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Comment Re:Leave. (Score 1) 433

... any well-ran company will give you an exit interview.

Once, long-ago, I promptly quit because of an abusive coworker. I was somewhat shielded by my immediate supervisor from his depredations but when she quit I was left in the line of fire. I lasted about six more weeks. At my exit interview, the first question out of the interviewer (whom I respected and trusted) was: "You're quitting because of G-----, correct?"

My jaw hit the floor. I didn't realize anyone knew. It turned out damned near the whole company knew about this jerk.

Comment Re:Top 3 promising fusion concepts: (Score 1) 431

Lithium costs a fraction of the deuterium, hence "essentially free". And D-D fusion reactors don't need either tritium or lithium.

At current prices high-purity deuterium oxide costs about $1/gram, so for the deuterium part you have a floor of about 11 cents per gram. Lithium costs about 27 cents per gram. So yes, Lithium costs a fraction of Deuterium -- a fraction greater than 2. Source: Google.

Oh, and we can't even do a D-T reactor at a sustainable level yet, much less the much higher temperatures and pressures required for a D-D reaction.

Comment Re:Top 3 promising fusion concepts: (Score 1) 431

The tritium is bred from lithium, so essentially free.

That has to be the biggest hand wave I have ever seen in my entire life.

I'd just point out a couple of obvious things. First off, the lithium you breed tritium from is very much not free, and since there are different reactions for Lithium-6 and Lithium-7 (both produce Tritium, but the Lithium-7 reaction doesn't consume the neutron, which is probably very important) you probably need to enrich the Lithium somewhat -- which is again very much not free. For all of the hoopla about fusion it doesn't seem like many people are looking at the engineering problems required to build a practical Tritium breeding system.

The other obvious thing is that getting all of the Tritium out of a hunk of Lithium is probably going to be at least a little bit challenging, given that both elements are wickedly reactive and there is the obvious engineering challenge of how much of your Lithium you let react before you extract the Tritium -- obviously you can't go for one hundred percent conversion because the Tritium would just float away, or more likely catch fire.

So no, not "essentially free".

Comment Re:It's even easier than that (Score 1) 110

... then maybe one way to solve it is to have "credit card numbers" be ridiculously large, like 1024 digits. The mag stripe or pin wouldn't care if the number was large for card-present transactions, and you could scan the card number with a camera for online transactions.

Of course, the next step would be to generate a unique "credit card number" for each transaction, that was valid exactly once.

Comment Re:Tech won't fix society (Score 1) 270

So the real problem is, "How do you convince most people who currently believe that those news are real, that they're actually fake." And that is entirely a social problem, which tech cannot and will not solve.

The very long-term solution is to educate the citizens of the Republic in the skill of thinking critically.

I absolutely agree that we are dealing with a social problem, not a technological one. And one that isn't really amenable to a quick technical fix.

It is easy to distinguish "fake" news, propaganda, and out-and-out bullshit if you don't have a dog in the fight. Go watch "Reefer Madness" for one hilarious example. Old WWII newsreels seem similarly mawkish today. And reading *Tass* articles from the 70's and 80's is also instructive. If you watch/read enough of those you can develop a mental model of what bullshit smells like.

My own personal rule of thumb is that I become suspicious of any news that agrees too much with how I view the world.

Comment Re:Transfer the Responsibility (Score 1) 64

The problem is using something as lame and ancient and telnet and sending a password in the clear.

Using something as rudimentary as ssh and having each device have a unique password (probably generated with the mac address of the device as an input) would be a big improvement. A remote attacker wouldn't have a good way to guess the mac address of such a device.

Better would be a mechanism for booting such devices in "management mode" (by holding a switch down while powering up the device, or maybe if the device sees a magic ethernet packet within a minute or so of powering up -- note that said packet shouldn't be an IP packet so nobody can send one remotely and that said packet should contain some password that is again a function of the device's mac address).

Neither of those mechanisms are perfect and both can be defeated by determined attackers. But it would make attackers work to build a million-host botnet.

Comment Re:Random Numbers (Score 3, Insightful) 179

That's possible, true.

But it is hard to see that someone would "fix" that problem using the approach given in the code sample. Basically their "fix" only produced 64 bits of entropy for a 128 bit key, which is a 101-level cryptography mistake. It also took more time and was much more complex than a straightforward implementation, which kind of kills the argument about the authors having to work quickly. This is one of those screwups that required thought and effort. I'm left with two possibilities:

(1) The NSA is hiring complete amateurs to write their exploit tools, and they aren't giving any adult supervision (or code reviews) to the products of those amateurs.

(2) The NSA/Equation Group didn't write this code at all.

Comment Re:The basest, vilest (Score 1) 1017

Firstly, anybody that could have wanted those emails already has them.

Secondly "Cybercrime"... is no crime at all if no one is harmed and the information that is put in the hands of those that should have had it to begin with. I mean who would the victim be!? If anyone was ever going to have harm come to them from those emails... it's already happened, the guilty party is Hillary for breaking federal law regarding the security of government communications.. not to mention basic common sense security measures.

Well, maybe we can start with the people who had their names, addresses, social security numbers, and credit card numbers inadvertently released. Maybe they are "collateral damage?"

I find it humorous and a little bizarre that in many people's minds the DNC emails and the emails on Hillary Clinton's private server seem to be one and the same.

Comment Re:Old stuff "discovered" by the ignorant (Score 1) 519

I think the whole idea misses a couple of other important points, as well:

  • Many production processes are highly nonlinear. For any code I write (or any song I write) that doesn't translate into a fixed N minutes of computer time (or entertainment). Especially in the presence of automation, there isn't necessarily a strongly linear correlation between labor hours input and widgets output.
  • The whole innovation process would get stuck. Quickly. Someone would invent a new gadget, say, a computer, and the people acting as venture capitalists would say they needed, oh, five or six of them, and then they would move on.
  • Nobody here has noted that "optimal" doesn't necessarily mean a nice place to live or even a particularly stable one. Maybe the optimum solution for maximizing output is to have minimal agriculture to keep everyone fed and have everyone else writing gaming apps for cell phones. In the presence of a lot of infinities it is easy to imagine ridiculous "optimal" solutions. It is also easy to see a lot of things that we enjoy, like "bacon" or "scotch" being less efficient to produce than say "tofurkey" or "gin". But that wouldn't be any fun at all.

Comment Re:It lost its luster years ago (Score 1) 163

Being in Silicon Valley makes sense if your goal is to obtain VC money. If your goal is to make a successful tech business, though, Silicon Valley hasn't been the place to be for a very long time.

... except that a lot of the infrastructure a startup needs (office furniture, law firms, accounting firms, pr companies, &c) is in the valley and is used to dealing with startups. In a lot of cases your VC can steer you to a pr firm or a leasing firm that will rent you office space -- and you often can pay at least partially with warrants. You can't get that same level of support elsewhere. Yet.

The other point is that most of the top-tier VC firms are in the valley. If you are just down the road from Kleiner Perkins they are a lot more likely to drop by and check you out as opposed to being in Kansas City or Omaha. Keep in mind that the top tier VC firms get literally thousands of business plans per month. They cannot possibly make money and fly all over the country to check out promising startups. But if you are in the Bay Area it is a lot more likely you will get a call back. Same thing goes with acquisitions.

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