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Comment If done correctly, this could help (Score 5, Informative) 213

I used to work in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Corrections. I helped set up a special facility (Longwood Correctional Facility) where the only inmates were those whose crimes were related to substance abuse problems. We kept them away from "regular" criminals, provided treatment, and we had a less than one percent repeat offense rate. IF they do this correctly and provide treatment for those who need treatment, I believe that this can make a huge difference. I am not overly confident that it will be done correctly, though.

Comment Re:Is the free trade not so fun anymore? (Score 2) 186

"Care to explain why the Communist party of China has offices inside of Huawei's headquarters?"

Sure. They do that with most large institutions from what I've seen when in China. There's a Party office in all of the universities, too. It allows the Party to keep an eye on things as well as serve as a liaison between the institution and the government when needed. Also, since companies are responsible for handing certain things for their employees that we would not necessarily consider companies doing here in the USA, the Party office helps administer those things as well. It's no huge conspiracy or anything like that. It is just a government that has more direct interaction with people's lives than people in the US would think is normal.

I've been to China many times (mostly to universities) and these Party offices are nothing unusual there.

The idea of "keeping an eye on things" may fit into various conspiracy theories. All I know from my many trips to China about those Party offices is what I've been told by my fellow professors, by the graduate students I taught, and by my friends and colleagues over there.

Comment Malware (Score 1) 612

Mr. Wozniak, thank you for taking the time to read and respond to questions.

What do you, personally, believe to be the reason why there is not more malware on OS X? While I personally believe it to be a combination of improved security in the OS and the lower market share (thus making it a smaller target than Windows), I would like to know your opinion and beliefs on the matter.

Thank you.

Comment Walled Gardens, OS X, and Security (Score 1) 612

Mr. Wozniak, thank you for taking the time to read and respond to questions.

Given the rather open beginnings of the Apple computers, some have seen the turn toward the "Walled Garden" security model in iOS as a step in the wrong direction. Leaving the debate about cell phone security alone, there are theories that OS X itself is moving toward more of a "Walled Garden" approach. While this may be a good thing for the general, non-technical populace, it leaves hobbyists and developers at a loss.

What would you propose as an acceptable solution in order to maintain the hobbyist aspect of computer programming (and even electronic tinkering) alive while taking steps to reduce risk to the proverbial "grandmother who only uses the computer for Facebook and email"?

Submission + - Can Information and Technology Really Cure Obesity? (

slashbill writes: Technology is widely blamed for causing the obesity epidemic but now it might actually be coming full circle and will become a major part of the "cure". From the article: "In 1912, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article decrying weight gain in urban populations brought about by the technology of the day, namely streetcars, the elevator and, the then-latest-thing: automobiles. Perhaps, today we have finally come full circle."

Submission + - Meet Elvis: The robot that interrogates people traveling across the border (

colinneagle writes: Even though it's been 35 years, some folks have a specific King of Rock-n-Roll in mind when they hear the name "Elvis." However you might have a case of the Jailhouse Rock blues if the new Elvis catches you in a lie. That's because this Elvis is AI; an android behind a touchscreen who questions people on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border (CBP) Protection to analyze potentially suspicious behavior and to predict threats. He's an Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR) kiosk.

Tucson News reported that there are not enough CBP agents to handle all of the Trusted Traveler Program applications that require face-to-face interviews. It works by using sensors "to screen passengers for unusual physiological responses to questioning — which can indicate a subject is lying," according to CNN.

  It's not what you answer, but how you answer. Are you upset or fidgeting? CNN reported that it "uses three sensors to assess physiological responses: a microphone, which monitors vocal quality, pitch and frequency; an infrared camera, which looks at pupil dilation and where the eyes focus; and a high-definition camera recording facial expressions."

Submission + - What would your first 24 hours of a "I've got to disappear" plan look like? 1

diacritica writes: "This Ask Slashdot is inspired by à-la-Bourne movies but taking a more realistic approach to the world we live in. You are native to and live in a big city (> 1M pop) in a G8 country of your choosing. T = 0h, you accidentally witness a strange event. T = 1h, you realize you're being followed AND you get the feeling that the police/government might be involved. Context data: you are able to speak one language apart from good English. You are 25 to 45 years old. You are computer savvy. You are engaged/married, you have family living in the same city. 99% of your money is in a bank account. You prefer to go "rationally" paranoid. What would you do in order to feel safe after those 24h? Remember, you didn't commit a crime, but there are plenty of real-world resources invested in catching you."

Comment WSJ and Gartner (Score 5, Insightful) 257

It looks like both WSJ and Gartner have both long since jumped the shark. I was in university in the 80s. Anyone who was at large university in the 1980s would have been there to "watch the Internet happen", so to speak. BITNET, ARPANET, MILNET - how can these "reporters" (and yes, I used 'scare quotes' intentionally) hope to be taken seriously when there are plenty of people still alive who were there when the whole thing started? At least wait until most of us have died off before trying to rewrite history like that. Amateurs.

Comment Re:Tuition (Score 4, Interesting) 193

I'm a college professor and I've never heard of these kickbacks except from people claiming that they exist. I select textbooks because they are what is available. I hate it when publishers change a few minor things and put out a new edition. I have three versions of the same book published within a four-year period and the fourth edition is coming out later this year. And they keep changing the order of the chapters so I have to change assignments, test questions, etc. Granted, I don't mind keeping my courses up to date, but I think a new edition of a text book every 16-18 months is a bit much, especially when the editions are not compatible for things such as exercises and chapter ordering. I LIKE used textbooks. I would encourage my students to use them if I could, but it seems that the publishers are trying to kill the used-book market for textbooks. I realize that things change rapidly in computer science, but I think they could slow down the update rate a little on these books without sacrificing much. The only thing worse is when a good textbook is NOT updated at all. One of my favorite texts is now horridly out of date, but there is no new edition on the horizon and I really can't find a better book for the subject. I've been forced to use two lesser books (which I also hate doing - I think you should have one textbook per class). Sorry for the rant, but I want people to understand that the professors are just as frustrated by all of this as you are, except perhaps the ones who author the textbooks. The fact that I receive free "desk copies" of books does not eliminate my frustration. I know my students are still paying huge amounts of money for textbooks and there's only so much I can do about it. I'm trying to find open textbook alternatives, and I may have to take time to write one if I can't find one.

Comment Re:Why fit in? (Score 1) 659

No limit on atheism. We have had several atheist kids (whose parents are lawyers) involved with no problems. It was not due to any threats of legal action or anything. The kid needed to deal with the fact that scouting was founded, in part, on religious principles and had to deal with it, but we did not force any religion on the kid. Granted, there is no "religious" award for atheists, but there is one for just about anything else out there. It's the only one that both adult leaders (called "scouters") and the scouts can earn other than being put up for membership in the Order of the Arrow.

Comment Re:Why fit in? (Score 2) 659

Citation needed on religion part. Where do you get this bit about non-christians not being OK in Boy Scouts? Seriously. I was very involved in Boy Scouting for quite some time - I went from being an assistant den leader to being a unit commissioner (oversees several packs/troops and the adult leaders) and never encountered any religious bias, and this is in the "deep south" in the USA. Yes, there is the bit about "a scout is reverent", but that is easily interpreted in ways that work even for atheists. The outdoor badges still require being outdoors. (Now, the Girl Scouts have a "cooking" badge that does not involve any actual cooking, but that's a different story entirely.) And there are Venture crews for co-ed scouting experiences.

Comment Re:Bring It On, Assholes (Score 1) 699

You have got to be kidding me. They protested Fred Rogers?!? That is going way too far! They protest people who gave their lives for their country, and they protest Fred Rogers? I agree - being deemed picket-worthy by these gits would be an honour as I would be counted among such great people as Fred Rogers and the heroes who gave their lives for this country. I'm sorry. I grew up watching Mr. Rogers back in the late 60s and early 70s. That was one man whose heart was clearly and undeniably in the right place and who gave it all in his own special way. My kids watched him, too. RIP, Mr. Rogers.

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