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Comment: Failiure of the Press, Not Science (Score 1) 958

by balajeerc (#48965997) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness
Everyday I see the following scenario: researchers conduct an experiment that might show possible correlation between A and B, but like good scientists, provide adequate riders and caveats. Some eager reporter from a leading daily reads the synopsis and puts out a story screaming "People! You have GOT to try taking copious amounts of A! I will do a whole lot of B for you!!"

Comment: Re:Not UBER's fault! (Score 1) 277

by balajeerc (#48946197) Attached to: Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape

Here's a form the Delhi police accept with employee fingerprints, in order to track them if things go wrong.

Yeah, I am sure the police light a few of those to keep warm during the Delhi cold waves when they are dutifully out on their patrols at night. That is why Delhi is such a safe and welcoming city for women. Right?

Comment: Re:Not UBER's fault! (Score 2) 277

by balajeerc (#48946129) Attached to: Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape

There are ways to confirm police clearance certificates - its just those ways aren't readily available on the internet. You gotta beat leather on the streets.

And UBER is expected to do this for all the drivers that register with them? Do you understand their business model at all? Anyone who actually lives in India, will have far less faith in the efficacy of getting the police here to do anything. Consider that this guy is a serial offender and they weren't able to get a proper conviction for over a decade!

to save costs of actually hiring someone to take driver fingerprints and gumshoe the form over to a local police station?

Oh believe me when I say that the real costs accumalate AFTER getting to the police station. Try getting these guys to do ANYTHING without... um... "encouragement".

Comment: Re:Not UBER's fault! (Score 2) 277

by balajeerc (#48945243) Attached to: Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape
There is no such number they can call. The Police does not provide any such facilities or have an operator ready to answer your queries as to whether a certificate they have issued is genuine. Finally, if you are of the opinion that they ought to send a guy over to the village Police station where the certificate was issued, for every driver who signs up, then you are either not an Indian and have no idea of how things look like here or you are utterly deluded and probably DO need some ganj to soothe your nerves.

Comment: Not UBER's fault! (Score 5, Interesting) 277

by balajeerc (#48945047) Attached to: Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape
The facts have been misrepresented in this case both in the Indian media and now in the U.S press. UBER did indeed ask for a police certified character certificate from the driver and the driver in turn handed them one, albeit a forged certificate. Any Indian who has worked with security agencies will tell you that Indian police character verification certificate is simply expensive paper to wipe your ass with. They have no standard format, are easily faked and are expensive to obtain no matter whom you pay - the crooks in uniform who give you one for a bribe or the crooks not in uniform who make forged copies for a fee. There is no central verification database which companies can use to authenticate one of these certificates. How then was UBER supposed to figure out that the certificate he handed them was a forged one? UBER is a boon for middle class Indians who are otherwise at the mercy of corrupt autorickshaw drivers who have no fixed metering and fleece customers based on the hour. Also, there is atleast some sort of traceability in a cab. Had the victim been raped by an autorickshaw driver, the case would still be unsolved: just another file in a mountain of open rape cases that the Indian police is too incompetent to deal with. What happened to her was terrible, but she is being an opportunist here. This is less about ushering in accountability from UBER than it is about squeezing UBER for every penny she can. It saddens me that a fellow Indian would resort to this.

Comment: Taking Pride in work we had nothing to do with (Score 1) 187

I am an Indian and I don't give a fuck about whether it was an Indian that wrote down the first comprehensive statement of the Pythagorean theorem. The theorem would be as profound irrespective of where it originated. I am sick of my country's politicians gloating over an imaginary past full of glory to make up for the utter shambles that Indian science has been in over the past 50 years. I wonder if any these morons can even complete a Pythagorean triplet given the two of the numbers in one. Indian politicians boasting about imaginary science of the past is our version of buying a slick sports car to compensate for some of our insecurities.

Comment: I Start Reading with the Dread that (Score 1) 38

by balajeerc (#48671253) Attached to: Subsurface 4.3 Released
... there is a fancy new project planning paradigm that the suits want to flog. "Move over Agile, just Dive right in!" But no! These are people who are really diving into the sea. They mean scuba gear and skin suits and the like. And they are doing it so often apparently that they need a software to keep track of it all. Wow!

Comment: Surveillance Achieves Nothing (Score 1) 445

by balajeerc (#48418125) Attached to: Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power
Governments everywhere in the world demanding or assuming massive surveillance powers to employ a massive dragnet on communications of their own citizens are lying if they say they are doing it to protect them against enemies of the state. Enemies of the state who actually are interested in subversion are already using a 2048-bit PGP encryption, and then embedding the encrypted text using steganography in an image of Santa Claus on his sleigh flying over snowy hills and sending that as a season's greeting email. The government is never going to break the encryption even if Santa Claus left the self portrait in a stocking over the defense/home ministry's fireplace. The people that they really are targeting are you and me - ordinary people on whom they want leverage, just in case we turn troublemakers.

Comment: This is shitty pay, even by Indian standards (Score 1) 286

by balajeerc (#48227773) Attached to: Tech Firm Fined For Paying Imported Workers $1.21 Per Hour
As a developer in Bangalore, I can tell you that $1.21 per hour for 100 hours a week, for say, 4 weeks a month at Rs. 60 to a dollar, comes out at Rs. 29,040 - which is shitty pay for tech support employee who is putting in such a grueling work routine. By that, I mean that I would be hard pressed to find IT employees even in India to work at those rates. I would only be able to find unskilled labourers to work at those rates. I'd urge the local government there to check if the company is digging a secret tunnel or something of that sort , which is about the only the only sort of work they would be able to muster with labour that comes at those rates.

Comment: Re:A 'No-Clones' Policy (Score 1) 258

by balajeerc (#47572617) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?
Yes, I admit that denying 'better' clones would be a consequence of the proposal I made above. However, look at the evils of enforcing it: the user misses a few auxiliary (even if they be useful) features. Look at the evils of NOT enforcing it: an ecosystem dominated by predatory developers intent on exploiting the next simple but elegant app idea on the market by cloning it. That design, while being easily copied, took considerable intellectual effort to produce. Copycats like the above, stifle innovation in design - we know this for sure because smaller creative development teams are abandoning app development in droves. In my opinion, this latter scenario is much worse for everyone concerned - Apple/Google, developers, AND end users - than the former.

Comment: A 'No-Clones' Policy (Score 1) 258

by balajeerc (#47572127) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?
This is applicable to other app stores as well. There must be a policy which states that any app, cannot be a clone or closely resemble a clone of another application created within the last n months. Developers and users must be given a facility where they can report violations of this policy to the app store. Thus, if I made the next '2048', and if another of the thousands of copy cat app developers decides to clone my application, I can report this violation culminating in the clone being taken down. I think this is the single most important innovation that can help app developers who are really putting thousands of man hours of creative effort in producing an original and compelling application. Abuse of this provision can also be checked by giving app developers a 3 strike policy when it comes to reporting this violation. If a developer consecutively flags three applications as copying his app while in fact they were not, then the developer is barred from reporting any further such violations. A good app-store is a result of good curation.

No problem is insoluble in all conceivable circumstances.