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TSA Facing Death By a Thousand Cuts

pankajmay Re:TSA Disgraces (493 comments)

And so have republicans in this country. What's your point?

more than 2 years ago
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Technical Glitch Lets Reporters Eavesdrop On Obama, Sarkozy

pankajmay Re:Glitch? (411 comments)

I totally agree with PCM2's comments.
Everyone has a bias - including the journalists.
Often when one comes across a really effective journalistic piece - it is not simply a report of the facts, but there is a fair bit of investigation and structural thought applied by the journalist.
By the standards of everyone-out-with-everything-literally standards people would be deluged with way too much information that will be irrelevant; without context (how will you tell whether a person making a remark really meant it or was just doing it for conversation facilitation?) and will lend towards a sound byte that can be effectively damaging outside context.

If you do not understand this -- then consider yourself in a relatable example -- you perhaps go out with your coworkers to a bar after work to socialize and commisurate by using statements like "Hate my work today" -- would you like the same statement be used against you by your employer? Does that have any bearing to your real feelings about your job in general?

As long as journalists apply the same judiciousness in their judgement; and meticulously remain vigilant to subtract their bias (as much as possible) -- I think things would be fine.

It is not so much as a pithy simplistic saying about sausages -- but rather a careful complex interplay of personality interaction and gaining trust that allows things to get done.

more than 2 years ago
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New IMF Head Says US Must Raise Debt Limit, or Face 'Nasty Consequences'

pankajmay Re:Cheap theater (932 comments)

You obviously lap up the right propaganda and spew it all confused and wrapped up in your own world and view of events.
The June 2011 economics analysis data shows that the US has actually been much better than its target deficit reduction for 2011 -- in effect so much so that the US is fully expected to achieve its deficit reduction targets for 2012 with no need to take "harsher" decisions. Perhaps you would like to read the reports on Economic indicators before firing off your words.

The Government didn't bail out the banks because it was fully tied up with the fat cats; the Government had NO choice but to facilitate the bailout, because BANKS ARE INTERCONNECTED, hence so were the millions of mortgages, loans, debts, and receipts. Had AIG collapsed in the free market style -- the shock would have been so strong to the economy that we would really have needed an event like WWII to rescue us out of it.

And don't forget -- the bailout program was actually done in the last days of President G.W. Bush.

And the US is not like your family that you need to lecture about "cutting" spending and lecture on prudent usage of resources. YES that needs to be done -- but you are holding the fragile recovery hostage by holding the debt ceiling limit steady. If the US' AAA credit rating is harmed due to this posturing the interest will pile up so fast that it will end up increasing your debt, and such a strong shock to the economy that it will take decades to recover.

But the biggest reason is that with such posturing, the US will no longer whet the appetite of risk averse investors. In effect, money that used to come back here in case of global crises will no longer come back here. With this trust erosion the US will lose its dominance in the Global Economy. Which other country will step in? We do not know for sure, but the fact is that US will not be able to reclaim that title because of its own fragile recovery -- the net effect; you can say bye-bye to US leverage and capital influence.
So get your head out of that all-knowing sand hole, read the actual Economic data before you throw around your wisdom!

more than 2 years ago
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Sunlight Foundation Announces 'Sarah's Inbox'

pankajmay Re:Can we please... (227 comments)

At least you acknowledge she is a nitwit.
And of course, a nitwit would drive leftwing moonbats insane... I mean wouldn't you be driven insane when asked to debate someone, who is more adept at bullying and refuse to accept criticism with dignity and reply to it with logical coherency instead of accusing a conspiracy theory?

Oh wait, you are the typical American nitwit who stands for the underdog with no thought. You fit right in with her.

more than 2 years ago
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Sunlight Foundation Announces 'Sarah's Inbox'

pankajmay Re:Worth it? (227 comments)

She is someone who is a role model, and has lead a good life.

There are people who can't stand that, it reminds them of how little they've done. So they try to tear it down.

Oh seriously! Come on man... espouse her all you want, but elevating her demagoguery to the status of a role-model?

Look, I am not a big fan of either party - but lets call a spade a spade here shall we!
She was just present at the right place at the right time. Are there qualities in her worth appreciating? Sure.
But remember she is just another politician -- and you always gotta have a healthy skepticism towards them. They are your public servants; not the other way around.
There are millions of women - both the regular and famous - in America that have led a life far greater in stature than Palin. Palin is just another American who is managing the challenge of family and work -- millions of working women do this everyday.
And don't forget by your definition - even Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton are great role models -- even if I suspect they belong to a party whose views you disagree with.
So tone it down... Debate the policies, don't hate the person! And perhaps look up to more lofty examples of role models -- Mother Teresa, Helen Keller.

more than 2 years ago
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Sunlight Foundation Announces 'Sarah's Inbox'

pankajmay Re:Can we please... (227 comments)

I would like to introduce you to Joe Biden, Vice President and first in line to become POTUS. . . . . You were saying?

Are you freaking kidding me? Are you so enamored by Palin that you refuse to see any of her follies?

Perhaps you should re-watch the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate.

more than 2 years ago
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Schema.org — Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! Agree On Markup Vocabulary

pankajmay Re:Why? (192 comments)

XML, XSD, XSLT and XSLT-FO

Which of those have anything to do with semantics?

True, more to do with structure than semantics, but usually semantics can be derived from structure, if the structure is meaningful.

For example: <Thing> <Place> <Volcano></Volcano></Place></Thing> . . .


A meaningful structure in XML can itself lead to semantics. XSLT, XSL-FO can then just transform it to whatever flavor.

What I am trying to understand here is that -- why do we have to micro-annotate everything? Can't search engines/browsers do lookup of commonly found words and figure out context on their own with their AI algorithms. Web designers can provide a little nudge or help where its needed to parse difficult structure.

Leaving every semantic detail open to coding will further exacerbate the problem of verbosity, not to mention obfuscation for the human in order to enable it to be parsed by the machines. Shouldn't machines/algorithms do the heavy work here than the web designers?

more than 2 years ago
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Schema.org — Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! Agree On Markup Vocabulary

pankajmay Why? (192 comments)

Can someone explain to me why there is a need for a separate metadata vocabulary?
Wasn't this the issue that XML, XSD, XSLT and XSLT-FO supposed to address? Document verbiage aside, don't these families adequately cover the issue of structure, and semantics?
If the issue is to teach the browser/search engine, the document semantics -- can't they (MS,Yahoo,Google) actually parse XML for common dictionary words and build semantics themselves? Why make humans do all the tedious annotations? They can probably publish standard XSD for people to structure XMLs... no?

more than 2 years ago
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The Future of Shopping

pankajmay Re:This isn't about customer experience (163 comments)

Fine. Hide your paranoia by feigning to be insulted by the commenter, while you blatantly berate a technology without ever giving it a proper chance. This is /. you know -- we geeks always defend technology and take an unfair assessment of one personally.

Now lets address your points --

  • Produce
  • : Every Stop and Shop; Shaws; Dave's; around here is sprinkled with weigh scales for produce that instantly spit out a bar code print label. You should try one of these. Hopefully a big colorful touch screen with pictures of produce buttons on it is not too much to handle.

  • Human Employees with Machines
  • : People who use this reasoning miss the entire point about technology. The whole point is to replace mindless tasks with machines, so humans could be better augmented and utilized at tasks that machines are not good at. You think the person mindlessly checking out is building their skill set? In fact, I would say that they are better off -- perhaps it will force them to acquire new skills that can be effectively leveraged. I find this American attitude of lamenting the loss of low skilled jobs particularly amusing. What did you think? The burger flipping job you got of high school should be enough to last you a lifetime. That is not a mark of nation with leadership, but rather a signal of stagnation. Change is eternal. Change is good. Americans should be at the forefront of this, and thankfully due to many geeks, nerds -- we have been until now. While I concede there is a lack of human interaction with the checkout person, but then the same technology has now given you ways to connect with people not imaginable even a couple of decades ago.

My sincerest request to you is to give it another chance. Try the self-checkout again --- if not for the reasoning proposed here, then for the sheer sake of challenging your set of beliefs; discovering something new; or perhaps for coming up with a cogent reason rather than the 'bullshit in person' subjective bias.

more than 2 years ago
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The Insidious Creep of Latency Hell

pankajmay Re:I noticed this (297 comments)

This issue is exactly why it is worth paying attention in those academic classes that are frequently labelled as out-of-touch with real world. (refer -- countless /. news articles on this).
Introduction to Algorithms, Data structures and advanced algorithms; and the math behind them. Unfortunately since the barrier to entry is so low in today's environment (Hey look I can code --- that is enough) and that coupled with the quest to recruit brute force programmers and not thinkers have led to this mess today where even though we have faster machines, the end result is actually a degraded experience.
Couple this with (to some extent artificially created by programming environments...) trade-off between maintainability and performance, and the situation gets even worse.
And of course combine this with legacy code -- even when written with best intentions, might have faster solutions today OR the legacy code worked well for a few hundred datasets, but you have millions of them today -- scalability issues and the reluctance to leave behind what works.

Finally -- in today's world -- we have an explosion of data -- it's data, data everywhere, but a lot of our tools and programming constructs still have an antiquated view of data -- processing it serially chunk by chunk.
So, it is a lot of factors that have come together to create this issue. The resolution: Computer Scientists need to go back to basics and build concepts of data storage, access, and processing from scratch. And the realization that there is a difference between people who can code, and people who can look at a solution holistically.
For example -- not every representation of a solution of a problem captures the solution space well. Choosing a solution representation as opposed to a naiive approach can make orders of magnitudes difference between hitting the target within well defined bounds, versus having unbounded solutions that never approach a significantly better phase.

more than 2 years ago
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Could You Pass Harvard's Entrance Exam From 1869?

pankajmay Re:you're all liars (741 comments)

Predictably, half the comments here reply, "Oh, wow, this test is easy except the Latin/Greek because that's not important!"

Well, bullshit on all counts.

(1) The purpose of learning Latin and ancient Greek is not to enable you to speak Latin and ancient Greek. They've already been dead languages for millennia and they were arguably even more dead then (Greece being even less relevant). It's an exercise in the study of language and of foundations of European culture and literature. You don't get the same experience by learning "Japanese for anime fans".

Now I mostly agree with what you say in your remaining post - except this highlighted part here. This may seem like nit-picking but humor me here. While I have no doubt that Latin and Greek give you amazing insight into Occident culture, and even into origins of English words for that matter -- I am though always perplexed that there is little to no testing on oriental culture or languages. Languages like Sanskrit, Chinese, and Japanese have a very rich cultural heritage that deserves a place equal in stature to that accorded to Latin and Greek.

Perhaps it is just as well that the era of such testing has passed. With a slightly more accessible English language, "the other side" of the world is able to point out that the insight provided by Latin and Greek are not the only ones. It maybe "Japanese for anime fans" -- frivolous and trifle it may seem; but it probably provides a perspective missing in Latin and Greek. You cannot trivialize the gain of such a perspective, even if your point about learning Latin and Greek is valid.

P.S: English is not my first language, nor my second for that matter.

about 3 years ago
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No U.S. Government Shutdown This Week

pankajmay Re:not sure who they represent (385 comments)

Sorry, but you're wrong there. I love Planned Parenthood. I agree they do good work and I hope they keep on doing it. Unfortunately, they also provide abortions. I have a problem with that. I know you think abortions are a good thing, but I don't Not only do the majority of tax payers agree with me, but federal law also states that it funding abortions is forbidden.... lots and lots of rambling

How do you know that the majority of tax payers agree with you? Is it just because it is your favourite cause? Rather, how can you even speak on behalf of the "majority" of tax payers? It's bull**** like this that makes me cringe.

I am presuming from your posts that you are a man... Why the f*** do men even decide to take a stand on abortion and intensely at that? Shouldn't you defer it to the women? Let them decide... For fuck's sake --- they go through all the trouble, and with all the flag-waving-freedom-laced-slogans that should be clear that it is *their* body and they have the right to decide whatever they want to with it. Freedom is not about -- "Hey here is freedom as long as I do not have any vested cause in your freedom".

No Vagina... no opinion!

about 3 years ago
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New Book Reveals Apple's Steve Jobs Was First Choice for Google CEO

pankajmay Re:Surprised Jobs Didn't Steal Something... (167 comments)

Bullying and walking over people is never an asset in a civilized society. Only about 2% of people are like that, and they cause almost all of the problems....

.

You are being a bit delusional here, confusing an ideal (should be...) with reality (what is..). What you state may be true, but bullying and walking over people are almost as necessary to this society as the lack of it. What do you think the police/military do? In fact, bullying/lack of order/law of the jungle was one of the reasons for development of religion - a legacy that has now become more a burden than benefit.
And by the way, where do you get that 2% figure from? Sources?

Most humans, despite the beliefs to the contrary are more or less decent people, there's just this nasty tendency towards confirmation bias that makes it seem otherwise. People tend to be social and without those 1-2% individuals that behave like that, I'm really not convinced that people would behave like that.

This has only happened in recent history and with the advent of strict societal structure, and consistent standards. Until we decided that it was best to cooperate for the combined existence/propagation of our species. We are like any other animal on this earth, and evolution gives ample proof that survival of the fittest is the name of the game.
Yes, most humans -- hell, in fact most organisms are more or less decent in disposition, but the definition of "decency" varies widely even amongst humans -- my definition of decency may not jive with yours or may even be downright offensive. It may be true, that modern humans more or less share a common standard of decency but even amongst us that standard varies quite a bit -- this is why we have cultural differences, and governing differences.

You do realize that psychology isn't actually science, right? And that argumentum ad hominems just make you look like a dumbass.

And your proof for psychology not being a science being? You do realize that your statement is almost as unsubstantiated as you accuse your parent's to be. And that last sentence you added in the above -- what is that if not bullying? Care to practice what you preach? Or do you belong to the other "2%"?

Perhaps the biggest counter-proofs to your statements is the tone in which discussions are held on /. Your own reply is a perfect example.

I would rather say that most people are more emotional rather than decent -- you appeal to those emotions in just the right way (read as manipulate) and even the most supposedly "decent" people will go on to commit heinous crimes -- even more so as a group.

about 3 years ago
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BP Loses Laptop With Oil-Spill Claimants' Personal Info

pankajmay Re:It seems to be just a loss (137 comments)

What makes you so sure that the info is encrypted on the laptop? Are you assuming that it is? Does the article state that it is?

I said there is a high probability not that I am completely sure. Are you aware of how organizations work with their IT infrastructure? Or do you just think that they buy computer stuff and distribute it to their employees?
Any big organization will have a plan in place for such an event as this -- it is fairly common to expect that laptops can be stolen/misplaced. And that I can be 100% sure that they have some procedure and definitely some protection layers for the data.

I stated this in my last post -- perhaps read a little more before getting a sound-byte in?

about 3 years ago
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RIAA Lobbyist Becomes Federal Judge, Rules On File-Sharing Cases

pankajmay Re:Are they not teaching basic civics any more? (333 comments)

You raise a very important point to my post above. And I believe your point has to be taken into account.

However, I believe that this case is bound to go above the level of district courts and out of her hands, on appeal or otherwise. An important questions that bothers me is that Time Warner, and others probably knew the Judge's name and obviously her past connections -- why didn't they file an appeal for conflict of interest before her memorandum?

But nevertheless they probably still have the option now.

As far as the question of anonymity is concerned, I am not sure where the right balance is. Can the right to anonymity be stripped if an involved party shows evidence of physical harm done? Where do you have a reasonable expectation to remain anonymous and where do you cross the line into identification?

/.'s system also recognizes that taking responsibility of speech is an important factor, there is a reason why it is called Anonymous Coward, and why the default score starts at 0.

Nevertheless, a lot of such questions need to be answered by the courts, especially in the new paradigm of technological shift.

about 3 years ago
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RIAA Lobbyist Becomes Federal Judge, Rules On File-Sharing Cases

pankajmay Re:appearance of bias (333 comments)

Ummmm. That is not the point. Whether she acted biased or not, she should have excused herself from the case. If nothing more then to avoid the appearance of bias. It's basic procedures in a non-corrupt system.

True, and I do not deny that. But it is important to actually read her opinion too before we come to a conclusion that she has obviously acted in a biased way. Note that I do not make any assertion as to her pre-existing bias in this case, I merely wrote a factual post that contains excerpt from her opinion, noting that her decision does not appear to be an overt bias.

about 3 years ago
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BP Loses Laptop With Oil-Spill Claimants' Personal Info

pankajmay Re:It seems to be just a loss (137 comments)

What happens before the laptop in question comes online?

As I said earlier, I am sure that the info is encrypted on the laptop -- it will probably be inaccessible without a proper key. And if the machine comes on, they will be able to wipe it before the OS loads.

Big organizations usually do hedge for such scenarios and have precautions and procedures in place in such events. You don't think they supply their executives with plain vanilla laptop with Windows on it with no serious authentication measures?

about 3 years ago
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BP Loses Laptop With Oil-Spill Claimants' Personal Info

pankajmay Re:It seems to be just a loss (137 comments)

Indeed. No doubt they put a copy of this data on every laptop, and keep in a public server somewhere so anyone can copy it, so they always have many copies around just in case something like this happens. /eyeroll

The issue was never that they might no longer have access to the data. The issue is that they aren't doing a particularly good job of making sure not everyone has access to the data.

You would never know that with the ruckus everyone here was raising at the start of the thread. And by the way - you conveniently ignored the fact that they are doing damage control.

If the data is sensitive, it shouldn't be copied, it should be accessible in such a way that they can do this without requiring an individual copy of the entire database on the laptop. Alternately, if this isn't feasible for the task that needs to be done on that laptop, then much higher levels of security should be required and extra care should be taken to ensure that the machines that do have the data are not stolen or lost.

This is only "nothing out of the ordinary" is the sense that irresponsible behavior and gross negligence are nothing out of the ordinary at BP.

There is a lot of difference between theory and practice. You would know that if you work for a big organization. I am not condoning the lack of precautions on the executive's part -- the executive needs to reprimanded properly, but all I am saying is that this stuff happens.
True BP may be bad and evil, but this does not mean that every incident is a sinister plan unless proven otherwise. You are coloring the incident with your own biases and opinion about the company.

And as far as the laptop is concerned -- almost all such companies have multiple layers of security to log on to such machines. The machine is probably encrypted by default and will be erased as soon as its turned on. (There usually is a pre-Operating System level locking)

This leads to my original opinion that if a machine is turned on by a novice, it will be wiped out immediately. Unless someone who is determined to get at this data acquires it, and I am almost 100% sure that the data is stored on the HDD encrypted. (Why? Because almost all organizations with sensitive customer info need to)

about 3 years ago
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BP Loses Laptop With Oil-Spill Claimants' Personal Info

pankajmay It seems to be just a loss (137 comments)

It seems they do have a copy of the data (the original article alludes to that) -- so this is in effect just a loss of a laptop that contained a copy of this data.

Shit happens! Seems like they are doing appropriate damage control (by offering free credit monitoring to affected people). And hopefully, as soon as it comes online if it gets turned on by a novice finder/stealer, it will be wiped/locked by the company's software agent.

Such data is usually copied by many on their laptops or devices so they can run some quick analyses or answer questions -- there is nothing out of the ordinary. It should be treated like any other company laptop loss, except in this case it had a copy of some rather news-worthy data.

about 3 years ago

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