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Comment: Because Congressmen retaliate. (Score 2) 200

by mbkennel (#48612247) Attached to: NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower
I have family members who worked in NASA at high levels.

NASA has no power compared to a powerful Congresdroid scorned.

The consequences to NASA for publicly embarrassing Congressdroids over embarrassing pork insisted upon by such droids would be so much worse. The retaliation droids would in return destroy the primary science goals and missions of NASA.

Stennis was mentioned, back many years ago, as a prime geographical centroid of pork though hardly the only one.

Comment: Re:She's.. (Score 2) 235

by mbkennel (#48246575) Attached to: Ex-CBS Reporter Claims Government Agency Bugged Her Computer
| If I were a government spook and I was trying to crack a reporter's computer, I would use an off-the-shelf exploit, not something that pointed straight back at the government. I presume that computer spooks know where the black-hat marketplaces are, and thus where to buy new cracks as they go up for sale.

They weren't interested in exfiltrating information off her computer.

If you were a apparatchik and wanted to Send A Message, you'd use whatever you had conveniently available and was ready to use, and not something which could be dismissed as an accidental hack.

Why did Putin have that defector assassinated in London with polonium of all things? Why not an auto accident or a "robbery"? To make it absolutely clear who did it.

Note that this malware may be something 'off the shelf' for certain agencies (e.g. FBI/DHS). The government is large and heterogenous, with distinctly different motives and management. The people who really get into the nitty gritty of the black hat malware and know how to use it. (e.g. NSA) could be distinct from the ones who get "weaponized" malware ready to use in a package, "For Official Use Only".

Comment: Re:The Internet is our best weapon (Score 1) 289

by mbkennel (#48216979) Attached to: Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

| It is slow, but very sure to penetrate and destroy dictatorships and repressive governments worldwide.

Indeed, as a political tool, the largest success has been when very successfully deployed by ultra-fundamentalists to destroy dictatorships and repressive governments for the benefit of totalitarian religious repression and atrocity.

Other than that, has there been any political outcome successful by the values of Western states? I am unaware of any.

Comment: Re:PARC monument (Score 1) 121

by mbkennel (#48207311) Attached to: Xerox Alto Source Code Released To Public
| If the original Macintosh had shipped with a Smalltalk interpreter in ROM, the world would be a hugely different place.

It would have been 2x as expensive and 5x as slow, and a flop.

All the original Mac programs were exceptionally hand-optimized 68000 assembly.

On his NeXT project, Jobs had Objective-C built in, whose object model is nearly Smalltalk, at a time when C++ was the overwhelmingly dominant object-oriented language. And so NeXT had the first major commercial operating system with a serious object-oriented API---and in 1989, programming and using the NeXT was so far ahead of everybody else other than the commercially irrelevant Lisp machines.

So I don't think Jobs was as ignorant as one imagines---he surely heard from people who knew the deep details.

Comment: "general market" computers (Score 1) 121

by mbkennel (#48207193) Attached to: Xerox Alto Source Code Released To Public
meaning that they would be competitive and useful to the commercial and scientific markets simultaneously. IBM was thinking in the monetary sense, which makes sense as a business.

A small embedded CPU in a radiation-hardened box is a 'general purpose computer' by the theoretical definition but nobody would buy one to play games and do the wide variety of tasks a PC does today.

Comment: Re:A better link for the story (Score 1) 571

by mbkennel (#48152845) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

"Overall, McGuire says the Lockheed design “takes the good parts of a lot of designs.” It includes the high beta configuration, the use of magnetic field lines arranged into linear ring “cusps” to confine the plasma and “the engineering simplicity of an axisymmetric mirror,” he says. The “axisymmetric mirror” is created by positioning zones of high magnetic field near each end of the vessel so that they reflect a significant fraction of plasma particles escaping along the axis of the CFR. “We also have a recirculation that is very similar to a Polywell concept,” he adds, referring to another promising avenue of fusion power research. A Polywell fusion reactor uses electromagnets to generate a magnetic field that traps electrons, creating a negative voltage, which then attract positive ions. The resulting acceleration of the ions toward the negative center results in a collision and fusion. "

The axisymmetric mirrors are obviously the traditional fusion mirror part of it, but there's some other recirculation technology which is the secret sauce.

The Wikipedia page on Polywell reactors describes a difference between "magnetic mirror" and "cusp confinement" mechanisms.

Comment: Re:wow (Score 1) 571

by mbkennel (#48152575) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

Humans, the species, will biologically survive. That's not an issue.

Human technological civilization, supporting 10 billion people, could collapse with a 98% die-off. That's a big enough catastrophe for me and there's still 200 million left. (Far, far, more than the gorillas.)

And yes, large scale global warming (we are straight on 'worst case scenario') and nuclear war are the most likely potential catastrophes. Fighting over dwindling oil and cool could do it.

Many crops die with excessive night time temperatures.

Comment: It is serious but also concerning (Score 1) 571

by mbkennel (#48152227) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

It is now asking for partners.

"McGuire said the company had several patents pending for the work and was looking for partners in academia, industry and among government laboratories to advance the work.

Lockheed said it had shown it could complete a design, build and test it in as little as a year, which should produce an operational reactor in 10 years, McGuire said. A small reactor could power a U.S. Navy warship, and eliminate the need for other fuel sources that pose logistical challenges."

If it had something really excellent, they would't be looking for partners. The original deal for Lockheed was to make a reactor to sell to the Navy.

Comment: Re:what if there was a better monetary incentive (Score 1) 144

| For fuck's sake, you can make near $200k by writing shitty PHP right now.

No you can't. My employer hires in what is supposed to be the hottest, and hardest to hire, part of technology, now called "data scientist".

Entry level is about $85-90K in California. And this entry level means, PhD in hard science from a good university, and often a couple of years of postdoc at a major lab. No relocation paid either, local hires only. And there's never been a problem finding a pipeline of very good to brilliant hires.

Comment: the biggest underrepresented group (Score 1) 227

programmers over age 40.

Now the companies have no easy excuse about the 'education pipeline' or any such nonsense, when there are plenty of applicants with both experience, knowledge, and a strong intent and interest.

And yet.....

Somehow this discrimination, which is overt and very deep, doesn't ever matter.

Comment: exactly the problem (Score 1) 352

by mbkennel (#47884963) Attached to: Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

Microsoft should be doing everything in its power to make the one brand that people like to be the powerful, single name.

Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 930 ------------> the Nokia.

  "Let me Google it(*) on my Nokia". Metro/Modern/Surface/WinPhone -> NokiaOS. There are NO WINDOWS on the interface!

The next brand down they have is Skype.

You're already carrying the sphere!