament. Let's create brackets with our ranking methods, just to see if it's creating meaningful information."' Chartier's formula, an evolving code-based matrix that ranks each of the 68 tournament teams, has helped several Davidson students score in the 96th percentile (or higher) in ESPN's bracket challenge and this year, Chartier's goal is to help someone win the $1 billion prize offered by Warren Buffett to anyone who correctly predicts all 63 games of the men's tournament.

Chartier uses two methods. One is the Colley Method, named after astrophysicist Wesley Colley who developed a method used by the BCS for college football (PDF). His basketball method only counts wins and losses, not margin of victory. The other method is the Massey method created by sports statistician Kenneth Massey (PDF), which does integrate scores. Chartier has not been banned from any office pools — at least none that he knows of. But as a result of coming pretty darn close to filling out a perfect bracket just by crunching the numbers, brackets have become a labor of love. 'Now that the brackets are actually out, I've had students in and out of my office all week, sharing new ideas,' says Chartier. 'For me, that's more fun than filling out a bracket. They will all be filling out brackets, so it's like I'm doing parallel processing. I know what might work, but watching them figure out the odds, is a thrill.'"

Comment: Re:Good luck with that (Score 3, Informative) 112

by MorePower (#43629147) Attached to: AI System Invents New Card Games (For Humans)
Monopoly apologists always drag out the "its so much better if you use the 'auction property if it isn't bought' rule". I've never seen a situation where it matters, everyone always buys every single property that they land on. Every single time. Occasionally someone will be a little short on cash (from buying tons of property already) and there's a little bit of "should I really mortgage stuff to buy this property?" But they always do it, nobody ever leaves property unbought.

Comment: Re:Place names (Score 0) 642

by MorePower (#42929455) Attached to: The US Redrawn As 50 Equally Populated States

No, it raises the question. Begging the question is a logical fallacy that doesn't mean anything like what it sounds.

If it doesn't mean anything like what it sounds, then that is a language fail.

Sorry, the "correct" use of the phrase "begs the question" is one of my pet peeves, because it makes no logical sense.

Comment: Re:The TL;DR (Score 3, Informative) 210

by MorePower (#42848005) Attached to: Super Bowl Blackout Caused By Defective Protective Relay

In my experience, most relays have a "Instantaneous" setting that goes off as fast as possible if you have like 20-30 times as much current as should be there, a "Short Time" setting that goes off in few seconds (a fixed time, exactly how long is settable) if the current is several times times what it should be (exactly how much current is settable) and the "Long Time" setting which follows $Fixed_value = [Current]^2 * time ("I squared T").

The "Long Time" setting integrates current squared when ever the current is above the "Pick-up" value which is typically around 20% over normal rated current. Exactly how much the integrated value has to reach to trip on "Long Time" is very complex and has to be coordinated all the other relays and systems. Generally, the lowest level of breakers are given time to trip first, in hopes that the problem is solved while only interrupting a single circuit. The upstream breakers are set with a higher value so they will trip after the downstream breakers had their chance.

Comment: Re:...Huh? (Score 2) 245

by MorePower (#40101815) Attached to: US State Department Hacks Al-Qaeda Websites In Yemen

I can at least understand trying to kill terrorists. Civilians get killed because of our desperation to kill the terrorists. I mean, it's horrible and all, but at least there is an understandable goal there.

This seems just flat out petty. If we hacked websites to locate terrorists, or anticipate attacks, or disrupt their finances, I could understand that. But to hack in and just insert our own video? And admit that we did it? It just makes us look like script kiddies putting "USA rulz!!! LOL OMG" on stuff.

Crap like this makes our enemies hate us just a little bit more, and makes our allies just a little bit more reluctant to support us, and doesn't accomplish anything material.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

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