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Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

real gumby Oh Boo Hoo (267 comments)

Gosh, some advocates of a competing currency and libertarian fantasy are now cowed by competition? Say it ain’t so!

I’m rooting for some online cash to become viable, but don’t know if Bitcoin will be it (I suspect not since it has the same liquidity / shock issues as gold standards do) but let’s have a bunch of experiments and see what the market says.

5 days ago

Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

real gumby Re:I don't get it. (541 comments)

I think it’s because what constitutes “intellect” is so ill understood. It is uncontroversial that there is a genetic component — but what that component might be is at this point impossible to determine (since we don’t even know what the result — “intelligence” — means).

Now if we were just talking about suceptability to some disease (and as we learn more, a lot of diseases turn out to be clusters of different diseases with similar symptoms) that wouldn’t be a big deal. But even to strip the emotional/political issues out: this would be at best a premature optimization; to use genetics rather than, say, pulic schooling, as a measure of intellectual ability would be unlikely to lead to a good outcome (using a utilitarian definition of good: the smart people would be able to make stuff and help society in other ways).

about two weeks ago

FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

real gumby Re:Transparency (139 comments)

Any way you want to measure it, there's never been a more secretive administration in the US. And this from a president who promised "the most transparent administration in history".

When they said “most transparent” they were apparently talking about magnitude, not sign.

about a month ago

Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

real gumby Re:It's right there! (211 comments)

I was also 5 years old. I didn't really understand what the USA was but all of us were totally space mad (we would draw pictures of rockets and moon landers, but put Aussie flags on them). My parents got a TV just to see it. All of the landings were tremendously exciting. Even Apollo/Soyez was exciting.

I am sure the space program was the reason that as an older kid I thought of the US as the cool place where they just got awesome shit done. And I was quite happy to move to the States, and I live and work here now.

It's sort of sad that my kid considers the US the boring place and prefers to spend his time working in "dynamic" countries.

about a month ago

Robert McMillen: What Everyone Gets Wrong In the Debate Over Net Neutrality

real gumby Re:Everybody is wrong... (270 comments)

If your electric company was also a distributor for Anheuser Busch would you object if they charged more for electricity and let the voltage wander when your refrigerator was full of Stone smoked porter instead of Michelob?

Someone with a fridge full of Michelob is suffering enough already. I’d support legislation to cut ‘em a break.

about 2 months ago

X Window System Turns 30 Years Old

real gumby Re:1994-95 (204 comments)

...we had NeXt workstations. I do not remember if they used X11

NeXT machines used Display Postscript not X.

Am I old?

Not at all, though there are some younger people around.

about 2 months ago

Whom Must You Trust?

real gumby Re:Whom you trust ... ? (120 comments)

I think you misread the grammarbook entry.

All but the very end of her description is an unremarkable explanation of the accusative of “who”, which is a perfectly ordinary word.

Only at the end did she write, "This rule is compromised by an odd infatuation people have with whom”. And there she described a pretentious and incorrect usage. This is similar to people using “myself” when they mean “me” (then again, Emily Dickenson did this too).

I find it odd you would consider “whom” an unusual word. It’s certainly more common than, say, “frog”.

about 3 months ago

Silicon Valley's Love-Hate Relationship With President Obama

real gumby Re:codependent (131 comments)

Your comment is so far off base it should be modded +5, Funny.

That's great! In fact the comment has garnered an interesting assortment of Troll (WTF? I am honestly surprised) and Insightful (personally, I thought it was insightful, even if it includes the inflammatory word "fuck").

Obama seems like a really good guy and I think, in general, his heart is in the right place. But it is hard for me to imagine that anyone in the valley, or any nerd reading this News for Nerds, could consider him and especially Biden to be in the thrall of the copyright/IP cartel whose interests are almost always in opposition to innovation. Ditto on supporting the NSA in their deep infiltration of ISPs and major web companies. I think their actions add, rather than remove risk to the United States.

Or did you consider the current republican any of pro education, pro ACA (or maybe you think I'm deranged to consider it pro entrepreneur? It makes it easier for people to leave big companies for startups and keep insurance) not pro big business or pro rentier? If you think any of those things, well, let's just agree to disagree.

None of this is intended to praise the Democrats, don't get me wrong!

about 3 months ago

Silicon Valley's Love-Hate Relationship With President Obama

real gumby codependent (131 comments)

Yes, Obama shows up in the valley to collect money and then departs to fuck the valley to the benefit of the RIAA et al and the so-called security apparatus.

But clearly the Republicans would be worse, as they are the anti-business (or at least anti-entrepreneur), anti-education, anti-ACA (a very pro entrepreneurism law) and pro-big business, pro-rentier party. I am not sure any tea party or high party official could even find silicon valley on a map.

So Obama ends up by default with the bucks on a combination of lesser-of-two-evils and star-struck-close-to-greatness bases.

about 3 months ago

An MIT Dean's Defense of the Humanities

real gumby Re:I've heard this before (264 comments)

I'm not quite sure where Dean Fitzgerald is coming from with this editorial. It's not as if every accredited ABET school doesn't already teach humanities as part of its engineering curriculum. ...This strikes me as yet another in a very long series of not-so-subtle digs at STEM curriculums.

I think you miss two important points of her essay.

The first is that she is at MIT. She makes the point that MIT has already "drunk the kool aid" of the importance of the humanities and that even in a highly "STEM" institution like that, Humanities are considered crucial. In fact MIT has only 6 "schools", and Humanities is one of them on par with Engineering and Science.

But MIT can get away with setting its own standards, and that leads to her other point: that there is a strong emerging fetishism with STEM, and with degrees that train (as opposed to educate) you with "skills" that soon become irrelevant. A desire for more science and engineering graduates does seem like a good thing given where the USA is right now, and we have evidence from the sputnik scare that it probably can have a good result. But if we fetishize it at the expense of the humanities, we won't get what we want (a stronger, more dynamic society that helps everyone).

She's not advocating that, say, Bowdoin adopt MIT's requirement that humanities majors take multivariate calculus, E&M, do lab work etc. just like everyone else. But she is saying that if even one the most prestigious "STEM" schools considers the liberal arts crucial, perhaps they are. And the fact that someone from MIT is writing it, rather than someone from a liberal arts-only school, makes it a more convincing argument.

In too many humanities courses, it's not about critical thinking, it's about figuring out the personal beliefs of the professor, because in many cases your grade depends on not offending those beliefs.

There are poorly taught classes in Engineering and especially CS as well. Personally, all the thermo I took at MIT was worthless and I had to learn it all over again in my 40s.

Yes, it's hard to identify crappy liberal arts teaching, especially when some of the interesting work does challenge orthodox thinking (since of course some of the crappiest also challenge orthodoxy). But really is that all that different from an engineering class that teaches only the stuff that's easiest to teach? It can be objectively valid, yet useless in the real world.

Note: I have a course 21 (humanities) degree from MIT.

about 4 months ago

WRT54G Successor Falls Flat On Promises

real gumby OMFG compile! (113 comments)

Holy crap you have to actually compile it yourself! What is the world coming to? You mean hacking isn’t just plugging stuff together?

OK the thing has problems, that’s news. But if compiling is considered hard, well, it’s hard to see you as a nerd.

about 4 months ago

NSA Infiltrated RSA Deeper Than Imagined

real gumby Re:Could EMC sue? (168 comments)

I might be naive in believing that this second "extended random' was covert, rather than the EC weakening that the NSA bought.

about 5 months ago

NSA Infiltrated RSA Deeper Than Imagined

real gumby Re:Could EMC sue? (168 comments)

EMC paid $2.6B for RSA. Could they sue the NSA for destroying the value of their property?

Two words: Sovereign Immnunity.

Well, the fifth amendment to the US constitution ends with

nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Seems like a clear case of "private property being taken for public use." Possibly even "deprived of property".

about 5 months ago

NSA Infiltrated RSA Deeper Than Imagined

real gumby Could EMC sue? (168 comments)

EMC paid $2.6B for RSA. Could they sue the NSA for destroying the value of their property? What would be just compensation?

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

real gumby Re:Ignore Silicon Valley (379 comments)

Ignore Silicon used to be a hot-bed of science and technological innovation. Now it is a magnet for designer coffee-swigging social cloud blog web 2.0 get rich quick smartphone app hipsters.

Close, but you described San Francisco. We have some of those loons too down here in the Valley, but we also have real stuff.

The out of town reporters are up in the city too, and don’t know the difference, but frankly it’s easier to get work done with them not around as well.

about 5 months ago

Author Says It's Time To Stop Glorifying Hackers

real gumby Re:You keep using that word (479 comments)

Note to the press: "Hackers" doesn't mean what you think is means.

So true.

Interestingly House of Cards which includes a character who is a cracker and hacker (appears to have good hacking skills which he uses to break into systems). It appeared that the writers had actually made an effort to learn about the culture(s). For example there was a well done attack that combined social engineering and sleight of hand to defeat two factor authentication.

Unfortunately his lines still made it clear that the writers didn’t really understand what those words really meant (sorta like when the marketing department uses the word “cloud”). And the set department still made the usual nonsensical computer displays. As for the character himself. well he was hardly glorified. In fact if I ever met a person like that my overshelming desire would be to smite him with a copy of the V7 manual. Twice, if he kept moving.

about 5 months ago

Author Says It's Time To Stop Glorifying Hackers

real gumby Re:Also time to stop (479 comments)

Then I shall glorify the fast-acting AC.

(take only as directed).

about 5 months ago

"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

real gumby Poor Hanselman should be glad (742 comments)

At least he is getting attention. It is far worse to be ignored than to be feared or hated. I don't even encounter microsoft in my daily life any more -- I'm sure it's in that ATM or airport kiosk, but I don't notice it. Other than that, it's rare to even see a 'winders' machine at a coffee shop or around town. Even my kid's school is all mac & iPad.

They're still minting money. But think about it: they are still minting money even though everything they've tried to do post W&O has failed[*]. Their cash cow is on autopilot -- not only within the company but outside too. Which means it has no mindshare, any more than the company that makes the concrete in my house foundation has mindshare. That's a pretty sucky place to be.

[*] when I mean failed I mean accumulated profits/losses are in negative territory for all other meaningful segments (bing, xbox, azure, surface). Keyboards and mice are profitable but don't move the needle on a company the size of MS.

about 5 months ago

Gmail's 'Unsubscribe' Tool Comes Out of the Weeds

real gumby Re:Did Google do this right? (129 comments)

You know it’s coming...

Actually, I'm quite certain it's not. Not without a dramatic change in Google's culture, which I don't see happening.

I used to think so too, then they reduced the highlighting of the ads that surround the search results (so that people are more likely to click on them), then started pushing people to G+...

I do think they still try not to be evil, but as Upton Sinclair pointed out, when your salary depends on something you tend to start to decide it's OK .

about 6 months ago

Gmail's 'Unsubscribe' Tool Comes Out of the Weeds

real gumby Re:Captchas (129 comments)

I wish google implemented captchas for sending me email[] If you solve the captcha, you would enter my "first-line-of-defense whitelist"

You can easily implement this kind of thing if by running your own server. Google is quite unlikely to implement complicated features that few people would actually use.

OK, admittedly they implemented Google+ which is complicated and which O(0) people actually use, but I claim that’s the exception not the rule.

about 6 months ago


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