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Comment: Re:Flash panic (Score 0) 119

by Solandri (#47554913) Attached to: OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

When we (academics) do experiments on people however trivial we usually have to go through ethical clearance, get informed consent etc. I think its skipping that part that people are uncomfortable about.

You do realize that you yourself conduct such "experiments" on your friends every day? While making conversation in the lunch room you ask, "Hey, anyone wanna see Planet of the Apes tonight?" That elicits a lukewarm response, so you then ask "Well what about How to Train your Dragon?" You get a lot of interest in that one, so next time you ask about watching movies you're more likely to make suggestions where they can bring along their kids.

I think the dividing line between when you need to get informed consent is when the experiment begins to make people do things they wouldn't have done anyway. Tweaking how people get paired up for dates is fine if they were looking for a date anyway. Forcing them to go on a date when they weren't planning to would require informed consent (and probably compensation).

Comment: Biased, much ? (Score 2) 29

We do not "torment" and kill mice gratuitiously, a choice of word which certainly show quite inherent bias here. Usually you have to go thru an ethical comitee for animal experimentation (although the barrier is lower for lab mouse). Furthermore most of those animal experimentation have a clear goal to help develop cure or model for the human health. If you can't differentiate that from people misusing the computer of others, then I can't help you.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 4, Insightful) 535

by Solandri (#47550771) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Guy comes to my house and kills a member of my family. In "self defense", the next day I go and burn down his house with him and his family in it.

Rather that just reading the anti-U.S. rants about this, you should try visiting Asia and talking to the Asians who had to live under Imperial Japanese rule. Much like the Nazis, the Japanese saw themselves as a genetically superior race, and other races were nothing more than cattle to them. My grandmother was forced to watch as her sister and niece were raped and killed by Japanese soldiers, all to coerce my grandfather (a doctor) into treating one of their officers. The Imperial Japanese needed to be put down, at all costs, for the sake of civilization.

The correct analogy is guy terrorizes neighborhood killing hundreds of people. Then happens to go into your house and kill a member of your family. You fight back and eventually surround him in his home where he's instructed his entire family to die defending the house. You manage to take him and one family member out with a new weapon that vaporizes the part of the house he's in, which spares the rest of his family. The loss of the family member is regrettable, but it's a positive outcome when you consider the part you've conveniently left out of your analogy - that killing his entire family would have been an acceptable cost to free the neighborhood from his reign of terror.

Comment: Re:All software is full of bugs (Score 2) 142

I was demonstrating to a shitty software developer the other day how all his input sanitizing routines were in the javascript front end to his web application and anyone bypassing the javascript could essentially have their way with the back-end database, and he told me "Oh you're making a back-end API call, no one will ever do that!" No one except the guy who's hacking your fucking system, jackass.

That actually happened in one of the online games I used to play. The game company decided to run a promotion where you filled out a short survey on their web site, and as a reward you'd be mailed a small prize in the game. Someone sifted through the code for the website, and found it was just telling the game server's database to mail the prize's item number to the player's account. He tried changing the item number and it worked. Soon he had dozens of the rarest, most valuable item in the game in his mailbox and was selling them for the RL equivalent of thousands of dollars.

Anyhow, this is why I've always scoffed at the title "Software Engineer". Real engineers sign off on their work, and can be held personally liable if their design turns out to be flawed and leads to damage, injury, or death. In some engineering professions (e.g. civil engineering), a notable failure can lead to losing one's professional accreditation, turning that expensive engineering degree into a worthless piece of paper. The software industry needs to decide if it wants to continue down this "anyone can write a program" wild west route, or if it wants to become a real profession with real standards and real consequences for failing to adhere to those standards. Just like anyone can write code, anyone can build and wire their own house, treat themselves for an injury, or represent themselves in court. But if you want to sell your services for doing these things you have to be licensed, and you are personally liable for any harm that comes from your work not being up to professional standards.

Comment: And an IFF (Score 1) 535

by aepervius (#47548183) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

I bet you could not tell the difference between a civilian plane and a military plane flying at 30,000 feet over a war zone either.

I could. The civilian plane would have a radar transponder that said "Hi, I am Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17".

And an IFF on mode 3. And flying much higher than the military plane.

Comment: Re:already done (Score 3, Informative) 119

External events are considered in US plant design already, this author seems to be a bit ignorant on how the safety case for plants is built. Who cares if we refine the probability of an event is if the plant is already designed to withstand it?

Technically, the Fukushima plant was also already designed to withstand this type of event. It had sufficient backup power systems necessary to continue operating the cooling pumps in the event of a catastrophic disaster of this type.

Where they screwed up was in the redundancy of the backups. This is unfortunately a fairly common failure mode in engineering designs. Say a single diesel generator has a 10% chance of failing to start up if you try to run it during an emergency. People then naively think that if you just put 6 diesel generators into the design, then that reduces the statistical probability of failure to 1 in a million. The chance of all six generators failing is (10%)^6 = 1 in a million.

That's the correct math for generator failures due to independent internal causes. But everything changes when you talk about external causes. Suddenly you have a cause like, oh, say, a tsunmai, which can affect all the generators simultaneously. The failure mode for each generator is no longer independent, and your redundancy does nothing to decrease the odds of a failure. All they had to avoid this effect was put the generators and diesel fuel tanks in different places. But no, the typical Japanese obsession with order and symmetry* mandated that they put all their generators in a row in the same place. And the tsunami took them out and contaminated their fuel all at once. Indeed the two newer Fukushima reactors where the generators and fuel were stored in a different location got through the earthquake and tsunami just fine.

* I rag on the Japanese, but the same thing happened with the Space Shuttle Challenger. They were having problems with poor O-ring seals in the solid rocket boosters. So to reduce the probability of a failure, they just added more O-rings. That worked to stop the independent failures (burn-through due to improper seating of an O-ring in one spot). But when an external factor popped up which caused all O-rings to fail simultaneously (cold weather), the safety of the redundant O-rings was negated.

Comment: Partially agree (Score 1) 490

Whereas the palestinian Hamas terrorism and the various shananigan and threat from the various neighbors of Israel (or at least political show off) is undeniable, Israel policy is not that innocent either : the colonizing settlement do certainly poison further the situation.

Comment: Public figure mostly excluded (Score 1) 181

The right to be forgotten was meant to be for normal individuals which went into a abd situation, then corrected it, but google always bring it up as first result thus meaning your chance of reintegration and finding a good job get NIL, and thus you enter a abd spiral or get your chance in life lowered. The example of that was a guy which went bankrupt paid back his debt, but still even after that the first result in google was his debt and bankruptcy, thus putting a burden on him.

It was NEVER meant for am public figure or a politician to hide their middeed or shameful action. >b>Google itnentionally allowed such removal as a kind of protest when such removal were not "granted" by the law. Google are the asshole here when they allow a public figure to remove their stuff.


Personally I am for the right to be forgotten. Previous generation including mine could do all sort of stuff including getting drunk, bankrupt, or get caught doing illegal stuff but never got punished foreever for it. It was always limited ansd people forgot, or you could move into another town. Nowadays it is different, you make a misstep, even something LEGAL but frowned upon, and BAM ! It is there for ever + longer.

A non forgetting society is a harsh society which I refuse. So excuse me if I think the slope was slippery before, when nothing was forgotten. Having a right to be forgotten remove a bit of that slope and make it more horizontal. Excellent.

Comment: More on MA (Score 1) 155

by fyngyrz (#47539203) Attached to: Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity

That translated into martial arts is roughly the equivalent of a 4th DAN, but for that you need longer due to 'regulations regarding examinations', waiting periods between 2 examinations.

Depends on the martial art. The most modern practice recognizes natural talent while incorporating considerable traditional technique; I assure you, everyone does not walk into their first day of training on an equal basis -- I've been teaching for decades and I think I've seen about every level of beginner skill there is. Some people are simply gifted. Certainly from there on in we see the difference between the shows-up-once-a-week and the person who seems to be there every hour they can possibly manage.

Also, more on topic, I can definitely assure anyone who is curious that you're not doing high level thinking when executing advanced martial arts techniques.

All you really need to do to understand this is think about bike riding. When you learn, you learn, you think like crazy. Which does you very little good. But eventually, you internalize the process (that's what I call it, anyway) and you can do it while carrying on a conversation with someone else, paying almost no attention at all to the activity of riding the bike. Those near-instant balance corrections, the precise amount of handlebar control and lean for cornering, all of that comes from "underneath." Same thing for advanced MA.

That whole business about finding your calm center and holding it -- that's a real thing. If you start thinking under threat or pressure, your performance will drop like a stone. The best technique comes from a relaxed, centered condition, accepting of whatever comes.

Comment: To little too late (Score 2) 77

by Solandri (#47536999) Attached to: Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill
This is kind of a double post, but it's important enough to warrant a separate post.

Unfortunately, Congress has dilly dallied on this issue for too long. We're now past the point where mandating carriers unlock phones will help. There are still phones which will work across a broad range of carriers, but they are now few and far between. Most of the newer phones are limited in their frequencies so they'll only work fully with one carrier. Take it to another carrier and you'll either suffer degraded service, or even lack certain service like LTE. So even if you can unlock your phone from the carrier, it won't do you any good because you'll lose 4g or even 3g capability if you try to use it with another carrier.

The only thing that will help now is a law mandating that carriers must provide service to any phone a customer brings with them that's capable of operating on their network. That will open up the markets so that manufacturers begin selling multi-carrier and world phones directly to customers (bypassing the carriers). You can still buy a phone from Verizon if you really want, and it'll be crippled so as not to work with any other carrier even if unlocked. But the smarter person would buy the version of the phone sold by the manufacturer at Best Buy or Amazon which supports enough frequencies that it'll work with any carrier. That's actually what Google did with the Nexus 5 - it supports enough frequencies to work on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and a bunch of other international carriers. It's technically capable of working on Verizon (with LTE in areas where Verizon provides band 4 - New York and Los Angeles from what I hear), but Verizon blacklists it so you can't use it on their network. What we need is a law making it illegal for Verizon to do that.

Comment: Re:I don't see what good unlocking does (Score 1, Informative) 77

by Solandri (#47536977) Attached to: Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

The "retarded" Verizon specific phones are actually some of the most compatible phones you can buy today. Not only do they work on the Verizon CDMA and "bastardized" LTE networks, but they include full functionality for GSM and HSPA networks. I have two Verizon phones, right at this moment, that I'm using full time on other networks with full capability. My Verizon iPhone 5S is currently being used on an AT&T postpaid plan. All LTE, HSPA, and GSM functions work with 100% compatibility. My Verizon LG G2 is being used on T-Mobile with full LTE, HSPA, and GSM services. Nearly every phone worth having today is fully compatible with the GSM/WCDMA (HSPA) network technology. Phones are becoming more compatible, not less.

That's not quite true. CDMA phones with LTE have GSM SIM cards because the LTE spec requires it. Most of them also have GSM capability, while the GSM-only versions don't have CDMA capability. So that respect you're right that Verizon and Sprint phones have better global compatibility than GSM-only phones.

However, a lot of newer phones are limited in which frequencies they support. Your Verizon G2 for example only supports LTE at 750 and 1700 MHz. Verizon's LTE bands are at 700 and 1700 Mhz. T-Mobile's and AT&T's are at 1700 Mhz. Sprint's however are at 800, 1900, and 2500 MHz. So your phone won't get LTE with Sprint.

Unfortunately, Congress has dilly dallied on this issue for too long. We're now past the point where mandating carriers unlock phones will help. There are still phones which will work across a broad range of carriers like your G2, but they are now few and far between. Most of the newer phones are restricted in their frequencies so they'll only work fully with one carrier. Take it to another carrier and you'll either suffer degraded service, or even lack certain service (like no LTE on your Verizon G2 with Sprint). So even if you can unlock your phone from the carrier, it won't do you any good because you'll lose 4g or even 3g capability if you try to use it with another carrier.

The only thing that will help now a law mandating that carriers must provide service to any phone a customer brings with them that's capable of operating on their network. That will open up the markets so that manufacturers begin selling multi-carrier and world phones directly to customers (bypassing the carriers). You can still buy a phone from Verizon if you really want, and it'll be crippled so as not to work with any other carrier even if unlocked. But the smarter person would buy the version of the phone sold by the manufacturer at Best Buy or Amazon which supports enough frequencies that it'll work with any carrier. That's actually what Google did with the Nexus 5 - it supports enough frequencies to work on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and a bunch of other international carriers. It's technically capable of working on Verizon, but Verizon blacklists it so you can't use it on their network at all. What we need is a law making it illegal for Verizon to do that.

Incidentally, for anyone cursing CDMA in the U.S. complicating matters, don't. CDMA won the standards war. Your GSM phone uses CDMA - most HSPA implementations are wideband CDMA. It's only because the U.S. didn't mandate GSM and allowed carriers to try out different technologies that a superior tech - CDMA - was able to prove itself in the market and was eventually incorporated into the GSM spec. If CDMA hadn't been around, we'd probably be stuck with 1 Mbps or slower data speeds today. (LTE works very similarly to CDMA, except in the frequency domain instead of the code domain. Each phone is assigned an orthogonal set of frequencies, while in CDMA they're assigned an orthogonal set of codes.)

Comment: Re:11% fuel efficiency improvement (Score 2) 136

by Solandri (#47531729) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?
I can think of lots of reasons.
  • It's expensive. Stamping or rolling a sheet of metal into a flat shape or single-curved is quick and easy. Adding lots of little dimples takes time and adds cost. While I can't say how much cost, some or most of the fuel savings may be offset by additional energy consumed during manufacturing.
  • The mechanism for forming the dimples may not be cost-effective. A similar idea was tried with planes - NASA drilled lots of holes in the wing and attached suction tubes to keep the boundary layer attached, leading to laminar flow over the entire wing and better wing efficiency. That's the opposite of what you're doing here (the dimples disrupt laminar flow and cause the airflow to detach and become turbulent prematurely, which actually reduces drag because the air doesn't "stick" to the car as well). But the drawback may be the same - the weight and space of carrying all that sucking equipment completely offset any fuel and cost savings.
  • People don't like it. Auto manufacturers would love to eliminate the cost of the shiny clearcoat layer on top of the paint. But buyers love smooth and shiny - it sells new cars. So they don't.
  • It'd be a lot harder to clean. Dirt and other material like dead bugs and bird droppings would tend to collect and dry in the dimples. With a smooth surface, you can scrape these off. With dimples, the crud would collect inside, and you're going to take a lot more work to clean it out. Maybe enough for an owner to say "screw this, it ain't worth an 11% fuel savings." Deformable dimples may fare better, but the dried crud may prevent the dimple from completely flattening, leaving you with a similar problem.
  • It causes lots of reflections. Most of your car's body is flat panels so you only see reflected sunlight at certain angles. You deal with this by temporarily covering your view of the offending car withy our hand, until you've changed angles so there is no more glare. But put a lot of small curved surfaces on a car and they will reflect sunlight into your eyes from almost any angle. Are you prepared to drive on a road where every car is covered with lots of little glare dots from the sun? It would be less of a problem if cars were painted with flat paint, but see two bullets above.
  • Easier/more annoying to vandalize. Antisocial kids would run around popping these with a pin while your car was parked. You wouldn't notice it until you were up to speed and the dimple suction mechanism complained of reduced vacuum pressure, so the culprits are highly unlikely to be caught.

And those are just off the top of my head. That's not to say they're legit - maybe they won't turn out to be that big a problem in practice. But if you can't think of any reason why this hasn't already been done yet other than "it's an auto industry conspiracy!", then you haven't really put a lot of thought into it.

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