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Comment Re:Arab potential (Score 4, Interesting) 156

Then around 800 years ago it all seems to have gone wrong. "Trouble in the Middle East" has been a newspaper headline since the invention of the newspaper. Personally I would love to know what changed 800 years ago as it might give a clue as to how to make it right again.

I know I'm going to get mod-bombed to hell and gone for this, but christianity happened. There's an old African proverb, "Once we had the land and the white man had the bible. Now we have the bible and the white man has the land." The Arabs were busy unlocking scientific secrets and storing up knowledge during that time out of necessity -- it's not a forgiving land. It has limited resources, and if you aren't smart about managing it, you die. Generations of resource scarcity meant that their culture stressed history. The first written languages came from the same region. Moving from a barter economy to a cash economy also came from there. And the thing is, this knowledge was shared -- it wasn't kept secret, or considered blasphemous per-se. Not like it was in Europe where the idea that the Earth wasn't the center of the universe nearly got Copernicous nailed to a cross anyway.

The Christians made numerous attempts to send armies into their lands -- and failed each time. But although the military campaign failed, the cultural changes that contact with them brought was ruinous to their civilization in the long-run. Think of it as being a bit like how America reacted to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 -- they really hadn't much exposure to terrorism before, so their first real taste of it caused a massive overreaction that has crippled the economy, sent millions into poverty, and triggered far-reaching changes in their way of life. But in reality, it was just a couple dozen guys who knocked down a few buildings. It did more damage though than fifty hurricanes.

There's plenty of other historical examples too -- Japan and China's isolationist policies, for example. When America steamed into Japan, they forced them to open their borders, and thousands of years of culture caught fire and burned in a matter of years. Similar things have happened to China repeatedly when people have crossed the mountains into their territory.

Cultural contamination is what brought them down -- specifically, from European christians.

Comment Re:I'm amazed..this is on slashdot. (Score 3, Funny) 1737

Three: If you don't care, go back in your browser. You do not need to click on every link on slashdot! DO NOT CLICK ON THE ONES YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT!

This is the internet, man. Everyone's gotta have an opinion... and worse, they're only a click away from putting it on the screens of thousands. Your advice is falling on deaf ears. Hey look everyone -- a single mother! (grabs pitchfork and runs out of the comment thread)

Comment Re:I'm amazed... (Score -1, Redundant) 1737

Try to get your facts straight.

It doesn't really matter as far as my point is concerned. LA could have slid into the ocean right after, or went right on as if nothing had happened... it has no real bearing on what happened to OJ's career. But kudos on pointing that out. +1, informative. But... -1, redundant too...

Comment Re:Oh grow up (Score 0) 569

You talk about the median but then compare using the mean for some reason. The median of the numbers you gave is 5, which is by definition representative of those numbers.

You really need to check out what Median means. Specifically, "the median is the numerical value separating the higher half of a data sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. " So if the lowest number is 1 and the highest number is 100, the median is 50, even if the set is 1,1,1,{...},1,100.

It is the difference between median and mode that I'm trying to illustrate here; It's much more likely you'll be below the median than above it given current personal wealth distribution in the United States.

Comment Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (Score 1) 1737

It's related to the earlier story where an IT guy was fired by the AG office because he called them on not revealing exculpatory evidence during the discovery process. They also photoshopped Zimmerman's image into black and white to make his nose look less severe than it was.

I think the OP was pointing out that Slashdot, while catering to people in Information Technology, still caters to, achem, people. We may have a certain slanted view on the world as a community, but widely publicized events will still be discussed, however tangential they are to our interests. Politics is something everyone has to deal with... and so... unsurprisingly, they talk about it wherever people gather.

It's normal. And yes, I'm aware of the irony of calling a bunch of nerds "normal"... :)

Comment Re:I'm amazed... (Score -1) 1737

I doubt that. There were a lot of people who were "on his side", "rooting for him", or whatever you want to call it. Probably doesn't hurt either that George Zimmerman is not an unusual name.

Plenty of people were on the side of OJ Simpson as well. L.A. burned after the ruling came out. But he never found a career after that trial... he eventually wound up bankrupt, eeking out a living on the fame of his last memorable act -- being found not guilty.

Comment Re:Presumption of Innocence (Score 2) 1737

Except Mr. Wannabe Cop with his CCW chased down an innocent kid for no reason and the encounter led to the kid's death. Morally, he's a murderer.

Morally, we're all guilty. There isn't one among us that hasn't wanted to punch someone in the face who "deserved it". Not one of us who hasn't felt a need for vengance at one point in our lives. We love watching people we dislike get shit on -- turn on the TV for more than 30 minutes... it doesn't take long. Populist "morality," fortunately, has no place in our justice system. If we met out justice based on the whims of a mob, there wouldn't be a civilization to speak of in this country -- it's just be roving bands of tribes engaged in constant warfare. The rule of law took us away from your primitive "morality".

Our justice system is based on proof and evidence of harm to society or others. It is, hopefully, an objective and impartial judgement of ourselves and each other. Many people yell about the "immorality" of gays, but they're not harming society, not in any concrete way. This is the essence of justice -- it is about fairness, equity, and the promotion of the greater good, which is far more important than your morality, or that of any one person or group. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

And I am thankful each and every day, that people who try to inflict their own moral values onto others are kept well away from our justice system. I only wish they were kept out of our legislative system as well... and I still have debates with myself as to whether or not people like you ought to be crammed into crates and shipped far, far away never to return because of the harm you cause to society... but to date, I haven't been able to justify it because advocating the position of freedom, fairness, and justice means that no matter how hurtful your words, I can only judge you on your actions and to say otherwise would undermine any credibility I might have to claiming to stand for those things. So for now, I'm left defending your freedom of speech, though I detest and revile your kind.

Comment Re:I'm amazed... (Score 5, Insightful) 1737

I'm amazed the Media didn't manage to convict him, despite how hard they tried.

Everyone likes to talk about how they'd vote, or what they'd do. The media simply caters to that with show trials and "investigations", showing us distorted and idealized versions of this. It's the same reason why in the middle of a crisis, or when in the presence of a celebrity you'll find plenty of people whipping out their phones, and nobody actually doing anything useful. We feel important when we're around important people... or important events. We try to assure ourselves of our own relevance in whatever situation is placed in front of us. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 didn't directly affect more than a tiny, tiny fraction of the population, but everybody got emotionally involved in it, because it was spectacular, epic, and we wanted to insert ourselves into the story, the conversation, the dialogue. Show trials like this are based on this same emotional need, and the media is only too happy to indulge in it -- it sells more papers, more advertisement, etc.

But the overwhelming majority of it is total shit, and frankly harmful to our way of life. Whether Zimmerman is guilty or not, he'll never have another job. He'll always be "that guy that got away with murder", irrespective of the actual, judiciary merit of that position. There have been many people, for example, accused of rape, and were later proved not just not guilty, but totally and irrefutably innocent of the charges. Their lives were still over all the same.

The founding fathers knew this -- that's why they advocated jury trials in the first place. It was an attempt to remove this mob mentality from the judicial process, and as a balance against populism swaying the government and giving in to the transient emotional outbursts of the crowd, the mob, the public. I don't think, if they were alive today in the age of the internet and instant communication, they would still advocate that these trials be open to the public... I believe they would have wanted a person who, if found not guilty, could go back to the life they had and the community would treat them no differently. Conversely, the country was still a "big" place, in terms of social circles -- someone convicted and having served their time, could move somewhere else, start a new life, and leave their mistake(s) behind them. Neither option is possible nowadays...

Today, our justice system may still beat back the mob mentality and the public's need for vengance, and the corruption of the media, but once a person leaves the system -- guilty or innocent, their lives are irrevocably changed. And rarely is it for the better.

Comment Re:Oh grow up (Score 3, Insightful) 569

So let's do a bit of analysis: You have to be making over $400,000 per year (or have multiple millions in the bank) to be in the top 1% in the US. Everything under that is, by definition, "the 99%". The median income in the US is about $50,000 which would be "the 50%".

Median income is not representative of what most people would consider 'average' income. Let me illustrate by example; Consider the following 15 numbers --


The average is (rounded up) 13. However, the odds of you making average are better are only 1 in 5. 4 out of 5 times, if you're given one of those random numbers, you're going to be getting a "lower than average" number. This is essentially the heart of the OWS movement, and people like you who argue about "median" income are woefully undereducated about the realities of the wealth inequity distribution problem in the United States.

The rest of your argument is essentially based on this incompetent analysis of the situation -- using the average as though it still has relevance. If income distribution followed a standard gaussian distribution, perhaps, maybe, you could make the argument you're making -- but it isn't. It looks like a bathtub curve -- many at the low-end, diminishing into the middle before falling to nearly nothing from the middle to near the end of the y axis before skyrocketing upwards. It's pretty much the inverse of a gaussian distribution.

And making a "global" versus "local" comparison is apples to oranges. People in America deserve the wealth they are working for -- our economy is still largely closed, despite globalization. That is to say, the majority of what is produced is consumed here, and that our economy imports much more than it exports. What that means is, per unit of labor, the majority of the fruits of said labor remain domestic. However, the fruits of those labors are not being distributed equitably, and this is the heart of the OWS movement's position, and it is one worthy of closer consideration. Our wealth inequity -- that is, the spread between our poor and our rich, is staggeringly high -- higher than almost any other country on the planet.

Saying "People in Africa have it worse than you do, so shut up" is intellectually disengenuous -- it is a strawman argument. You are substituting a complaint about laborers not receiving due compensation with a comparison to people worse off. Well, there will always be someone worse off. That doesn't make what is happening to those "better off" less wrong.

Comment There is no One True Way (Score 2) 106

There is no One True Way to learn a language, a piece of technology, etc. It depends on your learning style. One thing a lot of people who come into IT are shocked to discover is the sheer amount of stuff to learn, and the lack of tutorials, classes, etc., that effectively cover it. Many leave for just this reason. The first thing you need to learn in this field is how to teach yourself something, and that means knowing what works best for you. Some people need to write it down. Some people need to hear people talking about it. Some people can just absorb it by osmosis. Some people are global thinkers, others are detail-oriented. Personalities run the gamut in this field, but the one thing everyone who succeeds in this field has in common is that they can learn new information quickly, and on their own.

A lot of people will suggest books here, and that's fine. It may work well for them, and possibly for you. But you need to know what your own learning style is first, before you go much farther, especially if you're branching out into a new field or subfield. The time spent teaching yourself how to learn, and finding your own learning style, will pay for itself far, far more than any book suggested here -- your whole career will benefit.

Comment A convenient meme for the NSA. (Score 1) 372

Also; I hear plenty of government workers saying Management has a no open source software policy; for security reasons, the more money spent on the product the better, as closed source code is deemed to be more secure...

And that's a convenient meme for the spooks who have been getting the big companies to embed spyware in their systems, where the systems' closed-source or as-a-service nature makes it difficult-to-impossible to detect such spyware, even as it's doing you harm.

Perhaps the revelations about the Prisim program will drive a reevaluation of such policies and a move toward open systems which CAN BE CHECKED for embedded nastiness.

Comment This just in... (Score 5, Insightful) 401

The employers are very fussy. They are really only interested in a perfect match to their needs. They don't want the cost to develop talent internally. They are even trying to combine positions to save money. I came across one employer trying to combine a mechanical and electrical engineer.

Read between the lines: "We can replace all of them with immigrants, but only if we can prove there's nobody who can fill the position. I know! Let's draft the requirements so they're impossible to fill, then hire the same person we would have anyway at half the price because we had to 'settle'. Brilliant!"

Comment Re:Slashdot Lameness... Deleted (Score 4, Insightful) 193

This is a huge backdoor/security issue. This is another bit of proof that proprietary software is never okay.

If by "never" you mean "widely used", then I'm going to go with... nope. Here's the thing -- corporations are what buy most software. Corporations are willing to spend large piles of money on software. And corporations don't want security that cannot be defeated because a malicious person (or a perfectly ordinary employee with an asshole manager they want to get revenge on!) could disable it in a way it cannot be recovered from.

They pay massive amounts of money for support contracts that demand minimal downtime. There's nothing in that contract, or even a single fuck given, to security -- which is why you get convenient fast-recovery options like this... that have the "small" side effect of having giant unpatchable security holes in it. The worst of it is, the patch will probably take some custom (weak) hashing function that generates a unique password based on the serial number of the device... like so many other first responses many other vendors over the years have implimented... and then someone will figure out the hashing function and you'll have to run a 'keygen' then and probe the SNMP interface before doing the exact. same. goddamned. thing.

The balance between security and convenience has always slanted heavily towards convenience. Saying "proprietary software" is to blame for this is disengenuous at best. Open source software tends to be used by people who give at least half a fuck about security -- but look at the projects that have gone mainstream. Firefox, for example, and it's attaching NTFS AD streams to downloaded files (just like internet explorer!) and integration with internet options (just like internet explorer!) control panel... all to please their corporate overlords. Oh, and bonus -- you can't override it. So if your corporate overlords screw up, Firefox is just another target waiting to be exploited. And the list goes on. The reason why open source appears more secure is because the people who use it are somewhat more experienced. It has nothing to do with open source itself -- it is purely the people who are using it that have created a (albeit imperfect) culture of security around the products.

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