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Comment Re:Burn it up??? WTF?? (Score 1) 219

Interesting. Is the issue just passing through the Van Allen belts around the Earth, or would more shielding be needed in a lunar orbit, too? If it's good enough for lunar orbit as-is, I wonder if it would be okay to execute the (years-long, I'm sure) transfer maneuver uncrewed, and then resume crewing it once it's beyond the danger zone.

Comment Re:Private Offices (Score 1) 282

I disagree. I think members of the same team should be located together, rather than isolated in private offices. That way, if you need to bounce an idea off of a teammate, all you need to do is to turn around and talk, rather than having to get up and look for them.

... and disrupt three other people in the process. Because, you know, their work isn't as important as your "bouncing ideas".

Besides, a few years ago, someone came up with the concept of instant messaging, which not only is nice for short messages, but can also tell you whether someone is available without having to get up and look for them.

In my opinion, the best approach is a combination of instant messaging, good headphones and an open plan office.

When you want to ask a colleague about something, or bounce an idea off of them, IM them to find out if they're interruptible. If so, you can both spin your chair around and chat. Others nearby are unaffected because they have headphones on and can't hear, but they can easily be pulled in if they're needed. The close proximity and lack of walls also tends to deter slacking (e.g. posting on /.) to some extent, and it enables random conversations that start over coffee runs, lunch, etc. better than if everyone is in offices.

A key to making this work really well, though, is a strong cultural rule against interrupting without asking via IM, and you should never include the question in the IM unless you are pretty certain it can be answered with approximately zero think time. If you ask a question that requires thought or research, the recipient feels an obligation to drop what they're doing to address your question. I usually send something like "Are you interruptible?", or for some of the people I work with closely and who understand it, I just send "MI" (for "maskable interrupt"). They respond with "y" or "n" as appropriate... and keep the IM window open in the corner of one of their screens (multiple, large screens are another must) as a reminder to ping me back when they reach a good interruption point.

Actually, my situation is a little different because I work remotely. At times I've had an always-on video conference going to provide a virtual connection between my home office and my team's open plan workspace. I really need to get that set up again. With that in place, though, the same rules apply, except that I replace headphones with muting the VC and playing music on the speakers on my PC (which is needed to drown out noise from the rest of my house anyway).

Comment Re:Private sector will increase costs. (Score 1) 124

If it costs money to do something and you hand it over to the private sector it will cost money plus profit to make it therefore more.

Wrong. If that were true, the USSR would have economically destroyed the US. That's just one of millions of examples. It's not the case that *everything* is best done by private enterprise, but if the primary goal is to serve the customer at minimum cost, competitive private industry is the absolute best way we know to achieve it. Yes, companies need to generate a profit, but that profit is almost always dwarfed by the opportunities for reducing costs by being more efficient.

In a competitive market, finding a way to reduce development and production costs increases profit in the short term, which is why companies work really hard to do it. Then in the longer term competitors adopt the same cost-reduction strategies (or better ones) and lower their prices in order to take business from their competitors, lowering the cost to buyers. At the same time, competitors look for ways to make their products more appealing to attract buyers. This virtuous competitive cycle in nearly all cases results in lower prices for better products because -- and this is the key point -- the need for improvement is relentless, never-ending.

Government agencies have different incentives. Not that government employees can't be interested in efficiency, but the organizational incentives are not focused on minimizing cost and maximizing service in order to maximize competitiveness. There is no competition. Government organizations are focused on compliance with the regulations that define the reason for their existence. If the required duties are performed within the funding allocated, they've met their goal and there's no reason to try to seek better ways to do their job.

Note that in both cases I'm speaking of idealized models. Many markets are not competitive (for example, I'm not sure a truly competitive market in health care can exist, because the complexity of the products and services exceeds the ability of consumers to buy intelligently, plus there are serious moral issues around tying availability of care to ability to pay) and private employees have an individual motivation to sit on their hands as much as possible. Many government employees are focused and driven and just as relentless about improving what they can as any business. But on the whole, results align with incentives and private enterprise has an incentive to improve that does not exist in government agencies, even those with open-ended missions.

There's a place for both private and public sector organizations in fulfilling social goals, but correctly allocating responsibilities to them is complicated and requires a deep understanding of what each does best and what each does poorly. Incredibly simplistic views like yours are not and effective guide.

Comment Re:Burn it up??? WTF?? (Score 1) 219

I do also like one of the previous ideas about shuttling it over to the moon. I just question how much energy it would need to overcome earths gravity and break free from it's orbit. It is a bit massive.

Well, it's already moving at about 70% of escape velocity. With something like an ion engine and plenty of time, I don't see any reason the remaining delta-vee couldn't be added.

Comment Re: Not everyone is happy... (Score 1) 106

Copyright licensing is ONLY assignable in writing.

Copyright is only assignable in writing. The law doesn't require that copyright licenses be formal, written documents. Courts have upheld verbal and even implied licenses. This is a very good thing for open source, actually, since hardly any projects get written licenses from contributors. The mere act of sending a pull request (or sending a patch to a mailing list, or...) is taken as an implied license of the author's contribution, under the license or licenses that the project is using.

Also, good luck getting approval from all 400 - after 20 years some are going to be dead.

That only matters if the heirs object. In this case it's hard to see why they would. The only rational (and I use the word loosely) motivation I can see is a deep-seated dislike of the GPL, since the only real effect of this license change will be to make it completely clear that GPL programs can link OpenSSL.

Comment Re: Will increase risks of cargo hold fires (Score 1) 272

"There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know." - Donald Rumsfeld

But are there unknown knowns? Are there things we know but don't know that we know?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Comment Re:Lock her up already (Score 1) 85

Tax write-off. He knows the shares are worthless, so might as well realize the loss and use it to offset gains elsewhere.

That makes no sense. Effective tax management means finding ways to report every possible loss, not creating actual losses just so you can report them. Creating $100 in actual losses to offset $100 in gains elsewhere lowers your tax liability by somewhere between $15 and $40, depending, which means you're actually throwing away $60-$85 in the process. Better to keep the gain and pay the tax.

There may be reasons to want to realize the loss *now*, rather than in the future, but that could have been done by selling the shares for more money -- assuming buyers could be found. Perhaps Murdoch believes that no one would be willing to buy his shares for more money? That seems unlikely. Hell, I'll give him $2. I have no reason to believe that the shares are worth that much, but the odds that they are are probably higher than the odds that I'm going to win the lottery and I have bought a lottery ticket a time or two.

Something else is going on here. Perhaps Murdoch has a personal friendship with Holmes, or some other non-financial motivation. But it makes no sense to artificially inflate your real losses in order reduce your tax liability, because the reduction in tax liability will always be less than the losses.

Comment Re:Then why just 8 countries? (Score 3, Interesting) 272

Let's assume this is a real threat And obviously it is doable, you could open up an ipod, rip out the guts, and put other stuff in its place. Why just 8 countries then? If its a real threat, its a global threat. Its not all that hard for someone to fly to another country first and then travel from an allowed airport. If this is a real threat, it should be from all airports. Otherwise its just games.

I flew from San Jose, CA to Salt Lake City, UT on Friday last week. I was "randomly" selected for slightly-enhanced screening, even though I was going through the TSA Pre-checked line -- and so were the two people before and after me. In this case the screening enhancement was to apply a bomb sniffer to all of my electronic devices, after they'd been xrayed. So, based on what I saw, at that airport on that day, the TSA had turned the random selection probability way up (perhaps 100% -- all five of the people I saw go through were "selected") and implemented a specific check for bombs in electronic devices.

So it appears to me that the TSA may actually have responded across all US airports, though not with more screening, not a device ban.

Comment Re: Uhm... (Score 1) 531

Do you believe that H1-B workers are the best talent?

I don't believe that the United States has a monopoly on talent. There are talented people all over the world, indeed the vast majority of highly-talented people are born outside of the US, because the vast majority of people are born outside the US. Whatever the immigration mechanism, it's in the United States' best interest to draw the most talented people from the whole world to work and live here.

Comment Re:Poor business (Score 1) 395

The problem is that any given reviewer wont "mesh" with what *YOU* like. Or what *I* like.


OTOH, I find that the aggregate consensus of several hundred reviewers actually gives me a really good idea of how good a movie is. That's not the same as saying it's a good indicator of what I'll like; there are some crappy movies that I like quite a lot. But if a film gets an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it has a significant number of reviews (obscure films sometimes don't), I can be pretty much guaranteed that it will not be a waste of my time. Perhaps it won't become a favorite, but it will be reasonably well-written, well-acted, etc. In other words, it won't suck.

I do occasionally see movies with low ratings, but only when there's some other factor motivating me -- and I often walk out disappointed. I also occasionally see movies that I have no real interest in, but have high ratings (and which my wife wants to see) -- and I nearly always enjoy them anyway. There are exceptions both ways, but the RT rating is generally an excellent guide.

Comment Re:If self driving cars take off (Score 1) 207

I actually believe if self-driving cars take off, drive times will go down. The programmers of the cars can do a lot to alleviate the bad behaviors people have gotten in to that just makes heavy traffic worse.

If you then ban human-operated vehicles from (some) roads, or maybe just some lanes (which should be separated from lanes usable by human-operated vehicles), it can get even better. Vehicles in constant radio communication with each other and with sub-millisecond reaction times should be able to significantly increase highway speeds and reduce inter-vehicle distance to inches, while simultaneously increasing safety.

If you can remove human-operated vehicles from all roads, you can also get rid of stop lights and stop signs. Vehicles can negotiate appropriate gaps as they approach an intersection.

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