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Security Lessons Learned From the Diaspora Launch

Capt'n Hector Re:Axe job (338 comments)

It doesn't really matter that it's pre alpha, or whatever designation you want to give it. A platform touted as being a secure replacement for facebook ought to consist of secure code from day 1. Security needs to be built into the bones of the program, and If you read the article, you'd see that the errors made were pretty egregious. Fact is, any programmer worth his or her salt would not have started out with code like this with a plan to fix it later in future releases, they'd get it right from the very beginning. That they made these mistakes so early on speaks wonders about how inexperienced these programmers were (and hopefully are no longer now that they've learned their lesson). I'm still rooting for Diaspora but am a little disappointed by this.

more than 3 years ago
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Harvard Ditching Final Exams?

Capt'n Hector Re:prove it (371 comments)

I'm sorry, you don't get to call me intellectually lazy when I was asking someone to cite a study. When someone says "studies show..." they might as well be saying nothing.

more than 3 years ago
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New Calculations May Lead To a Test For String Theory

Capt'n Hector Re:Physicist speaking (284 comments)

I think the public media attacks string theory on the grounds of its impossibility to test because they don't know any better. Those of us in physics and math have very real and strong arguments against string theory that have little to do with testing.

more than 3 years ago
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Harvard Ditching Final Exams?

Capt'n Hector Re:prove it (371 comments)

Not because I say so, because of the arguments I laid forth in my reply.

I wonder what percentage of administrators, professors and students at other universities also speak of grade inflation. Maybe less, maybe more, but I don't see why Harvard is getting singled out. You say "various studies have demonstrated this to be true." What studies?

I actually think the Harvard classes of late are getting even better. 20-30 years ago, they weren't nearly as competitive as they are now. Where is the proof that the class of 2007 has higher grades than the classes of 1990? What about *in comparison to other schools*? This is really the point that matters, not inflation over time. It's really the exchange rate that counts.

Finally, careful who you call a Harvard alum. I am speaking only about Harvard College, not HBS or the law school. And yes, most of our congressmen and senators are pretty fucking educated, actually.

more than 3 years ago
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Harvard Ditching Final Exams?

Capt'n Hector Re:one step closer to drive thru degrees (371 comments)

This is exactly how it works at Harvard. About halfway through the year, the registrar will publish the exam schedule. You can tell beforehand if you're going to have conflicts, because when you first register for a class, it will come with an "exam group," but that has nothing to do with whether or not the the class actually has an official 3-hour final exam, or when the exam will be. Anyhow, the registrar hates the students with a burning passion. Every single year I was there 2005-2009, the final exams in the biggest four or so classes would be held on the last two days of exam period. I don't know why they did this, but it kept most of the student body on campus during the freezing-cold Boston January (until last year, final exams were held after the Christmas break), and stopped us from enjoying an extended intersession. I still hate those bastards.

more than 3 years ago
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Harvard Ditching Final Exams?

Capt'n Hector Re:one step closer to drive thru degrees (371 comments)

Yeah, I don't know where you're getting those numbers, but they're complete bullshit. My family income was under 100k, and they had us paying somewhere between 40-50%. We asked why they weren't giving me more aid, and their answer was that we owned our house and that we should mortgage it. I kid you not. There is a vast gulf between Harvard's published financial aid levels and what they actually give to the student. Oh, and around $3000 of what they give to you is actually money you're supposed to earn yourself with a "term-time job".

more than 3 years ago
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Harvard Ditching Final Exams?

Capt'n Hector Re:one step closer to drive thru degrees (371 comments)

I've actually started saying "Hahvahd" whilst dropping the "H"-bomb. It's far more amusing and less awkward.

more than 3 years ago
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Harvard Ditching Final Exams?

Capt'n Hector Re:prove it (371 comments)

Anyone who tells you there's grade inflation at Harvard is lying. Put the best students from all of the world in a university, where most work their asses off, all of whom have fantastic educations prior to arriving, and these students are going to get good grades. There's not a single student at Harvard who got an A or an A- (they don't give out A+'s) who didn't deserve it. Granted, it's hard to get a C grade, but that's to be expected considering how fucking amazing these students are. Compare a student who has an "A" average from Harvard to a student who has an "A" average from a state school. They are both probably great students, but which one do you think is better? (Achieving a 4.0 from Harvard is almost unheard-of) How about comparing "B" students? Do you think a B student from Harvard is worse than a B student at another institution. I doubt it. And the "remedial course" you're talking about is probably Expos 10. It's not a remedial course, though most students test out of it. There aren't any other courses one can test out of (there may be department-by-department policies), besides a language, but a first-year language course is hardly "remedial". Honestly, I have no idea what that article you quoted is talking about. That student you quoted? Probably very smart but lazy, and can get by without working very hard. Good for him. Maybe he has very high standards for himself. Most Harvard students do. He was also probably bragging, in some convoluted manner. Again, most Harvard students do. Finally, your statistic on honors is out of date. Far fewer students receive honors now. I did, and I'm damned proud of it.

more than 3 years ago
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Harvard Ditching Final Exams?

Capt'n Hector Re:one step closer to drive thru degrees (371 comments)

I'd mod you down if I had any mod points. But I don't, so I'll tell you why you're wrong instead. Harvard isn't getting rid of final exams. Usually, only the very large classes will make use of the 3 hour registrar-run final exams, but other classes have in-class finals, take-home finals, final projects, etc.

more than 3 years ago
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Mixed Reception To AT&T's New Data Pricing Scheme

Capt'n Hector Re:Rent (514 comments)

You're missing a funeral in Des Moines. Dick.

more than 4 years ago
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Hubble Finds Unidentified Object In Space

Capt'n Hector They haven't ruled out a supernova (716 comments)

It's just that if it is a SN, it's of a vastly different type than the ones we've observed before.

more than 5 years ago

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