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Comment: Re:Transparency (Score 3, Funny) 100

by epine (#49759203) Attached to: Researchers Devise Voting System That Seems Secure, But Is Hard To Use

If I wanted ritual in my life, I would have become a priest and pursued my career with extreme political ambition so I could vote for the freaking pope.

I guess you've never read an article in your life about mobilizing the voters who are too lazy (or metabolically downtrodden from their Cheetos and Coke diets) to physically show up at a polling station?

Paper is a physical token. Reliably obtaining exactly one unambiguous, untamperable physical token with confidentiality from each adult member of society—the vast majority of which are collected on the same day—hasn't exactly proven to be an easy problem, especially when broadened to include public trust—that every voter understands and believes the process to have all of these properties (to at least a substantial degree).

Electronic voting vastly reduces the complexity on the collection side, but then the tamperability problem looms supreme, but this could almost be solved with enough crypto cleverness, except that the public trust story then requires a tiny bit of numeracy beyond grade six math.

Ritual, however, is accessible to a four-year old.

The same four-year olds who are unfortunately not yet equipped with fully functioning batshit detectors.

I don't want to abolish ritual. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.

Comment: self-interest bullshit configurator (Score 1) 618

by epine (#49711527) Attached to: Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

This is the same asshole who buys a pretty little property out in the countryside, and then after a year or two launches a farm practices complaint to shut down the neighbouring farms (which have only been there for two hundred years) because they smell like farms.

Then he shows up in town council explaining that only sociopaths raise farm animals.

What an incredible self-interest bullshit configurator this man possesses.

Get the fuck off my moral lawn.

Comment: garbage under, garbage above (Score 1) 386

by epine (#49676943) Attached to: Criticizing the Rust Language, and Why C/C++ Will Never Die

It's a statement of fact, and everyone - including you and me - is terrible at programming.

Simply not true, unless you believe that non-terrible code requires God himself to reach down and personally touch type.

I heard a bit of CBC episode recently, where a breathing consultant by the name of James Chambers argues that humans are terrible at breathing, and that with proper training (this takes about a year), we're almost competent (and then flowers bloom everywhere in an orchestral swell).

Breathe In, Breathe Out

One thing I will say is that a programmer is only as good as the API he or she programs against. In the spirit of Bill Maher, I hereby announce a New Rule: Garbage under, garbage above.

Most of the programmers with legendary reputations for writing correct systems have worked at (or fairly close to) the bare metal (or some POSIX-ratified virtual bare metal with extra starch).

Humans actually suck at just about everything. Programming is not especially special (modulo rampant innumeracy). All the greats in any discipline recognize and work within their personal limitations.

It's not constructive to become so bitter that you give up, or delegate the hard work to a tool that can only take you so far (perhaps less far than you wish to go).

Just the other day I listened to this Econtalk episode from six months back: Joshua Angrist on Econometrics and Causation

For the entire episode, Russ Roberts is trying to play the same pessimism card, effectively implying that humans suck at everything.

Joshua Angrist is having none of it. He directly refutes the posture of excessive pessimism time and again. It's a joy to hear Russ taking one on the chin for a change.

Now we just need an enterprising academic to self-subscribe to a personal mission to save us all from ourselves to come along and wrap up the whole of econometrics into a protective cocoon inside of which many of the basic errors simply can not be made.

Brave new world? Or cult of pessimism?

In my corner of the world, hard-baked optimists don't write unthinking rants anchored on assertions prefaced with "statement of fact". Wits on dial tone predicts no good thing.

Comment: Re:memory (Score 4, Informative) 148

This is very flimsy, as well. Sen. Wyden gave the DNI advance notice of the question, and, his office offered the DNI to correct the testimony in the written record the day after (which happens often with minor technical or honest mistakes; basically an aide to the person testifying who is knowledgeable sits and takes notes on anything that needs technical or administrative clarification after the fact, and then in the official copy of the testimony that is submitted for the record, these imperfections are buffed out; incidentally it would be nice if normal people had this courtesy when dealing with the law).

These statements from Clapper were premeditated vicious lies. He knew that Sen. Wyden knew the truth, being privy to it, and he knew that it would be a felony for Sen. Wyden to reveal that he knew Clapper was lying. Clapper only had to be exposed because of Snowden.

Comment: Re:I'd like to see the environmental nightmare die (Score 1) 369

by epine (#49646517) Attached to: Keurig Stock Drops, Says It Was Wrong About DRM Coffee Pods

I actually waste less coffee, coffee filters, etc.. now that I own a keurig and I like that I can make a single cup of coffee in the morning without any waste.

I had the same feeling when I switched to single cup pour-over, without the blasted machine or the blasted machine politics.

Somehow, I always manage to find three minutes of work to be done in the kitchen while I pace three or four slugs of hot water. Must be some weird corollary to Murphy's law. Or maybe my cookware is telepathic.

Comment: Re:AT&T Autopay - Ha! (Score 1) 234

So, there was no billing error here. The guy actually had his modem making long-distance calls for inordinate amounts of time. Doesn't seem like an AT&T error. Though it definitely sucks for the old man/woman!

No billing error? The entire billing system sucks balls at the largest possible frame.

There should be a legislative directive that all such usage-based billing plans provide an option for the end user to set hard spending caps, which are automatically enforced by the service provider.

Show me a corporation that doesn't—at least attempt—to enact hard spending caps enforced by automatic systems wherever and whenever possible. Heads roll in the gutters when a corporation loses $100 million because some trading desk manages to go rogue with respect to set trading limits. (By the Finnish system of traffic fines, a $100 million loss for AT&T is about on par with some old geezer tabbed for $25,000.)

End users are, of course, purposefully disadvantaged to have to police their own usage by manual vigilance, because everyone knows this is a lucrative fail mode for AT&T's revenue piracy service.

That this whole thing sucks balls right down to the bag root is the least possible diagnosis.

Comment: Ubuntu's sins of commission (Score 2) 177

by epine (#49583087) Attached to: When Enthusiasm For Free Software Turns Ugly

Canonical earned their black eye in spades by giving no advance guidance to their dual-head power users while knowingly ruining the dual head experience in the service of a reconceived user interface which might or might not be all for the best in the long run.

It was their blasted refusal to honestly inform their dual head power users that the dual head power user experience would be unavailable in Ubuntu for several releases so that we could plan accordingly that caused me to set the Canonical bit in my bozo register.

Blessed be those who initiate lively discussions with the hopelessly mute, for they shall be known as Dentists.