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Comment: Re:Manhattan project was the same thing (Score 1) 370

by slimdave (#49422201) Attached to: How the Pentagon Wasted $10 Billion On Military Projects

At least the Manhattan Project was possible according the the laws of physics, and represented mostly an engineering problem. Modern procurement seems to be a bunch of engineering trying to do what the laws of physics disallow -- like detecting over the horizon objects with straight-line signals.

Comment: Re:Manhattan project was the same thing (Score 1) 370

by slimdave (#49421583) Attached to: How the Pentagon Wasted $10 Billion On Military Projects

The top officials in the Pentagon have little personal incentive to discriminate between what will and what will not work, when they can arrange massive contracts for companies that will then offer them a senior position when they retire on their 100% government salaries.

Comment: Re:No one promises pork (Score 2) 370

by slimdave (#49421191) Attached to: How the Pentagon Wasted $10 Billion On Military Projects

It would be wrong to characterise this as entirely the fault of politicians, beach the electors also do not care if it's worthwhile or not.

It works for the politicians to do this because their local electorate recognise that the cost will fall mostly on other tax payers, and each of the tax payers is trying to screw as many as the others as possible, and they'll vote for the candidate that will be complicit in the scheme.

Comment: The common denominator ... (Score 1) 370

by slimdave (#49421035) Attached to: How the Pentagon Wasted $10 Billion On Military Projects

Is there not a principle that offence always beats defense?

Many of these vast military overspends appear to be based on an assumption that the potential opponents will never adapt to the new technology. I'm no expert, but is part of the analysis of a new system or strategy not, "how would we adapt to this if the enemy had this system, and does it therefore make sense to do it?"

So here we have a system designed to tackle some number of incoming missiles. Even if it's perfect, the enemy adapts by using slightly more advanced decoys, more missiles, different trajectories ... and the new defensive technology is a military failure (granted the shareholders and C-levels have made enough money to buy their own remote island). I'm sure there are many more examples -- stealth aircraft that are visible to radar with a longer (less "modern"?) wavelength?

You also have to question the motivation of people who will spend billions to avoid a slight chance of a large number of war deaths, but are unwilling to spend money on a continual stream of preventable medical deaths.

Comment: Confused about three parents (Score 1) 199

by slimdave (#48979259) Attached to: British MPs Approve 3-Parent Babies

If you are concerned about the possible existence of beings whose genetic material is derived from more than two other beings, you should perhaps meditate on the meaning of having grandparents.

It may be an error to confuse scientific reality with newspaper headlines that are designed to stimulate sales.

Comment: Next steps ... (Score 5, Interesting) 121

by slimdave (#48977749) Attached to: Alan Turing's Notes Found After Being Used As Insulation At Bletchley Park

The notes will be restored and then popped into a glass display case with one or two pages visible, with a sort-of description of why they are important.

Pretty much all of Bletchley is like this, unfortunately. Stuff on display that you are not going to understand, such as copies of Turing's early mathematical papers with only the first page showing.

The problem with the whole Bletchley Park experience is that it was obviously extremely important, but is practically beyond all explanation for the ordinary punter. I think I might be able to intellectually struggle through an explanation of some of it, but the displays do not explain it in enough detail to help with that. Overall, my visit felt like a patchwork of different explanations of the same few concepts using poster boards, audio devices and video and interactive displays. It's padded out with various "wartime experience" bits here and there.

It probably seems like a very negative attitude, but a technical chap in his mid-forties with a couple of bright teenagers in tow ought to be right in the target demographic for Bletchley, but I'm practically embarrassed to say that I ended up drinking weak hot chocolate in the cafe and agreeing with my boys that it was all rather dull.

Special commendation for the rack of old bicycles at the end of one of the huts, with a hidden speaker to give you the authentic experience of what squeaky bicycle wheels sounded like in the 1940's. Or something?

Comment: Re:I read the Satanic Temple's page (Score 1) 1251

probably shouldn't have surfed to that URL at work though..... but their site actually comes across as quite rational and reasonable. Not what I was expecting at all.

It really comes to something when a website for a type of church can be considered NSFW. I understand though -- in my 10 years in corporate America I sure kept my atheistic head down. Nothing would have finished a career quicker than letting my screaming, wall-thumping, secretary-humping, second-wife-divorcing bosses know that I was not also a Christian.

Comment: Views, Materialized views? (Score 1) 165

by slimdave (#45623545) Attached to: Why Reactive Programming For Databases Is Awesome

The idea of embedding a calculation into the system that is automatically updated by underlying data changes -- is that not just a database view?

We use this sort of technique quite widely in a Ruby on Rails app I work on -- complex calculations such as for profitability and cash flow are defined as views in Postgres, and referenced by the app as read-only models. Thus we can: Profitability.where(product_id: 27).group(:month).sum(:value)

Performs monstrously fast, as is extremely flexible. It breaks the whole "for the love of gods don't put business logic in the database" separation of concerns idea, but we have a system to ship right now and we can't wait for RoR performance and flexibility to catch-up that much.

Comment: Not an issue ... (Score 2) 195

by slimdave (#45499609) Attached to: Project Free TV, YIFY, PrimeWire Blocked In the UK

Because only a trivially small proportion of the population cares. Few have even heard about these services.

If you care about free TV in the UK then you could start by not watching or recording live transmissions, and you then have no obligation to pay the TV license -- they only waste it on extra redundancy payments for senior managers, and politically motivated nonsense stuff like moving programming oop north.

I get by on BBC iPlayer delayed transmissions, streaming to my TV through Chromecast. Possibly ITV and Channel 4 have compatible streaming services, but sadly their programmes are not compatible with me.

Comment: Right in a kind-of way. (Score 1) 674

by slimdave (#45035187) Attached to: The Luddites Are Almost Always Wrong: Why Tech Doesn't Kill Jobs

At the last company where I worked, word processors and voice mail systems allowed them to have zero secretaries and receptionists, as software developers had to answer the door phone and type their own everythings. Of course this did double the number of software developers they needed because they all got fuck all work done, so I guess the article's correct.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.