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Comment: Re: Will I get arrested for posting in /.? (Score 1) 133

no, dumbass. you did mot make a specific, credible threat. thats why the pearl harbor reference is stupid; its not a credible threat. however, a mass shooting is.

What I want to know is: when did any random loser posting anonymous 60-character messages become a "credible" threat? This seems like the 21st century version of pulling the fire alarm to get out of an exam.

Comment: Re: i don't understand the premise of the post (Score 1) 133

that was the person you replied to's point, people threaten others every day, yet these charges would never be brought against them.

Because threats made by a random driver, often through a closed window, against another random driver in traffic are widely believed not to be serious. If the threatening driver proceeds to follow the threatened around, it does become criminal.

Besides prove it is a threat and not just you being over sensitive.

That what the courts are for: to determine whether a "reasonable" person would interpret the behavior as a legitimate threat. eg, actors on stage regularly shout "Fire" in crowded theaters, and you are probably clever enough to shout fire, as a member of the audience, in a way that people realize you're "joking."

That was one of the big changes after 9/11: it stopped being possible to "joke" under certain circumstances. Joking about carrying a (picture of a) gun through security gets your "gun" confiscated. Using the phrase "another 9/11" "another Columbine" (or, at VA Tech, "another 4/16") on the internet gets you a visit from NSA or the local police. There used to be procedures for distinguishing real bomb threats from idle or frivolous threats, but they're pretty hard to apply to 140 characters.

Comment: Re:That just shows my point (Score 1) 179

Thanks for totally ignoring the last point that actual speeds are a fraction of the rated speeds.

If your cable company is only providing a fraction of the nominal bandwidth, what makes you think that fraction will stay the same when you upgrade? ie, you're buying 100M and getting 10M, and you imagine that buying 1000M will get you 100M. It's just as likely that you'll continue to get 10M, because the bottleneck is somewhere other than the wire between your house and the CO. Are you sure the game company is prepared to deliver their demo to 10 or 100 concurrent users, each at 1G bps?

Comment: Re:What's the problem (Score 1) 624

by tburkhol (#49584695) Attached to: Disney Replaces Longtime IT Staff With H-1B Workers

The problem is that H1-B's aren't really hired. They are temporary workers to whom the company need feel no long-term obligation. They are temporary residents to whom the government need feel no long-term obligation. Bring a few of them in, let them work for a bit, then send them off when the project is done: perfect workforce flexibility.

The H1b program, like unemployment insurance, is a good idea but is subject to abuse. Fraud in unemployment benefits individuals, and we have all manner of documentation, regulation, and verification to minimize that abuse. Fraud in H1b benefits corporations, and we basically trust them to do the right thing.

Comment: Re:But why? (Score 1) 634

by tburkhol (#49569849) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

"more societally meaningful" ?! And I don't get it either. My job does not get more societally meaningful; if I don't do my job (Software Engineer, Industrial Automation), you don't get any power to your home, don't drive a car, don't get air condition in the mall and many more things. Sure I am only a small cog in that bigger scheme of things, but without engineers modern society would not exist.

So, you can design a controller for an automotive assembly line or a controller for a cow dung-fired power station. It's the same basic work, but in one case you're building cars and in the other you're bringing electricity to a developing country. You can design a CNC mill or a CNC embroidery machine, but I'm guessing that you won't find embroidery machines in any class project.

I would like more women in engineering; many of the colleagues I like to work with are women. And talking with them, the content of their work is not what is holding them back. In some cases it may be social or cultural and in other cases just "math is hard".

I have many female technical colleagues, and they seem to find math no more difficult than the males. If the social/cultural thing holding women away from STEM is just that they don't find car analogies as engaging as a typical male STEM student, well, would it really damage the male students to have a couple of problems related to more feminine stereotypes? Analyze the stresses in a 4" stiletto heel instead of a tie-rod?

Comment: Re:But why? (Score 1) 634

by tburkhol (#49569357) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

The idea of changing the course content is presented as a "solution" to the "problem" of low female participation in the engineering workforce.

My school used to teach "Statics" to mechanical engineers, "Intro Biomechanics" to bioengineers, and "Physics 1" to everyone else. Each of these covered the same content, in pretty much the same way, but used different examples to illustrate principles. It's surprising how different people respond to calculating the supporting forces of a bridge and the forces required to do a push-up, even though they are the exact same problem.

If you get more women interested in STEM by doing nothing more complicated than replacing some of the car-related examples with emergency shelter-related examples, what exactly is the problem in that?

Comment: Re:Easy fix (Score 1) 247

by tburkhol (#49567599) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

Tell me again why I should blindly put my trust in engineers?

Because it's better than blindly putting your trust in salespeople. Look, mistakes happen. People have different interpretations of the cost of failure and different tolerance for risk. Things are going to blow up, and post hoc analysis will often identify changes that could have prevented the disaster. But unless you plan to design, validate and build everything yourself, you have to trust someone. So the question you're really asking is whether you should trust someone with quantitative, technical knowledge of the performance and capabilities of the system or should trust someone who just thinks it looks "ok."

Believe it or not, accident statistics and post-failure analysis are part of engineering (regardless of how much it looks like part of regulatory bureaucracy). Performance and failure tell the engineers where its appropriate to revise models and correct designs. This means fewer people get killed by lance-shaped hood ornaments or impaled on steering columns, and it means the next mode of failure is going to be more obscure. It's why we think only a moron would use cosmetically appealing aluminum whiskers to support a steering wheel or put a gas tank directly in front of the rear bumper. It's why traffic deaths have fallen from 150 per billion vehicle miles in 1935 to 15 today. So, yeah: trust engineering, not marketing or accounting.

Comment: Re:Pinto (Score 1) 247

by tburkhol (#49567463) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

What causes crashes is hunks of metal ramming into other hunks of metal.

No, that defines a crash. "Cause" is something that precedes "effect." To say that the effect happened because the effect happened is childish reasoning. Most children learn to relate cause and effect around 3 years old: it's a pretty basic concept.

Skiing is inherently dangerous. In order to use a ski slope, I have to acknowledge this risk. Why aren't car manufacturers covered with a similar legal conract?

They are. If you tailgate and wreck the car in front of you, the manufacturer is not liable. If you're switching radio stations and drive into a ditch, the manufacturer is not liable. However, if the your skis were made of balsa wood laminated with PLA, then the manufacturer may be liable when they shatter on the first mogul, and you break your leg.

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 5, Insightful) 480

There will be another Chernobyl/Fukushima scale nuclear disaster.

Fine by me. Industrial accidents are part of the price we pay for our life of ease. If I have to choose between a 3MI, Chernobyl, and Fukushima spread over 40 years, and a Kingston, Macondo, Valdez, Fergana Valley, Ixtoc, Chevron Richmond - you know, the list of fossil fuel accidents affecting tens of thousands of people is just too long to go through. Nevermind the occasional train derailment and fire.

You design things as best you can against the problems you can think of, and you design mitigation plans against the ones you can't. Every time a new problem comes up, you improve the design. You can not live in a perfectly safe world. If you use electricity, you could shock yourself. If someone produces electricity, they could blow up. If you don't use electricity, a grue might eat you in the dark. Choose your risk, but try to be rational about it. There's nothing inherently worse about the nuclear boogeyman than the coal boogeyman, except that you've been living with the coal boogeyman for 2000 years.

Comment: Re:This is not good... (Score 1) 256

by tburkhol (#49540155) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

To eat right, one must search for fresh and natural foods. Trust me, it isn't as simple as "not smoking".

Spoken like a true cargo cultist.

And that's the point. There's a massive industry of snake oil salesmen out there proclaiming their concoction to be "eating right." Only foods that can be prepared with stone tools. High protein. High fat. Only plants raised in virgin soil and harvested by prepubescent girls singing Kumbaya. The app author is exactly one of those people, using the (false) claim that her particular diet cured her cancer. It will probably cure yours, too. And clean your colon and your car at the same time. Sure, you can eat "wrong," but you can also drink too much beer, smoke too many cigarettes, and even drink too much water. Not eating wrong isn't that hard; eating right is a snipe hunt.

Comment: Re:You advocate more censorship than I (Score 1) 75

No internet is more censorship than some internet, no matter how you gate it.

I disagree that "no internet" is more censorship. The problem with censorship is that it distorts the appearance of reality. If you can read FOX news, but not MSNBC, then the TEA party look like rational people. If you censor news stories about drone strikes, then bloggers talking about children killed by drone strikes look like conspiracy nuts.

In the ACTUAL example here, Facebook is part of this and you can find any viewpoint you like on Facebook.

Maybe. As long as you don't violate their TOS. Same with wikipedia, as long as the content doesn't violate their community standards. They're still talking about a small number of organizations, and it's quite clear that those organizations are subject to political manipulation. Even Google had to cave to China, and it's a little fuzzy whether there's any facebook there.

If you can't use an information stream, you'll find one that works. If you have an information stream, you don't know it's distorted.

Comment: Re:For work I use really bad passwords (Score 2) 136

by tburkhol (#49477457) Attached to: Cracking Passwords With Statistics

Yes, Calypso443521 contains a word that could exist in a dictionary, but is unguessable. Nobody would guess that it has any meaning, and with a personal number on the end, it wouldn't fall to any dictionary attack.

Are you crazy? There's only a million words in English and only a million six digit numbers, so the combination of real word + number has only a trillion possibilities. 2^40 possibilities, which will fall rapidly to a dictionary attack. It's as "strong" as 6 random, typeable characters.

The point of TFA is that while "12 characters, including three different character classes" sounds like 2^84, the reality is that people meet those conditions by using a real word with the first letter capitalized and a number. (rarely the reverse: Number-word)

Comment: Re:This happens about... (Score 1) 131

by tburkhol (#49477321) Attached to: How Mission Creep Killed a Gaming Studio

Devs want to make great games, but unfortunately the publishers will always ask for something stupid halfway through that will blow out all the budgets. When they're pulling the purse strings and your project relies on their money, you can't push back

You can push back: you can refuse to implement the stupid request or you can pack up and go home. If they're asking you to implement some new feature with no additional time or revenue, they are essentially asking for you to pay for that development out of your own pocket. Maybe your passion to develop great games is strong enough that you're willing to pay for the privilege to work on such a game. The publisher is probably counting on you to have invested so much of yourself in the project that you will. Once you've signed your project over to a publisher, you have to be willing to walk away.

Comment: Re: Don't fix what ain't broke (Score 1) 184

and having seen most of the programs available and their output, a lot of it is because of lazy programming that makes simple tasks difficult.

That's just bad design.

Yeah, and hurricane Sandy was just a bit of rain. In my experience, nothing is more ubiquitous in software than bad design. Bad design is the difference between Photoshop and Gimp. Or between upstart and systemd. In special purpose software, like that tied to instrumentation or a proprietary database, there seems to be very little motivation to test or develop a good UI, but the users suffer through because they're tied to the underlying system. EMR are currently competing on the features of their backend, making presentations to administrators, and I don't expect the doc's get much consideration in that conversation.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!