Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

Gorobei Re:more pseudo science (852 comments)

Which track record is that?

  • Spontaneous generation
  • Lamarckian inheritance
  • Miasma
  • Bloodletting
  • Aether
  • Java Man

Be careful putting too much faith in almighty science. They've been wrong before, you know. A lot. And people died because of it.

You show a bunch of ideas that, when exposed to science, got shot down as objectively wrong pretty quickly. Sounds like the process works.

Want to list 6 current sciency ideas that are wrong but the scientific community considers reasonable? I'll give you a few to start you off:

1. Humans are not changing the climate. Current verdict: wrong. Supporters: a few loons. Evidence: about nil.
2. Evolution is wrong. Current verdict: wrong. Supporters: a few loons. Evidence: nil.
3. Vaccines cause autism. Current verdict: wrong. Supporters: a few loons. Evidence: nil.

I'm sure Slashdot2114 will be debating the bad science ideas that existed in 2014. Some will claim history shows science is death. Smarter people will note that imbeciles, public relations people, lobbyists, and trolls have always added noise and generally slowed the dissemination of knowledge.

Where do you stand, PR Man?

5 days ago

Algorithm Reveals Objects Hidden Behind Other Things In Camera Phone Images

Gorobei Re:Crap (85 comments)

This is an impressive step forward in image processing - while reconstructing an image from diffuse light seemed plausible in theory, figuring out how to do it in practice is a hard problem. These guys deserve some respect.

Well, some respect, but it's hardly cutting edge or even very new. Maybe for physicists, but CS was ahead.

Kohonen described the basics of correlated reconstruction back in the 1980s.

There were videos of reading the backs of cards from diffuse lighting by the early 2000s. Admitted using some cheats like controlling the light source, but not awful compared to this paper that restricts the color.

By the late 2000s, the ideas were pretty common and computationally feasible. I even wrote a few POCs myself while working on somewhat related optical stuff.

about 1 month ago

The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer

Gorobei Re:Dreaming of code? (533 comments)

It goes way eventually. Then you join senior senior management and you will have the airport dream and the moving to a new house dream.

Welcome to eternal nightmares.

about 3 months ago

Office Space: TV Documentary Looks At the Dreadful Open Office

Gorobei Re:I like the open plan (314 comments)

>And for what it's worth, in the last few places I've worked, the multimillionaire bosses have always sat right in the middle of the open plan with everybody else

I bet they didn't write much code.

You'd lose that bet at my workplace. The MMBs are in the middle of the open plan and are the top 1% coders: that is why they are there.

about 3 months ago

Office Space: TV Documentary Looks At the Dreadful Open Office

Gorobei Re: I like the open plan (314 comments)

That's a really good analysis. I'd add one idea: you can have more than one work location! I have my open plan desk (a massive 24 sq ft) of space where I try to spend most of my day: my direct reports are all within 20 feet, and 64 people are within "stand up and talk" distance. I also have an office for the confidential/chat stuff: we walk to it if needed. Almost all business gets done in the open: it's more transparent, we talk tech in the open, we talk strategy in the open, every direct and second level report can at least listen to what is going on and figure out if they can help.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Reproducible Is Arithmetic In the Cloud?

Gorobei Re:Fixed-point arithmetic (226 comments)

Exact and reproducible are very different things though., even if the former implies the latter. Also, when do you need 53 bits of precision for a standard deviation? At worst, simple scaling can keep things within the precision of a double precision floating point number.

"Exact and reproducible" are somewhat sad proxies for "accurate and precise." I once had a mathematician working for me who produced very precise standard deviations, the only problem was that the numbers were sometimes negative.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Easy, Open Source Desktop-Sharing Software?

Gorobei Re: Contact TeamViewer (116 comments)

Really. Used well, it can kill a room full of anodyne PR words. Can only be cast by level 5+ geeks.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Easy, Open Source Desktop-Sharing Software?

Gorobei Re:Contact TeamViewer (116 comments)

+1. This is the obvious answer.

The optics are great (veterans, help, non-profit.)

First, fix your website so that it is obvious what you are offering and how you deliver it ("we are off-line now" does not cut it.)

Second, send a mail to TeamViewer's CEO or PR explaining what you do, what you need, and how you can help them in the PR space (you put thanks on your site, they can point to you as a good deed, you are available for journalists.)

Better than a shot, it should be a slam-dunk if you do it right.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Legal Advice Or Loopholes Needed For Manned Space Program

Gorobei Re:Antarctica (201 comments)

You don't need a passport to enter.
There is no "appropriate State Party" controlling the continent.
Just be sure to take your garbage with you when you leave, not to spill anything, and not to disturb any animals.

It's not that easy. "appropriate State Party to the Treaty" refers to the non-governmental entity doing the launch, not the location of the launch. So you don't get lob stuff into space on a whim because you are outside of territorial waters on a ship, on a private island, etc.

This was hashed out at length on the various rocketry boards when the CATS prize and XPrize were announced.

about 6 months ago

Arrest Made In Webcam Highjacking Extortion Case

Gorobei Re:Autistic huh? (311 comments)

Even if as a result of that illness he really and truly had no idea of what was actually happening?

What's the point of punishing someone for something they had no control over?

"I have a nude pic of you; show me more or I'll release it" That's blackmail: he understood the mental state of his victim. There is no "no idea what was happening" defense.

about 7 months ago

Utility Sets IT Department On Path To Self-destruction

Gorobei Re:Professional Associations (478 comments)

This is what has always frustrated me about IT people, developers in particular. They are CLUELESS as to the need for professional associations, similar to what doctors and lawyers have.

Doctors and lawyers are unique in that they have a pass/fail exam for you to become a member of the club. Usually with required schooling to boot. And they effectively set the total count of people allowed to work.

You really propose that for IT? A legally required license to work for senior people (and a host of nurse/para-legal type vocational roles for most developers, sysadmins, and web masters?)

Its about time our industry matured a bit and formed some well-supported professional associations that can advocate for our best interests.


about 7 months ago

Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

Gorobei Re:Source code (211 comments)

Wow. That was the most common sense thing I've read in a while. Want a job in NYC?

about 7 months ago

How Gen Y Should Talk To Old People At Work

Gorobei Re:So basically... (459 comments)

They don't just say "LOL WTF ;-P" in emails. They say it out loud.

No, seriously, instead of laughing out loud (hence the abbreviation LOL) they will say "ell oh ell". As in, they speak the letters. They'll also say "smiley face" or "winky face" instead of smiling or winking. I wish I was joking but I am not.

Oh noes! To think my boomer generation said "mumbles" instead of actually mumbling.

And my born-in-1935 engineer father said stuff like "there were N people already in line."

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Tech Talent More Important Than Skill?

Gorobei Re:Huh? (277 comments)

I don't understand the difference. Who cares? If someone can get the job done, that's what counts.

Ah, grasshopper, as you gain respect and seniority, you will find the success of your project becomes more and more dependent on other people.

If you want to continue to succeed, you need to understand these peoples' strengths.

1. No skill, no talent: avoid these people, have them write doc or something.
2. Skill, no talent: give them designs or procedures. They will execute well if they understand what you want.
3. No skill, talent. Mentor them and watch them closely. You will get a Scala engine running 20 lines of code in the middle of your Java app if you don't pay attention.
4. Skill & Talent. Just chat will them about what you need. You'll get what you need in no time.

about 9 months ago

Study Finds Fracking Chemicals Didn't Pollute Water

Gorobei Re:Sounds iffy (237 comments)

No, it was a totally solid study. From the article:

paragraph 1: "A landmark federal study"
paragraph 2: "After a year of monitoring"
paragraph 3: "Although the results are preliminary"
paragraph 4: "Drilling fluids tagged with unique markers were injected more than 8,000 feet below the surface"
paragraph 8: "The study marked the first time that a drilling company let government scientists inject special tracers into the fracking fluid"

See, fracking is totally safe. A single "landmark" study proves it. When the fracking was 1.5 miles deep, after one year, no bad effects were observed. Also, this was the one study allowed by any drilling company.

Sheesh, what are you people concerned about?

about 9 months ago

Seeking Fifth Amendment Defenders

Gorobei Hey Bennett, (768 comments)

Now, obviously, I am not saying that the police ought to be able to beat information out of you. (The right not to be tortured by the police exists separately from the right to remain silent -- more on that later.) But the "right against self-incrimination" says two things that never made sense to me. The first is that you can refuse to answer a point-blank question asking whether you committed a crime, even if the question elicits no other information that ought to remain private. The second is that if you refuse to answer, a court cannot even consider that as a factor in determining the likelihood of guilt. The first seems dubious as a moral principle; the second actually departs from reality, for no good reason that I can see.

Here's my scenario:

Bennett, did you ever steal anything?
Bennett, are you still beating your wife?
Bennett, did you write "I was masturbating to the sound of my own superbly polished writing skills and I just came all over the keyboard." in a forum readable by 9 year old girls? That is a felony in my jurisdiction.

No need to consult a lawyer, just cough up a binding series of Yes/No answers and bask in the brilliance of your impeccable logic.

about 10 months ago

Too Many Smart People Chasing Too Many Dumb Ideas?

Gorobei Re:Mweeehhhh (376 comments)

To be fair, one can look at it as a balance issue. The most capable people tend to shift their focus to the things society values the most, and right now we place a high social value on getting rich quick through finding some narcissistic niche and building something that appeals to it.

As you note, capable people focus on things that society values most. "Getting rich quick" is the result of producing what society values most, *not* the thing that society values most. So you make Facebook and get rich because society wants Facebook, not because it wants you to be rich.

So I don't see what Nnaemeka wants to happen: society to invest more money in the underclass, or people to altruistically forgo riches to serve the underclass. Either one may be a noble goal, but he should at least articulate what he wants: he complains about us being to urban-focused, but over 80% of people in America live in an urban environment! And tech apps work better in a dense environment: seamless.com, etc, isn't a business model for a farm community; the big stuff has already been done (amazon.com, youporn.com.)

about a year ago

What Professors Can Learn From "Hard Core" MOOC Students

Gorobei Re:What is it I am supposed to learn? (141 comments)

It's not a bug, it's a feature!

Once a course goes online, you can't get feedback from the online tests and fix the teacher's exposition where stuff went wrong. You wind up with two or three great online courses, perhaps with a guest teacher giving a talk on a point where the main teacher can't explain well.

Ideally, you separate the course from the final tests: students watch the lectures, do the homework for the course, but take a final competency test that is designed by a certification body, not the teacher of the class. It's a much better model for all involved: I waste a ton of my time and interview candidates' time seeing if they have basic skills I need: I'd love an off-the-shelf test for that combined with teachers trying to teach the skills required to pass that test. I'd pay real money to put a screening test online and have college professors respond by teaching to that test.

about a year ago

Data Center Managers Weary of Whittling Cooling Costs

Gorobei Re:Go North, Young Man (198 comments)

Why don't they just site their centers up north? Here in Duluth, most of the year the outside air is cooled for free by mother nature. Heck, they could sell their waste heat to nearby homes and businesses and get a negative PUE.

Don't need to be green to worry about this, it's $$, something ever company wants.

At my last co, we did just that at a Canadian compute farm - used cold river water as the main coolant, pumped the low-grade waste heat to a local town for residential heating.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sell an Algorithm To Venture Capitalists?

Gorobei Re:Tell them (205 comments)

Hell, just whip up a website that lets users upload a video and get a link back to the improved version of video (use cloud compute for the first few months if needed.)

Get some word of mouth (look at Youtube videos that could benefit - mail the uploaders.) If people actually use it, you can and will get buzz fast on the tech sites.

If you have growing users/day, the VC pitch will be much easier.

about a year ago


Gorobei hasn't submitted any stories.


Gorobei has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account