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Comment Re:Applications? (Score 4, Interesting) 47

Maybe not simply 'installed', but if you use multiple browers to authenticate to the same website, and they have ways to insert tracking code on that website (such as from ad networks), they could easily link the two browsers.

Snowden's advice about blocking ad networks for security purposes actually makes perfect sense.

Comment Don't even need to board it ... (Score 5, Informative) 400

The sign is when they won't let you check-in online.

My neighbor's kid has the same name as an IRA terrorist ... so they had to go through loads of crap every time, to explain that he's 3 ... he might be a terror, but he's not a terrorist.

I don't know if they still have problems flying with him or not. (He's now in high school)

This is part of the reason why the 'there are only (x) number of people on the terrorist watchlist' is problematic -- you have (x) people with (y) permutations of their aliases which means (z) people are stopped every time ... except for the people who we deem *so* dangerous that we don't want them to find out they're being watch ... so they're allowed to fly.

Comment Re:Erm (Score 3, Insightful) 37

Robot Wars (1998) was based on BattleBots (2000)?

If Craig Charles had a way to go back into the past, why didn't he tell his younger self to invent the Tension Sheet? (or warn him not to do drugs or what got him thrown into jail)

If you want the obvious sign, look at how many Brits were competing on BattleBots, and how few Americans were on the early seasons of Robot Wars.

Oh ... and 'minibots' were allowed in the original BattleBots -- you were allowed extra weight, but the bots had to be able to start out joined, and have some way to re-join, if I remember correctly. (I considered entering years ago, but it'd been a decade since I read all of the rules about gas engines vs. electric drive, wheeled vs. walking, etc.)

Comment Brittle books don't mix w/ a flat spine (Score 1) 221

If you're dealing with old books, you want a scanner than can cradle the book without opening it up flat.

And 60 pages per minute is actually pretty slow for these scanners. As you're imaging two pages at once, you only need to approach a page flip a second to get 120 pages/minute:

Note that the costs have gone up since that article was written. It used to be $500+electronics ... it's now $1200 + electronics + shipping. (as it's no longer someone doing it in his free time, and now a company doing it ... but it also now comes painted).

If you have access to a plywood cutting machine, all of the cutting patterns are available under GPL:

But as it holds the pages flat (with glass that presses down on the pages), rather than the book's spine flat, you don't have to worry about trying to correct for the distortion from curved pages. (or damage your books in the process)

Comment Did they really have to use that image? (Score 1) 188

SDO/AIA has a strange design that results in internal reflections at high intensities ... resulting in that abnormal lens-flare like effect.

And besides ... the 131Angstrom images have a rather strange color palette. Most people stick with 304, 171-ish or 193-ish. (and to make it more confusing, the AIA color tables for ~171 and ~193 don't match SOHO/EIT and STEREO/EUVI)

I mean, I'm thankful they didn't use that early EIT 304 filament image from before they were properly accounting for the burn-in at the limb ... but that 131 flare image sucks, too.

Comment If you can't deal, don't use UTC (Score 3, Insightful) 291

There are plenty of systems for time that *don't* involve leap seconds.

If your system's too crappy to be able to deal with leap seconds or you don't have a way to update them, use TAI or GPS time.

Don't screw with the definition of UTC just because you can't handle the complexities of it. It's not like someone's forcing you to use UTC, UT1R, or one of the other UT systems that are specifically intended to deal with issues of local noon.

(disclaimer: I work for a group that deals with solar observations*)

* and even one of them almost screwed the pooch and didn't distribute the update for the June/July 2015 leap second until 3 days before it happened ... and of course it was compiled in (for speed, they claimed**) rather than be an external file.

** if it really was for speed, then they need to flip their giant if/then structure so it starts in the present and walks backwards in time, rather than how they're doing it now where it runs dozens of tests that will always fail for a spacecraft that wasn't launched 'til 2010.

Comment investing in staff (Score 1) 229

When I first started in IT 20+ years ago, there was enough down-time that you could get your workload done, and have enough time to learn whatever the new greatest thing was. Hell, they'd even pay you to go to training to get up to speed on whatever they wanted you to implement next.

These days, it seems that the norm is to try to squeeze the maximum that you can out of each person until they burn out. If they're willing to fork out any money for training, they make you sign something so that if you leave in the next couple of years, you have to pay them back for it.

As for the new tech -- I think it's both related to the hype curve (implementing something in Perl isn't as sexy as something in Ruby or whatever the current flavor of the month is), and because CIOs are the same as any manager -- they have to try to make a name for themselves, and just having the existing systems work, even if tweaked to make them seem a little bit better isn't nearly as impressive on a resume as 'provided vision for (boondoggle new project)'.

Comment You're on the wrong mailing lists. (Score 1) 204

There are a number of mailing lists for librarians in various fields. I'm on multiple ones for the type of science that I support. (some more specific than others). Most of ones I'm on will get you a PDF within a day, often within an hour or two.

Mind you, there's also the rare cases of trying to track down articles when you don't have the full reference, or trying to find translations of articles ... those don't always come through. Or when the 'official' version being distributed is a scan, and they need someone to find the print version so they can get a clearer scan for a diagram, or in color ... those are starting to take longer and longer as libraries get rid of their print archives.

The thing with ILL though, is that it has to be library-to-library, so non-librarians can't be the ones making contact for the exchange. Personally, I think it'd be easier to set up a repository in the country that's allowed to ignore US copyright (Antigua/Barbuda), and make it all self-service.

Comment I'm with Jeff Atwood on this (Score 5, Insightful) 217

It's one things to say that all schools would have to require it as an elective (which means they have to deal w/ trying to find qualified teachers, etc).

But requiring all students to learn it? Hell no. Jeff is right, it's just another skill. Sure, it's great that I rebuilt a lawn mower engine back in high school ... but we didn't even spend a full semester on that.

Every time some new 'requirement' comes along, something else is going to need to get bumped -- how many schools still have a shop class, or home ec? I'd much rather see home economics be a requirement again, and bring in some lessons on compound interest, savings, and why gambling and money lenders suck, rather than just cooking & sewing. (and if it were all about saving money, then shop class should count as 'home ec', too).

If you want more people to take programming classes ... reclassify it as a foreign language. Then kids could decide to take it instead of French or Spanish, without it meaning that they need yet another class to graduate.

Comment [citation needed] (Score 1) 176

I'm assuming that the intentionally vague title is just more slashdot trolling.

The UK government it talking about it -- the US government is requiring all government agencies to stop using HTTP, while ignoring the problems it might cause.

They're trying to get us to all go to HTTPS, but I'm planning on making everything available over FTP instead.

Comment Biased IQ tests (Score 1) 445

Talented & Gifted programs are specifically high-IQ (as they're based on the same rules that set up special education classes for low-IQ students).

IQ tests have been shown to be culturally biased (and thus indirectly racially biased), as there's an assumption that people will have certain cultural knowledge & norms.

Take for instance the question "What are the four seasons?". For someone in Alaska, when they hear 'seasons' they might not think about the winter/spring/summer/autumn cycle, but might instead respond with hunting/trapping periods (moose, fishing, etc.).

Questions about nature might be easy for someone who lives in a rural or suburban area, but more difficult for someone who lives in an inner-city.

Questions about place settings at a dinner table (eg, cup & saucer) might be easier for someone from a higher socio-economic group than for someone who is food-insecure.

These may not be direct racial bias, but they can negatively skew test scores for people of non-European descent.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato