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Comment: Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (Score 1) 248

by twdorris (#47790537) Attached to: US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

From Wikipedia: "The radio program This American Life reported in 2009, that, contrary to claims made in the case, the accident report contained no information on the secret equipment on the plane except to note that secret equipment was present, a fact which had been reported in the press at the time. The program interviewed the daughter of one of the crash victims who described the government's claims in the case as fraudulent."

So, basically, you and a crash victim's daughter describe the government's claims as fraudulent. Great. Oh and probably a number of plaintiff lawyers on the victim's side when the whole mess was retried too. But they're always claiming stuff is true right up until it's proven false in court and then they're "terribly disappointed" by the verdict.

Bottom line here is that the case was retried because a bunch of people were convinced the original claim was fraudulent and STILL some FIFTY years later, the courts found the claim to be valid. It was appealed and the District Court found they were valid too. Nobody had any dog in the fight any more at that point. So if the claims still seemed valid to those guys that specialize in such matters, I'm inclined to believe them. There was no fraudulent claim to privilege at the time and we need to stop yelling there was. Even if you disagree with the decision, you have to accept that there's enough gray area in this case to warranty a little restraint in the usage of it as an example everywhere.

However, the cause of the plane crash was determined to be a fire in the engine. What does a fire in the engine have to do with secret surveillance equipment on the plane? Why would an engine fire be privileged? How would its disclosure impact national security?

No...not the cause, the report itself. They didn't want to release the report. It contained broader information that they didn't want other governments to know at the time. It had no specific secret equipment details, but it did have mission details that (when considered 50 years ago) were secret. Read the 2005 appeal section of that wiki pedia article you quoted. And keep in mind that the original plaintiffs in the case were offered unrestricted access to the remaining survivor and turned it down. They could have surely gotten the information they needed about the fire had they just called that survivor to the stand. But, no, they wanted the full report released and then everything got all hung up at that point.

Comment: Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (Score 3, Informative) 248

by twdorris (#47784469) Attached to: US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

It should be noted that in the seminal case that established the state secrets privilege, United States v. Reynolds, the government used the national security argument to hide negligence.

That original claim to privilege was retested in the early 2000s once those "secret" documents had been declassified and *still* the court found that the government had *not* abused its state secrets privilege. It may be your opinion that the government tried to hide negligence, but that's not the accepted opinion and not the one reached by many trained scholars (judges, lawyers) actually practicing in the field on a daily basis. So perhaps you should remove the tin foil hat covering your eyes every once in a while and consider that there may be more to some things than you might first think.

Now, that said, I'm no big government promoter. Far from it. You can read some of my prior comments for examples. What I don't want are for people to discredit the entire concept of major government reform by making such broad statements without addressing the (potentially legitimate) counter arguments. Taken in context, those original claims to state secret privileges seem relevant to me in this particular case.

Comment: Code less, get out more (Score 5, Insightful) 548

I wish I had learned to balance real life with coding life sooner. I used to do the same zillion hour marathons everyone else did at one point or another in their coding careers. I loved the challenge and being the one producing the results. But then, eventually, I realized there's really a LOT more out there than that tiny little challenge/reward cycle. Biking, hiking, sports with friends, whatever. You can easily burn through 10-15 years of your YOUNG life living the code only to realize later when you're not so young any more that there were TONS of things you would have enjoyed doing more. You can make up some of that, but not nearly all.

Comment: Re:The problem with traffic engineers... (Score 4, Insightful) 579

by twdorris (#47367835) Attached to: Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

As it turns out, people are stupid.

Truer words have never been spoken. People are stupid and you can't fix stupid. You'd think they'd weed themselves out eventually, but as it turns out, we're all people. And we're all stupid. We're just stupid at different times.

I've nearly run into the back of someone at a stop light when they started rolling forward and then suddenly slammed on the brakes because they didn't see a car coming into the intersection. I was glancing around checking for traffic I might have been concerned with and nearly ran into the back of him because I just assumed he was going to continue rolling forward like the hundreds of others before him I had been behind at other intersections.

A single moment of inattention and a single false assumption nearly caused a wreck. I was stupid. We're all stupid. We all need some engineered help against stupid from time to time. A sensor that detects an impending crash with something right in front of me would have helped. Lots of cars have these things now. That's an engineered solution to a moment of stupidity.

Not everything can be fixed with engineered solutions, but we can't assume modifying behavior is a fix-all either. In fact, I would give behavior modification a far less chance of success given how random and clueless we meatbags are.

So I vote for more engineered solutions, not less. But the solutions need to involved some human behavioral analysis as well. I mean who in their right minds couldn't have predicted that passing motorists would see these count down times and use them to speed through intersections? And who wouldn't have predicted that this would leave to an increase in accidents on average? Duh. That should have been taken into account and a different solution should have been investigated.

All that said, I also feel like we need to define some acceptable limits here. I mean we can't go making every single intersection 100% secure. If some accidents are happening at an intersection, let's talk about the *rate* and decide if that's just an acceptable rate or not. The fact that there are accidents or that accidents are happening a little more often now than they were before is a little meaningless without numbers to compare to. I find that we have FAR, FAR too many laws and regulations trying to bring fatalities and liabilities and accidents to near zero already.

Comment: Re:News flash (Score 4, Insightful) 121

by twdorris (#47361017) Attached to: Happy Software Developers Solve Problems Better

People who are happy do better at things.

Its more like individuals achieve better performance when they are happy. Either way that is really good news. :-)

OMFG...why do people have to reply like that? "It's more like", "Not only that, but", "It's worse than that because". Ugh. The one-up-manship drives me nuts.

How is "individuals achieve better performance when they are happy" any better than "people who are happy do better at things"? Seriously? How is one "more like" the article than the other when the whole purpose was to provide a sarcastic summary of a long-winded project to show some obvious results?

And the little smiley at the end does NOT make it all OK. It's not smart. It's not humorous. It's nothing but a bunch of drivel so you could hear your keyboard clack away.

And while you're at it, get off my damn lawn!

Comment: Re:Internet bullies (Score 3, Informative) 194

by twdorris (#47349563) Attached to: The Internet's Own Boy

First, that 13 year old girl was bullied on My Space, not Facebook. Prosecutors tried to go after her, but ultimately she was acquitted of the main felony charge anyway. So maybe nobody is going after the "bullies" in this case because they know better. If they can't even get a 3-year sentence to stick on an "uneducated, immature soccer mom", what chance do they have against high ranking officials that will be even harder to pin down anyway? Seems like a good call to me.

Comment: Re:Compromise is implied by multipurpose (Score 2) 432

by twdorris (#47089625) Attached to: Has the Ethanol Threat Manifested In the US?

You're full of shit. Modern engine management systems take care of it all.

I can't tell if you're joking or not.

The computer can adjust for the change in stoichiometric ratio (mixture), obviously. And to some extent I'm sure they have fiddled with the ignition timing and maybe the open loop mixture tables as well. But you're stuck with whatever compromise in compression ratio they decided on when they designed the hard parts. And who knows if valve timing might be better tweaked as well. Cars that don't have adjustable valve timing will have a compromise there too.

I'm fairly certain the OP's point is valid that somewhere in the system some number of compromises are made to allow for the multi-purpose operation.

Comment: Re:Elegance only exists in textbooks (Score 1) 373

by twdorris (#46582349) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

Most code will not fall into the "elegant" category. The reason is that real-life software has to deal with exceptions, language crocks, patches/modifications and bug-fixes.

And those damn users. I can write what I (and seemingly others) consider "elegant" code. But that's usually only possible down in the bowels of a microprocessor where you have known constraints and no meat bags randomly typing shit at you that you have to parse and decipher and then present a myriad of exception messages back to, etc., etc.

Comment: Re: tired of the lack of progress on GIMP (Score 4, Interesting) 75

by twdorris (#46418293) Attached to: Krita 2.8 Released

GIMP is way over-promoted by FOSS zealots who usually can't accomplish much more than cropping a picture and applying a few filters to the entire image.

This. I really, REALLY want to use GIMP; I do. And I've tried; several times. But I just can't. It's just too clunky and slow and not well thought out in any reasonable manner. Windows pop up in wrong places with wrong Z order, making them impossible to find sometimes. *Common* features (like adjustment layers) are simply missing or work in horrible, horrible ways (like drawing a @#$!@%$ line with an arrow point end).

No, GIMP is not what some people make it out to be. I'd rather use an old Paintshop Pro 6 release than anything GIMP related. And I would except Corel does a better job at screwing up their own products than any other company I've seen in ages. I've actually bought and paid for several versions of Paintshop Pro in the past decade only to have my license mysteriously stop working. "Too many installations" they say. But this message comes up randomly when I haven't done any new installation in months. And then, suddenly, my workflow is halted in its tracks and I'm back to trying GIMP one more time.

My requirements are not steep. I'm not a pro graphics artist by any means. But there doesn't seem to be any good open source graphics editors out there and Krita doesn't seem to fit the bill either. Bah.

What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying. -- Nikita Khruschev