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Brown Dwarf With Water Clouds Tentatively Detected Just 7 Light-Years From Earth

Rob Riggs Re:Is this the missing "dark matter"? (82 comments)

You think your argument is strong with Sun containing 98% of the Solar system's total mass? It is actually something like 99.8%!!

Yep. Here's a good source for the relative masses of the solar system object: It does not include the Oort Cloud, which is though to contain about 5 Earth masses of material.


A Movie of Triton Made From Voyager 2's Fly-by 25 Years Ago

Rob Riggs Re:Trying to keep up (34 comments)

So asking questions now equals trolling?

Sure. Sometimes.

How much does it cost to screw your mom? Is it true that she is a cheap whore?

(Note to mods: I am being instructive here.)

5 days ago

A Movie of Triton Made From Voyager 2's Fly-by 25 Years Ago

Rob Riggs Re:How much, and other questions (34 comments)

Might it be one of the most expensive movies ever?

Asks an ignorant troll...

Considering it was made with 25 year old footage, it was probably one of the cheapest movies ever made.

The U.S. spends $324 billion dollars a year on entertainment*. tThe cost of the Voyager II program ($865 million dollars*) over 40 years is equal to about 22 millon dollars per year. A drop in the bucket. The Pioneer and Voyager missions have spawned an entire cottage industry of "science-based edutainment shows" on TV like "Through the Wormhole" and "Cosmos". That program has paid for itself many, many times over.

How do we determine how much to spend on stuff with little or no payback?

I have no idea. But the Voyager mission has certainly paid for itself many times over.

*CONSUMER EXPENDITURES--2012; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

**Voyager, The Interstallar Mission; NASA

5 days ago

Book Review: Social Engineering In IT Security Tools, Tactics, and Techniques

Rob Riggs Sex: a social engineering tool (45 comments)

Please help me with research on my new IT Security book...

about a week ago

Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

Rob Riggs Re:Well, you have mine. (723 comments)

My primary desktop has been running Linux since November 1994 (Slackware -> Red Hat -> Fedora). We are going to hit the 2 decade mark in a few months.

about a week ago

Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Rob Riggs Re:"Philosophically, this opens up an interesting (239 comments)

Just wait until the AI has to keep track of liability awards so that it can make the correct decision regarding minimizing liability. At some point you are going to have a stupid jury award and all the cars are just going to refuse to go anywhere because the AI's cost benefit analysis says "just stay in park".

about two weeks ago

Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Rob Riggs Re:Philosophy Settings (239 comments)

I'm looking forward to the Ayn Rand setting. "Me first!!"

about two weeks ago

How to Maintain Lab Safety While Making Viruses Deadlier

Rob Riggs Re:Huh (218 comments)

or choose to use grammar.


Fuckin' commas, how do they work?

about two weeks ago

Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

Rob Riggs Boost ASIO (427 comments)

When will Boost ASIO make in into the standard library? C++ really needs something of this magnitude for networking and asynchronous event handling. I have not heard much on N3360 since it was proposed.

about two weeks ago

How to Maintain Lab Safety While Making Viruses Deadlier

Rob Riggs Re:Huh (218 comments)

Reading comprehension is such a lost art these days. It was the H1N1 virus that caused the pandemic, which the Chinese scientists used in their research; not the results of the Chinese research that caused the pandemic.

From the cited article:

a team of Chinese scientists to create a hybrid viral strain between the H5N1 avian influenza virus and the H1N1 human flu virus that triggered a pandemic in 2009 and claimed several thousand lives.

For those challenged individuals, this sentence fragment should be parsed as:

(a team of Chinese scientists) ... (create a hybrid viral strain) (BETWEEN) (the H5N1 avian influenza virus) AND (the H1N1 human flu virus that triggered a pandemic in 2009 and claimed several thousand lives).

about two weeks ago

Oracle Database Redaction Trivial To Bypass, Says David Litchfield

Rob Riggs Re:In the industry... (62 comments)

As a developer in the industry here I can honestly say nobody in our industry would be dumb enough to use this tool.

Bullshit. As a (former) developer in the industry (still a developer; no longer in the industry) I can honestly say plenty of people in your industry would be dumb enough to use this tool. Especially when some wide-eyed "Oracle DBA(sm)" tells them "I heard about it at Oracle World -- of course it's secure." Seriously -- it is not like retailers hire the best and the brightest. And virtually every online retailer I deal with keeps my CC information on file. Most of them are hard-working, understaffed developers just trying to get the job done and do the bare minimum to meet PCI compliance -- because that is what management wants.

about three weeks ago

'Just Let Me Code!'

Rob Riggs Re: Just let me do brain surgery! (372 comments)

The surgeon knows his job and does it with great freedom. He/She 'just do' brain surgery

Nobody would survive a brain surgery if a physician would have to go through the same hurdles as a professional programmer

Very true. By the same token, by the time your average programmer was done with your brain surgery, you'd have toenails growing out of your asshole for some inexplicable reason. "Oh, we'll fix that in the next surgery." *That* is why we have "clueless" administrators pre-approving their shit.

The brain surgeon has to be worried about malpractice lawsuits; the programmer does not. The brain surgeon requires board certification; the programmer does not. The brain surgeon requires twice the education and years of formal, on the job training before he is ever allowed to operate; your average programmer thinks he/she can write shit-hot code before they even graduate.

about a month ago

Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Rob Riggs Let's try this on for size... (608 comments)

The bigger injustice is that mathematics has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication. The way things are today if you want to be a mathematician you had best be someone like me on the autism spectrum who has spent their entire life mastering vast realms of arcane knowledge — and enjoys it. Normal humans are effectively excluded from contributing to the field of mathematics. The real injustice of mathematics inequality is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Yeah... that feels about right.

about a month and a half ago

Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

Rob Riggs Re:They don't care about the cards (353 comments)

Congratulations, you get to go to the ATM, carry around cash, and pay more(*) for your stuff.

You pay more for your stuff if your privacy is worthless. But, in all honesty, if you purchase anything online, your privacy is toast in the U.S.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

Rob Riggs There are no complelling arguments... (143 comments)

Emerging? They were emerging a decade ago. They have emerged. Look, if the company is, as you say, "set in its ways", that is a cultural problem. Unless you are an executive that gets to set goals and compensation, you have very little influence over it. If that is not you, either stay and live with what you have, or leave for greener pastures. The basic question you have to ask yourself is "how will staying here using these outdated tools affect my lifetime earnings potential?" Put another way: "are they paying me enough to put up with this shit?" That is my prime criteria for deciding whether to stay at any job. Your job is to make recommendations. I assume you have already done that and been shot down. Decision time: should I stay or should I go.

about 2 months ago

Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

Rob Riggs Re:Science Fiction (275 comments)

You're right that there needs to be a 'real reason', but we can say the same thing about, say, Australia.

Are you suggesting a Martian penal colony? I don't see that ending well for anyone.

about 2 months ago

US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent

Rob Riggs Re:Oh please please please (220 comments)

Nope. That was on the Internet. That is completely different.

How about "on a smartphone"? Surely I'm the first person to ever think of that.

Or "on a plane", "in a car", "just like that, but yellow", "at the beach", "indoors", "during a snowstorm", or "while watching Pigs in Space"?

about 2 months ago

Freecode Freezeup

Rob Riggs Re:Move to sourceforge? (62 comments)

How will visiting sourceforge help me see summaries of new software releases? Guess I'm confused.

Sourceforge is where open source projects go to die. That's the only summary you need.

about 2 months ago

New Evidence For Oceans of Water Deep In the Earth

Rob Riggs Re:Ingredients for water? (190 comments)

What you originally said was "we'd find a way", not that we would "learn why it's just not possible." We already know why FTL travel is not possible. I was pointing out the absurdity of your original statement.

about 2 months ago



Economists: selfish bastards

Rob Riggs Rob Riggs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Rob Riggs (6418) writes "Cory Doctorow has started an interesting discussion at Boing Boing based on research he's doing for a new book. The conclusion from the research he has found? Economists are more selfish than non-economists, and the more one studies economics, the more selfish one gets. Cory writes:

In the course of researching my next novel, I happened upon this old paper by Robert H. Frank, Thomas Gilovich, and Dennis T. Regan, "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?" Its conclusions: Economics grad students are more likely to free ride than the general public. Economists are less generous than other academics in charitable giving. Economics undergrads are more likely to defect in prisoner's dilemma problems. Students are less likely to return found money after studying economics but not after studying another subject like astronomy.




JPackage is Evil

Rob Riggs Rob Riggs writes  |  more than 10 years ago I am leading a project at work where we are building components to extend an enterprise-scale software system. We are mostly a Sun shop. Most of the new components are being built to run primarily on Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (AS3) to be exact. Some of the new components are being written in Java.

Most of the software installs for our in-house software is done using a rather archaic system and I want to do better on the Linux systems.

Being a long-time Linux user and admin, I wanted to make sure that we were managing our software installations and dependencies using the excellent package manager, RPM. When it came time to do the initial rollout of the first Java components, I looked around for pre-packaged components and was excited to find the JPackage Project. These guys have all of the most useful Sun and third-party Java software packaged up in RPM format.

I had no idea how evil these people were at the time.

Red Hat AS3 comes with its own set of Java components, including a JVM, ant (a common java build tool used to replace make) and a few others. The development servers seemed OK and the packages build. I installed the missing dependencies from the JPackage Project and everything was looking good. My workstation is a Fedora Core 1 box, so I had to install a few more components from JPackage on my machine than I did on the development servers.

I had all of the dependencies met for the software I was about to package up, and it took only a few minutes with wget and rpm to get there. I was ready to start building the package for the new software.

Here's where things start to go horribly wrong.

Ant would not work on my machine. I kept getting tracebacks about dependencies not being found. This was bizarre. Ant all worked on the development server. And ant worked on my workstation when run as root! I took me a while to look into all of the obvious potential causes: paths, environment, permissions, etc. Everything looked like it should work.

Then I decided to trace the script that instantiated the JVM and ran ant. It was setting different (and wrong!) environment variables. It was looking for its jar files in /opt/abacus, the location I have RPM configured (through my own .rpmmacros file) to use as the location to build packages for (the %_prefix). Why the hell was it doing that?

It took me a couple minutes looking at the the JPackage configuration system to discover, to my horror, that it was using the RPM build environemnt for runtime configuration. WTF?!? The RPM build environemnt is not a runtine configuration system. It is a build configuration system.

So now I am a bit disturbed that anyone would do such a thing. I sent an email to the person who built the ant RPM for the JPackage project:

I got your contact information from the JPackage RPM of Ant. I am trying to use Ant with RPM, but it seems to me that the Ant shell script that is provided with the RPM is doing some (IMHO) screwy things to set up its environment. It is invoking rpm to evaluate various rpm build variables to set up various environment variables. This completely breaks Ant when I need to change the %_prefix variable for RPM. The RPM build variables are just that: build variables. They have no relation to the runtime environment, which is what the Ant script is assuming. Do you know who is responsible for maintaining that script and how I can contact them?

This was forwarded to the JPackage mailing list and conversation ensued. There was at least one person who agreed with me about the problem, but the majority of responses were from the incredulous (saying I am doing something wrong) to the blasé.

The last quote in the thread were:

> I am still
> holding that %_bindir must be defined to `/usr/bin', and that if your
> build environment does not match your runtime environment then you're in
> serious trouble.
I agree. However it's not worth the arguing IMHO. Let people discover by
themselves the joys of using non-standard paths in a shared env.

And that, my friends, is just evil. Anyone who know RPM will know how evil that is. The JPackage developers do not understand RPM and are usurping it. This sort of attitude can harm RPM in the long run. And they don't care.

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