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Comment Re:Let it die (Score 5, Interesting) 510

Well, "evidence" is hard to provide, but to (accurately) invoke the old saying "The plural of anecdote is data":
My older brother, his wife, and their son were all born profoundly deaf. I have a number of relatives that were born profoundly deaf due to an inherited genetic defect in my father's family line (which was identified by researchers in part by sequencing my brother's family's genomes--his wife is a distant relative)

Neither my brother nor his wife all. They both learned to read lips (they are in their 40s) so they could interact more fully with society. My sister in law briefly attended a university that is very popular among deaf culture and she left after one semester. She was ostracized because she saw lip reading as a superior alternative to ASL. She was ostracized because most of her friends were hearing.

The stories they have about their own interactions with deaf culture are astounding. To a great extent, they will have nothing to do with it if possible. My brother is a well-known athlete in the deaf community, and so he interacts with many more of the deaf than he'd prefer. Not because they are deaf, but because of their attitude. When my nephew was born, there was never any doubt that he would have a cochlear implant. At one point, they prepared to pay cash for it (50k+) because of a fight with the insurance company (this was ~16 years ago). When this decision got out, they received more scorn from the community for 'betraying' it.

They can regale you with stories about 'deaf culture' advocates angrily leaving restaurants when confronted with a waiter who doesn't sign. Or about the lack of grammatical structure in ASL, which leads to a serious deficit in the writing abilities of most signers.

The list goes on. That you aren't aware of 'deaf culture' doesn't mean it doesn't exist. And that it exists in not necessarily a bad thing. But technology has provided an amazing cure for this condition, yet instead of embracing it, they reject it as an assault on their culture. Can you imagine this from the blind community? Or the wheel-chair bound community?

Comment Re:Politics... (Score 1) 195

They are going to free museums.

What? The Udvar-Hazy is free (though parking is $10 or $15 per car), but the Intrepid museum and the Kennedy Space Center Museum are both definitely not free, and are both, in fact, private organizations. Kennedy is here: Intrepid's site seems not to be responding. I don't know anything about the LA location. But having taken the family to Intrepid, Kennedy, Udvar-Hazy, and Air Force museum; I can assure you that 'free' had nothing to do with the site selection. In fact, as the museums must now pay NASA $28m (except for the Smithsonian), I'd say that the free museums were at a disadvantage.

Comment Re:What does "computers of university employees" m (Score 1) 164

Well, I can tell you that at Ohio State University, this is exactly what has happened. Effectively, every single machine that _may_ have ever had 'sensitive' (FERPA or HIPAA or Grant-defined) data on it must be encrypted. If it is lost & not encrypted, then it is the owner's burden of proof to prove that no sensitive data was on the machine; which is only possible if you have a complete & recent backup.

So, it can be done, but it is very expensive (though much cheaper now--BitLocker is really nice on Win7, FileVault on Mac) in terms of software and time. When we had to implement this ('08, I think) it cost our department of 25 faculty about $10,000-$15,000 to implement in software & time.

Comment Re:What does "computers of university employees" m (Score 1) 164

"Scanning for credit card data and SSN is quite easy and simple"

Sure, if you don't mind a false positive rate of 99%, which is what a colleague of mine got when he ran an automated tool on his machine that contained hundreds of GBs of particle physics data. Shocking, but its not hard to find 9 digit numbers (SSNs) or 15-18 digit numbers (CC) when you look at large repositories of quantitative data.

So the problem is, if you are mandated to run such software, and you get 1 million possible #s, what do you do then? If you are a typical clueless IT lackey (which luckily, we have dept-level IT, so ours are quite good & clued-in) he tells you to delete all of the dangerous data, or _prove_ that its not dangerous. (This has happened to a number of fellow profs at my Uni, which is one of the largest in the US).

The reality is that (a) the Uni should've stopped giving access to such info to anybody w/o a strict need-to-know decades ago. But they didn't. Now its everybody else's problem.

Comment Re:What does "computers of university employees" m (Score 1) 164

It depends on the field of research. Medical researchers will often have 'sensitive' (HIPAA in the US) data on their test subjects. My university, like many others, until recently, indexed all students with SSNs, and if I downloaded a roster for use in Excel, I got the SSNs with no option to delete them. That's what really angered me; I didn't want or need the data, but they (the Uni) shoved it down my throat & then threw a fit years later and pushed the cost of fixing the problem down to the departments.

Further, it depends on your definition of student data. I am a professor at a Big10 uni in the US, and our institutional definition of student records (which are declared sensitive by federal law) includes things as inane as emails from a student stating that the grader mis-added their score & they should've gotten an 80 on a quiz instead of a 75. So pretty much every communication to/from a student must be protected.

Comment Re:This is easy (Score 1) 164

Your solution is entirely inadequate. I am a professor at a Big10 university. I have 41GB of files and data in my Docs directory. The point is, how do I know which of these files are protected? Your quip of "Anything you need saved goes on removable storage" is ridiculous. How do you protect the removable medium? What happens if you lose it? It was the loss of a removable disk 4 years ago that caused our state (and ergo our university) to attempt this same exercise. All of the tools are pretty useless. Its really hard to scan for SSNs without hitting false positives (what person engaged in empirical research doesn't have at least some 9 digit numbers hanging around?)

  Our final solution? Encrypt everything under the assumption that there is sensitive data on all machines. Its not pretty. In fact, its really annoying, but it provides political & economic cover.

Comment Re:Actually, storing no data can be a good thing (Score 2, Interesting) 164

That is, until you, as a professor, go to the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro for a month to do research. At that point, the assumption of 'always connected' is incorrect, and you must carry data with you. Frequently, you must also carry some forms of student information, too, in order to respond to emails that you get from students when you are in town at the internet cafe once per week.


KDE 4.4 Released Alongside Website Redesign 368

Cryophallion writes "KDE 4.4.0 has finally been released, along with a redesign of the website. New features include tabbed windows, improved desktop search and social desktop features. 'Major new technologies have been introduced, including social networking and online collaboration features, a new netbook-oriented interface and infrastructural innovations such as the KAuth authentication framework. According to KDE's bug-tracking system, 7293 bugs have been fixed and 1433 new feature requests were implemented.' A feature guide is also available."

Comment Re:Latin Grammar Police (Score 3, Funny) 103

CENTURION: What's this, then? 'Romanes Eunt Domus'? 'People called Romanes they go the house'?

BRIAN: It-- it says, 'Romans, go home'.

CENTURION: No, it doesn't. What's Latin for 'Roman'? Come on!



BRIAN: 'R-- Romanus'?

CENTURION: Goes like...?

BRIAN: 'Annus'?

CENTURION: Vocative plural of 'annus' is...?

BRIAN: Eh. 'Anni'?

CENTURION: 'Romani'. 'Eunt'? What is 'eunt'?

BRIAN: 'Go'. Let--

CENTURION: Conjugate the verb 'to go'.

BRIAN: Uh. 'Ire'. Uh, 'eo'. 'Is'. 'It'. 'Imus'. 'Itis'. 'Eunt'.

CENTURION: So 'eunt' is...?

BRIAN: Ah, huh, third person plural, uh, present indicative. Uh, 'they go'.

CENTURION: But 'Romans, go home' is an order, so you must use the...?

BRIAN: The... imperative!

CENTURION: Which is...?

BRIAN: Umm! Oh. Oh. Um, 'i'. 'I'!

CENTURION: How many Romans?

BRIAN: Ah! 'I'-- Plural. Plural. 'Ite'. 'Ite'.


BRIAN: Ah. Eh.



CENTURION: Nominative?


CENTURION: 'Go home'? This is motion towards. Isn't it, boy?

BRIAN: Ah. Ah, dative, sir! Ahh! No, not dative! Not the dative, sir! No! Ah! Oh, the... accusative! Accusative! Ah! 'Domum', sir! 'Ad domum'! Ah! Oooh! Ah!

CENTURION: Except that 'domus' takes the...?

BRIAN: The locative, sir!

CENTURION: Which is...?!

BRIAN: 'Domum'.


BRIAN: Aaah! Ah.

CENTURION: 'Um'. Understand?

BRIAN: Yes, sir.

CENTURION: Now, write it out a hundred times.

BRIAN: Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar, sir.

CENTURION: Hail Caesar. If it's not done by sunrise, I'll cut your balls off.

BRIAN: Oh, thank you, sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar and everything, sir! Oh. Mmm!


ROMAN SOLDIER STIG: Right. Now don't do it again.

Comment Re:Convert? (Score 1) 621

please recall from Econ 101 that in an ideal free market, profits will approach zero anyway. TWCs profit is a sign of market inefficiency. The ideal outcome is for both (or more) competitors to fight over minimal profit.

Uhh, no, if that is what you recall from Econ 101, you weren't paying attention. You are confusing economic profits with accounting profits. Economics says that all economic profits will be driven to zero, not that all accounting profits will be driven to zero. What is the difference? The return on investment. If you invest $1m and earn $1/year, you have turned an accounting profit, but not an economic profit, because, even in this economy, you can earn about 1% interest with little or no risk. IAAE (I am an Economist)

The hardest part of climbing the ladder of success is getting through the crowd at the bottom.