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Comment Re:Success (Score 3, Interesting) 349

And just think, it could have all been prevented by *not connecting your scada production network to the fucking Internet*.

It wasn't connected to the internet. That's a major part of the brilliance that is Stuxnet. The worm infected machines all over Europe and Iran, and spread via USB sticks. At some point (or more likely several points), the infected drive or drives found their way into the machines used to program the Iranian SCADA systems, and then the worm moved into its next phase of infection. It's pretty incredible, the way the authors targeted the iranian systems used for uranium enrichment and only the iranian systems.

Comment Re:What to say to police (Score 1) 987

Along those lines, since the context is a traffic stop, the following may also help to achieve a resolution of the situation in your favor:

Turn off your engine. Turn off your radio. If it is dark, turn on your overhead light. This will show the officer that you are not planning to flee, and that you're not attempting to conceal anything or anyone. He is already going to be shining his light around looking for empties or other problems, so making it easier for him to determine that there's nothing to see doesn't cost you anything and should be appreciated by the officer.

After you've turned on your lights, roll down your driver-side window halfway. Halfway because it is enough room for you to hand out the documents he will be asking for, but not enough room for you to easily reach out and grab him or his weapon.

Finally, while waiting for the officer to approach your window, put your hands up on the steering wheel, and ask any passengers to keep their hands plainly visible.

Some might say that this is all cowardly acquiescence to power, but the reality is that most cops (especially state troopers) just want to get their shift finished and go home without getting shot. Every traffic stop is a potentially deadly confrontation for them (just skim through traffic stops on youtube) because they don't know if you're just a regular citizen or a wanted violent felon. If you make the stop less stressful for them, they are more likely to let you go with a warning. Politeness and consideration are often reciprocated (it's worked for me on several occasions). Not always, though. Especially when you've been pulled over by local yokel Fife because he's trying to fill his quota for the month. Still, it never pays to be a dick to the cop who's holding your drivers' license and registration.

Note, however, that the advice regarding what one should SAY to a cop is the same. Don't admit to speeding or some other violation -- they will be obligated to cite you then. Don't allow them to search your car without a warrant. Basically, do assert your rights, but don't be an ass about it.

Comment Re:Business vs Open Source (Score 1) 408

Obviously I'm not Sun's ex-CEO; but in watching Sun over time, their problem seemed to be less with OSS and more with a complete lack of any clue as to how OSS fit in with their strategy.

Speaking as someone who was at Sun for the last couple of years of the ride, the problem was a complete lack of senior leadership. Sun was composed of a number of warring and squabbling fiefdoms controlled by big personalities. It was a great place in some respects -- the inmates were running the asylum. That resulted in some brilliant tech (and some brilliant mistakes), but the lack of leadership to set a clear corporate direction led to much wasted time, money, and effort. I'm no Solaris weenie, but I have to grudgingly admit that the OS is quite well engineered. And a lot of Sun's x86 gear (particularly the stuff developed after Andy came back) was absolutely top-notch and a pleasure to work with. Sadly, the various successes of the past half-decade were not enough to offset the toxic infighting and sabotage which led to a drastically weakened company.

In some ways, acquisition by hard-nosed biz people is probably the best thing that could have happened, given the way the world's changed. Oracle has and will continue to cut and cut until they streamline to profitability. Unpleasant for those used to the laissez-faire engineering-driven environment, but at least there's some hope (for those who believe in the technology) that it will survive in service of Oracle's bottom line.

Note that I'm no Larry sycophant -- I got out as soon as I could because that's not the kind of environment I want to be in. Personally, I think that Oracle and companies like it are a dying breed. They've still got a lot of mass and sharp teeth for now, though.

Comment Re:This study is bogus! (Score 1) 716

As I've mentioned elsewhere, my original post was intended as a joke to which many dog owners can relate.

Regarding the protein levels in cat shit, I agree that it is likely a motivator. My dog doesn't restrict himself to that, though. He'll happily scarf down some "trail cookies" when we're out in the woods if I let him. He's a lab, though. Constantly hungry, even though he's fed a very high-quality dog food twice daily and has the correct weight for his size (as confirmed by the vet who is always happy to see a lab who isn't a hulking overweight pig). I think he just likes it.

Bleah. I'm getting agida just thinking about it.

Comment Re:An anecdote (Score 1) 716

One of my friends recently got a kitten to take care of his mouse problem.

Tell your friend that unless the kitten was taught to hunt by its mother, it will be useless as a mouser. Yes, all cats have instincts which incline them toward pouncing on things, but they need their mother to teach them by bringing wounded prey for them to learn on if they're going to be successful hunters as adults. Young strays or barn cats are best for this.

Or not. Your friend sounds like the sort of person who'd drown the cat because it wasn't earning its keep.

Comment This study is bogus! (Score 4, Funny) 716

I have a dog. He likes to eat shit. When he was younger, he used to eat his own shit until there was enough negative reinforcement to break the disgusting habit. My neighbor's dogs used to try and raid the litterbox too, so it's not a behavior unique to my own lovable retard.

I also have two cats. Neither of them eat shit. Q.E.D.

Comment Re:Doesn't matter what he did (Score 1) 465

And yeah, realism in this case would mean a lot of BVR combat, with the added element of total silence in space, and that's not going to create the kind of wow-factor and dramatic tension people expect. That's what I was getting at with the "rule of cool" description.

It could if done correctly. There can still be music because everyone understands that the music generally isn't part of the character's world. It's meant to communicate emotional tension to the audience. Anything depicted in space proper should not have associated sound effects but cutways to ship interiors or places where there is an atmosphere CAN have sound effects. If it is done right, the "silence of space" could be used to punctuate things like isolation and vulnerability. Imagine a ship taking weapons fire and we are shown that from the outside. You hear nothing but the music but can see all the glowing and flashing. Then have a quick cut to the desperate pilot who is surrounded by an absolute din as long as his ship still holds air. If the cockpit is breached the silence is a pretty good metaphor for sudden death.

For what it's worth, Firefly's space scenes (combat or otherwise) were pretty much as you describe. For all the fanciful elements of that show, I was surprised at how well they did space physics.

Comment Re:Supercomputing is passe (Score 1) 222

I love how using a few fancy words and writing assertively is the only thing necessary for getting a few "Insightful" mods.

You don't know what the hell you're talking about. As someone who's been living and breathing HPC for years, I can say that supercomputing is most definitely NOT passe.

It's true that supercomputers are only needed for a relatively small subset of computing problems, but that subset is pretty damned important to science. There are some problems which are just too huge to be handled with anything smaller. Large-scale weather modeling. Tsunami danger predictions. Nuke-readiness testing. Fusion-ignition modeling. The list goes on.

"Just use EC2" you say... Um, OK. Sure, we'll just ignore the pitifully slow interconnects between nodes (yes, I know about the Cluster Compute instance type, but you can only get 100 at a time). Call me back in a week when you've finished loading that 400TB dataset into S3. And after you've taken an eon to crunch it all, you'll need another week to dump the results back out. Etc. etc.

Supercomputing at the high end is not just stringing a bunch of boxes together. There's a lot of specialized design which goes into the high-speed interconnects (e.g. Cray's SeaStar or Gemini), the high-speed storage (Lustre, GPFS), the custom system boards for fast memory and I/O, and the custom cases needed to keep it all cool without requiring as much energy to cool it as an off-the shelf solution would.

Saying that supercomputing is largely a solved problem is like saying that space flight is largely a solved problem. Sure, you can just brute-force it, but there is plenty of room for innovation in efficiency, safety, and performance.

It's OK to be ignorant about something outside of your field. We all are. Just don't pretend to know something you don't.

Comment Re:No need for layoffs then (Score 1) 388

Sounds like the staff is downsizing voluntarily (by quitting). Personally I'd rather wait for the layoff and the 1-2 months of severance pay, but whatever. (shrug)

Yeah, I tried that. I waited, and waited. Finally, I couldn't take it any more. I went looking for new work, found a kickass job, and I've been wondering why I wasted so much time. Seriously... It sounds nice to just draw a fat paycheck and wait for the axe while you're not being challenged much, but after a while it becomes pretty demoralizing. It was not a good time for my resume, mind, or body.

Future employers are more inclined to look favorably on those who were good enough to jump ship before they had to, as well, I think. The perception seems to be that those who linger are those who can't get better work.

Anyhow, screw you, Oracle. Your paychecks were nice, but your soul-crushing bureaucracy and rapacious ethos were not.

Comment Re:A Better Car Analogy (Score 1) 2058

You're missing the point. The point isn't that he should get services without paying the $75. The point is that the firefighters responded and just stood there, and wouldn't help put the fire out at any price. "You're too late" is what they said when Crannick offered to pay whatever the cost.

If you think of this in terms of the car insurance analogy, imagine you got in a wreck and didn't have insurance. Except when you go to the body shop, they say "sorry, we can't help you, you don't have any insurance." "But," you retort, "I'll pay whatever the cost out of my own pocket." "Sorry," they reply, "it's too late. We won't fix your car even if you pay for the full cost."

It doesn't take a lot of thought to realize that makes no damn sense.

No, friend. You're missing the point. Unless Crannick was offering to pay $30k (or whatever his share of the true cost of rolling trucks out, maintaining readiness, wear/tear, etc. was) ON THE SPOT, the firefighters would have had to take his word that 1. he had the money to pay them, eventually 2. that he was committed to paying them. Basically, extending him credit (with all the problems inherent with credit -- collection, legal fees, administration, etc.), or else eating a huge loss. One time, for one guy, maybe... But if they do it once, then they open themselves to discrimination charges after they realize they can't do it for everyone and they let the next person's home burn.

The fire department (from a neighboring town, from a neighboring STATE) isn't out to make a profit, but they do have to pay for themselves somehow, right? The people of the county this guy lives in decided not to pay taxes for a fire department. Their choice. They also had the choice to pay what is effectively a $75/year fire coverage premium. The only way such schemes make any sense whatsoever is if most people who pay a relatively small fee never need the coverage to which they're entitled.

Your car insurance/body shop analogy isn't accurate at all, because it ignores the distinction between an insurance premium and the true cost of coverage.

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