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Comment: It's the metrics (Score 4, Interesting) 263

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!"

Comment: Re:don't use biometrics (Score 4, Interesting) 328

Seriously. A friend of mine had his ex-wife (they're on good terms) send him a picture of their daughter, who was something like 4 at the time. The girl was riding a toy horse, and but for a cowboy hat was buck naked. The ex thought it was cute; my friend was upset that she would encourage things like that. I told him to get that picture the fuck off his phone before he gets pulled over (he had a lead foot and a weed habit), arrested, and the cops find a photo like that on his phone. He saw the wisdom in that right away.

You can't be too careful. There are cops and attorneys at the D.A.'s office who like nothing better than to put the screws to people, at the smallest provocation; and in this "zero tolerance" world, you're guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

Comment: iPhone 4S (Score 1) 258

by mariox19 (#48220027) Attached to: Preferred smartphone screen size?

I just traded in my iPhone 4S last weekend. I ended up getting an iPhone 5S. The 6 is just too big, if you ask me. And, honestly, if Apple had offered a 4S form factor with upgraded innards, I very well may have bought that. I liked the heft of the 4S, and I much prefer having the headphone jack at the top of the phone rather than at the bottom.

A big reason I upgraded was because I realized my phone was getting a little bit long in the tooth, and I worried that there was no way I could wait two more years to see what Apple came out with next. If that were another big phone, I'd be SOL. I got last year's phone in self-defense.

Comment: Why a pill and not an enema? (Score 1) 135

by mariox19 (#48129373) Attached to: Feces-Filled Capsules Treat Bacterial Infection

Call me a conspiracy nut, or whatever you want; but I question what's going on here. Is there someone with a background that can explain?

A fecal transplant can be done with an enema, and my understanding is that it's quite effective. But some doctors aren't interested, preferring either to deliver the dose via a colonoscopy or endoscopy. My father had C. Diff last year, but began to get nauseated when they tried putting tubes up his nose. So the doctor was going to recommend as an alternative—and I swear this is true—that my father mix feces up in a blender with yogurt and eat it. WTF!

If you ask me, an enema can be done by a nurse, or even at home, for next to nothing. There's no money in that for the doctor, like there is with a colonoscopy, for instance. Now there's a little pill: meaning, that drug companies can get rich, rather than pharmacies selling enema kits for $15 a pop. Isn't that what's going on?

Am I wrong here? I'd love to have someone tell me—with documentation—that enemas are ineffective and that pills and medical procedures are actually the best way, but I'm skeptical. I think there's more economics behind these courses of treatment than there is medicine.

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.