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Comment Re:Math (Score 1) 229

I have a math minor and work in software. It's not particularly useful in my day to day job, but it is a useful tool when I indulge my curiosity about other things. I built a 3D game engine once, and I had a basic knowledge in vector / math. I used that to go and learn further, the base made it feasible.

Comment They are not using StringBuffer or StringBuilder (Score 1) 486

One of the first optimizations you learn when writing Java in a moderate load environment is to use StringBuffer or StringBuilder when concatenating Strings. There is probably a similar construct in Python. The test was not written from a place of experience or was purposely constructed this way to prove their pre assumed point.

Comment Demon under the microscope (Score 1) 453

The book "Demon under the microscope" looks at the creation and popularization of the first widely used antibiotic, sulfa. It does a good job of describing all the horrible problems society was dealing with before sulfa came about. It's pretty scary to imagine a scenario where antibiotics don't work anymore.
Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Via the EFF comes news that, during a case involving the use of a Stingray device, the DOJ revealed that it was standard practice to use the devices without explicitly requesting permission in warrants. "When Rigmaiden filed a motion to suppress the Stingray evidence as a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the government responded that this order was a search warrant that authorized the government to use the Stingray. Together with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden, noting that this 'order' wasn't a search warrant because it was directed towards Verizon, made no mention of an IMSI catcher or Stingray and didn't authorize the government — rather than Verizon — to do anything. Plus to the extent it captured loads of information from other people not suspected of criminal activity it was a 'general warrant,' the precise evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. ... The emails make clear that U.S. Attorneys in the Northern California were using Stingrays but not informing magistrates of what exactly they were doing. And once the judges got wind of what was actually going on, they were none too pleased:"

Misconfigured Open DNS Resolvers Key To Massive DDoS Attacks 179

msm1267 writes with an excerpt From Threat Post: "While the big traffic numbers and the spat between Spamhaus and illicit webhost Cyberbunker are grabbing big headlines, the underlying and percolating issue at play here has to do with the open DNS resolvers being used to DDoS the spam-fighters from Switzerland. Open resolvers do not authenticate a packet-sender's IP address before a DNS reply is sent back. Therefore, an attacker that is able to spoof a victim's IP address can have a DNS request bombard the victim with a 100-to-1 ratio of traffic coming back to them versus what was requested. DNS amplification attacks such as these have been used lately by hacktivists, extortionists and blacklisted webhosts to great success." Running an open DNS resolver isn't itself always a problem, but it looks like people are enabling neither source address verification nor rate limiting.

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.

Comment My experience (Score 1) 347

My experience has generally been positive with standing desks. I have the 'IKEA' solution at home and in the winter months I turn my work desk into a standing desk. This helps keep my core and back strong enough for biking in the constructions months. But I can't do it for eight hours, I usually end up sitting on a tall stool at the end of the day. Remember that a lot of people HAVE to stand all day at work and have a myriad of problems from doing so. Damaged knees and joints are probably at the top of the list of problems you might incur. Make sure you have a gel standing mat, good shoes, and a way to turn your desk back into a sitting desk quickly or a tall stool.

Comment context is vital (Score 1) 288

I can find some common ground with this opinion. The rights of social robots would depend heavily on the context of the treatment. For example, if you decide you want to dissect your robot and see how it works, you would do so in a controlled manner similar with the way a scientist might dissect a dog or rabbit. Smashing it apart with a baseball bat and laughing at it's artificial misery might be synonymous with doing the same to a pet, something modern society heavily frowns upon.

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We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"