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Comment: Armchair engineering at its finest (Score 5, Insightful) 241

by mcrbids (#48920923) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

I'm probably going to lose some karma for this...

I, too, could come with a half-dozen answers that would be "far superior" to what 100+ years of the finest minds in the industry could come up with. But in reality, I really, seriously doubt that my designs would hold up because there's a *reason* that things are done the way they are.

Mechanical engineering is a *very old* industry, and any radical, new design would have significant hurdles to pass before it could be accepted and used in a real scenario. The cost of failure is very high and there are real lives on the line.

My first thought was to use something like a caterpillar drive along the sides of the shaft, each of which would operate like a mini elevator for perhaps 10 floors. But, very quickly, I can see that this type of system would have many, many more moving parts and consequently many more points of failure.

So, I think it *might* be best to trust that 100+ years of experience are, in fact, at work, and that we should first understand that there is *real knowledge* at work before assuming that our half-baked and thoroughly unproven ideas hold any merit in reality.... ?

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 569

So here's what we're actually dealing with. Google maintains the Android Open Source Project, or AOSP. Every handset manufacturer uses this as a base for their own "distribution". The only distributions that Google actually builds are for their own branded handsets and tablets (the Nexus line). All of the other handset manufacturers build their own distribution(s) for their hardware, which effectively makes them the OS vendor for that hardware. It's analogous to other situations in open source software, where, for example, the kernel is developed and maintained by one group, but the individual distributions' maintainers (Debian, Ubuntu, etc) will package/build the kernel for their own distros and release it through their own repositories (ie when I run apt-get on an Ubuntu machine I'm pulling updates from Ubuntu and not, for example, from kernel.org).

This leads to situations like the current one, where the updates have been rolled into new versions (in this case you upgrade 4.3 to 4.4.x) but not every vendor has chosen to build and distribute these newer versions to their customers; Google is no more able to push these updates than the kernel.org maintainers are of pushing new kernels onto your Slackware machine.

United States

Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration 512

Posted by timothy
from the nobody-hates-new-immigrants-like-old-immigrants dept.
dcblogs (1096431) writes The Senate's two top Republican critics of temporary worker immigration, specifically the H-1B and L-1 visas, now hold the two most important immigration posts in the Senate. They are Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who heads the Senate's Judiciary Committee, and his committee underling, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who was appointed by Grassley on Thursday to head the immigration subcommittee. Sessions was appointed one week after accusing the tech industry of perpetuating a "hoax" by claiming there is a shortage of qualified U.S. tech workers. "The tech industry's promotion of expanded temporary visas — such as the H-1B — and green cards is driven by its desire for cheap, young and immobile labor," wrote Sessions, in a memo he sent last week to fellow lawmakers. Sessions, late Thursday, issued a statement about his new role as immigration subcommittee chairman, and said the committee "will give voice to those whose voice has been shut out," and that includes "the voice of the American IT workers who are being replaced with guest workers."
Biotech

New Advance Confines GMOs To the Lab Instead of Living In the Wild 130

Posted by timothy
from the we've-decided-to-put-this-in-everyone dept.
BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes In Jurassic Park, scientists tweak dinosaur DNA so that the dinosaurs were lysine-deficient in order to keep them from spreading in the wild. Scientists have taken this one step further as a way to keep genetically modified E. coli from surviving outside the lab. In modifying the bacteria's DNA to thwart escape, two teams altered the genetic code to require amino acids not found in nature. One team modified the genes that coded for proteins crucial to cell functions so that that produced proteins required the presence of the synthetic amino acid in the protein itself. The other team focused on 22 genes deemed essential to a bacterial cell's functions and tied the genes' expression to the presence of synthetic amino acids. For the bacteria to survive, these synthetic amino acids had to be present in the medium on which the bacteria fed. In both cases, the number of escapees was so small as to be undetectable."
Open Source

Gender and Tenure Diversity In GitHub Teams Relate To Higher Productivity 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the bad-news-for-my-clone-army dept.
New submitter Bogdan Vasilescu writes: Diversity in teams is a double-edged sword. Increased team diversity results in more varied backgrounds and ideas, providing the team with access to broader information, enhanced creativity, adaptability, and problem solving skills. However, due to greater perceived differences in values, norms, and communication styles in more diverse teams, members become more likely to engage in stereotyping, cliquishness, and conflict.

In a recent study, researchers from University of California, Davis and Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands have analyzed the effects of gender and tenure diversity on productivity and turnover for more than 23,000 open-source projects on GitHub. Using regression modeling, they showed that after controlling for team size and other confounds (such as a project's age, development model, or amount of social activity), both gender and tenure diversity are positive and significant predictors of productivity, together explaining a small but significant fraction of the data variability. On an economic and societal scale, these findings suggest that added investments in educational and professional training efforts and outreach for female programmers will likely result in added overall value.

The paper describing the results (preprint PDF here) will be presented at the prestigious ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, in Seoul, South Korea, in April 2015.
Security

Doxing Victim Zoe Quinn Launches Online "Anti-harassment Task Force" 686

Posted by Soulskill
from the life-free-of-swat-teams-and-unordered-pizzas dept.
AmiMoJo writes: On Friday, developer and doxing victim Zoe Quinn launched an online "anti-harassment task force" toolset, staffed by volunteers familiar with such attacks, to assist victims of a recent swell of "doxing" and "swatting" attacks. The Crash Override site, built by Quinn and game developer Alex Lifschitz, offers free services from "experts in information security, white hat hacking, PR, law enforcement, legal, threat monitoring, and counseling" for "victims of online mob harassment."

They have already managed to preemptively warn at least one victim of a swatting attempt in Enumclaw, Washington. As a result, the police department's head e-mailed the entire department to ask any police sent to the address in question to "knock with your hand, not your boot."

Comment: Re:It doesn't have to get it right (Score 1) 489

by mcrbids (#48850871) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

I bought a Dell laptop (Precision M3800) last week from the Dell business laptop dept. The sales guys assumed I'd want Win7 and the laptop (by default) comes with Win7 installed. When I asked about that, they said that it "technically included Windows 8 media" but that everybody wants one running Win7.

I find this quit interesting as Win7 has officially gone EOL. Personally, I plan on running Fedora Linux, but still....

Communications

Your High School Wants You To Install Snapchat 157

Posted by timothy
from the just-ask-ram-sweeney dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: They would never admit it, but your high school admins would probably breathe a sigh of relief if all of their sexting-mad students would go ahead and install Snapchat so that evidence of (sometimes) illegal sexting would disappear into the ether. They can't recommend that you do this, because it would sound like an implicit endorsement, just like they can't recommend designated drivers for teen drinking parties -- but it's a good bet they would be grateful. Read on for the rest.

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