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Comment: Re:Hope! (Score 1) 519

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48172625) Attached to: Debian Talks About Systemd Once Again

The Debian team is very conservative about what they are willing to call "stable". They are also very conservative about what they let in to "testing".

In my experience, Debian "testing" is very solid. I know several sys admins who choose Debian testing over anything not Debian. Sometimes they deploy Debian stable, but usually go with "testing" because it's enough closer to other distros to run most current versions of specific applications while still having fewer problems.

Personally, I think they could call what is currently "testing", "near stable".

Comment: Re:Fission is Dead (Score 1) 216

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48172365) Attached to: Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

Why don't we just force the private power industry to use the fission reactors designed, tested, used, and debugged by the US Navy since the 1950s?

How well would those designs scale? Even on the largest ships, the reactors are small compared to commercial power production..

(While they're are some technical advances to using more small reactors, the construction costs would be higher. Also, while I like the idea of putting small power plants nearer the loads they serve, there will be a lot resistance to building new fission plants closer to urban areas than they already are.)

Comment: Re:What's the big deal with intelligence? (Score 1) 363

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48170649) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

My girlfriend (and mom of my daughter) and I both experienced the "push back" from society as we grew up. We were both lucky enough to get scholarships to attend private schools for gifted children. We've done our best to provide at least as well for our daughter.

We got our daughter into a private school (also on a scholarship). The school was very good at keeping her academically challenged. It also provided other opportunities for her, including "drama club" and non-varsity volleyball.

In preschool, the teachers actually appreciated her ability to read, letting her "entertain" the other kids. There was no more "friction" between her and the boys then there was between the boys. She (and 2 other girls there) would happily play with either girls or boys and was accepted by both girls and boys. She was (and still is) a "Lego maniac" (along with other building toys like K'Nex). She also played with a few dolls she choose herself (Pocahontas was one of them, but she never wanted a Barbie).

When she was 10, she stated that "gender appropriate" never made sense to her. And that while she wants to become a mom, "I'm gonna to be an engineer, kinda like Kaylee." (the engineer of Serenity on the TV show Fire Fly). She will soon have her bachelor degrees in physics and aero engineering, then plans on grad school.

Knowing what we went through, we have been watching our daughter (and her boyfriend) as well as talking with her teachers, aunts, uncles and cousins. As best we can determine, she's getting along better than we did. Certainly she knows what she wants and is making darned good progress.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48163817) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

A progressive consumption tax is easy to collect. But not at point-of-sale, that's impractical.

What's hard about a sliding tax scale?

We already group items into taxable and nontaxable. Essential items will continue to be nontaxable. Basic quality of life and basic luxury items would be on sliding scales with luxury items being taxed more progressively.

I can see where it would be complicated to determine the fair tax of certain "big ticket" items, including houses, medical devices, cars and many home appliances. For that, then I suppose the buyer would have to file a consumption tax return with payment within 30 days of the purchase. (Items too expensive to be "necessary" could be charged the "quality of life" rate at sale; items obviously in the "luxury" category could be charged the luxury rate at sale.)

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48163471) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

As long as democracy behaves like the tyranny of the mob, it will be fought as such

The US tried to balance between the "tyranny of the few" and the "tyranny of the mob". For a while, that worked. Now, with the increasing income inequality, the balance of power is shifting toward the tyranny of the few.

Unless you are one of those few, can you really rely on the benevolence of those few? And for how long?

Even if you are one of those few, unless you are at the top, how long before you are excluded from the few?

If you're at the top, then I can see why you might like this.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48162909) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

If you want private justice, the guy with the guy protecting you as you sleep can kill you and take your stuff himself.

I know a woman who is a private security guard to a very wealthy person. She is paid far more than the security found in the lobbies of large corporations and 5 star hotels (I know a few of those guards, too). She is happy with her job, lives very comfortably and is very loyal to her employer. And is a former military sniper with the highest rating.

Comment: Re:What's the big deal with intelligence? (Score 3, Interesting) 363

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48160789) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

I think you are conflating different things. Higher intelligence does not necessarily mean higher risk of Aspergers or other social disorders. Your son could easily have been of average intelligence and still had the other problems you've described. Do you think he would have had it easier by being less smart?

While our society tends to mistreat the very smart, even more it mistreats those with social disorders.

My daughter is also gifted and scored an IQ in the 140s. Also has insatiable curiosity. Certainly she could (and still can) ask far more questions than us and her teachers could ever answer. But, she never has had issues keeping her curiosity under her own control. She quickly learned how to do her own research. But not at the expensive of purely social activities. She certainly pushed our patience and made plenty of mistakes, but never did anything bad. She's a happy teen who is doing very, very well in university (studying electronics engineering and physics). She's been with her current boyfriend (who is equally gifted) for over 2 years. And she's truly beautiful (scouts from fashion agencies regularly try to recruit her for modeling; she politely declines).

Yes, in some respects my daughter is lucky. I don't think that her intelligence was a risk factor in inheriting any social disorders. And she's certainly using it in good ways.

Comment: Re:Cue slippery slope arguments now... (Score 1) 363

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48160111) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

Why on earth does everybody in this thread think the plutocracy that runs the U.S. will allow a more intelligent general populace?

I don't. I think this will ultimately lead to a situation like the one in the short story "Examination Day", except that the overly smart kids won't be years past the zygote stage when they are "euthanized for the public good".

(In the story, parents drop off their son at an examination centre. Later, the centre calls them to inform them that their sin's intelligence exceeded the legal limit, then asking if they wanted their son's remains embalmed, cremated or donated to science.)

Comment: Re:professor in theoretical physics (Score 1) 363

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48159915) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

Did anyone else notive the fact that this dude's a professor in theoretical physics? He wouldn't know a genome from a hole in the wall

Why would high level expertise in one field necessarily exclude low* or even mid level expertise in other fields?

*by "low level expertise", I mean above the level of a well informed "ordinary person".

Comment: Re:Yes. Yes it is. (Score 1) 264

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48156215) Attached to: Confidence Shaken In Open Source Security Idealism

My own corporate experience as a software developer, architect and VP is that security is taken very seriously by industry and a considerable amount of effort is expended on that very issue.

I am glad you take your company's products' security seriously.

Sadly, most of my clients only take their company security seriously. Product security, no. In one case, the client was so averse to implementing any security measures in the products that, when our customer dictated we had to use a particular CPU integrity test that required a random number generator, when the project manager saw the name of the psuedo-random number generator I used, he exclaimed "What?!! You're putting encryption in the software?!! No!! No!! No!! We can NOT do that!!". I then assured him it was only a random number algorithm, not encryption.

Comment: Re:Ob (Score 1) 229

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48145635) Attached to: The Subtle Developer Exodus From the Mac App Store

I think that mobile app stores got it half right: the store simply asks for requisite permissions when installing an app. I've declined to try numerous "free" apps that apparently needed access to all of my private data for no good reason at all. It shouldn't be any different when installing Mac App Store apps. The only additional feature that I'd like to see is for the apps to define what subset(s) of permissions they can live with, so that the users would have an option of running apps with less permissions, with some loss in functionality.

For devices like smartphones and tablets that can't be administered in the way a full PC can be, I want *all* apps sandboxed - especially the vendor's apps.

As for minimum "subset(s) of permissions they can live with", why ask? If the app is asking for access to sensitive data without a compelling reason, why it would it also admit it doesn't need that access. If the app says "If you let me access X, then I can do Y for you", then I can consider. But even then, why bother?

The access permissions can be part of the sandbox mechanism. If I allow app W to access X, then the sandbox can allow that. Otherwise, it can just provide "Harmless X" for the app to play with.

I suppose apps could detect "Harmless X" and refuse to work. But, for example, suppose X is my Contacts List. If I never add any contacts nor delete any of the sample contacts, then my real Contacts is indistinguishable from "Harmless Contacts". Would be very rude for the app to refuse to work in that case, so any app that would refuse is probably some kind of malware.

Yes, I know that would mean no apps like TextExpander.

On my PC, I run Debian with SELinux and virtual screens, each with its own Xserver. Yes that means I can't copy/paste between applications on different virtual screens. It also means I had to create a lot of "Harmless X" resources that certain applications want to access.

Far from perfect. And a a major pain. and I know separate PCs would be a lot safer. I already have a separate PC for audio recording and editing. That PC doesn't have any network access.

So, as far as I am concerned, neither Apple nor Google have gone far enough.

Comment: Re: Missing option (Score 1) 217

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48141655) Attached to: When will the first successful manned Mars mission happen?

Military spending doesn't include items like veteran's benefits which would put it far above social spending. It also doesn't include the cost to our society of PTSD and kids growing up without a father. We spend far more than 650 Billion on the military.

Conservative members of US politics consider veteran's benefits, including treatment of PTSD, to be social spending.

Comment: Re: More feminist bullshit (Score 1) 716

by UnderCoverPenguin (#48116157) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win

I know many women in IT. And in other tech fields. Some of whom I've worked with. I've witnessed plenty of anti-female behavior. The most common I've seen is the assumption that anything a male suggests is intrinsically better than anything a female suggests. Next most common I've seen is paternalism. Rarely (but not never) do I see more overt forms (being in software development, calling a woman a "code c***" is an insult I've heard more than a few times). I know this is tame compared to what many people talk about.

And I know some people would consider this not sexism.

These subtle forms of sexism are probably just as bad. They may whisper, but the message they whisper is all the more effective for having been whispered - it's often easier to dismiss the obviously sexist comment than it is the clam, gentle voice "offering assistance".*

Sexism in IT and other tech fields is very real and all too common.

*I am NOT saying offering help is a bad thing. It is how it's done. However subtle, there is a difference between offering help to someone who is considered an equal and to someone who is considered an inferior.

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos