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Comment: Re:How is that startling? (Score 1) 413

by athmanb (#48480449) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election
This is absolutely untrue, just look at these maps. Control over redistricting by party:
Gerrymanderization of districts:
WV, IL and MD are truly gerrymandered democratic controlled states. As opposed to the entirety of the southeastern US from Texas to Pennsylvania that are republican controlled and gerrymandered.

Comment: Re:510kph is airliner speed? (Score 1) 419

by athmanb (#48396183) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

Hokkaido is a bit of a bad example though since there's no Shinkansen service through the tunnel.

Going 1500km the other way to Kagoshima the train takes about 7 hours, and the airplane 5-6 (from city center to city center). That's with the 270km/h regular Shinkansen. If you increased the speed to maglev levels the train would outperform an airplane.

Comment: Re:A question for the Astronomers (Score 2) 58

by athmanb (#43367773) Attached to: Kepler Watches White Dwarf Warp Spacetime
By the way your analogy is very wrong. Because while there are indeed a lot of stars, they are also quite far away. An average star (diameter 10^6 kilometers) at 1000 light years (10^17 kilometers) distance is merely 10^-9 degrees across. To fill the entire night sky with stars you'd need 10^22 stars at that distance which is about how many of them exist in the entire universe. In fact it's statistically quite impossible for stars to actually cover each other.

Comment: Re:Neil deGrasse Tyson (Score 1) 520

by athmanb (#43064829) Attached to: Neil deGrasse Tyson On How To Stop a Meteor Hitting the Earth

There is literally nothing we could do about a Kansas-size (500km) asteroid but that scenario is highly unlikely, there isn't any evidence that such an impact happened anywhere in the solar system in the last 3.5b years.
A realistic scenario is an asteroid between 100m and 1km, and ion thrusters and nuclear propulsion have a high enough efficiency that they can influence that category.

Comment: Re:Big deal... (Score 1) 848

by athmanb (#42928095) Attached to: Billionaires Secretly Fund Vast Climate Denial Network

"No" doesn't mean "No" as the rather tired example of yelling fire in crowded theatres clearly establishes. There are also libel/slander laws passed by congress that limit free speech and nobody has a problem with those. I would hazard a guess that even a hard core libertarian like you wouldn't have a problem with restricting someone's speech if that person is passing out lies intended to damage your life.

Where exactly those borders to free speech are is of course open to debate, but an absolutely inviolable freedom cannot exist much as a true immovable object cannot exist.

Comment: Re:It's because of the police abuse (Score 1) 188

by athmanb (#42852393) Attached to: Egyptian Court Wants To Block YouTube For a Month

This stuff happens everywhere there is a strong state religion and the state relies on religious authorities to manage the population. You inevitably get a religious elite that meshes with the government and profits from the status quo. Those are then of course thoroughly unfriendly to anyone wanting to change the system.

Your "Islamic democracy" really isn't any different than the "Orthodox democracy" in Russia or "Buddhist democracy" in Thailand so there's absolutely no need to be especially islamophobic about it.

Comment: Re:Do not use usernames in email addresses (Score 1) 383

by athmanb (#42755435) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Name Conflicts In Automatically Generated Email Addresses?

Especially in AD you have to assume that everybody knows all user names. Every account has the rights to enumerate and read all nonsecret properties of every other account, and in most environments (especially university ones) getting access to one account is trivial.

Adding a bit of security-through-obscurity to the usernames is akin of putting a bike lock on a bank safe.

Comment: Re:MS hate (Score 4, Informative) 358

by athmanb (#36519208) Attached to: Microsoft's SkyDrive Drops Silverlight

When Silverlight 1 came out in 2007, there were three competitors for it:
- ActiveX which was a horrible 90s idea and is unable to function in a world where you can't trust people not to try to build exploits
- Java which was so bad at doing what it was supposed to do that it went from almost 100% market share to almost 0% with the rise of Flash.
- Flash which did the job it was supposed to do but had horrible development tools and literally hundreds of security problems since then due to shoddy product quality

Microsoft created Silverlight to solve these shortcomings and they did a pretty good job at it. Programming web code in Visual Studio is a leaps better than Flash and the Netflix probably saved millions by not wasting their developers' time with the horrible Flash UI and code oddities.

Only now, four years later, is HTML5 beginning to come to a point where it can be a proper tool to do what you used to use one of the above plugins for.

And by the way, IT changes fast in general, no developer can honestly expect to code in the same language from college to retirement. HTML5 - and the languages that you actually write code in like JQuery - are in an extreme prototype state right now, going to change radically several times in the next years before people figure out that they completely screwed up some important paradigms and start parts of the standard from scratch for HTML6. Everyone will have to keep relearning their languages if they want to stay current.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?