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Comment Re:This is why profiling is so stupid (Score 1) 379

4) Nervous(perhaps because they are trying to do something illegal and murderous)

Lots of people are nervous flyers, and their apprehension starts to build as soon as they get to the airport. Profiling based on appearance (tough-looking guys who appear nervous, for example) doesn't work, either. A fear of flying is just as likely to affect a tough 35-year-old biker type as it is a frail 92-year-old lady.

What's more, if they decide nervous-looking passengers with a middle-eastern appearance are worth extra attention, that would probably be almost all of them. Anyone who looks remotely middle eastern probably feels like everyone in a uniform, every security camera, and half the Caucasian-American passengers are staring at them.

Behavioral profiling is an inexact science in the best situations; in a huge, hectic place like an airport, it's like playing roulette (but without the calming C-major chimes from the nearby slots).

Comment Re:Well duh? (Score 1) 379

What nefarious character is going to draw attention to themselves when trying to get away with something evil?

Possibly one of the nefarious characters who show up on "America's Dumbest Crooks" or similar shows. According to news reports after the first World Trade Center bombing (1993 or 1994, I think - Ryder truck in the basement, no significant structural damage), the bomber tried to get his deposit back on the rental truck the next day--and used his real name to rent the truck.

The people who run terrorist organizations may be careful planners, but the people who they send into oblivion aren't always the sharpest scissors in the checked baggage.

Comment Re: Mythbusters (OT) (Score 1) 327

I'm sorry, but Mythbusters != Science. Mythbusters == staged entertainment.

It's unfortunate that the mod type showing on this comment is 'Flamebait' rather than 'Insightful'. Mythbusters does a very good job of demonstrating that a 'myth' can be proven or disproved within a very specific set of circumstances on the one trial that they choose to represent their 'proof', but it only resembles science on an incredibly superficial level.

The best example I've seen in the last while (although I rarely watch the show) was trying to prove that an object launched backward off a moving vehicle, at the speed of the vehicle, will fall straight down. They designed a launcher that could propel a bowling ball at a consistent speed, then drove the vehicle at that speed and started their trials. They showed four failed trials before they finally achieved one where the ball fell straight down. Their conclusion was that they proved that an object will fall straight down when launched at the speed of the vehicle--despite four of the five trials they showed (and who knows how many others that were cut) disproving their intended result. They didn't even mention the concept of wake turbulence affecting the ball's path.

On the other hand, I wonder how much corporate-funded science resembles Mythbusters (in this respect) more than it resembles legitimate science.

Comment Re:Counter-measures (Score 1) 309

Also, lasers don't bounce back at the attacker they way they do in fiction.

The most effective reflective armor wouldn't attempt to bounce the beam back (the Wobbuffet defense). If you had highly reflective armor placed at a very low angle, the beam would strike a much larger area, reducing the concentration of energy in addition to reflecting it away.

Of course, the problem would be that you now have a powerful laser beam aimed at an angle into the air--less concentrated than it was, but still enough to damage any of your planes that may be in the area.

Comment Re:Performance (Score 5, Interesting) 450

I studied this issue in the early 00's. The company I worked for had delayed buying any new client hardware to the point where we had administrative users on nine-year-old Dells and AutoCAD users on five-year-old machines. So of course we needed to buy new machines for everyone, and we wanted to find the cheapest solution. Well, management wanted the cheapest solution; users wanted to get some work done, rather than waiting until lunch time for their computer to log in.

In our case, including licensing and server upgrades (which were minor, because we had excess server capacity due to a shrinking company), it would have been cheaper to use a thin client system--but only for the administrative users. AutoCAD was not supported in a thin client environment (is it, even today?), and our service technicians absolutely hated using Citrix to access the ERP system. (Logging into the west coast from China, Germany, or even the midwest was ridiculous, waiting half a minute for your cursor to move across the screen.)

I finally managed to convince my boss, who loved the thin client concept, that because of remote users and AutoCAD users, it was best for us to kill off our Citrix system altogether. The power users got fast new workstations, the administrative users got shiny new PCs, our server room was leaned out and less prone to overheating, and everyone lived happily ever after--until the company folded 18 months later due to incompetent management.

Comment Myst Uru (Score 5, Informative) 341

Does anyone remember Myst? Great story, superb graphics (navigating through stills to provide high res scenes), and great use of Quicktime mini-windows for animation in the days before full 3D rendering. I finished that game many times.

Then came Riven. Five CDs full of that immersing world, and a storyline better and more complex than the first. I finished that game quite a few times as well, even though it was much longer.

By the time Uru: Ages Beyond Myst came out, other companies had begun producing fully rendered 3D universes that were as good or better, but I bought it because it was a Myst sequel. I played through the first part, solving the challenges, then picked up the expansion packs.

When I got to the last part, there was a challenge I couldn't figure out. After spending hours going back and forth through the section, trying to find what I had missed, I gave up and went to a walkthrough site. There it was revealed that, in order to progress further, I had to stand in one place for exactly fifteen minutes and catch a pebble that was dropped from a mechanism. I couldn't just leave and come back in approximately 15 minutes though, or the pebble would time out and leave me stranded for another 15 minutes.

I don't know whether the game creators were trying to enforce some sort of RSI break to compensate for the carpal tunnel syndrome their games may have induced, but I felt cheated. Every other part of the series to that point I had solved myself, but how could anyone be expected to figure out that solving this last challenge required standing around doing nothing for as long as many games require you to complete an entire level?

I turned off the game, uninstalled it, and have not played anything from those game developers since.

Comment Re:YRO (Score 1) 202

Restrictions on mobile devices are probably in order as well:

PFC Campbell is approaching the insurgents camp.

PFC Campbell is just a little downwind. They can't see a thing.

PFC Campbell this is going to be good, they have no idea we're here!

PFC Campbell is that a Blackberry that insurgent is holding?

PFC Campbell ohshit

Comment OT nit-pick (Score 1) 381

...I hate it when the media has such a hay-day over something...

I used to think it was just my ex who misused this expression, but it seems to be everywhere these days.

The media had a field day with this article.

Newspapers were the medium of choice back in their heyday, before television news became popular.

Heyday refers to the time when something was especially popular or prevalent. A field day is what you have when you're able to enjoy something tremendously for a short time.

Comment Re:I fear that pretty soon... (Score 1) 532

Okay, I know what the OP means now. I would think twice before going through a private sale that used the Amazon portal.

When I sell things, I prefer to use Craigslist and keep it local. No shipping hassles, and the transaction happens face to face, in cash, so you're not worrying about electronic payment mishaps.

Comment Re:I fear that pretty soon... (Score 4, Informative) 532

I generally trust Amazon more than I do the small fry sites they 'affiliate' with.

What exactly do you mean? When someone clicks on one of the recommended books on my Amazon affiliate page*, they are taken to where they can buy the book directly from Amazon. I don't handle any of their transactions, or ship any books; all my affiliate page does is give me a commission on any book that a visitor to my site may purchase if they access through the links on my site. There's no additional 'trust' needed.

*which I am not going to link here, because that would be affiliate link spam. My site is in my sig if anyone wants more information on responsible products.

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