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Comment: I doubt it (Score 2) 265

by Ckwop (#48143283) Attached to: Confidence Shaken In Open Source Security Idealism

I'd be surprised if a random member of the public could even define what free software is. They'd probably think it's connected to the cost of the software rather than its freedom giving properties.

That said, I think that the view that with enough eyes all bugs are shallow is false. Given that bash is used in millions and millions of servers and the bug took decades to root out, we must think of a better way to get eyes on the code.

The whole stack needs a line by line review by security experts. That will cost tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars but my view is that it's probably worth it. Then we have to make sure all changes get reviewed in the same way.

The result of this process would be a super-hardened version of OpenBSD. It would come with a nice fat government certification and if you want to do business with the government, you have to use that distro.

That might rub people up the wrong way but I think that's what's ultimately going to happen eventually. A lot of this infrastructure is so critical to the modern economy that we can't just run any old code anymore.

Comment: Actual Reality (Score 1) 136

by tjstork (#47822225) Attached to: Out of the Warehouse: Climate Researchers Rescue Long-Lost Satellite Images

Well, you have a few stumbling blocks:

a) While the mechanism for AGW is pretty obvious and indisputable, the actual predicted value of climate models has been lacking. That's just a fact. They are getting better, and they will get better, but it is fact that they are inaccurate today.

b) The private sector is already pricing risk due to climate change into models for various natural disasters. Right now this is just best guess based on the models, but as the models improve, so will the risk models based on them. So, the "cost" of climate is something the market is working towards deciding. Until that actual cost is well known and understood by all parties, it will be politically impossible for anyone with any degree of skepticism towards the government in general to agree to let government decide what that price should be.

c) Since, the price of doing nothing is not even agreed to yet, it follows that any mitigate response must be viewed with suspicion, because, you can't compare the cost of action with the unknown cost of damages. A tell tale sign that there is a perceptual agreement on this issue by everyone, purported denier, and believer, is that, most believers remain anti-nuclear power, and I've seen little evidence this administration has even considered increasing research into nuclear fusion.

d) If the climate is always changing, it doesn't matter in the minds of some, if man is changing it or not, when something else will change it just as well.

So, the actual dollars and cents reality is that the proponents of climate change reform are asking everyone to make some rather radical changes in their life, to let there be new winners and new losers, when it is not at all understood how much the winners will win and the losers will lose, if we choose to do nothing but let fossil fuels exhaust themselves or deal with doomsday when it happens. Sure, there's denialism, but by casting opponents of your point of view into that camp, all you've done is basically positioned yourself as someone who is advancing a political agenda with climate change as its mask, rather than fixing any problems of climate change itself.

Comment: Re:Straight to the pointless debate (Score 2) 136

by tjstork (#47822189) Attached to: Out of the Warehouse: Climate Researchers Rescue Long-Lost Satellite Images

There is nothing particularly unusual about our local weather station's story which hasn't been repeated in most cities around the world. So it is not surprising that noisy long term time series need to be cleaned up before being fed into sensitive predictive models. It would be dishonest not to if you know there was a change in the sampling history which required it.

But at that point, aren't you really basically just making it up? Granted, even satellite temperature sensors drift, but it seems that the real long term answer here is to just accept that the historical data is going back in time, and we're really just "guessing" at previous climate, as we simply didn't have the foresight to measure it correctly for the way we want to use it.

Comment: Re:Property rights (Score 1) 215

by tjstork (#47804059) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Delivery Drones

There's actually an international treaty that prohibits countries from claiming property rights on celestial bodies due to their being in space. By signing that treaty, countries agreed that the property of space effectively belongs to the United Nations or whatever treaty body controls claims for it. But yes, suing for space is ridiculous, but, is noise pollution for airlines flying above your house as ridiculous? What about drones flying 500 feet overhead, or even 100 feet? I think as a property owner you should be compensated for that. It's your land, and you are entitled to "some" of the airspace above it, and I wouldn't be so quick to just hand that value of that away to another corporation to make money off of. I mean, would you let someone set up shop and frack in your back yard? What's really the difference?

Comment: Re:Property rights (Score 1) 215

by tjstork (#47804031) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Delivery Drones

Why are you so quick to give away for free something that a major corporation will make tons of money on? That transit conduit has a value and it is only because of government that I cannot get some value out of it. You can call me a hick all that you want, and maybe I am, but you're the one advocating a system where people are going to use a resource that you possess, for free, and without even a shred of protest. "Here Amazon, go ahead and make billions of dollars flying drones 500 feet above my house, for free." Yep, that's what you want. I think that's stupid.

Comment: Microsoft is a spent force (Score 4, Interesting) 142

by Ckwop (#47707005) Attached to: Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board

Microsoft doesn't have many fans on Slashdot but even the most die-hard of fans must now see that they're in a real bad position.

The used to be invincible in the consumer space but now the computing device of choice is either the tablet or the smart phone. Precious few of these are Windows based.

The used to be invincible in the business user space but the move to mobile computing means business people are using iPhone and iPads, not Windows Phones and Surface.

Then there's Bing, who's only claim to fame is being the world's greatest search engine. For. Porn.

Then there's Azure. We actually looked at Azure and discovered that the same hardware in EC2 was half the price. If you going to twice as much you might as well give up and go home.

Then there was the own goal of the latest generation XBox. They managed to piss everyone off for no discernible gain.

The only area their grip is still strong is PC gaming. For how long, who knows?

Microsoft is a spent force. They're out of ideas. In a few short years they've gone from being the 800lb gorilla to just struggling just to remain relevant.

It reminds me of Brazil versus Germany at this year's world cup. I'm not celebrating any more; it's just sad at this point.

Comment: Could you use this for body building? (Score 1) 39

by tjstork (#47504989) Attached to: Method Rapidly Reconstructs Animal's Development Cell By Cell

I know it sounds vain but it does also have practical applications for people with muscular deficiencies owing to immobility. From what I've gathered, no one really knows what happens, precisely, to cause muscles to "grow". Sure, there's a hundred different theories tossed around on body building forums, but a lot of sounds more like pseudo-biological nonsense rather than real science. There's precious little experiment in the field and my lay understanding is that it is because the only method of looking at muscles is biopsy.

Comment: Re:Bad programming (Score 1) 113

"Probably the best solution would be for the company to split up. The people who make the Xbox are probably weighed down by the rest of the company's ineptitude. I'd like to see those guys go their own way"

XBOX is running a version of Windows, which, is in many ways better than Linux. What's up for debate is its openness or lack thereof, but featureswise, Windows has lead Unix in a lot of ways.

Even Windows 3.1 had a better device independent rendering model than did the X terminals it competed against. And, ever since Windows NT, Windows has always had better APIs for threading while all many Unix's had (except for Solaris), was fork. DirectX is generally better than OpenGL. COM has its faults but in the long run proved to be the only binary object model that ever got used, and even the Windows desktop and shell has vastly better basic things like file dialogs than does Linux.

Visual Studio is still arguably the best IDE around and has been ever since Microsoft bought the Delphi guy over to write C#, and speaking of which, C# is a way better language than Java. Microsoft Office is still better than Open Office.

It's not that Microsoft has really sucked at the desktop, ever. They've just won so completely at it that they don't know how to do anything else right, although, I do think my Windows 8.1 phone is better than my iPhone 5s in some ways.

Comment: Re:No steering wheel? No deal. (Score 4, Insightful) 583

by Ckwop (#47105707) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

Sorry. While I love technology, my not-so-humble opinion is that we're nowhere near the level of reliability needed for a car that's completely free of manual control.

The Google car has done something like 700,000 miles and crashed twice. Both times this occurred, it was under control of the human occupant.

I drive to work every morning and the number of times I see people not paying attention is extraordinary. Women doing their makeup, people texting, trying to argue with their children etc.

Honestly, in my view, removing the steering wheel is a safety feature.

Comment: It's pretty standard... (Score 1) 232

by Ckwop (#47024219) Attached to: Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up

You think Software Development is bad for this? At least the equipment is inexpensive and the material accessible.

In aviation, you'll pay > $60,0000 of your own money to get your ATPL all to start on a wage of $25,000.

What about medical school or law school? That's pretty expensive and comes out of your pocket.

Many serious professions require you to spend money on your training. It just comes with the territory.

Comment: Re:need to get over the "cult of macho programming (Score 2) 231

by Ckwop (#46911721) Attached to: How To Prevent the Next Heartbleed

I actually agree with both of you. The Open SSL guys gave out their work for free for anybody to use. Anybody should be free to do that without repercussions. Code is a kind of literature and thus should be protected by free speech laws.

However, if you pay peanuts (or nothing at all) then likewise you shouldn't expect anything other than monkeys. The real fault here is big business using unverified (in the sense of correctness!) source for security critical components of their system.

If regulation is needed anywhere, it is there. People who develop safety and security critical stuff should be certified and businesses with a turn over $x million dollars should be required to use software developed only by the approved organisations.

There is nothing in this definition that prevents an open source implementation. In fact, there's an argument to say that any such verified implementation must be open source precisely so it can be inspected. But it is quite a lot of work and people need to be paid to do that work. You can't expect to get this level of quality assurance for free.

Comment: Still fewer cancers than fossil fuels (Score 2, Informative) 157

by Ckwop (#46306065) Attached to: Safety Measures Fail To Stop Fukushima Plant Leaks

Fukushima is a serious nuclear disaster. It's a very situation that we should all be concerned about. But this should not lead to any pause in our appetite for nuclear energy.

What people often fail to appreciate is that even coal fired powerstations release quite large amounts of radioactive material in to atmosphere. Coal fired powerstations burn about a million times as much material as a nuclear powerstation per joule of energy produced. Some of that material is radioactive. That stuff isn't been sealed in a container in burrried in a mountain, it's being blown up chimney stacks along with the rest of the rather unpleasant stuff.

Don't believe me? Reflect on this passage taken from this (PDF) document:

The EPA found slightly higher average coal concentrations than used by McBride et al. of 1.3 ppm and 3.2 ppm, respectively. Gabbard (A. Gabbard, “Coal combustion: nuclear resource or danger?,” ORNL Review 26, http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview... 34/text/colmain.html.) finds that American releases from each typical 1 GWe coal plant in 1982 were 4.7 tonnes of uranium and 11.6 tonnes of thorium, for a total national release of 727 tonnes of uranium and 1788 tonnes of thorium. The total release of radioactivity from coal-fired fossil fuel was 97.3 TBq (9.73 x 1013 Bq) that year. This compares to the total release of 0.63 TBq (6.3 x 1011 Bq) from the notorious TMI accident, 155 times smaller.

So far, there has not been a single confirmed death due to Fukushima accident. In comparison, there were 20 deaths in the US just mining for coal in 2013. This is not to mention all the deaths being caused by cancers and other health problems being caused by breathing polluted air.

If we're ever going to get on top of this climate change challenge, nuclear must be leading the charge. Nuclear is a safe, non-polluting technology. Modern designs are fail-safe in every sense of the word. The newer designs can even cope with a loss of external power (like Fukushima experienced) yet still stay safe.

This is the 21st century. The technology is mature, sensible and safe. Really, we should be looking to retire every coal fired plant as a matter of urgency, if only to reduce the amount of radioactive contamination of the atmosphere!!

Comment: A few problems... (Score 5, Insightful) 149

by Ckwop (#46279217) Attached to: Can Reactive Programming Handle Complexity?
A few problems:

- What about circular reactions?
- Is SQL really that right language for encoding business logic?
- Triggers are kind of an anti-pattern.
- What about atomicity? What if I need the whole reaction chain to work or none of it.

I'm afraid there more questions than answers with this proposed pattern.

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