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Comment Re:Hmmmm (Score 3, Interesting) 721

And from the other Slashdot discussion, a picture of Linus and Greg sitting together. Wow, Linus wasn't kidding. Greg KH is enormous! I don't mean fat, I mean, literally he does appear to be a giant. Unless there's something weird about that camera perspective it's not totally surprising that Linus may have made a joke along the lines of "you should be scared of Greg".

Comment Hmmmm (Score 5, Interesting) 721

It took a hell of a lot of digging, but it seems to have started with this thread, way back in 2013.

Now, I'm all for professional communication, and emails can be easy to misinterpret, but this looks like a bit of an over-reaction. Someone commented that they send patches to Greg KH because Linus scares him, but added a winkey smiley afterwards, i.e. not really all that scary. Then Linus made a joke about Greg being big and squishing people that may or may not be playful or insulting, without knowing much about the relationship between these guys it's hard to say. Squish is hardly a word you use when you're really angry though.

And then Linus and Ingo gently tick off Greg and says he should be tougher, Linus says Greg is acting like a "door mat" and says "You may need to learn to say no to people". Ingo says "be frank with contributors and sometimes swear a bit". Probably this discussion would be held off list in a more traditional corporate environment to avoid embarrassing Greg (though "you are too nice" is not that embarrassing), but he takes it in his stride and agrees to be tougher.

OK, so far, just another day in open source land? Well, then Sarah Sharp flies off the handle and says:

Seriously, guys? Is this what we need in order to get improved -stable? Linus Torvalds is advocating for physical intimidation and violence. Ingo Molnar and Linus are advocating for verbal abuse.

Not *fucking* cool. Violence, whether it be physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse is not acceptable. Keep it professional on the mailing lists.

What the heck? The only thing she could be referring to this thread so far has been Linus talking about Greg being a giant who might "squish you without even noticing". Nobody could seriously interpret that as advocating for violence unless you were so unbelievably literal you'd be unable to handle ordinary conversations.

And then there's the conflation of "verbal abuse" with "violence". These are two words that mean very different things. And finally the assertion that by trying to make jokes (perhaps not very well), Linus and Ingo were being unprofessional. Not surprisingly, Linus had a problem with this claim.

Now I don't know, probably this could have been avoided if the discussion with Greg had been private. But it seems Sharp would have let rip at some other point if someone else made an off-colour joke. I can believe LKML is a tough environment, but this isn't the best evidence possible. Perhaps there have been other incidents, but as Sharp doesn't list any, it's hard to say.

Comment Re:Before anyone bangs on about bedallions and so (Score 1) 211

You've fatally misunderstood Uber's business model and why they do what they do.

Uber is not anti-regulation and does not engage in a "race to the bottom" where they ignore the fact that some cab drivers are crappy.

Rather, Uber is the regulator and prevents the race to the bottom in entirely different and more modern ways. Instead of using the (literally) steam-era approach of forcing cab drivers to memorise street maps, they use GPS. Instead of setting high and constant fees with mandated pickup to make prices predictable, they use global knowledge of supply and demand to show you a price ahead of time. Instead of attempting to judge a cabbies integrity and character through some bullshit interview process they gather real time feedback from actual riders.

To see Uber as anti-regulation is to miss the point. They are merely a much better regulator that uses 21st century tools.

Comment Re:Against the law (Score 1) 211

The correct process for Uber and the like to take is to challenge the unjust, anti-competetive laws first, potentially citing public demand for their services

How do they demonstrate public demand for their services if they haven't got any customers yet? And why do you think the taxicab regulators in each jurisdiction where they do this would care even one tiny bit?

It'd be great if all you had to do to get dumb regulations dismissed was 'challenge' them. I used to think this way too - surely these people are just reasonable and they can just be talked to? Then they'll see the light?

But if it was so easy, it'd have been done years ago already. It's not. You can't simply change laws by arguing in front of a court that the laws are dumb, especially not against entrenched interests. Only massive public support can change these things, and to get that, you need happy customers.

Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 4, Informative) 330

Instead of rejecting the payment outright and freezing the card, text message my phone IMMEDIATELY and I can read a 6 digit code to the cashier to allow the transaction

How about an even better solution - insert your card into a reader, type in your PIN and that's the two factors right there. You know...... the system that's already used everywhere in the world except for America? It works pretty well. I think the USA is starting to roll it out now, albeit a slightly crippled form of it (they managed to take the 2-factor system everyone else uses and make it 1-factor).

Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1, Interesting) 330

Yeah, it is completely broken. This is a problem more or less specific to America.

I have several cards. I travel constantly. I have never, not once, told my bank where I am going and I have never, not once, had my card declined.

How do they achieve this witchcraft? Well,

1. The cards are all EMV. The magstripe can be cloned, but you can't use it in most countries (other than America)

2. Many online purchases are protected by 3D-Secure, which basically just lets your bank put a login/ID verification screen after the card number is entered

3. Their fraud models expect people to travel whereas lots of Americans don't

Comment Re:I can understand the change in motto (Score 1) 245

It dates from the really early days when Google was basically just a bunch of engineers doing R&D. It was cutesy, the brand they went for was cutesy, it fitted.

The problem with it IMO is that, basically, too many people can't handle it. "Evil" is a really high bar. It's a word that smells objective. But not many business activities really qualify for such a strong word. Drone striking a wedding is evil. When Microsoft tried to take over and then kill off the web (or rather, progress in the web) because they wanted everyone to write Windows apps instead of using open infrastructure, that was roaming around in the general area, maybe, if we want to be hyperbolic. Though it's debatable.

Changing the colour scheme in Gmail is clearly not evil. Attempting to integrate social features of products together is not evil, even if you didn't like it. But unfortunately as Google got big enough it reached the point where basically any change resulted in this motto being thrown back in their face. So it ended up being meaningless. Someone saying "don't be evil" just became some sort of trite cliche. Worse, internally some of its own employees would tend to describe any action they didn't like as "evil" which of course wasn't great for team building and morale (I used to work there so I saw this problem in action many times).

I'm not surprised they have eventually changed it, although even that change will itself be described as evil in a sort of implosion of recursive irony. "Do the right thing" might seem watered down, but by taking out the cartoon emotive character assassination words, it sets a probably more realistic goal by accepting that "the right thing" is inherently subjective and debatable.

Comment Re:NRA and gun control (Score 1) 1146

The original compromise that SAF tried to broker with the Manchin-Toomey bill made some sense: what they were trying to pull off there is universal background checks combined with national reciprocity for concealed carry, and a well-defined system to challenge and remove (when justified) legal restrictions on gun ownership on felons, drug users etc after a reasonable time period and after a court review (they're currently banned for life with no recourse in most cases). It sunk because carry reciprocity was rejected by the anti-gun groups.

Comment Re:For the Record (Score 1) 1146

Um, Oregon has universal background checks, for starters. That alone puts it in the "more restrictive than average" category. Otherwise it's a fairly typical law, with permits for concealed carry, and open carry allowed without permits but with some restrictions.

Comment Re: Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1146

Push guns underground, and they become much more expensive and risky to buy. Why not just divert all the money and resources in the "war on drugs" into the "war on guns", and it'd be won inside a decade, I reckon.

It won't, really. Guns are actually easier / less dangerous to make than most drugs (that require labs to produce, or farms to grow, or both).

Here is a shotgun that can be made out of two pieces of pipe and a screw, readily available in any hardware store, not requiring any machining skills and minimal assembly. It's single-shot, but it's so cheap to make that a spree killer could easily make a dozen or two, preload them, and just use and discard them one by one.

Here is a book detailing how to make a fully automatic 9mm submachine gun at home, with no machining, out of pipes and other stuff also readily available from any hardware store. Its only deficiency compared to the "real thing" is that it has a smooth bore, not rifled - which will not matter in the least if used at distances under 50 yards or so, or against a crowd. We know that it works because the author has sufficiently made and tested one - and ended up in prison for it, being a UK citizen.

The only thing that can be realistically regulated is ammo. Even then you're looking at modern smokeless powder rounds with primers - cases can be reloaded, and bullets can be cast, and smokeless powder can be made, but primers are complicated. OTOH, black powder cap and ball revolvers are much more low-tech, and yet still quite deadly.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1146

And do you really think a darkened room full of amateur gun owners opening return fire is going to in any way lessen the death toll? Against a gunman with body armour?

It probably would, actually. Even the best armor doesn't make you immune to bullets - penetration or not, all that energy has to go somewhere, and when the bullet hits an armor plate, it's basically translated to a very heavy and rapid punch of the plate against the body. This results in, at the very least, a massive hematoma, and quite possibly in broken ribs, depending on what exactly the round was.

Alternatively, if this is soft armor (e.g. kevlar alone - what police typically use unless it's SWAT), then the bullet actually creates a bump on the other side that can easily be 2-3 inches deep - and if there's body behind the plate, then that's what gets protruded by said bump. There are safety standards that define the maximum size of such bumps, but their point is to make sure the person wearing the armor survives, not that they're not damaged at all.

So yes, several people unloading handguns at the armored shooter at the same time would, at the very least, knock him down and hurt him significantly, possibly enough to buy more time for others to get out of the way, and possibly even to disable and subdue him.

FWIW, the Aurora shooter wasn't actually wearing body armor. He had a plate carrier that was capable of accepting armor plates, but he didn't actually have them in it, using it simply as a load bearing vest. He did have armor on some other parts of the body (head, neck, legs), so it's probably because he was buying things without understanding what they are, and bought a plate carrier thinking that it is armor.

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