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Comment Re: fallacy (Score 1) 177

Weather and climate models aren't some arbitrary curve-fitting; they're physically based using ridiculously detailed physical simulations of air movements and ocean currents, starting from an observed state and running the simulation forward.

Just because a set of predictions is based on a physical model does not necessarily make it a better set of predictions. Physical models are still hypotheses, in that the basic premises behind the model and even the construction of the model itself have not been demonstrated as an accurate representation of reality. It is not until the model turns out accurate predictions that are significantly better than random that the hypothesis stands a chance of being correct.

I'm a reservoir engineer for a large oil and gas company, and we actually avoid using physical models/simulations like these to book reserves because of how horribly they perform. Third-party reserves auditors also make this recommendation. And it's not like the oil and gas industry hasn't invested a tremendous amount of money into the best-performing forecasting methodologies available. But they are held to a much stricter standard of performance simply by way of return on investment.

Comment Re:The Saudi government is barbaric (Score 5, Interesting) 213

Saudi Arabia will never have to change as long as they have oil. Everyone is too busy kissing their asses to keep that sweet crude coming.

That dynamic has changed radically with U.S. LTO shattering oil prices and turning the United States into the new swing producer. The Saudis are already being forced to restructure their entire government, and while their cheap oil reserves still make them a major player, their influence in that regard has been severely curtailed. t. petroleum engineer

Comment Re:WOW, this is fucked (Score 1) 469

Chances are most of those Asian applicants were Americans, born in the US, lived there their whole lives. Chances of them being spies is fairly low...

Actually, second-generation immigrants are very frequently recruited because they are already fluent in the target nation's language and culture.

Comment Re:The second best Star Trek (Score 1) 59

Maybe I misremember, but the most notable thing I associate Admiral Ross with was Section 39.

Maybe I transmember, but the most notable thing I associate with Admiral Ross was his invention of symbiote taming method that allowed Agent Talcum to discover his inner identity as the Leader of the UESC's investigative strike-force in Season 2 of The MacGyver Files: Secret of the Ooze

Comment Information Warfare (Score 5, Interesting) 56

The Internet has definitely made it easier for people to organize against despotic regimes. And it's understandable that despots would find this threatening. It is a hell of a lot harder to figure out whose door to kick in when people don't advertise their real identities. And it's harder to stomp out dissident meetings when participants don't do their planning from any single location.

Comment Kazakhstan != Borat (Score 2) 23

This nation gets almost no media coverage despite its profound geopolitical significance. Kazakhstan is a former Soviet republic that is the 18th (as of 2014) largest producer of oil in the world. Western oil companies--primarily Chevron--operate the largest portions of their nationally-owned hydrocarbon assets with some presence from Rosneft that essentially takes a cut off the top. (The overwhelming majority of the technical expertise comes from Kazakh and Western employees.) However, Kazakhstan's leadership still maintains a very noticeable loyalty toward Moscow and the Duginesque "Eurasian Union" geopolitical vision. This makes it anyone's guess as to which way Kazakhstan will lean as tensions with the Former Soviet sphere of influence continue to mount with the West.

Kazakhs themselves are nominally Muslim, but they are absolutely nothing like Middle Eastern Muslims. They are closer to a thuggish Russian subculture with some lip service given to Muslim and Persian cultural elements--sort of comparable to a third-generation Mexican in the U.S. that can't speak a word of Spanish but still maintains a few cultural ties to Mexico. Some of the most intelligent people I've ever met have been Kazakh; in engineering school, I competed with a Kazakh girl for perfect scores on physics and calculus exams. That being said, some of the most notorious cheaters in the program were also Kazakh; only a small number of them would legitimately learn the material.

It's a pretty weird country that doesn't really seem to fit cleanly into any major bloc. They speak Russian with mostly neutral accents, but look like Asians, which alienates them from a Slavic identity; Russians call them "chjornozhopy." They are Muslim, but basically "only during Ramadan," and they tend to care less about their religion than most Turks. And they are far more Western than the Chinese or other East Asian nations. It'll be interesting to see how they develop.

Comment Re:Waste of time (Score 2) 133

What I find interesting is that the Obama administration has selected this particular event as a rallying point for creating some kind of response to cyberattacks. Massive government data breaches, stolen healthcare records, SCADA attacks, and IP theft just weren't quite cutting it. But an attack that exposed hypocrisy and corruption within the ranks of his own party? INTOLERABLE!

Comment Re:Free time (Score 5, Insightful) 351

Everybody needs a hobby, is what this article boils down to. For the people in question, part time job is hobby.

I would agree with this, but phrase it as: "Millennials try to turn their hobbies into part-time jobs." I think part of this trend has to do with the desire to eventually turn a "side-gig" into a job that can offer full financial support, and the Internet has made it possible for a lot of people to at least make a fair shot at doing that.

Comment Re:Fever Pitch Trolling (Score 1) 369

I think that any increases you see in trolling has more to do with the state of online culture than it does with the ability to post anonymously. Reddit has an account-based upvote/downvote system, and trolling is still quite rampant there. It became such an issue that, in their desperation, they turned to highly overbearing moderators. And this resulted in an echochamber community that tolerates almost no deviations from the narrative set by respective moderators. I don't think we want that to happen to Slashdot, and a good step in avoiding that trap is by never making the first step toward it.

Comment Shills abound (Score 1) 81

People had been pointing out for years that this kind of shilling was likely going on, but it was always considered "tinfoil" until proof started coming out. It was the same way with Snowden's disclosures. Now, I'm more inclined to believe the following: Whatever devious, twisted, subversive shilling scheme you can think of... someone else is probably already doing it.

Comment Not a H1B problem -- an "easy money" problem (Score 1) 482

Most people working in tech realize that the foreign H1B replacements offer a much lower quality of work in addition to working for lower wages. Normally, substandard work would impact the bottom line of a business looking to turn a profit. But the current business model is not to create a profitable product--it's to burn VC money on turning out barely-functional-yet-hugely-popular apps so the company can be sold as quickly as possible. This business model is enabled by the ridiculous, easy money policies of the Federal Reserve since 2008... and it's going to result in a second tech crash that will be much larger than the first.

Comment Re:Don't believe the SPIN (Score 1) 160

>BTW just because the logged-ip addressed point to Russian ip-blocks it doesn't mean that this was done by direction of the Russian government or even that the attack originated in Russia. In case anyone was curious, the Former Soviet Union (and Russia in particular) tends to have the highest concentration of open proxy servers.

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