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Comment: Re:Occupy was anarchists not libertarians (Score 1) 404

by gorzek (#46900229) Attached to: Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks

I won't discount that there may have been some libertarians at Occupy rallies. Takes all kinds. Occupy was/is a very diverse movement. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that there were some libertarians here and there.

But you know where I guarantee you could find a lot more libertarians? Tea Party rallies.

Comment: Re:Economic reasons (Score 2) 384

by gorzek (#46860375) Attached to: How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

Computers aren't regulated nearly as much as cars are, which cuts down the price a lot. That is not to say cars aren't regulated for good reason, though. Apart from emissions control (which is a significant expense), the numerous safety features required in modern cars add considerable costs. Research and design also aren't free--it costs a lot of money to design a car, certainly much more than it used to, and those costs have to be defrayed in the sales of new cars.

Of course, one could also blame unionized workers, whose pay has fared better against inflation and wage levels as a whole when held up against non-unionized workers (the vast majority of those who will be buying cars.) By that token, cars seem more expensive because, in real terms, most people's pay has stagnated or fallen.

In short, I don't think the current price of a new car is generally unjustified, considering what you get for it. Even "base" model cars have a lot of features that absolutely weren't standard 20 or 30 years ago: airbags, air conditioning, power windows and locks, CD/MP3 player, anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control, etc.

Comment: Re:Maybe this will wake some people up (Score 2) 182

by gorzek (#46814517) Attached to: GitHub Founder Resigns Following Harassment Investigation

This is not really an issue across the entire software industry, but rather a particular subset: the Silicon Valley (and sometimes New York City) startup run by people in their 20s who think they are going to reshape the software industry (if not the entire world.) Bad attitudes also persist into video game development studios, though the environments are perhaps not as bad. I'm sure it varies a lot from place to place.

Larger and more mature software organizations are by nature far more risk-averse, so they tend to take reports of harassment far more seriously. I have a friend who got fired outright because he pulled a silly prank that could have reasonably been construed as sexual harassment. He didn't really mean anything by it, but it was 100% his bad and a justified termination.

When people talk about "professionalism" in software development, I think the common assumption is that it refers mainly to things like writing good code and putting in enough work on a daily/weekly basis, rather than crossing over into one's general conduct and particularly attitudes toward women and minorities in the workplace. The sorts of environments that have problems with harassment tend to be overwhelmingly white, male, and young. This is a bad combination if you want to attempt to have a professional working environment, and especially if you want to branch out to have a more diverse workforce.

Being a professional is about much more than mere competence at one's job duties. It also has to do with how you resolve interpersonal conflict, how you interact with people who may not share your worldview or experience, and whether you can do your job without being a huge asshole about it.

Comment: Re:A new law in not what is needed (Score 2) 519

by gorzek (#46427933) Attached to: Massachusetts Court Says 'Upskirt' Photos Are Legal

So much victim-blaming language going around here. "Hey, nobody would take pictures of her if she'd just stop wearing skirts!" Gee, maybe it's the douchebag taking the pictures that's the problem, huh?

Upskirt photos don't just "happen," they're taken intentionally by people who are willfully invading the personal space of another. There are numerous contexts in which one has an expectation of privacy. What is beneath one's skirt is one such context.

I suppose if someone uses a public bathroom and someone takes photos/videos of them from the adjacent stall, that'd be fine, too? After all, if you didn't want to be photographed, you wouldn't use a public restroom where there are gaps between the stall walls and the floor/ceiling.

People who are doing nothing wrong shouldn't have to adjust their behavior in order to thwart miscreants. The law should side against the miscreants.

Comment: Re:"It's been turned over to other people" ? (Score 1) 390

by gorzek (#46420819) Attached to: Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek

I think the issue is that storing all of those potential solutions "just in case" is space-prohibitive. To store every single possible SHA256 hash, you would need ~3.2*10^60 exabytes. Totally outrageous amount of space, right? And that's not even counting the proof of work, which also needs to be stored. The issue isn't knowing the hashes themselves, it's having the proof of work to demonstrate how you found them, and that's the part that takes enormous amounts of computation to produce (but is extremely easy to verify by the network once it's done.)

It's possible some people do store the very low results in order to solve high-difficulty (low-target) blocks on down the line, but I'm under the impression that producing such a hash occurs so rarely that no one would be able to effectively hoard them. Maybe you produce one and keep it and you can use it 3 blocks from now, but then you don't have another for 100 more blocks. (Numbers pulled out of my ass, you get the idea.) Generally, you always want to solve the block you can now, because even if the solution you found may be usable on a future block, you just gave up the current block to someone else, and the blocks that have 20 BTC payouts have a finite supply.

I should point out that the network automatically adjusts the difficulty every 2016 blocks (roughly every two weeks) based on average block solve time, so if somebody hoarded a bunch of low-value hashes and proofs and then dumped them all at once, it would very likely make the next round much harder because the network would deliberately make it more difficult.

Comment: Re:"It's been turned over to other people" ? (Score 5, Informative) 390

by gorzek (#46419557) Attached to: Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek

I assume you're asking how the "mining" works, and that's actually pretty easy to explain.

Each bitcoin block is generated with a SHA256 hash of the block's header. Presumably, the header information is not guessable, otherwise it would be pointless.

The SHA256 hash becomes the "target." In order to successfully mine the block, you must produce a hash with a value lower than the target. The lower the target, the harder it is to mine the block. Since SHA256 hashes (as far as I know) do not leak any information about the plaintext, the hashes are attempted essentially at random. Successfully mining a block is essentially like winning the lottery because there is no known way to make educated guesses about what text might produce a hash below the target's value.

Once an acceptable hash has been generated by a miner, it is submitted to the network with a proof of work that permits the rest of the network to essentially check the solution. At that point, the block is considered completed, the transactions are processed, and the successful miner is awarded the transaction fees plus 20 new BTC.

I don't think the rainbow table comparison is apt because you're not attempting to produce hash collisions, only find hashes below a set value. Finding a collision is exponentially more difficult, by design.

Comment: Re:What's the difference? (Score 2) 462

by gorzek (#46248103) Attached to: Facebook Debuts New Gender Options, Pronoun Choices

Few things have a "set meaning" because that's how language works. Meanings are consensual, not static nor existing in some abstract, pure form. Any identity one claims is not necessarily a precise description of who they are--I know several people who, in fact, do not find any of the existing gender or sexual orientation designations precise enough to fully agree with, but they'll claim the one that's closest because it's preferable to have some identity than be left in the uncomfortable position of not having a term to identity with at all.

The issue with "male" and "female" is not a lack of precision but rather their narrow scope and insufficiency for describing various realities. There is a difference between having to use a term you don't identify with at all and using one that you don't completely identify with but find close enough to suit your purposes.

This is why "male" and "female" (or, if you prefer, "man" and "woman") get modifiers. Designated male/female at birth, trans woman/man, etc. In and of themselves, they don't necessarily say enough to constitute something one is comfortable identifying with.

Basically, the purpose is for people to have terms describing identities they are comfortable claiming as their own, rather than forcing them to fit inside boxes others have built and insist on keeping narrow and limited. I may be explaining it poorly but that's where I'm coming from. (I say this as a hetero cisgender male, so I have no personal stake other than my friends who do.)

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_