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Comment Re:Militia? (Score 1) 1591

Has the U.S. ever assembled a militia? How would a militia be different from a national draft? Would gun ownership in the U.S. trump any ethical or religious objection to joining a militia?

Virginia has one. Current law says it consists of the national guard, the Virginia Defense Force and the "unorganized militia." It's unclear to me if just anyone can claim they are part of the "unorganized militia." The state code says the militia is "composed of the body of the people," which I supposed could mean anyone. Previously, during the colonial period, the militia was compulsory, but today it's all volunteer.

Comment Re:Like standardized testing (Score 1) 776

What you're getting paid to do is closer to implementing a breadth-first search in Java and all the required tree data structures with minimal errors in under 10 minutes than it is solving an academic problem over the course of 3-6 months with a teaching load.

This depends on the job. My current job is more of the latter and less of the former. Implementing data structures and algorithms at the undergraduate level is no better than a standardized test requiring rote memorization. For that kind of stuff, I can use an existing library or pull it out of a book. The real challenge comes with finding answers for problems that haven't been solved a dozen times over. Otherwise, it sounds like you ought to be hiring college interns.

Comment Like standardized testing (Score 1) 776

I recently interviewed at a few companies that administered programming tests like this. I thought I would have performed better on the test as a sophomore or junior undergraduate than I would now with a graduate CS degree and several years of experience. Implementing breadth first search in Java (and all the required tree data structures) with minimal syntax errors in under 10 minutes is a lot like the BJ scene in Swordfish. It's no more than a puzzle with some added drama.

Companies that use tests like this will wind up hiring only people who can solve them, usually to the detriment of being able to solve large scale system design problems as well as being able to work as part of a team. Being able to solve problems that can't be figured out in an hour is one of the major differences between school and the real world. A CV of academic publications or a project portfolio will go a lot farther in my book when judging capability.

Comment Re:Challenge the domain ownership (Score 2) 338

When I was looking to register my unusual last name as a domain, a squatter snapped it up before I could register it. I guess they troll whois lookups somehow. I now have ($name).org and ($name).net, but .com is registered to the squatter. For now, the .com site has some harmless ads, but I suppose that could change. The squatter also maintains a site which tries to extort "hosting" fees if you want to use one of the 2,000 domains he owns.

Several trademark owners filed complaints about this squatter (one of them was Google) and all of them won and had the domains transferred. The proceedings of each arbitration can be read online, and in each case, the squatter put up some ridiculous defenses which the arbiter easily shot down. According to the UDRP Wikipedia page, arbitration costs about $2-4k in legal fees. Since the domain doesn't host anything defamatory, it's not really worth the cost to try and get ownership, but if it did, I'd probably consider filing a dispute.

Comment Re:I went through this program!! (Score 1) 118

I work at a privately held FFRDC which hires a lot of scholarship for service graduates. I had no idea such a program even existed until I was hired a few months ago. It sounds like a great way to get a masters degree paid for (I graduated with a PhD which was funded by an NSF grant, but MS students are rarely that lucky). Like you said, a lot of the SFS graduates put in their two years and leave although FFRDC pay and benefits are significantly better than what the feds offer.

Comment Re:Dance, monkey, dance! (Score 1) 203

Isn't it enough that I went to college and built a solid base of good work I can point to that shows I can do the job?

No. That is not enough. I have interviewed many, many people with degrees in computer science who cannot write a program to sort an array of ten integers. Those with a "solid base of good work" often cannot explain any of it, and will eventually admit it was done as a team project.

If you want to work for me, you will have to prove you can write code by writing code.

Asking me in an interview to sort an array of ten integers has almost nothing to do with whatever work I'll be performing. It's a quaint little puzzle that's no better than using an SAT question to judge a prospective college student's future performance. There are people who study these programming puzzles for months so they can ace them in an interview, but these applicants' abilities to solve puzzle problems says nothing about their ability to work as a team or ability to work on long term projects involving millions of lines of code.

Instead, ask me all the details you want about large scale systems I've designed and implemented. Ask me how I would design and implement a particular system that's relevant to the job I'm applying for. Ask me about projects I've led. However, when I get the puzzle questions, I know the interviewer can't see the forest for the trees.

Comment Re:Empty posturing (Score 2) 249

If all the countries who can, race to the moon as individuals, I'd expect there be a turfwar over the few areas that might have more value to a colony (like fighting over polar ice). It'd be a sad thing to expand the worst of our nature to the moon and make the sands of that distant void red with blood.

Doubtful. The moon is a pretty big place. If we did actually establish separate bases up there, it's more likely the groups would cooperate a bit on their own. They're off in the middle of nowhere trying to survive in a place that could kill you in a second. Deliberately damaging anyone's equipment could easily kill off everyone. Turf wars are something you'd expect when there's a lot more infrastructure in place and specialized "security" people present who will obey inane kill orders from their host country.

Sounds like Antarctica.

Comment Re:I fail to see the point (Score 1) 332

If they intend to operate out of US ports, and provide anything that even looks remotely like passenger service (I.E. hosting staff for their clients) then they can't exit and re-enter the United States without visiting a "distant foreign port". Back in the day when there was tons of coastwise passenger transport, this protected US firms from foreign competition. Today it mostly means that Alaska cruises have to port at Victoria and Maratimes/East Coast cruises usually in Halifax. For Blueseed this is going to mean visiting Mexico between port visits to the US. (And they *will* either have to visit the US or sail across the Pacific Ocean for servicing - a ship can't stay at sea forever.

I believe you are talking about cabotage. Most of my understanding of this concept comes from how it applies within the airline industry, but I'm not sure exactly how this would work with the Blueseed concept. If the vessel were registered in the US, then this might sidestep the issue. However, I'm betting the customs and immigration authorities would then require all "passengers" on the ship to obtain US visas since they would be considered to be traveling between two points within the US.

Comment Re:Tried and failed (Score 3, Insightful) 123

Failed? I wouldn't call this failed. Furthermore, when considering piracy, in what cases have pirates come back with bigger guns? It's not just merchant vessels hiring PMCs to ward off pirates, but navies ranging from the US to India patrol the Indian Ocean. I can't imagine pirates would have bigger guns than they would. Make the risks of kidnapping too high and piracy will decline.

Comment Re:Im still wondering... (Score 1) 578

Soooo basically I give up my 4th amendment rights simply because I live in a town within 100 miles of the border?

How do you feel when you go through customs/security at an airport, get on a plane, and spend three hours flying at several hundred MPH over your country before you actually cross the border? What you're saying is that either the checkpoint should be on an infinitely small line between two countries, or perhaps several miles out to sea where international waters begin ... or, no customs/security checks at all. Right? Please be specific.

The plane isn't going anywhere but to an airport, where the passengers pass through customs and immigration. To reverse the analogy, it's as if the checkpoint was on a highway that led to or from the border with no intersecting roads, towns, or other places to stop.

Comment Re:Example in Italy, and a simple solution (Score 1) 342

Nobody ever suggests this, but maybe just don't speed.

You've never driven in almost any downtown street where they've timed the lights to be green only if you're traveling 3-5 miles per hour over the speed limit. If you don't speed, you get stuck at almost every light.

The area where I live recently experienced a huge boom in population and development. Where there was nothing 5 years ago, there are now ~10 lights within about a mile and a half. The only way to not get stuck at every single one is to drive slightly over the speed limit.

Comment Re:An easy solution (Score 1) 550

> and even the Feds don't go demanding to see your Facebook profile.

That's probably because they don't need your permission in order to look at your profile. My understanding is that background checks by the FBI include a review of your online profiles - they just do it through a back channel that isn't public.

I've heard this from someone else who sought a job in law enforcement. I'm really skeptical though. In the case of this other individual, the interviewers brought up a topic that the interviewee believed could only have been obtained from viewing his private profile. However, I'm willing to guess that the interviewers obtained this information through other means than a Facebook backdoor and used it to scare the interviewee into becoming submissive and feeling powerless.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 65

Finally, we can still study our lunar samples fourty years after they were brought back. Even if we had the capability to send a world-class lab to Mars today, we cannot send a lab from decades into the future.

In 40 years, we will certainly have technology that will allow for much better analysis. If we bring back samples, we will be able to analyze them with whatever new tools and sensors are invented decades after the mission. It's definitely much easier than continuously sending out probes with better hardware.

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