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Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

lgw Re:school curriculums? (299 comments)

This language right here that you're reading? Not Latin. It's perfectly fine to use the English plural of English words, whatever language they're borrowed from (it's not like English has many words that weren't taken from another language). To do otherwise come across as pretentious pseudo-intellectualism, except perhaps in a formal context. Plus, most people end up embarrassing themselves with something like "octopi" when they try.

2 hours ago
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Microsoft Azure Outage Across the Globe

lgw Re:Yawn ... (165 comments)

The whole point of the cloud is to remove yourself from such long-term commitments

Not so much. The whole point of the cloud is to remove yourself from long-term IT salary commitments, really, and to be able to just write a check for dependable IT quality (which apparently Azure isn't selling this year). Companies that see their IT staff as reliable and inexpensive wonder what all this "cloud" nonsense is about, while companies who just write ever-larger checks to EDS et al and shit still breaks all the time in the data center see the cloud as a wonderful escape.

yesterday
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Profanity-Laced Academic Paper Exposes Scam Journal

lgw Re:A plus (132 comments)

Nice job. At first I thought the references at the end of the paper weren't used, but upon closer examination they were cited within the paper.

If I were in Academia, I'd be looking for the slightest excuse to cite this paper at every opportunity!

2 days ago
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Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

lgw Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (179 comments)

Still, the complaint is not that he doesn't do anything with the laws that the Congress passes, the complaint is that Congress doesn't pass any laws that address important issues.

No, the problem is that the congress has passed clear laws on the issue of immigration, but Obama doesn't like them. So he makes his own law through creative (lack of) enforcement.

âoeThere are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, to ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.â - Candidate Obama

""the biggest problems that we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. That is what I intend to reverse when I'm president of the United States of America." - Candidate Obama

2 days ago
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Top NSA Official Raised Alarm About Metadata Program In 2009

lgw Re:Not all spooks are bad (108 comments)

It's a widely accepted corollary to Godwin's law that the person who compares his opponent to Hitler or the Nazis has thereby lost the argument, as he clearly has run out of rational objections and moved on to argumentum ad Nazium.

2 days ago
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Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

lgw Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (179 comments)

Congress has abdicated its responsibility to serve the public interest by openly declaring that it will oppose any initiative by the President just for spite.

Open declaration? Surely you have a link to the speech about "just for spite"? You're not just making that up, right?

Even so, the congress has that power under the Constitution. The Congress is in charge of America, per the Constitution. The President, as leader of the executive has the job of executing the laws created by Congress, you know, the legislative branch, the lawmakers.

It's no wonder that he's forced to seek alternative solutions to get anything done.

It's his job to "get done" those laws that the Congress passes. Simply choosing not to enforce those laws because he doesn't like them is rather the opposite of his job. As the leader of the Democratic party, OTOH, he had a different path for many years to "get stuff done", a constitutional one! The American voters deliberately took that power away in the recent election, if you believe that democracy is important.

2 days ago
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Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

lgw Re: I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stre (179 comments)

Which is all good in theory... until the parliament/congress becomes more interesting with infighting and navel gazing than actually improving the country.

If there's no strong consensus as to the best way to improve the country, better to do nothing that try something that "seemed good at the time". But in any case inaction is better than ignoring the Constitution.

And if it takes an unconstitutional tyrant to get us back on the proper track, so be it

Has there ever, ever been an unconstitutional tyrant who seized control for the betterment of the governed? I can think of a couple of cases where someone seized power militarily, then went on to create a constitution and parliament, rare as that is, but "El Presidente for Life"? Not so much.

I'm sure you'll have no regrets if a hyper-religious-conservative ends up with tyrannical control? Because you really think the problem is democracy, rather than getting your way, right?

2 days ago
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Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

lgw Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (179 comments)

Method matters. Obama's actions are appaling and well on the way to destroying the country for reason that have nothing to do with immigration. Immigration is a distraction at this point.

It's the constitutional issues that matter - it's been 800 years of wars to establish in Western culture that parliaments, not kings, are ultimately in charge. Ignoring the will of Congress and just making proclamations is a serious structural problem. Now we'll see if congress will do anything about this, or simply give up their position as a co-equal branch of government.

The House has the power to stop anything the government does, but they would have to actually take a stand for once. I'm not holding my breath for that: the idea that a majority of congresscritters would actually care more about governing than fundraising --- well, it's hard to take seriously.

2 days ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

lgw Re:So close, so far (546 comments)

Can you point out some of the special treatment that feminists are asking for, with a citation of them asking for it? I think you are making this shit up because every mainstream feminist I have read or listened to is just interested in equality.

Oh, you've missed the calls to fix the income inequality gap by just taxing men an extra 25% and giving it to women? You've missed the continuous refrain of every SJW ever that what offends women is all-important, but what offends just men is irrelevant? You've missed the suggestion that the best plan is to just kill 95% of men and jail the rest on an island somewhere so they can't cause any harm to real people? I see that kind of shit all the time.

But this says it all, really. (That's Jessica Valenti, of course, but the attitude expressed is common enough.)

Quality of opportunity is exactly what we all want. Try to help more women into IT not by favouring them, but by simply removing barriers to them even applying and letting the best candidate win.

Any evidence that there's actually a problem once women graduate? (Women being dissuaded from technical interests in middle and high school is a real and studied problem, of course.) All the companies I've worked for actually did favor women in the recruiting (but not interview) process. I've done plenty of "new college grad" interview days that the field of candidates that were flown in were 40-50% female, which sure as heck isn't the ratio of grads. We interview everyone the same of course, but every place I've been for the past decade has made a special effort to try to recruit women at the start of the process.

The only people who are offended are the ones being called out for defending the indefensible

Sure, by your definition accusations by a feminist have no possible defense, I guess? OTOH, painting the vast and diverse world of "gamers" with a stereotype that's only relevant to the few games that are predominately teenage boys is bigoted and unfair. (If your argument is "14-year-olds are rude and should behave better", you're preaching to the quire, also they should get off my lawn!)

attacks on anyone are not acceptable

... they say, and then go on to vigorously attack "gamers", starting a culture war that won't soon end.

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

lgw Re:Correct, although you are missing the obvious (95 comments)

Students give the University hush money, gets a slap on the hand "oh noez, no free wireless for up to a few months" and the University profits. Copyright holders are not seeing a penny of this money, Law enforcement is not prosecuting people for theft.

In what way is downloading copyrighted material any kind of crime? Is it even a tort?

Should the University fine rapists for profit and not turn them over to Law enforcement as well? Oh wait, this already happens in the US (if people are charged at all)

What are you on about? The standard for accusation at a US university is vastly below any judicial standard for rape. At some places, the accused isn't even given a chance to defend himself.

"Harvard's policy was written by people who think sexual assault is so heinous a crime that even innocence is not a defense." -- Alan Dershowitz

3 days ago
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Do Good Programmers Need Agents?

lgw Re:10x Productivity (215 comments)

Indeed. Being a top-notch developer is about making your team great.

3 days ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

lgw Re:So close, so far (546 comments)

No-one is asking for special treatment

Every third-wave feminist is, along with most SJWs.

which by practically every metric shows that women are at a disadvantage in society

They have every advantage in family law. There are colleges where men are just assumed guilty of any charge of sexual assault, and cannot even question their accusers in the adjudication process. There's no wage gap for those under about 35 if you adjust for hours worked. Sure, there are certainly still areas like "competitive power lifting" where women are at a disadvantage, but so what?

We (feminists) want everyone to be equal,

Clearly you don't. You say this a lot, some of you (others wear shirts saying "I bathe in male tears"), but then go on to claim that women need special treatment in one way or another.

Equality in society means equality of opportunity: the same rules apply to all, the same social services are available to all, blind to sex and race. It does not mean equality of outcome. Different individuals make different choices, and have different skills and abilities, and the very nature of liberty is that your success in life is influenced by all of that.

Everyone has the right to walk their own path to happiness. You don't get to define "success" for another, you can only measure it against what people chose to pursue in life. You also can't guarantee that people will succeed even there: some people pick a stupid path to their goal.

Even if "the woman" said gamers were werewolf pedophiles from Mars, the backlash from the community demonstrated that what she said was true

Ah, so it's the victim's fault then? 8 Gaming sites/magazines simultaneously published articles attacking "gamers", which is to say, their readers. It's not a leap to deduce that something is rotten in the state of gaming journalism.

The core issue here seems to actually be semantics, oddly enough. People have legitimate complaints about the culture of the tiny corner of gaming that includes CoD and similar games, and call those people "gamers". But anyone who plays Candycrush or WoW or that PvZ shooter or whatever 20+ hours a week is every bit as much a "hardcore gamer", and the overall population was incensed by the offensive stereotyping. Funny how that works.

3 days ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

lgw Re:I know this! (546 comments)

Did it also include a 3D init system? Something tells me I'd prefer that to systemd...

Sorry, system3d is two versions away.

3 days ago
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Microsoft Azure Outage Across the Globe

lgw Re:Yawn ... (165 comments)

If these are on 24x7 you're going to be paying through the nose

Check out he prices for EC2 reserved instances, if you know you'll need that server for 3 years. Prices are similar per core to buying entry-level Dell rackmount servers with 3-year support contracts. Of course, the physical Dell has more memory and disk than the VM with the same core count, so you come out ahead there if you needs lots of memory, or local disk, but not by a lot.

4 days ago
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Microsoft Releases Out-of-Band Security Patch For Windows

lgw Re: Better go kick WSUS into a sync... (176 comments)

I help develop and operate a service that makes a hefty sum by doing all those things you deride, implementation-wise. It all works quite well - well enough that if routing patching causes any customer-visible disruption, you're in for extensive analysis, paperwork, and perhaps ritual abasement before an angry VP.

Yes, yes, there are many technical problems involved with consuming "eventual consistency". In the 20th century these problems were seen as blocking, and anyway just buy a bigger DB server. But the 20th century was along time ago, and while there's still a need for a transactional store, most problems can be solved without one, given sufficient thought - and at sufficient scale, it's really worth figuring out how.

Not that safe patching is incompatible with SQL, of course. In my last job we routinely pushed patches to farms of many thousands of SQL servers, and again if there was any disruption visible to the mid-tier, important people would become seriously angry about that, and we didn't use fancy servers, beyond RAID controllers (and even that concession I abhorred). It's always safe for a single server to fail, or be rebooted for maintenance, and if two servers holding your primary copies of the same data should fail, you better have taken serious, well-reviewed steps in planning to limit the number of DBs affected and the minutes of data lost and the minutes until you're back up.

And even that, which was a nice system, feels outdated now that Amazon went and announced this, which productizes the modern SQL DB and wraps it up in a pretty bow. /jealous

4 days ago
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Microsoft Releases Out-of-Band Security Patch For Windows

lgw Re: Better go kick WSUS into a sync... (176 comments)

About 40% of my servers would have serious issues with that. From SAP systems to certain SQL jobs. That would be a resume writing event.

SAP? SQL? Party like it's 1999! For me, having it matter whether any given server suddenly fails would be a career limiting move. We push-restart patches to services every week or two, and if that affects a customer in any way TSHTF.

5 days ago
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Elusive Dark Matter May Be Detected With GPS Satellites

lgw Re:I see why the boson is a "God Particle" (67 comments)

"Quark nuggets" are ordinary?

Well, I guess that would be technically correct (the best kind of correct!) if true, since 85% of matter is whatever dark matter is. Our matter is the weird stuff.

5 days ago
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Elusive Dark Matter May Be Detected With GPS Satellites

lgw Re:I see why the boson is a "God Particle" (67 comments)

It can't be "ordinary baryonic matter": we know it doesn't interact with photons even at extreme energy densities, and we also know it doesn't move at or near the speed of light. Both are clear from the CMBR data.

5 days ago

Submissions

lgw hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Economics in Brief (Internet Flotsam)

lgw lgw writes  |  about 7 months ago

Here's some internet flotsam attributed to a graduation speech by Thomas Sargent (without digging into whether this speech really happened: the content is interesting).

Economics is organized common sense. Here is a short list of valuable lessons that our beautiful subject teaches.

1. Many things that are desirable are not feasible.

2. Individuals and communities face trade-offs.

3. Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts,
and their preferences than you do.

4. Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That
is why social safety nets don't always end up working as intended.

5. There are tradeoffs between equality and efficiency.

6. In an equilibrium of a game or an economy, people are satisfied with their
choices. That is why it is difficult for well meaning outsiders to change
things for better or worse.

7. In the future, you too will respond to incentives. That is why there are
some promises that you'd like to make but can't. No one will believe those
promises because they know that later it will not be in your interest to
deliver. The lesson here is this: before you make a promise, think about
whether you will want to keep it if and when your circumstances change.
This is how you earn a reputation.

8. Governments and voters respond to incentives too. That is why governments sometimes default on loans and other promises that they have made.

9. It is feasible for one generation to shift costs to subsequent ones. That is
what national government debts and the U.S. social security system do
(but not the social security system of Singapore).

10. When a government spends, its citizens eventually pay, either today or
tomorrow, either through explicit taxes or implicit ones like inflation.

11. Most people want other people to pay for public goods and government
transfers (especially transfers to themselves).

12. Because market prices aggregate traders' information, it is difficult to forecast stock prices and interest rates and exchange rates.

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Geothermal vs Solar Power

lgw lgw writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Here are the basic numbers on aailable geothermal vs solar power (since this has come up in discussion more than once).

The surface area of the Earth is about 5.1 x 10^14 m^2. The cross sectional area is about 1.3 x 10^14 m^2 (one quarter of the surface area, of course).

Per this paper found as a cite on wikipedia, the total heat flow out from the Earth's interior is 4.42 x 10^13 W, or 0.0867 W/m^2. Of course, the available power is much less because it's only the subsurface-surface temperature difference that's available.

Total solar irradience is 1361 W/m^2 by NASA's latest estimate (so about 1.7 x 10^17 W across the entire cross section), or about 1000 W/m^2 on the surface at noon on a cloudless day. Averaged over the day-night cycle (surface area vs cross-section, so 250 W/m^2), and taking clouds into account that's about 180 W/m^2 (I can't find a solid source on that yet, but it looks close).

So, total solar power flow is about 4000 times as large as total geothermal flow. I'm not quite sure how to estimate the (ideal) available power as a percentage of the total geothermal power flow, but if we use a WAG of 50%, then the available power from solar is also about 4000 times per square meter more than geothermal - significantly more if we average solar power only across populated latitudes.

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Global Warming Link

lgw lgw writes  |  more than 5 years ago

This is the best summary of the great global warming fraud I've yet seen, and published in the most unlikely of places.

To be told, as I have been, by Mr. Gore, again and again, that carbon dioxide is a grave threat to humankind is not just annoying, by the way, although it is that! To re-tool our economies in an effort to suppress carbon dioxide and its imaginary effect on climate, when other, graver problems exist is, simply put, wrong. Particulate pollution, such as that causing the Asian brown cloud, is a real problem. Two billion people on Earth living without electricity, in darkened huts and hovels polluted by charcoal smoke, is a real problem.

Although I feel Harold Ambler makes some good points, he misses what I've always felt was the most important. Given that the climate will change (as it always has), do we want it to be warmer, or colder? As glaciers covering Europe (the norm for the ice age we've been in for the past 100M years) seems to me far worse than rising sea levels, I've never understood why we'd want to fight warming in the first place.

I think the whole global warming fraud started by ignoring all of the available evidence and blindly asserting that the climate is naturally stable, so therefore if man did something to break that stability we'd be creating an otherwise-avoidable catastrophe. What BS. The only thing historically unprecedented is the inexplicable stability of the climate for the past 10K years. Change is unavoidable, with or without the actions of man.

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Some quotes I like

lgw lgw writes  |  more than 9 years ago

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged." - Abraham Lincoln

"Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me.'" - George Orwell

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