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Point-and-Shoot: TrackingPoint's New Linux-Controlled AR-15s

Goonie No you don't (219 comments)

There's virtually nothing in the populated areas of Australia, other than other humans, that attacks humans and can be usefully defended against with a firearm.

We have nasty spiders and snakes, but you don't use firearms to kill either of those. Both only strike humans defensively. Our large land animals are all herbivores; kangaroo, emus and cassowaries have a very nasty kick but they'll run away in preference to attacking you. Dingoes, despite the high-profile death of Azarea Chamberlain back in 1978, are basically wild dogs, and represent little threat to people.

We also have a collection of potentially lethal acquatic species, including the Blue-Ringed Octopus, several species of jellyfish, and some sharks. Again, guns aren't a lot of use against them.

Crocodiles, which I guess you're referring to with the giant knife reference, are the one animal that will actually try to eat an adult human. They only live in the tropical north of the country, far away from the major population centres, and any that move in near the cities in those regions are killed or relocated by professional shooters.

So, no, you don't need a gun to protect yourself from the wildlife in Australia. And despite some myths, if you want a rifle or shotgun for hunting or target shooting, or need one for farming or pest control, you can get one in Australia. You just can't walk into a gun shop and buy an AR-15 or a big-calibre handgun for "self-defence" here. And, nearly 20 years after the changes to the gun laws, that remains overwhelmingly popular here.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

Goonie SE, not CS (247 comments)

Haven't read "Death March" but the others you recommend (and I endorse) are about software engineering, not CS, in my view.

Incidentally, It's kinda sad how little of the topics under discussion in "Peopleware" have actually been empirically examined in the peer-reviewed literature...

about 5 months ago

NSA Allegedly Exploited Heartbleed

Goonie Failure of risk analysis by more than OpenSSL devs (149 comments)

Just a minor correction - my piece does indeed suggest that the OpenSSL developers have some strange priorities. However, it lays the larger blame at the companies that used OpenSSL, when all the information necessary to suggest that this kind of thing could happen was already available, and the potential consequences for larger companies of a breach are easily enough to justify throwing a little money at the problem (which could have been used any number of ways to help prevent this).

about 5 months ago

Finnish HIV Vaccine Testing To Begin

Goonie Re:Gonna be a tough sell in some circles. (72 comments)

I suspect the HIV shot might be an easier sell than some of the others, because deaths from the initial epidemic are still recent enough for many people to remember. - not to mention public health campaigns like this one.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Application Security Non-existent, Boss Doesn't Care. What To Do?

Goonie A union would be helpful in this situation (310 comments)

While trade/labor unions are much maligned in the often libertarian-leaning IT community, this is the kind of situation where a bit of organization amongst colleagues - along the lines of what engineers or medical professionals have, would actually be useful.

But given that we have the IT professional community that we have:

  • Document that you've told your boss, and probably your boss's boss, and probably the legal department (perhaps informally and verbally initially). If you've told them, it's their problem, not yours
  • Start polishing your resume. Whistleblowing usually has negative consequences for the whistleblower - and, furthermore, continuing to work for an organization which has such a lax attitude to software poses a risk to your career if you stay there.

Incidentally, your case neatly demonstrates the near-uselessness of the IEEE-ACM Software Engineering Code of Ethics, which is very long on what the ethical obligations of a software engineer are, but has nothing useful to say about what you should do where others are ordering you to act unethically.

about 10 months ago

EPA Makes Most Wood Stoves Illegal

Goonie Re:Which company bought this 'new' rule? (1143 comments)

Here's the even funnier thing, this is an empirical question and the clear evidence is that, indeed, pollution from wood stoves *does* hurt other people.

But, hey, science.

about 10 months ago

Google Nexus 5 Posts Best Gaming Benchmark Among Android Smartphones

Goonie smartphone gaming sucks (78 comments)

Much and all as the 3D graphics prowess of modern smartphones is amazing, trying to do any serious gaming on them is an exercise in frustration. Touchscreens are useful for some things, but their slow response times and lack of real tactile feedback makes it impossible to play fast-action games well on them.

about a year ago

TEPCO Workers Remove Wrong Pipe Get Splashed With Radioactive Water

Goonie Call in the military - the universal solution (214 comments)

Militaries tend to be expert in fighting wars. They are not expert in civilian nuclear power plants and environmental remediation.

Should we militarize the entire American workforce given that 13 Americans die every day in workplace accidents?

about a year ago

TEPCO Workers Remove Wrong Pipe Get Splashed With Radioactive Water

Goonie Measurable - yes. Harmful - unlikely (214 comments)

Yes, it would be detectable. But that doesn't mean it would be at levels that pose a significant incremental risk to the wider ocean environment or human health.

about a year ago

How Data Analytics In Education Could Create a New Class of Haves and Have-nots

Goonie $30,000? WTF? (268 comments)

In most fields, $50 per hour can buy you a qualified and experienced tutor.

$30,000 would pay for 600 hours of individual tuition from such a tutor.

What do you think would improve a student's learning outcomes more?

about a year ago

Tesla Model S Catches Fire: Is This Tesla's 'Toyota' Moment?

Goonie Re:Big Oil is Dancing (388 comments)

It's possible to build very small nuclear reactors for use in space, but you can get away without shielding those (or, at least, only shielding in the directions you need to shield to protect the electronics).

The emitted radiation is far too dangerous for on-Earth use without tons of shielding.

about a year ago

Tech In the Hot Seat For Oct. 1st Obamacare Launch

Goonie Try this on (326 comments)

Guess what, everywhere else that has implemented universal health care the local conservatives immediately tried to get rid of it. They succeeded nowhere.

To take some specific examples in the English-speaking world, in Australia, the local conservatives did manage to repeal it the first time around. The second time around, they didn't get back into government for thirteen years until they promised to keep it, and they've never seriously tried repealing it since despite long periods in power. In the UK, even that hero of the right, Margaret Thatcher, left the NHS alone. The overwhelming evidence is that once universal health care systems are introduced, they are enormously popular.

So, yeah, drag this one out into a political fight to the death. It's unlikely, but possible, you'll knock it off. But if your lot continues with this crap for too long once it's in place, you will consign yourself to electoral irrelevance; even the ridiculous malapportionment and gerrymandering that goes on in the US won't be enough to save them.

In the medium term, I won't be terribly sad at that; while sensible health care reform will ensure that millions of your fellow citizens have healthier, longer lives, it doesn't affect me directly. But a couple of your party's other insanities, particularly its delusions on climate science, do. And if you do manage to consign yourself to complete electoral irrelevance for a few terms, the United States will be able to act effectively on climate change.

about a year ago

Tech In the Hot Seat For Oct. 1st Obamacare Launch

Goonie Re:Only if unsuccessful (326 comments)

"find a way to get the patient to care about the cost of their medical services..."? Are you completely deluded? My partner had emergency surgery earlier this year. Was I really supposed to call round the hospitals in my city, weigh the experience and success rates of the surgeons and the fees they were charging, consider the various treatment options, and make a rational decision with the love of my life lying in the ER with gallons of morphine almost but not quite controlling her pain - and, heck, risk that she might suffer even more serious and permanent health implications - with more delay?

Back in the real world, the doc could have told me just about anything about the cost of the operation, and I would have agreed to it.

But, because I live in a country with universal health care, in a situation where the treatment was clearly medically justified, the docs were able to go ahead and do the surgery, and we got a bill for $0.

And your notion of an "end of year shutdown" in hospitals is complete and utter bollocks. Does not happen - if there's even a hint of this kind of thing, the relevant docs go to the media, who get the requisite photos of people who've recently been treated and interviews with the docs, and the government tips in some extra funds.

about a year ago

Letter to "Extended Family" Assures That NSA Will "Weather This Storm"

Goonie Just being legal doesn't make it right (286 comments)

There is no legal impediment to the NSA collecting, logging, analyzing, and possibly mischaracterizing *everything* I do online, and sharing the results of that analysis with the relevant local cops. The constitutional protections extended to American citizens do not apply to foreigners, from those living in other Western democracies, to those living in countries controlled by various "our-sonnfabitches" that the USA has supported over the years. It's well documented that the CIA has, on a regular basis, interfered in the domestic politics of other countries around the world, including aiding politically convenient despots in enforcing repression. In the old days, the computational tools to surveil everyone in the world simply didn't exist, so the CIA and NSA were naturally limited in who they could bother. Now, such limits apply to a much lesser extent. In terms of the technical capability (and I'm not implying equality of motives) it's heading in the direction of what the Stasi could do - to every single person on the entire planet. And, sorry, I am *not* happy that the United States government has that kind of reach. And nor should you be.

1 year,1 day

Elon Musk's 'Hyperloop': More Details Revealed

Goonie Re:Don't forget passenger comfort (533 comments)

Have you ever flown in a widebody jet? They may as well have no windows. And people fly in military cargo planes without passenger windows all the time.

about a year ago

Hardly Anyone Is Buying 'Smart Guns'

Goonie Re:Smart guns - a smart idea (814 comments)

You do understand that the only people gun control has any effect on are the law abiding citizens and they're the least likely to commit gun crimes, yes?

That's not actually true. While a relatively small number of hardened criminals in Australia use illegal firearms for their crimes, the vast majority of junkies, teenage hotheads, small-time drug dealers, and so on do not. Even more importantly, they mostly don't have concealable handguns that they can carry on a city street.

Consequently, our murder rate is a tiny fraction yours is.

about a year ago

Fear of Thinking War Machines May Push U.S. To Exascale

Goonie Do the ICBMs still work? (192 comments)

Yes they do.
Does anybody have strategic BMD yet, or anything approaching it?
No they don't.
Does any nation have the remotest intention of attacking the territory of the United States?
No they don't.
Can we go back to sleep now without giving this guy enough money to fund thousands of postdocs doing more useful things with their time?
Yes we can.

about a year ago

Hybrid RotorWing Design Transitions From Fixed To Rotary Wing Mid-Flight

Goonie Drone only (86 comments)

It seems to me that the transition between rotary and fixed wing modes is a bit "exciting". Can't imagine that you'll get pilots prepared to try it, let alone passengers. Maybe it'll be useful for drones, if anybody needs a VTOL drone with a long-range cruise mode.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Features Belong In a 'Smartwatch'?

Goonie Instantly readable display (322 comments)

The only point of a device like this is that it gives you a UI that doesn't require fishing through a pocket or handbag. However, pretty much all smart watches have foundered because the screens couldn't display enough useful information beyond the time, and the buttons were too small and fiddly to be convenient. Is there enough useful information that you don't want to fish out your smartphone for that you'd be prepared to get one of these? I dunno. Short messages (SMS, Twitter), appointment notifications, some of the location specific stuff proposed on the Google Goggles video maybe. And it's a bit less creepy than Google Goggles, too.

about a year and a half ago



Heartbleed was a failure of risk analysis

Goonie Goonie writes  |  about 5 months ago

Goonie (8651) writes "In the wake of the Heartbleed bug, there's been considerable discussion about what should be done to reduce the risks of such serious bugs in crucial pieces of software. Clearly, technologies can help. So can better software development processes. But, in a piece for The Conversation, as well as describing the bug for a lay readership (and feel free to nitpick away), I argue that the real problem is the lack of risk analysis by both those who developed OpenSSL, and those who make use of the library to build applications."


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