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Submission + - Doing Math Without A License

Rick Zeman writes: Mats Jarlstrom, a Beaverton, Oregon traffic light gadfly crusading against red light cameras and their timings was accused of the “'practice of engineering;” without a license while pressing his cause by doing simple math. So last week, Mr. Jarlstrom filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court against the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying, charging the state’s licensing panel with violating his First Amendment rights.
“I was working with simple mathematics and applying it to the motion of a vehicle and explaining my research...By doing so, they declared I was illegal.”

Comment Muscle Memory - Chickens typing no heads. (Score 1) 97

This is on the whole, dubious, because once we are past our first few minutes with a highly repetitive task, the needed computation progresses embeds into progressively lower levels of neural systems, until they are basically reflexes. Musicians don't thing "I am going to play an 'A', now I am going to play a 'B'. This is true for both sensory and motor tasks. Maybe when I first learn to read, I first 'see' individual letters, but in the end my eyes detect entire word phrases, essentially by their outlines. With practice, the sensory motor loop may actually embed as networks of axons within the muscle fibers themselves - no brain intermediary required. Seriously - real neurons in real neural nets.

Comment Re:capitalist exploitation (Score 2) 98

You seriously do not understand the ecosystem. Many of the major projects have core teams which are FTEs of the company, and others donate funds for outside contractors that are key contributors. Far from being paid nothing, I've known several that began as unpaid contributors and eventually went direct, started their own companies to service their piece, or received federal grants ( from the US Army for instance ). Other projects start on a purely unpaid volunteer effort, become essential and evolve into well funded projects. Firefox was originally a commercial product, then donated as open source, and now has spun off some of it's projects. IBM, Google, and others have transferred many internal projects into the open domain. Far from exploitation, FOSS is almost hyper-capitalistic, in that it short circuits the rent taking inherent in closed source monopolies, it allows microscopic participants into markets alongside the giants.

Comment Supervisor for AI Bot (Score 1) 56

It isn't like the 'meat' in every organization hasn't been attempting to implement screamingly obvious increases in efficiency, for hundreds of years. So there will have to be a Headless Headless ( H^2 ) to filter the results from the Headless Bots:
H^2 Bot: "You must be new here."
H^2 Bot: "We have always done it this way"
H^2 Bot: "It will make the 'X' feel bad"
H^2 Bot: "That isn't your department"
H^2 Bot: "Their is a team working on that already"
H^2 Bot: "We tried that before, and it didn't work"
H^2 Bot: "Did you run it by the team?"
In other words, we'll need Pointy-Haired Bots.

Comment Lies, Damn Lise and Statistics (Score 1) 398

From Bloomberg "Just 157,000 people were unable to work in February because of inclement weather, compared with an average of 311,000 for the month, according to the Labor Department. In January, 395,000 employees couldn’t work because of the weather." The raw monthly counts are fairly meaningless unless you see the phrase 'Seasonably Adjusted'. ( ) i.e. "... outsized gains in construction ...", etc. And the real economic effect is Positions X Wages, and also what regions the growth is occurring in.

Submission + - Man Gets 30 Days In Jail For Drone Crash That Knocked Woman Unconscious (

An anonymous reader writes: The operator of a drone that knocked a woman unconscious was sentenced Friday to 30 days in jail, Seattle prosecutors said. The woman was attending a local parade when the drone crashed and struck her. Paul Skinner, a 38-year-old man from Washington state, was charged with reckless endangerment in connection to the 2015 incident, in which an 18-inch-by-18-inch drone collided into a building before falling into a crowd. The authorities said the 2-pound drone struck the 25-year-old in the head and gave her a concussion. Her boyfriend caught her before she fell to the ground. Another man suffered a minor bruise. The accident took place during during the city's Pride Parade. Skinner, who had turned himself in, plans to appeal the sentence. His attorney, Jeffrey Kradel, said the punishment was "too severe." His client remains free pending the appeal's outcome. A misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge—one that poses "substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person"—carries a penalty of up to a year in jail.

Submission + - Lessons from Canada's scientific resistance (

Lasrick writes: Andrew Nikiforuk, a contributing editor of The Tyee and author of Slick Water, has a smart piece outlining what the United States science community can do to combat expected attacks from the Trump administration on federal funding for research projects that examine the environmental impacts of industries such as mining and oil drilling. Nikiforuk seeks lessons from the years when the Canadian government, led by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, systematically reduced the capacity of publicly funded federal science to monitor the impacts of air, water, and carbon pollution from the country’s aggressive resource industries—by cutting budgets and firing staff. Great read.

Submission + - Scientists Crack Why Eating Sounds Can Make People Angry (

An anonymous reader writes: Why some people become enraged by sounds such as eating or breathing has been explained by brain scan studies. The condition, misophonia, is far more than simply disliking noises such as nails being scraped down a blackboard. UK scientists have shown some people's brains become hardwired to produce an "excessive" emotional response. Olana developed the condition when she was eight years old. Her trigger sounds include breathing, eating and rustling noises. Scientists, including Olana, at multiple centres in the UK scanned the brains of 20 misophonic people and 22 people without the condition. They were played a range of noises while they were in the MRI machine, including: neutral sounds such as rain; generally unpleasant sounds such as screaming; people's trigger sounds. The results, published in the journal Current Biology, revealed the part of the brain that joins our senses with our emotions — the anterior insular cortex — was overly active in misophonia. And it was wired up and connected to other parts of the brain differently in those with misophonia. Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, from Newcastle University, told BBC News: "They are going into overdrive when they hear these sounds, but the activity was specific to the trigger sounds not the other two sounds. The reaction is anger mostly, it's not disgust, the dominating emotion is the anger — it looks like a normal response, but then it is going into overdrive." There are no treatments, but Olana has developed coping mechanisms such as using ear plugs. It is still not clear how common the disorder is, as there is no clear way of diagnosing it and it was only recently discovered. Ultimately, the researchers hope, understanding the difference in the misophonic brain will lead to new treatments. One idea is that low levels of targeted electricity passed through the skull, which is known to adjust brain function, could help.

Submission + - Are Gates, Musk Being "Too Aggressive" With AI Concerns? (

gthuang88 writes: Bill Gates and Elon Musk are sounding the alarm “too aggressively” over artificial intelligence’s potential negative consequences for society, says MIT professor Erik Brynjolfsson. The co-author of “The Second Machine Age” argues it will take at least 30 to 50 years for robots and software to eliminate the need for human laborers. In the meantime, he says, we should be investing in education so that people are prepared for the jobs of the future, and are focused on where they still have an advantage over machines---creativity, empathy, leadership, and teamwork.

Submission + - 4 Forgotten Code Constructs: Time to Revisit the Past?

mikeatTB writes: Some things in the programming world are so easy to misuse that most people prefer to never use them at all. These are the programming equivalent of a flamethrower: You might rarely be in the position to really need one, but every once in a while it turns out that you need to take down a forest. In that case, there’s no easier way than going Rambo on your codebase. That's where a few of the old, forgotten code constructs come into play. Creative use of features such as goto, multiple inheritance, eval, and recursion may be just the right solution for experienced developers when used in the right situation. Is it time to resurrect these four forgotten code constructs?

Submission + - Compensation and Dealing with Human Resources (

GinaDEEE writes: Many of the questions about whether you should discuss previous compensation, etc. actually now vary by state. Some states prohibit employers from asking this question. Some states require this information to be shared with people THAT AREN'T PROGRAMMING EMPLOYEES. That's right. In some states, somebody else has a right to know what you make.

So, what is a programmer to do? How about asking an HR person willing to share? I am an HR professional in Cali and I am willing to answer HR-related questions for the denizens of Slashdot. I think that this will improve my Karma and help fellow geek-o-zoids (yes, I geek out myself) to progress in their careers.

Submission + - California To Decide Whether Personal Device Communication Is Public Record

An anonymous reader writes: California’s Supreme Court is due to make the call whether emails, text messages and other communications sent by government officials on private devices are public records. The decision, set for early March, will mark the latest development in an eight-year-old case which saw the former lawyer and activist Ted Smith suspect backroom dealings between a developer and the San Jose City Hall, and file a public records request for all related communications. Smith was denied access to some emails and texts sent by employees which were not covered by the state’s Public Records Act. If the Court now rules that theses are in fact public records, it would mean that government business communicated via private phones and computers are available for investigation.

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