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Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 110

by Just Some Guy (#49785971) Attached to: Adblock Plus Victorious Again In Court

Why would anyone, ever, think that me not looking at their ad should be illegal?

It goes a lot deeper than that. I am running software on a device I own. That software requests a resource from a remote service. After receiving it, the same software manipulates that resource in ways I have specifically asked it to in order to meet my needs.

The plaintiff's case is that they have a legal right to tell me how to view a resource once it's on a machine I own. Copyright etc. isn't involved; I'm consuming a properly licensed copy of the resource that they sent to me. I'm not distributing it, either in original or modified form.

There are already a million other ways I might modify that content today. I can apply my own CSS so that font sizes and contrast are to my liking. My web browser may actually be a speech synthesizer or braille reader. I may be viewing it on a mobile device that simply can't render it in its original form. But according to the plaintiffs, none of that matters: either I view it as originally intended or not at all.

If they're going to assert insane things like that, I suggest they form a W3C working group to publicize a standard way of describing what uses are acceptable for that content. Then my web browser could parse it, see "ADS_MAY_BE_REMOVED: FALSE", and give me a popup saying "This page is published by sociopaths. Continue?".

Comment: Re:Which string theory? (Score 1) 91

No, I agree. If Feynmann can't follow their calculations, there's something largely amiss. Then again, that was a while ago and for all I know they might be making perfect sense now.

But I still contend that "it sounds like gibberish to laypeople" is a pretty low bar to set. It's almost impossible to describe something like QCD to non-phycisists without stopping twice a sentence - "well, not a literal color", "not 'up' like in 'gravity'", etc. - even at the high school textbook level.

Comment: CEO cheerleading book (Score 3, Insightful) 27

by ErichTheRed (#49783953) Attached to: Red Hat CEO Publishes Open Source Management Memoir

One of the things that bothers me about books like this is how they become primary reference material for MBAs and managers. I've lost count of how many times managers have referenced "Good to Great" or Jack Welch's book to implement very questionable policies. Some guy waxing poetic on what a wonderful job he's done is a lot different from a rigorous study.

One real world example about anecdotal evidence shaping global HR policy is the Google "open floor plan" office trend. Our company is moving from semi-private cubes and offices to a hideous Google-style design. This is for a professional services company where most people require quiet, and are taking phone calls and working on individual/small group projects, not for a software startup. We and countless other companies are doing this simply because Google does it, and has published many articles on how wonderful it is. Evidence is coming out against this (increased sick time, loss of concentration, people hating their co-workers more, etc.) but damnit, if it works for Google it must be right.

Comment: I agree with this somewhat (Score 4, Informative) 164

One big problem with equating CS with "coding" is the fact that low-skill and high-skill jobs get lumped into the same bucket. Same thing in my side (IT) where systems architects and help desk guys get painted with the same brush. If you teach a student to just "code" then all they're going to know is a few web front end tricks and they'll be difficult to train for the next thing. The students coming into the profession now need to have a science background, not just a 9-week coder bootcamp. Remember MCSE bootcamps from the late 90s/early 2000s? We in IT are _still_ working with some of the products of these.

If anyone is serious about fixing the skills problem, the following needs to happen:
- Salaries need to be stabilized at a level that will attract new entrants to the field. No one is going to waste time and money studying something that doesn't pay off later on. Look at all the little private colleges that are going out of business after burning through their endowments. Lots of students know that they can no longer expect a job after graduating studying just anything.at any college. (I was one of the last graduation years where that was true.) Unfortunately, college is a trade school now for most people.
- Jobs need to be available. Companies can't cry "skill shortage" while outsourcing their IT department to the lowest bidder or throwing people away when they turn 40. I think a technical career provides a very fulfilling job if you're lucky and choose your employers well. But, if I were faced with a choice of what to study, and saw stagnant wages, mass layoffs, and a career that can end at 40, I would probably pick something else.
- A career progression needs to exist. My career progression was help desk monkey --> desktop support monkey --> data center guy --> system administrator --> the strange hybrid admin/designer/architect/integration combo I do now. Now, it doesn't exist to the same degree. Help desk is in India, desktop support is significantly reduced and the pay is much lower than it was, data center monkey jobs now consist of replacing parts in Google or Amazon or Microsoft data centers, and so on. Where are the next generation of IT people and software developers going to be trained? On the dev side, the QA and maintenance coder jobs are increasingly in India or automated. Getting rid of low level jobs means that new entrants can't grow into the better jobs.

I'm an advocate of taking the different tasks in IT and dev, and splitting them into "technician" and "licensed engineer" tracks. Licensing the top tiers of the job field might mean higher quality of systems and software, fewer major security hacks, etc. The technician track would allow people to grow into these jobs, steadily gaining responsibility and salary over time. The thing we would have to avoid is what lawyers are going through now...the Bar Association threw open the doors to the profession a while back, opened tons of law schools, and allowed the offshoring of routine legal work. Now, look online sometime -- lawyers who spent $250K on school and passed the bar exam can't find work. The only way to make money as a lawyer now is if you manage to graduate at the top of your class at Harvard, Yale or Stanford -- otherwise, don't even bother.

So yes, definitely find ways to keep students interested in STEM -- but don't be shocked if no one signs on for the long haul when they see what's coming at the end...

Comment: Re:Machine learning? (Score 1) 183

by circletimessquare (#49779299) Attached to: DNA On Pizza Crust Leads To Quadruple Murder Suspect

on the issue of racism, no

i do not know many things about many topics. all of us are ignorant of many things

but i know enough about racism to understand that racists are not intelligent people. i am absolutely certain of that

oh i am certain you can find some mathematician who can do complex topological analysis in his head who is a fervent racist. there's also mathematicians who can't balance their checkbooks or know how to talk to girls. much like autism, extreme intelligence in a small domain does not often extend to basic social intelligence. on a site like slashdot, i am certain there are minds brilliant in small esoteric areas that are social morons, aspergers syndrome types

but anyone of average social development and of ordinary iq can easily spot the logical fallacies with racist "thinking"

and so you must be socially retarded to be a racist. i am certain of that to an absolute degree

there are certain beliefs, like creationism, antivaccine, racism, that to believe in those things *requires* you to be mentally deficient and socially stunted

if you are racist, you are a low intelligence individual. truth

Comment: Re:Machine learning? (Score 1) 183

by circletimessquare (#49777797) Attached to: DNA On Pizza Crust Leads To Quadruple Murder Suspect

we're dealing with racists here

to believe in racism is to be a stupid person because to believe in it requires falling for a logical fallacy

if you don't understand that you are indeed a stupid person. objectively true. to hold a belief that requires low iq is to be a stupid person. objectively determined truth of low intelligence

i don't really give a shit what you think of me. because i am 100% correct here. racists are stupid people. you have to be a genuinely dumb, low iq, moron to believe the borken "if... then..." bullshit reasoning behind racist beliefs

Comment: Re:30 years ago.... (Score 3, Insightful) 277

by afidel (#49777453) Attached to: Amtrak Installing Cameras To Watch Train Engineers

You are aware that plenty of people are monitored for their entire shift in much less safety critical jobs, like bank tellers, grocery or retail store cashiers, dock workers, etc, yes? As to the speed being controlled by computer, they've been working on that for some time, but apparently the radio network to convey all the necessary information to the control box is massively behind schedule.

Comment: Billionaires funding schools = bad (Score 4, Insightful) 229

by ErichTheRed (#49776407) Attached to: Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School

Some people might point to this as a good thing, but I disagree. When rich, influential people begin taking control over key aspects of our society, such as education, even small experiments like this run the risk of being trotted out as the antidote to all those evil government-run schools out there.

Look at political advertising pre- and post- Citizens United decision. Smart people can see though most BS that either side generates. However, the reality is that the masses are definitely swayed by political ads. Now, it's just a matter of who has the most money and can blanket people with their message. A lot of political advertising is "issue advertising" designed not to promote a candidate, but an ideology. Education sounds like a perfect place to get that message in early. (And yes, I'm aware that the conservatives will point out the evil liberal agenda that public schools have...anything that isn't American exceptionalism is an evil liberal plot.)

I'm not saying it would happen, but giving influential people access to educational institutions could just end up creating students in their own image.

Comment: A year from now: TWC on Overstock.com (Score 1) 172

by Just Some Guy (#49776053) Attached to: Charter Strikes $56B Deal For Time Warner Cable

"Please buy me! Won't someone please buy me?" How FUBAR is TWC that they're so ready to sell to someone, anyone? Either a) they had this in the pipeline before the Comcast deal fell through, in which case how many other deals are on standby?, or b) they brokered a major corporate sell deal entirely within the last month, presumably under immense pressure.

In my opinion, TWC is desperate to sell because there's an internal house of cards that's about to fall over. Someone needs to unload it quickly so that a pending spectacular failure will be on someone else's watch.

Comment: Re:Bats don't control mosquitoes (Score 1) 88

by afidel (#49774867) Attached to: Bats' White-Nose Syndrome May Be Cured

As far as anybody can tell, though, we could lose mosquitoes entirely with no big secondary effects. So let's get on eradicating those fuckers. Way more important than anything the Gates foundation has claimed to do.

Considering one of the pieces of the Gates Foundation anti-malaria campaign is sterile mosquito introduction in an effort to eradicate the local population I think you're a bit off there.

Comment: Re:EA (Score 2) 85

by afidel (#49756563) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

Public companies can also have a mechanism to halt a hostile takeover, it's called a poison pill. Generally it involves some kind of massive payoff to the current staff, but it can also be the automatic issuance of new stock which dilutes the holdings of the company attempting to do the acquisition. The first known use of the latter technique that I'm aware of was the Westinghouse corporation which issued massive amounts of stock when JP Morgan tried to take them over, ultimately providing them with enough money to complete the Niagara power station project.

Like punning, programming is a play on words.