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Comment Reminds me of where I work (Score 5, Funny) 89

Every other month it seems, we get an urgent notice from IT reminding us to either uninstall or update Flash.

Unfortunately, I have to have Flash installed on my work computers because the corporate-required "training" courses that they keep on making us take require Flash - such as the one on "information security" about how important it is to keep our software up to date.

So, basically, I have to have Flash installed so I can tick off a little checkbox that says I know not to install software like Flash.

Comment Re:I can't get that idiot Siri to place a call (Score 1) 137

It'll also does that if you ask for directions:

"Hey Siri, get directions to the nearest Starbucks."
Siri: "I found one that's two miles from here. Would you like to call, or get directions?"
Siri: "I'm sorry, I didn't get that."

I don't think I've ever seen Siri actually be useful for anything. In fact, this story is the first story I've ever read about someone using Siri for something useful. Most of the time she just misunderstands or does something stupid.

And as you've noticed, all that stuff Steve Jobs talked about how you can carry on a conversation is bullshit. Modern Siri is basically a command prompt, each line is a brand new command with absolutely no relation to any previous context, except for very specific commands. Things like asking her the weather in one place and then about that weather report - which Steve Jobs demoed, if you recall - do not and have never in fact worked.

Comment Re:Is Hawking up for the rigors of spaceflight? (Score 4, Informative) 77

I don't think Virgin Galactic's flight plan involves nearly the kind of g forces one experiences on a rocket. It's basically a plane that goes really really high. Take a look at the flight plan for SpaceShipTwo, which was the previous generation.. (The image came from here)

I really don't know what I'm talking about, so this might be TOTALLY wrong, but: It says it accelerates to 2500mph over 70 seconds. 2500mph divided by 70 seconds, in meters per second, is about 1.5Gs.

Comment Was Boston that far behind? Or is this propaganda? (Score 3, Insightful) 319

The insinuation that students never saw any map other than the Mercator projection seems unlikely. The implication that the map is some kind of Anglo-Saxon reality distortion field is borderline propaganda. Was there some kind of district-wide rule that teachers had to use the Mercator projection? Was the Boston school district really that screwed-up?

I went to school in Maryland, and we used Robinson and either Goodes or Boggs (I can't tell the difference). Our social studies teachers had 10 foot tall maps that they could pull down over the chalkboard like a blind. We had a unit where we went over different map projections and had to understand the differences. It is a classic elementary science demonstration to give kids an orange and challenge them to peel it and make it flat, or to take a sheet of paper and wrap it around a ball. Did none of this happen in Boston?

The article spends several paragraphs slamming the Mercator projection, as though it was news. It has an embedded clip from a fictional television show debating map projections. But this sounds like it is attacking a strawman here. The article presents no evidence to me to indicate that Boston school teachers really only used one horribly stupid map projection, that they didn't use globes, and that they didn't have curriculum to explain map projections. It seems more likely that the school board decided to standardize, and the site is exaggerating it into a civil rights issue to make it newsworthy. The Boston school district official is happy to take credit for a "paradigm shift" which just feeds into the whole exaggeration.

Comment Re:Background on why videos deleted/Closed Caption (Score 2) 554

I doubt it. Ever try to caption a video? It's a slow, annoying process. The automated stuff generally doesn't work that well so you have to carefully go through and fix errors and it's a giant pain in the ass. You then have to watch the entire thing to make sure that the caption timing is correct and that you've made it clear who is speaking when. For extra credit, try and make sure captions don't cover important parts of the video.

The problem with crowd sourcing is that you'd have to give a reason for people to bother doing it. The people who even can do it by definition don't need it. It's slow, it's boring, and it's annoying.

There's a reason it's so expensive to do, and that the government is forcing people to do it. Without government coercion, no one would bother.

Comment Re:"Human Colleague"... Nope, You Just Don't Get I (Score 1) 407

I agree that an algorithm could recognize a human and put the robots into a safe mode. But Asimov's 3 laws were much more complex than that.

Asimov's laws are more like an attempt to codify moral behavior. Humans can't even implement those laws. The laws required the robots to know the future and anticipate indirect consequences of their actions. In one of the stories, the robots implemented the laws by creating a religion. In another, the robots had to anticipate an object that might fall and indirectly crush a human, but then they also recognized that there was a hidden failsafe that would prevent the human from getting hit. The robots had to balance different conflicting goals and make a judgement between doing its job and saving a human. The movie, although not Asimov's writing, gave other examples like that. It showed a robot deciding which of two people to save, or a robot deciding between saving lives and preserving a human's freedom and right to decide.

Comment Re:"Human Colleague"... Nope, You Just Don't Get I (Score 1) 407

The AC was being an ass, but he is making a valid point. Asimov wrote "I, Robot" 10 years before the existence of "computer programming" as we know it. The microprocessor didn't exist yet. "Programming" was more like electrical engineering than software engineering is today.

there is no known way to implement such law

Duh, of course! But to criticize Asimov as having "blandly ignored" the limitations of computer programming is insulting to his intelligence and detracts from the point of the books. They aren't engineering books about implementation. They are imaginations about the moral implications of what could possibly be. If anything, his books explore the moral ambiguity of the 3 laws of robotics, and talk about how hard it would be to write such laws given the assumption of a perfectly logical being that could interpret them. That's what makes it science fiction.

Comment Re:Appeal to authority (Score 1) 223

You don't seem to have even a basic grasp of structural dynamics, fluid dynamics, or basic physics.

Rei posted coherent statements about physics, links to scholarly articles, and provided measurements. So Rei does indeed seem to have a pretty good grasp on those things.

You have the appeal to authority down pat, and a whole lot of BS.

You are the one who appealed to the authority of "Thunderf00t." Rei has made no appeal to authority that I saw. If I missed it, please quote it for me to show what I missed.

Comment Re:Devil's advocate (Score 2) 202

This is a valid theory and is worth considering. But Occam's Razor leads me to choose the simpler theory: that encryption is working. This is because the contents of this leak are consistent with other public information. Public discussion indicates that D-wave's quantum annealing computers can't run Shor's algorithm, so they are not useful for this (yet). There aren't attacks on AES that make it practical to break on classical computers (yet). So what we see the CIA doing is consistent with the current state-of-the-art encryption research. We see police using Stingrays, rather than decrypting traffic directly.

The other option requires that the CIA be suppressing encryption research from multiple companies and universities across multiple countries. It requires that they are requiring researchers to release fake papers. It requires them to not be using their encryption super-powers very much. All that is certainly possible - when the Allied Powers broke enigma they made sure to keep its use secret. But that would be much harder to do today. So I choose the simpler more consistent view as the real one.

Comment This is a continuous process, not one-time trainin (Score 1) 347

Accept that this isn't a single tutorial, but a continuous process of teaching and learning. And failing! Here's some tips I recommend:
1. Don't dump every best practice you can on them at once.
2. As you see individuals demonstrate these skills, have them present it to the group.
3. Use code reviews so that they are motivated to catch each others mistakes during reviews, then are motivated to not make those mistakes themselves.
4. Have senior members of the team demonstrate these practices and participate in reviews and mentorship.
5. Assign them work that will improve their best practices. Maybe cleaning up an existing module, documenting a particularly difficult area, or reading a chapter in a book and finding an example in your code base where it could have been applied.
6. Accept commentary and debate. There are always exceptions.

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