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Comment: Re:-dafuq, Slashdot? (Score 1) 249

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693631) Attached to: Greenland's Glaciers Develop Stretch Marks As They Accelerate

I came for the stretch marks.

Why do we always have to discuss the manner in the way data is presented when it's pretty well known that Global Warming is changing the poles? Much better to spend our time on "what's next" and "how fast?"

The stretch marks are obviously and indication of movement that is "faster" than what we usually see; and how fast is that? A meter per day?

I'm thinking something the size of New Jersey is going to slip into the ocean in the next few years and "what happens" after that? Do we get a tsunami?

Comment: Re:One thing to keep in mind... (Score 1) 244

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693527) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

Couldn't agree more. I went for years not being able to use UNIX man pages on command lines or common documents with apps because the switches never gave examples that made it clear. Was the bracket part of the command, was there a space or comma after the -p or do the letters run together? So many possible combinations that a novice or causal user is often left clueless how to use it so they go search on the web for a complete example and the man page lays dormant and useless.

And even though I've done some programming or scripts that use the command line -- I still don't know how to use most switches in UNIX because the man pages all follow the same example of "let's keep this opaque as possible and never, ever explain anything simply."

Comment: Re:More voters voting is not better in itself (Score 1) 258

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693161) Attached to: Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem

You beat me to it. this is pretty much the system I would suggest to verify "e voting." The "ticket" is just to let you know what your vote token is. Nobody knows who you are -- they only know that person X was eligible to vote and did vote in election Y.

The vote tally would have to be made of a series of private/public key encrypted files and there would be spot-checking with exit polling to check back with token owners to see if they voted how the token indicated. Anonymously and randomly.

You'd also need a verification of the person from time to time to create the voter ID -- kind of like a social security number with it's own password. And this is what is used to create the vote token.

I think it's totally do-able and in fact, there is already a system like it with Apple Pay. The Vendors and the Voting location don't verify or know the vote cast -- just the tally machine at the end. They just verify that Person X was person X and voted. So even if we stay with voting locations -- we should move to a token system because our current "black box" -- privately programmed touch screens are not verifiable, no matter what garbage we are being told today because their is no way to match up the vote with the voter -- only a tally, and the individual vote, with no guarantee that THAT vote is part of the tally.

The other absurdity is to get a slip of paper or a card with "your vote" that you hand in. And there's someone with a badge there to protect it. I feel embarrassed by how stupid they have to think I am as a voter that this gives me any confidence at all that they can't just write down whomever they wanted as the winner of the vote. Our old paper and pencil system was 100% better than the electronic one we have now and cheaper as well (because crooks had to be paid, no doubt).

Comment: Re:More voters voting is not better in itself (Score 1) 258

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693057) Attached to: Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem

I would have agreed with this about a decade ago, but then I thought about how I became sick and tired of the process -- I feel the vote machines are rigged and the choices pre-approved by the lobbyists, yadda, yadda. I still vote, but I do so out of duty and absolutely no delusion that my candidate is EVER going to win. We vote in the most corrupt person we can, and that's the way it's going to be.

But I thought about WHY the ancient Greeks forced people to the poles and would even fine them and mark their necks with a purple die (wrapping around a cloth to secure the print). It's the disenfranchised that you WANT to vote because otherwise the game is won by whomever can disgust everyone about the other candidate. Either they believe the much thrower and vote with him, or they don't vote -- says the logic of reality as we've seen it in modern voting patterns. The more negative, the more independent voters and the fewer people show up to vote overall. Winner; muck thrower.

Comment: Re:The problem is not methodology... (Score 1) 507

by Vitriol+Angst (#49692339) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

I just took a course on Scrum/ AGILE and it was refreshing to learn that "the hardest thing to figure is how long things take on a complex project."

So an AGILE PM would say; "How complex do you think task X is relative to Y?" You'd then break things down into units of labor and try and attack the priorities and the lowest number units. This will of course, come as no shock to anyone in AGILE development -- but I'm repeating this stuff for the benefit of anyone who hasn't, and myself to reinforce the concepts.

Over time and consistency, your work units will translate to "time" -- but not until a while with a team and working on the same types of projects.

The point is; a business needs to hire the labor that they need, and get as much done as they can in a reasonable amount of time. No matter what they do, they can't get an unreasonable amount of work done with a small amount of labor -- they can only fail to produce good work or timely work.

AGILE fails because companies and or management do not adhere to it's principles. Unless workers are empowered to do all that they must do to accomplish a given task -- it isn't going to work. And if you want a timescale of less than 6 months where you can predict the rate of output -- that's also going to fail

Management has been blowing smoke up the rear of executives for decades now, and I suppose everyone still likes the breeze it makes.

Comment: Re:"Best" depends on intent (Score 1) 200

by Vitriol+Angst (#49692253) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format?

Sometimes you people make things WAY too complicated.

In our 'best judgement' -- what's a very open standard for documents? Now, we can ask "what type of document" -- and we can also try and answer for whatever documents we know.

So here goes;

Documents; Try RTFD. Rich Text Formatted Document. It might not be perfect in layout -- but it's open, and accessible to a lot of apps and cross platform. If you get bad results, you might just need to switch to some other "open" app. OpenOffice on all platforms will likely have consistent results but I haven't tried this. I use "Bean" on the Mac for a lightweight text editor and have no trouble.

PDF is good if you need to preserve the look and feel and for the most part -- it's accessible even without paying Adobe. Higher end features require an editor -- but you can have text, images and basic hyper links without cost. There are open source tools available. Adobe of course is a for profit company, but you can get 90% of everything you need with the free and "accessible" standard it has become. It isn't open -- but the PDF format won't change for anything it is compatible with right now.

SVG is a vector based image format. PNG is an image format. JPEG is a lossy compression format. All highly available.

Not so sure for 3D but Collada may be the best. Obj and DXF are old as dirt and don't transfer a lot of information like vertex normals correctly -- at least from discussions I've read. Someone with more experience should weigh in on this topic.

Comment: Re:Not really about lie detectors per se (Score 4, Interesting) 245

While yes, Bill Clinton was impeached for lying on a civil case -- it was a foregone conclusion BEFORE they impeached him that there was no perjury nor would he be able to be convicted.

Perjury charges are usually very difficult for prosecutors to prove because perjury is a crime of intent. This means that a defendant charged with perjury can only be found guilty if the prosecutor shows beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she intended to make the false statement under oath, or, that the witness told the lie on purpose. As such, criminal attorneys often defend their clients by arguing that the defendant did not intend to lie, or that the party believed the statement to be the truth at the time they made it.

The other thing is that it was not a Material Matter and it was not a criminal case. Having sex or not with Monica Lewinsky had beans to do with whether he forced himself on Jennifer Flowers (her own sister said she was trying to climb that pole for months).

Additionally, the Judge instructed that "sex was copulation between a man and a woman" -- so by the court rules laid out, Clinton's BJ was not considered "sex."

He was impeached, but he did not perjure himself. But he Republicans did, no numerous occasions in order to get him in the hot seat to talk about his penis.

This is just a public service announcement from people sick of us worrying about crap that doesn't matter instead of WAR CRIMES and an asshat like Bush that destroyed our economy, hired mercenaries, profited on war, approved torture, and made a fortune for oil companies and weapons dealers with a direct material benefit back to him -- and YET, we cannot investigate this unless there is a penis involved.

And we have another one of these scumbags from this rotten family in the pipe to go into office again and half the country thinks the Clintons are "more corrupt" even though they were exonerated on all 5 charges that Kenneth Starr spent 5 long years and more money than the 9.11 committee investigating.

Comment: Re:Compares well (Score 2) 408

No-fault is about taking money away from lawyers, who used to litigate each and every auto accident as a lawsuit in court before the insurers would pay. Eventually the insurers decided that they spent more on lawyers than accident payments, and they had no reason to do so.

If you want to go back to the way things were, you are welcome to spend lots of time and money in court for trivial things, and see how you like it. I will provide you with expert witness testimony for $7.50/minute plus expenses. The lawyers charge more.

In general your insurer can figure out for themselves if you were at fault or not, and AAA insurance usually tells me when they think I was, or wasn't, when they set rates.

Comment: Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

If we don't have more than two children per couple, the human race would've died out a long time ago.

I think the proper way to state that is "If we didn't in the past", not "If we don't". If we were to have 2 children per couple (approximately, the real value is enough children to replace each individual but not more) from this day on, it would not be necessary to adjust the number upward to avoid a population bottleneck for tens of thousands of years.

Comment: Re:$30 (Score 1) 515

The Northern California Amtrak is actually pretty good for commuting from Sacramento to the Bay Area and back because the right of way is 4 tracks wide in critical places and it has priority over other trains for much of the time.

Acela in the Boston/NY/DC corridor is also good, because the right of way is 4 tracks or more for most of the way, and it has a track to itself along a lot of the route. Other railroads run on parallel tracks.

For the most part, though, Amtrak suffers from not having exclusive track. It runs on freight lines that host cars so heavy that the rail bends an inch when the wheels are on top of it (I've seen this first hand).

Comment: Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

No. If anything, I assert that good trains are a hallmark of the set of good economic policies that lead to the general well-being of the citizenship.

Poor people are poor because they can't get jobs. One of the reasons is that they can't get to jobs. Can't afford a reliable car and insurance and gas in the US? Can't work! Too often, that's the equation.

The other reasons they are poor are that we were equally bad in investing in other things we should have spent more upon publicly, like good primary education. This is caused by more wealthy folks not wanting to pay the necessary taxes.

Comment: Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

I have a lawn and there are turkeys and quail in the front yard today and we can hear the coyotes howling some nights (that's on the edge of Berkeley where it meets Contra Costa county). If I want to be in San Francisco, I have to get to the train station, which is a mile away (convenient, by the way, to lower income homes). And then it's all train from there, under the Bay, out again in the middle of the city.

In two more years, I will be able to get to San Jose that way. Right now, that is an hour and twenty minute drive if I start at 6 AM, and two hours if I start later. It will be a shorter time on the train, more relaxing, a hell of a lot safer, and will allow me to work on the way.

This is what railroad transportation can mean for people with lawns.

Comment: Re:$30 (Score 1) 515

Well, I am not convinced by the auto ownership report that failed to include the purchase price (really!)

I think there's a lot about European behavior you're not taking into account - like the kind of car they actually buy (really small compared to ours) and what they use it for (often, just getting to the railroad station), and the clear indication that car ownership was because of their larger middle class which is itself an indication of better economic policies - like having good mass transit.

I think you have the tax picture wrong, and it's still the better-off people who are contributing the most to mass transit through their taxes.

Regarding the bus, I'm not convinced. The biggest problems are that it can't be connected to electricity efficiently (San Francisco's catenary busses can't exceed 40 MPH while on the wire, and rarely approach that speed because they share the route with cars), it is labor intensive compared to rail, and it has the traffic and safety issues of an automobile. And too often light rail is little better than a bus. It's only when there's an exclusive right-of-way that you get efficiency.

And ultimately there may still be people who vote against mass transit, but they are shooting themselves in the foot.

How come financial advisors never seem to be as wealthy as they claim they'll make you?