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Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 313

by rgmoore (#49634567) Attached to: Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded?

The best explanation I've heard is that the Minix community was pretty much waiting for something like Linux to come along. Minix gave the access to the source code and the ability to write patches, but Andy Tanenbaum didn't accept them. When Linus introduced the Linux kernel, all the frustrated, would-be contributors to Minix were eager to get on board. A lot of their patches could be adapted to Linux with relatively little effort, and that backlog of patches was able to boost Linux from hobby to working kernel really quickly. Linux could do that because it tapped into the right group of contributors, and because Linus was willing to accept patches from them.

Comment: Re:Sort-of-worked. (Score 3, Insightful) 49

by Bruce Perens (#49633129) Attached to: SpaceX Launch Abort Test Successful

What I am getting from the videos is that this test was a success but that there was indeed an engine failure and the system recovered from it successfully by throttling off the opposing engine. There was less Delta-V than expected, max altitude was lower than expected, downrange was lower than expected, and that tumble after trunk jettison and during drogue deploy looked like it would have been uncomfortable for crew.

This is the second time that SpaceX has had an engine failure and recovered from it. They get points for not killing the theoretical crew either time. There will be work to do. It's to be expected, this is rocket science.

It sounds to me like the launch engineers were rattled by the short downrange and the launch director had to rein them in.

Comment: Re:Problem, Reaction, Solution... (Score 1) 181

by circletimessquare (#49631409) Attached to: French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law

there is no intelligent viewpoint to debate

if you see dark conspiracies where simple human nature obviously dominates, you're a fucking nutcase

not a baseless insult. an objective determination

to think the highly highly improbable is more likely than the spankingly obvious and inevitable is just dumb, and unhinged

violent religious nuts exist. violent religious nuts do what they do

panicky mobs exist. panicky mobs do what they do

overreaching bureaucrats exist. overreaching bureaucrats do what they do

this is all inevitable. there is no cabal. to think so, to not see basic human foibles at work and instead dark plots means you're an idiot and mentally deranged

Comment: Re:Problem, Reaction, Solution... (Score 2) 181

by IamTheRealMike (#49630085) Attached to: French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law

You hardly need to be mentally ill to reach this conclusion. Sure, it's not like there's a grand master plan nailed to a wall somewhere. But to conclude governments helped create this situation all you need to do is read about the background of the attackers. Their radicalisation started due to the US invasion of Iraq. When the attackers tried to go to Iraq to fight against the occupation they were arrested and thrown in prison, where they met a radical Islamist.

No war? Probably the chain of events that led to the attack would never have happened. Our governments will continue to be in denial about this because politicians feel they should be able to engage in arbitrary foreign "policy" (i.e. invasions, occupations, picking winners in regional conflicts) without any kind of repercussions or blowback at all. When reality refuses to go along with this notion they claim it's an outrage and the solution is to record more telephone calls.

From the article:

The Buttes-Chaumont group’s jihadi aspirations were directly linked to the second Iraq war in 2003. They would sit in apartments watching footage of the US-led invasion. “Everything I saw on TV, the torture in Abu Ghraib prison, all that, that’s what motivated me,” one of Kouachi’s friends told their trial.

But under Jacques Chirac, France had refused to intervene in the Iraq war and the young cell’s stance wasn’t really a movement against the French state. It was more a rage directed against the US. Some of the group stated that jihad wasn’t done in France. The focal point was fighting a foreign invader in Iraq.

“They were the pioneers of French jihadiism,” said Jacques Follorou, a journalist at Le Monde and author of the book Democracy under Control, the Posthumous Victory of Bin Laden, about security issues

A bit later in the same article ....

Kouachi, who scraped a living delivering for El Primo Pizza on the other side of the ring-road that serves as a moat around Paris, was arrested in January 2005 on his way to catch a flight to Damascus, believed to be ultimately heading for Iraq ..... He got a relatively light prison sentence, three years with 18 months suspended, as there was little hard evidence against him except a plane ticket for Damascus.

After his arrest while trying to fly to Damascus in 2005, Kouachi was on remand in the notorious Fleury-Mérogis prison south of Paris, a super-size decaying concrete mega-jail, which is Europe’s largest prison ..... He added that when the young men were arrested and held on remand before their case in 2008, prison gave them access to a universe never known before. “If the Butte-Chaumonts was an informal school of jihad, prison was the superior diploma.”


One of the prisoners involved in publicising the terrible conditions [in the prison] was Amédy Coulibaly. He was an armed robber on his third sentence, this time for robbery, receiving stolen goods and using false number plates. Coulibaly met Kouachi inside the prison and they became close during seven months on the same wing – prisoners from similar backgrounds and affinity were kept together on the same blocks, which allowed them to convene. Less than a decade later, Coulibaly joined the Kouachis in last week’s terrorist attacks .... In prison together, Kouachi and Coulibaly found not only friendship but a mentor who radicalised them

Comment: Re:Not law yet (Score 1) 181

by IamTheRealMike (#49629929) Attached to: French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law

I also use Gandi but only for DNS. As far as I can tell there's not much useful that intelligence agencies could do with that, except get IPs of ISP resolvers that are looking up the names. So I will probably leave things be for now. But I wouldn't buy any other more critical services from them. Shame - seems like a good company.

Comment: Re:the rigamarole is political, not diplomatic (Score 5, Informative) 160

by IamTheRealMike (#49629885) Attached to: Extreme Secrecy Eroding Support For Trans-Pacific Partnership

Yep. These things don't seem to be as complex as you'd imagine.

When the Doha round failed at the WTO, lots of trade negotiators gave up. They thought it was hopeless. Eventually they narrowed the scope dramatically and produced a new deal (the Bali round) on reducing red tape imposed on importers/exporters. It was one of those "negotiators up until early hours of the morning, multi-day cramfest" kind of things. So I figured it'd be some horribly complex document I'd need years of legal training to understand.

Lol, nope. The agreement is here. The requirements are unbelievably trivial. Some of the things agreed to are, for instance, that import rules should be available on the internet, and if they change whilst a ship is sailing, the rules at the time of departure apply not the time of arrival. Other rules specify that when governments make decisions they should actually be issued in writing, and ports should do customs inspections on perishable goods before non-perishable.

The mind-numbing obviousness of what was agreed is sad. Reading it is quite depressing as it makes you realise how hopelessly inept and corrupt some countries must be.

Apparently one of the reasons the Doha round failed was an inability to agree on what units to use when weighing things. I mean seriously, wtf?

These things don't seem to justify the elaborate theatre that goes into them.

Comment: Re:What has been leaked is not encouraging either (Score 0) 160

by IamTheRealMike (#49629753) Attached to: Extreme Secrecy Eroding Support For Trans-Pacific Partnership

Yes. It has to be this way. Otherwise investor-state dispute settlement is meaningless.

ISDS gets a bad rap. Let's review why it's there. In the best case, governments are elected by local citizens. In the worst case they're just totalitarian dictatorships who stick around until they get overthrown in a revolution. In both cases, governments still care more about their local people than foreigners, who typically have no power at all.

In a world that gets ever more connected and in which peopl rely on "foreigners" ever more, this can cause big problems. Governments are strongly incentivised to be nice to foreigners until they're invested deeply enough in a country that they can't easily get out, and then start whacking them / exploiting them / taxing the bejeezus out of them / generally changing the rules of the game after it's started and screwing them over. For example, what stops a government just seizing a foreign companies factories and then selling it to a local competitor? Well, nothing. What incentivises them to do that? Money. Power. Lots of things, really. That company will slowly pull out of the country and other companies would be put off from investing in the first place, but that's a slow and largely invisible process that local citizens won't notice. On the other hand beating up foreigners and claiming they're yukky and inferior is always a good way to score political points.

There's a nice idea floating around that governments and regulators are never unfair and only ever act against companies that deserve it. Only people who have never watched the regulatory process in action would really believe this, but even if you do, consider that many countries are not as saintly as your own. Arbitrary confiscation of assets is a real problem in large parts of the world. There's always some nice sounding excuse, of course - the dirty foreigners weren't up to our exacting local standards, or they were playing the system, or whatever. Sometimes the complaint may be legitimate, but sometimes it's just opportunism.

Regardless, the end result is the same: less foreign investment, which is another way of saying, less international collaboration on complex projects. We like international collaboration, don't we? Integrated economies are less likely to declare war on each other. We like the advanced technology it enables, like smartphones with components from dozens of countries around the world. We like the wealth it generates.

So .... ISDS. The idea is simple. Governments are free to change the rules of the game after it's started in any arbitrary or unfair way they like. They can continue to treat foreign companies as disposable assets. But .... they have to pay for it. If a company starts on a 4-year factory construction project with a 10 year payoff horizon, and after two years the local government decides that a new 95% tax should be applied to that precise industry whereas before there was none, then this is confiscation of assets and under the treaty, the state has to compensate the investor. This should (in theory) radically reduce the risk of foreign investment by smoothing out unpredictable business environments, and thus lead to more investment/collaboration.

If ISDS didn't at least try to include potential future earnings then it'd be much less effective, because the risk would still be very large. If the factory was nationalised and the business was relying on it as part of its business plan, then it'd potentially get a chunk of money for the physical assets but now it's got to start all over again and is four years behind its competitors, potentially fatally wounding it.

ISDS has plenty of downsides as well. Notably, that local citizens rather like being able to tax and seize stuff from foreigners - it looks a lot like free money which is a short term pleasure hit, whereas the long term rot of becoming an unattractive place to do business is much harder to reason about. So ISDS is always a rather hard sell in democracies, for similar reasons as political fixes to climate change are ...

Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 5, Interesting) 470

by IamTheRealMike (#49629603) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

Health care is socialism, even in the USA, so pussyfooting around and pretending it's not just gets you the worst of all worlds.

It's inherently the case that medical care is socialist because in any civilised society, the idea that someone dies of a preventable illness just because they're poor is unacceptable. Wealth comes and goes, illness is random. Even rich people would not accept stepping over bodies of people who just dropped dead in the street because they couldn't get basic medical care. Even rich people would not accept their child being infected with TB because they happened to wander into a ghetto of poor people where disease was rampant, and even rich people do not accept the idea that if in a couple of decades when their awesome corporation has been outcompeted in the market, bought by a competitor and they were then fired, that they might be left to rot at home, being eaten by a treatable cancer.

The moment a society accepts that someone who turns up at ER with an injury gets treated even if they can't afford it, that country has accepted a socialist idea. America has accepted that idea, which is why hospitals have to provide emergency care to even uninsured people and they pay for it by effectively taxing people who need other kinds of work. At that point you don't have a free market any more - free markets are not defined by customers who cannot negotiate and governments that step in to pay whatever price is demanded at the last second. So you might as well go all-in and just get it over with.

People often argue that this would result in no accountability and the like, but the example of the UK seems to show otherwise. The NHS (national health service) is always a huge factor in elections. Politicians fight over who is best for the NHS constantly. In America politicians try and motivate voters by painting their opposition as weak on the war on terror. In the UK they motivate voters by claiming the opposition is engaged in a war on the NHS. Yes, the accountability is very top down and hardly local - it's a flawed system in many ways. But at least the UK calls a spade a spade.

The usual arguments as to why

Comment: Re:Problem, Reaction, Solution... (Score 1) 181

by circletimessquare (#49628245) Attached to: French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law

look, i think this law sucks, but you are paranoid schizophrenic if you think the authorities generated the attack, and generated the outrage

1.violent religious wackjobs are real

2. panicky hysterical mob fear is real

3. overreaching overcontrolling bureaucrats are real

no one designed all those steps, they all actually happened organically, 1, 2, 3

this is all a tragedy of human nature, not some plot by a cabal

and thus we have organic natural step 4: "HERP DERP it's all a secret plot!" says the paranoid nutcases

and someone modded you up to 3?

fucking mentally unhinged losers

it must be a plot behind closed doors! /s

Comment: Re:for anyone who doesn't see anything wrong here: (Score 1) 223

that's called taxes, moron, which all people are required to pay to society to keep it running

you can disagree with how your money is spent, that's fine. then vote for someone who will spend it in another way. but you don't get to make up on your own how much you owe according to your dimwitted uneducated "ideas"

money doesn't magically get in your bank account, dependent only on you, as if you live in an island. in fact, money is nothing more than an abstract value of human society itself. money only exists in the context of a human society, and is directly valuable in reflection of how well run that society is. money for broken down societies where no one pays taxes is worthless, inflation ridden junk. by your thinking, that's what you want your money to be: junk. can you eat your money in an isolated cabin in the woods where you never go to town? but you want to keep your money for yourself, and not give a portion to keep the society running in which your money actually means anything. this is simply revealing how fucking stupid you are about this topic

luckily, no one sane is going to let a stupid douchebag like yourself or the other puerile crackptos like you prevail on this notion, because we like being rich, and we don't morons like yourself making us poor

again, remedial education: your income depends upon a well functioning society. if no one maintains that society, your income shrinks, along with everyone else's. therefore, you must contribute in order to keep society functioning. understand loser?

and, indeed, if you're too stupid or selfish to understand this basic fact of your existence, then yes, men with guns should be sent to take from you what you owe, you freeloading asshole. and if you shoot back, drop your ignorant useless ass dead, please, and liquidate what you own to pay what you owe, the world a better place with one less stupid freeloading loser

Comment: Re:Educational software (Score 1) 223

the base assumption is that we are dealing with human beings, not factory specifications

there is no civil disagreement between two valid opinions here, there is acceptance of the obvious on my part and a quasireligious blindly exuberant faith in technology on your part that is ruinously insane

let us hope you or anyone who thinks like you never gets near a classroom. those poor kids

everyone is entitled to their own beliefs but no one is entitled to their own facts. you can not educate a human being from an AI which at best is limited to whatever crude specs you fill it in with, in whatever limited timeframe and context, it can never make up for the complex interplay and social feedback of a real human being in the moment

i have no respect for you and your position as a respectful disagreement depends upon both parties acknowledging basic facts and reality beforehand, which you do not

at best, you need a remedial education, ironically, on the basics of human social interaction and information transmission before it can be said you have a respectable, informed opinion on the subject matter

adios, starry eyed cotton candy head futurist

stick to science fiction fantasy please

you're a harmless nutjob at best, and damaging to children's development at worst

Comment: Re:Educational software (Score 1) 223

we should adopt the finnish model, they have one of the best if the not the best education system in the world

and your denigration of the prussian model is correct, but your lesson form that is counterintuitive. i'm certain the zeal for the mass production successes of the 1800s informed its development in ways that should not be celebrated... so your conclusion is we should pursue automation and remove the teacher from decision making even more? i'm not sure you have thought that out completely

we should never depend on algorithms to analyze and proscribe any model of learning for any student. it is absolutely impossible for such an algorithm to do a better job than a moderately involved, competent teacher, who should be the only one involved in any decision making in any capacity for any student. technology is wonderful as a supplementary tool in many ways, but it must be a teacher behind the what, when, where of how that is invoked

i cannot understand someone who thinks an algorithm, any algorithm, can do better than a decent teacher in a classroom. such a belief defies reason and only tells us about your unbridled technophilia. you really need to rethink what avenues of society are and aren't applicable for improvement by automation and technology

i can think of one parallel that is instructive here: compstat form the 1980s and 1990s that saw the USA break the back of an intense crack ridden crime wave


but the technology was only used to improve reporting and tracking

it was more of management philosophy change than a technology overhaul that, in parallel to what you are proposing, moved computers at the heart of decision making in police work

that's kind of insane actually

it was still cop grunts that had to fight crime with blood and sweat, and police brass that made decisions

no one, outside of a dystopian robocop fantasy movie, would have suggested that an actual computer make decisions about crime fighting. in fact, you should watch that movie as a good lesson about blindly optimistic technophilia and how simple human corporate greed and shortsightedness makes a mockery of that

i'm sorry but it really is just plain insane that you assert AI should drive the classroom. it might make a good science fiction premise. a miserable, depressing, maddening science fiction premise

write a dystopian fantasy book. don't fuck with kids heads to prove something to yourself that you need to learn the hard way, not them. please

If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders. -- Hal Abelson