top Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland
We found TARS!
top Curiosity Detects Mysterious Methane Spikes On Mars
So you're saying the US likes to hit it and quit it?
top For Now, UK Online Pirates Will Get 4 Warnings -- And That's It
I already pay $10 a month for Spotify and $8 a month for Netflix. I am uncomfortable with the DRM and try to download full albums when I like them rather than just a song from them, but for most of my listening Spotify is great. I would happily pay four times what I pay Netflix if there was an equivalent selection of movies and TV, and equivalent good performance. Right now Netflix's selection is really limited, and there are occasional streaming problems (Amazon's streaming service is complete garbage compared to it though), though it's still worth the $8 a month. But I'd pay much more for a good selection and good streaming performance, even with the delay of waiting until the theater run ends. But nothing comes close to the performance of the torrents, so even though I'd gladly pay a few bucks per movie, there's nobody to pay to.
top "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In
I'm one of those people who actually find air travel convenient. The annoyances of check-in and the TSA (I always opt out of the scan) and having your partner have to drive you to the airport really pale in comparison to the huge amount of time and energy saved compared to driving. I can even sleep on an airplane and read in line at the gate. Road trips are fun if you're travelling in company, but if you're travelling alone, flying is so much more convenient.
top Study: People Would Rather Be Shocked Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts
I love to think alone, but if I had participated in this study I'm sure I would have been like, sure, give me the shock, I'll take my fee and save 15 minutes. I have better things to do with my time. That might involve thinking on my own as I walk or drive away, but there's not much point hanging around their waiting room....
top New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure
The tradeoff is flexibility. Android apps can replace the SMS app, camera, launcher, etc. On a desktop system, the ultimate in flexibility, any "app" can look at all the files in your homedir. Privacy and flexibility are opposite design goals unfortunately. Maybe that'll change in the future but right now that's how it is.
top New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure
That would be terrible from a usability perspective. UAC prompts all over the place for every single thing an app might do. This way at least it's all managed up front in one place at app install time (or by third-party tools separately).
top Facebook Refuses To Share Employee Race and Gender Data
You're making a basic fallacy, and I am amazed that though you have given the matter enough thought to come up with your above rant, you have not discovered it.
Affirmative action only matters at admissions, not further. Whether a minority student is accepted to a medical school or law school or whatever to fill a quota, they will come out the other end of that program unless they pass the highly rigorous standards. A medical student cannot be certified in the US without passing all 3 steps of the USMLE, and a residency. So you can trust your doctor or your lawyer, whatever their race. They earned their spot, and quotas didn't matter a damn when they had to sit their exams.
Having those quotas in place is great, because it undoes generations' worth of racism that today manifests itself in socio-economic status. Affirmative action is actively trying to undo all the harm that racism and segregation have done in the past. If you are born African-American or Hispanic, you are likely to be born poorer. The police will treat you differently. Doors will be closed to you that are not to Caucasians. We need programs like Affirmative Action in place to undo all the harm that has been caused and continues to be caused.
And out on the job market? You think race doesn't matter, and that it's all academic. Well there are countless studies that have shown that the same resume will get treated differently if submitted under a different name - a "white-sounding" name will get a lot more calls back than a "black-sounding". Extremely so - sometimes the black names (again, same resumes) will get no calls back for 15 calls back for white names.
Racism is unfortunately well alive. Today it is mostly subconscious but it is still really harmful. From the fact that you gave this matter enough thought to come up with your rant above, and yet not discover the basic logical fallacy in it, though you seem otherwise intelligent, makes me think you have quite a bit of subconscious racism left too. It's okay if you do, many people do, especially if they are of the privileged class and never have to question their assumptions, or have cause to notice how all the doors that were open for them are not open for the unprivileged in their society. But the first step to fixing it is realizing it.
top The Ways Programming Is Hard
I was having a conversation earlier today about this with a friend. Clearly this guy finds programming overwhelming, is likely to write hacky code, deals with pressure the wrong way, and concludes that everything is just broken. Maybe he's just too immature and it'll get better later, maybe he would just be happier in another field. A good engineer should not deal with the code quality vs time tradeoff by writing crappy code all the time. If he can't write maintainable code in the given timeframe, then either he is too slow or not standing up for the quality of the codebase. Either way, bad outcome. It seems to me that behind the hyperbole, he really has this view that is more appropriate to hacking away in the college computer lab than to real engineering. I don't particularly want to hire someone who dreams in code or works 80-hour weeks and cuts corners until his code is a mess. I would rather hire someone who gets the big picture of engineering. I think if he worked in a real coding shop (one where there are code reviews, and issues of style differences never even enter into the picture because you follow the group's coding style) he would get a better picture. But I guess when 9 out of 10 startups do embody the culture he describes... Thing is, 9 out of 10 startups also fail. When he described the failed bridge project- that kind of attitude doesn't cut it for long in software engineering either. But since he believes that's inevitable, it makes me think that's how he'd act.
top Band Releases Album As Linux Kernel Module
lol. Stereotypes aside, I went to school with the guy in the middle and I can assure you he graduated with a CS degree (U of Washington), and all the undergrad computer labs ran Linux. Matter of fact I think he took a capstone that was about writing a linux FS driver. It's nice to see him pursuing his passion of music... I would have had no idea if I hadn't clicked through to your pic and spotted his name.
top Samsung Galaxy Glass Patent Plans To Turn Fingers Into a Keyboard
I think this is one of those technologies, like ebooks, or smartphones, that all geeks imagined in their heads growing up (at least, those who grew up before ebooks and virtual reality goggles with keyboards, etc.) - so I'm glad it's finally here! None of the ingredients are revolutionary, it just needs to happen.
top Bugatti 100P Rebuilt: The Plane That Could've Turned the Battle of Britain
Except the Germans' problem throughout the war was not technology (they had models more advanced than British planes at different points) but production. The British were able to consistently out-produce them in fighters and trained pilots. There were close runs for the British (nearly a shortage of fighter pilots during the heaviest part of the Battle of Britain) but the German losses in men and materiel in proportion to their production were consistently higher throughout the war, and the difference only kept increasing in Britain's favour.
top Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?
I used to think like that until somebody's comment put it into perspective. The average worker's screw-up can cost the company X dollars. The average CEO's screw-up can cost the company a thousand times that, can tank the company. I find it reasonable that people be paid to do their jobs without mistake in proportion with the responsibility they bear - paying for risk rather than achievement. However, I also think that by this standard, military officers and commanders should be much much more highly paid.
top Computer Geeks As Loners? Data Says Otherwise
IDK, maybe it's just that I work at a mature company, but all but 1-2 of the tech geeks I know are happily married. Just comparing the marriages of my technical vs ops-type coworkers it's clear that the technical ones have an edge. That's data; for the money, my speculative opinion is that geeks select pretty hard on their relationships, and work hard to make them perfect and take joy in every little thing, as with so many other things in life. It fits with their personality. Second, they don't tend to have mid-life crises as their life satisfaction tends to go only upward from about their mid-twenties. And finally, many of them value stability and what's working great over chasing some unrealizable ideal. And you know what else? The extroverted geeks tend to have great single lives before their relationship. The only thing is that the single life for introverted geeks kind of sucks, because they never develop a rich enough social life.
top A Dedicated Shell For Git Commands
Not to mention, git-sh seems far more useful (succinct, and doesn't use any weird syntax) than this one.
top Elementary OS 0.2 "Luna" Released
My company mandated use of the installed OS on our macbooks, so I've had to run OS X instead of Linux these last 2-3 years. No terminal program I've tried other than xterm seems to be able to support double-click to select, right-click to extend, middle-click to paste. Most support the first and third only. This is so basic if you've used an xterm any amount of time. Focus follows mouse is not supported by most tools either. If you install xterm/xquartz, the fonts are crappy on retina displays, and x didn't play well with spaces. You also can't reserve an area of the screen (I used to reserve the bottom 100-200 pixels on my linux desktop and extend only my xterm there so I could keep an eye on logs and processes while running a browser). Finally, there is no window switching, only app switching, and window switching in between app windows. All told the OS X desktop is a mess, especially if you've ever really productively used an xterm.
These things are daily annoyances, and I hate them so much. Even Windows (well, I haven't used 7) used to be better. For some reason though, only Linux desktops get all of these things right -- effortlessly. The crap they don't get right is bells and whistles I never ever use and just get in my way. Linux on the desktop has been complete and effortless for me since around 2007 - previously I recall wifi problems and such, but since then it's been fine. Everything else has blown massively.
about a year and a half ago
top First California AMBER Alert Shows AT&T's Emergency Alerts Are a Mess
Sure, you're modded as insightful because we love to think of all federal government initiatives as security theatre. But this article cites no actual statistics to the contrary. Its entire premise seems to be that child abduction is rare, and law enforcement often can't get an alert out within three hours, therefore "probably" the system is useless. Seriously, it cites no actual numbers as to the effectiveness of the system, and uses the word "probably" and pure rhetoric (i.e. bullshit) a lot. If the same article was changed around so that the author appeared to be a law enforcement spokesman and the conclusions were just reversed, we'd all be picking it apart as bullshit.
Everyone already knew this system was being rolled out for an extremely rare type of crime. Society decided (yes, it did, that's why the media hype launched this in the first place) that the crime was bad enough that no matter how rare, we wanted a system to help mitigate it. Yes, society can be emotional like that, but that is no reason in itself to condemn the system. I want to see actual numbers, not bullshit opinion pieces.
about a year and a half ago
top Thomas Drake Innocent of All Ten Original Charges
Not for all that long. Asquith broke their power against the Commons and New Labour took away their judicial role. I was saddened to see the latter happen.
top Linus Renames 2.6.40 Kernel To Linux 3.0, Announces Release Candidate
Is this just his way of dealing with mid-life crisis?
top Flight 447 'Black Box' Decoded
This is probably a very stupid question, but I'd still be grateful if an expert could chime in.
It's not hard to detect big storms, either from land-based radar or aircraft-based radar. If we can do that, then why can't we just fly around them? Sure, it'll mean a long delay, but modern airliners are bound to have enough fuel to cope with it, and being late but safe is probably a good tradeoff for most people. After all, 50 years ago, flights were regularly delayed due to bad weather -- I mean by days -- so why can't we tolerate, say, a 6-hour delay in a transatlantic flight to evade a storm?
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