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Comment Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (Score 1) 274

To toss in an anecdotal example, every single time I go to Italy I pay extra money to our hotel for the "privilege" (offered for free in even the scummiest American hotels) of having air conditioning. Every single time I leave the room for more than five minutes they let themselves in and turn the woefully undersized A/C unit off, thus ensuring it's 90+ degrees with nearly as much humidity upon my return. You'd never see an American hospitality establishment messing with the climate controls in a rented room, particularly in so obnoxious a fashion.

For what it's worth, I think every hotel I've been to where you insert the hotel card to get lights also has had the AC on a timer when you take it out, it's not like they have the staff running around locking themselves in your room to shut it off. Or if they do that's really odd. It's very common all over Europe, but I've also experienced the same in Asia and South America though most of them have a decently sized AC unit so it doesn't take forever to get comfy again. I can't really remember if I've ever been to a hotel where the AC has been always on, I've been to the US once but it was so long ago I don't remember.

Comment Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (Score 2) 274

Are they expecting us to all go back and live in caves?

Not caves but... well, most environmentalists don't want to raise the average to modern standards. Looking at the current estimates the average CO2 emissions in tons/capita is:
World: 4.9 (2011)
EU: 8.6 (2011)
US:16.4 (2012)

So if everyone were to pollute as much as the US our total emissions would over triple. People like to blame China but they're "only" up to 7.1 tons/capita, they're lower than the EU they just happen to be a billion people plus. And there's huge countries like India with 1.6 tons/capita that aren't going to stay down there just to get everyone else off the hook. Of course they want the same standard of living as the rest of us. So it is this vast inequality while the environmentalists feel the current 4.9 ton/capita is already far too high. They don't want just the US down, they want China down, the EU down, hell probably India down because the world can't take it.

And you know what? The world won't take it, nobody and I mean absolutely nobody wants to back down to 4.9 tons/capita voluntarily. The EU would have to find ways to cut emissions by 43%, the US by 70%, even China would have to cut 30%. Even if we admit that there's a lot of excess consumption as well, there's a whole lot to modern living that I don't consider luxuries and that do consume power. People lived before refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, TVs and computers too but I don't plan on being one of them. And cars and bikes, maybe they'll go electric or whatever but we're never giving up that freedom of personal transportation. Bicycles aren't a full substitute.

Honestly, I don't know what the f*ck Americans are doing to have almost twice as much emissions as here in Europe. But the reason you should get down to EU levels is because otherwise China is just going to point to the US and say why aren't you dealing with the bad boy in class and instead picking on us? That way maybe we could all meet somewhere under 10 tons/capita and agree that's a reasonable maximum for a modern country. Even with the world at EU levels it'd still be a 75% increase from today, but I'm more worried that if nothing happens China decides to become 1.35 billion Americans and if the whole world follows it'll be a 235% increase instead. Because if you can, so can we.

Comment Re:Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (Score 3, Informative) 274

The final estimates is that it was a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, it's on the top 5 list of recorded earthquakes and the others were in Chile, Alaska, Sumatra and Kamchatka, Russia. It tops the list of property damage by earthquake by a factor of two. If this had been a "normal" 8.0 earthquake (which is an amplitude 10 times smaller and 31 times less energy) we almost certainly wouldn't be having this discussion. It's like the engineers of the WTC towers, they had simulated a small aircraft flying into the towers but not a 747. Yes, in perfect retrospect of course it was too little but I think you're being more than a little unfair.

Comment Re:Why do you find it interesting? (Score 2) 166

(yes, I have jumped through hoops, but that's not the point - here someone else has jumped through those hoops for you). (...) And we can already do *that* anywhere we like.

Actually that's exactly what you can't do with a laptop, maybe this bit and that bit works great with Linux while others don't work well or at all. Been there, tried that and it had nothing to do with price or quality but simply that some companies cared to support Linux and other's didn't. Same with accessories, one printer worked brilliantly while an almost similar competitor was a paperweight but at least those you can research. And if it doesn't quite work well you've got nobody to blame but yourself, they didn't sell it with Linux and never claimed it would work.

If you value your time then the fact that they have "jumped through those hoops" for you has value. That you have a company you can actually go back to and say "You sold me a Linux laptop but such and such isn't working!" has value. They're a big OEM, that puts pressure on the manufacturers to have Linux drivers. Perhaps during their testing and validation they've found bugs that have been fixed for this exact reason. Trust me, they do care a bit more if Dell says they'd like to sell a model but their drivers are buggy than if Joe Nobody says it doesn't work for him. But please use the Ubuntu install CD and take your chances on some random hardware, as somebody must figure out how to jump those hoops.

Comment Re:How many humans does the farm require? (Score 1) 65

The last few will probably be stubborn; but today's technology has decimated agricultural-sector employment throughout the developed world already.

The last few won't be stubborn, they'll die. I don't know how many stories I heard about how their dad or granddad was or is running the farm, but nobody wants to take over. Alternatively, that the kids are keeping the farm running until the old man dies but no longer. If you have younger people running farms then it's typically big and automated or they're aiming for a gourmet niche with self made products. They just had a documentary with two such people, both 70 years old that have worked on their small farm for 50 years. All they know and all they want to know, but there won't be a generation to follow.

Comment Re:Why is this suprising? (Score 1) 72

I think it's more that the evolutionary pressure is not currently present, so what you're seeing is a genetic holdover from past generations. Imagine you're witnessing the evolution of the giraffe, in years of drought the tallest survive as they can reach leaves higher up on trees than others. What do you see in rainy years when there's plenty food lower down, do you expect giraffes to keep getting taller? Why not, because even though it may seem pointless and irrational in this generation maybe in three generations there'll be an extreme drought that only the tallest survive and the genes that selected for it, despite the lack of advantage and need will come out as winners in the end. In the same way this bacteria selects for greater variability because history has given it reason to and it'll keep selecting for it until there's a stronger selection pressure to the contrary.

Comment Re:"A hungry man is an angry man" (Score 2) 330

Quoting Bob Marley, economy is the bloodline of any society. It's where the buck stops. I hope that our "patriotic"(nationalist) Orwellian ways can play a second fiddle to our economy. If not, we are paving our path to our own demise.

As long as it doesn't backfire in the public opinion, a lot of Americans might be sympathetic to exposing the extensive spying on others but when it starts hurting their own wallet is that anger going to be directed at Snowden or the NSA? I mean in the whole "Snowden - hero or traitor?" debate tanking the US economy is probably not a plus. Personally I think you'll get a lot of first-order reaction and the second-order reaction "But should we really have been spying in the first place?" will be much weaker, the reason the saying is "don't kill the messenger" is that people do have a tendency to want to kill the messenger. Doesn't matter how dirty the laundry you're airing is or how many skeletons were in your closest, it's the one who brings it out in the open who has to pay the price.

Comment Re:Poor Cisco (Score 3, Insightful) 330

Well, nobody knows how much of a choice they have in the matter. If the NSA come rolling in with a National Security Letter, comply and keep quiet it's rather hard to refuse. It's not like they'd just make a corporate fine for leaking it, they'd be going after individuals to put them in prison. Are you ready to do a Snowden and screw your whole life for the sake of not complying with a government order of questionable constitutionality? If the government wants to put you over a barrel, they can.

Comment Re:tough love (Score 4, Informative) 330

maybe its time we consider going back to software (oss) based networking gear. it will be much slower than hardware based ones but we can't verify hardware designs like we can software ones.

That software has to run on hardware and if you can't trust the hardware you are screwed anyway, it's like trusting your software (oss) encryption when there's a hardware keylogger installed. Send the right magic numbers and the hardware could start doing anything it wants like mirroring traffic, dumping memory, whatever the attacker needs to completely compromise the box. The only advantage would be that it could run on more generic hardware that you hopefully could buy from a more trusted supplier.

Comment Re:Skynet (Score 1) 177

Assuming they want slaves and they don't want to kill you just for being of the wrong religion, race or other deviancy. Particularly if they're that good at robotics, they might not want much slave labor. I think it would be rather hard to make slaves productive in a modern society yet repressed enough not to pose a threat to their masters. Then again, the robots could be used to control them with an iron fist. Still, the risks and costs might not outweigh the gains.

Comment Re:I guess (Score 1) 324

Me too. Where is the extraterrestrial option? This has the added benefit that if they are spying on me, they probably aren't kidnapping and probing me. I hate when that happens. Spying is much better. [puts tinfoil hat back on]

Which is why you put your tinfoil hat back on, so the aliens can't use their mind reading rays to spy on you... do you also hate getting shot on when you dress up in a moose costume during hunting season and run around the forest practicing your moose imitation act?

Comment Re:Only if I can use self signed certs (Score 4, Interesting) 320

Except for this nagging problem that DNS, and DNSsec, is still hierarchical and thus we still have single points of extortion, with as ultimate root... the US government.

The DNS system by nature has a single root, the trust chain doesn't necessarily have that. You could for example require that all TLDs be signed with the keys of the five permanent members of the UN security council and require all of them to be present. So Canada would own the keys to the ".ca" domain and they would be signed by the US, Russia, China, UK and France. Canada gets to do whatever they want under their domain and nobody can spoof them unless they a) steal Canada's private keys or b) steal all the other five private keys. Of course the tin foil hat brigade don't trust any authority and that's fine, you can always check the fingerprint. But I don't see how it hurts your security to have the ".com" server certifying that you own "yourdomain.com" versus a totally self-signed certificate with yourself as CA. At worst it's no trust vs no trust.

As for being "blackmailed", well if they're being nasty they're already holding all your traffic hostage (except direct IP access). The base certificate "owner of yourdomain.com" should be free with the DNS service, if you want something to actually certify who you are that's different. Really it's nothing more than the service they're doing already with DNS and DNSSEC, making sure that they're pointing you to the right server.

Comment Re:How to be a Star Engineer (Score 1) 361

They do sure sound like great ways to drown yourself in work.
1. Blazing trails - great, but my impression is whoever starts the ball rolling is stuck with them, often to the determent of your "real" job, unless you've got your nose so far up your bosses ass you want to "work extra days necessary to install new office software". That's a direct quote.
2. Knowing who knows - that is a valid point, but there's a difference between that and small talk and unless it's really to the point those other people have other jobs of their own. But hey, managers love people find answers in their spare time.
3. Proactive self-management, seriously she took vacation time and went to a conference for her own money? Then continued to work on it on her own time? Get a life.
4. Getting the big picture - again the example is that every night - I assume that means after hours - she'd study her notebook looking for ways to improve.
5. The right kind of followership - be the boss's No 2. That's great on Star Trek but it's also a job of its own, you want to be the sparring partner to his job as well as your own?
6. Teamwork as joint ownership of a project - in short take the team leader or mediator or coordinator role even when it's not really yours, probably a great way to get ahead but again one more job in addition to your own.
7. Small-l leadership - now you're also your coworker's coach and personal development counselor. Don't forget to share the late night pizzas, even when it's not really you having the late night.
8. Street smarts - or I'd say corporate politics, why not since we're already piling it up.
9. Show and tell - why not add some presentation, salesman and PR skills to the picture. And of course you don't spend any time at all trying to wrap your work up, as opposed to getting it done.

I've met a few people like that, they're working around the clock because in addition to the job they're really supposed to be doing, they have two or three other jobs that didn't really go in their job description. Personally I'm very much a fan of "management by opportunity cost", if you want me to do an hour more of something it means that hour must be coming out of something else. And for me taking it out of my leisure time is out of the question, so it means taking it out of other work time. I can do initiatives, find answers, find new opportunities, learn new skills, spar with my boss, direct a team, take charge, manage politics or sell solutions but they're all coming out of the time that involves actually developing the software. And if the boss thinks that's a good use of my work time that's fine, but usually there's more than enough development work that needs doing.

Honestly I'd much rather be the somewhat shielded guru that have others running interference so I don't have to deal with pointless meetings or chasing requirements or corporate politics because if you just clear me a path I'll run bloody fast, avoid all the pitfalls and score the touchdown. It's not the only job on the team, but it's an important one. Once two seniors quit with a month's difference while a third knocked his head good and was on sick leave for many months, I was doing all the heavy lifting while two juniors and a senior project manager was doing everything they could to ease the load. And training them, but honestly it was more pedal to the metal and try to keep up with me because I didn't have time to be pedagogical or work on training cases instead of large complex customers. But it worked quite well and I got a lot of credit for that.

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