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Comment: names happen ... (Score 1) 241

by oneiros27 (#48016079) Attached to: At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

I don't even drink coffee, but when I go with other people, there are plenty of coffee shops out there (some Starbucks, some not) that ask for your name.

It stands out to me, because one of my co-workers ends up with 'Richard' on his cup, because he doesn't want to waste 5 min repeating his name and then trying to tell them how to spell it.

Comment: Re:~/.cshrc (Score 5, Interesting) 208

by oneiros27 (#48008495) Attached to: Apple Yet To Push Patch For "Shellshock" Bug

Oh, you think you're kidding ... but the problem isn't just bash ... it's that Apple uses bash in place of sh.

So most programs that shell out (php, perl, etc) are potentially vulnerable no matter what initial shell they were called from:

csh< env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' perl -e 'system "echo test;"'

Comment: There are lots of types of conferences. (Score 3, Interesting) 182

by oneiros27 (#47965049) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

In my opinion, the larger conferences tend to be a complete waste of time -- they're basically a time for press releases by vendors who want to sell you something. You get the same thing with the mid-sized conferences in the D.C. area with the 'free for government employees' conferences.

My preference is towards mid-sized conferences (under 1000 attendees), where you actually have a chance to get to talk to people and do some networking ... of course, employers don't always like these, as part of the networking may be your finding another job elsewhere.

Really small workshops (20-200 attendees) are very educational, but they're so small that there's generally an expectation that they're more about collaboration and discussion. I've been to a few that were either 'by invitation only' (typically my boss is invited and sends me in his place; for one I talked my way into an invite; another required everyone to submit an abstract and they selected ~50 people to attend based on them). They tend to be strategy related -- what issues does the community need to be aware of & working on.

You also have the more 'academic' vs. 'practical' conferences in some fields ... the academics present on research but often end up missing what I believe are the really key questions that they need to be asking. Practical conferences can also be tiring, if you end up with talk after talk of people coming up with effectively the same solution to a given problem.

From the sounds of things, what you're looking for is training, not conferences. Some conferences do offer training either before, during or after the conference ... and for the pre- / post- stuff, you may not need to register for the main conference.

As for who pays ... it depends. At my work, training is handled seperately from conferences ... for conferences, I get reimbursed for my expenses (travel, hotel, food, registration). For training, I get registration back (provided it meets with their requirements for 'training', but not the rest of it unless it's 'company directed training' (they told me to go, vs. my asking to go). In many cases, I've worked with my manager to get listed as 'teleworking' during the conference, so they'll pay my salary while I'm there, but I pay the rest of the costs.

Comment: Fluxx - reading (Score 1) 173

by oneiros27 (#47949095) Attached to: The Minecraft Parent

My neighbor's kid refused to learn to read ... so I started playing Fluxx with him. (specifically, Zombie Fluxx).

As he had to read the cards to be able to play (or reveal his hand to someone else at the table), it finally pushed him over the edge to read. Once he got to the point where I was fairly certain that he had memorized the cards, we switched to Pirate Fluxx.

These days, he uses his reading skills for reading books on Minecraft -- I saw him at the library last week checking one out.

Comment: Astronomy & physics need IT support (Score 1) 234

by oneiros27 (#47938625) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

I work as a programmer & sysadmin supporting a solar physics archive. Although most scientists these days have to learn how to program to some degree (to be able to analyze their data), there's still a large number of IT people who work in these fields -- as programmers, sysadmins, DBAs, etc.

So, if you're in the Tucson, AZ; Menlo Park, CA; Princeton, NJ; or Seattle, WA area, keep an eye on the LSST hiring page.

There are likely to be other projects out there hiring, but I don't know what their various situations are. (I just know that LSST was soliciting at the last American Astronomical Society meeting). You can also look to universities, especially if you have kids (as future tuition benefits for dependants can be quite significant).

I know a hell of a lot more about astronomy & solar physics than I do before I started this job. I'm by no means an expert in the field, but my work does help the scientists do their research and improve our knowledge of the field.

Comment: People have AMT (Score 2) 324

by oneiros27 (#47921099) Attached to: New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

Corporations can do whatever they can to show no profit, and therefore, no taxes.

If rich people were to try to make enough charitable contributions or whatever other deductions to drop their taxes to zero, they'd still get hit with the Alternative Minimum Tax. (those with a low enough income can still get away with this)

Why don't we have an AMT for companies? A sort of 'if you're making over a billion dollars in gross receipts, you still have to pay the U.S. 10%' or simply 'then these deductions aren't allowable' ... you could have things in there like :

  • Money spent on lobbying
  • Money spent on advertising
  • Salary costs over ~5x minimum wage (calculated per person ... so no hiring a bunch of minimum wage people to offset the CEO's pay)

Obviously, lobbyists and legislators will hate the first one. Newspapers & TV stations will hate the second one.

Comment: Verify servers, maybe switch to low graphics. (Score 1) 151

by oneiros27 (#47894203) Attached to: To prepare for a coronal mass ejection, I ...

Typically, I check on all of my servers to ensure data's flowing. If they're not, I look to how we can fix it or route around any problems.

If I was more worried about the storms, I'd make sure that our development servers were configured to take load from the main production ones, and that we switched off superflous graphics on the websites. With our upgrades after the last Venus Transit, I'm not worried.

But then again, I'm responsible for web & database servers at the Solar Data Analysis Center, so I'm actually worried about trying to make sure that that scientists and public can get to the data as quickly as possible and we don't go down from the load.

Comment: Not all libraries let you check out books (Score 3, Interesting) 102

by oneiros27 (#47882817) Attached to: Top EU Court: Libraries Can Digitize Books Without Publishers' Permission

You can't check out a book from the Library of Congress. There are plenty of other 'non-circulating' books at most public libraries (eg, they won't let you take home volumes from an encyclopedia, textbooks when a teacher has asked that they be put 'on reserve').

What this does is allow libraries & archives to do a few things:

  • Keep backups of their holdings.
  • Reduce risk in letting patrons look at the mateirals (as they don't touch the originals)
  • Reduce long-term costs. (keep the physical books at 'off-site storage' (ie, warehouses in less expensive areas), and not have to worry about how fast it'd take to access them if they're requested).
  • Free up space for other purposes (meeting rooms, computers, etc.) while still having access to the whole collection.
  • Free up librarians. (many archives have 'closed stacks' where you request a book, and a librarian goes down to get it for you ... this means they don't have to do that).

That being said, there are some drawbacks -- if the physical books are being placed into deep storage, they're not getting inspected, so should something go wrong (eg, mold start to develop), it may progress further before someone notices.

I'd actually be interested in seeing the full text of the decision, to see if there are limits as to how many digital copies can be viewed at once -- if a teacher puts a book 'on reserve', and the library scans it ... can 4 students view it simultaneously if the library only owns 3 copies?

Comment: (Score 1) 145

by oneiros27 (#47879097) Attached to: X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday

Yep ... but we get to argue for why we need new hardware when they can't keep up with the load. And many of 'em are intended for 'public outreach', so they justify their continued funding by how many people look at their website, not just how much data they serve, or how many people cite their systems in peer-reviewed papers. (ISWA and iSolSearch may be exceptions to this)

There have been other times that were much worse, such as when a slashdot 'editor' (I use that term loosely) decided to add a comment for people to use one of the movie maker CGIs and set the defaults higher so as to use maximum bandwidth. (and it gave you a slideshow of JPGs, so not nearly as effecient as SDO's premade quicktimes ... and it was back when our network was only on a 100Mbps uplink)

(and I'm listed as a backup sysadmin for one of the systems I linked to ... however, NASA decided I'm not a sysadmin (and kicked me off of the useful mailing lists), in an attempt to get the number of people w/ sysadmin credentials down. (as many scientists were listed as sysadmins, so they could administer their own desktops))

Comment: Predicted propogation ... (Score 3, Informative) 145

by oneiros27 (#47877721) Attached to: X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday

If you want a picture / movie that's actually based on this event's data ... use iSWA.

Select the 'ISEP' tab, and then choose one that mentions 'CME WSA' and looks like a swirl. (there are three of 'em ... pressure, velocity and density ... although I think something went wrong in their pipeline, as the pressure and density ones are *really* glitching out ... I don't know if that's one they generate every 15 mins, though)

You'll notice that even though the center of the cloud is expected to go ahead of the earth, they're predicting it'll be wide enough that we'll still get hit by it.

(disclaimer : I work for the Solar Data Analysis Center at GSFC)

Comment: (Score 5, Informative) 145

by oneiros27 (#47877613) Attached to: X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday

Bah ... it's mostly static content. The sites that get hammered on these sorts of things are:

... etc. The various 'latest images' pages for SDO, SOHO, STEREO, etc. won't be as interesting as the imagers that are that tight in have already seen the good stuff (for that flare; there might be more from that same active region; you can track that at Solar Monitor or iSolSearch)... there *might* be something from this CME still to come in the HI1 and HI2 instruments from STEREO, though.

You might also want to check The Sun Today, which tends to have good explanations of what's happened, and they have a few movies for this event.

(disclaimer : I work at the Solar Data Analysis Center, and have worked on some of the sites that I've mentioned, and know the sysadmins for all but one of 'em)

Comment: Too late for the flare -- the *CME* comes Friday (Score 4, Informative) 145

by oneiros27 (#47877531) Attached to: X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday

Flares are bursts of energy, so they travel at the speed of light -- there's no real early warning for 'em, as by the time you see it, it's here. (there might be a slight warning before you hit the peak of the flare, but we're talking seconds, not days).

The CME is what's coming on Friday ... Coronal *Mass* Ejection ... ie, it's more than just an electro-magnetic pulse ... it actually has mass associated with it.

You might also get some SEP (solar energetic particles) before the main sort of 'cloud' from the CME arrives -- those can be worse for the people in space, as they arrive minutes to hours after the flare, and they'll just go through things in space (eg, spacecraft, space stations, etc.).

disclaimer : I'm not a solar physicist, but I'm a programmer/sysadmin supporting the Solar Data Analysis Center at GSFC.

Comment: Intellectual Property Tax! (Score 1) 348

by oneiros27 (#47874347) Attached to: When Scientists Give Up

Your comments got me thinking -- if people want to treat 'intellectual property' as 'property', then shouldn't it be subject to property taxes?

Of course, the problem with both of our ideas is that the companies would do exactly what they've been doing with their logos -- spin off a company in another country, give the IP to that company, and then rent the use of the IP back to the original company. (thereby reducing the profits of the main company, reducing their tax burden ... and the spin-off is in a low tax country, so it's almost pure profit over there).

In 1869 the waffle iron was invented for people who had wrinkled waffles.