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Comment Binary, but not bimodal (Score 1) 425

It is very likely that programming skill (if such a thing actually exists in a measurable sense) is normally distributed. What looks like a bimodal distribution is really just an effect of current employment practices by Google/Facebook/etc. There are people who are "good enough" (measured very poorly by a job interview) to work at one of these "top" firms that pay really well, and everyone else simply isn't good enough. The difference in actual skill between a person who is "good enough" and one who is "not good enough" is very small.

Comment Re:Fuck you, Mike! (Score 1) 106

Dual-use technologies work both ways, smarty-pants: if you break the algorithm, it's broken for the good guys, too, and the bad guys pwn everyone who thinks they are safe.

The cleverness of Dual_EC_DRBG is that it really is broken in a limited way. It produces numbers that are random to everyone who doesn't know the seed or a particular private key, which we assume only the NSA has. It's just as secure as using any "good" random number generator and then sending the seed to the NSA using public key encryption.

Comment Re:fuel weight (Score 1) 81

The amount of extra fuel required to do this is pretty trivial. The atmosphere does most of the work of slowing down the first stage, and it will be very light (because the payload and almost all of the fuel is gone) when you are trying to land it. The value of recovering the first stage greatly exceeds the slight cost of carrying a little extra fuel weight.

Comment Re:It's OK to attack mythology and superstition... (Score 1) 266

What actually happened is that there was something that you really wanted to believe, and you carefully filtered and interpreted information until you had constructed enough of an argument to convince yourself. Since I have no desire to believe in the Resurrection, I conclude that the things you describe don't come close to "proof" (in either the logical or the scientific sense).

And this all has nothing to do with IQ, it is something that all people do. The best we can hope for is to try to be aware of it in ourselves and others. For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C....

Comment Re:It's OK to attack mythology and superstition... (Score 3, Informative) 266

You have a source for that?

The poll that you supplied supports GP's argument. From the data, 40% of people change religion after birth, but over half of that is caused by people switching "within the same tradition" (e.g. changing from Baptist to Methodist or Agnostic to Atheist), and most of the rest is people leaving the church altogether. Only 4% of people in the survey were raised outside of religion and later joined a religion. So of all religious people in the survey, 96% got there by being born, and the other 4% were raised non-religious and then later became affiliated with a religion. By any reasonable definition, 96% is a "vast majority".

As to your anecdote, some denominations (e.g. Charismatic) cater to the "born again" crowd and so will be composed of a lot of converts, which others (Catholic, Episcopal) are composed almost entirely of people who were born or married into the faith.

Comment Re:What was and wasn't working... (Score 1) 97

Providing the console you were using was set as one of your primary consoles, then downloaded games (including PS+ games) were also fine all day.

Not completely. I tried to play a PS+ game that I haven't played in a couple of months. It turns out is was "expired" and it needed to be reactivated by talking to PSN. The activation service was offline, so no dice. This was on a PS3.

Comment Re:Also human (Score 1) 277

Except this isn't "I forgot to turn off the coffee maker and my coffee burned" territory. It is closer to "I forgot to de-ice the Pitot tubes and a plane full of people crashed." Companies have figure out how to manage stuff like this when it is important enough (process, checklists, redundancy, etc), Sony just failed to do so.

Understanding is always the understanding of a smaller problem in relation to a bigger problem. -- P.D. Ouspensky