Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Unfriendly Elitists (Score 1) 372

by darkstar949 (#45215011) Attached to: Wikipedia's Participation Problem

Which thoroughly pisses me off, considering that wikipedia is the biggest free and easily accessible repository of human knowledge (outside of the NSA).

I'm not sure you could call the NSA a repository of human knowledge though. While they might have a lot of human data, the curation (such as it is) at Wikipedia is what actually makes things useful. Just having a bunch of data in and of itself doesn't mean it's actually useful.

Comment: Re:Now it gets worse. (Score 1) 999

by darkstar949 (#45151829) Attached to: US Government Shutdown Ends

I agree with you on all points but one -- this wasn't really a chance to stop the crazy. The budget is too out of control to come up with a fix in a few days. It is going to take a very difficult debate among the entire electorate to decide which sacred cows are going to be slaughtered. It has gotten to the point where no politician is willing to bring the subject up because everyone is going to feel some very real pain in order to solve all of this.

The biggest sacred cow to fix the federal deficits would be to just reform the tax code and actually have more revenue coming in than is being spent. Discretionary spending is only 30% of the budget with 6%, 64% is mandatory spending and the interest on the debt is only 6%. Even if you cut the discretionary spending completely (ignoring the revenue issues due to that workforce being laid off) you still aren't going to close the gap completely. Tax breaks, on the other hand, are currently $1.18 trillion dollars which is more than the discretionary budget.

Once you have the federal deficits taken care of you can just pretty much let the budget cost on cruise control since your principle shouldn't be getting any bigger at that point. Granted between months in the year you might see some nominal increases in the debt due to short term bonds being sold to smooth out the bumps in the revenue caused by how taxes are filed, in the long run even that would go away if a nice âoerainy day fundâ and âoebufferâ account was established.

Comment: Re:Americans doing the right thing (Score 1) 999

by darkstar949 (#45151605) Attached to: US Government Shutdown Ends

Frankly, the only sure-fire way to pay off this debt is via massive spending cuts.

Massive spending cuts are completely useless if you are still running a deficit. If you have a balanced budget then you will eventually payoff all of your debts in full and considering the time frames that governments have to work with, who really cares how long it takes as long as the principle is not increasing and the payments are being made on time?

There are some issues with actually getting a balanced federal budget though due to the inconstant way the money comes in and the unpredictability at times as well. It's not like a household budget where barring job loss you pretty much know exactly how much each paycheck is going to be. The federal budget really does need to be running a slight surplus so that a âoerainy day fundâ can be established but usually as soon as a surplus appears politicians want to use that money to gain political capital as opposed to saving it for later on down the road.

Comment: Re:Who cares what the community thinks? (Score 1) 311

by darkstar949 (#44908333) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Does Your Work Schedule Make You Unproductive?
I guess it depends on the type of work though. When it comes to writing software, I find that if I get up, go for a walk, chat with some coworkers, etc. - which is technically "unproductive" - that I can move past a roadblock that I was encountering and sometimes wrap a problem up in about thirty minutes. Other-times where the expectation was that you had to sit and code all day, I could easily spend four times as long working on the same problem due to mental fatigue.

Back in 1995 Dilbert highlighted some of the issues with development and engineering type positions and what is considered work - namely, the time spent at home thinking about a problem isn't considered "work."

Comment: Re:Awful professor story (Score 1) 273

by darkstar949 (#44839715) Attached to: Study Shows Professors With Tenure Are Worse Teachers

I'm willing to bet your physics, maths and engineering professors don't dick around like that.

Nope, the physics professor I had spent the first day talking Sikhism and the Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) and it would come up from time to time after that, although he did some more time actually talking about physics. Sadly, he had a very thick accent so you really had to pay attention to figure out what he was saying to determine if it was even relevant.

Comment: Re:Missing Option (Score 1) 362

by darkstar949 (#44808789) Attached to: Syrian Gov't Agrees To Russian Chem-Weapon Turnover Plan
Sure, except for the fact that nobody has been able to explain how the rebels managed to get their hands on chemical weapons in order to launch the attack. Short of manufacturing them they would have had to have gotten them from a Syrian storehouse that fell into their hands in which case it makes sense for the Syrian government to want to wash their hands free of them.

Comment: Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (Score 1) 213

by darkstar949 (#44775897) Attached to: Amazon Hiring More Than a 100 Who Can Get Top Secret Clearances
It's entirely possible that the rules have changed since you had your first SSBI, but unless they changed things (again) the only reason that they would talk to elementary school teachers is if you actually given them as one of your references. The last time I looked at DCID 6/4 it basically said something along the lines of verify education and interview sources if education was your primary activity during the past three years. There's always the possibility that an investigation would be expanded, but I like I said a couple posts back, I don't see OPM going and talking to someone's elementary school teachers and asking for a character reference.

Comment: Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (Score 1) 213

by darkstar949 (#44773697) Attached to: Amazon Hiring More Than a 100 Who Can Get Top Secret Clearances
Except that nobody in this day and age actually calls it "special clearance" or if they do then it was outside of the community that I was in. If they are going back and talking to elementry school teachers then it is not an SSBI that is being conducted since that only goes back 10 years or until the age of 18 which ever is less and that is the usual standard for SCI materials. Of course, this is not to say that a SAP might require above and beyond but then my point still stands about talking to elementray school teachers about what you were like at that age still stands: it is completely meaningless unless they knew you as an older teenager or adult.

Comment: Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (Score 1) 213

by darkstar949 (#44762883) Attached to: Amazon Hiring More Than a 100 Who Can Get Top Secret Clearances

You are speculating incorrectly. I held a special clearance and they went back and talked to elementary school teachers, old friends, etc... If they come up with concerns, they dig further than they did with me.

What do you mean by "special clearance" though? For an SSBI they aren't going to go back and talk to elementary school teachers because there would be no point in doing that unless you knew those same teachers when you were older. When they do an SSBI for military personnel that are fresh out of high school they don't go back and talk to elementary school teachers unless they knew the subject in the recent past since someones opinion of a child is unlikely to give any indication as to their trustworthiness as an adult.

Comment: Re:Polygraph Tests (Score 2) 213

by darkstar949 (#44762861) Attached to: Amazon Hiring More Than a 100 Who Can Get Top Secret Clearances

They always accuse you of using drugs. Always. They also try to beat you into a confession. Always.

Generally speaking the odds of a random American having tried drugs was about 42% back in 2008 and I'm sure that on a generational basis that number is likely higher or lower. Plus if you know where someone grew up or is currently living that affects the odds as well. So from that perspective it kind of makes sense to push someone on the issue - if they will not admit to doing something once or twice (that they really don't care about) then what else are they likely to keep close lipped that can actually be used against them?

Comment: Re:this is not news to Flickr users (Score 1) 172

by darkstar949 (#44687757) Attached to: Yahoo! Sports Redesign Sparks Controversy, Disdain From Users
Although oddly enough I've actually seen more traffic going to my Flickr account that was being driven by searches on Flickr. So it looks like they might have tweaked the searching under the hood as well which is nice, but the new UI on the other hand, cluttered.

Comment: Re:Great (Score 1) 918

by darkstar949 (#44686341) Attached to: US Forces Ready To Strike Syria If Ordered

Tell me again why we should care about the use of chemical weapons in Syria? I don't see a reason to intervene.

Realistically the reason that the US cares about the use of chemical weapons in Syria is because there is fear that AQ or one of the other radical groups operating in Syria could get their hands on them for use outside of Syria. If Syria is resorting to the use of chemical weapons then they are becoming more liberal with their transport and they can fall out of their control. If this was a false flag operation of some sort then Syria has already lost control of chemical weapons in which case someone needs to go in their to re-establish control of them. Beyond that the US doesn't want to get involved unless one of their allies in the region pulls them into the quagmire which hasn't been happening. As someone already pointed out, the missiles that hit Turkey gave the US casus belli to attack Syria and even with the war hawks in Congress and the Senate beating the war drums they've avoided doing anything overt thus far.

A university faculty is 500 egotists with a common parking problem.