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Comment: Re:So close, so far (Score 1) 554

by nmb3000 (#48426715) Attached to: "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

We have come so far since feminism began, but then stuff like this still happens... How could anyone, in 2014, have thought this was acceptable?

I can't help but feel like this whole thing is getting horribly blown out of proportion, more than likely due to a SJW invasion (does it have some absurd hash tag yet?)

I haven't read the book, but based on TFA:

  • It looks like they decided to put Barbie in a design position with other people doing the actual computer programming. This is not unusual in the real world.
  • The roles of designers and developers are in some many polar opposites. Is it that hard to believe that the female brain might often be better at aesthetics, usability, gameplay, and what the target audience (which, based on "cute puppies and colored blocks", sounds predisposed towards younger girls) thinks would be fun? And perhaps the male brain is better at abstract logic and systems interaction? I'm not saying everyone falls into those buckets, just that it's common. And from what I've seen on the job, this is not unusual in the real world.
  • The two programmers Barbie enlists happen to be male. Since a large majority of software developers in the world are male (especially in school), this is not that unusual.
  • The side-story about the computer virus is absurd, but it just sounds like it was written by someone who doesn't know anything about computers or viruses, other than what they hear on the evening news ("A new lethal computer virus is sweeping the globe, deleting files and murdering kittens! Film at 11." The portrayal of computer maladies in fiction is pretty bad in general, so this is also not that unusual.
  • Finally, this is Barbie FFS. Anyone who buys into that franchise and expects cutting-edge challenge of social norms is just self-deluded (might explain the attraction to SJWs...).

All in all, it looks like a cutesy little story written by someone who knows almost nothing about computers, probably has no interest in computers themselves, and subconciously wrote the story around their personal experiences of (1) most computer geeks are male, (2) computer viruses are scary, and (3) "it's Barbie, so who's going to really give a damn?"

This kind of stuff just isn't worth the heartache and venom people are throwing at it. Take a breath, put it in perspective, and move on.

(Besides, what people should be up in arms over is the picture of Tux on the front cover! A virus taking over Linux? Inconceivable! :)

Comment: Re:No longer a day one purchase (Score 1) 472

by nmb3000 (#48411655) Attached to: Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

Yeah, as it turns out, "from time to time" means (in the dev's words): "At the moment it's whenever you need to conduct a server moderated transaction like trading." and "The servers handle more than just the data, they handle all the key processes for interaction in the game, so trading, mission generation and background simulation to name a few."

Oh hey, so it's exactly like every other MMO, including WoW. The client is basically a dumb terminal which renders graphics and plays sound, but as soon as you do something like sell to a vendor, or cast a spell or use an ability, a check is fired off to the server to make sure that your character is in a valid state to perform those actions, and then the result of the actions are sent back to the client for rendering. To do it any other way is just inviting people to cheat.

From what I can tell, their "single player" sounds more like the normal MMO, except that you can't see any other players even though their actions continue to have an effect on the game world. Seems like they're using baldfaced lies to do damage control.


Big Talk About Small Samples 243

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: My last article garnered some objections from readers saying that the sample sizes were too small to draw meaningful conclusions. (36 out of 47 survey-takers, or 77%, said that a picture of a black woman breast-feeding was inappropriate; while in a different group, 38 out of 54 survey-takers, or 70%, said that a picture of a white woman breast-feeding was inappropriate in the same context.) My conclusion was that, even on the basis of a relatively small sample, the evidence was strongly against a "huge" gap in the rates at which the surveyed population would consider the two pictures to be inappropriate. I stand by that, but it's worth presenting the math to support that conclusion, because I think the surveys are valuable tools when you understand what you can and cannot demonstrate with a small sample. (Basically, a small sample can present only weak evidence as to what the population average is, but you can confidently demonstrate what it is not.) Keep reading to see what Bennett has to say.

3D Printed Art Smaller Than an Ant's Forehead 35

Posted by timothy
from the my-usual-measure-is-a-newt's-nostril dept.
ErnieKey (3766427) writes Artist Jonty Hurwitz has created the world's smallest sculptures: nanosculptures, no wider than a human hair and unable to be seen without an electron microscope, created using a specialized 3D printing process. Hurwitz says this project was 'Art, literally created with Quantum Physics.' While this seems quite a claim, it seems to be very well deserved. Hurwitz enlisted a team of approximately 15 people to help him bring his vision to life. After scanning his models in a 200-camera array, the sculptures were printed — with advice from the Weizmann Institute of Science — using a 3D print technique by the Institute of Microstructure Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, with multiphoton lithography used for the fine detail work.

Comment: Sad (Score 4, Insightful) 337

by nmb3000 (#48390303) Attached to: Philae's Batteries Have Drained; Comet Lander Sleeps

When you stop and think about the fact that the Rosetta project was launched over ten years ago (something I didn't realize until recently), it's hard not to feel sorry for the scientists and others on the project.

The statements the ESA is putting out have a positive spin on them (for multiple reasons, I'm sure), but at the end of the day this has got to be a pretty hard blow to the people personally invested in the project. After the effort required just to get it launched and a decade of waiting, it must be hard on them. Wish them the best of luck for a second chance when the comet nears the Sun.

Comment: Re:Can't wait for this! (Score 2) 327

by nmb3000 (#48357191) Attached to: Mozilla Updates Firefox With Forget Button, DuckDuckGo Search, and Ads

What is Firefox thinking? From the last paragraph in the article: "Firefox users should 'expect a lot more experimentation in advertising,' Mozilla Senior Engineering Manager Gavin Sharp told VentureBeat."

If you want to raise your blood pressure and really ruin your outlook of Firefox's future, go read some of Gavin Sharp's comments on various Bugzilla bugs. Seeing the justification for the removal of features and the addition of toxic features ruins my day every time I'm driving there to try and understand why something changed.

Gavin and the others like him that simply want to turn Firefox into Mini-Chrome are the biggest threat to Firefox today.


Researchers Simulate Monster EF5 Tornado 61

Posted by Soulskill
from the any-way-the-wind-blows dept.
New submitter Orp writes: I am the member of a research team that created a supercell thunderstorm simulation that is getting a lot of attention. Presented at the 27th Annual Severe Local Storms Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, Leigh Orf's talk was produced entirely as high def video and put on YouTube shortly after the presentation. In the simulation, the storm's updraft is so strong that it essentially peels rain-cooled air near the surface upward and into the storm's updraft, which appears to play a key role in maintaining the tornado. The simulation was based upon the environment that produced the May 24, 2011 outbreak which included a long-track EF5 tornado near El Reno Oklahoma (not to be confused with the May 31, 2013 EF5 tornado that killed three storm researchers).

Comment: Re:Team Fortress (Score 2) 183

by nmb3000 (#48336747) Attached to: Blizzard Announces Overwatch, a First-Person Shooter

Looks like team fortress 2, albeit with less hats.

I kinda got a feel of TF2 + World of Warcraft, at least for gameplay and art direction. The energy/magic effects, armor style, and voice acting were very WoW while the combat, classes, cartoony cell-shading, and gameplay looked very much like TF2. There's a damned Gnome building a sentry gun FFS.

I'd guess it will be one of those games that's poorly received (or completely flops) because it's really just a conglomeration of ideas from previously successful games and most players will get a strong feel of "been there, done that." Whatever happens, hopefully they can avoid the horrible micro-monetization that's poisoned TF2 but knowing Activition-Blizzard that seems unlikely.


Why the Time Is Always Set To 9:41 In Apple Ads 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the ticking-away-the-moments-that-make-up-a-dull-day dept.
jones_supa writes If you have looked carefully, the clock has traditionally been always set to 9:42 in Apple advertisements. You could see it across various commercials, print ads, and even on Apple's website. The explanation is simple: That's the time in the morning that Steve Jobs announced the very first iPhone in 2007. Around 42 minutes into his keynote address he said "Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone." The picture of the phone was carefully scheduled to pop up at that moment. "We design the keynotes so that the big reveal of the product happens around 40 minutes into the presentation", Apple's Scott Forstall confirms. The time was even slightly tweaked in 2010, when the very first iPad was released, so that when it was revealed, it displayed a different time: 9:41.

An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man 342

Posted by timothy
from the that-trick's-not-so-weird dept.
Any gathering of 65,000 people in the desert is going to require some major infrastructure to maintain health and sanity. At Burning Man, some of that infrastructure is devoted to a supply chain for ice. Writes Bennett Haselton, The lines for ice bags at Burning Man could be cut from an hour long at peak times, to about five minutes, by making one small... Well, read the description below of how they do things now, and see if the same suggested change occurs to you. I'm curious whether it's the kind of idea that is more obvious to students of computer science who think algorithmically, or if it's something that could occur to anyone. Read on for the rest; Bennett's idea for better triage may bring to mind a lot of other queuing situations and ways that time spent waiting in line could be more efficiently employed.

Comment: Re:Yawn (Score 4, Insightful) 94

by nmb3000 (#48120249) Attached to: How Poor Punctuation Can Break Windows

While this article did kinda make me roll my eyes, it's not quite as simple as that.

The basic idea they're saying is that if a user can create a directory with an arbitrary name (which is normal for a file-server), and that later on an Admin runs a maintenance script which doesn't quote input correctly, arbitrary user commands can be executed with administrative permissions.

So user does:

D:\Users\b\bob123> md "Foo&evil_command"

Days, weeks, months later, an admin decides to run a cleanup/repoting batch file that was written in 1996:

D:\Users> C:\Scripts\cleanup.bat

If the script descends into the filesystem and somewhere in that script is the line: SET CurDir=%CD%, then the effective command SET CurDir=Foo&evil_command is executed.

The end result is that evil_command is invoked by the admin. If the admin is a domain admin and that command happened to be net localgroup "Domain Admins" domain\bob123 /domain, then bob has just been added to the Domain Admins group.

It's an absurdly tiny problem compared to the Bash shell exploit, but it is in fact a violation of security boundaries. Raymond's airtight hatchway stories are when no boundary has been crossed.


2014 Nobel Peace Prize Awarded To Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-guess-somebody-thought-of-the-children dept.
An anonymous reader writes: This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been given to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay for fighting to protect the rights of children and further their education. Yousafzay, at the age of 17, is the youngest recipient of the Peace Prize. Born and raised in Pakistan, she actively campaigned for girls' rights to education. In 2012, the Taliban shot her in the head, but she survived and continued her struggle. Satyarthi, a 60-year-old from India, has led many peaceful protests to fight against child slavery and illiteracy. "Satyarthi estimates that 60 million children in India, or 6 percent of the population, are forced into work. This, he believes, has nothing to do with parental poverty, illiteracy or ignorance. Above all, children are enslaved because employers benefit by getting their labour for free or for a pittance." This year's Nobel Peace Prize awards are also notable for bringing together an Indian and a Pakistani while their respective governments sustain a military conflict along a stretch of border between their countries.

Comment: Re:As well they should. (Score 2) 243

by nmb3000 (#48085985) Attached to: 2014 Nobel Prize In Physics Awarded To the Inventors of the Blue LED

Any particular reason you linked back to this very article

He just messed up and made the link relative.

Green Light Drives Leaf Photosynthesis More Efficiently than Red Light in Strong White Light: Revisiting the Enigmatic Question of Why Leaves are Green

IANAB, but I think the crux of this article is on the phrase "in strong white light".

Because green light can penetrate further into the leaf than red or blue light, in strong white light,
any additional green light absorbed by the lower chloroplasts would increase leaf photosynthesis to a
greater extent than would additional red or blue light.

So perhaps green light is more effective outdoors, but in an environment only lit by artificial light, green light is probably not the most effective (unless maybe you use both a powerful white light AND a green light?).

Comment: Re:CloudFlare is a nightmare for anonymity (Score 2) 67

by nmb3000 (#48028363) Attached to: CloudFlare Announces Free SSL Support For All Customers

CloudFlare is a nightmare for anonymity

Not only anonymity, but privacy as well.

Try browsing around with your browser's Referer header disabled (or spoofed to be empty/google/etc). You'll run into sites that either (1) won't load at all, only showing a "CloudFlare security page" that totally blocks access, or (2) have content that won't load due to CloudFlare's default referrer blocking settings. I assume (2) is to prevent "hotlinking" (aka - "using the Web"), but it prevents scripts, styles, etc from loading. However the first behavior (blocking anyone without a Referer header) is complete bullshit.

Using NoScript on a CloudFlare site can also be a nightmare. They have their own absolutely batshit absurd scripting thing call Rocket Loader. The only impression I've gotten from it so far is that it makes script whitelisting difficult and user-scripts even worse.

I can appreciate the primary selling points of CloudFlare (CDN, DDoS protection), but they do a lot more to interfere with site web traffic. The default settings for a site are also probably too aggressive.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro..." -- Hunter S. Thompson