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Comment Re:New Season of Big Bang Theory (Score 5, Insightful) 254

Reprehensible as it was, It would have ended there, and probably should have. Her reputation was not enhanced by dragging it into the public.

Maybe not, but airing things out in public can have other benefits. I've on many occasions responded to such harassment by mentioning it to others working for the same organization, and invariably I get replies describing similar treatment that others have received from the same perp(s). I've even seen a few cases where, after a bit of open discussion of the topic, the aggressor was the one fired. This hasn't happened with me, but I'm pretty sure I've triggered at least a few "reorgs" by talking openly about how the org was being run. This can be to most of the workers' (and the org's) benefit in the long run.

Mistreating someone and then trying to intimidate them into silence is rarely in the organization's best interests. It usually means that the upper management is being kept ignorant of their organization's internal problems, and it doesn't take a managerial genius to understand the problems that this can lead to.

In any case, I seriously doubt that it would have ended there. In my experience, people who get away with such things generally conclude that their behavior is accepted, and they continue to treat others the same way.

Comment Re:"what is necessary to be done" (Score 1) 461

and general population cares so much about privacy .....

So do we actually know much about what the general population cares about? It's highly likely that a lot of them are just "keeping their mouths shut" on the topic, as they've been doing since the 1950s with its Red Scare and HUAC and so on.

I don't think I'd believe anything from any supposed survey on the topic. I know how honestly I'd answer their questions. (Actually, I'd probably just keep quiet. No point in asking for trouble. ;-)

Comment Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (Score 1) 247

There was an incident some number of years ago where a formerly-government-turned-Booz employee illegally brought bidding information to Booz. Booz reported the incident to the DoD, and they were barred from all bidding in that region for quite some time-- and thats just what they do when you're straightforward about it.

So how was that employee punished for this?

(And presumably the punishment was well-publicized among Booz Allen employees, to make sure they understand the consequences of actions that cause the company to lose business.)

Comment Re:Water does not equal life (Score 1) 57

Holy crap, how did you get me to click on a link to a creationist website??

Well, I'd think that the title, " Saturn's Moon--Does Water Equal Life?" should have been a tipoff. Few actual scientists would use the word "equal" there. Rather, they'd use a word like "implies" or "suggests". Reading the scientific results as saying that life exists iff there is water is a major failure in logic that you expect from creationists and media folks, and of course the data doesn't say that at all.

This sort of misreading is often characterized by the term "straw man". It may mean that the writer really is so ignorant that they misread the scientific findings as saying that the two things are equivalent. But all too often, it means that the writer can't find a way to credibly attack the scientific results, so they intentionally misread the results as implying an equivalence that doesn't exist and wasn't implied, and they attack that bogus interpretation.

It's an old rhetorical trick, and you seem to have fallen for it. ;-)

(And we might note that scientific reports on the properties of remote planets rarely use the term "life". This is introduced by the reporters writing about the results, and such comments are the writers' own interpretation of the results. Scientists are probably as interested in remote life as anyone else, but they tend to be aware that the current data says little about that topic.)

Comment Re:so surprising (Score 2) 57

Who would have thought that one of the most common substances in the universe would be found outside solar system! The wonders of science.

Yeah; if you do a bit of googling, you'll find that various "authorities" list water as the 3rd or 4th most common molecule in interstellar space. So the real mystery is why anyone would consider it news that water is found in the signature of some remote object. The default assumption should be that anything not hot enough to break up a water molecule into its constituent atoms (or H + HO) will contain lots of water molecules.

But I suppose that's too complex an idea for your typical media writer to get their mind around.

Comment Re:IOS 7 on an iPhone 4S (Score 1) 488

iOS 7 does have improvements in several aspects, for example, battery life has improved greatly.

My wife did the upgrade on her iPad a few days ago, and is shocked by the horrible battery life. She claims she isn't (yet ;-) doing anything different than what she was using it for before, but its battery dies overnight, while it used to last several days between charging. That's a rather radical change.

I suggested googling for info, especially on settings that may be different than what she was using before. She found a few suggestions, and might know in a few days whether they had any effect.

What I find disappointing is that we can't seem to find any good summary covering the issue, with a good collection of suggestion on how to deal with battery-life issues. There are zillions of "Well, I tried X, and it seems to have an effect" sort of comments, but nothing the least bit systematic.

Of course, we may just be incompetent at finding such things in iOS land. But that describes much of the Apple fanboy crowd, really, so some good advice sites could contribute a lot to users' happiness levels.

Comment Re:This is pointless (Score 3, Insightful) 208

It's the read-write to physical medium that are the bottleneck with the sneakernet now.

Yeah, but it's competing with high-speed networks that are crippled by the ISPs at both ends using a single fibre to feed an entire neighborhood, and intentionally slowing the speed at the customer's site to a crawl unless you pay an exorbitant rate for a higher speed (which is then unused 99% of the time, and doesn't deliver if 2 or 3 others in your neighborhood are using high speed at the same time).

It's not surprising that vehicle+SD card could outperform such a network. The ping times can be rather long, though.

Comment Re:Well, obviously (Score 3, Interesting) 285

It makes it much easier to spy on your own citizens when you do that.

Well, yes and no. The main thing to worry about is typified by this comment:

Among Brazil's plans are a domestic encrypted email service

It's possible that what this means is that Brazil's domestic email service will do the encryption. This would be no security at all, since it would mean that the email service has everyone's keys and can decrypt everyone's email. And possibly sell it to interested customers, such as the US government.

If they're serious about local security, what they'll do is study various end-to-end email encryption packages, and recommend the best ones to their citizens. End-to-end encryption is the only way to get actual security in email. And they'll want a public education campaign to teach people about the "gotchas". For example, you don't ever store your keys in "the cloud".

There have been proposals in the US that email encryption be done by the low-level IP software. This was rejected back in the 1960s by the ARPAnet folks (the military predecessor to the Internet), on the grounds that low-level encryption is inherently secure, since it's typically installed in a way that the user can't control or even see into. It could easily be sending your keys and/or decrypted email to arbitrary third parties, and most users would have no way of knowing about it.

Anyway, it could be interesting to know what the Brazilian planners are planning. Are they really aiming for a domestic email service that "handles" the encryption (i.e., no security at all)? Or are they planning to actually do it right?

Here in the US, we know the answer to that question as applied to our own government (and telecom companies ;-). Is the Brazilian government any better?

Comment Re:In before (Score 3, Informative) 490

When you begin to get into decent shape, you lose inches but actually GAIN weight, because muscle is 3 x as dense as fat.

It might be interesting to figure out where that silly claim originated. A quick check finds a number of sites online claiming that actual measurements (imagine that ;-) find mammalian skeletal muscles to have a density of about 1.06, and mammalian fat has a density of about 0.9. A quick division turns up a ration of 1.18 between those, nowhere near 3.

If you want people to believe you, you really shouldn't use numbers that can be debunked by measurements that can be done fairly easily in any well-equipped kitchen with a few chunks of meat and fat that you can get at your local grocery stores. Yes, you can vary the results a bit, e.g. by cooking the fat out of the meat and the water out of the fat, but you won't get anywhere near a ratio of 3 for their density.

And "dense" isn't a difficult concept. Density is measured in grams per cc. Your kitchen scale can measure the grams, and the water-displacement method popularized by that ancient Greek guy is a very easy way to measure volume of oddly-shaped chunks, if you have a largish measuring cup. This is good enough to get 2-significant-digit measurements, or 3 if you have good tools and are more careful.

Comment Re:Annoying isn't the problem (Score 1) 82

... I had gone to that page as well, but I was using NoScript, so I didn't load a virus onto the company network and didn't get fired.

Anyone who surfs the Web from an employer's machine and leaves scripting turned on is just asking for a disaster for which they are held accountable.

This is yet another anecdote illustrating why we should be trying to educate people about and common "dangers" of using the Web. One of the first lessons should be the idea that you don't download code from strangers and let it run it on your machine. Since "scripting" in web pages is code (unlike HTML markup, which isn't ;-), leaving scripting on makes it easy for outsiders to insert software in your machine and run it. And you will be held responsible for the results.

Comment Re:Router (Score 2) 82

Because everyone loves Pi!

Yeah, except for the faction that prefers tau. ;-)

Actually, I'd conjecture that when we finally meet intelligent extraterrestrials, we'll find that those who have technology are evenly divided between those whose geeks memorize pi to zillions of places and those who memorize tau to zillions of places (in whatever base they use).

But I don't expect to be around to learn whether my conjecture is correct.

Comment Re:Cue the usual "debate" ... (Score -1, Offtopic) 82

Ooops! I forgot the mandatory "FRIST!!!" meme. Will this suffice?

And I get a "Slow down, cowboy!" message when I posted this. Too much coffee today, I guess.

Well, so much for a minor attempt at humor ...

Hmmm ... I wonder how long you have to wait before replying to your own post. This doesn't seem to be documented anywhere that I can find.

It appears that 4 minutes still isn't long enough. Brief pause to get another cup of coffee ...

Comment Cue the usual "debate" ... (Score 4, Insightful) 82

... in which one faction points out that ads are funding much of the (commercial) Web, and if you suppress them, you won't have all that Free Content. Meanwhile another fraction is pointing out the huge waste of bandwidth and human time soaked up by all those annoying ads. And yet another faction takes the "Can't we all just get along" approach, by suggesting that the commercial folks should make their ads less annoying so that people don't suppress them.

Yeah, we've heard it all before, we'll hear it all again, and nothing much will change.

Comment Re:Treason.. or... (Score 2) 524

Don't we have to have a declared war to actually have a true charge of treason?

For the past half century or so, we haven't had to declare war to fight a war, so why would we need such a declaration to charge someone with treason?

(Trivia question: When was the last time that the US Congress actually declared war? And: How many wars has the US been engaged in since then?)

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This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.

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