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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

gestalt_n_pepper Military surplus to Cops. So handy. So profitable! (264 comments)

A militarized police is so handy! You can:

1) Get around that annoying "Posse comitatus" thing.

2) You can use them to fight the national guard, should they become unccoperative.

3) You can field them for both local OR national coups against EITHER the Feds or the State authorities (Texas, you wanted to secede? Your chance is coming...).

4) You can ramp up civil forfeiture (i.e. Theft by law enforcement) and take a cut!

They slice! They dice! You can even Julliane freedom fries! Militarized by military surplus cops. Whoo Hoo!

2 days ago

Is Remote Instruction the Future of College?

gestalt_n_pepper Of *course* it's the future of college (81 comments)

The decision is driven by economics. Don't want to go into huge debt? Need to live at home? Don't want to pay for a quaint archaic infrastructure of unnecessary buildings and offices for professors and administration? You'll go to digi-school!

It may only be half as good, but if it's 1/10th the cost, this is where students will go. Excellent students will excel anywhere, of course. This structure favors autodidacts.

4 days ago

Microsoft Black Tuesday Patches Bring Blue Screens of Death

gestalt_n_pepper Lay off testers? This is what happens. (179 comments)

Once again, Microsoft discovers what's obvious anyone else who's been in the business for 25 years or so.

You have to have manual and automated GUI testers. Unit testing is nifty, but that's like testing just the spark plug, or maybe the spark plug and the ignition timing. Not a bad idea, but listen. If you knew about a new car, but knew that nobody had ever actually *driven* the car, much less taken it out on the road on a regular basis, would you buy that car?

For that matter, would you fly in a plane tested that way?

Developers testing their little piece of code isn't ever going to cut it. Neither is unit testing. Thinking it will is just managerial fantasy, or an idea that lets you fire a bunch of testers so the books look better and some manager or bean counter. can get a one time bonus.

5 days ago

My degree of colorblindness:

gestalt_n_pepper Re:Different colors (267 comments)

Turn off fox news. They'll go away.

about two weeks ago

Getting Back To Coding

gestalt_n_pepper Re:"Featuritis" in the whole computing ecosystem (240 comments)

Lucky you! I'm sure this will terribly valuable in 20 years time, much like my ability to do code typesetting on a Compugraphic Quadex 5000 using Forth.

about three weeks ago

US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

gestalt_n_pepper Don't worry about this... (409 comments)

Worry about the folks who flew here from Africa who didn't know they were infected, and are even now having hamburgers at the airport.

about three weeks ago

Getting Back To Coding

gestalt_n_pepper "Featuritis" in the whole computing ecosystem (240 comments)

New languages. New frameworks. New IDEs. New magic procedures...

Some of it is good, surely. Who programs without classes these days? But every time I see someone come up with a magic new net language, framework, etc., I sort of cringe. I mean, do we really need another one? Do we need all the ones we have (I'm lookin' at you, Ruby...).

The elephant in the room here that Microsoft, et. al. seems happy to ignore is that it takes time to learn AND recode this stuff. Time is money. If you're a teen or a student, you have time to mess with the next Ruby, or Dart, or GO, or BrainFuck or...

As a kid, you have no money invested, and plenty of time. There's no risk.

Fast forward 25 years. You still code for a living. You have a house, a wife, kid(s), car(s). You and your spouse are paying for all of this. Suddenly, genius boy at Microsoft invents Powershell! and convinces a few PHBs to roll it out. Suddenly, all your clients want Powershell! Quite frankly, you haven't got the time or interest in learning Powershell!. You wanted .net features added to VBScript and/or Jscript. You wanted backwards compatibility with existing VBscript and Jscript code. You wanted something that added value, not something that subtracted value by forcing you to go back to the drawing board and recode perfectly functional tools to satisfy a corporate IT security requirement from the corporate PHB that says, "Use Powershell!" for which you may, or not be paid, depending on how well your contract was written.

Disclaimer: I like Powershell, but it was the wrong decision.

The problem, quite simply, is this: Change!=Improvement. Change!=Better. Sometimes you get lucky. At other times, not so much.

about three weeks ago

NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

gestalt_n_pepper I had a Crookes radiometer as a kid (201 comments)

Can someone explain to me again why this couldn't be modified, scaled up and used as a micro thrust system for satellites and such? And why is a microwave resonant chamber "better?"

about three weeks ago

STEM worker shortage is IT industry fantasy

gestalt_n_pepper Well, I can't tell you how surprised I'm NOT. (1 comments)

There's a shortage of technically competent people who will work for Wal-Mart wages. That I'll grant. As long as technology continues to advance, however, you've got to pay to play. Upper management, of course, will deny this forever, and will never learn from past outsourcing mistakes.

about three weeks ago

Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It

gestalt_n_pepper So when can I buy a cape made of it? (238 comments)

As I recall, the protagonist in "The Shadow of The Torturer" wears a costume and cape made of a perfect black material so that all you see when he walks towards you is an irregular shifting black shape of perfect darkness.

With an axe, and eyes.

It was a good book. The rest of the series? Eh.

about a month ago

Massachusetts SWAT Teams Claim They're Private Corporations, Immune To Oversight

gestalt_n_pepper So, no civil immunity then. (534 comments)

If they're corporations, they can be sued out of existence. Let the fun begin!

about 2 months ago

New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

gestalt_n_pepper Cut the crap. What energy density/price ratio? (380 comments)

Because in a world of capitalist systems, that's all that matters. At the moment, I buy 25 miles of transportation for about $3.45 cents.

I'm pretty sure that ammonia doesn't have anything like the energy density of gasoline, and that it costs more per unit of energy. Feel free to show me how wrong I am.

TL;DR: Another horseshit, "we're saved! There's never going to be an energy problem again!" article.

about 2 months ago

Russian RD-180 Embargo Could Boost American Rocket Industry

gestalt_n_pepper Dependent on Russia, China.... (179 comments)

No more shuttle so we could save a trivial amount of tax money. We've shipped our manufacturing to China to make more money for CEOs and upper management who can live anywhere and could give a rat's ass about the USA.

Gee, I wonder where that could all end? Any ideas?

about 2 months ago

Google Engineer: We Need More Web Programming Languages

gestalt_n_pepper No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oooooo........ (309 comments)

We don't need even ONE more programming language. We need at most one or two programming languages that aren't shit.

IMHO upgrading javascript to a full blown programming language that can run in, or outside of a browser would be sufficient. Contrary to beliefs of idiots who think programming should be difficult, there's no value in making anyone learn an entirely new syntax and language to get some mundane work done. It's a programming language. They all do the same thing.

Bottom line? Expanding a current programming language to do more work makes ECONOMIC sense. Forcing any programmers do something new to satisfy the vision of a 20-something whiz kid or clueless CEO (Cough,...Ballmer, Cough) who has no awareness of the money invested in existing code bases, technologies, or your business model does not.

about 2 months ago

The Andromeda Galaxy Just Had a Bright Gamma Ray Event

gestalt_n_pepper Sorry. You meant, "hasn't killed us YET." (129 comments)

Since we can't predict anything about its future behavior. Say, I was asking myself yesterday, why there didn't seem to be any other intelligent technological life in the universe. I wonder...

about 3 months ago

Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

gestalt_n_pepper And how is everyone else's error rates? (200 comments)

And who makes those judgments? I can go to right now and find quite a few contradictory articles, and more than a few that might charitably be described as "fluffy."

If the goddamned medical community is so concerned about this, they can come up with a web site that's peer reviewed by their selected group of experts and pretends to be the last word on medical data.

No word yet of course, on how the esteemed "medical community" missed the problems with Vioxx, post-menopausal hormones, cobalt hip implants or any of that sily stuff. Because they're like, you know, infalible.

I read Wikipedia, knowing it's inaccurate. I cross reference and look at multiple other sources like a big boy. I read *everything* knowing that there's inaccuracy somewhere. Sounds like it's time for everybody to grow up. There's no great, all-knowing source of information *anywhere.* No group of wise thoughtful, beard stroking authorities who know all and see all.

It's just us, doing the best we can with the crappy information we're given.

about 3 months ago

China Bans Government Purchases of Windows 8

gestalt_n_pepper Re:"Openly accuse us of cybercrimes... (200 comments)

Yes to all this. We taught them well, just as the British taught us to be a bunch of self absorbed nationalist miliaristic crazies. The 19th and 20th centuries were quite instructive.

about 2 months ago

Fixing the Pain of Programming

gestalt_n_pepper For those who think programming should be hard... (294 comments)

You're a bunch of over-testosteroned, machismo idiots.

Offense definitely intended.

First point. Machines and software exist to serve *people* and for no other reason. To the extent that they do that, they are "good." Anything less is "bad." Simple enough for you?

Second point. Programming is not about "overcoming intellectual challenges." Don't flatter yourselves. Nobody cares how you feel. Programming is either about money or masturbation. If the latter, make it as hard as you like. Go for it. Wheeeee! Look at meeeee! Look how smart I am! Whoo hoo!

But if you're trying to make *money* programming, or actually have to get a task done, you need all the help you can get. If you have a manager or officer breathing down your neck to GET IT DONE so millions aren't lost, or someone doesn't die, you need effective tools.

Bottom line? Get over yourselves. The IDE is there to make accomplishing a task as easy as possible. It serves no other purpose. It should make everything easily known and obvious. Moreover, it should actually HELP YOU solve your problems. Otherwise, it's just another idiotic software failure.

about 3 months ago


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