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Comment: Re:FCC? (Score 1) 161

by hey! (#49168109) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

The device was approved by the FCC. However the approval process is not in this case transparent. We don't know whether the FCC took into account whether the device's capacity to create interference, or whether they may have played favorites.

One thing we can be certain about is that the FCC didn't worry about Constitutional or laws that protect citizen privacy, and certainly not the use of the devices without a warrant. That's not their bailiwick.

So to summarize the FCC approved this device but we don't know if they did their job. We can be certain they didn't do *more* than their job.

Comment: Re:Brain drain (Score 3, Interesting) 111

by hey! (#49168025) Attached to: Marissa Mayer On Turning Around Yahoo

Well... maybe there's some kind of model in which you would actually look forward to seeing your colleagues in person.

Personally, I've done in both ways. When my partner and I sold our business to a company that was on the other side of the country, I no longer had a two hour a day commute, which was awesome. I also didn't have a team I saw in person every day, which I very quickly grew to miss. And I'm not the most sociable person in the world. I'm more than glad to spend a few days or even weeks working by myself. But as weeks stretched into months, with only emails, teleconferencing, and the occasional cross-country flight, I grew to hate telecommuting. It's great to be able to do it even a couple of days a week, but if I had the choice of woking in bathrobe in the spare bedroom ALL the time or spending two hours in the car EVERY day, I'd go with the commute.

If I were starting another company, I think one of my priorities would be to make being there fun, stimulating, and personally rewarding. I'd make it possible to telecommute, but if people began to see it as their primary mode of working I'd consider that a red flag.

Comment: Re:Why is Israel not part of the NNPT? (Score 1) 45

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49167501) Attached to: Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook

Because they didn't sign it.

Saying: "everyone who has them except Israel is allowed to keep them" is just plain wrong.

Which just might be why they didn't sign on - and part of why "Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its nuclear weapons program."

Some things to remember about the NNPT:
  - Not every country in the world is a signatory.
  - Even signatories didn't permanently give up their right to develop nuclear weapons: By the treaty's own terms (section X(1)), they can drop out on three month's notice:

Article X

1. Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.

Comment: But it WILL dry some of them out... (Score 2) 131

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49167191) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

Bonus points: it wont flood any place in land that is not actually flooded twice a day,

But, by retarding the tidal current, it WILL dry out part of the area currently intermittently wetted, and WILL keep continuously wet another part of it that is currently intermittently dried.

Comment: Re:Oh just stop already (Score 5, Insightful) 189

by hey! (#49164973) Attached to: That U2 Apple Stunt Wasn't the Disaster You Might Think It Was

Music, like sex, is a young person's affair. Just drop it after 40, nobody wants to hear it, and no one wants to think about it.

Hey kids! Old guy here dropping in just to let you know that contrary to what AC claims, you'll still like sex and music even when you're over fifty. You just won't be staying up late to enjoy them.

Since I'm here I might as well give you a heads up on some of the things that will change. On the sex front, expect your standards for what is "hot enough to do" to fall straight through the floor. I know this sounds awful to you now, but trust me on this, you've got hold of the wrong end of that stick.

On the music front, at a certain age most people stop being interested in listening anything new. However that age isn't 40; it's more like 22. And notice I said "most". If you make it to, say 26 years old and are still listening to new music, you'll still be doing that at 50.

And same goes for being a miserable person. I know the stereotype is that older people are miserable, but trust me, most miserable older people were miserable young people. They just let it out more, because as you get older you have fewer inhibitions (see the point about sex above).

Anyhow, thought I'd let you know that getting older isn't bad at all, and it sure as hell beats the alternative.

Comment: It's a little unseemly. (Score 1) 216

by hey! (#49164501) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

The sad loss of a beloved actor shouldn't be a springboard for fanboy hate of J.J. Abrams.

For what it's worth, I think the writers and the actors in the Abrams' movies really get Star Trek. Maybe not so much the director, whose lack of affection for the franchise shows. But even though the aesthetics may not be very Trek, the fundamental Trek ethos that Leonard Nimoy was so essential to establishing was there in the scripts and performances. And that ethos is still something worth studying.

We have managed to turn "diversity" into an hollow slogan; a catchphrase that represents a kind of bean counting of superficial categories. I remember one startup environmental organization I worked for where we had just hired a young man from Mexico City. The founder, an unquestionably brilliant man, was literally rubbing his hands together in glee as he toted up his diversity: one latino male, one asian male (me), one black (African) female, four caucasian females and three caucasian males. And I was thinking, "Yeah, but except for me everyone comes from the same graduate program in environmental studies you founded." What's more except for him and me they all came from the same comfortable middle to upper-middle class background -- people who never had to worry about money. Groupthink was a huge problem, but nobody else saw that until the day they suddenly realized they weren't going to be able to make payroll. Maybe a business major or two on the payroll would have been a good idea...

Star Trek shows a cast of characters who may all have gone to the same school, but think radically different from each other. Nonetheless they manage to work together and are better, more capable people because of that. That's what diversity is really about: working with people who have different viewpoints and attitudes.. Kirk and Spock are the the toughest nuts to crack, because they both have a tendency toward arrogant, even smug confidence in their own judgment. Trust me, you wouldn't want to work for either of these two characters if they didn't have each other.

Aristotle posited three levels of friendship, that of convenience, of pleasure, and of virtue. In the virtuous friendship, your friend is "a second self" -- that is you pursue his welfare as an intrinsic rather than an instrumental good, just as you pursue your own welfare. He valued virtuous friendship even above justice, because it holds society together in ways that even justice cannot. But he missed another point which the Kirk/Spock friendship illustrates: a friend is a doorway into a better appreciation of objective reality. You cannot dismiss the viewpoint of "second self" as easily as you would someone else's opinions.

So again from what it's worth the writers of the Abrams reboot movies really understand this virtuous friendship dynamic, and especially do a nice job with the humorous touches. The overall stories were a bit mediocre, but the character based stuff was top-notch and true to the spirit of TOS.

To bring this back to Leonard Nimoy, others deserve some credit in creating Spock -- the writers, directors and of course Gene Roddenberry. But Nimoy's performance is what brought Spock to life. It's one of those instances of theatrical magic where an actor becomes the character, and banishes any awareness that you're watching someone playing a role. That's a big part of what makes Spock so relatable.

Comment: Wonder how they'll rate Global Warming discussions (Score 1) 362

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49162031) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

... when there is more than one version of the truth (conflicts, spin vs fact)... plus not all information is facts... philosophical questions may have more than one answer etc... so I am definitely curious to see how this works out.

I'm curious as well.

In particular, I wonder how they'll handle Global Warming / Climate Change discussions.

Then there's electoral politics, economics, Illegal immigration / undocumented migrants, ...

Comparing to a knowlege base presupposes that the knowledge base is full of truth. Filtering search results to exclude (or down-rate) anything at odds with the current paradigm is a recipe for hamstriging research, debate, and intellectual progress

  Ideas need to be supported or rejected based on evidence and logic, not whether they're orthodox.

Comment: Re:Or the malware might cover its tracks. (Score 1) 308

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49161967) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

I mean if they go to the trouble to do this why do it in a way that would be discoverable via jtag for other state actors. I mean if they go to the trouble to do this why do it in a way that would be discoverable via jtag for other state actors.

Because hacking the JTAG to hide malicious hacking of the software is a massive endeavor and a massive PITA.

Besides, if they built it into the original software they wouldn't NEED to hack the JTAG to hide it. The code would match the released version. (You'd have to reverse-engineer it to discover their back doors.)

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.

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