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Comment Re:Is anyone really surprised by this? (Score 1) 144

I use it more when I'm not driving.

For example replying to and sending messages while changing train, or setting reminders for things I think of while walking. I also use "hey Siri" to get the weather forecast and stuff hands free while getting ready in the morning, and for setting timers while cooking.

It's easy to see why it's not much use for a lot of people though.

Comment Re:Two questions need to be asked (Score 4, Insightful) 546

cold fjord writes:

Why is all the blame heaped on Snowden?

Because he is the one that arrogantly ignored the democratic process, stole a massive store of intelligence documents, incompetently encrypted them, and made them available for friend and foe alike, and then fled to be among Americas adversaries.

I was unaware that the activities of the NSA were carried out under the auspices of the "democratic process". We live in a representative democracy. When someone like Bruce Schneier (who has access to the Snowden documents) can meet with legislators (that is, the people who are supposed to be our representatives in this democracy) and tell them what our government is doing rather than the other way around, I think it can be argued that the activities of the NSA no longer constitute part of a democratic process but rather, an arrogant ignoring of the democratic process (as you put it).

Comment Re:Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) (Score 2) 235

Bullshit. If I have a glass half full of boiling water, and a glass half full of ice water, the two glasses have an average temperature of around 50 degrees C. If I pour one into the other, the hot water will cool, and the ice water will warm; but the average temperature is still 50 degrees.
The heat was redistributed, but the average temperature hasn't changed.

No, in your example the average temperature will drop but the total heat of the system will remain the same.

In the commonly understood meaning of ice water, you will have a mixture of ice and water. Such a mixture is understood to have a temperature of 0 degrees centigrade but additional heat needs to be lost to make the transition from liquid water at 0 degrees C to solid water at 0 degrees C (heat of fusion). The mixture of your water at the boiling point and your ice water will equilibrate at a temperature below 50 degrees C. The actual temperature will depend the percentage of water that is in the form of ice in the ice water.

So if the heat can go somewhere other than to change the temperature of water you can have changes of the mean temperature of the water.

Likewise in the rest of the comment, a global energy balance surplus need not mean a short term global surface temperature increase and an energy balance deficit need not mean a short term surface temperature decrease because the energy balance affects more than air temperatures. The oceans, in fact, act as a massive heat sink (and the data is there showing that surplus heat is going there). That is, additional heat affects more than surface air temperatures, it affects ocean temperatures. As a result, anything which affects the heat balance into this heat sink will affect air temperatures. This means that a heat surplus can be masked if additional heat gets temporarily dumped into the ocean but it also means that if the process that is dumping surplus heat into the ocean decreases you will see an atmospheric temperature rise.

Submission + - How to Hire a Great Engineering Manager (

hype7 writes: The great engineering manager — one of the hardest candidates to find. It's easier to tell the great engineers — you can just look at their code. But how do you tell if someone is as skilled in solving the softer, human problems? This post over at VentureBeat grapples with exactly this question, suggesting a very cool test to tell if someone has the chops to lead a team of engineers. The spoiler? It involves asking an engineering manager candidate to role play out a presentation of what they'd succeeded and failed at the conclusion of their first year.

Submission + - High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race to Irrelevance

hype7 writes: The Harvard Business Review is running a fascinating article on how finance is increasingly abstracting itself — and the gains it makes — away from the creation of value in the real world, and how High Frequency Trading is the most extreme version of this phenomenon yet. From the article: High frequency trading is a different phenomenon from the increasing focus on short term returns by human investors. But they’re borne from a similar mindset: one in which financial returns are the priority, independent of whether they’re associated with something innovative or useful in the real world. What Lewis’s book demonstrated to me isn’t just how “bad” HFTs are per se, but rather, what happens when finance keeps walking down the path it seems to be set on — a path that involves abstracting itself from the creation of real-world value. The final destination? It will enter a world entirely of its own — a world in which it is fighting to capture value that is completely independent of whether any is created in the first place.

Submission + - Good engineering managers aren't just hard to find — they don't exist (

hype7 writes: Here's a provocative article; the VP of engineering of a Sequoia-backed startup in Silicon Valley makes the case that good engineering managers aren't just hard to find — that they basically don't exist. The crux of his argument? The best engineers get all the benefits of being leaders, but without needing to take on the rather painful duties of management. So they choose not to move up. Compare this to the engineers who aren't as strong, and use the opportunity to move up as a way to get their voice heard.

Comment "We believed we knew better what customers needed (Score 4, Insightful) 278

"We believed we knew better what customers needed long term than they did."

Yeah, except Steve Jobs thought this too, and look where Apple is.

This piece is interesting as a historical account but, like all these journalistic articles on why something happened, it's all hindsight 20/20 bullshit. If you want to understand why you can't trust the press to really explain the cause and effect of events, I encourage you to check out this book: The Halo Effect. Tears it all apart.

Submission + - Your Smartphone Is Working for the Surveillance State (

An anonymous reader writes: The Harvard Business Review is is running an article on the recent revelations around PRISM, drawing the parallel between the East German surveillance state and what the US Government has managed to achieve. From the article: "In terms of the capability to listen to, watch and keep tabs on what its citizens are doing, the East German government could not possibly have dreamed of achieving what the United States government has managed to put in place today. The execution of these systems is, as you'd expect, very different. The Germans relied upon people, which, even if not entirely effective, must have been absolutely terrifying: if for no other reason than you weren't sure who you could and could not trust. There was always that chance someone was reporting back on you. But as any internet entrepreneur will tell you, relying entirely on people makes scaling difficult. Technology, on the other hand, makes it much easier. And that means that in many respects, what has emerged today is almost more pernicious; because that same technology has effectively turned not just some, but every single person you communicate with using technology — your acquaintances, your colleagues, your family and your friends — into those equivalent informants."

Submission + - Your iPhone Works for the Secret Police (

hype7 writes: The Harvard Business Review (of all places) is running an article putting the revelations of PRISM and Verizon in the context of the surveillance state that US Government has managed to build — and compares the effort with that of the Stasi under East Germany. From the article: "But as any internet entrepreneur will tell you, relying entirely on people makes scaling difficult. Technology, on the other hand, makes it much easier. And that means that in many respects, what has emerged today is almost more pernicious; because that same technology has effectively turned not just some, but every single person you communicate with using technology — your acquaintances, your colleagues, your family and your friends — into those equivalent informants."

Submission + - The 787's Problems Run Deeper Than Outsourcing (

TAGmclaren writes: The Harvard Business Review is running a fascinating article exploring the issues facing Boeing's Dreamliner. Rather than simply blaming outsourcing, as much of the commentary has been focused on, the article delves into the benefits of integration and how being integrated when developing a new product gives engineers more degrees of freedom. From the article: "Historically, Boeing understood that, and had worked with its subcontractors on that basis. If it was going to rely on them, it would provide them with detailed blueprints of the parts that were required — after Boeing had already created them. That, in turn, meant that Boeing had to design all the relevant pieces of the puzzle itself, first. But with the 787, it appears that Boeing tried a very different approach: rather than having the puzzle solved and asking the suppliers to provide a defined puzzle piece, they asked suppliers to create their own blueprints for parts. The puzzle hadn't been properly solved when Boeing asked suppliers for the pieces. It should come as little surprise then, that as the components came back from far-flung suppliers, for the first plane ever made of composite materials... those parts didn't all fit together. Time and cost blew out accordingly.

It's easy to blame the outsourcing. But, in this instance, it wasn't so much the outsourcing, as it was the decision to modularize a complicated problem too soon."


Submission + - Aaron Swartz, and the corruption of America's justice system ( 4

hype7 writes: "Harvard Business Review is running an article on the criminal justice system, and how what happened to Aaron Swartz isn't just an example of a "rogue prosecutor", but rather, a function of something that Aaron was fighting against — the influence of money in politics. From TFA: I simply don't know how else to explain the huge disparity in how justice was sought in these very different cases — other than regulatory capture. It seems you can get away with laundering money for the drug cartels, so long as you've been generous with the those responsible for appointing district attorneys; or better yet, if your industry has paid to undo all the regulation that prevents you from getting too big to fail. Similarly, when your lobby has been helping Congress draft the laws that govern food, drugs, and cosmetics, you can make sure that the federal sentencing guidelines are only six months should you breach the responsible corporate officer doctrine. This in turn means you can inject unsafe cement into people's spines with relative impunity. But woe betide you if, in the name of openness and sharing human knowledge, you decide to download academic journals. Because that sounds a lot like piracy — and we all know how much has been spent to stamp that scourge out."

Submission + - How corruption is strangling US Innovation ( 1

hype7 writes: "The Harvard Business Review is running a very interesting piece on how money in politics is having a deleterious effect on US innovation. From the article:

if you were in any doubt how deep inside the political system the system of contributions have allowed incumbents to insert their hands, take a look at what happened when the Republican Study Committee released a paper pointing out some of the problems with current copyright regime. The debate was stifled within 24 hours. And just for good measure, Rep Marsha Blackburn, whose district abuts Nashville and who received more money from the music industry than any other Republican congressional candidate, apparently had the author of the study, Derek Khanna, fired. Sure, debate around policy is important, but it's clearly not as important as raising campaign funds.


Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.