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Comment: Re:But you can still (Score 1) 683

by overshoot (#47407515) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

Ask yourself: what does the TSA do to detect iron oxide and aluminum? (Much less magnesium! MacBooks, anyone?)

They've known about this for years. They have quite competent "red team" people who think up possible threats, and they're not remotely so stupid as to believe that the Bad Guys can't think up this kind of thing themselves. Ask a classroom of sophomore-level engineering students to come up with ways to get plane-killers aboard and this is one of the first ones -- although it's a very, very long list.

However, stopping thermite from getting onboard is going to be way more of a public inconvenience than their mission statement allows.

Comment: Re:It's the politics (Score 1) 702

by overshoot (#47393185) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

Most of the AGW activists are pursuing political agendas that have a limited connection to AGW. Here are some questions to ask yourself - Why are AGW activists not actively pursuing increased hydroelectric power? Why are AGW activists not actively pursuing increased nuclear power?

Mostly because they're not interested in mandating specific aproaches. Instead of the old-fashioned approach of Nixon's EPA, they're going for market-based solutions: putting a price on carbon emissions, for instance. Or a conservative variant on that, George H. W. Bush's cap-and-trade mechanism updated by John McCain for carbon dioxide.

Or the most recent study's proposal: just eliminating taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels would get us halfway to the 2-degree target.

Comment: Re:Highway Only to Speed Deployment (Score 1) 142

by overshoot (#47388557) Attached to: Autonomous Trucking

First off, the ping rate for auto traffic is an enormous number of pulse durations or return times -- the radar will ignore returns coming back more than a couple of microseconds after it sends its last ping, and only needs to ping every few tens of milliseconds. That's a window of less than 0.1%.

If a car detects a return in a "forbidden" time slot, it can just switch to not using that frequency. Or use the kind of random backoff that Ethernet has been using now for forty years.

And that's just two solutions.

Comment: Re:Strangely enough (Score 1) 150

Give the money to the lawyers, burn it in the street, line it with birdcages, give it to a Colombian drug lord - it's money out of the hands of the entity that screwed over their employees, customers, etc, in the absence of any other action.

If all you want from the case is to punish the conspirators (presumably to discourage them from doing it again) then it would be a good ideat to hit them for at least what they got from screwing the employees. Which, apparently, was something like an order of magnitude larger. $324 million is, like the drug lords put it, just the cost of doing business.

If, on the other hand, there is some remote notion of compensating the people who actually got screwed, a settlement that got them, like, some money might be better. And as other commenters have pointed out, hiring your own lawyer to play Don Quixote against multiple giant corporations is not a winning proposition.

And "Junior" is so cute. I'll have to show that to the grandkids.

Comment: Re:When you can't measure (Score 1) 370

by overshoot (#47294089) Attached to: Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry

The trouble with this analysis (and no argument on most of it) is that the CEO is the one who decides that since the Company needs to put another 70 engineers on the new hot project, the place to do it is in Ghana because engineers in Ghana are cheaper than the ones in Prague or Mumbai.

The details, such as Ghana having no engineers who are up to speed with the technology of the new hot project? That kind of thing is, as you say, below his level of concern. But the total price of the new team? That's his. So you get the top-level decision to move the project to Ghana.

Seen it happen too many times. As the old saying goes, "they know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Comment: When you can't measure (Score 3, Interesting) 370

by overshoot (#47292477) Attached to: Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry

whatever it is that your developers are producing (other than warm chair seats) then you start talking like management: "Put X engineers on Project Y to get us to the Z man-months required within schedule."

I'm retired now and have never worked for a middle or senior manager who has read Brooks. They live at the man-month metric, and base their hiring on the fact that you can get the man-months you need for less if you get them from fresh-out developers working from a remote site in Afghanistan.

No joke. I've talked to the CEO of a $2B/year semiconductor company and that is precisely as deep as his plaanning goes.

Comment: Re:Families come first (Score 4, Interesting) 370

by overshoot (#47292367) Attached to: Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry

Older people have families, they come first.

Interesting definition of "older." Rather revealing, in fact, that your horizon only extends to those of us with kids at home.

Leaving aside the fact that not all of us ever had kids, the most discriminated-against group are those whose children have moved out. Who, unlike 20-somethings, don't spend their off-duty time trying to get families. Oh, yeah -- that.

Comment: Re:Nice puff piece, but misses the point. (Score 1) 263

by overshoot (#47285555) Attached to: The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

This whole thing is a signaling to the appellate federal courts (which normally hear these things) that the standards need to be toughened. Said appellate courts have a recent history of being extremely pro-patentholder on software patents. They'll knuckle down, or the Supreme Court will hear a case and have to rule again.

It's not "federal appellate courts," it's the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. There is only one, and it hears all patent appeals. And much as it needs to be smacked around, this isn't the case for it because the SCOTUS affirmed the (IIRC unanimous) en banc ruling of the Federal Circuit.

In short, this case is not nearly the landmark that people are making it out to be.

Comment: How hard can it be (Score 1) 263

by overshoot (#47285485) Attached to: The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

to explain to a judge that the claimed patent covers something that a human being can do with nothing more than a sufficient supply of paper, pencils, and time?

I'm reminded of how upset the Court got when it turned out that the real heart of one patent was that it claimed infringement by doctors making the mental connection between a lab test and a diagnosis. It wasn't that the lab test was unique, it was that any test that informed the physician of the measured physiological indicator would lead to the diagnosis.

Can't some member of the patent bar get the Court to the same realization with regard to software? Or is it that any party with the warchest to show up before the SCOTUS has too much invested in the current regime?

Prof: So the American government went to IBM to come up with a data encryption standard and they came up with ... Student: EBCDIC!"