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Comment: Awful. Insulted my intelligence. (Score 4, Informative) 98

by rjh (#48840521) Attached to: Silicon Valley Security Experts Give 'Blackhat' a Thumbs-Up; Do You?

Terrible. It insulted my intelligence at every opportunity. To pick just three:

  1. A hard drive that's been at Ground Zero of a Chernobyl-level event, exposed to hundreds of sieverts of ionizing radiation, extraordinary extremes of temperature, a hydrogen-oxygen explosion with such tremendous overpressure that it blew the containment dome, and seawater pumped through the building as a last-ditch effort at cooling the core, is still somehow so readable that it just requires a classified forensics program to recover it fully.
  2. The main bad guy's ultimate plan involves speculating on the future of a commodity that isn't exactly rare.
  3. Targeting nuclear reactors in the U.S. and China as a practice run for the real attack is pretty stupid, as the practice run is so devastating that it guarantees an immediate and vigorous reaction from two world-power countries known to have active cyberwarfare programs, thereby announcing your presence to exactly the people you want to keep completely in the dark

This movie insulted my intelligence at every turn. I have a long (and spoilerific) list of all the what-the no-they-didn't good-Christ moments I saw in the movie; if there's interest I'll post them here.

Comment: Re:HTTP isn't why the web is slow (Score 2) 161

by mellon (#48774587) Attached to: HTTP/2 - the IETF Is Phoning It In

Personally I have no opinion about HTTP/2, but I have to say that this anonymous hit piece looks a lot like some IETF participant who didn't like how the process came out trying to create the appearance of consensus against it by pumping up the anger of the interwebs without actually saying what's wrong with the spec. When I see people making statements not supported by explanations as to why we might want to consider them correct, my tendency is to assume that it's hot air trying to bypass the consensus process.

It's also a bit annoying to see the IETF accused of having published a document advocating snooping when in fact someone floated that idea in the IETF and it was shot down in flames, and what we actually published was a document stating that snooping is to be considered an attack and addressed in all new IETF protocol specifications (RFC 7258).

Comment: Momentum, not mass (Score 5, Informative) 109

by rjh (#48752563) Attached to: Entanglement Makes Quantum Particles Measurably Heavier, Says Quantum Theorist

The photon has zero rest mass, yes.

E = mc**2 is a nice popularization; it's also wrong. It's actually E**2=(mc**2)**2 + (pc)**2, where p is the momentum. When momentum is zero, you can usually simplify this to E=mc**2, but a photon's existence is defined mostly by its momentum. Since m is zero for a photon, this means the energy of a photon is given by entirely by E=pc.

Hope this helps!

Comment: Re:Mod parent up, it has data (Score 1) 224

by sphealey (#48664889) Attached to: Tech's Gender Gap Started At Stanford

Fair request. Unfortunately that's based on 30 years of reading the history of computing (as well as being there when some of it occurred), generally in sources which were never transferred to digital/online. Also working for a professor who had a NSF contract to study that question ~1983 and helping him collate surveys (again - paper!), run stats, etc. Probably read a lot of the papers he had ordered prints of as well. Would probably take a PhD research effort to put it all into citation form, even if some of that data is still available.


Comment: Re:Are you kidding me? (Score 2, Insightful) 224

by sphealey (#48664477) Attached to: Tech's Gender Gap Started At Stanford

Yes, the women who were finally admitted to engineering school in 1943, 44, and 45, and who were then kicked out (in some cases bodily) in 1946 without being allowed to graduate (much less take the jobs for which they had sought education) were just playing out a male-centric fantasy of evolutionary biology "explaining" pre-historic history. Got it.


Comment: Re:As always, looking at this wrong. (Score 2) 224

by sphealey (#48664419) Attached to: Tech's Gender Gap Started At Stanford

- - - - - Step 1: Stigmatize the traits that lead people to excel in tech fields, men posessing those traits, and anyone in tech - - - - -

Technology people were global heroes from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. Whilst arising from groups and cultures that had been stigmatized in the 60s/70s their success at opening up the new world was lionized as the PC/technology revolution got rolling. Nerd became a cool thing to be.

  Problem is that starting in the 1990s and really rolling after 2000 the tech world damaged itself in some fundamental way, and is now being looked on much more skeptically. Source of that damage isn't totally clear (well, then there's Uber) but it isn't accurate to blame society for stigmatizing technology people out of nowhere; there are reasons.


Comment: Re:superficial read... (Score 3, Interesting) 224

by sphealey (#48664397) Attached to: Tech's Gender Gap Started At Stanford

I remember reading "how to interview in Silicon Valley" articles during that time period that described firms doing things such as flying entire recruiting classes to Las Vegas and eliminating any candidates who didn't gamble and drink in large quantities. That's behavior that predictive for success in complex business-focused entities for sure.


Comment: Re:Slashdot is exceeding itself lately... (Score 3, Informative) 224

by sphealey (#48664373) Attached to: Tech's Gender Gap Started At Stanford

- - - - - So before 1994, women were nearly equally represented in computing? HAHAHAHA. - - - - -

Um, much more nearly, yes.

1943 to 1945 - women were about 95% of the computing workforce.

1946 to mid/late 1950s - still a very large percentage of women, since they had the experience (from the war) and were pushed back out of other engineering fields. Computing, being a branch of applied mathematics, was considered "acceptable" for women to take up

1960-1980 - still a large percentage of women in "data processing" (as programmers and systems analysts, not just keypunch operators), esp in very large companies.

1980 - boom in university computer science begins and many women are interested. 1984 is the peak post-war year for women graduating from engineering programs (around 40% IIRC); a large percentage are CS with many of the rest EE. Many of these women (my classmates) go on to critical roles in companies and universities building out this " 'net " concept (later renamed the Internet).

post-1990 - something goes completely wacky in the industry and women are driven out of computing in large numbers; younger women don't even enter the field.

So, since you seem to be a younger dude perhaps you could explain exactly what it is that happened 1990-2000 that made the field so undesirable to women.

Comment: Re:Land of the free (Score 2) 580

by rjh (#48628395) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

So, the NJ State Senate Majority Leader admits that New Jersey's law, which would make smart guns mandatory within three years of the first commercially-available smart gun being sold anywhere in the United States, can be reversed... if only the NRA will agree to stop obstructing the sale of smart guns within the United States, which they do specifically because of the New Jersey law?

I don't see the problem. The NRA is obstructing a law that goes against their stated interests, and New Jersey is promising to reverse that law if only the NRA will stop obstructing what that law regulates?

For the NRA's stated position, see here. Particularly:

NRA does not oppose new technological developments in firearms; however, we are opposed to government mandates that require the use of expensive, unreliable features, such as rigging a firearm so that it could not fire unless it received an electronic signal from an electronic bracelet worn by the firearm's lawful owner (as was brought up in Holder's recent testimony).

That's their stated policy, right there.

Comment: Re:The Batman, Theater Attack Comparison (Score 1) 580

by rjh (#48628111) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Not quite. Courts have been willing to hold businesses liable for damages due to foreseeable criminal acts, yes, but so far no court has been willing to hold businesses liable for damages due to acts of war levied by a foreign state.

That's a pretty big jump to make, incidentally.

The risk is not that the courts might hold the theater chain responsible -- the courts wouldn't, on the grounds that the theater chain isn't responsible for protecting their clientele against acts of war from a foreign nation-state. The risk is that the lawsuit would be filed and it would cost the theater $20 million or more just to get the courts to dismiss all charges.

That $20 million is probably considerably more than they would make from screening The Interview, so the logical business case is to not screen it.

It's sad, but ... the real problem is not that the courts might hold the theater liable: it's that in our current system, getting sued is, in itself, its own punishment.

Comment: Re:Land of the free (Score 1) 580

by rjh (#48627973) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

The NRA does not object to smart gun technologies, and believes that people who wish to be allowed to buy them should be allowed to buy them.

The NRA objects to smart guns becoming mandatory, because the technology for smart guns is nowhere near mature.

The number one desired trait in a firearm, moreso than caliber or capacity or anything else, is reliability. The reason why Glocks are so popular isn't because of caliber, capacity, or aesthetics -- all of which other firearms do better. It's because a Glock is as reliable as gravity. If you chamber a round and pull the trigger, it goes boom. If you don't pull the trigger, it won't.

I have personally seen a Glock get thrown into a bucket of wet, goopy mud and left there for fifteen minutes just so the mud had the opportunity to permeate the whole of the firearm. At the end of the fifteen minutes the owner pulled the Glock out, shook it precisely three times to dislodge mud from the barrel, and fired one hundred seventy rounds through it in the space of about five minutes, just one magazine after another after another... just to prove the weapon was reliable.

Do you believe the current crop of smart gun technologies are equally reliable? The ones I've had the chance to play around with definitely aren't. They can't even agree on whether they need to fail safe or fail deadly.

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer