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Comment Re: 'not the only possibility' (Score 2) 20

It would help to read the actual thread where the process of elimination took place rather than the NSF forum thread which was after it was already hashed out. The discussion also took place on IRC, but it also involved evidence that went well beyond just the photos, including automatically eliminating all launches from Vandenberg and then trying to perform some ocean current analysis to try and figure out how long it would take for ocean currents to push rocket debris from between Florida and Bermuda to make its way to the British Isles.

It is explosion debris.

No, it is not necessarily explosion debris. This particular section appears to be from the interstage section between the upper and lower stages of the Falcon 9, which is jettisoned and left to fall on its own to wherever it might land after the two stages separate. The lower stage breaks off first and then this part is an extra shroud used to make the area around the upper stage engine aerodynamically efficient when the lower stage is firing.

Another interstage section has been recovered earlier from yet another flight. The only thing really remarkable here is that it was covered in barnacles... something that even people who run ship across the Atlantic hardly find remarkable either other than it also indicates a bit of the length of time that it spent in the water.... that can also be used to help determine which flight this likely came from.

While it is I suppose possible that it was the CRS-7 flight and the explosion from that like you seem to indicate, there are many reasons to suggest this panel was not from that flight.

Comment Re:Something something question in headline equals (Score 1) 568

Try that again. It would be nice if these professional associations were only voluntary, and that you can choose to start your own separate organization if you disagree with their philosophies. Unfortunately, you can't in the case of a professional civil engineer, as only one organization is legally sanctioned by most states.

It is this legal distinction that is being asked for by the author of the original article and something you are missing. It also sounds like you need to pay attention to the legal monopoly given to the American Bar Association, its state associated member organizations, as well as the American Medical Association and its legal monopoly. It is this monopoly that I'm complaining about here, regardless of the fees being paid or how they are derived and what you are missing.

It is also the charter and how standards for those professions are created, not to mention other legal restrictions for people in those professions you are mentioning. Is that something you really want in software development?

Comment Re:Something something question in headline equals (Score 3, Insightful) 568

I would agree that proper software engineering involves about 10% coding and a whole lot of doing a great many other things like documentation, specifications, and debates over interfaces (user, API, and even hardware hooks if you get to the driver level). and last but not least quality assurance testing to proof the system including formal code review. When I was spending more than 10% of my time actually coding, I thought I was making some real progress for the week... and started to get worried.

Comment Re:Something something question in headline equals (Score 0, Troll) 568

Yep. We wouldn't let self-proclaimed civil engineers build bridges.

Why do we let self-proclaimed programmers write important software?

Who makes that decision to call somebody a proper civil engineer?

A government bureaucrat. All you are complaining about here is that the government is too small and that taxes are too low. Be careful for what you wish, as you wish might just be granted in a case like this. Do you really want software development to be heavily regulated?

Comment Re:Something something question in headline equals (Score 0) 568

Such tests exist, and software developers are legally held to be liable for their mistakes. It is just that most of the time the lawyers involved in software development usually have end customers agree to silly terms in their software licenses that disclaim any sort of liability on the part of its use.... and the customers even agree to such a disclaimer that it is essentially a worthless piece of software that won't ever do the job it was supposed to do in the first place.

It certainly isn't the lack of such tests, or the fact that software is used in literally life critical applications where a bug in its development will kill people or cause great harm to life and property. The software developers who work on guidance computers for rockets certainly know the liability, legal, and professional risks to screwing up are concerned.... and rarely get caught any more making the kind of silly mistakes you are complaining about here.

If only companies like Microsoft gave a damn about reliability rather than clogging up the OS with useless crap, deliberate spyware, and so many back doors to bring down the computer that even a competent security analyst can't even keep track of where a security hole can be found to bring the whole system to its knees. When I see the Microsoft logo on a piece of medical equipment, I just cringe thinking about the potential for screw ups that can happen.

Comment Re:Open your IT consulting business as AC Engineer (Score 1) 568

There isn't a single board that regulates engineers. There are specific certification boards that have been developed from the earlier system of guilds for some specific engineering disciplines, but what seems to be asked here is that something like a guild be established for software engineering.

A decidedly stupid notion, even though a Programmers' Guild already exists and can provide you a nice and convenient letter for certification if you really insist upon the idea. It certainly can't be used as the excuse for why software engineering should not be considered a proper engineering discipline unless you are seeking to make such organizations official and legally required as membership.

Comment Not all programmers are software engineers.... (Score 1) 568

But software engineering is a real discipline and something that exists. It is also something distinctly different from computer science, as the relationship between computer science and software engineering is one that is identical to that to other scientists like physicists and material scientists to mechanical, structural, and aerospace engineers.

The problem is having somebody who has read a book about Visual Basic or taken a two week certification course and then is proclaimed "an engineer"... which is the furthest from what a real engineer actually does.Actual engineering is something that is learned gradually over time and really does require mentorship, apprentices, and many of the things described in this article. The regulation and the other bullshit that comes with compliance to governments is something that can be left out, but is already sadly a major part of software engineering anyway if you want to be truthful. A proper software engineer will understand not only the coding part, but will also know the legal and moral limits of what it is that they are doing as well and be responsible with what they are doing.

As for the data breeches and software failures that were mentioned in the article, that is a pure sign of somebody who was not doing their job, and using tools and I dare say operating systems that are simply not up to the task. Proper software engineering takes a look at everything, including the full software stack going from the BIOS to what the end user is directly experiencing with a user interface and understanding in depth that whole software stack too. Sadly that isn't something taught in most universities any more and definitely can't be picked up by a hobbyist programmer without a whole lot of effort either. If you can't code an assembler or compiler and make that whole software stack from scratch, you shouldn't call yourself a software engineer. I'm not saying you should necessarily ignore existing software nor constantly reinventing the wheel, but it is the level of skill and knowledge that you should have to be considered competent.

On the other hand, those capable of such tasks and doing so in a full time professional manner, that can intelligently communicate with other engineers in other engineering disciplines and make their products (the stuff made by other engineers doing something other than developing software) a whole lot better, they legitimately can be called properly engineers. I will even go so far as to say the worst kind of software developers I've met are electrical engineers who have moved over to the software side of things and don't know that software engineering is its own discipline with its own standards and ideas separate and independent from building gates or power supplies. A few electrical engineers get that it is a new discipline separate from the one they were trained in doing, and can certainly grow into competent software engineers in their own right as they really do understand computer hardware from the ground up. None the less, even these "proper" engineers going into software development need to realize they have gaps in their education.

I would agree that perhaps some companies need to restrict the use of the title "software engineer" to perhaps fewer people than is typical done in the industry. I particularly hate the use of "network engineer" unless there is some actual engineering processing involved in something like that too. What definitely needs to go is the specialized certification like "Microsoft Certified Engineer", unless Microsoft is actually running a real engineering school that is itself accredited. The two week wonder courses particularly shouldn't be using the term at all or calling those who complete such courses anything approaching the term "engineer".

Comment Re:Spoilers! (Score 1) 55

Like it spoiled much of anything if you watch the movie. It certainly isn't something like telling people Luke is Darth Vader's son or that Princess Leia is his sister (which really makes watching Star Wars episode IV sort of awkward in some scenes).

I just want to see how many times Matt Damon drops the f-bomb in the movie? Andy Weir uses it about a dozen times in the first chapter and is even the first word of the book.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 146

Which only means that it is pretty well cleansed due to the debate and non-controversial things have been kept out. It is interesting that the alias used by Barack Obama while his family lived in Indonesia, Barry Soetoro, is not listed anywhere in the actual article even though it is even mentioned in one of the sources on the article as the title of the article. Another interesting thing that has been completely removed from not only that article but any sub-articles is anything even remotely mentioning the "birther" debate... as if that never happened at all and never appeared in any headlines or discussions even to have it refuted. Again, links to articles that list that debate are even in the sources, just no mention in the actual article itself is what I find odd.

I agree it is pretty clean with just facts, but it is a pretty cleansed set of facts that are non-controversial in and of themselves and state the dull dry stuff that doesn't get dredged up when real muck racking happens. It is also an extremely orthodox view of Barack Obama.

Mind you, for something like Wikipedia, I think it is likely about as good as it can get. But 80 pages of discussion debates shows it was a highly contentious article for those who helped put together the words you are currently reading there. It also appears to have the usual level of cranks and crazy folks who have edited the page over time, like the guy who replaced the whole article with the word "Gay". It likely would be mostly what you would also see in a typical encyclopedia of even 50 years ago about a similar topic written by professional authors writing for an encyclopedia.

Comment Re:Not bad in principle (Score 1) 146

The way you solve that problem is to require reviewers to not hide in anonymity. There are plenty of very prominent reviewers of all kinds of things, including the movie reviewers Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert who got their named plastered all over so much that even a negative review ("Two thumbs interesting movie with flaws") would still show up on movie posters.

Don't trust an individual reviewer.

Comment Re:socks arent all malevolent (Score 1) 146

more attention needs to be lent to dealing with controversial articles on the RIAA, the trans continental partnership, and the nature of large entities that can afford to muddle their tracks. For example, how many edits to the Coca Cola wiki article have been made and by whom? What edits get made to pages on the gulf oil disaster and on Time Warners article

And you don't think pages like Barack Obama or George W. Bush are immune to these problems by political fanatics either? What about the religious fanatics that get into edit wars over theology, or the Wikipedia pages on Scientology? Frankly what I see for from these shills working for advertising agencies is trivial compared to the huge damage that a well invested fanatic on many other topics can do to Wikipedia articles, most of them not getting any sort of pay for their activities.

It also isn't the famous articles that are the real concern though. It is the articles that have perhaps two or three active editors that have ever worked on that article and then the article is hijacked to support a strong point of view. It might get caught if it is on somebody's active page watch list or somebody aggressively looking at recent changes, but mostly it will slip through the cracks and become mostly permanent to Wikipedia. This includes some rather substantive articles I might add, but by its nature is usually non-controversial (hence why so few people are bothering to edit it too).

Comment Re:Irony (Score 1) 146

That edit history is already built into the MediaWiki software and has been there for years. it is in fact one of the ways you can track down the activities of a user, and that edit history is for the most part even available to the general public. Here is the edit history of one of the more infamous Wikipedia editors of the past as an example.

Admins get some minor additional pieces of information, and can look up deleted pages (at least pages not visible to everybody) to review what might have happened in the past that got them on the bad side of another administrator or even police bad actions by admins themselves. It is tedious for even one admin to fight another admin (called wheel warring) but it can be done.

Your suggestion already exists.

Leveraging always beats prototyping.