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Comment: Never talk to US law enforcement (Score 4, Insightful) 92

by bradley13 (#47754771) Attached to: Early Bitcoin User Interviewed By Federal Officers

This guy actually talked to the federal agents who came knocking on his door? Stupid, stupid...

Assuming these were probably FBI or Secret Service agents, my understanding is that the only record allowed of the interview consists of their handwritten notes. You are not allowed to make a recording. This means that, afterwards, they can put any spin on the interview that they want. If you disagree, they can and will throw you in jail for lying to a federal officer.

The only possible reply to these officers should be "I have nothing to say to you".

Comment: That's not to agile's credit (Score 1) 239

by bradley13 (#47727979) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Project management method "X" methods work great, if you have a good technical project lead and a good team; otherwise it sucks.

You can replace "X" with Agile/Scrum, or you can replace it with any other damned thing - it doesn't matter. A good team with a good project manager will get good results. A bad team, or a teach with a lousy PM, will not. The current love affair with Scrum is driven by PHBs looking for a magic way to get good results out of bad teams. It's really that simple.

Comment: Re:god dammit. The Numbers (Score 2, Insightful) 518

by bradley13 (#47710127) Attached to: Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

I'll buy your number for cats - there are hundreds of millions of them, and they love to hunt birds. A power plant that kills a few thousand is completely irrelevant in comparison, but these are clueless "progressive" types, they aren't expected to understand basic math.

I'll pass on the latest climate change panic...

Comment: Gartner cynic here - enlighten me (Score 5, Interesting) 98

by bradley13 (#47668991) Attached to: Gartner: Internet of Things Has Reached Hype Peak

Do Gartner reports actually have any use? I mean, they put a nice graphic to their "hype cycle", but this is surely stuff that any technical type over the age of 25 understands?

You can purchase their report on the Internet of Things for the low, low price of $1995. If it's like most Gartner reports that I have seen, it will contain nice references to certain companies - my suspicion is that these companies have recently given Gartner fat consulting contracts. If you watch the same report evolve year-to-year, recommended companies change randomly - from a technical perspective - so one presumes that the deciding factors are politics and/or money.

Anyone want to argue against my cynicism? Are Gartner reports actually useful to some people?

Comment: Because stress comes from nothing else... (Score 1) 146

No one is ever stressed out, unless they are planning a terror attack. No job interviews, arguments with the spousal unit, kids run off, financial problems...

The only thing surprising is that this article isn't about something in the UK or the US. Probably that's where it will first be installed, so that more names can be added to the terrorist watch list.

Comment: What do they mean (serious question)? (Score 1) 140

by bradley13 (#47653745) Attached to: Google's Satellites Could Soon See Your Face From Space

I seriously do not understand what they mean by 50cm (or 25cm) resolution. On the current Google Maps picture of our house, you can clearly see the yellow garden hose snaking across the lawn. The garden hose is maybe 3cm thick. We have stepping stones in the lawn, averaging maybe 40cm by 60cm; each stone clearly occupies multiple pixels. I would guess that a single pixel represents about 10cm.

This is in Switzerland. Are photos in the USA fuzzier? I just zoomed in on a military base, and I can clearly see the lines painted between parking spaces. Those are, what, maybe 10cm? Each line occupies about 2 pixels on my screen.

So, serious question, what is meant by a 50cm satellite resolution?

Comment: The surprise... (Score 3, Insightful) 227

by bradley13 (#47646811) Attached to: About Half of Kids' Learning Ability Is In Their DNA

Sure, you can stunt someone, butof course our abilities - our potentials - are genetic. The surprise would be if environment has any effect beyond the ability to stunt an otherwise present potential. Why do PC nuts always hyperventilate, when aptitudes turn out to be inborn.

The link between reading and math runs, as nearly as I can tell from this and other studies, over general intelligence. If you have an IQ of 130, likely you are pretty good at both. If you have an IQ of 80, not so much.

Comment: What would true color vision be like? (Score 3, Interesting) 267

by bradley13 (#47621337) Attached to: My degree of colorblindness:

A normal human sees three colors. We are incapable of distinguishing true orange light from an essentially infinite number of combinations of color pairs (e.g., red plus a bit of green, or red plus more yellow). All we can say is that two chemicals were stimulated in the proper proportion.

It needn't be this way. Your ears detect individual frequencies. If you hear two tones at 1kHz and 2KhZ, your ears don't average them together and tell you that there is a single tone at 1.5 kHz

What would true color vision be like, i.e., if your eyes could actually tell what frequencies of light they received?

Comment: Even big companies are stupid (Score 1) 126

by bradley13 (#47620373) Attached to: Alleged Massive Account and Password Seizure By Russian Group

We recently changed our Internet service with Swisscom (details unimportant, but it involved installing a different router). I received a letter in the mail confirming the user name and password in plain text. The password hadn't changed - it is the same one that I chose years ago when we originally selected Swisscom as our ISP. Which, of course, means that they have not hashed the password, but have stored it in a retrievable fashion.

Now, this is fairly minor, because the password isn't good for much beyond logging the router into the ISP. However, so many people use the same password for multiple things that it is still lousy security practice. When I challenged Swisscom about this, their explanation was that it enables them to provide better technical support. Meaning, I suppose, that lots of people forget their password, and this way they can be told what it is, rather than having to reset it.

It's still lousy security practice, and pretty shocking from a major company.

Comment: What is handicapped? Disabled? (Score 1) 175

by bradley13 (#47548103) Attached to: Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

It was always going to happen - now it finally has. We have the Olympics and the Paralympics - because the athletes in the Paralympics cannot compete against non-handicapped athletes. Now, at least in some circumstances, it is possible to replace missing biological parts with superior parts (at least for a specific task).

Some athletes will take any advantage they can get. For years now, it has been impossible to win certain events without doping (Tour de France). Remember the biologically male athletes from behind the iron curtain who had themselves surgically altered so that they could compete as women?

If this result stands, as prosthetics continue to improve - how long until some athlete deliberately has an accident requiring their leg to be amputated?

Comment: The US love affair with a totalitarian state? (Score 2) 125

by bradley13 (#47537203) Attached to: The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police

Why does the US government get along so swimmingly well with Saudia Arabia? The place is a human rights disaster. They support, directly or indirectly, various terrorist organizations. It's a lovely place...as long as you are a muslim male. Then you are free to preach strict abstinence and sexual fidelity - ok, sure, you drive over to Bahrain every Thursday to get drunk and get laid - but you make up for this by going home and oppressing your wives and daughters. What's not to like?

Of course, the US support has nothing to do with the fact that there is lots of oil money floating around. Lots of Saudi purchases from US companies, which just happen to have certain politicians on their boards, or which happen to make lots of contributions to campaign funds.

Comment: Re:Incomplete data (Score 1) 174

by bradley13 (#47522829) Attached to: For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

Perhaps you're right about managers, but that wasn't my impression, nor is it the impression of the authors of the Computer World article: "Rothwell points out that Google's co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, would both be classified as non-STEM managers by the Census". They may not be technical managers, but their technical background is entirely relevant to the management duties. Lots of people in roles like that.

I imagine it's much the same for education. As an example, I am faculty in a business school, but I teach technical courses (programming, etc.) within that school. I expect the fact that I work for a business school means I would be counted as non-STEM.

Dunno what planet your last question came from - bizarre. Maybe re-read your posts before pressing the submit button?

Comment: Incomplete data (Score 5, Insightful) 174

by bradley13 (#47522599) Attached to: For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

As usual, jumping to conclusions with incomplete data.

First, why analyze the percentage of computer and math degree holders who hold an IT job? Why is a mathematics degree automatically equivalent to a CS degree?

Then we get leaps like the pay gap between men and women. Most likely it's the usual thing: comparing men and women of the same age, without accounting for the fact that the women took more time off for child-rearing, worked part-time, etc.. Compensate for these things, and watch the pay gap disappear.

Why do many people with STEM degrees not work in STEM jobs? They apparently count management and education as non-STEM, even if these people are managing STEM projects or teaching STEM courses. That already accounts for the two biggest groups.

The rest of the conclusions are just as shaky. This appears to be a crappy study, deserving of no attention whatsoever...

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