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Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?

KramberryKoncerto Wow (545 comments)

Billionaire capitalist talking some sense because he understands the tragedy of the commons? That's ... surreal.

about two weeks ago
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Chinese Government Moves To Crack Down On Puns

KramberryKoncerto Re:Wrong (156 comments)

It applies to anything televised, not just news anchors.

about two weeks ago
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Mathematical Proof That the Universe Could Come From Nothing

KramberryKoncerto Re:Nothing? (429 comments)

"Turtles all the way down" is an argument against the necessity of "God" as a source of existence. Basically, we're standing on a turtle, and "God" is the second turtle. Why do we need 2 turtles? Why can't we just accept this turtle below our feet is the entire world? If there must be a second turtle, why can't there be a third or fourth one? And then, you know, it's turtles all the way down.

about a month and a half ago
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Machine Learning Expert Michael Jordan On the Delusions of Big Data

KramberryKoncerto Re:I disagree. (145 comments)

I guess he means the theoretical bases on which these systems operate has not improved much. It's the same old tricks hacked together at higher and higher complexity, and the best guidance is uninformed trial-and-error. Useful sometimes and at times an engineering feat, but there's no interesting science in it.

about 2 months ago
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Patents That Kill

KramberryKoncerto Re:And this is the same for copyrights. (240 comments)

Although I hate copyright extensions, your argument is weak. Selling things based older productions is probably a sizable revenue stream for a company over its lifetime. There's copyright on derivative work, so a competitor can't beat you out in making a sequel. It can also snowball into franchise over which you have a monopoly. This gives more incentive to make stuff.

about 4 months ago
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Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code

KramberryKoncerto Re: Take it a step further... (116 comments)

It won't work. This system detects when a programmer is trying very hard to deal with a difficult problem. On the other hand, a decision to use LOC as a productivity metric is more of a result of a blank head and a habit to avoid inevitable difficulties rather than to face them up front

about 4 months ago
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Network Hijacker Steals $83,000 In Bitcoin

KramberryKoncerto Re:Sigh (101 comments)

A lot of the strength in cryptography is lost in areas that depend on trust. Like trusting that the vendor doesn't put a backdoor in your system, or trusting your OS doesn't break your firewall, or that any third-party CA's are actually trustworthy, or there isn't a weird compiler bug that kills your entire encryption system. These things may be tested against and prevented one-by-one, but they are overhead, which makes the notion of security a matter of risk management. Cryptography tries hard to reduce the reliance on trust, but it's always a big issue.

More of a theoretician, I was once lectured by a competent software engineer that in security the devil is in the details, where any system has to stand the test of time and often goes through many fixes to be just usable. Theoretical security guarantees are much stronger what is often realized in practical security systems, because implementation details fall through cracks that are covered up by theoretical abstractions that breed high-level cryptography.

about 4 months ago
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Ecuador To Forge Ahead With State-Backed Digital Currency

KramberryKoncerto Re: Wow (85 comments)

Just a note that it takes a strong economy and good financial health to peg a currency to the USD, or the currency will be destroyed by speculators anyway.

about 4 months ago
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Senior RIKEN Scientist Involved In Stem Cell Scandal Commits Suicide

KramberryKoncerto Re:Case closed (127 comments)

Sometimes true, sometimes not. An enterprise parasite looking for a golden parachute would rationally prefer to suppress disruption to his personal agenda in the short term rather than enhancing the business in the long term. Disclaimer: I hold no opinion on any conspiracy theories of this case.

about 4 months ago
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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

KramberryKoncerto Re:No it is not. (152 comments)

US isn't seeing any of the benefits (yet) because it's a massive power that can borrow and print money willy-nilly, and the currency is mostly under control at the moment. But not all countries are like that. There are countries where something like Bitcoin can be a viable alternative to official currency, like Argentina. Bitcoin is flawed, but it guards against certain attacks that can be performed to a currency, in a way that is sometimes useful.

On the other hand, the way Dell accepts Bitcoin doesn't bear a lot of risk; a third-party accepts Bitcoin for them and pay them in cash, and absorbs fluctuation risk in return for some fees. It relies on customers bearing the risks themselves. It isn't a big step for Bitcoin; it is only a very small step towards forming a sufficient number of nodes of a skeleton that may or may not turn into an actual ecosystem that eventually circulates Bitcoin. But isn't a terrible decision for Dell either.

about 5 months ago
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Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing

KramberryKoncerto Re: When misbehavior isn't punished (123 comments)

Build a system that offers only short term incentives, you can often end up, pretty predictably, with *nothing useful at all*. Lots of research is useless, but they often turn out to be so only after some difficult exploration. It's not very often that you can validly point to a researcher and say "I told you so". There are also research that look promising in early stages and turn out to be pure crap. Research is a treasure hunt - you dig the ground and most of the time it's just plain soil. You should reward risk-taking, because that's like paying the scientists of America each for a discount-price lottery ticket. And the results: even with immensely high research costs over the country, the overall profit is huge.

about 5 months ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

KramberryKoncerto strain on eyes (468 comments)

I think it is quite a big problem for pilots to stare at LCD monitors for 10+ consecutive hours without having a window to look out to.

about 5 months ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

KramberryKoncerto Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

Practically and theoretically, a lot of these rights come with a few "buts" and trade-offs. Due process forces you to give up a couple of rights under certain circumstances. Property rights are "rights", but virtually all governments have the power to claim land "owned" by anyone, most with policies that mandate compensation. Copyright enforcement excludes "fair use", which is related to public interest and the common good. Free speech is a "right", but there are also widely-accepted libel laws. Many other rights are subject to conditions (being in a certain society, accepted some kind of responsibility), even at the philosophical level, especially those classified as non-natural rights. Even with your definition of "rights", note that the "right to be forgotten" is not a universally accepted concept; the "right" part is just a name arbitrarily given to this legal notion, and this very naming is subject to debate, so is the extent of matters that are covered by this "right". Just because somebody else calls it a right doesn't mean you have to defend it unconditionally. Diminishing this "right" doesn't give you a slippery slope to mess with other rights.

about 6 months ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

KramberryKoncerto Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

The "right" to be forgotten has not yet made its way of being seen as a universal human right on par with free speech. Arguably it's often contradictory to free speech. It is not even well-defined; the name "right" was slapped on it too early before the matter was discussed enough. A concern of public interest is still valid here, and it should not affect the way people should view other rights.

about 6 months ago
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What's Your STEM Degree Worth?

KramberryKoncerto Re: My phd? (148 comments)

But it's even harsher for people in their 30s with no substantial industry experience to speak of

about 6 months ago
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The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

KramberryKoncerto Re:Followed the law. if (false) then false (263 comments)

Even "artificial" methods are "discoveries"; "this method can be used to achieve that" is simply a consequence of the laws of nature, discovered by the inventors. An elevator may be seen as man-made, but the engineering of it is still a method, whose usefulness is merely a consequence of laws of nature, hence "discovered". Yet a patent does not "protect" a single elevator, but the method that makes it work. A star can't be patented, but neither can an elevator.

What you advocate is also against the spirit of patents, which is to protect science progress by providing financial incentives to make effort to contribute to science, whether or not some people would think such contribution should be be labelled a "discovery" or an "invention".

I don't have an answer as to whether we should patent mathematical methods, but your argument against it is very weak.

about 5 months ago
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Mt. Gox CEO Returns To Twitter, Enrages Burned Investors

KramberryKoncerto Re:This just in. (281 comments)

Transferring a Bitcoin does not transfer the access to data. You can access exactly the same string of bits (wallet) before and after you make a transaction. Anyway, if someone takes money from your bank account without your consent, by your way of thinking he won't be stealing your money.

about 6 months ago
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Wikipedia Forcing Editors To Disclose If They're Paid

KramberryKoncerto Re:They aren't the problem (135 comments)

He subsequently made the offline sources available online, but those where disputed as well.

about 6 months ago
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Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

KramberryKoncerto Re:I'm actually not sure it makes much sense at al (519 comments)

It goes both ways; there may be a lot of sub-par lazy professors out there, but the fruits are so valuable that you can see it as buying a lottery ticket that actually has a positive expected payout. It's hard to picture a world where breakthroughs on difficult problems and honest research that lead to controversial findings don't exist, so we get too used to it - and forget these can't be allowed to happen if they are hindered by poor academic culture and policies.

A lot of professors that work hard are protected that way. Old professors also do not have to directly compete with young researchers, so it's much more likely a committee would make sensible faculty hiring / tenure decisions that are free from conflict of interest. It's another issue that academics have to deal with other kinds of competition, such as research funding, as well as erosion of the tenure system by e.g. abusing adjunct professors.

There do exist professors who switched to less hype-driven research topics once they got tenure; for the most convicted, it's part of playing a game to get their messages through. As you can see it's already a hard game to play, so we don't really want to make it even harder. It's also easier (and quite common) for researchers to move on to more difficult topics after they get tenure, where doing it before tenure is close to self-destruction. Andrew Wiles used his tenure status to gain 7 years of solitude, slow publishing small pieces of research he accumulated previously, just enough to avoid getting fired, and proved Fermat's last theorem, a centuries-old open problem. And there are actually more of these people than you think, that are willing to play some games while working hard even when nobody's watching.

It's also not so clean cut that you can only do popular research to get tenure. Having a "good old boys club" can do bad and do good; a bad academic culture is harder to attack, while good academic culture is also more easily preserved. At a place that has a well-established healthy culture, it's easier to do `unpopular' research and still get tenured, and keep it that way. Sure these tend to happen in top institutions with an abundance of resources and strong attraction to top researchers, but it can be sustained partly because there are strong protection mechanisms within these institutions.

Does the tenure concept need to be refined? Probably. Does it bring good to all universities? Probably not. But it is one of the strongest foundations of a thriving academia, which far-reaching effects, like a bottom piece in Jenga, so you need a view of the big picture and bring a much more stronger argument before you can take it away.

about 6 months ago

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