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Comment: Re:Should have been spelled out in the contract (Score 1) 124

by bill_mcgonigle (#49351641) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

Lesson learned for how to draw up future contracts, I guess.

Hahaha - if the contracts were designed to produce on-time, on-budget they would be written that way (fixed price, fixed requirements, penalties for late delivery). Their intended purpose is quite the opposite of that. If something useful happens to be generated in the process of funneling money from taxpayers to the MIC, so much the better excuse for the next contract.

Comment: Re:Bummer (Score 4, Insightful) 322

by bill_mcgonigle (#49349439) Attached to: RSA Conference Bans "Booth Babes"

Personally a beautiful woman tastefully dressed is more of a turn on than the slutty look anyway.

I guess it's different because I pay for conferences out of my own pocket, but I'm not going to go to all the hassle and expense of attending an Expo to waste my time at a vendor booth which spends its marketing dollars on objectifying women. The women may be there of their own free will and the whole arrangement may be perfectly morally straight (for the sake of argument), but the vendor is clearly disrespecting its customers' intelligence, and that itself makes me feel uncomfortable and want to avoid their booth.

Each time I've experienced the 'booth babe' phenomenon, never once did any of them know what an ARP reply was or how many key exchanges TLS modes use. This isn't a matter of nerd-quiz, it's that talking to them serves no purpose for why I go to an expo.

While several I've encountered have been both nice and pretty, I never once imagined that I was going to scurry off to a corner to make out with one or that they might suddenly provide useful product information, so a polite smile, the briefest of small-talk to let them know that I value them as a human being, and a thank-you and I was on to the next booth to talk to a sales engineer. Did the booth-babe vendor have something useful to sell me? Maybe, but I only have so much time, and this wasn't why I was there. I don't care if the sales engineer has a spare tire and a scraggly mustache, because I'm not there to make out with him (or her) either.

That booth babes is a thing tells me a few things: 1) target customers don't get to talk to pretty women much unless they're being paid (Jesus people, try being kind and friendly for a change) 2) target customers are mostly there blowing their employers' budgets on a half-assed vacation and don't really care about the cost or value, and 3) they probably play the Lottery and go to strip clubs too, for all their investment is worth (but I guess they have nothing better to do).

There would be no booth babes if they didn't provide value, and that they do is an indictment of the crowd attending. RSA might be putting up a roadblock, but the industry only needs to look itself in the mirror if it wants to find someone to blame. Stop being creepy and get a girlfriend, people.

Comment: Re:Where was the flight attendant? (Score 2) 723

by bill_mcgonigle (#49345461) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

According to TFA, or maybe another article I read, that is a US-only requirement. There is no such requirement in Europe.

Who wants to place odds on which airlines implement this rule tomorrow, as policy, before the regulators get around to having a meeting on it?

I've got a nickel on Lufthansa doing it (coincident to ownership). Virgin too.

Comment: Re:Nuclear Disarmament is Idiotic (Score 0) 228

by bill_mcgonigle (#49337381) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

Thank you for being a voice of reason here.

Nuclear weapons prevent wars between great powers with great success.

The point needs to be sharpened - it's because _finally_ politicians put themselves at direct risk of bodily harm by starting wars for their own power, wealth, and ambition, instead of just sending subjects' children abroad to go die for them.

Besides that, it's a complete unicorn-fart delusion that the nuclear-armed nations will give them up without a radically different coordination system than the nation-state model.

Anybody who wants to get rid of nuclear weapons needs to first work on getting rid of politicians.

Comment: Re:Eat less than you burn (Score 4, Insightful) 487

by bill_mcgonigle (#49331009) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

How fricking complicated is it to eat less than you burn?

It's way more complicated than you make it out to be. You're offering the very best advice 1983 had to offer.

Until you factor in the rates of digestion, the enzyme production rate of the individual, the hormone response of the individual, and the freaking liver and pancreas, not to mention the brain which mediates the whole thing, the very best you can offer is an order-of-magnitude estimate. There aren't seven billion different metabolisms out there, but there is at least an n-by-m matrix of them for every variability in the human metabolic system.

This is why so many people fail even at strict calorie-counting diets. Humans are NOT bomb calorimeters! Say it again and again until it sinks in.

For Pete's sake, there are leptin-resistent people who can put weight on at 500 calories a day.

Until we have mastered DNA analysis on this to genotype individuals, cutting out simple and refined carbohydrates is at least a way to claw back the worst of the modern diet, and avoid big swings in the leptin/ghrelin/insulin feedback systems - most people eat because they are hungry.

Comment: Re:Quantum Computing Required? (Score 3, Interesting) 291

by bill_mcgonigle (#49328905) Attached to: Steve Wozniak Now Afraid of AI Too, Just Like Elon Musk

There is some investigation that suggests that quantum consciousness is possible based on interactions between microtubule structures inside of neurons.

Ah, you're well-read. :) AIUI, the primary benefits of the quantum-microtubule model are: 1) increasing the order-of-magnitude complexity of the human brain by several digits. At least 10x more interconnections, almost certainly 100x, likely 1000x, maybe 10000x.

But there isn't really anything to suggest that much more happens inside of the brain that can't be explained by the classical interactions between axons and dendrites of a typical neural network that can be modeled satisfactorily by a simulation.

It's that the known estimates of the the number of classical connections don't seem to match up with the complexity observed. We're not too far away from being able to simulate a classical brain, but many Moore generations away from being able to simulate a quantum-microtubule brain.

2) There doesn't seem to be a great model for consciousness arising from classical connections. Consciousness modeled as a quantum superposition has several benefits for theory to match observation.

This shouldn't be surprising or an intellectual obstacle - plants have been doing quantum tricks for billions of years (photosynthesis) and due to the inherent thermodynamic efficiency gains of quantum processes, evolution should eventually stumble on and exploit them in many (all?) modes of evolution.

Comment: Re:SPOT doesn't work? (Score 1) 224

by bill_mcgonigle (#49326793) Attached to: $1B TSA Behavioral Screening Program Slammed As "Junk Science"

Well. At least they tried.

It works spectacularly well - for funnelling taxpayer money to politically-connected corporations and government-employee unions.

This was all it was ever designed to do. The ACLU needs to stop pretending there was ever some noble purpose - the most minimal an edifice that was required to get the program implemented was erected to placate the easily-fooled. Acknowledging any good intentions where there are none just encourages this kind of behavior going forward - ACLU might sink their teeth in a bit deeper if they fully recognized the corruption.

Comment: Re:Me depressed now (Score 0) 56

by bill_mcgonigle (#49326515) Attached to: NASA's Abandoned Launch Facilities

NASA is a sad shell of its 1960's self, and these facilities are a very literal reminder of that fact.

C'mon, everybody knows by now that the real "'scare" of Sputnik wasn't that the Russkies put a tiny satellite into orbit, but that the R7 that put it there was a capable ICBM.

The whole "man on the Moon" thing was political cover for having the biggest-baddest ICBM rockets on the planet and being able to militarize space. You can tell taxpayers that you're going to spend a huge chunk of GDP on technology to obliterate the world, or on putting a Man on the Moon. Guess which gets more "rah-rah" support? The People aren't as psycho as the government, even if they are easily fooled.

The interesting thing is that the plan backfired. Now that politicians are themselves in danger of being obliterated if they start another war, they've backed down quite a bit. At least enough to only go picking on nations that aren't nuclear-armed themselves (Iran and PRNK learned this lesson).

The actual benefits that have been accrued from the Moon Landings are minimal, and at the cost of everything else that might have been done with those resources. Where space exploration is happening, and going, is in the private sector (SpaceX, et. al) where profits are to be made providing useful services from satellites or rich-men's wish fulfilment, or from non-profits looking to further the advancement of science. The difference is that dying peacefully on a Mars colony or studying the Sun is less with the blow-up-the-world crazy. By the end of the next decade NASA itself can be mothballed - they'll still be hard at work on the Senate Launch System that nobody wants. "Mission accomplished" if one must.

Comment: Re:Wasn't the term designed to defy definition? (Score 1) 49

by bill_mcgonigle (#49326437) Attached to: Nobody Is Sure What Should Count As a Cyber Incident

Isn't 'cyber-incident' the sort of bullshit term that is more or less designed to be slippery, and thus useful for both alarmism and obfuscation as the situation requires?

And for everybody and their brother to grab power.

Schneier had a good analogy with the Sony hack, and his rubrik is a good one - take what happened online and make the closest physical-world analogy you can. The Sony hack was equivalent to somebody sneaking into Sony HQ and photocopying a _lot_ of documents.

Clearly a violation, but now the Air Force is looking at ( / may have conducted) a counter-strike? For photocopying?

That's just crazy. But since the NSA has been militarized we should be very concerned about PsyOps leading the populous into war over simple property crimes.

Comment: Re:Pointing out the stark, bleeding obvious... (Score 2) 247

Name one instance in history where the weather has been bad over the entire area of either US grid (east or west) at the same time.

Name one time electricity has been generated in Arizona and used in Maine.

Yeah, that superconducting backbone that runs along the Transcontinental Railroad ... maybe the Chinese can build that one too!

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser