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Comment Re:And in other news... (Score 1) 237

Backwater-of-flyover-state resident here. Midcareer geek, and I make that amount.

There really is a second skillset many nerds utterly lack that gets those sorts of paychecks. I'm not so hot at the skills, but keep trying to focus on acquiring them: networking, communications, diplomacy, communications, career planning, communications, goals, communications, understanding a manager's needs and, of course, communications.

Comment Re:Sad, but true (Score 1) 237

It happens. It even gets screwed up: a colleague currently has a rejection letter in hand and yet the university chair, when asked, said "you got a WHAT!?... no, I will admit that we've got an offer out to someone else, but it hasn't been accepted yet and the provost is still negotiating with that person."

I've gotten rejection letters, then phone calls when positions don't pan out.

And a nonprofit that a family member serves on the board of currently has yet another similar dilemma: they narrowed to a candidate 2000 miles away, took a long time doing that, and the negotiations with the candidate aren't going well. But their 2nd-thru-5th choices all have moved on. They took long enough for a low-paying job that the pool has drained itself.

Who knew there were so many ways to screw the pooch while hiring people...

Comment Re:exploit sale = nondisclosure (Score 2) 31

Am not sure I agree with your 2nd 'graph, bouldin.

By not disclosing X, you gain a competitive advantage Y.

I don't see how that is definitely unethical. For example, must antivirus vendors disclose the signatures used to identify infection? Seems unethical by your sentence. If a brick-n-mortar finds methodologies to reduce loss, must they share the idea? Ditto automotive improvements? Hell, for that matter, if I come up with a whiz-bang idea for improving a car, can I sell it selectively to manufacturers? Yeah, I know there are patents, but what if I choose to retain the idea as a trade secret?

So, discovery of a flaw in someone else's system is work product. It's intellectual property. It's leverage for market advantage. Choosing whether to selectively release that information is not even just an ethical decision, let alone a clear, inarguably inethical act.

Comment Re:Edge of space? (Score 1) 90

LOL. You oughta win the internet for the day. Wish I had modpoints...

I'd learned to put a 3 or a 7 into any fakebake number by the time I was seven. See, I just did it again! Apparently Le FAI and others didn't get the memo.

(now I'm goin' back over to reddit, where "everything's modded and the points don't matter!", to steal Drew Carey's Whos-Line introduction)

Comment Re:Outrageous Union Pensions Are Unsustainable (Score 4, Insightful) 90

Given the presence of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, defense contractors and farming economies like the Imperial Valley, implying that public employees and their union are omnipotent is laughable.

Your economy isn't faltering. Some areas were gutted by industry itself (manufacturing), some have tech-related disruptive challenges (movies/music), and farm revenue and silicon valley revenue are booming. Your tax rate above 200k income remains at record lows, percentagewise. Your tax rate overall is slim compared to years ago. Even CalPERS has trimmed down administrative costs steadily in the last 5 years (

Individual corruption is a red herring, too. Shine some light into those dark areas, root it out (corporate / private or public), and we'll... oh, wait, that's already being done.

The problem in Cali is the same as everywhere else: mere working stiffs not seeing any of 40 years of prosperity vs. corporate and 1%er's taxes plunging. Add in your state's epic damage from Prop 13 and similar right-wing nuttery, and you've created this economic pinch. Stop blaming the last bastion of union/pensioned people: when most of them got their jobs, they took lower pay in trade for stability and a pension. The problem isn't them, it's that you've screwed so many other middle-class people in the state and propped up banksters and billionaires with the proceeds until public employees' situation looks enviable enough to the rest of the citizenry to assault.

Comment At least patents expire (Score 1) 293

Meh, in less than 17 years, the knowledge that X does Y will be public.

Personally, I didn't map the fuckers out so I can't really be offended that someone that HAS mapped genetic data and suffered through the research to determine what they do gets payment for it for a patent term.

For what it is worth, I suspect there will be a lot more than 40,000 (isn't that number from TFA) unique rules hiding in DNA. In other words, 20 years from now, I still expect us to be making inroads and discoveries that deserve patent. Another few decades after that, if we survive that long, we'll have similar progress with nonhuman DNA, and another wave of patents with value either because our direct or indirect benefit from them (mods to human DNA or mods to critters, in other words).

Comment Re:hmm, where have I heard this one before... (Score 5, Insightful) 128

SpaceX is doing 'IT' cheaper? For 'IT's that are smaller, simpler, shorter-ranged, shorter-lived, based on existing tech, etc, sure they are. SpaceX is the bees knees. But that's like saying my RC car outcorners an F1 and costs like a million times less (based on a proposal to limit team budgets to $40M/year).

I don't say this to diss SpaceX: good research and bypassing institutionalization while fostering engineering creativity is a good thing. They're doing good work. Engineers just know there's no free lunch: Good engineering costs a lot and good fundamental research in unfamiliar physical domains (pressure, temp, chemical composition, forces) costs much more. What's more, established entities pick up constraints: safety rules, regulations, etc. As SpaceX's ambitions and constraints grow, so will their costs.

The cliche about rocket science wasn't coined for nothin'.

(in a moment, I'll be regretting (again) commenting to slashdot on anything involving NASA or rocket science... Slashdot never ceases to amaze me with commenters' delusions that they're qualified to bitch about other technical realms).

Comment Re:Ripoff City (Score 1) 127

CS101: Using live data as a primary key is bad database design in part because of the risk of two records wanting the same key.

Yet DNS does this. Artificial scarcity (and any alternative of gloom and doom) is a byproduct of an intrinsically flawed design. Call me crazy, but names, companies, etc all manage to cope despite redundancies by us resorting to more keys than just the name.

Inertia means DNS names being unique is a 'problem' unlikely to be 'fixed'. But don't trumpet $1.4B (ballpark -- 140M domains, $10 apiece) being charged users as a necessary evil because of domain squatters.

Comment Re:Resale? (Score 3, Insightful) 138

Until PDF's got to be easier, grad school with internationals gave me a lot of exposure to pirated books out of China, India, Brazil, etc. Everything matches except for the paper quality (had a faint-formaldehyde smell).

Books have cloned quite nicely for centuries. And there's preexisting laws to deal with them. Copyright, however, never superceded the doctrine of first sale. And yet now we're getting sold digital media that copies easier but is denied via other channels.

Three reasonable non-pirate use cases come to mind:
- buying and selling used content.
- transfer of an estate's content (who gets my vinyl when I die, vs. who gets my itunes catalog when I die)
- transfer of content purchased for a minor child, when that child is old enough to open an account (13 or 18 or whatever). News recently had this with a content buyer vs. Steam. This varies from the 2nd because derivative data (characters, experience, etc) makes 'just buy a new one' deeply unacceptable without transfer of that additional data.

Comment Re:800 days without any possibly of escape (Score 1) 108

Space exploration is to sea exploration like ... well, like hard vacuum is to getting stranded on a beach:

There's (forgive the pun) astronomically less chance of surviving a fuckup in space.

Going on fifteen years of wishing computer geeks would learn that ROCKET SCIENCE HAS THE 'ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE' REPUTATION FOR A REASON.

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