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The discovery of intelligent alien life would be met predominantly with...

Zmobie Re:It'll never happen (259 comments)

Very true, the drive theory was specifically thought up to overcome the single object being accelerated to FTL. I love the idea of it though, its all highly theoretical of course, but very interesting none the less.

2 days ago
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The discovery of intelligent alien life would be met predominantly with...

Zmobie Re:It'll never happen (259 comments)

Actually, in the links they describe there are a ton of different calculations on the energy requirements. Some take insane amounts (like you pointed out), others show negative energy (anti-matter) but there are a few designs that show feasible energy requirements (about 700kg is what one said). The biggest problem comes to how you fuel the thing, because they have no clue.

This is all theory and nothing but speculation anyway though (the energy could be insanely high requirements) and they definitely haven't overcome the whole shockwave problem...

2 days ago
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The discovery of intelligent alien life would be met predominantly with...

Zmobie Re:It'll never happen (259 comments)

We certainly *CAN* predict (with very near certainty) that faster-than-light travel is impossible - and that is the overwhelmingly most likely reason that aliens will never visit us in person.

Actually that is not entirely accurate. See Alcubierre drive:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...
https://www.princeton.edu/~ach...
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/gl...

There has been a lot of debate and research on this very subject, even a proof of concept in the works:

http://www.extremetech.com/ext...

Current data suggests FTL travel to be impossible, but that is also in a relative sense. Even if an alcubierre drive turns out to possible we have a lot more work to do before it is feasible.

2 days ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Zmobie Re:Luggage? (349 comments)

Yea that is one of the only exceptions, you are correct. Like I put in another post, they store those separately and just bulk give them back, rather than having to sort them like an actual gate-check bag. International they can't simply because of custom regulations. Takes a lot just to get cleared to touch anything involving an international flight even if you are in the originating country...

about a month ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Zmobie Re:Luggage? (349 comments)

Yea, the bags will not be given back but strollers and equipment that is needed to get around will be. The strollers and such are generally put in an easy to get area in the hold and all of that stuff is just given back all at once. Where as the gate check bags may be loaded with the normal check bags and there is no way in hell the ground crews are going to mess with sifting through 100 to 400 bags to figure out who wants a gate check bag back, that is why they invest all that money into baggage handling and baggage reconciliation systems.

about a month ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Zmobie Re:Luggage? (349 comments)

Thanks for telling me something I already know? I don't work as an airline employee, I work for a major airline/airport vendor that happens to specialize in baggage handling and sortation as our major business. If you really want to insult me and act like I don't know what I am talking about, you should actually know what you're talking about first.

Yes, there are a few airlines and some circumstance with the puddle jumper aircraft and a few narrow body aircraft where they give the bags back, but that is usually only something that happens at very small tier 2 airports or tier 3 airports that do not have the facilities to handle the industry standard practice of checking to final destination (which is by far and large what most airlines do, we have done work for a ton of the big ones, including the currently three largest). This also far and away does NOT apply to only wide body jets, as several airports I have done work at can barely even support wide body jets on the majority of their gates (LAX specifically comes to mind as it can only really support them on the ends of terminals since the space between terminals is pretty small and at TBIT because it was built with that in mind). That would be just simply idiotic to only apply that practice to certain equipment types as your ground crews would have an even BIGGER pain sorting a narrow body by hand to give bags back because they can't load ULDs on those and everything is put in bulk hold.

Regional jets are not the money makers and usually have weirdo exceptions especially since a lot of terminals/stations they fly them out of barely have a baggage handling system to begin with.

about a month ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Zmobie Re:Cheaper (349 comments)

Actually, airlines and airports have some of the most complicated business models you will ever see. And due to the fact that they are heavily government regulated, they do have to get fairly creative to make money sometimes. They definitely don't have near as small a profit margin as they want everyone to believe, but it is not some massive hand over fist money making business. It requires a lot of investment and upkeep capital to run them. Some of them bounce back and forth between making and losing money, but they are not completely crippled hardly ever.

about 1 month ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Zmobie Re:Luggage? (349 comments)

Not exactly. This is something the airlines attempt to stop, as it is a way to circumvent bag fees (they don't generally charge you for a gate check), but especially since many places are moving towards self-service check in or you can check in online and never see an agent this is rare. TSA should be the ones stopping it, but this is not their primary concern (or even secondary, tertiary... etc.). It doesn't incur any cost to the security side and because of the historically bad communications and cooperation between the TSA and airline tenants there is very little quid pro quo going on. I have spoken to a lot of operations managers about this problem before, and watched many people taking obviously large suitcases through security with both TSA and the passenger being very aware that is not of the carry on size.

about 1 month ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Zmobie Re:Luggage? (349 comments)

I work in the industry, and actually in most instances there is no difference in gate check bags. They simply send them down to the ground crew and it is loaded like any checked bag. It would be exceptionally costly to try and separate and sort bags that need to be "returned at the gate" so they don't bother and send them up the claim units at your final destination. The tags are just hand written (sometimes they slap a ten digit tag on them, but most of their host systems don't even support automatic sorting and tracking for gate checked bags) and read when the plane is unloaded.

Normally, if you gate check a bag they also don't charge you the baggage fee as the most common cause of gate check bags is the overhead bins filling up. This causes the airline to be better off with the customer service aspect and since they generally tell you carry-on bags don't cost they don't want to spring hidden fees on you (unless you fly a budget airline like spirit or frontier, spirit charges you even if you carry the bag onto the plane with you and the charges are HIGHER if it has to be checked at the gate...).

about 1 month ago
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What is your computer most often plugged into?

Zmobie Re:UPS (236 comments)

Actually, my company has been seeing a particular airport having a lot of power outages that has seen at one field workstation be lost per outage (not hardware dead, but the PC has to be re-imaged). Considering how long the UPSs I have will last (and I got the UPS for my PC for like $80 and my network equipment for like $90), its worth it considering the thousands of dollars they are protecting and the headaches they are saving. Data loss is my bigger concern, especially since I am in an area prone to brown outs. Before I got mine, I lost things several times because of a random ass power outage.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Unlimited Data Plan For Seniors?

Zmobie Re:wi-fi repeater (170 comments)

Na, pretty simple, however you bring the wifi to the room, just turn the antenna power down so it doesn't cover 3 rooms over if there is an issue a neighbor and his pacemaker "or something." Most stock firmware on wifi routers and such has that capability.

about 3 months ago
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Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

Zmobie Re:Active imagination (583 comments)

Oh you poor mis-informed man. We absolutely do not have the processing power equivalent to a human brain. We can outperform it on one TYPE of task, but not even close to the general case (and even then it requires supercomputers and distributed computing clusters). The main problem exists with learning, highly abstract reasoning (i.e. logical leaps), and oddly enough some of our more "mundane" things such as speech. Unsupervised learning is so incredibly hard in AI because there really isn't any way to signal what is correct and what is not correct within the current context of an AI. For one to actually surpass us we would have to impart all of our specific knowledge and exact modelling to the AI first, and even then it would be very difficult to map out. Watson from IBM is probably the most advanced as far as imparting all of our knowledge, and it really still can't handle anything on that level. Almost all programming is done in one of two ways, either we tell the computer how to obtain the correct answer, or we define parameters of what a correct answer looks like. When the machine has no guidelines and has to decide what is right, wrong, or even useful things get really confusing and complicated for it.

In the wikipedia article for watson they even point out that it had trouble with questions that did not have many terms, which shows they were not able to take into account a lot of context of the question or naturally how a human would say that to one another. The machine was specifically designed to be a giant query bot and it still had problems because if it didn't have enough keywords or a long enough sentence to do decent natural language processing, so it bombed out. That kind of goes directly into the abstract reasoning. Machines work in a very step by step logic model, they don't do well with jumping steps at all and when a problem becomes insanely large, again wikipedia for quick reference combinatorial explosion, the AI pretty much loses it shit. These are also system that have been designed for ONE particular task, and while in a lot of cases they alone can outperform a human, that is the only thing they can outperform in while the human can do thousands of others tasks.

Finally, my last point about speech is less AI related just more showing how much computational power the human brain actually has. Robotics, specifically has had serious issues with a lot of the human aspects of speech and conversation (I couldn't find any good links, I read several articles and had discussions on this back in college, but those are kind of walled behind university stuff...) such that it takes a massive amount of the robots processing power to perform these functions. Even layering on things to try and brute force the problem "creating" natural speech (sort of turing test actually) and then having the bot spit it out caused some ridiculous problems.

Our models and algorithms for creating these kinds of "dangerous AI" are so hilariously far behind from what the tin foil hat community believes we will probably be dancing on a terraformed planet several galaxies away before we actually get that figured out. Unless someone stupidly stumbles across the correct "voodoo" spell of an algorithm for truly efficient and complete machine learning, it is hard to model it when WE don't even fully understand how the human brains works (see neuroscience and psychology).

Full disclosure, I am a computer scientist/software engineer that has actually had some education on the subject of AI. It was a small focus of mine in college out curiosity, but then I saw I would be better served in other focuses so I just kept up with it on the side.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

Zmobie Looooong Cable (279 comments)

Depending on how ridiculous you feel like getting you could just run a really long Cat6 cable... I mean, as a temporary solution until I finish wiring my house I have that right now (I absolutely hate it, but its motivation to finish the new network faster I guess?).

about 4 months ago
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Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

Zmobie Re:Why the fuck is this on Slashdot? (789 comments)

Playing devil's advocate here, but technically by asserting that you should go by the subjective nature of the tagline here you are insinuating that nerds do not need to know about politics, current events, pop culture in general (unless it is "nerdy"), or any such like in their lives what-so-ever. I don't know about you but I feel that I can identify myself as a nerd and feel that I do need to know about an impending war that Russia has decided to potentially spark and most of the other subjects I mentioned (arguably most of pop culture should be excluded, but current events and large political dealings do still matter for nerds). This is still news for nerds, as it is really news for everyone, there is just more stories that only nerds would consider important mixed into the feeds of the site.

Again, I am really just playing devil's advocate here, but I feel it is petty semantics when people argue about this crap. They are not posting about what George Clooney wore to "insert awards show or event here" which is the type of thing I would think qualifies as unimportant to nerds. I really don't care personally, the posts are pretty much fine with me, but just pointing out that there are some issues with the argument you try to make.

about 5 months ago
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

Zmobie Re:What are they waiting for? (144 comments)

Interesting points. The amber light timings though I would think should have a hard floor/ceiling inside the PLC. Not sure how much adjustment you could do because when the PLC write happens it has certain limits for the logic to even recognize what is told to it via input. The cameras are a very intriguing point and probably the most dangerous. I vaguely recall a story on slashdot a while back about the camera networks though having terrible security, but don't remember the details.

about 5 months ago
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It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

Zmobie Re:What are they waiting for? (144 comments)

This right here. The problem with any "unsafe" scenario is that these lights are usually logic controlled by PLCs or some such. I had a professor in college that used to work for one of the state roadway departments and he did work on traffic light controllers for a while. Most of them have to physically prevent anything like that from being possible just like how a civil engineer is supposed to prove their bridge is safe within x parameters. From what I understand this isn't even a concern for all traffic light controllers because ones outside of the big metro areas are not even interconnected to a central controller (this was just what I was told and know from the small towns I have lived in, if someone knows otherwise feel free to correct me here).

I personally am a huge security advocate and believe that, yes these things need to be secured to a reasonable extent, but it is overblown to think this is going to get a bunch of people easily killed just because someone wants to play around with it. Now, someone building a DIY "make light go green" device is not outside the realm of possibility... In fact, I may have a new project just to see if I can do it!

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Zmobie Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

We had the same thing and I was in college less than five years ago. Most of the instructors for junior level and higher classes told people I really don't care what language you write in, you just better understand the concepts we are teaching. Most people I knew, wrote in C++ because java was just annoying half the time. Some classes required different languages, but none of them were Java (literally the only two courses that required Java were CS one and two for the beginner students). I had php, C, C++, Prolog, Haskell, MIPS assembly, and then a little Java thrown in to compare as an example OO class (except when I took mobile development which was all Android in, duh, Java, but that was learning more about the platform and ecosystem really, nothing Java specific).

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Zmobie Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

My assembly was rolled into our computer organizations course. We ended up doing some fairly simple assembly problems, like creating a binary tree class in pure assembly that could handle variable memory sized objects. We then had to design a simple processor that it would run on. We got the option of doing multi phase or single phase, I ended up doing single for the project and multi later just to understand more.

Algorithms was absolutely required for my program too and we had a lot of the higher level course where they didn't teach you a database language per se (except I guess prolog half counted in my programming languages course), but you ended up having to learn one to complete the work and study in the class.

Now granted I graduated in 2011 (still somewhat recent) and I don't know how much the programs have changed now (other than graduate programs because I still want my MS), but honestly if a person is going to be a decent software engineer/developer or computer scientist the curriculum is only building the foundation. I did tons of stuff outside my classes when I was in school. If someone isn't curious enough to do research and such on their own about the subject, they are probably going to do poorly after college anyway.

I learned a large chunk of databases, web development, language integration, general IT and computer modeling, etc. because I just wanted a deeper understanding of what I was doing. My bit-wise math is probably not near as good as people that have worked in C for years, but I can handle it with some time and refresher documentation. In my opinion that is the more valuable thing, can the person learn to adapt their knowledge and take on new things?

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

Zmobie Re:Its Fine. - not (348 comments)

To be fair, just because the network is properly setup and allows for certain behavior etc. does not mean the application will play well with that setup. I've seen it happen before (and have been able to demonstrate it with proprietary software) that sometimes the network will not react correctly with certain network setups. At my company we have had to implement special protocols and features in our software just to overcome some inherent network limitations that our IT group pretty much said, "we have no way around this issue, sorry."

I only have limited experience with Oracle though, so take that statement as what you will. I have seen other software exhibit this kind of behavior though.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

Zmobie Re:Advice: Android Device Manager (113 comments)

Does that actually do a secure rewrite though? I haven't honestly looked at how the device manager does the remote wipe, but I would guess it is just like deleting or doing a factory reset and the data is still recoverable through standard computer forensic software.

about 6 months ago

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