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Survivors' Blood Holds Promise, But Draws Critics, As Ebola Treatment

Sir_Sri Re:A Priority (55 comments)

There's a serious ethical problem with allocating scarce healthcare resources, particularly those in theatre to ideas that have no evidence of being worth trying. There's also significant risk from blood infusions being done improperly, including infecting more healthcare workers who then may end up in close proximity to ebola patients even longer.

If this were being done in a 3rd party country - e.g. the UK or the US or spain, where a blood transfusion or two, even under the most stringent of containment procedures is a very marginal cost I'd say sure, you may as well try. But when you're talking about potentially thousands of infusions on thousands of patients in poor countries, in facilities that are suffering shortages of staff because staff keep dying, and suffering in sanitation, and well... it may not be a great idea.

If you save one patient with a blood transfusion but kill 2 others who accidentally get infected you're not really doing a good thing.

about two weeks ago

Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

Sir_Sri Boring...oddly (181 comments)

Interesting essentially how little benefit they get.

The X99 mobo and platform is nice, I like a lot of what they're doing there, and all of the system components matter a lot to user experience. But unless you have a very specific requirement any user would be just as well served with a quad core or a octa core, if not better served with the devil's canyon quad core given the single threaded performance. That's probably a bad place for intel to be positioning these, as the target audience for these processors is looking for blazing fast and lots of cores. And it only delivers one of the two.

I think if I was buying a system this week or next (which... I am) I'd be a bit disappointed that I can't put a devil's canyon quad core on an X99 mobo, and then upgrade the CPU later if they manage to refresh the E series into something more attractive.

about three weeks ago

The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Sir_Sri Re:No, she doesn't. (962 comments)

Ya, that's *stalking* but well, stalking already has a prescription in law.

Naturally the international nature of the internet somewhat limits what you can do, and discovering that people making threats are basically children wouldn't do you any favours either.

Nina had people track down her website and post hate mail on it.

Don't have a website if you don't want racist, biggoted or threatening comments. I'm a game developer and a university professor, and well, students who don't like their grades seem to turn off the filter when e-mailing to a private account.

Elise writes about being physically restrained at a gaming event

That's what security is for. There's nothing here about 'women in __________' that's 'if you threaten someone for any reason the police will be called' territory.

The post is essentially cherry picking extreme cases. Ask any woman who has had a stalker if it's a good experience and the answer will be a definitive no. But you're not going to prevent stalking completely through education, no more than you can completely eliminate murder either. 4 hand picked examples of extreme cases is hardly the basis of serious policy discussion on a broad issue.

about 2 months ago

The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Sir_Sri Re:No, she doesn't. (962 comments)

Ya I think the problem is that forums bring out people who say some truly terrible things, and there isn't really much you can do about it. They say stuff to men too - but it's more death threats than sexist, and they say racist things to (or about) blacks and jews, muslims, latinos, and the chinese too.

The perils of anonymity I suppose.

It's not like it isn't a valid concern that people are out saying these things, but jews and blacks essentially face the same problem: if you go and look at a few hundred or a few thousand internet comments on any post there will be a couple of things that are basically just crazy people rambling. Unfortunately you don't know when random crazy people rambling on forums are actually a threat (if ever), and that they exist and want to say those things at all is a bit of an existential threat to your general day to day existence.

There isn't really an obvious prescription. You can educate people all you want about not saying offensive things, but a small handful of people will continue to say offensive things because they're trying to be offensive. And the anonymity of the internet lets you say both unpopular things which are valid, and unpopular things which are just nonsense.

about 2 months ago

Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

Sir_Sri Re:more leisure time for humans! (530 comments)

And yet in 150 years he's been essentially proven wrong on that point - he certainly understood the battle between capital and labour, but he underestimated the ability of people to adapt. We needed Karl marx to help grasp the consequences of too much wealth perpetually flowing to capitalists (as compared to aristocrats who were essentially capped at owning 100% of the land). But we can also have people add a lot more educated value and decision making to manufacturing. When he looked at the world he saw a collection of illiterate masses being replaced by machines with no where to go.

When robots make everything and they don't all need to be nearly exactly copies we'll need specialists to help us individually understand what meets our requirements, send off and order for a custom design of everything and off you go. Oh, you're 197 cm tall sir, but want to drive a car with a sun roof? No problem. We'll design one for you, and have it built and delivered by the end of the week. Oh madam, you're 150 cm tall, and married to the 197 cm tall guy - and you want to be able to see over the dashboard in his car, and for him to have headroom in yours? No problem we can make one like that for you. What about you sir? 180 cm tall and 170Kg, well no problem sir, we can custom design the seat for a man of your size, rebalance the car for when you're driving to get optimal performance and safety.

Individualization and customization is the future of manufacturing. That will change the requirements for people certainly - but it won't cut people out of the process. It will just make them into specialists making more sophisticated choices about more complex things.

about 2 months ago

Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

Sir_Sri Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (530 comments)

China has a massive manufacturing hub in the hong kong - shenhzen - guangzhou region because a huge collection of components are available there, with a large collection of factories and workers who can flexibly shift between factories to meet rapidly variable demand (particularly for somewhere like foxconn who work for many related businesses - oh, dell you can wait 48 hours while we throw together 100k phone screens for apple who need them right now, and in 48 hours we'll have enough staff brought on board to do both).

If you're important enough and need enough made they'll shut down schools for you to get more workers. And the areas are small (relatively) stand in the centre draw a 100Km circle around yourself and you've got 120+ million in a giant megacity making stuff for the world. It's amazing and terrifying and a lot of other things all at once. Imagine what the industrial revolution London did to the world - only 100x bigger. And that's thing - while some of the advanced semiconductor components are made elsewhere still so much of the supply chain, glass, displays, the motherboards, the plastic etc. etc. etc. all in a tiny little radius all shipped out around the world in 3 days.

about 2 months ago

Larry Page: Healthcare Data Mining Could Save 100,000 Lives a Year

Sir_Sri Re:True in theory (186 comments)

Well it *might* be true that healthcare data mining could save many lives. That's an educated guess - that large enough sample sets would let researchers discover correlation and causation effects that we have never noticed, and they can do this using machine learning algorithms, or just the nature of enough data to actually show trends.

But yes, for travellers and for the US you need to worry about what insurance companies are going to do with that data, and if they're going to improperly use that data to deny you care you paid for, or if it makes it impossible to get healthcare coverage based on data.

Unfortunately there's no easy way to make medical data privacy irrelevant. Even in places where you cannot be denied coverage regardless of your medical history (say the NHS, where even if you break into NHS hospitals and steal stuff all the time they still cannot deny you entry for care) you still don't necessarily want your neighbour to be able to discover that you where hospitalized for having a dildo stuck up your ass.

about 3 months ago

Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

Sir_Sri Re:Bets, anyone? (431 comments)

Keeping in mind that 15% of north american car manufacturing is done in Canada it's hard to find everything made in 'murica'. The 'big 3' are all deeply connected between Canada the US and Mexico at this point.

about 3 months ago

Despite Project's Demise, Amazon Web Services Continues To Use TrueCrypt

Sir_Sri Re: And the problem is? (75 comments)

DES (shortened key length) and Dual_EC_DRBG (terrible RNG) most recently are the ones I recall of the top of my head.

about 3 months ago

Despite Project's Demise, Amazon Web Services Continues To Use TrueCrypt

Sir_Sri Re: And the problem is? (75 comments)

The NSA has deliberately weakened NIST encryption standards multiple times. There are multiple security products available, and they may well be running patched versions of something like trucrypt.

about 3 months ago

Despite Project's Demise, Amazon Web Services Continues To Use TrueCrypt

Sir_Sri Re:And the problem is? (75 comments)

Because there are probably known vulnerabilities actively being exploited by government agencies that they were told not to fix.

Of course if you're using AWS you're almost certainly subject to NSA surveillance anyway, so... it's not any better or worse than them spying on it through other channels.

Still, considering the situation with truecrypt was announced with 0 warning and no trivial alternatives to migrate infrastructure to I would think people are more or less stuck with it for a few months.

about 3 months ago

Alienware Swaps SteamOS For Windows

Sir_Sri Re:Linux didn't made much sense for the consumer a (173 comments)

I bet if microsoft goes all in on the Windows store and locks you into only stuff bought from the windows store then the Steam box would have a much better chance. But it seems almost impossible that MS is going to actually go that route at this point. I could be unpleasantly surprised though, but now that Ballmer is gone that seems unlikely.

As long as you can use Steam for windows... and buy games through steam on Windows Linux gaming is basically for ideological purists, for people who represent the 85% of the market or so that use windows, or the 12% that use Mac Steam works so why change? They'd need a really compelling offering.

about 3 months ago

$3000 GeForce GTX TITAN Z Tested, Less Performance Than $1500 R9 295X2

Sir_Sri Re:So glad it's over (151 comments)

Except that Titan isn't really a gaming card. The big draw is the double precision floating point performance. The GTX 780 - which is the same part for gaming purposes, is about 700 dollars (they have almost identical single precision performance, which is what gaming is), so 2 780's would be about 1500 dollars (to compare to the titan black dual GPU monstrosity).

And you don't need top end parts unless you're gaming on 4k (which is either a 3500 dollar monitor for a good one, or a ~500 dollar Seiki TV that is capped at 30fps with crappy colour).

There has *always* been more expensive hardware than most people need or want. But for people who have money there's nothing particularly wrong with having super expensive stuff. If you made 500k a year what would you spend it on? What about 5 million? What about 50 million?. If nothing else the power of one of these 3000 or 1500 dollar cards is going to be mainstream for 300 bucks in 3 or 4 years (or sooner if TSMC can get 20nm working), it doesn't do you any harm that someone else can buy it.

about 3 months ago

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Sir_Sri Re:Because... (325 comments)

The US only graduates about 2000 phd's in comp sci every year, and a chunk of those are foreigners who intend to go back to their home countries.

But yes, Google and MS take a large chunk of comp sci PhD's as do a few other places.

Where I am (and other places track) where people end up - it's a majority academia - if you count the 1/3 of students who are chinese, and go back to china to become professors in china that skews the average. If you look at people who stay in canada and the US it's about 50/50 academa/industry. Lots of people going to academia don't do so with much fanfare because they do postdoctoral fellowships or they do some teaching while working elsewhere and then slide into teaching full time when the 6 weeks vacation and a pension plan start to become beneficial (I just started as an assistant prof and it's 82k/year with 6 weeks vacation and a pension plan at a university you've never heard of).

about 3 months ago

Canada Poised To Buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 JSFs

Sir_Sri Re:f-35, beta feature set (417 comments)

Cute, but they aren't really buying them right now. It's agreeing to buy from one of the tranches in future.

The issue is whether or not they were going to (re)open the bidding process and under what terms. We could buy aircraft right now if we wanted to buy used, or we could buy Eurofighters or modernized F18's reasonably quickly. F18's and F35's would come with industrial guarantees (we buy x billion in aircraft we get some fraction of x in guaranteed production of boeing or F35 parts in canada). Or a couple of other options that have various features (the rafaeles from France or the Gripen from Saab or F16's etc.).

But of course we already agreed to be part of the R&D for the F35 and the point of that was to be in on the programme from the beginning and to buy aircraft, so we could withdraw but that would likely make more than a few people angry, and all of the other options entail different risks. I'm not sure in the end that it makes a great deal of difference, countries fly all of the potential aircraft on the list, and the F35 is slated for significant production, and really any of them would mix some sort of industrial, combat capabilities and strategic interests in a reasonable way.

about 3 months ago

Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

Sir_Sri Re:Apple doesn't offer a garbage product range (711 comments)

iPhones are good for people who aren't ever going to be able to understand their phone, will use it for important things, have money, and want something that will just be updated. Android and the lack of software updates is a serious mess, and hardware is only useful if you can understand how to use it.

about 4 months ago

Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

Sir_Sri Apple doesn't offer a garbage product range (711 comments)

Apple doesn't offer a product in the garbage range.

If you go into a store today you can probably still find devices for sale running android 2.x. Expensive high end devices too, but if you buy a cheap droid you're in for a bad time. In the same way you can buy 7 and 8 year old blackberries too. I wouldn't recommend most of the really cheap droid products to anyone.

about 4 months ago

Ph.Ds From MIT, Berkeley, and a Few Others Dominate Top School's CS Faculties

Sir_Sri Re:So the conclusion is... (155 comments)

Being a professor is not a low paying job.

Being an adjunct professor is usually unpaid - but it's because you're a professor (or otherwise employed) elsewhere, and sessional instructors are paid a pittance because they're supposed to have other jobs, including grad students.

But I just started as an L5 (which is the same pay band as a starting assistant professor) where I am - I'll slide over to assistant professor when I am actually granted the PhD, and that's a starting salary of 82k, 6 weeks vacation and a pension and benefits plan at a university you've never heard of with at total of 4 full time CS faculty equivalent. Admittedly, I have undergraduate students from where I am finishing my doctorate who are going to microsoft and google for ~70-80k, but they don't get 6 weeks paid vacation and they work at companies you've heard of in cities you know exist.

According to my contract assuming I stick around for 30 years for retirement and bump up one step per year along the grid I'll retire at 157k/year (in today's money) used to calculate my pension, assuming I do no teaching overloading, no senate, deans office or chairmanship work. And I can consult on the side as much as I want, just not on university equipment, as long as all of my courses get taught acceptably and the total of 4 grad students a year (2 part time 2 full time typically) that the department has are supervised.

So thats for a bottom tier university, with virtually no research expectations and basically focused on undergraduate teaching, and I'm being paid the same way as every other prof in all the other faculty. Big places - the nearest big well regarded school to us is University of Toronto, and they pay better, and not to much farther along is waterloo, who are more or less the same pay band as we are.

That's not great certainly - I know a few people from my doctoral programme who are starting around 130-140 in the valley, and about 90-100 in places with sensible housing prices. You can certainly clear 250, 300 if you consult, and I can do that, but having a professorship with a pension plan is a good place to be.

about 4 months ago

German Court Rules That You Can't Keep Compromising Photos After a Break-Up

Sir_Sri Re:Ramifications (334 comments)

Far reaching in the sense that anyone who wants to do business in germany has to figure out how to comply with the rules, which may be distinct from the rules where they are based.

Lets say the german photographer backed up his images to a google drive account. What (if any) responsibility does google have in enforcing a ruling like this?

What if the couple lived in Germany when they took the photos, but one party moved to another EU country? What about a non EU country? What about photographs taken while on holiday in france but brought back to germany (and variants) etc.?

Are there other things potentially on conditional contracts like this?

about 4 months ago

Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years

Sir_Sri Re:Awesome! (475 comments)

my GF and I regularly exceeded 300GB a month as of a couple of years ago.

Lots of video games are going to be >50 GB for 'next gen' and 20 or 30 is going to be the norm for anything from a major publisher. 4k resolution displays and streaming for multiple users and 300 GB doesn't go very far.

about 4 months ago


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