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Comment: Re:DAESH, not ISIL (Score 2) 340

by hey! (#47975589) Attached to: US Strikes ISIL Targets In Syria

Would you be happy that people associate linux with terrorism ?

Well, I started with Linux by downloading Debian 0.93 by modem onto floppies (because the copyright situation for 386BSD was unclear at the time). I think this was the first official Debian release with dpkg and it was awesome!

So I remember when Linux started to get media attention very well. What people associated Linux with was Communism. My reaction at the time was that people who did that were hysterical idiots, and history has proved me right.

As for Islam, it's not going away. It can't be "defeated", any more than Christianity or atheism can be "defeated". These things will live on no matter what kind or unkind things people say about them. Those who insist on making Islam into the boogeyman are hysterics condemning themselves to permanent worry about what's hiding under their bed.

Comment: Re:The sad history of US nuclear weapons. (Score 1) 293

by Animats (#47975529) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

I'm talking about a slightly later period. The third plutonium implosion bomb (Trinity was #1, Nagasaki was #2) was ready to go before the end of the war. Groves decided not to ship it to Tinian. Production rate was about one every 3 weeks.

But that design wasn't suitable for long-term storage. Wikipedia: "The lead-acid batteries that powered the fuzing system remained charged for only 36 hours, after which they needed to be recharged. To do this meant disassembling the bomb, and recharging took 72 hours. The batteries had to be removed in any case after nine days or they corroded. The plutonium core could not be left in for much longer, because its heat damaged the high explosives. Replacing the core also required the bomb to be completely disassembled and reassembled. This required about 40 to 50 men and took between 56 and 72 hours, depending on the skill of the bomb assembly team." It took a few more years to develop a bomb that was suitable for routine storage at an air base.

Comment: Already happened with desktops (Score 1) 220

by Animats (#47975449) Attached to: Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

This already happened with desktop computers. A few years ago, we reached the point where basic desktop machines had a few 3GHz CPUS, a few gigabytes of memory, a terabyte or so of disk, and the capability to talk to a 100MHz Ethernet. There, things stopped. Desktop machines haven't become significantly more powerful since. They still power much of the business world, they work fine, and nobody is "upgrading". Innovation in desktops has become cosmetic - Apple makes one that comes in a round can.

Phones seem to be getting there. The iPhone 6 has no major technical improvements over the iPhone 5. Its specs are comparable to the Nexus 4 of two years ago. We may be approaching that point with phones.

Comment: Re:DAESH, not ISIL (Score 1) 340

by hey! (#47975391) Attached to: US Strikes ISIL Targets In Syria

Well, before we candebate a question like "Is ISIL Muslim?" you have to specify what you mean by the question.

The important thing is not to ask a question like that in one context and then use the answer in a different context. For example if you ask someone in a white supremacist "Aryan Nations" church "who is a true Christian?" you can't automatically attribute those same ideas to Quakers. Likewise you can't attribute the answer of a Salafist group like ISIL to the question "Who is a true Muslim?" to your sober, industrious, and peaceful Hanafi Muslim neighbors. Both groups see the other as apostates.

A historian or anthropologist would certainly consider ISIL an "Islamic movement", just as they'd consider the KKK a "Christian movement". And while your local ultra-liberal Sufi imam or Episcopalian minister would disagree strongly, nobody is actually wrong here. They're just using the words in different senses.

Comment: Re:Very sad (Score 1) 227

by garcia (#47974409) Attached to: Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

For the first time since I started w/the iPhone (the 3G was my first one), I see absolutely nothing of value with this major release version which makes me want to upgrade to it.

I'll be paying $99 for the 5S and be happy w/it. Sorry but unnecessarily bigger sizes and a better camera is not worth $200+contract renewal.

Comment: The sad history of US nuclear weapons. (Score 4, Informative) 293

by Animats (#47971615) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

It's amazing how bad many nuclear weapons were, and perhaps are. The Hiroshima gun bomb wasn't much better than an IED. If the Enola Gay had crashed, it probably would have gone off. (The crew was under orders not to land with the bomb; if they had to return to base, they were to dump it in deep water.)

For a while after WWII, the US didn't actually have any functional nuclear weapons. This was a major secret at the time. The war designs weren't suited for long-term storage. Nobody wanted another gun bomb, and the first generation electronics for triggering implosion didn't store well. A "GI-proof" line of bombs had to be developed.

The first round of Polaris missile warhead wouldn't have worked. This was learned only after there were SSBNs at sea with functional missiles and dud warheads. That took over a year to fix.

In recent years, there was a period for over a decade when the US had lost the ability to make new fusion bombs. The plant to make some obscure material had been shut down, and the proposed, cheaper replacement didn't work.

There was a tritium shortage for years. The old tritium production reactors were shut down years ago, and no replacement was built. The US is now producing tritium using a TVA power reactor loaded with some special fuel rods. Commercial use of tritium (exit signs and such) is way down from previous decades. (Tritium has a half-life of around 11 years, so tritium light sources do run down.)

The US was the last country with a gaseous-diffusion enrichment plant. The huge WWII-vintage plant at Oak Ridge was finally dismantled a few years ago. There's a centrifuge plant in the US, privately run by URENCO, a European company.

The US had a huge buildup of nuclear capability in the 1950s, and most of the plants date from that era. They're worn out and obsolete.

And that's the stuff we know about. Being a nuclear superpower isn't cheap.

Comment: It has to be really cheap to succeed (Score 1) 48

by Animats (#47966675) Attached to: SkyOrbiter UAVs Could Fly For Years and Provide Global Internet Access

This service has to be really cheap and fast to succeed. Iridium and GlobalStar already offer a satellite-based service. Iridium really does cover the entire planetary surface; GlobalStar has most of the planet, but not the polar areas. So it's all about being price-competitive.

Comment: Re:Your employer (Score 4, Insightful) 175

by garcia (#47965099) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

The IT world is certainly competitive; however, ALL companies should see the internal benefits to training employees and working to ensure they do not leave. Companies with the mindset you laid out above are doing themselves a double disservice by not training their employees and leveraging the benefits and immediate returns provided by investments in their human capital. In some fields and with some resources, professional development is seen as a bigger happiness motivator and retention tool than more salary.

What you have outlined above is a company which is not interested in its people and only its immediate bottom line and one where it's clear its people should move on regardless of payscale and internal short-term opportunity provided.

Comment: Conference Attendance and Funding (Score 2) 175

by garcia (#47965007) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

As someone who has repeatedly attended and presented at conferences in my field, I make it a point during negotiations for any new job to ensure these are funded fully but only if I am presenting; otherwise, I opt to share in the costs associated in attending with my employer.

Each and every company I have worked at in the past (and current) has a budget for training and professional development of its employees, some more than others; however, by making a case that I am giving back to a community of like-minded professionals and putting our name and brand out there during presentations, I have found this is an easy sell for companies for which I want to work.

I work extensively w/SAS and utilize a lot of the conference (SAS Global Forum/SUGI prior) materials in my day to day both for myself and our entire organization. By making it clear to my employers that I want to give back by presenting, I have opened organization's view on how the sharing of information benefits the business while benefiting the entire industry.

Make your determination and desires known when you sign on and, if that is not an option, make it clear to your management that you want to do the same thing. While I have received a variety of different types of pushback over the years for this view, they have all relented and ended up changing their world view when the benefits are presented as they are.

Conferences are not inexpensive (SAS Global Forum is usually around $3000 - $3500 for a single person encompassing travel, conference registration, lodging, meals, etc) but the ROI can be HUGE beyond that depending on the knowledge transfers that occur, the networking opportunities, and the new business development which I have seen from these conferences.

While I did not attend SASGF 2014 this year, it was solely due to my available time to develop a presentation topic, not because my company would not send me (this was my first missed attendance since I became involved in the SAS world) and I look forward to contributing to and learning from others in the future.

Best of luck.

Comment: Not distributed (Score 4, Interesting) 75

by Animats (#47962527) Attached to: Researchers Propose a Revocable Identity-Based Encryption Scheme

I'm not qualified to judge whether it's secure, but it's not distributed. "Each user is provided by PKG with a set of private keys corresponding to his/her identity for each node on the path from his/her associated leaf to the root of the tree via a secure channel as in IBE scheme." So there's a tree of all users, maintained by somebody. I think; the paper suffered in translation.

Measure twice, cut once.

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