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Comment I wish BOTH sides could lose here (Score 1) 781

If the school and the cops had actually believed or even suspected the clock was dangerous, they would have evacuated the school and called in the bomb squad. The fact that they did not indicates that they knew there was no danger...but, if that's the case, why did they come down so hard on the kid? I put that down to insane "zero tolerance" ( = "zero intelligence") policies. And, in doing so, they played right into the hands of the kid and his Muslim activist father, who I suspect deliberately baited the school to provoke such a reaction so they could claim "Islamophobia." The two of them shouldn't be allowed to profit from that.

This is one of those lawsuits where you wish both sides could lose.

Comment Set *top* box? (Score 1) 153

So... does anyone actually put a set top box on top of their TV set these days? Once upon a time, TVs were deep enough front-to-back to support this; these days, most aren't.

Or is this a term that was once accurate, but will never be accurate again, like "dialing" a phone? It's been a long time since phones had dials, unless they're being purposefully retro.

Comment THIS is the ONLY "Code of Conduct" I will adopt! (Score 1) 358

The one and only criterion that will be used to determine whether a contribution to this project will be accepted is the quality of the contribution and how well it solves the problem it was contributed to solve. Period.

I do not give one milli-micro-nano-fraction of a fuck what race you are, what gender you are or identify as, who you want to sleep with, how old you are, what your height or weight is, what if anything may be different about your body or brain, what language you speak, what country you're from, what God you pray to, where you work, how much money you have, et fucking cetera. Is your contribution any good? That's all that matters.

There is one exception to the above rule: If you're an asshole, you're banned from the project. Permanently.

If your contribution is not accepted, and you start whining about how it's "actually" because you're of some-or-other gender/race/religion/nationality/whatthefuckever, you are attempting to have the deck stacked in your favor because you're "special." That makes you an asshole. And you're gone.

This project explicitly rejects the "Open Code of Conduct" as published by the TODO Group. Anyone complaining about this is an asshole, because who the fuck are you to tell me how I should run my goddamn project? And you're gone.

I reserve the right to change this as I see fit...but anyone who tries to force me to change it in ways that are offensive to me is an asshole. And they're gone.

(Reprinted from my Quora blog)

Comment Re:Hurd.. why? (Score 1) 129

He reused the MINIX filesystem layout, and initially hosted builds on MINIX, but to my knowledge he never directly incorporated code from MINIX. Some have claimed that, but no claim has ever stuck, especially given that Andrew Tanenbaum himself agrees that Linux didn't annex any MINIX code directly.

It appears Wikipedia's account jibes with my memory.

Comment Re:Timestamps (Score 1) 129

I can't tell if you're trying to be humorous.

The rationale given is: "The kernel now keeps timestamps relative to the system boot time. Among other things this fixes bogus uptime readings if the system time is altered."

Presumably, this means the internal timestamps Hurd uses are now all monotonically increasing, regardless of any changes to the system time. Obviously, there's a relationship between the internal timestamp and what POSIX calls time_t (and related such datatypes). As I read it, they've decoupled the notion of system time (ie. something that resembles what you'd read from a clock, representing time and date as humans understand it, and subject to humans or network time daemons messing with that setting) from the internal timestamps it uses for computing the relative passage of time, such as 'uptime', network timeouts, etc.

Comment Wire, not write (Score 5, Informative) 129

According to the release:

The kernel now allows non-privileged users to wire a small amount of memory.

This is not a typo. Wiring memory means pinning it in memory so it cannot be paged out. This is potentially important both for security and real-time applications. On the security front, memory containing keys and passwords should be wired to prevent it going to disk. On the real-time front, if you can fit your working set in wired memory, you can be guaranteed you won't suffer a paging fault while you stay within that working set.

In Linux / POSIX systems, this is what mlock accomplishes.

Being able to write to memory, in contrast, isn't particularly noteworthy. You've been able to do that since pretty much the beginning...

Comment Re:Not a huge surprise (Score 2) 208

I'd expect it to be a very minor effect. I'm not aware of anyone getting worried about this.

Got it. With everything else you've explained, that makes sense.

A related effect is convergent evolution. Say two species of bacteria each colonize high temperature environment. Then certain mutations which are favoured in high temperature will likely occur in both of them. When we compare their DNA, this can make it look like they are more closely related than they really are.

Ah, that also makes sense.

I thank you again for the informative responses. You've expertly escorted me up to (or possibly even well past) the edge of my competency. :-) I've certainly enjoyed the trip.

It's truly a fascinating topic, but for me to really get much more out of it, I think I need to do some homework to learn more about what's already known. There's only so much a generically analytic mind can do w/out learning what's already known in the field.

Thanks again.

We're here to give you a computer, not a religion. - attributed to Bob Pariseau, at the introduction of the Amiga