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Comment Re:Democrats too (Score 2) 67

Here's cash flowing into the Clinton Foundation from corporations benefiting from selling dual use technology [nypost.com] (private and military uses) to Russia.

In case you haven't noticed, most of our "dual use" technology has been shared with the Russians for a long time already. For example, the decimal number system.

In some instances, we might even consider ourselves better off if the Russians did choose to adopt our technologies, such as fail-safe command and control systems responsible for nuclear weapons (supposing our technology is actually better; I suspect the Russians have had 8" floppy disk drives for quite a while already).

Just about any improvement in the Russian commercial space would probably trickle down to the Russian military (trickle down seems to work much better in some directions than others). Are we still in the middle of a 1950s-style total economic blockade? Not that I've heard. Our bigger technical battles are with countries who have not yet produced thousands of nuclear warheads.

In summary, all of this is all a lot of hand-wavy durf, durf, durf.

Point to a real technology and describe an actual scenario where the Russian military benefits, and then explain how the Russian benefit A) is a serious NATO concern, and B) wasn't going to happen anyway sooner rather than later. Having met that bar, then maybe this issue will start to seem important to people outside your particular Kool-Aid enclave.

Hint #1: you might need to avail yourself of sources other than wnd.

Hint #2: just about every dollar given to a politician comes from someone with an interest who wants something.

Arguably the Saudi's and their Wahhabist agenda have done more damage to American foreign interests over the last thirty years than anything the Russians have done. That line of thinking would probably lead you straight back to the Bush Foundation.

Bush's Newest Secret: Who's Funding His Library?

In this piece, Mother Jones at least displays the decency to tar the Democrats and the Republicans with the same brush.

Comment self-response addendum (Score 2) 337

Penn Jillette on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, And Why He's All in on Gary Johnson — 2 August 2016

I watched this video yesterday. There a fabulous exchange 24:30–30:00 on truth and naievity.

You go through a period when you're sixteen, seventeen, eighteen when truth really obsesses everybody. And then I think you're supposed to kind of sort of grow out of it. And I didn't. It really remains of complete interest to me. ... I'm not bothered at all by people being wrong. ... I have such a naive point of view, to almost not believing it, that people can have information and represent the opposite of that. I just find that so appalling and, in a certain way, fascinating.

Once upon a time I would have ventured that most Slashdot readers would want to view this. It had me thinking about my own life 1985–1995 where I watched the software industry turning into a train wreck, where every seventh train car is painted bright orange and lettered in an ominous Area 51 black stencil font "patch Tuesday", with sparks flying off wheels seized (and reseized) for so long they resemble lopsided pentagons.

I used to think to myself "surely these are just temporary conditions due to the extreme rate of expansion of the software industry, and it will all settle back down to sanity as we crest the exponential growth phase". But no. Like Jillette, I was a die-hard naievitarian. Lesson learned.

Comment sloth is eternal (Score 1) 337

The default behavior is to treat the field as whatever you've told the spreadsheet that it is. By default, every cell is set up for numeric data types. ... The problem is misuse of tools, not a problem with the tool.

A process of "five whys" applied to the present discussion immediately reveals "default numeric" as bad policy in academic research.

A sane default would be "untyped" or "exactly as entered" which shifts sins of omission into sins of commission, this being far more compatible with the culture and standards of scientific journal publication than what Microsoft originally chose, mainly for the convenience of boutique-reseller power demos. Also, the more collaborative the environment, the more important it becomes to enforce a strong-typed, sin-of-commission data model.

This is all covered in the first week of Graybeard 101 as taught with slate tablets back in the stone age. I was there in 1985. Microsoft has had wool in its ears since forever. Still doesn't make it right, does it?

Furthermore, anyone who really cares about data pipeline integrity writes an export function from the derived format back to the raw input format, until they come out exact, or every difference is adjudicated and signed off, which is incorporated into an automatic validation task which can be repeated at any point in time for the life of the project.

CRAN Task View: Reproducible Research

LaTeX was originally written in the early 1980s by Leslie Lamport at SRI International.

Leslie Lamport won the Turing Award in 2013 for his uber graybeard rectitude, if anyone cares to notice. Douglas McIlroy made his seminal contributions in 1968 (Bill Gates was thirteen, but perhaps he was already set in his ways). John Backus delivered his Turing Award lecture "Can programming be liberated from the von Neumann style?" in 1977, which inaugurated the modern tradition in functional languages (Bill Gates was then twenty-three).

Competence is hard. Sloth is eternal. We continue to seek a third way.

Comment Re: Elect Trump for Honest Government (Score 1) 525

Unless it brings the system down, it doesn't matter...

The system itself is broken...

That's how we got into Iraq, the fatuous logic that good motivations can't make a bad situation worse, often far, far worse.

But this kind of logic will always be with us, because it's a smug, tweetable, free pass on the hard work of coming up with and implementing a workable solution (and what idiot wants to attempt that anyway amid the boo-bird chorus of polarized politics?)

30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It's An Epidemic

The Huffpo doesn't spin it this way, but these numbers are likely at the lowest levels since the invention of suburbia. I can't say much more than that, because before the invention of suburbia we probably weren't even keeping score.

The "system" is what brought a pretty terrible thing out of the closet. Sucks to be assaulted by a violent intruder? How about sharing your bed with a violent chest-thumper every damn day?

Software: Maintain or Replace?

But there is a tendency - fuelled by taxpayer money - to leap to replacement quickly, rather than doing maintenance. I have rarely seen a system improved by creating a new one...because the new one is loaded with the same flaws (indeed, new ones) as the legacy system that it replaced.

But of course, the hazards involved with ripping and replacing the current political system are much smaller than ripping and replacing some aging government cost-control system. I mean, gosh, look at how well rip and replace worked in Russia.

The Not-So-Great Professor: Jeffrey Sachs' Incredible Failure to Eradicate Poverty in Africa

The early sections of Nina Munk's book about the economist Jeffrey Sachs read like a celebration of a boy genius. No, strike that: Sachs piles up so many achievements so quickly that the word genius sounds somehow inadequate.

By the age of 13, he was taking college math. Later, he got near-perfect scores on his SATs and graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, where by 28 he was a tenured professor. Two years later, he was advising the Bolivian government on how to administer economic "shock therapy," designed to break the spell of hyperinflation. This led to an even bigger triumph: masterminding Poland's transition to a market economy in 1989, as communism collapsed in Eastern Europe.

Like most geeks, never seen a system he couldn't fix better. Until something blew up so spectacularly, he either got the grey beard gene forever, or curled up and hid in a closet somewhere.

Of course, if you watch enough superhero movies, you just need to put the word out ("the system is broken!") and somehow Jeffery will get the bat signal, and he'll patiently hand-stitch some brightly coloured, stretchy fabric (you'd be amazing what else he found in that stiff bottom drawer with all his grandmother's old Jane Fonda work-out videos) into the peacock man-cape he always dreamed about while he was acing his SATs (painstakingly ripping and replacing the crotch seam six times to achieve the optimally brash yet task-focused fit—they don't call him "Dr Sacks" for nothing) and then he'll spring out the window, and who knows, maybe he can actually fly. I guess we'll find out.

Either way, news at 11.

That all that matters these days.


Comment Re:Simple, I don't run Win 7/8.1, I run Win 10 (Score 1) 400

I used Windows 7 the other day, it felt old all of a sudden, amazing when it felt so new just 7 years ago, but it is now out of date and the idea of staying on Win 7/8.1 is just not reasonable anymore...

Nice job. You just nailed the limbic limbo: seven deadly sins, seven year itch, and even a bonus baby-boomer Streisand reference ("oh, oh, oh, feelings ...") complete with soulful ellipsis.

You might want to bend your GF's ear and check her expiry date, I think she's due.

So, yes, there are oh, oh, oh, reasons ... why this kind of language is universal in advertising, and shockingly out of place in a serious technical discussion.

Comment Re:On Hobbes and the Hamiltonians (Score 2) 228

Hobbes had a radical hatred of violence. I feel that violence is a natural part of the human experience. The reservation of violence to the State interferes with the natural experience of violence by man. It should be tempered, but not removed entirely.

Medicine interferes with the natural experience of dying from dysentry or infected papercuts. Clothes interfere with the natural experience of freezing, and food production with the natural experience of starving. Houses interfere with the natural experience of waking to a bear gnawing at your feet. Naturalistic fallacy is a fallacy because nature is a murderous bitch.

You and people like you are welcome to make each other's lives short, vicious and brutal up while trying to earn your Darwin awards, but I for one am damn glad a Leviathan stands ready to squeeze you like a bug if you try that crap with me. Which, come to think of it, should fit your own worldview perfectly well, unless of course it's yourself you see as the 500-pound gorilla ruling the jungle.

Honestly, I've read some dumb shit on this site before, but you just made the new record. Congratulations.

Comment Re:Broken Windows Policing (Score 0) 191

instead of pushing for new restrictions on law abiding citizens

I didn't know we had two sets of books.

By the way, in the Chicago Manual, "law abiding" as a modifier is written "law-abiding", so I'm already suspecting you're one of those selective law abiders (to hell with the Nazi rules), who sometimes defers keeping the gun safe locked, and yet you probably don't think you should go straight to jail. After all, what could possibly deter B&E better than an unlocked gun safe?

Crime Gun Theft

The FBI keeps a database of all guns reported stolen and it seems to capture a remarkably high percentage upwards of 75%â"of all of the roughly 240,000 guns stolen from homes each year (according to the National Crime Victims Survey) and the 6,000 reported stolen from licensed dealers

What "law abider" generally references when someone runs it up the flag pole in this way is "righteously selective law abider" (let's not even discuss the speed "limit") whose home is his castle, eighty proof.

Comment Re:That has to be the stupidest statement ever (Score 3, Insightful) 254

So even if it gets warmer humans will do what they always have done - adapt co conditions as the change.

Actually, quite a few civilizations have simply collapsed when faced with changing climate. What makes you think one that already has trouble keeping infrastructure running isn't going to join them?

Comment Re:Obligatory Star Trek: TNG episode (Score 1) 250

It really takes an extraordinary amount of luck, over an extraordinary amount of time, for sentient life to form.

Life begun on Earth almost as soon as the surface cooled enough to get liquid water. It's been a pretty much monotonous increase in complexity since then.

And, as we've seen in the last century, it also takes a lot of luck for a technological society to not destroy itself.

We'll have World War III sooner or later. Probably sooner, because the generation which remembers WWII is mostly dead. The important question is: how much will our society and technology regress in the aftermath?

Comment Re:Let me save you the trouble (Score 3, Funny) 109

Mathematical formulas: "99% of the population can't resolve this. Can you? 1 + 1 x 0 = ?"

They never ask tricky questions like that. Some, if not most people will be tempted to answer 0 while for a mathematician, the correct answer is 1.

I honestly can't tell if you're serious or not. The correct answer is obviously "yes".

Comment Re:And so continues.. (Score 1) 426

Because other than abandoning Facebook (which is the real solution), people who actually need to use facebook are better off not being an asshole and stop using adblock.

And why do they "need" to use Facebook? Because Facebook is trying hard to push its tentacles everywhere on the Net. Adblock might hinder that by hindering Facebook's profitability, thus making those people better off.

I run adops for a network that gets 20 million impressions per day, on average there is one complaint every 5 days, nearly always on an Android phone in Europe or Australia. Assuming the real reporting rate is 10 times higher, that is still a 1 in 100,000,000 chance of junk ad if you live in the US and a 1 in 10,000,000 if you live in Europe or Australia.

Your ads are definitely junk - I just bought a lawnmower, I'm not going to get another one - but the reason I run adblocker is that they're animated and thus too distracting. If it moves or blinks it dies, and if that's not possible the page gets closed. If your ad didn't catch my interest when I first saw it, it's never going to, now matter how many times it draws my eye away from actual content.

The reason shit ads even appear at all is because people refuse to keep their nose out of the sewers of the internet like 4chan/8chan,

With that attitude you couldn't sell ice water in Sahara.

Comment Re:Automation is not magic (Score 1) 213

Even if it did I'm puzzled why you think that would be a worthy goal.

Like I said: freedom. As long as humans depend on one another for anything important, the end result will always be a hierarchy of some kind.

Replicators and holodecks? Seriously? Stop watching TV shows and learn some physics. Basically you are saying that you have some piece of technology that magically can make anything from raw energy.

"Replicator" is an archetypal example of a fully automated manufacturing system, capable of going from placing an order to delivering the goods without requiring any human labour whatsoever, no matter how it's implemented behind the scenes. "Holodeck" is the same for services. One would think that was kinda obvious.

But even if somehow it worked, it still wouldn't obviate the need for an economy because you cannot actually eliminate scarcity. The universe is finite and most of it is inaccessible to us and is likely to remain so.

Clothes are scarce. Movie tickets are scarce. But I can't really opt out of the former, while it's been years since I've bothered with the latter.

The utility of goods and services follows an s-curve: it asymptotically nears a finite value on either extreme. Economy become obsolete when the increase in utility you could get from economic activity becomes less than the negative utility of having to spend your time and effort for it.

Comment I hope they win, but give them only fair chances (Score 2) 175

MaxMind didn't send all those yokels off on spurious missions. Are you your brother's keeper?

It's not a simple legal argument, here. You have to argue that MaxMind should have had a reasonable expectation that yokels will be yokels.

The next step in the argument, it seems to me (I don't give a shit that IANAL), is to claim that enabling yokels to be yokels is an explicit element of the MaxMind value chain, from which MaxMind extracted all kinds of proceeds.

Then it could be argued that this was such an integral element of their value chain as to have induced them into invented a "not found" representation which masqueraded as a valid search result, so as to deliberately create a superficial impression that "not found" results hardly ever happen. That would be the strong condition, but hardest to establish. MaxMind will counter that this was a merely a technical felicity, and that it's no crime to be lazy.

In the strong condition, I see it as absolutely the case that MaxMind sought gains from negligent asshattery.

I also think there's a good chance this case can't demonstrate the strong condition, and only a modest chance they obtain damages from the mild condition.

If MaxMind has a moral backbone, they'll settle out of court for a conscionable amount, unless the aggrieved are in full-on casino mode.

The aggrieved definitely deserve compensation here, but if they have to collect directly from the yokels who caused the disturbances, good luck with that.

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