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Cameron Accuses Internet Companies Of Giving Terrorists Safe Haven

Archtech Re:On behalf of the UK... (169 comments)

In mitigation, I should mention that he did go to school at Eton.

yesterday
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Cameron Accuses Internet Companies Of Giving Terrorists Safe Haven

Archtech On behalf of the UK... (169 comments)

... please accept my apologies. We can't seem to get anyone elected to lead our nation who has any knowledge or experience of anything other than backstabbing, deceit, and bluster. I hope it goes without saying that we know this fool Cameron knows absolutely nothing about software, and cares absolutely nothing about human rights - no matter how much hot air he emits about them.

yesterday
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Archtech Re:Flip Argument (1017 comments)

"Disclosure would interfere with the right to a fair trial of the accused".

As did the decision not to indict.

yesterday
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Archtech Re:Flip Argument (1017 comments)

"That's because being indicted for murder is already a rather large disruption of someone's life".

True. But then, wouldn't you say being shot six times and killed is also "a rather large disruption of someone's life"?

yesterday
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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

Archtech Globalization advances... (378 comments)

This sort of phenomenon is a natural effect of globalization. A century ago, the world contained wealthy advanced nations, developing nations, and lots of "backward" nations which lacked modern industries and hence had a relatively low standard of living. However, this was somewhat compensated for by a low cost of living. Someone might only earn a dollar or two a day, but food was cheap and life was OK.

Enter globalization: the inevitable outcome of free-market, free-trade economics plus cheap ubiquitous transport. Within a few decades, the world became one single marketplace and - as we in the wealthier nations have seen to our cost - jobs began "finding their own level", that is being exported to the cheapest countries.

Not satisfied with that, bosses and shareholders wanted to bring in cheap labour to do those relatively few jobs that couldn't be done "at long range". Obvious examples are construction, health care, personal service of all kinds, and to some extent expensive specialities like law. (Not many lawyers in India have US bar qualifications, and even if they had they couldn't very well show up in a US court).

After the first irrational exuberance for outsourcing skilled jobs (like IT) to cheaper countries, even the most thick-headed of PHBs are now coming to recognize that outsourcing of this kind doesn't usually work too well. No matter how good the workers are, the communication problems (and often cultural discrepancies) are just too great. Hence the increasing eagerness to import cheap (but well qualified and skilled) labour to do those jobs under direct (not to say oppressively close) supervision.

Unfortunately, citizens of nations like the USA get it coming and going: the government taxes them heavily in order to provide services in a "first world" manner, while allowing business to export jobs to "third world" nations (or bring their workers to the USA to work there). This is a classic "wealth pump" which systematically sucks up wealth and transfers it to the rich.

Ironically, globalization looks set to be pretty much complete and settled in, just in time for the cheap oil that made it possible to run out. Then we'll all have to face the expense and disruption of reverting to relative economic independence within our own countries.

yesterday
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Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

Archtech Re:Thats science for you .... (249 comments)

"When asked for advice you'll get the best recommendation scientists have at the time it's given".

That's a comforting thought, but I have never understood how it can possibly be true. As long as scientists hold conflicting opinions, how can anyone tell what is "the best" recommendation? (I also wonder how governments get "the best" scientific advice, although they always say they do).

It's a hackneyed example, but consider the situation in Vienna about the time of the American Civil War. Which was "the best" scientific advice: that of Dr Ignaz Semmelweiss (and Louis Pasteur), who said infectious diseases were caused by bacteria - or the huge majority of the medical and scientific professions, who still insisted that an imbalance of bodily humours was to blame? The majority certainly had the upper hand politically, as they had Semmeleweiss removed from his posts and eventually locked up in a lunatic asylum, where he died. It seems to me that any politician or other lay person who inquired about these matters in 1865 would have been given firmly to understand that the traditional theory was the correct one.

So really, to speak of "the best" scientific advice is to beg the question.

3 days ago
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Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

Archtech Re: So low carb vindicated again (249 comments)

Further to that, I read in Gary Taubes' excellent book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" (published in Britain as "The Diet Delusion") that a lot of work in nutrition had been done before WW2 by German scientists. After WW2, it became politically incorrect (as in "career destroying") to acknowledge any German work or influences, so everything started from scratch.

Add to that an observation from the sociology of science (and everything else): the younger generation (especially young males) are compelled to overthrow and despise whatever their fathers and grandfathers did. It's the equivalent of a young male confronting the patriarch/silverback, defeating him, and driving him out. I'm convinced this syndrome accounts for a great deal of the "myth-busting" that goes on - often, as in the case of the "myth" that fat is good for you and carbs make you fat, it is actually the truth.

Thirdly, modern science has degenerated to the point where almost all researchers are being paid by government or corporations to find specific results. However, as Einstein pointed out, "If you know what you're looking for, it's not research". All those eager beavers are under the gun to publish regularly and achieve striking results that are newsworthy. The easiest way of doing that is to assert that "Everything we believed is wrong!"

3 days ago
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Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Archtech Re:Sounds reasonable (242 comments)

"If you knew anything about our political system you'd know that US Senators have zero power to actually make good on those threats".

We stupid foreigners actually know a little about the American legal system, and not purely from watching old Perry Mason episodes. One of the glaringly obvious things we know is that it isn't so much the facts of the matter that count, but who has the most money and thus influence. If you have political clout - and anyone rich enough can get it - no prosecutor will even be found to indict you. ("Shucks, awful sorry, wish I could be more help, just too busy tracking down terrorists...").

US senators have an awful lot of power, but most of it lies under the surface. They know people who can get a surprising number of things done (or not done, as the case may be) and they are among the world's leading experts at trading favours for favours. The law is so immense and complex that almost anyone can be charged with crimes that would lead to extremely long prison sentences - the main thing that protects the normal, innocent citizen is that the police have no particular reason to want to frame them up. Try reading (for instance) Harvey Silverglate's book "Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent".

4 days ago
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Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Archtech Re:Extradition (242 comments)

"If he didn't want to be charged with a fairly serious CRIME, then don't commit the crime".

Have you ever heard of the "presumption of innocence"? It is morally and legally wrong to imply that Assange committed any crime, until he has been convicted in a court of law.

4 days ago
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Open Source Self-Healing Software For Virtual Machines

Archtech Re:As we say in help desk, get rid of users... (50 comments)

See "The Shockwave Rider", passim. One of the classic definitions of life involves "irritability" (not quite what it might sound like). Brunner's worm demonstrates irritability in both senses; when the authorities try to wipe it out, it retaliates by destroying banking systems.

about two weeks ago
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Open Source Self-Healing Software For Virtual Machines

Archtech Re:Wrong approach (50 comments)

I guess the main difference is that the promises are being made by academics, in a formal paper. Not by salesmen and enthusiastic executives. Far from conclusive, I agree - but it's a step in the right direction. It's probably still a 1000-mile journey, but the first step has to be taken some time.

about two weeks ago
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Open Source Self-Healing Software For Virtual Machines

Archtech Re:Wrong approach (50 comments)

Er, did you realize that vaccination and other forms of inoculation consist of injecting a small sample of the bacterium, virus, etc. to give the immune system a smell of it? Then the immune system tools up and is ready for the full-scale infection if it occurs.

One of the many nice things about A3 is that (optionally) sysadmins could emulate inoculation by handing specific details of threats directly to A3 instead of waiting for it to detect them itself. That would eliminate delay and enable A3 to be lined up on the border with tank divisions, a howitzer every 2 yards, and millions of men when the invasion starts.

about two weeks ago
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Open Source Self-Healing Software For Virtual Machines

Archtech Re:Immune system for operating systems? (50 comments)

And I simply adore the idea of "stackable debuggers". (Anyone remember Gary Larson's "stackable livestock"?) 8-)

about two weeks ago
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Open Source Self-Healing Software For Virtual Machines

Archtech Immune system for operating systems? (50 comments)

The analogy is a big stretch, as it would take a very long time and huge effort to approach the unbelievably complex sophistication of the immune system. But the outlines are there: software that detects previously unknown threats, quickly mobilizes to defeat them, and then stands guard against each (now known) threat in future.

about two weeks ago
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Is Public Debate of Trade Agreements Against the Public Interest?

Archtech Re:Misleading summary (219 comments)

'Its just another example of "we have to pass it before we can find out whats in it"'.

And that's just the Congress...

about three weeks ago
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British Army Looking For Gamers For Their Smart-Tanks

Archtech Re:I Suggested systems like this years ago (163 comments)

"He got rather angry for some reason..."

I can't imagine why - it was your own ignorance you were exposing. Fighter aircraft are too small to carry more than one (or, at most, two) crew. Otherwise they are big, slow, unmanoeuvrable, and shot down. The F-14 Tomcat featured in "Top Gun" is a 2-seater, mainly because it was designed for naval use and flying long distances over featureless ocean is difficult and dangerous for a lone pilot. WW2 demonstrated that 2-seater "heavy fighters" like the Me110 didn't fare at all well in combat with smaller, more responsive planes like the Spitfire. That conclusion has never changed since.

Tanks, by contrast, weigh many times more and function rather more slowly. Hence the tradeoff is different, and usually favours a crew of around 3-5. Again, at the start of WW2 some (otherwise very good) French tanks suffered badly because the commander also had to load and fire a main gun. While doing that, he generally lost track of the tactical situation with often disastrous results. The T-34/76, too, had only 2 men in its turret which left the commander to handle the gun - a failing which was remedied with the T-34/85.

Apart from anything else, in most tanks the driver sits in a compartment in the front of the hull, while other crew members are in the turret.

about a month ago
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British Army Looking For Gamers For Their Smart-Tanks

Archtech Re:Surely not the "largest" tank? (163 comments)

That's because Scout SV isn't a tank - as someone already pointed out, it's essentially an armed personnel carrier. (Otherwise known as a "tank target" - one shot from a real tank and it dissolves in a ball of fire).

I was surprised at first when I read TFA, then I quickly realised this is just the "facts don't matter" school of journalism - in which writers use technical terms in any way they fancy, and don't bother to do any research. As in the recurrent use of "battleship" to mean "warship", or "warplane" to mean "a fighter, bomber, or ground attack aircraft but I couldn't be bothered to find out which".

If anyone is old enough to remember the Falklands War, it was either hysterically amusing or very annoying (depending on your temperament) to see the media for months on end describing "Belgrano" as a battleship. (In fact, she was a war-surplus WW2 US light cruiser, similar to HMS Belfast which is parked in the River Thames near the Tower of London to this day).

And before the usual suspects start calling me a "pedant" - as if that were a bad thing - just remember that experts in any field have specialist terminology, and misusing it is a sure-fire way to create confusion and error. Imagine if it were software that was being discussed. "Sure, Mr Pedant - constant, variable, whatever".

about a month ago
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Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

Archtech Re:Hint (115 comments)

Don't do critical things in hastily-written, poorly designed software. Instead, take sufficient time and make the design and implementation robust. Tried and tested methods exist for all of this. (Consider avionics, for example).

about a month ago
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Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

Archtech Re:Why 40 millions? (115 comments)

The word "architecture" is bandied around a lot, partly because it sounds so important. But if architecture means anything, it should include scoping out ALL limits embedded in the software or adjustable through a UI. At the very least the limits should be documented in such a way that those responsible for managing and maintaining the system are fully aware of them at all times. Because they are just as important as the speed at which your car will come off the road when you drive round a tight bend.

Ideally, resources permitting, a better solution should be systematically adopted. Such as having the software itself warn (in good time) that a built-in limit is being approached. Or simply allocating a type that can store numbers vastly greater than could ever conceivably arise. This, of course, is one of the useful aspects of strong typing: before using any variable, you MUST specify its type, and a good programmer will learn to stop at that point and find out what the requirement is.

about a month ago

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