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Submission + - Jobs' Burglary Manhunt Yields Kenny the Clown

theodp writes: Even in death, Steve Jobs managed to get specialists from the Apple-friendly Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) to team up again with Apple investigators and local police to track down the whereabouts of a stolen Apple device. Unlike a 2010 stolen iPhone prototype incident, which ended with a raid on a Gizmodo editor's home, this new investigation into the $60K burglary of the late Apple CEO's under-renovation Palo Alto home ended with the recapture of an iPad from Kenny the Clown, who accepted the device as payment of a debt owed to him by burglary suspect Kariem McFarlin. PCWorld has the details of how Palo Alto Police, REACT, and Apple investigators connected the dots to track down Jobs' stolen iPads, which may trouble some privacy advocates.

Comment Stanislaw Lem (Score 2) 1365

Agree with 1984, Brave New World, The Road, and many others above, but no one has mentioned Stanislaw Lem. Memoirs Found in a Bathtub is pretty dark. The Futurological Congress has a veneer of psychedelic humor in it, but the underlying sentiment is quite grim. Then there's Solaris, so grim they had to film it twice.


Submission + - The Apollo 13 Was Saved Thanks To An Unnamed MIT Student (gizmodo.com.au) 1

lukehopewell1 writes: "When the Apollo 13 reported an explosion on board, NASA started a marathon effort to get the three astronauts home. Several options were considered, but history tells how flight director Gene Kranz ordered a slingshot around the moon.

The story stayed that way for over 40 years, until yesterday when an ex-NASA press secretary came forward and said that an unnamed MIT grad student came up with the idea to slingshot the spacecraft around the moon. NASA reportedly buried his involvement at the last minute when it was discovered that he was a "long-haired, bearded hippie-type".

Now the internet has gone on the hunt to find out who this unnamed hero really is."

Comment Re:Not the issue (Score 2) 125

This is certainly true, but only half the issue. Wikipedia is justly distrusted because, at any given moment, an article may have been subtly vandalized, astroturfed, tilted in tone, or just plain wrong. Far more important is the ludicrous idea, central to Wikipedia, that any given editor is just as likely to be accurate as any other, without regard to knowledge or experience, that any editor may edit anonymously, and that any system for establishing identity, real-world reputation and (crucially) expertise (even if it is only expertise in interpreting the citations) is anathema.

This gets you teen-agers arguing with Math PhDs about math, and zealots and partisans of all stripes arguing with everyone. Expertise is central to the concept of an encyclopedia, and Wikipedia and its community thoroughly reject and repudiate it. This, indeed, may be well-adapted to some things, but writing a true encyclopedia is not one of them. As someone once said, on Wikipedia, twenty teenage idiots and one expert are indistinguishable from twenty-one teenage idiots.

Wikipedia is a big old pile of trivia, opinion, gossip, libel, and misinformation. That it is sometimes correct is happenstance, not planning.


Submission + - Wikimedia UK's chair banned...from Wikipedia (telegraph.co.uk) 3

Larry Sanger writes: "The Chair of Wikimedia UK, a £1 million charity independent of the Wikimedia Foundation, was banned 11 days ago, for allegedly posting bondage porn of himself and otherwise violating Wikipedia policies. So he was removed as head of WMUK, right? Er, no. On July 26, their Board declared their "united" support of Van Haeften. So the chair of Wikipedia's UK £1 million charity is not permitted to edit Wikipedia. The Chair of the UK's Wikipedia charity is not permitted to edit Wikipedia. So this immediately became a big scandal, right? Er, no. Wikipedia routinely gets a pass for its many foibles. The first mainstream story to appear about it came out just this morning in the Telegraph. More background here."

Comment If you can't measure it, you can't manage it (Score 4, Interesting) 284

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. You haven't taken the first and most essential step in analyzing your problem: measuring it. Is your problem caused by network failure? By power? By software failure? Hardware? If hardware, by server hardware, disks, or something else?

If software, by OS, database, or application software? All of these have different solutions. Going to the cloud won't solve a network failure, it will make things worse. Going to the cloud may improve persistent hardware failures. but the MTBF of most decent hardware is pretty good, so are you sure you have clean power and a good (cool, clean) environment?

If your software or system is crashing, then that's its own problem.

Comment Blurb.com (Score 1) 350

Winnow your photos at least once a year, selecting the best subset, and print two copies of a book of them using http://blurb.com/ or a similar service. Send one of the books to a trusted relative. Make two or three copies of the underlying digital files on some kind of archival media. Store them separately from the book. Make a secure digital backup of all your original files as well as uploading them to two or more online services.

This strategy will protect you to varying degrees against fire, natural disaster, failure of digital media, bankruptcy of online services, bit rot, password loss, and just about everything else, but it's a lot of work.

I make these "yearbooks" once a year, plus a book for significant birthdays and anniversaries, major travel, and other big events. I store on two photo services and an online backup service, and I have local online copies on RAID, a backup on another RAID, and a third RAID at a separate physical location, updated monthly via rsync.

Comment Chicago (Score 2, Informative) 435

While others have mentioned both the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry, it should be noted that they are co-located with the (also excellent) Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. Not far away is the world-class Art Institute of Chicago. Much of this is the legacy of the 1893 Chicago World Fair, and in terms of density of world-class museums, is more bang for your time and dollar that you'll get anywhere outside of Washington DC (Smithsonian, etc) and perhaps London. You can get a multi-day pass to all of these museums for anywhere from about $70/person, and it is well worth it.

Comment Memoirs Found in a Bathtub (Score 3, Interesting) 82

Thanks to the OP and Slashdot for this. As an avid reader of Lem since the 1970s, I remember The Futurological Congress well, and if I were at home, I'd grab my copy and re-read it. For those who need a gentler introduction to Lem, try Tales of Pirx the Pilot and its sequels. However, for pure, all-out trippyness, try Memoirs Found in a Bathtub. And don't forget that Lem wrote Solaris, an SF classic, despite the two attempts at movies from it.
The Internet

Submission + - Senior Wikipedia Figure Quits, Forged Bogus Edits 5

nandemoari writes: "One of the most powerful figures at Wikipedia has resigned after it was discovered he'd been editing entries under bogus names. David Boothroyd, who is also a British politician, had even used the fake account to edit the pages of political opponents. In the British tabloids the issue has been a political one, since Boothroyd is an elected member of the Labour party. However, the issue at Wikipedia is a procedural one. Using multiple accounts (also known as 'sock puppetry'), is highly frowned upon as it can be used to artificially boost the support for a particular position or belief."

Comment .... then a miracle occurs .... (Score 1) 196

Saying "given software that can parallelize across many such cores" is the same as saying "then a miracle occurs".

Unless you are interested in a pretty small class of problems, the inherent parallelism of most applications continues to be somewhere in the range 2.1 to 2.5 (i.e., you can speed them up by a little over 2x with the addition of more processors). Thus, in most real-world applications, most of those cores, or vector units, or any other "supercomputer" features will go unused.

If anyone here observes a quad-core chip running any particular load anywhere close to 4x the speed of a single core should write a paper about it, because this has been the holy grail of parallel computing for going on 40 years now.

That Intel thinks this is a solution is sadly typical -- the problem is a software one, not a hardware problem, and they do not know how to solve it.

United States

Submission + - U.S. has lost ability to build its own roads

michaelmalak writes: "The land famous for its love of the automobile and construction of Interstates and other highways, with high-elevation tunnels, viaducts snaking through canyons, and water crossings of up to 20 miles is now outsourcing design and construction of its roads to Asia — not because it's cheaper, but because the U.S. has lost the expertise. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer regarding the newly opened span across the Tacoma Narrows, "the American steel industry had imploded, while steel-making — and the expertise needed to build suspension bridges — had moved to Asia" and "the detailed engineering and fieldwork and all the spinning and cable-wrapping equipment ... were provided by ... Japanese construction giants""

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The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford