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Comment: University Topics are one thing, but.... (Score 2) 438

by abelenky17 (#48354227) Attached to: The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat

I'm a computer programmer, and encounter plenty of people with "various credentials" from "various nations".
It may be frustrating and annoying, but thats life.

However, I'm also a Private Pilot, and what truly terrified me in flight school was the foreign students who came to the USA to start on their Professional Pilot training, and cheated their way through the tests. They cheated through the written tests simply because they were goofing off and not paying attention in class.
The tests were entirely fair and passable if you paid attention in class and did the homework. But they chose not to, cheated through the tests (were occasionally angry when they were caught.... they were *paying* a lot for this education! Didn't you know... they *deserved* to pass for how much they were paying!)

It wasn't only the pilots. Several studying to be aircraft mechanics (in another class) were also caught cheating.
I know a student from a Air Traffic Control program who had several Chinese nationals in her class, and they were cheating their way through.
(not just a few questions or a few percentage points... but wholly cheating on entire exams).

Much of Asia likely has incompetent pilots flying improperly maintained aircraft, and directed by incompetent Air Traffic Controllers. I will never fly over there after what I saw.

Comment: Wiring (Score 2) 52

by abelenky17 (#48084187) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Designing a Telecom Configuration Center?

Many places use uniform cable colors to indicate the purpose of each wire (red = DMZ, yellow = uplink, blue = intranet, green = servers).
But I find that makes it very hard to trace individual cables. Tracing one red cable among a bunch of of other red cables is madness.

Rather, I'd suggest explicitly using as many random different colors as you can.
Label the end of each cable where it plugs in with its purpose if its not abundantly clear, but otherwise, tracing a single red-wire through a bunch of multi-colored wire becomes Much, much easier.

Comment: Problem with License Plates (Score 1) 273

by abelenky17 (#46661025) Attached to: Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

License Plates work well enough, IFF they are on the front of a car.

But I recently moved from a state where front & rear plates were required (WA) to a state where people only have rear plates (KS).

If a car comes up the express lane towards an observer/monitor, the observer won't know the car is in the wrong lane until the car is already past them, and driving away.
Enforcement just went to hell.

(nevermind that at B.M., many plates are totally obscured with dust).

Comment: Re:I remember being puzzled by that chapter (Score 5, Insightful) 423

by abelenky17 (#44226795) Attached to: Malcolm Gladwell On Culture and Airplane Crashes

I don't believe it is because they *won't* contradict their superiors.
It is because they don't known *how* to contradict their superiors.

After a lifetime of cultural indoctrination of respect towards elders and superiors, when the time comes to speak up, how do you do it?
What do you say? Do you indicate by pointing or gesturing? Do you speak politely and slowly, or angrily and quickly? Maybe just grab the controls yourself?
When do you speak up? When you first spot trouble? when you're convinced your partner overlooked it? or when it is really approaching the last-second?

All of these little decisions are already ingrained into Americans. We know culturally how to speak up and raise an issue.
But to someone unaccustomed to them, it is a huge cognitive load, and leads to self-doubt and uncertainty.
I'm sure someone on that flight deck *wanted* to speak up, but was probably wondering what to say, when to say it, and how to say it.

Comment: Re:Touch screen downfall (Score 1) 325

by abelenky17 (#41376715) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Teaching Typing With Limited Electricity, Computers?

Android tablet with Bluetooth, then paired with a Bluetooth keyboard.

If you can get one keyboard per student, they can practice the fingering even when not attached to a tablet.
They can share tablets (1 tablet per 3 or 4 kids), and practice fingering the rest of the time.

Comment: Re:This doesn't prove anything (Score 1) 437

by abelenky17 (#34700142) Attached to: Cheaters Exposed Analyzing Statistical Anomalies

What in the world could possibly cause "unusually large score gains from a previous test"? Studying!
  I know that after having failed a test, I've often buckled down, reviewed all the material from the beginning and aced the subsequent test.
Yet according to Caveon Test Security, I'd be a cheater.

I also take issue with "searching for data anomalies where the chances of random agreement are astronomical". On one recent test, a fellow student and I missed nearly exactly the same questions, because we were taught by the same TA.
We were both excellent students, with the same gaps in our knowledge, and the same mis-information on a few topics. We approached problems the same way, which led us to the same errors, exactly as we were taught.

The point is: Caveon's analysis is worthless. It apparently provides NO means to differentiate cheating from completely reasonable non-cheating explanations. All it can do is point out anomalies.

But if these tests are "used to determine graduation, graduate school admission and, the latest, merit pay and tenure for teachers", it is completely improper (and perhaps illegal?) to deny someone graduation, admission, pay, or tenure without PROOF, on the basis of an anomaly.
Really, these guys are peddling Snake Oil. Perhaps the TSA is buying?

Comment: Re:Collision course (Score 1) 210

by abelenky17 (#33145064) Attached to: Giant Balloons Could Solve Space Junk Problem

While it is true you can stare up in the sky and spot certain satellites with the naked eye, and even more with telescopes and equipment, thats not the whole story.

To know the full path of a satellite takes multiple, precise observations over time along with some detailed calculations, and that is ONLY if the satellite is stable.

Many of the most secretive satellites regularly adjust their orbits with thrusters. So if you get lucky enough to spot it and calculate an orbit, it may move to a new orbit soon.

Hence, the number, position, and trajectory of many government satellites is "secret" even if they are in plain view.

Comment: Fingerprint Reader (Score 1) 1007

by abelenky17 (#30056968) Attached to: Best Tool For Remembering Passwords?

I really enjoy the fingerprint readers from UPEK (http://www.upek.com/).

The device knows my passwords, and I can log into sites with just a finger swipe.
It is both faster and more accurate than typing a password (no typos... re-try is just another finger-swipe if it didn't read properly).

You can unplug the USB fingerprint reader and keep it separate from your computer if you want to be extra paranoid.

Comment: Jet Fighter III (Score 1) 282

by abelenky17 (#27472967) Attached to: Strange Glitches In Games

I remember in Jet Fighter III you could land your plane upside-down.

It was important that airspeed be appropriate, flaps down, gear down, angle of attack correct, etc, etc. But if you met all the criteria upside-down, it would still be counted as a successful landing.

It was good fun to pan the camera around this jet, on its top, with the gear sticking straight up, with a message about a perfect landing!

Comment: Re:My take (Score 1) 570

by abelenky17 (#26741945) Attached to: Washington State Wants DNA From All Arrestees

Fingerprints don't tell anyone what diseases you're likely to get.
Fingerprints don't show who your sibilings, parents, and children are.

Fingerprints don't say *anything* about you, other than, "this is a unique, identifiable person".

On the otherhand, DNA says *everything* about you.

Insurers see DNA as an indicator of risk-factors.

Genealogists see DNA as a definitive way to track ancestry, forever linking someone to their parents and offspring.

Racial and ethnic radical-purists see DNA as a definitive way to determine if someone is "pure" or not.

We don't even know how DNA may be used in the future.

Comment: Re:There's no way they'll abuse this (Score 2, Informative) 570

by abelenky17 (#26741509) Attached to: Washington State Wants DNA From All Arrestees

Fingerprints don't tell anyone what diseases you're likely to get.
Fingerprints don't show who your sibilings, parents, and children are.

Fingerprints are remarkable in that they are unique identifiers, that still don't say *anything* about you, other than, "this is a unique, identifiable person".

Law enforcement only sees DNA as identification. But the truth is so much more.

Insurers see DNA as an indicator of risk-factors.

Genealogists see DNA as a definitive way to track ancestry, forever linking someone to their parents and offspring.

Racial and ethnic radical-purists see DNA as a definitive way to determine if someone is "pure" or not.

Unless government can somehow insure that DNA is not used for purposes beyond identification, and can establish severe penalties if it is, then the only promise we have that it won't be abused is their word, and that means very little to me.

Torque is cheap.

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