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Comment He's not THAT stupid. Already paid 55% tax (Score 1) 82

> 1) He doesn't care about helping people: Start a charity to funnel money into and avoid as much taxes as possible.

This is his stock. He's already paying 40% income tax plus 15% double FICA on his -salary- either way. The stock income is long term capital gains, taxed at 15%. Which means that for every $100 he gives away, he saves $15 on his taxes.

So let's do the math. He could either:
Gross gain: $45 billion
Tax: $7 billion
Net he keeps: $38 billion

Gross gain: $45 billion
Give away: $44.8 billion
Net he keeps: $200 million

Would you rather have $38 billion, or $200 million?
Giving away a million dollars in order to not pay the 150,000 tax on it would be STUPID! You don't give away lots of money in order to avoid paying a much smaller amount in taxes.

Comment If the ADC is more precise than needed (Score 1) 215

From my understanding, typically when you get random noise from the environment, you aren't exactly sampling the -actual- stuff -- there may not be any sounds, for example. Quiet rooms are not unusual. What you do is what an anonymous coward mentioned - you have a sensor that reads the temperature as 72.7230283037 degrees F. It's not REALLY that accurate, the last few digits are basically random. Maybe the light sensor says 43.584723028 lux, plus or minus 3 lux. It has more -precision- than it has -accuracy-. The decimal part is bullshit, random.

Obviously the device has to convert the analog measurement into a digital number that the CPU can manipulate. It uses an analog-to-digital converter to do this. A typical ADC might convert the reading from a microphone into an 8-bit integer, ranging from 0 (approximately silent) to 255 (very loud). A 16-bit ADC gives a range from 0-65,535. Phone calls traditionally use an 8-bit ADC because that's sufficient for voice. Voice calls don't have to be hi-fi, especially after you remove the highest and lowest frequencies which actually hinder intelligibility.

It would be wasteful for the manufacturer to use a 24-bit ADC on the microphone if they're only going to use 8 bit samples for phone calls, so they may only use an 8-bit ADC. In that case, the range of loudness is only 0-255, with no decimals, meaning any quiet room will register 0. There are no extra extra digits with "random" values. If the manufacturer intended to use it as a source of randomness they could use a 24-bit or 32-bit ADC, knowing that the smallest bits will be roughly random.

Comment Re:Really??? (Score 1) 153


Your attempts to post anonymously are a sign that you may not love Big Brother with your whole heart. Please report to MiniLove Room 101 at 8:00 AM for a refresher course.

You may bring your own caged rats, if desired. If you don't have any, rest assured we are not going spare in the caged rat department, but we cannot guarantee their cleanliness.

Big Brother loves you.

Comment Re:Here's my theory (Score 1) 317

When Firefox was new it was considered a controversial skunkworks project. The idea that Mozilla might not be an integrated suite anymore upset a lot of the existing users, believe it or not, especially as Firefox bore a rather strong resemblance to the primary competitor at the time..... Internet Explorer.

Firefox is caught between the rock and the hard place that many products get stuck in: a competitor comes along that leapfrogs them with a design that appeals to the majority of the market. But it also is disliked by a minority of the market. They pretty quickly lose the majority to the competitor and are left with the ever-shrinking minority that vocally disagree with any change.

Comment Re:This is not in the least surprising (Score 2) 117

There've been lots of studies finding "psychological differences between the sexes". But when you look into them the statistical correlations are usually terribly weak, barely above statistical significance. And you have to question how much you can trust them anyway. Remember that metastudy that showed that half of all psychological studies can't be reproduced? I downloaded their study data. Every topic related to gender differences was in the "couldn't be reproduced" category. Now, of course that's a tiny fraction of all research that they attempted to reproduce. There surely are psychological differences, even ones that aren't pure upbringing/society related. But its important not to overplay the amount or degree of them.

Comment TL;DR version (Score 1) 215

http://www.markfickett.com/stu... is the summary chart, showing the standard deviations of the d20s by brand/model.
(Lower is better)

By that review:
Crystal Castle the worst
Wiz dice next-worst
Koplow and Chessex about the same, with Koplow averaging slightly better, but one of the five Chessex dice was substantially better than all the Koplows

Gamescience clearly "wins", averaging below 0.1. This is better than ALL the other dice, and all 3 GS dice were individually better than all other dice, aside from the one Chessex exceptionally good die (which still wasn't as good as the best GS die).

Comment computers are manufactured and LESS random (Score 1) 215

See the comment directly above yours, http://science.slashdot.org/co...

Computers are actually -less- random that things like dice. To get a really good random number into a computer, one often connects it to some physical process. A camera pointed at a lava lamp is a well-known illustrative example. Computers are, at their heart, calculators, everything they do is reduced to simple math. And 1 + 1 always equals 2, every single time; there's nothing random about what a computer does. That's why when generating crypto keys it asks you to type on the keyboard and move the mouse - because the user can make random movements. The computer can't do random.

Further, you can inspect my dice, how do you inspect my rPi and know I haven't coded it to roll 8 more often than it should? You can look at -some- source code, but how do you know that's the source of the program I'm running? Confirming that is much more difficult than looking at a pair of dice.

Comment Re:Don't hold your breath (Score 1) 217

That's part of the problem. Generally when one takes a complex system and focuses in a narrow-minded approach toward optimizing just one aspect they end up blowing it on other aspects. For example, an equally well reasoned but precisely opposite argument to OTRAG is Big Dumb Booster concept, where rather than trying to mass-produce many small rockets, you make singular giant rockets because when you compare the economies of giant rockets to those of small rockets, the giant rockets usually win.

OTRAG has some good concepts, but again I think they went too far. Not only are they pushing their propellant costs way up - which to be fair, is by design, accepting the fact that propellant is only a very small fraction of total costs - but they're also pushing up every last part of the handling costs, which unfortunately is not so small of a fraction of the total costs. And they're incurring a lot of size-related costs - load capacity of the pad and tower, environmental impacts on the surrounding area, etc - without gaining the typical size-related economies of scale, as OTRAG's extreme size only yields proportionally small payloads. It has almost no potential to optimize costs further, as they're willfully making propellant a significant fraction of total costs and the design basically throws away any potential for economic reuse. And with numerous heavy steel stages and the first stages having to separate at low altitude due to the low performance, it's basically a bomber ;) And with all of those stages clustered together they're really putting themselves at risk for cascading failures - stage separations are one of the riskiest parts of rocketry as-is, and cluster elements can interact in unexpected ways even when you only have a few of them.

So no, I'm not a big OTRAG fan, I think the design goes too far. I think SpaceX hit the right balancing point in this regard - enough of a degree of mass production to keep production streamlined (dozens of tanks and hundreds of engines per year), but not so much that you have to have huge numbers of stages and crazy-low performance (aka crazy-huge mass). They did this sort of balancing act in a lot of regards. For example, in rocketry there's often been a conflict between structural tanks (which can bear all of the loads during launch) and balloon tanks (which rely on internal pressure not to collapse). Balloon tanks have much better performance (meaning that they save you a lot of mass and thrust requirement - aka money), but they're a pain when it comes to handling because you have to keep them pressurized at all times after construction, even during transport, and if you have to do repairs, it's expensive. SpaceX uses a sort of semi-balloon tank design - their tanks are strong enough unpressurized to hold themselves up, but not to bear the forces of launch - they require internal pressure for that. So you can transport and handle them without hassle, but they still get excellent payload fractions - to the point that that if they were to launch their first stages without upper stages or payloads on them, they'd nearly be SSTOs. And the design is of course aided by their use of aluminum-lithium alloy - which normally is expensive to work in a reliable manner (it doesn't take well to being melted), but the friction stir seam welding system they use is really near ideally suited for it.

Just like in life, rocketry is about balance. OTRAG is more Kerbal-ish ;)

Comment Re:it took 2 1/2 years... (Score 1) 190

for this to get "noticed"?

so much for open standards and open source software... 'its safe. you can look at the code yourself"... it took two and a half fucking years for someone to do just that.. and just to find an easter egg, not an embedded and obscured vulnerability.

No, it didn't take 2.5 years to get noticed. Look at the comments on the final commit, it was noticed and commented on by another team member the same day it went in. https://github.com/http2/http2...

The public didn't notice, but I'm sure many people involved in the project did... the commit wasn't in any way obscured. It just wasn't interesting enough for anyone else to notice.

Comment Re:Refugees? Not so much. (Score 1) 246

RCP8,5 is 0,53-0,98m by 2100... which is only about 84 years from now. With the rise at 2100 predicted at around 0,9-1,8cm/yr over the 2100-2116 period (minus the current 0,32-0,36mm/yr) the total would be something like 0,62m-1,21m (2' to 4') - basically, a typical person sitting, kneeling, or similar. The amount of rise however does vary to some degree based on location, and some isolated areas (like Baffin Bay) are even expected to get a drop (about 5% of the worlds' oceans). The northeastern US and northeastern Canada are projected to get a particularly large rise, so a statue there could be in a more upright position or built to a larger scale - the waters off of New York are projected to rise a median value of 0,3 meters in just the 2081-2100 period alone. New York's 2100 RCP8,5 range is about 0,5 to 1,2m - adjusting to 2116 would put it at 0,6-1,5m (on top of the pedestal of course, which would be about 1,3 meters tall).

RCP8,5 is of course the "business as usual" line... which has been the best bet thusfar. The "if we make huge efforts" RCP2,6 prediction is about half of the RCP8,5 predictions. There could be some other object on each statue to denote the RCP2,6 line.

Comment What is metadata? (Score 2) 85

NSLs are restricted to allowing collection only of "non-content information", or metadata. But what does that mean? In the case of telephone calls, it's pretty clear. With web history, though, it's much less clear, because a list of URLs is a list not only of which servers you connected to, but in most cases also what information you retrieved. The URL doesn't contain the information itself, but it's trivial for someone else to retrieve it and find out what you read.

Cell location information is another debatable case. While in some sense it is metadata if we consider the content to be what you talk about on the phone, the data you send/receive, etc., it's also tantamount to having a tracking device on almost everyone. Courts have ruled that GPS tracking without a warrant is unconstitutional, and it really seems that this is the same thing. The precision is lower, but it's still pretty darned good.

As for purchases, it would seem that information about what you bought and how much you paid for it would constitute "content", while the times and locations of the transactions would be metadata.

IP addresses of people you corresponded with... that seems like pure metadata, and is unsurprising to me.

Comment Re:Refugees? Not so much. (Score 2) 246

Huh? It says right in the summary: "Moody's family eventually moved to Springdale to live with him and work for Tyson and other poultry companies based in Arkansas". Is "working for Tyson" slang for "running from climate change" that I've never heard of?

Too bad I'm not a sculptor, I'd love to launch a climate change-related kickstarter which both sides could get behind. I'd offer to - if I could raise the expenses - make life-sized bronze statues of the world's most prominent climate-change deniers and install them on popular beaches around the world where permission could be gotten. Each statue would be on a pedestal on which is engraved one of their more prominent quotes denying climate change. The proportions of the statues would be such that at low tide the base of the pedestal is at sea height, while at high tide the top of the pedestal is at sea height, and the total height of the person matches up to the projected sea level rise over the next century.

Hence, if those denying climate change are right, a century forth they're left with a statue on their beach mocking all of the Chicken Littles. If those arguing that it's real are correct, they get to gloat as they watch the statue sink a bit further beneath the waves every year for the rest of their lives and a cautionary dive site for future generations.

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas