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Comment: Re:That's because of "Goto Considered Harmful" (Score 1) 677

by mariox19 (#49040023) Attached to: Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"

I agree. The sample is self-selecting, because by and large the only people using it are the ones who fully understand why using it in certain cases is not only not harmful but actually maybe even better. How about we tell CS students to use it whenever they feel like, but just be careful; we then wait, say, 10 years or so and run the study a second time?

My guess is the conclusion that time around would be: Goto responsible for the fall of Western Civilization.

Comment: It's the metrics (Score 4, Interesting) 271

by mariox19 (#48866799) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Big business is in thrall to the MBA's and their "scientific" management. If something can be measured, it's legit; if something can't be, it isn't. The thing is though is that, at any point in time and given any development in statistical research methods, some things are going to be more easily measured than others. If you have a business culture that believes you're clear-eyed and sensible when looking at numbers, but wishy-washy and "unscientific" when going by experience and gut feelings -- and, even worse, if you have a similar investor culture financing the whole thing -- you will run into trouble.

It's the numbers guys firing people with experience (and the judgment that comes with it), and replacing them with spanking brand new rock stars, or foreigners with well-crafted resumes. Add up the columns, contact human resources, collect your bonus check. If it all goes wrong several years down the road, you'll be working somewhere else anyway. That's the business model we're all suffering under.

Comment: Re:Get your drunk on... (Score 1) 420

by mariox19 (#48684319) Attached to: Drunk Drivers in California May Get Mandated Interlock Devices

This is the thing. The drunks on the road causing problems are generally alcoholics who have several drinks, shoot their blood-alcohol level way up, and then get behind the wheel. They do this on a regular basis. The vast majority of accidents and fatal accidents are caused by people driving with a BAL of 1.5 or above, and yet our neo-Puritian attitudes demonize people with levels half that. Enforcement doesn't fit the crime.

If we were serious about drunk driving, we'd go after the problem drinkers. But drunk driving enforcement is more about revenue than anything else. The courts, the lawyers, the social workers, and now the interlock device manufacturers are all in on it.

Comment: Re:Yep (Score 3, Insightful) 103

by mariox19 (#48542533) Attached to: Neglecting the Lessons of Cypherpunk History

I am far from being an expert on encryption, but the danger is not that PGP will be broken; it's that there are weaknesses in the entire "ecosystem" that allow for side-channel attacks. That's part of what that NSA paper, linked to in the article, is discussing. If there is something that can be exploited in the user's operating system or in the hardware, then that becomes the weak link in the chain.

Then, there is the whole issue that you touch on: namely, the caveat of encryption's efficacy "if used right." The same is true of condoms and even oral contraceptives. Sadly, human beings are very bad at scrupulously adhering to the injunction to "use as directed."

Comment: Robots are cut no slack (Score 2) 335

The real problem is that the actions of people, in some circumstances, are considered beyond good and evil, and all the silly hypothetical situations in the world doesn't begin to capture this. In the heat of the moment, with only seconds to decide, people can't be relied on to make a choice that conforms to some explicit moral code. On account of that, when faced with passing judgement on the actions of people in emergency situations, we don't pass judgement; rather, we forgive them.

Robots, however, are programmed, and "split seconds" don't mean the same thing to robots that they do to us. Thus, there is no way around what they're going to do. They will be programmed to do one thing or another, and someone is going to have make the bad decision—since, in many cases, there are no good decisions to be made. And that poor bastard may have to program the machine anonymously, because what he will get is not forgiveness but, "What were you thinking!"

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil