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Commenters To Dropbox CEO: Houston, We Have a Problem

inhuman_4 Change of tune (447 comments)

I find it very amusing how the tune has changed with regards to how vote with their wallet and corporate moral character.

For the longest time the argument was "Well if you don't like company x don't buy their products!". With the implication being that if you don't actually stop, then you are just a whiner or a hypocrite. But now people really are taking their business elsewhere. The actions of a company or the people that represent a company is effecting the bottom line. Yet somehow old "vote with your wallet" is no longer acceptable. Somehow judging a company based on it's moral character is an assault on free speech, maybe even down right persecution!

For a long time people (on Slashdot especially) have been warning of the dangers of putting your data in the cloud. Of the amount of personal information that can be gleaned from your web browsing habits. That that big business is cooperating with the government (willingly or not) in a massive breach of privacy. So how and can anyone be surprised that customers demand moral character from leadership of companies to whom we are handing over so much personal information?

If you had to make a choice between companies to store YOUR personal information and your choices are: Company A with Bruce Schneier on it's board of directors, and Company B with Dick Cheney on it's board of directors. Does anyone seriously think that difference shouldn't effect the decision?

I for one have no sympathy. Yes a company has every right to alienate their customers, but customers also have every right to vote with their wallets.

about two weeks ago
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A Rock Paper Scissors Brainteaser

inhuman_4 Re:Simple.... Odds are even (167 comments)

If you play 2/3 paper 1/3 rock. He will play 1/2 paper, 1/2 rock.

Wins for you:
Paper vs rock: 2/3 * 1/2 = 1/3 win
Rock vs scissors: 1/3 * 0 = 0 win
Scissors vs paper: 0 * 1/2 = 0 win

For him:
Paper vs rock: 1/2 * 1/3 = 1/6
Rock vs scissors: 1/2 * 0 = 0
Scissors vs paper: 0 * 2/3 = 0

Your optimal strategy (2/3 paper, 1/3 rock) vs his optimal strategy (1/2 paper, 1/2 rock), results 1/3 win not a 1/2 win.

about three weeks ago
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A Rock Paper Scissors Brainteaser

inhuman_4 Re:Two Games (167 comments)

We know that the opponent must play rock 1/2 of the time.

If I play paper 4/6 of the time, than I should expect 1/2 of my paper to align with his rock. So 4/6 * 1/2 = 2/6 = 1/3. So I should expect to win 1/3 of the time, plus my winnings on the other combinations. That means 1/3 is the lower bound.

If you play 1/3 rock and 2/3 paper, his response will be 1/2 paper and 1/2 rock. So you are going to get 2/3 * 1/2 = 1/3 for your paper. But your 1/3 rock will never win because he will never play scissors either. But his 1/2 paper will meet your 1/3 rock, giving him 1/2 * 1/3 = 1/6 win. Putting you head by only 1/6.

This is where the two games key comes in. You and I both recognize that 2/3 paper is the right move because 1/2 of his moves will be rock. But by playing the other half as regular RPS with a win/tie/loss of 1/1/1 you can expect the win/loss to cancel out, leaving you with your 1/3 lower bound advantage.

about three weeks ago
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A Rock Paper Scissors Brainteaser

inhuman_4 Re:Two Games (167 comments)

The opponent doesn't have the option to play anything greater than 1/2 scissors because the other 1/2 must be rock. If he uses the "all scissors" response, he can only actually do a 1/2 scissors response. So is we play it out:

1/2 scissors x 4/6 paper = 2/6 = 1/3 victory for the opponent. 1/2 scissors x 1/6 scissors is 1/12 tie. And 1/2 scissors x 1/6 rock is 1/12 lose. So the "all scissors" strategy only nets him 1/3 victory not 4/6.

about three weeks ago
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A Rock Paper Scissors Brainteaser

inhuman_4 Two Games (167 comments)

You should play paper 4/6 of the time, rock 1/6, and scissors 1/6 of the time.

The key (if you RFTA) is that whether or not your opponent plays rock is determined by a coin toss. So really you are playing a compound game. You are playing a coin toss and rock paper scissors (RPS). Since the coin toss determines your opponents move, you can think of it as playing 50% coin toss and 50% RPS. The RPS is a subgame of the coin toss.

Since the coin toss is the dominate game, you play with win that first. But instead of heads/tails, it is paper/other. The answer to the coin toss is a 50/50 guess of heads/tails, so the answer to the paper/other is 50% paper, 50% other.

The "other" is the RPS game. And since the answer to the RPS game is 1/3 rock, 1/3 paper, 1/3 scissors, we know what the solution to the other 50% of the game is.

So the equations are:choice = (Coin Toss) + (RPS) so: paper = 1/2 + 1/3, rock = 0 + 1/3, scissors = 0 + 1/3. Or paper = 4/6, rock = 1/6, scissors = 1/6.

about three weeks ago
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oVirt 3.4 Means Management, VMs Can Live On the Same Machine

inhuman_4 Re:Still trying to wrap my head... (51 comments)

One big issue is that virtual machines allows for different OSes. So if you are provides a variety of services, like legacy applications for example, you consolidate them all on to one machine.

It also allows for easier testing. Say for example you need to stress test your application on some combination Red Hat, SUSE, Debian, FreeBSD, WinServer, Mac, and Solaris, or even a variety of different versions of those OSes. Putting them all in virtual machines is much simpler than re-installing or having a dedicated machine for each one. It also makes it easy to call up your test environment if a customer reports a bug.

about three weeks ago
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Sulfur Polymers Could Enable Long-Lasting, High-Capacity Batteries

inhuman_4 Re:Still a ways to go (131 comments)

Aircraft are very sensitive to the weight. But ships are not. I wonder if it would be realistic to have a battery powered ship for cross ocean voyages. Especially for things like tankers and cargo ships. Pull into port and get hooked up with special massive power tx lines and fill up the battery.

I seem to recall that large ships are a big source of CO2 emissions. If it is possible I wonder what the trade off is in terms of costs.

about a month and a half ago
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NRC Expects Applications To Operate Reactors Beyond 60 Years

inhuman_4 Re:Idiots in power (135 comments)

Exception, after exception isn't being made. It made headlines for weeks. Then it had to go all the way to parliament to get an exception made. And even then is was only for a short term exemption until a proper solution to the shortage could be found.

about 2 months ago
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NRC Expects Applications To Operate Reactors Beyond 60 Years

inhuman_4 Re:Idiots in power (135 comments)

The Chalk River medical isotope issue was different though.

Everyone agrees that the regulator did its job by shutting down the plant for not meeting the once in a million years safety ratio that is the standard. However the plant was not a power plant, it was a research plant producing medical isotopes. So issue wasn't whether the ractor met the standards, it didn't. The issue was the probability of people getting injured or dying from a plant malfunction was significantly less than the probability of people dying from not getting those medical isotopes.

When presented with instructions to provide a temporary exception to the rule until other sources of the isotope could be brought online, the regulator said no. So things escalated until someone (parliament) had the authority to over rule the regulator.

She was fired for not granting the exception, even though she knew what the balance of probabilities were. Basically she was power tripping.

about 2 months ago
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SpaceX Testing Landing Legs On Next Falcon9 Rocket

inhuman_4 Re:SpaceX (73 comments)

There isn't really anything new going on here, its just never been put togther like this before.

While NASA prefers water landings, the Soviets landed all of their equipment on the ground. So returning things to the ground isn't really that exciting. Additionally there were landing people (who are much more fragile than mechanical parts) from orbit rather than just high in the atmosphere.

And while reusable engines didn't work out that great for the Space Shuttle for various reasons. Lots of rocket engines have been used over and over on test stands on the ground. Rocket engines that can be reused isn't new tech either.

about 2 months ago
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US War Machine Downsizing?

inhuman_4 Re:Time to end the military industrial complex (506 comments)

I don't know who told you the F-35 was an air superiority fighter but that is totally wrong.

The F-35 Joint *Strike* Fighter is a replacement deep strike aircraft. It will be filling the roll of the now retired F-117, and soon the F-16 and F-18.

Since the 70's air forces have followed the high-low model. An expensive air superiority fighter in small numbers, and a cheaper multi-purpose fighter in larger numbers. This is why the USAF has F-15s and F-16, and the Soviets had the SU-27 and MiG-29. The next generation is the F-22 for air superiority and F-35 for multipurpose.

Also the F-35 has nothing to do with the retirement of the A-10. The F-35 wasn't designed to replace the A-10 any more than the F-16 or the F-18 were designed to. The A-10 isn't a sexy plane in the air force's eyes, it's getting old, and no one made plans to replace it. So rather than admitting that they dropped the ball on CAS the air force is claiming that the F-35 will do the job.

about 2 months ago
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Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

inhuman_4 Yes and No (627 comments)

There is nothing wrong with using and IDE, that doesn't make you a bad programmer. Relying on an IDE does make you a bad programmer. Lets face it, there is a lot of boiler plate boring crap involved in programming. Using an IDE to handle the mundane stuff makes a lot of sense. But if you can't do your job without it then you are probably not very good at your job.

Using a calculator doesn't make you bad at math. Being unable to do math without a calculator makes you bad a math.

about a month ago
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EFF Reports GHCQ and NSA Keeping Tabs On Wikileaks Visitors and Reporters

inhuman_4 Re:Organisational mandates (82 comments)

A big part of the issue is that some of these organizations shouldn't be doing any of this at all.

A big part missing the the discussion is that the NSA is a military outfit. It is part of the DoD and its commander is a serving member of the US armed forces. It is the signals intelligence branch of the US military. Their primay mission is ensure secure communications for the US command and control infastructure, and gather intelligence on foreign military powers.

How did we get from spying on the Soviet Union, to monitoring the phones of every American citizen? As a military outfit they shouldn't be operating in the the US at all. You wouldn't let soldiers patrol the streets acting like cops, so why are thay taking on tasks the rightfully belong on the hands of the FBI? The simple answer is secrecy. Whatever legal games they want to play, at the end of the day they knew that they shouldn't be doing it, so the tasked it to the DoD so they can call it a matter of national security.

about 2 months ago
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Venezuelan Regime Censoring Twitter

inhuman_4 Re:En Venezuela hay mucho PETROLEO... (152 comments)

Except Norway did pretty much opposite of what Venezuela did.

Norway created a state company owned company (a crown corporation for those familiar with the British system) called Statoil. Using public funds the company established itself in Norway and around the world. Once the company got established it was turned into a public stock company (NYSE: STO). The Norwegian government remains the primary shareholder, however it is a public corporation run by the private sector for profit.

Venezuela brought in foreign established firms to provide the expertise and capital to exploit the country's natural resources and to aid in the development of the national oil company. Later a more socialist government decided that they didn't like the deal anymore and nationalized the foreign owned assets into the PDVSA, a government run enterprises.

The result is that Norway's oil industry is well coordinated and on friendly terms with other governments and oil companies. And frequently engages in joint ventures with other oil companies outside of Norway. Statoil is run for profit by via private sector mechanisms providing a good return on investment for the country, and is relatively free of corruption. The country's ownership of the controlling share of the corporation is treated like a long term asset for the benefit of future generations.

Venezuela has for it's part burned bridges with everyone who had previously invested in the country. Making it hard to expand outside the country, and more importantly attract foreign investment which could provide the expertise that Venezuela lacks. The PDVSA is rife with corruption providing cushy jobs to 'friends of the family' for various political players. The ROI for the people and government of Venezuela is much lower than it should be. And rather than treating it's ownership of PDVSA as an investment (like Norway does with Statoil), they treat it like a cash cow to fund various ill conceived economic plans.

Norway acted as a sole proprietor in a free market. Venezuela acted like the post-revolution communist governments of the last century.

about 2 months ago
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Ubuntu To Switch To systemd

inhuman_4 Re:Whats wrong with init? (279 comments)

The issue with systemd: it reeks of a solution looking for a problem.

The issue I belive is that the Linux kernel has been expanding its capabilities and the init system has not kept pace. Part of that reason is that to take advantage of Linux specific issues means breaking compatibility with other *nix systems.

Take cgroups for example. It is a Linux specific feature, and a great one at that. It can limit CPU, memory, and I/O processes not just just for one process, but for all of the processes that fork off of it. Along the way it solves the "escape by double forking" issue. For systems doing virtualization or running multiple servers it is exactly the kind of thing an admin would want for his services.

Or how about service dependancies? The sysem of A depends on B,F,K works great for all of our package managing systems, and has been for years. The is the reason upstart was adopted, the runlevel system is a very inelegant solution.

I'm not saying systemd is perfect. I really like status messages, but using a binary log file I think is a mistake. But it does provide new features that a lot of developers and admins will be able to take advantage of.

about 2 months ago
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Ubuntu To Switch To systemd

inhuman_4 Re:Good...? (279 comments)

not bear fruit for a very long time (ex. embedded)

Don't be so quick to count embedded guys out yet. While there isn't much in systemd itself, but as I understand it it will integrate well with kdbus. And kdbus (I think) plans to support QNX style "yield CPU to destination" type message passing. Which is a very nice feature for realtime systems.

about 2 months ago
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Star Trek Economics

inhuman_4 Its Possible (888 comments)

I know it sounds loopy but I think he has a fair point

People's wants are infinite but people also want free time to enjoy themsevles. People are only willing to work so hard for their wants.

If you look at how far things have some in the last 500 years, the amount of stuff provided by the government even in capitalist countries is incredible. Basic literacy was once limited to the elites, disease was rampant. Yet today here in Canada, 1/3 of the population will get a high school diploma, 1/3 a college diploma, and 1/3 a university degree or higher. Healthcare is provided by the government. So what happens when the GDP per Capita continues to grow? In real terms it was $30k in 1994 and stands at $40k in 2011, what will it be like in 2100? What does a country with a $100k GDP per Capita look like?

I don't think that it is unreasonable to think that at some point the level of services provided by the government will be high enough that many people will choose not to work. And instead spending their time on other pursuits. The maginal benefit you gain from going from just government services to a full time job just would be enough for some people. Now obviously not everyone will do this, some poeple will always strive for more. But some people will.

Imagine if you had the choice between $60,000 a year from the government, but $100,000 if you got a full time job. In dollar terms the marginal benefit is $40,000. But at $60,000 you already have enough for the comforts you already enjoy like food, clothes, TV, Internet, vacations, etc. Would you really work 40hrs a week for a little more comfort, or would you take all of that extra time you have been afforded and persure your passion, or spend time with your kids?

about 2 months ago
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A Dedicated Shell For Git Commands

inhuman_4 Or just use an IDE (96 comments)

Or you could just use an IDE like Vim, Eclipse, NetBeans, etc. that can handle git via plugins. If you are using git enough that you need an interactive shell, you might as well just integrate it with your development enviroment.

about 2 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

inhuman_4 Re:Gender Balance (545 comments)

The question is: how would society gain anything from that?

There are two arguments being made to support equality in gender ratios. A) A bigger pool of applicants means a higher quality workforce. B) Equality is an end in itself.

Because it seems rather clear that getting women with the right talents to jobs where productivity largely depends on talent and can be quite high with the right people (of which there is a shortage) is a move that helps society.

But surely there are women who have the right talents for these dangerous jobs! Most likely the death rates in these industries would fall if high quality women would replace the lowest quality men. And isn't saving lives a social good?

And as far as the shortage theory goes, some people working on oil rigs or the tar sands make money on par with programmers without having to get an education. There is a huge shortage of labour in the Alberta Tar Sands.

about 3 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

inhuman_4 Gender Balance (545 comments)

According to the BLS 95% of workplace deaths are men, even though men make up only slightly more than half of the workforce. So how come there is no push to get women in high risk jobs, like oil wells, private security companies, mining, etc?

It's got nothing to do with gender balance. It's about feminists finding things to rail against.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Graphene towers promise 'flexi-electronics'

inhuman_4 inhuman_4 writes  |  about a year ago

inhuman_4 (1294516) writes "It can support 50,000 times its own weight, springs back into shape after being compressed by up to 80% and has a density much lower than most comparable metal-based materials. A new superelastic, three-dimensional form of graphene can even conduct electricity, paving the way for flexible electronics, researchers say."
Link to Original Source
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How Linus Torvalds Helped Bust a Microsoft Patent

inhuman_4 inhuman_4 writes  |  about 2 years ago

inhuman_4 (1294516) writes "Last December, Microsoft scored a victory when the ITC Administrative Law Judge Theodore R. Essex found that Motorola had violated four Microsoft patents. But the ruling could also eliminate an important Microsoft software patent that has been invoked in lawsuits against Barnes & Noble and car navigation device-maker Tom Tom.

According to Linus Torvalds, he was deposed in the case this past fall, and apparently his testimony about a 20-year-old technical discussion — along with a discussion group posting made by an Amiga fan, known only as Natuerlich! — helped convince the Administrative Law Judge that the patent was invalid."

Link to Original Source

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