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Comment Okay, if big data the new coal... (Score 1) 71

Okay if big data the new coal, we should stop using it now because although it is currently cheap and plentiful with apparently many applications, we know eventually it lead us to the collapse of civilization.

Maintaining access to big-data will eventually cause political conflicts and maybe even wars, and continuing unrestrained usage of big data will eventually cause inconvenient problems in our daily lives that will make our world unliveable and our society unsustainable. The money exploited by the early adopters in the big-data industrial complex will dominate the political landscape and prevent us from doing anything about constraining this monster until it is too late.

If you could have put a cap on companies like the Peabody coal company back in the early days, you wouldn't ever hear statements like this today from coal company analysts...

“We have never seen leases of more than a billion tonnes and we are starting to see that under the Obama Administration.”

If the Obama administration's department of Interior can be bought-and-sold by a coal company with annual revenues of only $5B, what hope do governments have against big-data companies with annual revenues of $74B?

Any other analogies to coal people would like to say about big-data?

Comment Re:What's the _actual_ algorithm. (Score 4, Informative) 74

I already read the link a few hours before it was posted. There was zero details on the algorithm and no link to the actual research that I could see.

Well, in case you are interested, after checking around, it appears that this "algorithm" was a minor result of Mr. Helfgott's work to prove the ternary Goldbach conjecture (every odd integer n greater than 5 is the sum of three primes). Here's the preprint of the paper, I should warn you that it appears to be a very theoretical paper, one targetted at the Goldbach conjecture (not practical prime sieving), so there is not a fully fleshed out algorithm that you can translate into a computer program. I haven't gone through the paper in detail, but it appears to rely heavily on technique from a Messr. Ramare.

We start by adapting ideas from Ramare’s version of the large sieve for primes to estimate l2 norms over parts of the circle. We are left with the task
of giving an explicit bound on the factor in Ramare’s work. As a side effect, this finally gives a fully explicit large sieve for primes that is asymptotically optimal, meaning a sieve that does not have a spurious factor of exp(gamma) in front; this was an arguably important gap in the literature.

I cannot find a definitive paper about this technique, but is appears to be related to this earlier paper. Mr. Helfgott apparently just tightening the bounds which theoretically should create a better sieve algorithm. My impression is that I think it will take some concerted effort to create a computer algorithm out of this algorithm.

However, your mileage may vary...

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 223

Transportation is a different story, however, since one can't have hydroelectric damns on a train...

Did you know that electric trains don't need to carry their own power source? True story!

Because of cost of infrastructure, electric trains are really only viable in urban areas. You aren't going to electrify a rail between two cities and expect it to be cost effective... Passenger rail has a different set of economics, so when you do see electrified rail between cities, it's generally passenger only.

Submission + - OpenSSL Patches Bug Created by Patch From Last Week

Trailrunner7 writes: Four days after releasing a new version that fixed several security problems, the OpenSSL maintainers have rushed out another version that patches a vulnerability introduced in version 1.1.0a on Sept. 22.

Last week, OpenSSL patched 14 security flaws in various versions of the software, which is the most widely used toolkit for implementing TLS. One of the vulnerabilities fixed in that release was a low-risk bug related to memory allocation in tls_get_message_header.

The problem is, the patch for that vulnerability actually introduced a separate critical bug. The new vulnerability, which is fixed in version 1.1.0b, only affected version 1.1.0a, but it can lead to arbitrary code execution.

Comment Re:How do you know? (Score 2) 274

Given the difficulty of installing something to the image when you want to, the potential for it to be easily and automatically owned by is very low.

Viruses and worms can run just fine from RAM. Discovery may be slow, but once you find a vulnerable system with a read only filesystem, you have it report its IP to a C&C node, then re-infect it whenever you need it.

Comment Re:For Profit Education is a Scam (Score 1) 326

States spend more on education in real dollars than they did 50 years ago, students pay much more tuition, and the colleges and university spend a lot more of it.

You have to take into account enrollment, or count per capita cost. In 1965, there were 6 million college students; in 2015, 20 million. If you look closely at your NYT article, you'll see that total spending increased by 5x between 1965 and 1975, then by not-quite-2x from 1975 to 2015. Nor is the NYT article distinguishing among dollars spent on classroom instruction, sports programs, or housing and campus security.

The sixties were a good time for education: people still believed in the future. It's since then than things have stagnated

Comment Only the proprietors know the details. That's bad. (Score 2) 120

This sounds like another instance of proprietary malware to add to the list. And nobody should trust a proprietor to "roll back" their malware (just as some of the followups suggest), regardless of whether they say this was a mistake. There's no reason to trust unvettable, uncorrectable, unsharable code and there's no reason why people should have to live with months-old backdoors while the only programmers allowed to inspect or fix the code apparently don't fix that code.

Comment Re:For Profit Education is a Scam (Score 0) 326

I wish. It's much more likely we'll get "free" education, that is, we'll just have our tax dollars subsidizing the bloat instead of lifetimes of debt-servitude from the students.

Believe it or not, that used to be the way the system worked. "State" schools were called that because they were funded largely by state tax dollars on the ideas that an educated population was good for the state and that education should not be restricted to the few people able to afford it. Over the last 50 years, in almost every state, state spending on colleges has not kept up with population and enrollment growth (and in some cases have even been cut in real dollars). It still costs about the same (inflation adjusted) to educate a student, just today the student has to pay most of that cost, where in 1970 state governments paid most of it.

Comment Re:How is this different from any university? (Score 1) 326

Take a look at any Charity, foundation, donation organization, etc. and take a look at the person running it. In most cases that person is making millions.

In "most cases," charities, foundations, etc, are small, local organizations with budgets in the tens or hundreds of thousands whose principals are frequently unpaid. Even in large, international organizations with budgets of billions, like the Red Cross or United Way (both often cited as "bad" or "misleading" charities), Gail McGovern of Red Cross made $600k in 2014 and Brian Gallagher of United Way made $1.5M. Big numbers, certainly, but they're each running $4B organizations. Same basic size as Bose or Petco; Fortune 150. If the directors are making "millions" with an s, your nonprofit is probably not a charity.

Comment Re: management (Score 1) 81

Top tier publications like Science and Nature have some good papers.

Science and Nature publish exciting papers with comparatively little data. They're the place you publish things that might be groundbreaking, so they get wide exposure. After a couple of years, most of the revolutionary stuff fails to pan out, but whatever does will always cite Science as the first report.

Serious science is mostly not revolutionary

Submission + - Needed: A universal file wrapper for data continuity (

storagedude writes: With thousands of file formats that quickly become incompatible and outdated, our data today likely won't have the staying power that hieroglyphs or even paper enjoyed. The solution:
a universal file wrapper agreed upon by standards bodies, writes Henry Newman on Enterprise Storage Forum.

' I would like to suggest that an ANSI, ISO or IEEE committee come together and create an open standard for self-describing data. This format must encompass all other formats that exist today in weather, multiple medical formats, geospatial, genetics and so on. This working group could meet and get agreement across various industries in pretty short order, I believe. Just like wrapping files that are already wrapped. This clearly doesn’t solve the whole problem with its long-term issues, but it does get us to a common agreed format. This could also be used for any other file type like a jpeg.'

Comment Re: Echo chamber (Score 2) 851

That might be because Trump is unapologetic in his avocation for prioritizing American interests over those of the world at large - in foreign trade, in overseas military action and in diplomacy.

I, for one, am happy that we are reaching the end of candidates' formative years being the glorious 1950s. When we had the only major economic infrastructure not destroyed by WWII and post-war reconstruction let 80% of men and 30% of women get jobs. Before all that silly civil rights stuff, when the country was less than 8% foreign-born and the census bureau didn't even bother reporting stats on Asian and African descent. McCarthyism, Elvis, and Marylin Monroe.

It's time we let this anachronistic fantasy world die.

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I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.