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Comment: Re:"Sagging Productivity" Explained (Score 2) 131

At the beginning of every downturn in the economy, the companies make do with fewer employees by either not filling open positions or by laying people off. So the productivity goes higher since measurable-output/employee = productivity and measurable-output takes awhile to be impacted by the loss of the employees. We say that changes to the measurable-output lag behind changes in the number of employees. This is partially because other employees, who know their current job well, put in extra effort to do the job of the missing employees. Eventually, the employees doing 2 jobs reach burn out or find another job and leave the company. At that point, the measurable-output drops dramatically resulting in a corresponding drop in productivity. The company then hires two people to replace the employee they lost who was doing the two jobs resulting another large drop in productivity. I am not an economist, but I don't think productivity is a very useful indicator.

Productivity may also drop when you hire two new college graduates or two H1B visa employees instead of one older experienced programmer.

Comment: Re:A Sympton of the Problem (Score 1) 310

by drcesteffen (#49530907) Attached to: Futures Trader Arrested For Causing 2010 'Flash Crash'
As I understand the HFT (High Frequency Trading) (Flash Boys book) often saw an order on one exchange and beat the order to other exchanges that were needed to fill the order thus driving up prices. Liquidity is fine but not at the expense of something similar to "front running". Each exchange should list the number of shares they can fill. Purchase orders should be made for fewer shares than the number they can fill rather than relying on the exchange to fill the order from other exchanges. The person making the order should place orders at several exchanges so the arrival time of the orders is simultaneous. So the exchanges should allow pinging to determine the arrival time. Of course, this has to be over a dedicated line as the internet can send packets by different routes.

This case seems to be about someone purchasing options to manipulate the stock price. So if a source creates a lot of orders which are never executed, why does it affect the price at all? It seems the market does not rate the credibility of the orders that are posted. If someone buys an option to purchase at some time in the future at some price but has a history of cancelling 99% of the their options, why would the market give any credibility and consequently a corresponding price change in response to the purchase of the option? The new or unknown people should have limits on the value of the orders until their credibility is determined at that level of order. So they would have to work their way up a tiered system to affect the market. The higher the value of the order the higher the impact on their credibility. All options are not equally credible.

Comment: Re:Are you patenting software? (Score 1) 224

by drcesteffen (#48159759) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?
"Those patents disclose algorithms. Basically, applied math. Which should have never, ever been allowed as claims in a patent since they are antithetical to the compromise between the inventor's and society's benefit the patent system was designed to facilitate."

False, algorithms are not math. Math refers to proofs of the basic relationships of mathematical constructs. Algorithms are original procedures to do a certain thing. I believe the patent office allows patents on algorithms since there is more than one algorithm to accomplish the same thing and it does not prevent anyone from doing a proof. It also promotes the development of better algorithms which is what the patent system is for.

"So, yes, they are pretty much what one would call "software patents"."

False, algorithms are not what one would call "software patents". Software patents refer to patents on software/business practices which consist of unoriginal procedures to do common things such as "putting products in a shopping cart".

"That being said, under no circumstances would I recommend a client to hire you if I caught wind that you owned patents applicable to the field in which you would be working. That simply screams "conflict of interest", "subsequent lawsuit", and "humongous liability.""

One can normalize the perceived "conflict of interest". Before becoming employed by a company, start your own company (LLC or small corporation) and assign the patents to your company. You will own your company and your company will own the patents. You will not be able to give away, sell, or license the patents unless you sign as CEO of your company or sell them ownership of your company. A company is an entity independent of you even though you own it. No company should complain about this as you probably own stock in many corporations which hold intellectual property and they know they must deal with the company if they want access to the intellectual property. I am not sure how they will like having you be an employee of their company and the maintaining CEO of your own company but you can separate "newly generated intellectual property" from "intellectual property related to supporting the application of patents by your company".

Comment: Re:Tenure-hunting discourages risk (Score 1) 203

by drcesteffen (#47852811) Attached to: Is There a Creativity Deficit In Science?
I think the correct question is "Is prior-to-publishing peer review necessary?". Something like arxiv could publish everything and then scientists and/or engineers could have logins with their real names and qualifications under which they could read and review the papers after they are published. A person could search for papers using various filters. (ie. unreviewed, reviewed by individual, reviewed by 10 people with these credentials, reviewed and notation of prior publishment or related articles, notation of articles contradicting the results, retracted etc . . .) Then a person could quantify the quality and quantity of the review and better guage the quality of the work. Also, if a researcher was giving false reviews to "game" the system, all of their reviews could be deleted from the system in short order. If someone was rediscovering or redoing the work of lesser known people who published first, then the lesser know person could note the prior publishment in their work. Also, one could get a timeline tree of the development of work in the area. So everyone gets published in a peer reviewed journal. There would be no peer-review-induced delay in publication. The level of peer review quantity and quality is quantifiable. Gaming the system could be detected and removed. Work would no longer be presented as standalone as future papers contradicting the work could be linked to it. Tenure committees would have a more refined tool than mere quantity as a person could note who was reading their work to indicate its importance.

Comment: Is Brand name recognition important to your compan (Score 1) 185

by drcesteffen (#45756771) Attached to: 90 Percent of Businesses Say IP Is "Not Important"
Rather than ask if Intellectual Property is important. Is brand name recognition important to your business? Is marketing important to your business? Are brand names important to you as a customer? When you work, is it important for you to get paid? Is your company name important for your business? Should a company be paid more for higher quality products? Should a company be paid more for innovative products? Should a competing company be allowed to reverse engineer your product and market the exact same thing at the cost of manufacturing until you go out of business?

Comment: Re:trig (Score 1) 656

by drcesteffen (#43908557) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree?
Information for information works as well as money. Thanks for the iterative CORDIC algorithm information and clarifying reformulating the problem to not use trig was an option. I was using an Intel 386 processor, and I may have purchased a coprocessor, but I don't recall for sure. If I did, my measurement may be of the coprocessor time rather than the algorithm. I am also not sure if I compiled with coprocessor support or not. Thanks for pointing out my possible error. The method in the tan() implementation was to use Chebyshev polynomials (See to make the Taylor's series converge faster (See It required some rescaling as well. First, find the Taylor's series of the tan(x) function to the number of terms needed and then choose the Chebyshev polynomials T_i(x) with values smaller than the approximation accuracy you need. Use the largest T_i(x) first since T_(n+1)(x) T_n(x).. Solve for the highest power of "x" and use it to eliminate the power of "x" in the Taylors series. You may have to add up the errors of each Chebyshev polynomial you use. For instance, T_4(x) = 8x^4 -8x^2 + 1 so x^4 = (1/8) * (T_4(x) + 8 x^2 - 1). Use x^4 = 8 x^2 - 1/8 to eliminate x^4. This reduces the number of multiplies and additions needed for the evaluation of the Taylors series to a certain approximation. I did also see a case where someone used fractional powers of "x" to possibly reduce the complexity still further. I am recalling this from memory so a I may have got a few details wrong. One of the 3 books that mentioned this method was a Math book by Korn and Korn. There is a Dover edition.

Comment: Re:trig (Score 1) 656

by drcesteffen (#43879817) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree?
Back in the late 80's/ early 90's, I considered using a lookup table for some trig calculations. The first thing I did was check the computation time for a "multiply" and for a tan() calculation in a loop dividing by the number of iterations. I was supprised to find the cost of a tan() computation was only the cost of 8 multiplies. I am curious as to how you are beating this using vector math. Are you are using normalized 3 vectors and the dot and cross products to compute sine and cosine? And maybe sin(x) = sqrt( 1 - cos(x) * cos(x)). While I was using closed source code, a friend had access to the open source implementation of tan() and printed it out for me. They might have been different. I might still have it. It was an interesting technique. I eventually found a book that described it. I believe I still have the book. How much would you pay for the information? I like people who don't like math, they pay well!

Comment: Re:Is it necessary the vien come from a dead human (Score 2) 169

by drcesteffen (#40331099) Attached to: Vein Grown From Her Own Stem Cells Saves 10-Year-Old
A year and a half ago I watched a public television show which documented the creation of compatible organs. They stripped an incompatible mouse heart of all but the scaffold which was translucent and then seeded it with stem sells from the mouse they wanted to transplant it into. The cells grew into heart cells and the heart started beating in the lab environment. When transplanted into the mouse it worked fine. They suggested that the same thing could be done with pigs hearts to make them compatible with humans as the scaffold was not what the immune system of the body attacked. Not sure if this has already been done. They also used an inkjet head on a 3D printer to print a mouse heart of the scaffold material, seeded it with stem cells, and it started beating in the lab environment. As I recall, they had also done the similar things with lungs, kidneys, and other body parts. This was the show. "Replacing Body Parts" Aired January 26, 2011 on PBS Transcript on the website.

Comment: Re:Not all Patents are the Same (Score 1) 577

"Public domain" means any company can produce it and market it anywhere in the world. So, it would not be revenue neutral for the government unless the "Free Trade" treaties are abolished. "Public Domain" should maybe be split into "Public can produce it in the country that funded the invention" and true Public Domain. Taking away the 20 year patent is the same as stealing from small companies and individuals and giving the benefits to the large corporations. A 5 year limit on patents would make it impossible for small companies and individuals to get funding from banks to produce the product they invented. It would also reduce the incentive for a large corporation to purchase the patent at anything like the development cost as they can wait it out. All small companies would have to forget about research and focus innovation on manufacturing, marketing, and distribution.

Comment: Re:Linuxcnc + RTAI (Score 1) 65

by drcesteffen (#39514257) Attached to: Needed: A LAMP Stack For Robotics
OpenRave has an open source IKS solver which is supposed to create optimized C or C++ code for the IKS. Of course you can get the IKS solutions for most common manipulators from text books.

Comment: Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (Score 1) 617

by drcesteffen (#39094709) Attached to: 300k Organic Farmers To Sue Monsanto For Seed Patent Claims
The 300 farmers should start a company which hires a biotech firm to put a patentable marker modification into their seed. Then, if it gets into their neighbors fields or into the fields Monsanto uses to grow its seeds, they use their company to sue Monsanto and their neighbors for patent infringement. They could also have Monsanto recall all of its seed.

Comment: Re:So just like the old Sears crap? (Score 1) 532

by drcesteffen (#38877957) Attached to: Retail Chains To Strike Back Against Online Vendors
Also, the comparison blogs are less likely to have evaluated the particular part number in the store resulting in reduced sales. When I shopped for a camera, I looked at the physical stores, which only had limited comparison information on the display cards. I also looked online at and other comparison sites. The blog was a big help in narrowing down the options to the camera I wanted. In the end, Target and Office Max did not carry the camera I wanted. I could have bought it cheaper online but went to Best Buy to get it sooner. The moral of the story is that the online blogs were more of a showroom for the product than the physical stores.

Comment: Re:How much is a political bribe in Canadian dolla (Score 1) 171

by drcesteffen (#38820965) Attached to: The Behind-the-Scenes Campaign To Bring SOPA To Canada
You might try suggesting something like the following: If your motivation in the SOPA/PIPA legislation was to stem the tide of counterfeit goods by blocking the marketing of suspected counterfeit goods on the internet and the ability to order the suspected counterfeit goods via the internet, then I would like to suggest an alternative. In my view, preventing traffic in counterfeit goods is primarily a smuggling prevention problem. Assumptions: 1. It may be legal in some countries to make counterfeits of materials/works which are protected by copyright in other countries. 2. It is still illegal to smuggle the counterfeit works into the country where it is protected by copyright or other intellectual property laws. 3. U.S. Customs and Border Protection ( has the task of regulating the flow of goods across the border. 4. The ports or entry which include internet-pipes-entering-the-country, airports, sea ports, and the border roads intersecting the border, are the natural place o interdict products ordered or smuggled via the internet. 5. Some items are for profit some are not for profit. 6. Some items are delivered over the internet others are not delivered over the internet. The copyright holder could give a vendor a unique digitally signed certificate for each copy of a electronic song or book for which a royalty had been paid. The U.S. Customs would provide one of the keys for the signature and the copyright holder would provide the other key. When a sale occurred over the internet and before the download could occur, it would have to pass U.S. Customs. To pass U.S. Customs the vendor would have to provide evidence (The certificate from the copyright holder.) that the royalties for the copy of the electronic song or book had been paid. The copyright holder would have to let U.S. Customs know when the certificates were issued or the U.S. Customs would have to verify the certificate with the copyright holders website as listed in the certificate. U.S. Customs and Border control could test vendors sites by placing an order and verifying the certificates. If the vendor did not supply the certificates the U.S. Customs would then have to notify the website/company that their products were held up in customs and post a banner across the internal-to-the-U.S. website stating that the website is not compliant with U.S. Customs and shipping of the product may be held up in customs pending proof of compliance with U.S. intellectual property laws. Possibly, new orders from within the U.S. could be disabled. Possibly, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer starting with https) sites related to the ordering of products could be blocked. Since purchasers don't want to send unencrypted credit card information over the internet, this would block new orders. Alternatively, once the banner is there, state that future orders through the website may make the buyer/downloader subject to payment of the royalties to the copyright holder. Perhaps, require that the buyer purchase the royalty certificate from the copyright holder independently of the download/purchase from the vendor. Perhaps hold up the credit card transactions at the border pending proof of intellectual property law compliance. Similarly, the production and sale of drugs would require signed certificates of production and testing from the approved factory and labs, which tested the products, to be allowed entry into the U.S. I would also ban the practice of rebranding without verification of the product quality via an independent lab. I believe that newspaper marketing, magazine marketing, radio marketing, TV marketing, and physical stores are not required to verify the accuracy of statements in their advertisements. Why should the internet marketers have to do so? Often times, the internet marketers are intermediaries or resellers of used goods and may not have the ability to verify everything either. I believe it is important to not block sites dedicated to free speech and to focus the legislation solely on the smuggling of items affecting commerce. I also do not believe immunity from prosecution should be given to any commercial entity for blocking the access to the market of another commercial entity. There is a conflict of interest.

The other line moves faster.