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Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

Archtech Re:Hint (109 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).

yesterday
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Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

Archtech Re:Why 40 millions? (109 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.

yesterday
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NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

Archtech Re:Women prefer male bosses (392 comments)

"While men do also tend to develop something of an internal order of their own, it's less likely to take precedence over established Rank and Command protocols..."

That's because the established rank and command protocols are nothing BUT the underlying pecking order. Ever wonder why certain people end up in big corner offices issuing orders, while others who are far more capable end up doing what they are told? Simple: primate dominance hierarchy.

2 days ago
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When will the first successful manned Mars mission happen?

Archtech Re: Missing option (219 comments)

Thanks - that's a really brilliant article. It covers pretty well everything, and does so crisply and lucidly. That site's on my Morning Coffee list now!

about a week ago
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Book Review: Scaling Apache Solr

Archtech Re:Not a computer problem (42 comments)

"Computer searching is a crude form of human memory: human memory is associative, and computer searching is keyword-driven".

Computer searching is completely different from human memory (to the extent that we really should use different words for them): for a start, human memory is associative, and computer searching is keyword-driven. More to the point, human memory is inextricably tied up with all our senses and the ways in which the brain remembers them, whereas computer searching consists of running algorithms on successive sets of bits until an algorithm is satisfied.

FTFY.

about a week ago
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Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

Archtech Re:Author of TFA is an idiot (240 comments)

"Here's an idea: if you don't know shit about C++, don't post shit about C++. Save your precious insights for systemd maybe?"

It seems you don't take your own advice (hardly surprising, I suppose). If you don't know shit about Paul Chiusano - which you obviously don't - don't post shit about Paul Chiusano. Who probably knows about 5 times more about programming than you ever will.

about a week ago
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When will the first successful manned Mars mission happen?

Archtech Re: Missing option (219 comments)

Actually that is a very low estimate of the defense budget. There are many other expensive items that should be added in. See, for example

http://www.cjr.org/united_stat...

which estimates a total of about $1.3 trillion - about the same as Social Security and Medicare combined. By some recent estimates, US military spending has been nearly as great as that of the rest of the world put together. It is certainly far, far greater than that of countries like China (whose population is about four times greater, and which faces far greater threats - e.g. its long border with Russia, and the proximity of powerful rivals such as India and Pakistan).

The thing is that most of that "defense and security" spending is unnecessary, excessive, or both. The USA really doesn't need a highly militarized police force or a score of separate intelligence agencies or the immense pork barrel that Homeland Security has become. To be honest, the USA does not face many foreign threats provided it minds its own business and avoids poking wasps' nests (and bears) with sticks.

'As the French ambassador to the United States said in 1910: "The United States was blessed among nations. On the north, she had a weak neighbor; on the south, another weak neighbor; on the east, fish, and on the west, fish."'
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/p...

The whole of that article by Stephen M. Walt is well worth reading.

about a week ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

Archtech Re:web design (254 comments)

In other words, when other people make mistakes they are wrong: we must set them right and rebuke them. But when we make mistakes, anyone who sets us right should be rebuked for acting like a "Nazi".

about two weeks ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

Archtech Re: Run fast, for 2 fucking hours and over 26 mile (254 comments)

Fixx's father died of a heart attack at 43, so Jim lasted 9 years longer. He had a congenitally enlarged heart, and (according to Ken Cooper) made the critical mistake of failing to warm down gradually after a hard run in hot weather - indeed, tired as he must have been after a hard journey, going for the run was foolhardy.

about two weeks ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

Archtech Re:Some physiologists (254 comments)

Alan Turing ran 2;46:03 in 1948, nearly qualifying for the British Olympic team. While at Cambridge he used to run to Ely and back, and it is said that he once ran from Bletchley Park to a meeting in Whitehall - and back again after. (History doesn't record what the besuited civil servants made of the brilliant boffin sitting at table with them in his sweat-soaked running clothes).

about two weeks ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

Archtech Re:Could do it in a year (254 comments)

"Just make the course downhill all the way".

With exactly that in mind, the rules require a closed circuit for record purposes. So you'd need M.C. Escher to design it.

about two weeks ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

Archtech Re:more likely from Kenya than Canada (254 comments)

"Not true. Ryan Hall (a USian) ran 2:04:58".

Well, sorta-kinda. With a strong following wind on a one-way course, hence not allowable as a record (for instance). But a terrific run nonetheless.

about two weeks ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

Archtech Re:Summary (254 comments)

"It may well make sense to the tiny minority of people who know (or care) what a "sub-two" marathon refers to".

Well, there are hundreds of marathons (probably thousands, in fact) in the world every year. Many of them have thousands of competitors. So there may be about a million people who actually run marathons - plus many more who follow the sport and know about it.

So I very much doubt your assertion. It's of the same order as

"...the tiny minority of people who know (or care) what a 'scripting language' refers to".

Or

"...the tiny minority of people who know (or care) what 'iteration' refers to".

about two weeks ago
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What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

Archtech Re:Summary (254 comments)

Nice.

about two weeks ago
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US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

Archtech Re:American Exceptionalism (335 comments)

Actually, I don't believe in human rights as usually defined. That is, I believe in treating people decently - as well as possible, and fairly - but I don't believe that "rights" have any independent existence. They are abstractions, shared fictions if you like. As Jeremy Bentham wrote,

"Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense — nonsense upon stilts".

If we think people should have a right to clean drinking water, or freedom of speech, we can pass laws to make those things legal requirements. But they aren't eternal "natural" rights. If a man starves to death, what became of his right to life?

My whole point is that the US government is forever talking about human rights - and how OTHER nations don't respect them. But it doesn't either.

about two weeks ago
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US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

Archtech Re:American Exceptionalism (335 comments)

Sorry to have been a bit cryptic. I didn't mean to insult you personally, either. May I thank you for your patience and civility, and say what a pleasure it is to talk with an American who doesn't resort to personalities when his country is criticized. I am a great admirer of most things American, and I have many really good friends in the USA. It's just the government I have qualms about.

I meant that there is some fine verbiage in the Declaration of Independence about believing that all men are created equal. Nowadays, I believe that really means all men (as opposed to all well-off white men) and has even expanded to embrace women.

But if you really honestly believe that all people are created equal, what can that mean (in practical terms) if not that they should all be TREATED equally?

But that doesn't square at all with what you said about thinking your government should put your rights and interests above those of foreigners. That would mean you consider them inferior - in terms of the treatment your government affords them. (Of course, there is already no shadow of doubt that the US government values American lives thousands of times higher than those of foreigners, when you consider the million-plus Iraqis who were killed in revenge for the 2,500 or so Americans who died on 9/11).

Looking after your interests is, I think, what your government should be doing. But perhaps not to the extent of treating foreigners as of less value than Americans.

My point about the Nazi view of life was that, in fact, the government of the Third Reich sought "living space", food, and other amenities for the German people at the expense of those foreigners who happened to be living in nearby countries. Because they valued the citizens of those countries a great deal lower than Germans, they didn't hesitate to kill them or drive them out of their homes. Also - a critical mistake - they believed that they would easily be able to defeat these supposedly lower forms of humanity. Rather as our ancestors drove the Neanderthals out (and finally to extinction), and the white settlers drove the Native Americans out (and nearly to extinction).

about two weeks ago
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US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

Archtech Re:American Exceptionalism (335 comments)

"Your government is also doing the same, and it's at its leisure to spy on me, kill me if they can swing it and decide i'm a terrible threat, or whatnot. This is what i pay for, this is what i expect. They are not "my government" because they value my life and liberties equal to yours".

A fine exposition of the Nazi view of life.

about two weeks ago

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