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Comment Re:The big question is still unanswered. (Score 1) 193

Who knows? Perhaps his DHCP lease expired and he got reassigned to an IP previously used by a curvy woman?

A lot of these ad systems are based on somewhat black box machine learning models or statistical correlation engines. Even the people who run them can't always explain why a certain choice was made, just that overall it seems to do the right thing.

Comment Re:The EU must like expensive toys (Score 0) 80

The solution would have been for Apple to be slapped, hard, when it started claiming that nobody could build tablets or phones anymore even though none of their patents were technically "essential". Then it would have never escalated to that point. However neither the US nor the EU managed to achieve even basic common sense with regards to Apples rampant abuse of the courts, and are focusing on the Korean company instead.

This coming after Obama stepped in personally to ensure Apple wouldn't have to pay up? It sends a bad message, a very bad message to the rest of the world indeed. Basically whichever company is "cooler" gets to win, no matter what the rules of the game were meant to be.

Comment Re:Resistant to anti-ship missles? (Score 2) 229

Well, according to that wikipedia page, that weapons system was in service since 1980. The missiles I'm talking about are these ones and are much more modern. I have read that Russia got significantly further ahead than the US in the area of anti-ship missiles and as such, the US defences against them have never been tested for real.

Comment Resistant to anti-ship missles? (Score 3, Interesting) 229

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that anti-ship missile technology has been ahead of defence systems now for quite some time, such that basically any ship that gets within range of them is basically always sunk. What's more, Russia, Iran and China all have such missiles. What exactly are these ships being built for, beyond the jobs they produce?

Education

Ask Slashdot: Best Language To Learn For Scientific Computing? 465

New submitter longhunt writes "I just started my second year of grad school and I am working on a project that involves a computationally intensive data mining problem. I initially coded all of my routines in VBA because it 'was there'. They work, but run way too slow. I need to port to a faster language. I have acquired an older Xeon-based server and would like to be able to make use of all four CPU cores. I can load it with either Windows (XP) or Linux and am relatively comfortable with both. I did a fair amount of C and Octave programming as an undergrad. I also messed around with Fortran77 and several flavors of BASIC. Unfortunately, I haven't done ANY programming in about 12 years, so it would almost be like starting from scratch. I need a language I can pick up in a few weeks so I can get back to my research. I am not a CS major, so I care more about the answer than the code itself. What language suggestions or tips can you give me?"

Comment Re:Americans doing the right thing (Score 1) 999

It depends what you really want when you say, "boost the economy". The reason so many EU economies are trashed right now is because they were fundamentally weak for a long time, ever since the flight of manufacturing to Asia really, and this weakness was covered up through extremely large amounts of borrowing and government deficit spending. In the UK for instance large parts of the north were almost being kept afloat by large deficits run up under Labour. In Spain a lot of employment came from an unsustainable housing bubble that triggered over-construction - construction being an industry loved by politicians because it employs lots of relatively low-skilled labourers.

So these economies were already "boosted" for a long time on what amounts to economic caffeine, and like all caffeine-fuelled energy streaks eventually it comes to an end and the drinker has to crash for a while to catch up on sleep and get things back to normal. People that were being pointlessly employed through bubbles or government jobs programs have to find something more useful to do, which is often really hard and involves complicated retraining, assuming they can even afford that, and then of course such huge amounts of resources were misallocated for so long who even says there are jobs for them to take? In fact there often aren't. This "crashing out on the sofa for 24 hours" is a recession.

Meanwhile tax takes drop, interest payments go up due to the cost of banking bailouts and thus deficit spending rises still further. But that process of adjustment is still required.

The US economy is doing marginally better than most EU economies (except maybe Germany?) because it is still jacked up on caffeine, it never had the crash, specifically, it's jacked up on massive government work programs and the resulting secondary employment, like all the towns that revolve around military contractors working on pointless boondoggle projects. Common sense tells you that the US does not need to sink so many resources into advanced weapons programs or building yet more jets or aircraft carriers. But those people and resources get directed towards such projects anyway, partly because the excuse of national security means it's easy to exclude foreign contractors and get Americans working. American can afford this much longer than most countries can because the dollar is very large, US Treasuries have a privileged place in the worlds financial system, and the Fed has basically broken the US bond markets by buying vast amounts of government debt using newly created money. Theory tells us this should cause inflation. In practice it hasn't become a huge problem yet because the dollar is such a very very deep currency, so it's possible to print more money without impacting the overall supply, and because so many prices are indirectly connected to the price of food and fuel, both of which are very cheap in America.

Comment Re:Americans doing the right thing (Score 1) 999

You do understand the reason that companies like Apple come up with such convoluted tax arrangements, right? It's because the US tax system is fundamentally broken in a very important way - it tries to tax income regardless of where it was earned or who earned it - for people this is "citizenship based taxation", for companies what it means is if they earn money overseas and spend that money overseas, not only does the overseas government take a slice but the US wants a slice too. That's not how other tax systems work. If this was actually enforced properly then every US company would get double taxed on foreign-earned income, which would make them less competitive against foreign companies that only pay tax on income where it's earned. The reason it's NOT enforced properly, is exactly because closing this "loophole" would be very harmful.

Generally the rule is that if a US company brings the income home, then it gets double taxed. So big tech companies which are very profitable end up stockpiling profits outside the USA. They don't want to bring it back to the US because then they'd lose a lot of it, after it was already taxed once. But they don't have anything to spend it on outside the US either. They instead sit it out and hope for a "tax holiday". From time to time politicians grant these because it doesn't make any sense for the money to be sitting around outside the reach of the IRS waiting for investment opportunities abroad, when it could be spent inside the US instead.

Companies that are not US based don't have this problem.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 1) 279

No, in fairness to Clegg, he has stated he wants to update oversight of the intelligence agencies:

British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is to start conversations in government about how to update the legal oversight of the UK's security services in the light of disclosures by the Guardian that powerful new technologies appear to have outstripped the current system of legislative and political oversight.

Comment Reverse engineer the Windows binaries? (Score 1) 233

The writing random bytes thing, but only on Windows, is rather puzzling. It seems like one way to build confidence that's faster than setting up a deterministic build (which at any rate, would not necessarily be accepted by the TrueCrypt authors it seems), would be to open up the binaries in IDA Pro and figure out if the bytes written there on Windows truly are random or if they are not.

Security

35,000 vBulletin Sites Have Already Been Exploited By Week Old Hole 91

realized writes "Last week Slashdot covered a new vBulletin exploit. Apparently hackers have been busy since then because according to security firm Imperva, more than 35,000 sites were recently hacked via this vulnerability. The sad part about this is that it could have all been avoided if the administrator of the websites just removed the /install and/or /core/install folders – something that you would think the installer should do on its own." Web applications that have write access to directories they then load code from have always seemed a bit iffy to me (wp-content anyone?)

Comment Re:Still waiting... (Score 3, Interesting) 110

Nope, Lovelace was her title.King was her married name. And, because of the peculiarities of these things, "Lady" would be properly attached to "Lovelace" in this case, but not to "Ada" (or "Augusta"). So, Ada, Lady Lovelace would be one correct rendering, as would Ada, Countess Lovelace, or Augusta, Countess Lovelace (though she seemed to prefer Ada) or Augusta Ada King, (with or without added titles afterwards), but not Lady Ada or Lady Augusta, and not Ada Lovelace.

At least, as far as I've been able to figure out. People more adept at the nuances of British nobility may be able to provide a more accurate assessment.

Comment Re:Foreigners (Score 4, Informative) 188

The article explicitly says this does not appear to be based on the co-operation of US providers but rather international fibre taps - presumably placed or operated by compliant intelligence agencies that are merely extensions of the NSA. The US might be a ringleader in this activity, but other countries have out of control security services as well. After a long period of political silence in the UK we finally got some discussion this week, after senior cabinet members who served on the national security committees admitted they had no clue anything like that was happening. Cameron's response was priceless, he said the agencies would have told them about it if they'd asked!

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Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!

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