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Comment: Re:Back to One Man, One Vote (Score 1) 803

by Bob9113 (#46767059) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

What we need to do is simple: We need to define, in simple print, that corporate fictions are not in fact citizens, and as such, do not have political freedoms or civil rights as such.

It's good, and I think you are right that (by hook or by crook) it must happen or decline is inevitable. I think, though, that we must also define that compulsory speech is not free speech. That free speech is the freedom to express yourself, not the right to pay others on the condition that they express your views -- ie: advertising is not free speech.


Pollution In China Could Be Driving Freak Weather In US 156

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the blame-canada dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Jonathan Kaiman reports at The Guardian that China's air pollution could be intensifying storms over the Pacific Ocean and altering weather patterns in North America leading to more ... warm air in the mid-Pacific moving towards the north pole. 'Mid-latitude storms develop off Asia and they track across the Pacific, coming in to the west coast of the U.S.,' says Ellie Highwood, a climate physicist at the University of Reading. 'The particles in this model are affecting how strong those storms are, how dense the clouds are, and how much rainfall comes out of those storms.' Fossil fuel burning and petrochemical processing in Asia's rapidly developing economies lead to a build-up of aerosols, fine particles suspended in the air. Typically, aerosol formation is thought of as the antithesis to global warming: it cools our Earth's climate. But researchers say, too much of any one thing is never good. 'Aerosols provide seeds for cloud formation. If you provide too many seeds, then you fundamentally change cloud patterns and storm patterns,' says co-author Renyi Zhang. China's leaders are aware of the extent of the problem and will soon revise China's environmental protection law for the first time since 1989 ... 'The provisions on transparency are probably the most positive step forward,' says Alex Wang, expert in Chinese environmental law at UCLA. 'These include the requirement that key polluters disclose real-time pollution data.'"

How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-i-like-having-63-tiny-buttons-to-press-while-driving dept.
Velcroman1 writes: "Car stereo salesmen and installers around the country are hoping Apple's CarPlay in-car infotainment system will have a big presence in the aftermarket car stereo industry. The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Alpine is making car stereo head units for between $500 – $700 that will run the iOS-like system Apple unveiled last month, and Macrumors added Clarion to the list of CarPlay supporters. Pioneer is also getting into the game, with support said to be coming to existing car stereo models in its NEX line ($700 – $1400) via firmware update, according to Twice. Given Apple's wildly supportive fan base, its likely that a lot of aftermarket CarPlay units are about to fly off stereo shop shelves. Indeed, CarPlay coming to aftermarket stereo units could bring back what Apple indirectly stole from the industry going back as far as 2006."

Comment: Re:Rebooting is not a fix (Score 1) 136

by magamiako1 (#46729839) Attached to: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Unix Admins
The good news is the modern desire to 'web all the things' with stuff like ROR, PHP, Tomcat, etc; you can generally find in the code where something is an issue without having to necessarily trace system calls. You don't have quite that luxury on compiled applications. Though occasionally you could run into issues with the interpreted languages that just don't compile properly and cause problems--then you're back to the same problem...

Comment: Re:Rebooting is not a fix (Score 1) 136

by magamiako1 (#46729833) Attached to: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Unix Admins
For what it's worth, even if you do have access to dive into the code/kernel memory to find what the problem is, you must first know how to read what you're looking at. A lot of good this stuff does for you if you have no idea how it works in the first place. That's not a uniquely Windows problem, though; because very little in the Linux Admin world over the years strictly enforces that you should know this stuff. The technical information on it out there is about as good as the Technet articles on Windows that tell you how to appropriately identify system bottlenecks (Disk Queue Length, etc.).

I believe dtrace was added not too long ago and seems to be the goto solution for most Linux admins I know, but I've not personally used it to seek out issues.

Comment: Re:shenanigans (Score 2) 386

by magamiako1 (#46721573) Attached to: UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country
I'm willing to bet that Western Europe and Canada numbers are actually pretty accurate. Same with the US numbers. The only places that might underreport are likely to be Russia and 3rd world countries.

The bigger question you need to ask is why is the US so far behind its first world brethren?

Comment: Conditional Public Education Funding (Score 2, Interesting) 673

by Bob9113 (#46713341) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

I think the problem can be more generally stated: Private interests should not be permitted to make conditional donations to public education. The RIAA should not be allowed to pay for copyright enforcement education, Coca Cola should not be allowed to pay to have exclusive vending machine rights, and Microsoft should not be allowed to pay on condition of an MS Office mandate. The mere fact that we can all agree that more women in STEM would be a good thing does not make it right for a private interest to exert influence on the public education system.

If Google believes corporations should give more for public education funding, it should be lobbying for increased corporate taxation, and better regulation of offshore-based tax fraud. If they want to be seen as individually generous, they should make unconditional grants. Allowing them to buy control of public services is a path to ruin.

Comment: Opportunity For Agreement (Score 1, Insightful) 322

by Bob9113 (#46706189) Attached to: LA Police Officers Suspected of Tampering With Their Monitoring Systems

These law enforcement officers are experiencing the same thing we have been in the wake of the NSA documents. Being watched all the time is wrong even if you are doing nothing wrong.

Anti-authoritarians think people should not be watched all the time, even though it would mean catching a few extra criminals. Law and order advocates think police should not be watched all the time, even though it would mean catching a few extra officers who abuse their position. If we believe that people intrinsically want to do good, the truth is they are both right.

The premise of the United States experiment is that people can and should be trusted to do good most of the time -- despite the real risk and cost of doing so -- and should only be watched when it is justified. Merely being a police officer does not mean you are suspected of being a dirty cop. Merely being a person with one or another political viewpoint does not mean you are suspected of being a terrorist. Merely being a person from a certain socioeconomic class does not mean you are supected of committing a crime.

In America, we presume innocence. That is not just a standard of the justice process, it means we trust our citizens -- whether acting as individuals, political activists, or police officers -- to do good. We believe in our citizens even when we are on opposite sides of a fence, and we know they believe in our society even when their expression of that belief differs from ours. When we have reasonable suspicion that they have violated that trust, we investigate them -- but not before.

Comment: What To Do? (Score 4, Insightful) 132

Russian investment firms may be looking to steal high-tech intelligence from Boston-area companies to give to their country's military.

Oh, my. That does sound serious. Whatever can we do? Oh, I know, perhaps we should work to harden information security so that companies can maintain the integrity of their research. Futhermore, though I'm sure this goes without saying, we should fire -- and ban from any future participation in any aspect of government, government contracts, lobbying, or information security -- any person who has been involved in the intentional weakening of information security standards.


How Many People Does It Take To Colonize Another Star System? 392

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-volunteer-everyone-in-california dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "The nearest star systems — such as our nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, which is 4.2 light-years from home — are so far away, reaching them would require a generational starship. Entire generations of people would be born, live, and die before the ship reached its destination. This brings up the question of how many people you need to send on a hypothetical interstellar mission to sustain sufficient genetic diversity. Anthropologist Cameron Smith has calculated how many people would be required to maintain genetic diversity and secure the success of the endeavor. William Gardner-O'Kearney helped Smith build the MATLAB simulations to calculate how many different scenarios would play out during interstellar travel and ran some simulations specially to show why the success of an interstellar mission depends crucially on the starting population size. Gardner-O'Kearny calculated each population's possible trajectory over 300 years, or 30 generations. Because there are a lot of random variables to consider, he calculated the trajectory of each population 10 times, then averaged the results.

A population of 150 people, proposed by John Moore in 2002, is not nearly high enough to maintain genetic variation. Over many generations, inbreeding leads to the loss of more than 80 percent of the original diversity found within the hypothetical gene. A population of 500 people would not be sufficient either, Smith says. "Five hundred people picked at random today from the human population would not probably represent all of human genetic diversity . . . If you're going to seed a planet for its entire future, you want to have as much genetic diversity as possible, because that diversity is your insurance policy for adaptation to new conditions." A starting population of 40,000 people maintains 100 percent of its variation, while the 10,000-person scenario stays relatively stable too. So, Smith concludes that a number between 10,000 and 40,000 is a pretty safe bet when it comes to preserving genetic variation. Luckily, tens of thousands of pioneers wouldn't have to be housed all in one starship. Spreading people out among multiple ships also spreads out the risk. Modular ships could dock together for trade and social gatherings, but travel separately so that disaster for one wouldn't spell disaster for all. 'With 10,000,' Smith says, 'you can set off with good amount of human genetic diversity, survive even a bad disease sweep, and arrive in numbers, perhaps, and diversity sufficient to make a good go at Humanity 2.0.'"

Comment: Key Questions (Score 1) 1746

by Bob9113 (#46653811) Attached to: Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

This story has been a good opportunity to challenge my own assumptions. Some of the key questions I asked myself:
* Should Mozilla have a CEO who gave $1000 to support prop 8?
* Would it have been sufficient for him to renounce his support of the law?
* Would he also have to announce his support for same sex marriage?
* Would it be different if the campaign were to outlaw interracial couples?

Comment: Like Supporting Segregation in the 1950s (Score 2, Insightful) 824

by Bob9113 (#46597217) Attached to: Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

Should private beliefs be enough to prevent someone from heading a project they helped found?

No, but he didn't keep his beliefs private, he tried to turn them into law. And that still doesn't mean he can't head the project, it just means a lot of people may walk away from it, and needs to consider that.

Is the backlash itself justified? Well, to some, including myself, it is a bit like supporting segregation in the 1950s. Right now, it is a mainstream political view to believe that gay people should not have equal rights. There's a hundred thousand years of evolution behind that belief, and it is not realistic to expect everyone to switch that internal belief off at the drop of a hat -- no more than it was possible for people in the 1950s to instantly accept equal treatment of black people.

But what good people did do in the 1950s was stop expressing their prejudice. They stopped supporting segregation, and stopped saying that they found it to be an acceptable practice. Most of them still had that deep internal programming. Most people still have it to some extent today. Hundreds of thousands of years of "different looking means dangerous" genetic programming isn't going to go away overnight. But we have reached a point where we treat those beliefs as flawed baser instincts, like the desire to hit a person over the head and steal their BMW. We repress those feelings because we believe in being better than that.

We have reached a point in our society where prejudicial treatment of black people is no longer accepted. We will reach that point with gay people too, and Mozilla will be as embarrassed of having an unrepentant bigot for a CEO as Walt Disney Corp is of Walt's anti-Semitism. It is not that Mozilla should be forbidden from doing so, it is just a question of showing good judgment.

Mozilla, tell Eich to figure it out and recant his position. It's OK to be unable to overcome your baser instincts; that is a reality of being a flawed human. I'll admit that my instinctive reaction to the idea of gay sex is not pleasant. But it is not OK to express prejudicial beliefs or to support prejudicial laws.

Comment: Re:Open Source Is About Decentralization (Score 1) 155

by Bob9113 (#46587937) Attached to: Canonical's Troubles With the Free Software Community

What is the purpose of benevolent dictators for life then? (Torvalds/Stallman/ blender/drupal/mullenweg etc.)

To continue to curate the projects and organizations they founded, for as long as the community continues to trust them to do so. Sort of like Shuttleworth directing his distro, if his position were dependent on grassroots support instead of a corporate charter.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.