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Comment: Re:Good news for a change. (Score 1) 51

by diamondmagic (#48016525) Attached to: Kano Ships 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits

Failed projects are unusual enough that that's why they make the news. Do you have some data to the contrary you'd like to share?

Contributor to three successful and delivered Kickstarter projects speaking (one late by a year, but for an awesome reason), and backer to another handful, all delivered or on schedule (so they tell me).

Comment: Re:Can anyone explain? (Score 4, Informative) 317

The vulnerability is that a string that looks like a function definition can be constructed to be immediately executed prior to execution of the bash script. (This is to support truly ancient bash scripts back when functions were defined as VARIABLE()="() { body }".) However, a bug in that code means the entire value gets executed as a bash script, and so it's possible to append code to the function definition, and it'll get executed as bash code.

Essentially, it's lesson #1 why not to use eval() in your programs.

The danger is that user inputs in Web programs are frequently passed as environment variables to programs. This is especially true in CGI, where the request URI and HTTP headers are passed as environment variables.

This means if you use bash in your CGI, you can execute whatever command you like, as "apache" or whoever you're executing your CGI as. Remotely.

Comment: Re:Cheap food kills (Score 1) 308

You can't say that because we're assuming ceteris paribus and we've already defined our control as the productivity of food on a given plot of land.

Our food production per plot of land has gone up; or, our required size of land to produce the same amount of food has gone down.

We can't say for sure if one person's profits will go up or down, at least not without additional information about the particularities and price elasticity stats of the market, because both their costs and their revenue have changed. But markets change all the time, people (and farmers especially) know they have to change produce from time to time, depending on what's profitable. Overall, though, lower costs are a good thing. Always. That's exactly what's happening here.

Societies where most people are in agriculture tend to be societies where most people are poor, and this is a causal effect: Their costs are so high for farming they can't afford to have industry elsewhere. Reducing costs means fewer people have to be in agriculture, and this is good.

This isn't even a feedback loop, although sometimes people will make a similar argument around other phenomenon assuming all feedback loops must be a positive feedback loop that never decays, incorrectly reaching the conclusion the economy will eventually collapse. (E.g. "Prices went up, therefore the cost of producing/refining oil/gas will go up, therefore the cost of producing many products will go up, until all products cost infinity!")

Comment: Re:The Global Food Crisis is not a science problem (Score 1) 308

If you have literally nothing to spend, then your elasticity of demand is undefined. It's a division by zero error.

However in general, the law of diminishing marginal utility necessarily implies that as your income shrinks, your elasticity of demand becomes perfectly elastic (i.e. -infinity).

Comment: Re:The Global Food Crisis is not a science problem (Score 1) 308

Let's backtrack to Econ 101: This is a change in supply, i.e. a movement of the supply curve on a plot of supply and demand, specifically, a movement to the right.

This causes the market price of the good (food, here) to fall.

It's possible to do quite a lot of things that we don't do, the question the economist faces is at what cost?

The demand curve for food by most people in the middle class and above is somewhat inelastic. I think it's fair to say the extra food production, to the extent there is any, is going to make for fewer hungry people, whose lower income makes their spending on food more elastic.

Comment: Stanford says it's an "internal policy" (Score 3, Interesting) 54

by diamondmagic (#47986087) Attached to: Stanford Promises Not To Use Google Money For Privacy Research

Stanford says it's an "internal policy":

All donors to the Center--and to Stanford more generally--agree to give their funds as unrestricted gifts, for which there is no contractual agreement and no promised products, results, or deliverables.

But this makes absolutely no sense. If all money goes into a general fund, there's no distinguishing "whose" money it is, it's Stanford's money.

Comment: Re:UX researcher, weighing in: show me the studies (Score 1) 395

by diamondmagic (#47981963) Attached to: Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

UX is about more than just UI.

Most of the "weighing in" so far is about, among other things, not screwing over your customers with a bloated sysadmin nightmare of an init program. The closest you're going to get to a study is The Art of Unix Programming .

Comment: Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (Score 1) 981

by diamondmagic (#47942021) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

The metric you're looking for, and the only meaningful one for your point, is called Real GDP Per Capita. And it's up. Subcatagories of durable goods are also up. Up in real terms, per capita.

If you want to say we would be manufacturing more if not due to bad economic policy, fine. I agree.

But don't spread this nonsense that is technically the same thing as saying we're in a recession.

Comment: Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (Score 2) 981

by diamondmagic (#47932663) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

GDP measures the growth of the economy as a whole, over time, within a particular geographical area.

If you say that share of GDP of a certain industry to nationwide GDP has changed from 28% to 12%, but overall GDP grew 600% (or whatever), then mathematically, said industry grew -- it wasn't #1 in growth, but it still grew.

Nor does manufacturing need to be #1. The service sector can grow without sucking up other industry's resources, so naturally the GDP-share of other industry is going to shrink.

These are well-defined terms in economics. You're just being obtuse.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.