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Comment: It pretty much doesn't damn well matter. (Score 2) 34

by tlambert (#49835659) Attached to: Investors Ask How Much Google Spends On Lobbying

It pretty much doesn't damn well matter. The investors can want whatever they want, and it won't matter.

Between Sergey, Larry, and Eric, they control more than 50% of the voting stock, and therefore they control the board, and the investors can go pound sand for all of the real fiscal influence they have on the company. The can more or less just shut up and take their profits on the rise of the non-voting stock price, or they can sell their stock and let someone else take the profits.

PS: I notice no one has mentioned the fact that a lot of the charitable organizations they are giving to are 501(c)(3)'s, and they represent matching contributions for contributions by employees:

"Google will match employee donations from a minimum gift of $50 up to $6,000 per donor per year."


Comment: Re:This is improbable. (Score 2) 78

by tlambert (#49835213) Attached to: LHC Restarts High-Energy Quest For Exotic Physics

Particle clusters seem to occur at exponents of baseline energies for what we consider to be ordinary particles. The exotic particles we've found have been at the higher end.

If you look at the early work by Dr. Jay Phippen, you'll see the intentional constraints he places on the pair production is the solution set to 12 (actually, 11, one was an identity) Feynman-Dyson diagrams. I believe his thesis is on file at Utah State University. The initial computations were done at Los Alamos labs, back with the CDC Cyber was "hot stuff". During the mid 1980's, when he was my mentor, I ported his software and the matrix math for him to Sun Microsystems equipment, and he was able to reproduce the results, which got us really, really close to the predicted mass of the W particle.

It also let us tweak things substantially, trying a lot more Monte Carlo collision simulations in a shorter period of time, and given that the new hardware was capable of representing much larger numbers, it allowed the extension of the test energy rangers much higher (into the Higgs arena, and beyond).

FWIW, the collisions were simulations of relativistically invariant P-P and P-N collisions using the Berkeley Physics package, and the produced particle pairs were further constrained by the physics after they were produced (i.e. energy, angle, and so on as to what counted as an "allowable" pair).

I believe you can also find some references to it through my other faculty advisor, Dr. Robert Capener's work, although he abandoned his involvement in the U.S. atomic weapons program shortly after the neutron bomb was created, and concentrated mostly on CS after that.

So I think it's improbable that we have seen our last new particles.

Comment: Re:Pop culture mental fugue (Score 1) 234

In this case (there are certainly others), they are using deceptive reporting to mislead people on the current state of affairs. Ask yourself why they would do this. The answer isn't "because they are angels."

Nope. It's because it was a USA Today hit piece from 6 months ago, and educators, parents, and guidance counselors don't want to take responsibility for the input to the pipeline, and it's a slow news day.

They don't release the numbers because they don't want to be blamed for them, when they can only take whatever output comes out of the pipeline.

It's not like there are huge numbers of PhD CS people in the underrepresented minorities just sitting around twiddling their thumbs: everyone knows that the only people who get discriminated against for these jobs are people who are old (sorry... "not 'digital natives'... must use the code words), or who learned by doing, and so have no reasonable credentials with which to protect their employers in the event of a lawsuit.

It's also not like the CollegeBoard would not *gleefully* take the money of anyone who wanted to pay for the AP Computer Science test, or any other freaking AP test, period: they will happily take *all* your money if you are willing to give it to them.

No the problem is the input to the pipeline, and it's not being addressed, and so on slow news days, you get attack pieces on the people on the other end, as if they could magically make an Comparative Literate graduate into a software engineer.

Comment: Re:Just require the vaccines to be admitted to sch (Score 1) 201

by tlambert (#49834851) Attached to: Diphtheria Returns To Spain For Lack of Vaccination

can you give me an example of a home school kid infecting anyone because of lack of vaccines?

Measles at Disneyland.

Patient 0 for the Disneyland outbreak had just returned from the Philippines, which is a measles hot zone, and did not self-quarantine for a couple of weeks before mixing with the public, and so did not know he was sick.

Here are the WHO statistics on the number of cases of various diseases reported for various countries, through 2014:


The Philippines has the highest incidence of measles of any country (but China, with a vastly larger population, is not that far behind).

Comment: It's endemic in some populations; also: a bacteria (Score 2) 201

by tlambert (#49834743) Attached to: Diphtheria Returns To Spain For Lack of Vaccination

The only way I even know the name is because George Bailey saved the pharmacist from poisoning a kid with it in "It's a Wonderful Life." And the last recorded case of it in Europe was decades ago. So did it go hide out for a while in Africa or something?

It's endemic in some populations; also: a bacteria, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, not a virus, FWIW.

Yes. There are large reservoirs of the bacteria in many North African countries, as well as Pakistan. What's only noted in a couple of places is that while the kid was "a resident of Olot (Girona)", the kids origin was as an adoption of an immigrant child.

To see the reservoirs, here is the World Health Organization data on reported cases by country through 2014:


If you care, you can also look at diseases other than Diphtheria, across the top of the chart. For example, there were 52'628 cases of measles in China in 2014, and there are rather large reservoirs in the Philippines as well (which is whre the person who was pation zero in the Disneyland measles outbreak had just travelled into the U.S. from, presumably infectious at the time they travelled. Somalia, India, Ethiopia, Viet Nam, and China also have significant measles reservoirs.


Of course, we don't perform health examinations or quarantines on people traveling from these hot zones into the U.S.

P.S. India, the U.S., and Australia are the top reservoirs for pertussis (whooping cough), so it'd be a good idea to check those people too, if they happen to be coming into your country.

Comment: This is improbable. (Score 2) 78

by tlambert (#49834375) Attached to: LHC Restarts High-Energy Quest For Exotic Physics

Actually what will be the most interesting is that after three years NOTHING HAPPENS, that is to say that our knowledge of Physics is fairly complete. However nature has a way of surprising us.

We have found particles at energies of x^1, x^2, and now with the W and Higgs, x^3. There's good reason within the standard model to believe that this progression will continue at least through x^4. It's fairly easy to see the energy ranges where the particles so far have clustered, and there really no rational reason that there won't be a cluster at even higher energies, based on the same Feynman-Dyson diagram solutions that resulted in use predicting the W and Higgs energy ranges. If you Monte Carlo at the higher energy ranges with the same constraints on the relativistically invariant pair production, the math shows particle spikes up to 10^5 (not that the LHC can hit those energies, but the math works...).

Comment: Re:Skype is NSA backdoored (Score 1) 196

Well I don't. There's no substitute, in privacy terms, for talking directly to people. That's why when I want to talk to someone and they're not around, I climb on something very high and shout the confidential information directly to them, as loudly as possible so they can hear it.

Comment: Re:Multiple Problems Here (Score 1) 227

The best are 'software engineers' (heh) that write in a language that does garbage collection who think they know something about operating systems.

OMFG do NOT get me started on GC or this conversation will never end. Explicit memory management for people who know what the hell they are doing for $100, Alex!

Comment: Re:Multiple Problems Here (Score 3, Informative) 227

First and foremost, how can you possibly have let yourself get into a situation where $210k/year has you three paychecks away from being out on the street? You need to make some adjustments to your living situation ASAP -- get your budget under control, eliminate outstanding debts, etc. You are near the very top of the industry for software engineering compensation -- it's not a matter of the market not being stable (there's very high demand), it's that you're quickly pricing yourself out of the market.

Actually, no. I routinely get 2X that offers.

And yes, he freaking needs to budget.

The problem is that "delayed gratification" is no longer a concept these days.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp