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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

athmanb Re:How is that startling? (413 comments)

This is absolutely untrue, just look at these maps. Control over redistricting by party: http://s1131.photobucket.com/u...
Gerrymanderization of districts: http://www.geoideas.net/wp-con...
WV, IL and MD are truly gerrymandered democratic controlled states. As opposed to the entirety of the southeastern US from Texas to Pennsylvania that are republican controlled and gerrymandered.

about 2 months ago

Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

athmanb Re:510kph is airliner speed? (419 comments)

Hokkaido is a bit of a bad example though since there's no Shinkansen service through the tunnel.

Going 1500km the other way to Kagoshima the train takes about 7 hours, and the airplane 5-6 (from city center to city center). That's with the 270km/h regular Shinkansen. If you increased the speed to maglev levels the train would outperform an airplane.

about 2 months ago

Kepler Watches White Dwarf Warp Spacetime

athmanb Re:A question for the Astronomers (58 comments)

By the way your analogy is very wrong. Because while there are indeed a lot of stars, they are also quite far away. An average star (diameter 10^6 kilometers) at 1000 light years (10^17 kilometers) distance is merely 10^-9 degrees across. To fill the entire night sky with stars you'd need 10^22 stars at that distance which is about how many of them exist in the entire universe. In fact it's statistically quite impossible for stars to actually cover each other.

about 2 years ago

DNS Hijack Leads To Bitcoin Heist

athmanb Re:Non story (126 comments)

One hour? If "ease of use" means to have to wait a full hour for confirmation whether the purchase of your coffee went through or not I think I'd rather use cash...

about 2 years ago

Researchers Put Numbers On China's Microblog Censorship

athmanb Re:This quote seems appropriate. (58 comments)

How does this seem appropriate? Chinese oppression is pretty clearly aimed at perpetuating the party rule and guaranteeing their members cushy jobs and a steady income.

about 2 years ago

Neil deGrasse Tyson On How To Stop a Meteor Hitting the Earth

athmanb Re:Neil deGrasse Tyson (520 comments)

There is literally nothing we could do about a Kansas-size (500km) asteroid but that scenario is highly unlikely, there isn't any evidence that such an impact happened anywhere in the solar system in the last 3.5b years.
A realistic scenario is an asteroid between 100m and 1km, and ion thrusters and nuclear propulsion have a high enough efficiency that they can influence that category.

about 2 years ago

Islamists In Bangladesh Demand Murder of More Bloggers

athmanb Re:Wow! (389 comments)

Not sure about Hitler or Mussolini - they mixed up ideologies of left and right.
Richard the lionheart was driven by religion

Hitler himself was solidly right. The NSDAP had a leftist wing led by Gregor Strasser (the Strasserists) but Hitler showed him what he thought of that in 1934.

about 2 years ago

Quadrocopters Throwing and Catching an Inverted Pendulum

athmanb Re:All it needs is the über power source (103 comments)

With how smart these choppers are getting this shouldn't even be a problem. Just buy three of them for any two jobs and have them find their own schedule to "sleep" when they need to so that there's always at least the required number up in the air.

about 2 years ago

Japanese Probe Finds Miswiring of Boeing 787 Battery

athmanb Re:Yay, time for finger pointing (201 comments)

They originally planned to use 60 miles of wiring but then they only ordered 60 kilometers of wires so two thirds of the devices are not connected. It's not that big of a problem though since most things are covered by redundancy.

about 2 years ago

Billionaires Secretly Fund Vast Climate Denial Network

athmanb Re:Big deal... (848 comments)

"No" doesn't mean "No" as the rather tired example of yelling fire in crowded theatres clearly establishes. There are also libel/slander laws passed by congress that limit free speech and nobody has a problem with those. I would hazard a guess that even a hard core libertarian like you wouldn't have a problem with restricting someone's speech if that person is passing out lies intended to damage your life.

Where exactly those borders to free speech are is of course open to debate, but an absolutely inviolable freedom cannot exist much as a true immovable object cannot exist.

about 2 years ago

Egyptian Court Wants To Block YouTube For a Month

athmanb Re:It's because of the police abuse (188 comments)

This stuff happens everywhere there is a strong state religion and the state relies on religious authorities to manage the population. You inevitably get a religious elite that meshes with the government and profits from the status quo. Those are then of course thoroughly unfriendly to anyone wanting to change the system.

Your "Islamic democracy" really isn't any different than the "Orthodox democracy" in Russia or "Buddhist democracy" in Thailand so there's absolutely no need to be especially islamophobic about it.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Name Conflicts In Automatically Generated Email Addresses?

athmanb Re:Do not use usernames in email addresses (383 comments)

Especially in AD you have to assume that everybody knows all user names. Every account has the rights to enumerate and read all nonsecret properties of every other account, and in most environments (especially university ones) getting access to one account is trivial.

Adding a bit of security-through-obscurity to the usernames is akin of putting a bike lock on a bank safe.

about 2 years ago

Swiss Historical Maps Allow Journey Through Time In Your Browser

athmanb Re:1838? 1938? Which is it? (32 comments)

It's 1938 so far, they have much older maps that they're still working on. 1838 was the year the first full-country map of Switzerland was published.

about 2 years ago

Earth's Core Made In Miniature

athmanb Re:How can this produce accurate results? (175 comments)

A team of physicists has worked 10 years on this, writing hundreds of pages of papers to coerce funding out of federal institutes but you can spot the flaw in their plans after 30 seconds of thinking and writing an Internet comment?

more than 3 years ago

Microsoft's SkyDrive Drops Silverlight

athmanb Re:MS hate (358 comments)

When Silverlight 1 came out in 2007, there were three competitors for it:
- ActiveX which was a horrible 90s idea and is unable to function in a world where you can't trust people not to try to build exploits
- Java which was so bad at doing what it was supposed to do that it went from almost 100% market share to almost 0% with the rise of Flash.
- Flash which did the job it was supposed to do but had horrible development tools and literally hundreds of security problems since then due to shoddy product quality

Microsoft created Silverlight to solve these shortcomings and they did a pretty good job at it. Programming web code in Visual Studio is a leaps better than Flash and the Netflix probably saved millions by not wasting their developers' time with the horrible Flash UI and code oddities.

Only now, four years later, is HTML5 beginning to come to a point where it can be a proper tool to do what you used to use one of the above plugins for.

And by the way, IT changes fast in general, no developer can honestly expect to code in the same language from college to retirement. HTML5 - and the languages that you actually write code in like JQuery - are in an extreme prototype state right now, going to change radically several times in the next years before people figure out that they completely screwed up some important paradigms and start parts of the standard from scratch for HTML6. Everyone will have to keep relearning their languages if they want to stay current.

more than 3 years ago

Spammers Discover Kindle Self-Publishing

athmanb Re:But it is really spam? (122 comments)


People don't write 20 books a day about how to fix your roof (and if someone did write a book on how to fix a roof, he wouldn't sell it for a dollar).
What they do is run a web spider, aggregate random blog text found on Google by whatever search term is popular that week, apply some automated formatting then sell the results. Then spam their own ratings with bots.

more than 3 years ago

Jack Kevorkian Dead at 83

athmanb Re:euthanasia vs the death penalty (184 comments)

In the cases serviced by assisted suicide, "not suffering" is not an option. Even if given painkillers barely below the lethal dose, terminal stage cancer is still painful. This is a medical issue that is currently not solvable. Maybe we'll find a treatment for cancer in a few decades, but until then the only available choice is:
- suffering, then death
- death

more than 3 years ago

Apple Acknowledges MacDefender

athmanb Re:Kudos to Apple (314 comments)

What's the best practice when reinstalling Windows from disc so that the computer doesn't get owned before it finishes downloading the updates over a slow Internet connection?

Use Windows XP SP2 or later (the integrated firewall started then) and don't browse the Internet until the updates are done.

Does Microsoft pull crap like considering my copy of Windows 7 no longer validly licensed if I travel to another country? I seem to remember that Microsoft region-codes Windows. For example, it has reserved some versions of Windows, such as Windows Vista Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic, exclusively for developing countries.


You can only buy the region restricted versions in shops in developing countries, but you can install them anywhere and take the PC they are installed on anywhere.

more than 3 years ago

UN Intervention Begins In Libya

athmanb Re:Why? (688 comments)

You got your history turned upside down. The UN agreed with the Afghanistan war in 2001 mission as there was a proper reason for it. Only when Bush extended it to Iraq in 2003 for no reason at all against the will of every country other than the UK (prime minister only, the population was against the war too) and a few paid off votes did the global opinion turn around.

And opening a second front in Iraq and splitting the forces is one of the main reason why Afghanistan turned into the quagmire it is now, so there's no surprise in countries like Spain and Germany wanting to pull out from there after the US fucked that one up.

more than 3 years ago

Attacked By Anonymous, HBGary Pulls Out of RSA

athmanb Re:You can't beat the crowd (415 comments)

It's probably true that 90+% of the people that were in Al-Qaeda on 11/9/2001 are now either dead, in prison or have stopped working for the them.
But underground groups such as that are defined by their ideology and not membership cards, and as long as the ideology behind them has a compelling influence on people they will never die.

more than 3 years ago


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