Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:this already exists (Score 1) 274

by ultranova (#49631227) Attached to: USBKill Transforms a Thumb Drive Into an "Anti-Forensic" Device

Which opens you up to all kinds of high circumstantial evidence prosecution. Evidence that you may have been involved in a crime coupled with a psychotic behavior in which you put your computer data at severe risk to handle an unexpected seizure?

How do they prove removing the USB drive caused the shutdown? The script is on the computer and thus unvailable with all other data. The USB drive itself can contain any data, giving you a perfectly nonpsychotic reason to keep it attached to your wrist.

Comment: Re:News? (Score 1) 410

by ultranova (#49626453) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

About a third of the population is simply incapable of abstract reasoning. If you think otherwise, I invite you to come to my house, and I will give you a free dinner while you explain "vectors" to my 15 year old daughter.

"15 year old" and "daughter" are abstract concepts. It's not possible to use English, or any language for that matter, without capability for abstract reasoning. So if your daughter can talk, she can reason; whether she wants to is another matter.

Most people simply have no use whatsoever for abstract math, so they won't put in the effort needed to become good or even passable at it. That's all there is to it.

Comment: Re:Defense of the Article (Score 1) 410

by eldavojohn (#49620497) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

So there could be two groups, those who look to improve their skill, who quickly distance themselves from the group that doesn't. Of course, there will still be wide variance in skill between the members of each group. I'm sure you can think of other ways it could happen.

No, I can't. I started out and I sucked. I got better eventually through experience. In order for it to be truly bimodal, people have to start in either camp A or camp B and end in the same camp they started in. Because if you transition from one to another over time, any point in time will capture a group of people in between the modes. Now, you can argue that people don't spend much time in between those modes but you haven't presented any evidence for that. What's more likely is you have geocities coders on one tail and John Carmack/Linus Torvolds on the other tail. And in between are people like the presenter and I. And since I'm not instantaneously going from bad to good, the reality of the situation is most likely some degree of a normal curve filled with people trying to get better at programming or even just getting better though spending lots of time doing it and learning a little along the way.

For all your attacks on the presenter, your argument of a bi-modal distribution sounds more flawed to me. I would love to see your study and hear your argument.

+ - Recent Paper Shows Fracking Chemicals in Drinking Water, Industry Attacks It->

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes: A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences turned up 2-Butoxyethanol from samples collected from three households in Pennsylvania. The paper's level headed conclusion is that more conservative well construction techniques should be used to avoid this in the future and that flowback should be better controlled. Rob Jackson, another scientist who reviewed the paper, stressed that the findings were an exception to normal operations. Despite that, the results angered the PR gods of the Marcellus Shale Gas industry and awoke beltway insider mouthpieces to attack the research — after all, what are they paying them for?
Link to Original Source

Comment: Defense of the Article (Score 1) 410

by eldavojohn (#49619837) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

This guy doesn't know how to measure programming ability, but somehow manages to spend 3000 words writing about it.

To be fair, you can spend a great deal of time talking about something and make progress on the issue without solving it.

For example the current metrics are abysmal so it's worth explaining why they're abysmal. I just was able to delete several thousand lines of JavaScript from one of my projects after a data model change (through code reuse and generalization) -- yet I increased functionality. My manager was confused and thought it was a bad thing to get rid of code like that ... it was absolute dopamine bliss to me while he felt like our production was being put in reverse. KLOC is a terrible metric. But yet we still need to waste a lot of breath explaining why it's a terrible metric.

Another reason to waste a lot of time talking about a problem without reaching an answer is to elaborate on what the known unknowns are and speculate about the unknown unknowns. Indeed, the point of this article seemed to be to advertise the existence of unknown unknowns to "recruiters, venture capitalists, and others who are actually determining who gets brought into the community."

So he doesn't know......programmer ability might actually be a bi-modal distribution.

Perhaps ... but that would imply that one does not transition over time from one hump to the next or if they do, it's like flipping a light switch. When I read this I assumed that he was talking only about people who know how to program and not "the average person mixed in with programmers."

If he had collected data to support his hypothesis, then that would have been an interesting article.

But you just said there's no way to measure this ... how could he have collected data? What data set could have satiated us? The answer is quite obvious and such collection would have been a larger fool's errand than the original article's content.

Comment: Re:Not Actually $3500 (Score 1) 311

by ultranova (#49614035) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

You don't even know what it's being used for, so how can you call it a waste?

It's being used for providing cloud gaming - or somehing similar - services. nVidia GRID is specialized enough technology to pinpoint it, and furthermore, every user gets two SSDs. And waste or not, hosting a personal data center is pretty atypical.

Comment: Re:Looks like the prophet's gunmen (Score 4, Insightful) 1059

by ultranova (#49611899) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

Well, when all you have to convince people that they should work for you is promises of eternal bliss after death without any kind of proof, you can't really expect nobel prize material to flock to you...

But that's not all fanatics have. It's just local flavoring. What their message is is the same as always before: "All your problems are caused by group X. Join me and take your revenge!"

Such memetic viruses don't strike at stupidity but at lack of self-awareness and -control - in other words, immaturity - and consequently, being smart - even Nobel-smart - doesn't help protect against them. In fact, should the infection take hold, all that intelligence will simply be used to construct elaborate rationalizations of the fanaticism's guise which make it even more virulent.

Fanaticism is a memetic disease. If you have lots of angry young people, you get outbreaks, just like with flu. And sooner or later one of these outbreaks mutates into a form that can cause an epidemic, or perhaps even a pandemic. In the 30's, we got fascism which eventually mutated into nazism; in the middle of the century we got small outbreaks of red terrorism, but thankfully general prosperity made the population too resistant for transmission to continue except in much-diluted form; and right now we're seeing an epidemic which is parasiting on Islam. Islam itself isn't the problem, it simply provides a new outer form - like robes for a ringwraith - for the same force that was behind Hitler and has now returned for round n+1. But the heart of this darkness is the same as it has always been.

The question is: what to do about all this? Is this some kind of inevitable function of human biology or merely an artifact from our cultural past? Would it be possible to rid the world of suhc maladjusted memes once and for all, or perhaps develop memes that work as antidotes - for example, surely knowing all this helps notice when someone's trying to pull the trick on you? As noted above, greater general prosperity would help a lot, but is not foolproof, is already being worked on, and perhaps most importantly, current iteration of the fanaticism pandemic seems to be evolving to get around it - bin Laden came from a very privileged background, and many people who have lived their entire lives in the West have gone to join Isis.

Comment: Re:Remeber (Score 1) 121

Of course, he was writing to kings, most of whom had an interest in keeping their country runnning for mutiple generations.

Except they didn't. Kings of old didn't give a shit about what happened to their countries after they died. Why would they had? They were divinely appointed to their office, so whatever happened as a result of said appointment wasn't really their problem. Peasant's starving because the king sold all of nation's wheat to fund a war waged for his ego? God's will.

And of course this is still the case with the modern aristocrats. Shut down the only factory in a city and kicked all the workers to the roadside? No problem, the Invisible Hand will sort the worthy from the undeserving. A homeless guy asks for money? Hell no, he's suffering penance for his sins - if he had some marketable skills or connections he'd be sleeping in a mansion. Roads crumbling from lack of repair? Invisible Hand must be getting ready to release a flying car. The planet getting warmer? No worries, the Invisible Hand will surely save such devoted servants! And figure out some way to kick that homeless man some more in the process for being economically worthless.

There comes a point of no return, when the damage already inflicted makes it impossible to rise funds to stop more from occurring. The question is, can this pathological secularized religion be removed from power before the damn cult dooms the entire country, and possibly whole West?

Comment: Re:Can he win? (Score 1) 393

by ultranova (#49604627) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

Our country's finances have always been the fault of the congress and its creature, the Federal Reserve.

No. The fault lies with voters who want both low taxes for themselves and a high developmental level for their country. Infrastructure, whether social or physical, is expensive; if you don't pay it with taxes you'll end up paying in some other way, such as through ever-growing debt and its consequences, whatever those will eventually turn out to be.

Comment: Re:(URGENT REQUIREMENT IN DETROIT!!!!!, etc) (Score 1) 226

by ultranova (#49599691) Attached to: Want 30 Job Offers a Month? It's Not As Great As You Think

It's an example and all, but as developer born and raised in Detroit (the city proper) and a current resident of the city, is it necessary to kick the place even more?

Losers need to be made look bad at every opportunity, otherwise the winners might start wondering just what kind of society lets such things happen to innocent people. I mean, they might even suggest government should help pull them up from the ditch, and that's blashphemy against the Invisible Hand and the Church of Free Market.

Don't take it personally, it's not really Anonymous Coward speaking, but the voices - internalized memetic structures - in their head fighting for survival and territory.

Comment: Re:unexamined prejudice (Score 1) 301

Men are constantly portrayed in both advertising and entertainment as buffoons and simpletons when they are anywhere near the kitchen, the kids, or the laundry.

Men having to do women's work is pretty funny, yes. But at least even this poor bastard doesn't have enough experience to be good at it. So he just fell into the metaphorical open sewer manhole rather than having to actually live in one.

Everyone laughs when a man is kicked in the balls by a woman in a TV show/commercial. Where's the fake outrage about that violent sexisim in the name of humour?

Here in Finland we have a long tradition of military farces. It's because we live right next to (Soviet) Russia, so Finnish military is pretty bloody obviously vital for the country's continued existence, and valued accordingly. So why does such a society tolerate - and even support - subversions of it? Because they aren't subversions. Those military farces are actually subverting the scenario they show - that military is full of incompetent buffoons - by presenting it as ridiculous.

The "ballkicks as comedy" scenario is sexists, and propaganda besides, just armored in such a way as to give plausable deniability and deflect criticism. They're like a joke where the punchline is that a Jew doesn't want to eat Christian babies, or a black man doesn't want to rape white women, or a US cop lets that black man live: not funny, unless you have specific prejudices, which in turn get reinforced by watching their inverse being represented as the world being out of whack.

None of this is (necessarily) intentional on the writer's part. They're simply writing what the cultural "programs" they have acquired from their surroundings suggest. And programs that suggest actions that spread themselves become endemic, which is usually a good thing since it allows humans to predict each other's actions, but can also be a huge problem when one such program happens to be akin to a malevolent virus, like sexism and racism are. Not much can be done about them but to produce and release counter-memes which hopefully block the spread of such viruses but will of course also have other effects on their own, at least on the current developmental level of psychology.

Comment: Re:Error in headline (Score 1) 301

The paper in on how the female experience is not the same as the male experience. It's less. Thus it makes sense to suggest an actual female researcher contribute to the effort.

Either your conclusions follow from your data with reasonable certainty, or they don't. A lack of female researcher might limit the scope of your conclusions - that is, you're missing something you could had reasonably concluded from the data - but it cannot invalidate an otherwise valid conclusion, unless your entire study was fatally flawed from the start, in which case adding one wouldn't help either.

And that third reviewer.. good lord what a tool. I'm not even sure i /want/ to read his review because you can't context any non offensive meaning out of that snippet.

How about the obvious: he's too lazy to analyze the conclusions of the paper based on evidence presented and just wants to rubber-stamp it?

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it. -- Donald Knuth