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Comment Re:I see it coming... (Score 1) 419

Very true. A non-profit cannot afford to have a deficit because they are forbidden to accumulate the profits necessary to withstand bad quarters. The "no-profit" requirement also sometimes leads to poor management, if not irresponsible waste. Literally, since there is no profit and no shareholders, nobody is responsible for avoiding waste. This becomes a problem in some large institutions. For example, a very famous Pennsylvania-based charity running an orphanage has repeatedly been accused of wasting donors money because of their non-profit management structure, at a time when there is record poverty in the country.

So finding income sources and assuring the continuity of the institution is not a small matter for a non-profit.

Comment Then why does China has a huge trade surplus? (Score 3, Insightful) 380

I have doubts about the article's numbers. If that was true, how could China have a huge trade surplus? If the article was correct, all of the export gains would be spent on IP fees to non-Chinese companies, and would reduce their trade surplus. That's not what we observe.

So, while it's important to have a sound R&D and to have plenty of licenses ready to sell for lots of product, this does not replace a good manufacturing basis.

Linux Business

Submission + - Linux installfests maturing? (

christian.einfeldt writes: "Linux installfests apparently are expanding from an emphasis on serving individual users to mass network installs serving non-profits and schools. In the past, installfests have often been held as part of Linux User Group meetings, and involved individual new computer users bringing their computers to a small meeting to have Linux installed on their machines. But now there is an apparent trend visible in Linux installfests toward mass network installs supported by greater corporate or municipal involvement in Linux installfests. In many cases, the newly-installed Linux computers are being given to end user institutions such as schools. For example, a recent installfest in Austin, Texas, was put on by two non-profits and was supported by the personal participation of upper management at AMD and nFusion. The majority of the eighty-three machines were PXE-booted and mass-installed at that event over an ad hoc network. Likewise, at last year's LinuxWorld expo in San Francisco, 350 Linux computers were mass-installed over a similar PXE network in a mass installfest put on in a partnership between the non-profit Alameda County Computer Resource Center and the for-profit Untangle and IDG firms. The machines were donated to San Francisco Bay Area schools. Similar installfests have been held in Chile and India, to name just a few."

Comment Re:Unfortunately, this sounds typical (Score 1) 150

I've noticed a pattern in a lot of talent-based industries. On a small scale, or with an upstart CEO you can have talent-driven companies. But, as soon as they hit a critical mass, the bureaucracy becomes the dominate force and turns the talent into powerless labor.

This is very true. It even extends beyond the corporate world into all kind of organizations because it deeply relates to human nature.

It is so prevalent that it has been named "the Iron Law of Bureaucracy". This law states that any organization above a certain size will be taken over by people who use the organization to advance their career instead of contributing to the organization's goals.

This is why you want to keep organizations competing with others so that the rotten ones can be replaced with healthy competitors. When organizations don't have competition (such as monopolies or government), the Iron Law reigns supreme, unchecked and unbound.


Jet Stream Kites Could Power New York City 263

Damien1972 writes to tell us that researchers from the Carnegie Institution and California State University claim that a fleet of kites could harvest enough energy to run New York and other major cities, especially if they are affected by polar jet streams. "Using 28 years of data from the National Center for Environmental Prediction and the Department of Energy, Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology and Cristina Archer of California State University, Chico compiled the first global survey of wind energy available at high altitudes in the atmosphere. They found that the regions best suited for harvesting this energy align with population centers in the eastern U.S. and East Asia, although they note that 'fluctuating wind strength still presents a challenge for exploiting this energy source on a large scale.'"

Comment Re:Why not (Score 2, Informative) 265

Actually, you don't have to "guard he waste". The MOX process "burns" (transmutes, actually) more plutonium than is generated. It's used in Europe and it allows France to reduce its plutonium stockpile. The remaining mass is about 600 liters (two barrels) of medium radioactivity waste per reactor per year, which can be stored in a warehouse until their decay sufficiently. Google "nuclear fuel reprocessing mox" for much more details.

I am against the idea of burying waste (especially the nuclear kind) becausereprocessing technology will improve and we'll find ways to neutralize today's unprocessable waste.

The nuclear waste problem is a political one, not a technical one. Get the stupid politics out of the way. Solutions already exist.

Comment Most fantastic pile o' loot on the planet (Score 2, Interesting) 323

The American taxpayers' dollars are the single most fantastic pile of loot on the planet. It is so big that pilfering it is a full-time job for millions of people. It's like a horde of scavengers around a perpetually gushing cornucopia.

Defense contractors are not even the big time scavengers here. No, the real T-Rexes in this game are the Federal employee unions, believe it or not. A defense contract comes and goes, and is generally audited. A union benefit is forever.

Disclaimer: I have nothing personally against unions, contractors or T-Rexes.

Comment Re:Great for botnets (Score 1) 375

A good point. But I also could see the Ethernet port, an old-fashioned card with two LEDs for TX and RX (yes, old machine). And both were blinking furiously.

Otherwise, yes, you are right, the activity light of some cable modems is blinking simply when there is some traffic on the local segment, not necessary from or to the attached machine.

Sorry I wasn't more specific.

The concern is that many cable companies don't have even a minimal firewall in their cable modems. This changes every unaware consumer's PC into a potential zombie.

Comment Great for botnets (Score 4, Insightful) 375

The last Cablevision subscriber I saw was a friend who had a Windows machine plugged in directly into the small cable modem, with a world-routable IP address. The machine was idle and the modem was blinking constantly during the whole time I was there, without any one logged it. Needless to say, my friend complained his machine was "starting to get slow". Translation: the machine was pwnd.

I shudder at the thought of having botnets take hold of vulneratble machines sitting on 100 Mbit/s pipes.

Comment Gaming the system (Score 1) 284

Gaming the laws is as old as mankind. How about NOT passing laws that haven't gone through the same level of cursory inspection that is routinely given to newspaper editorials?

If a law is badly written, it will be abused.

The more complex a system is, the worse the abuse possibilities. That's true for an OS as well as a legal system. That's why all tax laws and subsidies regulations should have an expiration date, or not be passed altogether.

Comment Re:Dolphin stranding in ancient Greece (Score 1) 323

If the drummer's noise is your hypothetic cause then you need to be consistent. To be consistent, you should blame boom boxes in the Navy ships' mess, not sonar.

See, outlandish hypothesis are OK, provided you are consistent with them. Remember: a good hypothesis supplies a theory which explains the observed facts, predicts more facts yet to be observed, and can be falsified by an experiment. Otherwise it's not science, it's slashdot.

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