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Submission + - It is 30 seconds closer to midnight (thebulletin.org)

Dan Drollette writes: The hands of the Doomsday Clock were re-set today, to show that we are even closer to nuclear midnight. Here's the reasoning behind it. (PS — You can also watch a replay of the live press conference this morning at clock.thebulletin.org)

Comment Re:Lifespan? (Score 1) 23

Hell, even if I have to buy a new couple $ MOF strip to slide into my phone every couple of months, the potential to have an on-demand, low cost, non-invasive, early stage lung cancer detector is huge!

My brother in-law, a competitive bicyclist who never smoked and rarely drank died of lung cancer at 33. He wasn't diagnosed until he was Stage 4 as it just seemed like a nasty cold or potentially a fungal infection.

Getting this technology to be widely available, cheap, and easy would potentially save 150,000+ lives a year just from early lung cancer detection



Comment Re: It has always been that way (Score 1) 181

This is where anti-trust laws kick in. The specific term in this case (BMW tires) would be Tying Products. Where the function of a product is tied to another product for which the manufacturer is the sole source provider. In the example given, if BMW were to put an artificial limitation on the tires (say an embedded RFID chip) that was required for the vehicle to function, and that no other tire manufacture were able to reproduce the RFID chip, then they would most assuredly wind up in court and likely losing or settling.


Comment Re:It has always been that way (Score 1) 181

Only that even if Apple applies the same rule (15-20% cut of subscription fees) to Apple developers, it means that Apple is still keeping 100% of the subscription fee.

They are directly competing, they have a monopoly over the eco system, and they are placing a burden on other players in the eco system that does not harm them.

It would sure appear as though they are on shaky ground here.

Comment Re:How about... (Score 1) 281

Then you need to do more recruiting. If the corporation is more interested in meeting diversity targets, then you don't need to worry about qualifications; just go find someone and hire them for the job. I'm sure the cafeteria janitor can become a PM or developer.

I'd recommend actually working in a hiring management position prior to spouting off such nonsense.

The Corporation in this case, is the State, so we get held under a pretty hard magnifying glass when it comes to hiring practices.

The State has diversity statutes that deal with HOW we hire people, not WHO we hire. For example, FTEs must be interviewed by a panel that includes 3 people: 2 from management, 1 from the same/similar classification. Of those 3, at least 1 must be a woman and 1 must be a minority.

The point of that requirement is to minimize the impact of a racist line manager (which absolutely still exist).

The statutes don't say that I MUST hire a diverse team. I as a manger though, with experience in working in a homogenous white-bread young-middle aged dev shop where out of 80 developers we had 1 girl, 1 Indian, and nothing but white guys, feel that having a more diverse team creates a much better work environment.

Having a multi-cultural team of people who respect each other and each other's cultures has created great bonds within the team. Sure, it's a bit more challenging to get through the storming, but at the end of the day, I have a better team to show for it.

I would never hire someone for a position I did not feel they were more than capable of handling. I look for candidates that show not only the immediate skills I need, but the knowledge, ability, and desire to grow into what I'll need next year. And those people are all around, of all races, and of any gender.

So IF that cafeteria janitor has spent their nights completing their college degree, and has the cafeteria staff running like a well oiled machine with schedules, inventory management, new employee training, etc... then yeah, they might be the very person I'm looking for. But if they aren't looking to move into a PM role, and they aren't looking to expand their skillsets, then no, they would not likely be eligible for the position regardless of their race or gender.


Comment Re:How about... (Score 1) 281

Nope. My contractor group is about 35% H1B visa workers.

I work for the State, so we do not sponsor anyone for Visas, they have to work out sponsorship on their own. They must be legally able to work in the US, and that is vetted thoroughly. But by state statute, I am not allowed to ask or judge by their type of residence status, only that they are legal. I typically only find out that someone is on an H1B visa when elections come around and they volunteer the information, or they request a 2+ week absence to return to their home country to renew their visa.

For FTEs, since the state will not sponsor, all of them are legal residence, some of them are 1st or 2nd gen Americans, but they are all full citizens.

From the contractor side, it's rough. The problem we face is that IT unemployment in the metro area hovers around 1-2%, which means getting new local talent in is limited to poaching skilled employees, picking up layoffs/terminations, or getting college grads at the end of the school year. And as this is a State gig, we don't really have the money or benefits to poach :(

So yeah, when we post contractor positions, I'll get 70-100 resumes, and 90%+ of them are likely H1B visa workers.

So like I said, I can only work with what I get.


Comment Re:How about... (Score 0) 281

Maybe we should judge people not based on the color of their skin but on the content of their character?

Absolutely. But part of our social responsibility is to evaluate our ability to do so. So if we follow hiring practices that we believe allow us to hire based on only the candidate's performance, yet we find that our team's breakdown differs wildly from the local racial distribution, then we have a problem.

It means that either
A) Our hiring methodology is not unbiased and we are engaging in some for of racial or social profiling.
B) Society has a function of racial or social profiling that is skewing the labor pool.
C) The identified subgroups are in some way disadvantaged in the competition for the positions we fill.

If the problem is A, then it is something we need to resolve within our practices. It is something that is litigable. It is a risk to the organization. And it likely means that we have someone on the hiring process that is a complete douche nozzle.

If the problem is B, then we should be looking within our communities to see why the labor pool is being affected. Typically this is where we are going to start looking into disproportionate imprisonment of minorities, low income neighborhoods resulting in low income schools, with lower performance measures in graduation and college participation, racial real-estate problems. and so on...

If the problem is C, then it may be something that shouldn't be solve, or that takes a very specific approach to solve a portion of. For example, I'm not likely to get a significant middle eastern labor pool for a hog farm, I don't think that we as a society should force people to change their beliefs in order to achieve a perfectly balanced workforce. More likely to occur though, is hiring a project manager/analyst who speaks English as a second language. ESL devs I don't have a problem, as long as they can communicate well enough to handle requirements, testing, and reporting. But I need my project managers to be able to hand direct and sometimes tense discussions with senior management, business users, customers, etc... I need someone in that role who has an excellent grasp of the English language and the mannerisms in which people express themselves. Just as I worked with fluent Portuguese speaking PMs in Brazil, German speaking PMs in Germany, I look for English speaking PMs in the US. I have PMs who are ESL speakers, but they have studied and practiced extensive and have a great command over the language. But if I want to get more minority people into this career path, I'm going to need to drive for more ESL training to get non-native speakers to be able to perform at the levels we need.

So yeah, hiring in order to hit racial population % is only important if your hiring process is racist. But looking at racial % of labor to identify if you have a hiring problem, and what type of problem you have is an extremely valuable exercise.


Comment Re:How about... (Score 4, Interesting) 281

I can't speak for Facebook, but my team is currently comprised of

8 Caucasian men
1 Caucasian woman
5 Indian men
4 Indian women
2 Asian men

(Note that my metro area is ~78% white). I can only hire from the applications I receive, so I can't bring in Latino or African American devs/BAs/PMs/etc... I've been thinking about doing an outreach program to see about visiting some of our local high schools' CS programs and see what I can learn about our next generation of coders.

The youngest people on my team are late 20s. A couple of months ago one of the women on my team retired. I have multiple team members that are looking at full retirement in the next 5 years (one of whom I hired last year). Probably half of my team is in the 40+ category and a good portion of that has been hired on in the last 3 years.

There are dev managers in the world that don't give a crap about your age or skin color as long as you can code, document, lead, teach, test, implement, or what ever else we need done.


Comment I'm totally lame stream (Score 1) 236

Windows 10
MicroATX i3 w/ 4gigs of memory
250g solid state drive
CD/DVD/Blueray drive

All mounted in a custom build frame inside of a 1930's style cathedral wood radio.

That connects to a 500w head unit with 4 sets of speakers (12",6",tweeter, each) and a 48 LED flat screen.

Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, DVDs, and low intensity video games all play wonderfully.


Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 97

To some extent. I'd have to dig through my notes to see who is further along than others. I know Vegas has some cool stuff in Nevada, Cali comes up in conversation thanks to silicon valley. So does Minnesota though, so it's not like it's locked up by the typical coastal players.

My state isn't on the cutting edge, but we are replacing some of our asset management software, which ties into traffic ops, so keeping an eye on which vendors are going to be able to leverage V2V and V2I communications is critical for us. Thanks to budget cuts from the Governor though, we don't have money to play around with future state stuff :(


Comment Re:Really? (Score 4, Insightful) 97

This isn't about internet access.

Disclaimer: I work for a state DOT as a software development manager and I consult on systems that are impacted by these systems.

This is about V2V and V2I communications platforms. In the 2017 model year, all new vehicles will require V2V communication systems. And another ~5 years after that we'll likely see V2I requirements.

Currently, when you see those signs that say "X minutes to exit Y", they pull that data in one of a few ways:
1) Buy it from Google or other cell phone tracking companies
2) Use radar speed cameras to calculate the average speed and travel time
3) Use roadside Bluetooth detectors to identify specific vehicle travel times between two detectors
4) Magnetic loop vehicle counters and an algorithm to compare rate to volume and travel time.

V2V communication systems don't directly communicate with the infrastructure system. But similar to the Bluetooth detection system, we can identify that a specific car with a V2V system has passed a point, and then measure the travel time for it to reach the next meter point. Currently we capture ~2% of traffic using Bluetooth, with the new V2V system being mandated for 2017 and a ~5% annual fleet replacement rate, by 2018 we should over double our data collection.

There's nothing fancy there though. The detail data is only retained for the segment measurements, and since all we know is effectively a GUID, we can't identify specific people. But if you were to learn of a GUID associated with someone's vehicle or phone's Bluetooth, and you were to capture and store the meter data, you could, in theory, determine their travel habits across the specific place those meters are installed (pro-tip: there aren't many of them)

Where V2I starts getting really cool is when we can actually communicate with vehicles about the environment. For example, If you have a densely populated area with significant street parking (say like pretty much any down town metro in the country) as the street parking fills, you get more surface traffic of people looking for parking. At ~50% parking capacity roughly 80% of the traffic is searching for parking. V2I communication can cut that rate tremendously by informing vehicles of the closest available parking spots.

Another cool use that's already being done in Vegas is that the infrastructure can inform the car as to the optimum speed to travel at to hit all of the green lights.

Then you get into the really cool stuff, next gen and all that. Where a vehicle that has it's route information can report travel times for each road segment, and share this data between V2V and V2I, allowing the other vehicles and infrastructure perform vastly more efficient route planning, alleviating traffic jams, minimizing road surface damage, etc...

That data can also feed our construction plans giving us hard analytical data to determine where construction projects are needed. Where safety needs to be improved, where volume is changing rapidly. It can help plan lane closures and route plans for over sized-over weight vehicles. It can replace a ton of what is currently labor intensive and best-guess analysis with cold hard facts.

But it needs to be shepparded by people who are aware of the security impacts and unwilling to overstep bounds.

At one stakeholder meeting, a senior member of a policing branch of the state government asked if the system could be used to disable the vehicles of people who were driving recklessly. Or if they would be able to query the system to identify suspects in relation to a crime.

Some of the ops folks were really excited about the idea of identifying common traffic routes, to be able to see how individual drivers get from point A to point B.

But there were those of us in the group who were willing to say, no, killing someone's ignition at 90 mph is a bad idea. No, having a searchable database with PII is bad. No, showing full route information is a horrible intrusion in the drivers' privacy.

These are the battles that are being had, across the country, in your own Department of Transportation.

If you are concerned about it, contact your local DOT, that's where the magic is happening right now.


Comment F'ing Mice (Score 2) 251

Back in the mid '90s playing Doom and Quake using mouse look, I had a problem that my left hand would cramp up horribly from trying to handle all of the keyboard buttons.

So I took a few old mice, a copping saw, hot glue gun, and soldering iron, and made my own left hand controller.

It resembled two mice going at it. The upper mouse my hand rested on and the first segment of my pointer and middle fingers controlled the top mouse buttons, and my finger tips controlled the bottom mouse buttons. Thumb and pink controlled side buttons.

I ran the mice wires into an AT keyboard (this was either pre-USB or really early in the rollout) and solder them in as a secondary path for assorted keys.

It was the greatest thing since sliced bread IMO. These days you can get quality made left handed controllers like the Nostromo 52 and other ergonomically designed devices, so I haven't been hacking up mice any more ;)


Comment Do the math... (Score 1) 301

The 2007 and newer standards (phased in from 2007-2010)

The emission standards included new, very stringent limits for PM (0.01 g/bhpÂhr) and NOx (0.20 g/bhpÂhr).

The preceding 2004-2006 standards:

The goal was to reduce NOx emissions from highway heavy-duty engines to levels approximately 2.0 g/bhpÂhr beginning in 2004.

From a Vox article with actual details ( http://www.vox.com/2015/9/21/9... ):

On the road, VW's Jetta was emitting 15 to 35 times as much nitrogen oxide as the allowable limit.

Assuming they mean the 2010 limit, that puts it at 3.0-7.0 g/bhp*hr

The VW Passat was emitting 5 to 20 times as much.

Or roughly 1.0-4.0 g/bhp*hr

So the NEW Passat is capable of meeting the OLD Passat's emissions rate, some of the time.

The NEW Jetta never comes close to meeting the OLD Jetta's emissions rate.

Somehow, not only did they not improve on power or mileage over the last 8 years, they also are doing worse on emissions?!?

I love my '06 Golf, but I've got to wonder what the hell they've been doing for the last decade...


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