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Comment If Snowden could do it, so could many, many others (Score 5, Insightful) 157

I believe that both China and Russia had access to all the files that Snowden took well before Snowden took them because they've penetrated the NSA networks where those files reside.I believe that both China and Russia had access to all the files that Snowden took well before Snowden took them because they've penetrated the NSA networks where those files reside.

Uh, yeah. This was obvious from the beginning. If it was that easy for Snowden to grab all of those files without anyone noticing anything until it was too late, how many other bazillions of employees, contractors, sysadmins, etc etc etc etc also had similar access.

The Chinese & Russians (and others--Brits, Israelis, what have you) are actively trying to subvert all these thousands of folks.

It's really not rocket science, or even computer science. More, do you have the right contact. With so many potential contacts it becomes almost inevitable.

And that's without even getting into technical break-ins--which also seem very, very possible given the lax security that the Snowden affair demonstrates. If Snowden can get unauthorized access to all those files, then it's possible for others to do so as well.

Comment Hypothesis-Conclusion (Score 1) 1067

One of my math professors worked for some kind of engineering firm in his earlier days. This was probably back in the 70s or so.

They were creating some kind of device and it was based on a math theorem of some kind--the usual thing where there are hypotheses A, B, C and **if those are exactly fulfilled** then there is a little algorithm you can use to give result X, Y, Z.

So his fellow engineers used this theorem, using the algorithm and result X, Y, Z but blithely ignoring the need to check that hypotheses A, B, C were fulfilled.

Prof warns fellow workers that this isn't going to work and is a recipe for disaster.

Fellow engineer-workers can't understand what the problem could possibly be, so proceed to manufacture the device as-is. It is some kind of hard-wired measuring tool or such, with custom manufactured circuit boards that bake in the programming logic etc etc etc.

Result: Device worked perfectly most of the time but occasionally, randomly, mysteriously completely malfunctioned. Of course--it worked perfectly whenever the hypotheses were fulfilled and complete malfunctioned otherwise.

Other result: Firing of numerous people on engineering team and complete re-design of the device from the ground up.

To answer your question: The reason not to follow your plan is that ALL of your programs are going to behave like this device. They will work fine most of the time (if you are lucky) but then there will be random and very-difficult-to-detect bugs that appear only during certain relatively rare and difficult-to-duplicate circumstances.

In short--nightmare material.

Comment Is self-correcting (Score 2) 186

I dunno . . . more than half of "cleverly-chosen minor falsehoods" inserted into 30 articles are corrected within 2 months? That sounds more like **is** self-correcting than **is not**.

Nothing is perfectly self-correcting and that holds up here, too. But through the mid-2000s we kept a shelf full of encyclopedias dating from the 1980s or so. I'm pretty sure that thing was packed with various bits of incorrect, erroneous, outdated, and incomplete information, and strangely enough, not one snippet of it ever self-corrected in the 20 years the encyclopedias sat on the shelf.

Comment Injuries . . . (Score 1) 947

Lots of my colleagues do not want to ride after seeing these [city biking] injuries.

And I don't want to drive after seeing a few injuries that resulted from automobile collisions . . .

Comment Oreos found 0% addictive (Score 5, Informative) 285

He's developed his own measure for it: The percentage of people who will develop the disease of dependency, based on the DSM-IV guidelines, if they use a drug. . . .

"According to that, the most chemically addictive is nicotine because one third of people who use it during their lifetime will develop dependency," he said. "For cocaine, it's 20 percent. For heroin, it's 23 percent."

So by that standard, Oreos = 0% addictive.

Oh, well.

Comment It's all bad (Score 1) 147

This is bad news for two reasons:

  • 1. We should let North Korean propaganda fly its flag proudly so that everyone can see it for the ridiculousness that it is.
  • 2. This is very clearly fair use.

Boy, never thought I'd see myself defending North Korea about anything. Looks like in the North Korea vs. MPAA evilness matchup, MPAA wins . . .

Comment Meanwhile . . . (Score 1) 356

But if our work was open and people were forking it and improving it all the time, then it keeps up with changes as we go.

And meanwhile, will help all the Democrats* in down-ballot and off-year races--who, near as I can tell, are typically disorganized as possible about GOTV.

Yeah, and Republicans, too, but really the downballot Dems need more help as a rule and IMHO Ds will benefit far more in aggregate than Rs will.

Comment Re:Put him to fixing these supposed problems (Score 1) 507

Oh, yeah--and don't forget to take him through the economics of the project as well. "See, you've refactored this 100 lines of code, which only took you 8 hours, costing the company $X."

Now just do the math about how much it would cost to complete this little refactoring project on the entire codebase. It will be a fairly boggling amount and of course doesn't take into consideration that this simplistic estimation procedure will underestimate the cost and complexity of a full codebase refactoring by a few orders of magnitude.

Still, I'm guessing even the simplistic method will cost enough to make your point.

Comment Put him to fixing these supposed problems (Score 1) 507

If the code is so bad, give him the assignment of fixing it. Allot say 8 hours, or maybe even a week if you want to get him out of your hair for that long, where is assignment is to find the worst problem area that will have the greatest possible positive effect on the project, that he can fix start-to-finish within that time span, re-write, test, go through your complete process whatever that is, get completely ready to commit. But it all has to be done/complete within the allotted time frame. At the end of the time, take his code, evaluate & review it with him & 2-3 others who are intimately familiar with that project. If it's fabulous code that really does meet all requirements and improve on the existing code, then hurrah! Commit it and you're a step ahead. If (as is more likely) is full of shit and has far more serious but possibly hidden problems than the code it's supposed to replace, then you explain the problems to your boy wonder, deep six the supposed improved code, and it's a learning experience for everyone.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.