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Comment: RTFA: real engineering is going on (Score 2, Insightful) 42

by Required Snark (#47436231) Attached to: A Peek Inside D-Wave's Quantum Computing Hardware
I have no strong opinion about the DWave machine. It might be doing quantum computing or it might be doing classical computing. I don't have the correct background to judge, and there is still a lot of controversy among those who do know this stuff.

However, if you read the article (which I did), they are doing real engineering. They are building very sophisticated superconducting quantum circuits. Their second generation machine has four times the qubits and cycles much more quickly. This is very difficult and advanced work, and they are making it happen.

So why is DWave getting so much flack on Slashdot? Somehow I doubt it's because there are vast number of quantum physics types just waiting to display their deep knowledge whenever the subject comes up. What I see are Slashdot Pundits: hoards of pseudotechnical wanna-be's who pile on with meaningless criticism. The motivation is not to have a useful debate but to pretend to be smart by talking trash. Maybe they impress each other, but from my vantage point it looks like a lot of eight year olds shouting curse words they don't understand and giggling over how cool they are.

Comment: What about the bankers? (Score 4, Insightful) 132

a "continuing criminal enterprise" charge that's better known as the "kingpin" statute used to prosecute criminal gang and cartel leaders.

Given the billion's of $US that various banks have been fined recently, for things like evading US taxes and money laundering for Syria, Iraq, and Somalia, isn't it about time that the legal system give the same treatment to bankers committing these crimes?

Why do they get to pay fines that don't have any real effect? Just look how their stock always go up after they announce a deal. If any individual ever gets fired it's always the low level person who takes the hit, and they all end up going to work for someone else and never face any real problems.

Oh, I just remembered: bribes/campaign contributions along with the revolving door and juicy high paying jobs for former regulators. To bad drug dealers can't have a revolving door with law enforcement.

Comment: Green Card Irony (Score 2) 401

by Required Snark (#47396603) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say
For the1H-B workers, the irony is that as soon as they get their green card, or even eventual citizenship. they face the same job discrimination faced by US residents. As soon as you have a stake in the US, they don't want you as a skilled worker.

American capitalism hates American workers. They put greed above all, even the sustainability of the US economy. Why the hell are we putting up with this?

Comment: Will human technical civilization last that long? (Score 1) 553

Assuming that our current technologically based civilization will prosper that long is not the only possibility.

It is conceivable that global climate change, perhaps with other unforeseen events, could wipe out civilized society. Bye-bye "superior" AIs.

This would be one answer to the Femri Paradox. The reason that we have not detected other technological civilizations is that technology is self destructive. If it develops it doesn't last very long.

Comment: What about everyone else? (Score 1) 178

So they opened a transparency center for governments. What about some transparency for everyone else who uses their software? Or are we going to continue to be left in the dark?

To give some context into user's response to Microsoft's products, Windows 8 market share just decreased. Comparative figures showed that Windows XP share went up. That's right, the just discontinued OS is doing better then they current system.

I can't help but point that this is one of a painful series of mistakes that all happen when Ballmer was in charge. The question for the future of Microsoft is whether he was in command so long that they will never recover.

Comment: Re:Climate Science (Score 1) 305

by Required Snark (#47357985) Attached to: How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?

When you say "politically influenced sciences" you are showing you political bias. You couldn't even finish a complete sentence without substituting opinion for fact.

Climate Science is a part of the physical science. It is subject to all the formal and social controls that other physical sciences are subjected to.

Economics is a part of the Social Sciences. The standards there are generally lower then the physical sciences. There is already an ongoing debate about the acceptable standards for reproducibility, and big changes are in the works. Psychology is already starting a methodological change to address this problem.

Even by current practice Economics is in bad shape. This latest study shows just how pervasive the problem is. It's an intellectually corrupt discipline.

At some level it's not surprising that someone of your dishonest stripe would pick Economics, with it's lack of formal rigor, as a way of smearing actual science.

Go back to your flat earth bible camp and leave the adults to talk about facts.

Comment: It's the Dick Chaney Playbook (Score 5, Insightful) 534

Remember when VP Cheney said he didn't have to comply with record requests because he not in the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branch of government? This is copy of his playbook.

It's become a rather common excuse. These days it is typically mixed up with corporate claims of privacy. Essentially corporate secrecy is used as a way if short circuiting the rule of law. That's how the police departments that use Stingray cell phone interception technology to shred constitutional protections avoid admitting what they are doing: they have a confidentiality clause with the company who makes the device. Same thing with fracking chemicals: they can pump any toxic crap that they want to into the ground because it's a business secret.

So where were all the right wingers when this was going down during the Bush era? You know, the ones who are now claiming that Obama is destroying the constitution? Massive amnesia and/or massive hypocrisy?

(Personally I am furious with Obama because he has continued the blatantly unconstitutional policies of the Bush years, but at least I am not lying through my teeth and supporting one executive while screeching like a stuck pig when a democrat does the same kind of crap.)

Comment: Re:DIAMONDS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY (Score 4, Informative) 112

by Required Snark (#47322505) Attached to: Astronomers Discover Earth-Sized Diamond
Warning: ACTUAL PHYSICS, not typical Slashdot half-assed speculation.

This class of white dwarf stars are a mixture of primarily oxygen and carbon. Depending on the mass the amount of carbon and oxygen are roughly the same, but sometimes there is more oxygen. As the star cools it goes through a phase transition where the core becomes crystallized. This releases heat through two mechanisms: heat of crystallization and the release of gravothermal energy.

The inner crystallized section is enhanced in oxygen. The outer fluid mantel is enriched in carbon. Calling this a diamond is simply wrong. Perhaps at some point in the distant future one of these will cool and part of it will become a form of crystal carbon, but considering that the cooling time without mantle carbon crystallization is on the order of 10 Gigayears, it is not likely this has happened yet considering that the universe is around 13.6 gigayears old.

The Cooling of CO White Dwarfs: Influence of the Internal Chemical Distribution

White dwarfs are the remnants of stars of low and intermediate masses on the main sequence. Since they have exhausted all of their nuclear fuel, their evolution is just a gravothermal process. The release of energy only depends on the detailed internal structure and chemical composition and on the properties of the envelope equation of state and opacity; its consequences on the cooling curve (i.e., the luminosity vs. time relationship) depend on the luminosity at which this energy is released.

The internal chemical profile depends on the rate of the 12C(, )16O reaction as well as on the treatment of convection. High reaction rates produce white dwarfs with oxygen-rich cores surrounded by carbon-rich mantles. This reduces the available gravothermal energy and decreases the lifetime of white dwarfs.

In this paper we compute detailed evolutionary models providing chemical profiles for white dwarfs having progenitors in the mass range from 1.0 to 7 M, and we examine the influence of such profiles in the cooling process. The influence of the process of separation of carbon and oxygen during crystallization is decreased as a consequence of the initial stratification, but it is still important and cannot be neglected. As an example, the best fit to the luminosity functions of Liebert et al. and Oswalt et al. gives an age of the disk of 9.3 and 11.0 Gyr, respectively, when this effect is taken into account, and only 8.3 and 10.0 Gyr when it is neglected.

Comment: Complete lack of US involvement (Score 4, Interesting) 86

by Required Snark (#47297165) Attached to: China Leads In Graphene Patent Applications
Note that the US is not directly involved in any of the major patent holdings. IBM is not really a US company anymore. They are "international". To a great extent they are getting out of the US. A few year ago they stopped listing their employment by country, because they wanted to hide what they were doing. So if there is ever a situation where US interests collide with IBM economic interests then the US will get the short end of the stick.

This is what happens when you let everything get privatized, including basic research. You end up with no stake in the future.

Comment: Software fails the test of time (Score 5, Insightful) 370

by Required Snark (#47292419) Attached to: Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry
As someone with 45+ years of software experience I can personally verify that software development has not improved significantly over the last 25 years or so. The two most important changes are that there is much less assembly programming (outside of imbedded systems) and each hardware vendor does not have their own completely incompatible operating system. Most of the rest of the "improvements" are pretty much moot beyond that.

OOP has never lived up to it's hype. No matter how "object oriented" a system is, it is still just as likely to be late and/or broken as in pre-OOP days. Development, maintenance and modification is not automatically better with OOP.

The lessons of good language design might as well not exist. PHP is a cesspool of bad design and implementation. JavaScript, even though it has some nice features (closures) has an obscure object model that is difficult to understand and is a wreck just waiting to happen. (Any body can overwrite the basic implementation of built in functions. Really? ObjectHasOwnProperty. Really?) C++ finally got a reasonable memory management model after C++03 with RAII/smart pointers. What did that take, 30+ years? Python and Lua are reasonably good, but they seem to be niche players. Java isn't a programming language, it is a self contained universe. Like a black hole, once you go in you never come out. And even if it's OK now, the fact that Oracle in in charge means that it is like Middle Earth if Sauron won. (Yes. Ellison is that bad.)

I can't be certain, but I strongly believe that one of the reason for the lack of progress is that there are not a lot of old programmers still in the profession. Unlike other engineering fields, say civil engineering, chemical engineering, etc careers tend to be short. There are not enough people around to say "we tried a version of that 15 year ago, and it had these pitfalls." The result is that the same mistakes keep getting made over and over again. This fits in with the observation that as a profession we have not improved much on estimating project requirements and being on time and on budget.

That's one of the reasons I hate the term "Software Engineering". We are not real engineers because we can't deliver on time with predictable results and a predefined cost. It's not that this happens all the time in other engineering areas, it's just that it rarely happens with software.

Comment: Re:And? (Score 4, Insightful) 251

You want contempt for the constitution? Where were you when Cheney said he was not a part of the executive, legislative or judicial branch of government, so none of the rules apply? (Sound of crickets.....)

I'm pissed off a Holder as well, but obvious right wingers start calling him the most corrupt, all I smell is the stench of ripe hypocrisy. STFU until you are willing to call out someone on your side of the political fence.

Comment: Intel WiDi Security Backdoor? (Score 1) 340

The current Haswell generation, and some of the previous generations have something called WiDi. It's for wireless HD where some of the WiFI processing is done in the CPU.

Haswell CPUs also have multiple autonomous CPUs (besides the built in graphics) that can run even when the chip is nominally powered down. These controllers have no published specs. The architecture is unknown, the software is unknown.

In the post-Snowden era it is also known the the NSA has a way to get data off systems that are separated by an air gap from the outside environment.

Now if you were one of the major powers in the world would you want to have a supercomputer, or any computer in a sensitive installation, saying "Intel Inside"?

It's not just about nuclear simulation or CFD weapon design codes. It's about oil/gas exploration, wartime logistics, economics, drug design, and climate forecasts (even if the Republicans don't believe in climate change, the Russians and Chinese are not that stupid).

So building your own CPU on fabs where you have physical control is a matter of national security. It would be unsurprising if certain government programs in the US only used Intel chips made in the US. If it was my responsibility that's what I would do.

+ - Boing Using Accounting Tricks to Throttle SpaceX

Submitted by Required Snark
Required Snark (1702878) writes "Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put forth a proposal that all US launch providers must "be required to submit financial reports before transporting astronauts to the ISS." This would keep all the launch providers except Boeing /United Lauch Alliance from making manned ISI flights.

The reasoning:

At a hearing on May 1, Shelby said that “NASA is spending billions to help private companies develop a launch vehicle, but has little to no access to the books and records associated with its investment.”

The White House responded stating

their concern “about language that would seek to apply accounting requirements unsuitable for a firm, fixed-price acquisition.” The House said that changes made would “likely increasing the program’s cost and potentially delaying its schedule.”

As previously posted on Slashdot, loosing access to these motors could impact up to 31 scheduled missions.

So why is Senator Shelby siding with Boeing and the Russians?

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby today discussed important issues facing Alabama and the nation, including job growth, during his visit to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) production facility in Decatur, Ala., where ULA manufactures both Atlas and Delta launch vehicles.


“In light of sustained high unemployment rates, I am pleased that ULA employs hundreds of Alabamians and plans to hire dozens more producing the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle here in Decatur,” said Sen. Shelby. “These high-skilled workers assemble a unique national asset whose success currently underpins the very existence of our national security space program. ULA’s presence is welcome in Alabama. I appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation with the company’s workers and the citizens of Decatur to discuss our country’s deepest challenges and lay out a positive vision for the future.”

So Red White and Blue Senator Shelby has decided that jobs in his state and campaign contributions (a.k.a bribes) from Boeing are more important then access to space. He also seems to have forgotten the American values of free enterprise and technical innovation in favor of state sponsored entrenched interests in both the US (Boeing) and Russia (NPO Energomash).

I wonder what Shelby is doing on the Fourth of July?"

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire