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Comment Re:Leave. (Score 1) 433

I had a situation where someone went out of their way to backstab me, from outright lies in the HR 'Peer Review' system, to attacking me in a large meeting for a program of mine that crashed, claiming she had told me to fix it months ago.

Took all of about three minutes to hack the HR system. Discovered other people had complained about this individual - repeatedly - for lying.

The version control system showed the fix I *had* implemented had been removed ... while I was on vacation, by this individual.

End result? After showing all this to my boss ... nothing. I lasted one year at this place. My health suffered. Evidence didn't matter. And the individual is still there, 26 years. Toxic as heck. I've spoken to others who left because of her. Again, emails, evidence ... nothing happens. Don't know why HR goes out of their way to continually dump 'the troublemakers', when they all are having trouble with the same individual.

Not to say documenting things isn't a great idea - it is - but, often, HR simply doesn't want to do anything, because that would be an admission there *was* a problem ... and that alone can come back and be used against them in court.

One addition - put down in email anything that is done over the phone ... 'just to confirm my understanding of our conversation'. I've dealt with a few individuals who use the phone, almost exclusively, as a means to prevent their own accountability.

Comment Re:Encrypt! (Score 1) 394

Two thoughts/questions:

What's to stop people from going full on proxy/Tor ? The only IP addresses recorded are worthless.

Is there any limit to how much information each ISP must record? The articles talk about 'A Year'. Can someone write a small app to simply run through a list of a couple of dozen websites - all with extremely long URLs - for a couple of hours after you finish browsing, racking up a Gig or two of storage? Just a thought for something that would make this technically unfeasible.

Comment Re:could just be the beginning (Score 1) 153

Yeah, I kinda threw that in as a complaint, but you're absolutely right: it doesn't support concurrent processing very well at all. Then again, I've seen one installation where it was used only to pull info during the day, and updated (batch) at night. They simply created a couple dozen copies of the database itself. Which isn't all that different than one of the Oracle options. Although, in this case, the developer put a tricky little bit in, so each DB had one user at a time. Insane, and not particularly scalable, but it worked just fine for this instance.

Comment Re:could just be the beginning (Score 2) 153

From my experience, I'd guess that about 90% of Oracle installations do not need Oracle.

I'll go one step beyond that: in my experience, 99% of Oracle installations could be replaced with SQLite, MySQL, Firebird, even Derby. (Possibly Excel, in some cases)

Virtually every Oracle DB I have encountered has used the POWER of Oracle (TM) as an excuse to skip putting together a decent schema. Massive duplication of data. Joining dozens of tables to get commonly needed data. Tables with far too many fields.

I'm currently dealing with one that works ... just. Minor issues, like virtually every table can be dropped by at least two orders of magnitude in size, the actual Oracle DB supporting the application uses ~140 tables, when it needs ten, and there is a ton of data stored that is inaccessible using keys.

If management would spend a fraction of the amount they spend on hardware on a decent DBA, then they wouldn't need to spend millions on monstrosities (in terms of overkill) like Oracle ... and the hardware needed to run it on. Have similar feelings towards Hadoop ... yay, it's great, sooo scalable! Whadya mean I can't get the data out in a usable form?

I do have a grudging respect for OLAP, in one regard: put together a decent schema, and new elements can generally be added by inserting one row in the description table, not by changing the schema itself. That really lends itself to ease of maintenance. But, again, it does require *some* up-front design work.

Comment Re:If confirmed, does this make it realistic? (Score 2) 477

"The 1.2mN/kW1.2mN/kW performance parameter is over two orders of magnitude higher than other forms of “zero-propellant” propulsion, such as light sails,"

I have a question: What the smurf does this mean? Seriously?

Are we talking about a ground-based laser pushing it? In which case, the idiocy of comparing a system that you have to lift into space, in which every gram is critical, versus something here that can be hooked up to the power grid, is beyond belief.

Are we talking about a solar sail that is simply power by the sun? In which case, given the power source is external, and unending (well, good for the next 5 billion years or so), how do you make a claim that something is 'two orders of magnitude higher' in 'performance parameters' than the solar sail? Calculations?

When the paper is 'proof of concept', but a) they don't actually do any experimentation to see what would change performance, b) have lots of explanations for all the possible sources of error ... but, again, don't actually monkey around with said sources, to see if their hand-wavium is correct (apart from the torsion pendulum), .... and c) finish with a unsupported statement claiming superiority over 'other' zero-propellant system ... honestly, they did some great science is some respects, and utterly abysmal in others.

To be fair, they could easily be using previously published numbers on solar-sail efficiency. And their numbers could all be spot on, not to mention their conclusions. But failing to have a paper proof-read by someone NOT familiar with the subject is bad (and all too common).

And they could have made the paper better, but some decent editing. OK, so you start with a thrust-to-power ratio of 1.2 mN/kW. The error margin, ±6 N, is buried way, way down. Seriously, putting the two together would give some real validation to the idea the thrust they got was far more than the (calculated) error margin.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 432

One thing that is missing from the comments is that the counter to anti-ship missiles - decoys, phalanx defense and anti-missile-missiles - are currently looking pretty good, and with the advent of some defensive lasers, improving a lot. The improvements in the anti-ship missiles is mostly a matter of guidance; the basic tech has ben stagnant for a while. In military terms, something is 'obsolete' for just as long until someone comes up with a counter. Air-to-air missiles were initially touted as ending the dogfight era ... then somebody came up with decoys.

Currently, there is no defense against cannons. So if a ship were equipped with only cannons for offense, and all the defensive toys, it would realistically be able to go tot-to-toe with a conventional ASM armed opponent ... for a fraction of the cost. It sucks, but most ASMs are in the millions to tens-of-millions dollar range, while AASMs are in the tens to hundred thou range ... decoys, chaff are hundreds to a couple of thou ... both the phalanx CIWS and laser defense system (e.g. HELLADS) have a pretty large cost for the weapon itself, but the cost per shot is pretty minimal (a few second burst from a phalanx system is a few hundred dollars; the laser defense costs less than a dollar per shot).

Which is how the pendulum swings. Once the defenses get good enough, someone comes up with a better nut-cracker

Comment Re:BIG (Score 1) 90

I think the MCU deal - read: DISNEY - is a good thing for Netflix. One of the golden rules of Hollywood: Don't fuck with the mouse.

Netflix got strong-armed by Comcast a while back. With Disney on their side, Comcast is going to think twice before pulling such crap (illegal, but no charges laid) again.

On top of which, Disney has a long history of using independent subsidiaries to produce their 'riskier' content, thus keeping the 'Disney' name pristine and family friendly. Netflix is truly 'independent' :)

And, of course, Disney owns ABC. While the old networks are struggling to stay relevant, and slowly crawling into the 21st century, Netflix is there. *Any* partnership gives Disney/ABC an edge over the others. There were rumours that ABC shows would be streamed on Netflix, too, similar to how the network sites release them after they air (usually either a day or week delay). That hasn't happened - yet - but I wouldn't be surprised if it does.

Comment Re:State sponsored corporate spies (Score 4, Interesting) 469

We had an ugly situation locally, where a supremely over-qualified graduate, from a top-tier university, was passed over for even an interview, and sued. Born Chinese. The company in question does sensitive work, and had run an extensive program to detect leaks/spies ... and every person they identified was Chinese. They started running the same process on new hires ... and, over a five year period, every Chinese hire turned out to be a spy. So the company simply stopped hiring Chinese. At some point, you can sympathize with their position: why the eff are they spending huge amounts on this aspect of security, when simply saying 'No Chinese hires' solves most of the problem?

It sucks, but unless the governments start treating corporate espionage seriously, and make the penalties serious enough that people won't engage in this behaviour, it is going to continue.

The other issue is that even second - and sometimes third - generation Chinese are leaned on, because they still have family back in China. Again, really sucks, but companies are just protecting themselves.

The question becomes, at what point does 'Not hiring Chinese' go from discrimination to simply safe practice? There isn't a clear answer :(

Comment Re:What about the NBA? (Score 1) 469

Technically, there are no human 'races', as we can all interbreed. However, I'll forgive your lapse :) That said, there is one ethnic group - identifiable by both genetics and culture - that actually does have a statistically significant higher IQ: the Askenazi Jews. And yes, there have been several studies, so that qualifies as 'reproducible'.

Comment Re: Dey tek er jebs! (Score 4, Insightful) 332


In part, it's all about how things look on the budget sheet. Replacing one North American worker for two Indian workers - and paying less - looks good. And the numbers can be shown to management. The downside - inferior code, taking longer to produce - isn't captured as neatly. And the numbers can't be shown to management anywhere near as easily.

And one other fun fun fun detail ... managers get promoted based on the number of people they manage, not the total salary of their underlings. So replacing your home-grown, competent North American worker with multiple lesser-skilled, lesser-paid foreigners means the managers get bumped up a pay-grade.

So ... while the outsourcing (or, in the case of H1-Bs, in-country outsourcing) means that companies pay much, much more for the same software, the people making the decisions don't care about that - they care about promoting themselves.

And one final candle on the cake: the stock market punishes companies that deviate from the pack. If one company were to stand up and say "Hey, this outsourcing is costing us more! Let's stop doing it!" then their stock would take a hit. And corporations are run by the board, for the board: the largest part of their remuneration is stock options.

Comment Re:Denormalize (Score 1) 674

Gotta say, one interesting benefit of working on a Netezza machine (massively multi-parallel) is that tables can be normalized to BCNF ... and joined (as views) so the users never realize they aren't looking at anything but a nice, fat, logical, (business) understandable table.

Not to mention, gets rid of all those pesky nulls. Netezza, of course, being one of *those* systems that recognizes true/false/null ...

Comment Re:The balance of value.. (Score 1) 128

IIRC, the requirements for a frontline TSA grunt are a high school certificate ... or a few months in a 'related' occupation: read security guard. This means any high-school drop-out, with a few months as a mall guard, or night watchman, is qualified. And, the TSA refused, repeatedly, to fulfil their legal obligations, under FOIA, to disclose what the breakdown (graduates/drop-outs), citing 'SECURITY!!!'.

Pathetic. Then again, un-tested x-ray machines, and you are forbidden to carry any radiation monitoring device. Passengers caught with such things can expect to miss their flight, at a minimum.

A group so under-qualified for what they are supposed to do it is staggering. And, when their failure rate is over 98% on any tests, their solution is "We need to hire more people!".


Comment Re:Some thoughts (Score 2) 302

"Dual criminality" used to be pretty important ... of course, that got thrown out the window in the EU when they introduced the EAW (European Arrest Warrant).

Since its introduction, abuses of the EAW have been well documented. Poland and Greece have been using them as means of simply extorting money from tourists. e.g. You claim you didn't steal that five euro towel when you visited their country, but the staff swore the towel was missing. A criminal charge was lodged, and an EAW granted. You can either fork over a few hundred Euro, or head back to the country, and try and fight the charge in the (obviously corrupt) courts there.

Evidence? What, some countries require more than "An unnamed informant told us the suspect was seen near the crime"? Among other things, this is why the US kind of has a low percentage of extradition requests honoured. Other countries tend to view forced confessions and anonymous sources - and, increasingly, sworn US LE Officer testimony - as insufficient grounds.

Yep, the US does its best to game the system, to the benefit of the corporations running the place. That's also why it should properly be referred to as 'The Legal System', NOT 'The Justice System'

Comment Re:Guns, freedom and all the rest (Score 1) 1144

I agree with nearly everything you said, except the part about what the American Constitution says. "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." As 'arms' is a rather broad term, and 'militia' is in the first part of this amendment, and militias often use "high-powered semi-automatic weaponry", it would be a reasonable conclusion to claim that the second amendment DOES support the carrying of such weapons.

The US v Miller (1939) case was interesting, in that the judge ruled a sawn-off shotgun was not protected by the second amendment, because it was not a gun used by militias. This, of course, leads to two questions: since then, the US military has deployed shotguns that qualify as 'sawn-off', so does that invalidate Miller? And does the decision imply that any weapon used by the military - or militia - is thus covered?

If the latter is true, can someone legitimately carry an M-29 Davy Crockett? (Man portable tactical nuclear bazooka, deployed with the US military 1961-1971)

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A large number of installed systems work by fiat. That is, they work by being declared to work. -- Anatol Holt