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Comment: Unintended consequences (Score 1, Interesting) 234

by prgrmr (#49752437) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone
My biggest fear regarding dying from an asteroid strike is not about the asteroid hitting me or the city I am in, but from unintended, extemporaneous consequences like someone in Russia or China panicking and launching a nuke at it, missing, and hitting France or the US or some other nuclear-capable nation and starting WWIII. Or an asteroid hit in Pakistan or India being intentionally/accidentally mistaken as a nuclear strike by its neighbor, and starting WWIII. Or an asteroid hitting a defunct Russian spy satellite, which was really a nuclear launch platform, and setting off the bombs, and starting WWIII. Or any asteroid strike anywhere being used as a convenient excuse by anyone to start WWIII.

So, in summary, the most worrisome unintended consequence of an asteroid strike is WWIII. Let's see the TFA's author gin-up some odds on that one.

Comment: love/hate view on agile (Score 3, Insightful) 507

by prgrmr (#49690645) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?
As a system admin, I admire agile for the rapid proto-typing. Because as we all know, business users seldom know what they really want, but they all know what they don't like. However, I hate agile for being the universal excuse for turning project management into an exercise for "let's make it up as we go along", because then everyone expects me to work like that too. They don't want to acknowledge, let alone understand, that being a good system admin is about being organized and informed and having a more than 5 minute attention span.

Comment: Late advice (Score 1) 698

I know I'm late to the party here, but as a father I have a few things to share:

If she doesn't already, get her a savings account that she can manage, to learn about the value of money and preparedness. Tell her that she has free will, that everything not a fact is a choice, and that she has the power to chose, and that giving up that power is also a choice. So she doesn't need to buy-in to social "norms" or authoritarian stereotypes that are designed to limit her power because of her gender. If she can do that, she won't need to depend upon anyone else other than herself to make her way in this world.

On the other hand, she needs to know that no one is going to live her life for her, so she needs to have a plan, the will to carry it out, and the discipline to see it to the end despite the obstacles, hard work, or long hours. Anything worth having is worth working and fighting for, so she is going to need not just goals, but ideals, concepts she has enthusiasm and passion for to help carry her to her goals. As other have said, altruism, good morals, and a just being a nice person is going to help a lot. People are so much more inclined to help or at least be nice to someone who is polite and shows even the minimal kindness. Finally, explicitly tell her she needs to learn from your example, and to give of herself to others; family first and then on from there. To put another's need ahead of your own is one of the greatest acts of kindness we can manage, so it needs to be exercised judiciously, but sincerely.

I admire how you are handling this, and best of luck to you and your family making the most of the time you have.

Comment: SOX, HIPAA, SEC & other regs (Score 2) 385

by prgrmr (#48859077) Attached to: FBI Seeks To Legally Hack You If You're Connected To TOR Or a VPN
There are a host of federal regulations regarding maintaining the privacy of data that necessitate the use of corporate VPNs. Were the FBI to hack a corporate VPN and expose regulated data to the internet or the public via documents in an open hearing, the circus that would ensue as the Attorney General would try to explain how the FBI is exempt from all of those regs would be both entertaining and horrific.

Comment: Re:PICK Basic Variants (Score 1) 242

by prgrmr (#48750013) Attached to: Little-Known Programming Languages That Actually Pay
I used to be a Pick programmer, but was fortunate enough to switch over to system administration just in time to survive the dotcom bust and remain employed, while some of my former coworkers who had jumped ship to various start-ups were now out looking for work. Then I discovered Python, which, unlike perl, java, or php, has gotten me to consider jumping back into being a full-time programmer again.

Comment: taxes, revenue, and budget (Score 1) 78

by prgrmr (#48746207) Attached to: Space Policy Guru John Logsdon Has Good News and Bad News On NASA Funding
There is plenty of money to be had for NASA, Congress simply needs to do its job better to get it. Stop monkeying with the tax code and make corporations actually pay income tax and there will be plenty of revenue. Stop giving already profitable industries tax credits. Big Oil is going to get 20 billion in tax credits, deductions, and actual subsidized dollars handed to them. Take 15% of that and hand it back to NASA and they can fund, for example, any of the several proposed follow-on missions for Cassini and send an airship to Titan to do further and more detailed exploration of one of the more earth-like bodies in our solar system, and make use of the single window of opportunity we will have prior to 2050 to get there. Or create a corporate version of the alternative minimum tax so that no Fortune 5000 company gets to skate tax-free and then use those funds to begin a program of not just Lunar exploration, but the establishment of a permanent base on the moon. But most importantly, if we don't better fund the Near-Earth Object search, none of the other things will matter at all.

Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 1) 460

by prgrmr (#47964851) Attached to: Science Has a Sexual Assault Problem
How is field work not science? How is field work appreciably different from office/lab work or academia that it warrants your implied "one of these things is not like the other, one of these things doesn't belong"? And why is self-reported not verifiable? How is "self-reported" different from survey results? The logical fallacies you invoke are more than sufficient to invalidate your ridiculous conclusion that science doesn't have a sexual assault problem--particularly given that the only acceptable number of men raping any number of women over any given measured span of time is zero. And as things currently stand, that number is well above zero.

Science, as a profession and as a culture, has a problem. And scientists everywhere ought to be embarrassed by that.

Comment: Re:Society also does this.. (Score 2) 128

by prgrmr (#47757943) Attached to: Why Do Humans Grow Up So Slowly? Blame the Brain
So many poor assumptions there. The average life expectancy was a lot less 100 years ago: http://demog.berkeley.edu/~and... Consequently, people got married earlier because they died sooner; this goes back through the beginning of recorded history, and it was really only in post-WWI 20th century that marrying while a teenager became not just not the norm, but socially frowned upon. Also, look at the drops in life expectancy in 1918 and 1943; what you are seeing it the effects of both world wars and the spanish influenza epidemic in 1918. So life wasn't just short, it was unpredictably precarious in a very real, life-limiting way.

While there are definitely observable fetish aspects to the celebration of youth in our current culture, we no longer marry immediately post-pubescent because, for the very most part, we no longer need to as a practical necessity to be able to have family or an otherwise "full life".

You assumptions on economics are so bad they border on ridiculous. Up until the 1920s, 30 percent or more of the US population were farmers: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/t... And yes, as the percentage of workers in agriculture declined, those in manufacturing rose; however, the real economic differentiator remains education, and that trend has only been slowly improving: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E...

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." -- Albert Einstein

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