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Comment: It's just simple economics (Score 5, Insightful) 72

by wired_parrot (#47926921) Attached to: A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires

But some designs defy obsolescence

This isn't about obsolescence or a design that stands the test of time. This is about simple economics. The main reason airliners phase out old airplanes is that their operating costs are too high - their older engines are too fuel consuming compared to newer designs, and may not meet newer noise regulations for most commercial airports. Maintenance also becomes difficult to source with no new spare parts being produced.

Fire fighting aircraft fly under a different set of economics. They fly short flights, and only seasonally, so their fuel expenses are a smaller proportion of their expenses. They don't have to worry about noise regulations, because they don't fly out of commercial airports. And an older model that was produced in large volumes like the DC-10 means there is a large source of cheap junkyard parts to maintain these aircraft.

This isn't about the DC-10 being a good or bad design - it's just simple economics. What's expensive for a commercial airliner can be economical for a fire-fighting operation.

Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 4, Insightful) 561

by wired_parrot (#47663015) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Problem is you are considered RACIST for suggesting they get a better education and not follow the ghetto culture.

It is racist to apply broad stereotypes to a class of people. The black people applying for those Apple jobs are college graduates, most likely coming from a middle-class background. The average black applicant has as much in common with the "inner-city ghetto culture", as you call it, as the average white applicant has in common with "white trailer-park trash".

Comment: It's about ensuring fairness in hiring (Score 1) 561

by wired_parrot (#47662759) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

There's a lot of misunderstanding here about these statistics. The purpose of releasing these numbers isn't to institute a "quota" system - it's to show that there is fairness in your hiring practice. The biggest criticism here appears to be that one can only hire the talent that is available, whatever race they may be. I agree with this - and if you're hiring practice is fair and open, the demographics of the hirees should closely match the talent pool from which you're hiring from. And for a large enough company (Apple, Google, Yahoo, etc.), the statistical deviation from that mean should be small. Incidentally, in my jurisdiction statistics like these are used to monitor hiring practices and ensure that no discrimination or hidden bias is occurring.

Apple's numbers appear to show a fair hiring practice, as their numbers at a glance match the applicant pools. For example, 10% of US college graduates are black, according to the US census survey, which closely matches their 9% of black non-tech workers. Google's and Yahoo's numbers, on the other hand, showed only 1% of non-tech workers as black. The implication from those numbers is that while the average black college graduate has an equal chance with his white counterpart of getting a job at Apple, he is 10x less likely to obtain a job at Google or Yahoo. That is where the cause for concern arises.

Comment: Re:How much have they spent already? (Score 1) 92

by wired_parrot (#47606137) Attached to: Australia Rebooting Search For MH370
The money isn't being wasted. The search for the plane is creating a detailed oceanographic survey of the Indian ocean in an area of the sea that is not well explored. Even if the plane is never found, I'd say the sonar survey of the ocean bottom that will result from this search will be worth the money spent.

+ - Planes can be hacked via inflight wi-fi, says researcher->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "In a presentation to be shown Thursday at the Black Hat conference, cybersecurity consultant Ruben Santamarta is expected to outline how planes can be hacked via inflight wi-fi. Representatives of in-flight communication systems confirmed his findings but downplayed the risks, noting that physical access to the hardware would still be needed and only the communication system would be affected."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Black box data streaming (Score 1) 503

by wired_parrot (#47481897) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet
Black box data wouldn't help in this case. The data from the black box would likely only show you a perfectly normal flight up to the second in which the missile hit. There's enough evidence to show that it was a missile strike, and the question now is who fired it. That evidence may be found in the debris of the missile that hit the aircraft, and in pinpointing the origin of the missile fire. The flight data recorder may provide supporting evidence that it was a missile strike, but it won't tell you who pulled the trigger.

Comment: Re:This means nothing without context (Score 1) 265

by wired_parrot (#47327943) Attached to: Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

Even taking into account the lowest of your figures of 3.6% black graduates in Computer Science, this would still leave the 1% rate of black employees at Facebook substantially lower than their potential hiring pool. Also consider that Facebook reported that their percentage of black employees among non-tech workers is not any better at a measly 2%. Considering that blacks represent 10% of all college graduates, this would imply that your average black college graduate is 5 times less likely to be hired at Facebook than a person of different ethnicity.

Sorry if that doesn't give your axes a nice fine edge, folks, but the likes of Google, Yahoo, and Facebook don't hire only misogynist racists for their HR departments - In fact, all three soundly beat the above graduation rates, making them arguably biased against hiring white males.

Their hiring numbers for women may be in line with graduation rates in computer science, but their minority hiring is significantly lower than graduation rates, no matter how you look at the numbers. And given their large employee sizes, this a statistically significant hiring bias. Turning a blind eye to the statistical reality won't make the problem go away.

Comment: Re:This means nothing without context (Score 2) 265

by wired_parrot (#47325909) Attached to: Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

What is the percentage of black, women, etc people with the skills and training that google, facebook, etc is looking for?

Are there out of work fully qualified programmers that can't work at facebook because they are black? Maybe the ratio is the way it is simply because there are not enough minorities looking for high end development work (Unlike baseball). That doesn't make it Facebook's fault if it is truly hiring the most qualified workers.

8% of MIT's class is black Among the general college population the numbers are closer to 14%. But even assuming Facebook, Google and Yahoo were exclusively recruiting from the top Ivy-league universities, their numbers should be significantly higher than the mere 1% of black employees that they are showing. If my company were showing such significantly different demographics from the graduate population they are recruiting from, especially among such a large employee base, we'd be under investigation for racial discrimination.

Comment: Re:Ok, next question. (Score 1) 275

by wired_parrot (#47271773) Attached to: Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026
The type of person you want on a dangerous and risky mission to mars is one with strong survival instincts, one who will do everything in his means to ensure the survival of the mission. That is the exact opposite of the type of person who'd volunteer for a one-way mission. You do not want a person willing to die in charge of a multi billion dollar endeavour. And if you did volunteer on that mission, you wouldn't want your team members to be suicidally prone.

Comment: Re:Most qualified and motivated candidates? (Score 1) 435

by wired_parrot (#47264143) Attached to: Yahoo's Diversity Record Is Almost As Bad As Google's

I thought that competitive business was supposed to hire the most qualified and motivated candidates? Seriously, get out there, carve out your own space, and get hired! "Diversity" is just a politically correct buzzword and is not guaranteed to lead to an agile workforce..

Except that African-Americans represent 10% of graduating students and about the same percentage of computer science grads. Even among an Ivy-League technical college like MIT, blacks represent 8% of the college body. I can't expect Yahoo and Google to fix social problems in the US, but I would expect that their employee ethnic makeup roughly reflect the ethnic makeup of the colleges from which they are recruiting from. The fact that their percentage of black students is 8-10 times lower than their available recruiting pool implies to me either a systematic bias or discrimination in their hiring practices.

Comment: Re:May Day???? (Score 1) 247

by wired_parrot (#47204077) Attached to: Mayday Anti-PAC On Its Second Round of Funding

At least now, bad as it is, I get to contribute to groups that represent my views, even if imperfectly. Seriously, with all the abuses of other moneyed interests,(mine, of course never abuse the system) no one has ever even tried to explain something better to me.

Here in Québec we have a campaign contribution limit of $100 per person, and a total campaign spending limit for each party of roughly $1 per elector in the province. This ensured that no one had a disproportionate financial impact in the election, while still allowing me to contribute to the group that I wished. Despite what may seem to be low limits, we had a healthy campaign, with a diverse number of parties. And considering that 4 different parties managed to elect representatives to the assembly, with a high rate of voter turnout, I'd say our democracy is faring better than in the U.S.

So yes, there are better models of campaign financing out there if the US was serious about campaign finance reform

+ - Thai police: we'll get you for online social media criticism->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "After a leading protester of the recent military coup in Thailand made several critical posts in Facebook criticizing the military takeover, Thailand's Technology Crime Suppression Division tracked his location through his IP address and promptly arrested him.. The arrested was meant to send a message to Thailand's online community. Said the police: "I want to tell any offenders on social media that police will come get you"."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:3000km is not a lot in the U.S. . . . . (Score 1) 363

by wired_parrot (#47171795) Attached to: Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

This is a hybrid system, with the Lithium-Ion battery being used for daily commutes and the Aluminum-Air battery only kicking for long distances. The regular range of an electric car like the Nissan Leaf is 135km, which covers most daily commutes, including yours. If you were only using the car for commuting and regularly charged the Li-Ion battery, the Al-air battery should in theory last indefinitely.

The Aluminum-Air battery will only be drained for those long-distance trips which exceed the range of the Li-Ion battery, and only then for the segments of the trip where the Li-Ion battery wasn't charged. Hence their claim that one ought to be able to extend the 3000km life-cycle of the Al-Air battery over at least 2 years.

+ - Russia Retaliates: Blocks GPS, Bans US Use Of Its Rocket Engines->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Moscow is banning Washington from using Russian-made rocket engines, which the US has used to deliver its military satellites into orbit, said Russia’s Deputy PM, Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of space and defense industries.

According to Rogozin, Russia is also halting the operation of all American GPS stations on its territory from June 1.

Russia currently hosts 11 ground-based GPS stations, the Deputy PM said.

The move comes after the US refused to place a signal correction station for Russia’s own space-based satellite navigation system, GLONASS, on American territory, he explained.

This is a major problem for the US military because (as Bloomberg reports),

The Pentagon has no “great solution” to reduce its dependence on a Russian-made engine that powers the rocket used to launch U.S. military satellites, the Defense Department’s top weapons buyer said.

“We don’t have a great solution,” Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said yesterday after testifying before a Senate committee. “We haven’t made any decisions yet.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Air Force to review its reliance on the rocket engine after tensions over Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region prompted questions from lawmakers about that long-time supply connection.

United Launch Alliance LLC, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., uses the Russian-made RD-180 engine on Atlas V rockets."

Link to Original Source

+ - H R Giger dead: Alien artist and designer died aged 74-> 2

Submitted by M3.14
M3.14 (1616191) writes "H. R. Giger, the Swiss artist and designer of Ridley Scott's Alien, has died, aged 74. Hans Rudolf 'Ruedi' Giger sustained injuries caused by a fall, Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung has reported (German link. English summary here). The terrifying creature and sets he created for Ridley Scott’s film earned him an Oscar for special effects in 1980. In the art world, Giger is appreciated for his wide body of work in the fantastic realism and surrealistic genres. Film work was just one of his talents. Giger is also known for his sculptures, paintings and furniture. The H.R. Giger Museum, inaugurated in the summer of 1998 in the Château St. Germain, is a four-level building complex in the historic, medieval walled city of Gruyères. It is the permanent home to many of the artist’s most prominent works."
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