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Comment: Re:what about (Score 1) 72

by devnullkac (#48154745) Attached to: Designing Tomorrow's Air Traffic Control Systems

They do have redundant backups: enough spare capacity exists in the other centers to carry the load the Chicago center dropped. Switchover to operations at alternate facilities was accomplished (and reversed) without incident. Yes, it took some time and there were substantial flight delays, but this is a once-in-a-great-while type of failure.

Or are you talking about backups so expansive that in the event of a problem, no one need ever know anything ever happened, whether we're talking about the failure of a single chip or the destruction of an entire facility? I agree it could be done, but at what cost? As a taxpayer and occasional traveler, I'm satisfied with the level of redundancy they have now.

Comment: Retaliation (Score 1) 188

by devnullkac (#44085297) Attached to: The Return of Surveillance Camera Man

A lot of the retaliation by his, er, subjects is physical and likely an illegal escalation. I think a simpler response is to produce a mirror or better yet a camera-disabling laser pointer. But then, he holds the power of edit, so any truly effective responses won't make it into the videos. There's a lot of creative people in Seattle, and I'd like to see those "outtakes" which didn't produce the effect he was going for.

Comment: Relevant? (Score 1) 419

When a number comes out of that lock box, it's just a phone number ... If they think that's relevant to their counterterrorism investigation, they give that to the FBI. ... the FBI has to go out and meet all the legal standards to even get whose phone number that is...

I do not understand how he can tout the uselessness of the number that pops out of the "lock box" and then gloss over how its relevance can be determined before the FBI seeks to learn anything more about it.

Comment: Fog Of War (Score 4, Interesting) 317

by devnullkac (#43919841) Attached to: Israeli Army Retweeting 1967 War As It Happened

It would be most interesting if the tweeting team managed to dig deep enough into the historical documents to recreate the fog of war that blankets all such events, announcing and then retracting as reports arrived at HQ (or whatever).

Full realism would be uninteresting since no real HQ would tweet everything it thought it knew at the moment it knew it. But then, perhaps using declassified documents, we could recreate what it would be like to work at the top levels of a Twitter-based government with Top Secret initial and revised reports and guesses bouncing around, seeing how little time people really had to make decisions that put thousands or millions of lives at risk.

Comment: Accuracy and Precision (Score 4, Informative) 328

by devnullkac (#43886183) Attached to: Most precise measuring tool I've used ...

Not to put too fine a point on it, but precision and accuracy are not the same thing. They are complementary ideas, to be sure, but they should not be confused: <pedantic probable-correctness="75%">precision indicates how close the measurement is to other measurements of the same phenomenon by the same instrument, while accuracy indicates how close the measurement is to the actual value</pedantic>.

Comment: Back it up (Score 1) 221

by devnullkac (#42957961) Attached to: Planetary Resources To 'Claim' Asteroids With Beacons

Absent international treaty or a national law (assuming their competition can be assailed in the court system), anyone with a plan like this will be forced to defend their claims the old fashioned way: by force. Will the beacons have probe-disabling lasers on board? The article doesn't say. But my guess is that the cost of getting a defense system on the rock is the same as the cost of getting mining equipment on it.

A better defense plan is to scan 10 times as many rocks as you normally would and leave beacons on all of them. Then develop either stealthy or very fast mining tech for phase 2.

Comment: Sick (Score 1) 321

by devnullkac (#42128011) Attached to: Virus Eats School District's Homework

You can't just put "[sic]" next to any random string of characters and expect the reader to understand. What the hell is "whiel boosting creativity" supposed to mean, anyway? Maybe I'm slow this morning, but it took me 5 minutes to see the "while". Brackets can help readers stay engaged [and] informed [while] improving understanding, but this time they failed us.

Comment: Misleading Headline: Rates not Scores (Score 5, Informative) 622

by devnullkac (#41968979) Attached to: With NCLB Waiver, Virginia Sorts Kids' Scores By Race

The headline is misleading. The actual pass/fail line for each student is unchanged. The state is changing what it considers an acceptable aggregate rate of passing for groups of students, choosing race as the criterion for grouping. The stated rationale is that students of different races have different starting points, so it makes sense to seek different final achievement levels. But even if you accept that approach, it seems lazy to use race as a surrogate for academic starting point.

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence. -- Jeremy S. Anderson