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Comment: Re:Conflict of interest is just what they do (Score 2) 78

by bwcbwc (#48178129) Attached to: NSA CTO Patrick Dowd Moonlighting For Private Security Firm

Actually, if this is truly a private company, he's in clear violation of Federal anti-corruption laws. At least that's what they keep hammering at us in the corporate "pin the liability on the employee" training.

From my POV the more likely explanation is that "private" security firm is an NSA front. I doubt this company would get much business outside the US, with so many NSA ties already known. So my guess is that they use it to funnel NSA technologies and data to other government agencies that can't obtain them (legally) by other means..

Comment: Re:Are you patenting software? (Score 1) 223

by bwcbwc (#48162495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

A "Process" is slightly more concrete than an algorithm. An algorithm is pure computer science without the context of a use case. Software patents on a general purpose computer are too close to algorithms because a general purpose computer is a tool designed to convert any algorithm into a process for use in a particular domain. So once an algorithm is described, putting it on a computer is too "obvious" under patent law.

A patentable process was originally a physical process, frequently an industrial process.This was then expanded to include business processes ( 1997?). Software patents snuck in under the business process domain as more and more business processes were computerized.

Comment: Parking lots (Score 1) 235

by bwcbwc (#48148133) Attached to: Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

Regardless of the power output, covering parking lots with solar panels at about a 70-80% coverage rate is a win-win. Provide weather coverage and shade for the parking lot patrons, harvests energy that would otherwise heat the asphalt. and the incomplete coverage allows enough light through to avoid the need for artificial lighting during daylight.

Comment: Re:Hoax (Score 1) 972

Yeah, this is the biggest fly in the ointment for me. He obviously has some investors to produce the devices that are being tested. If the investors were legit and not in on the scam, the best way for them to recoup their investment would be to fund building around 100 of the devices and actually put them to commercial use at a rate that undercuts electricity costs in Italy by a significant amount (say 20%).

There's a small possibility that he doesn't have enough investors/funding to pull this off, but I'm an engineer. If the device can't be produced and sold at a reasonable price, it isn't commercially feasible -- even if it turns out his device can make energy.

Comment: Re:Einstein's Nobel was for Photo-electric effect (Score 1) 972

Finally, someone either knew it or bothered to look it up. The work on the photoelectric effect was what paved the way for e=mc^2, quantum theory and (less directly) most of the other stuff in modern physics. The photoelectric effect was unexplainable by Maxwell's equations because the relationships between the energy and frequency of the impinging light and the energy and quantity of electrons emitted didn't match what was predicted under Maxwell's laws. This was because Maxwell's formulas had no concept of the quantum energy states for electrons in an atom (or atomic matrix).

Comment: Re:TFA isn't about trolls (Score 4, Insightful) 715

by bwcbwc (#48111561) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win

Technically, libel and slander are grounds for a civil suit, not criminal. Death threats and impersonation/identity theft are criminal but can be pursued civilly as well. Victims need to start lawyering up and getting rulings that bankrupt the trolls, and put them under restraining orders for their internet activity. If they persist put them under court orders barring them from accessing the internet, and throw them in jail for criminal contempt if they violate the court orders.

The standard of proof for civil suits is significantly lower than beyond a reasonable doubt, so the main barrier is getting internet sites and ISPs to release information that can identify the anonymous offenders.

And once again, this is not a feminist issue. Doxxing an SWATting are rampant against males as well. From Wikipedia:
* In the past, there have been swatting incidents at the homes of Ashton Kutcher, Tom Cruise, Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Clint Eastwood.

Brian Krebs has suffered various harassments for several years now, as documented here:

Basically once you reach a certain level of fame or notoriety on the internet, you are likely to piss off someone who thinks it's fun to engage in these kinds of activities.

Comment: Re:I'm confused, shortage or glut (Score 1) 283

by bwcbwc (#48090005) Attached to: Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

That depends on how you define the labor market for these jobs. Until salaries rise in India, China, etc. get close enough to US levels, the cost of local US labor will be higher than the average price in the global market.

I'm not saying that protectionist immigration policies are a bad thing (I'd be pretty poor without it), but in a true free market there wouldn't be any immigration caps and wages would have equalized long ago. Right now the immigration policies for tech workers seem to (try to) run a fine line between pulling enough workers out of BRIC to increase labor costs there without causing US salaries to free-fall.

Comment: Re:Billionaire and no he doesn't need the money (Score 3, Interesting) 368

by bwcbwc (#47870229) Attached to: Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

Yeah, just on off-the-cuff calculations, say 30 million copies across all platforms,could be as high as 40 M, but PC is only 16-17 M. I'm not sure what cut Mojang gets from the non-PC versions after you take out the development costs and Xbox/PS platform royalties, but let's say that Mojang grossed about $20 per copy overall. This includes he alpha and beta sales that were for under $20 averaged with the higher costs now.

This comes out to $600-$800 M before taxes, so after you factor in Minecraft Realms monthly fees and any income from Scrolls, you're probably somewhere around $1B in sales. I'm pretty sure there are more than 2 employees with equity in the company, and when you factor in Swedish income taxes, Notch is clearly not a billionaire in dollars.

It's worth $2B to Microsoft, because they can milk the Minecraft cow for at least that much by merchandising paraphenalia and movies, Minecraft Realms is also an ongoing cashflow. Oh, and I bet they institute a monthly fee for Minecraft Server.

Apart from the money, I think Notch is really selling because he's sick of the BS of running a company: Bethesda suing them over scrolls, parents suing them over exploitative MC servers....etc.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.