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In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

rmstar Re:So what qualifies? (481 comments)

Who gets to decide what qualifies as trolling?

I have a feeling that there are some people who would take a polite "You're wrong and I disagree with you for the following reasons . . ." as trolling. Sure the "I hope you die in a car fire" and "I'm going to kill your animals" are low-hanging fruit, but there's a line there somewhere and it's not always easy to find.

This being Britain, I'm sure it will be an awful mess of a law dripping cruelty and class discrimination like ASBOs and other recent British laws.

It can work, however. In Germany, insulting someone is a crime. Threatening rape is a crime too, of course. There is a well established and accepted law practice regarding the interpretation and implementation of such laws. The fact of the matter is that there is ample support and acceptance of them in the population, and the upshot is a comparatively civilized and objective atmosphere in public discourse.

I'm not very comfortable with laws that require some form of human interpretation

Most laws are like that, and have always been so.

2 days ago
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Google Finds Vulnerability In SSL 3.0 Web Encryption

rmstar Re:Chrome and disabling SSLv3 (68 comments)

"We used to have an entry in the preferences for that but people thought that âoeSSL 3.0â was a higher version than âoeTLS 1.0â and would mistakenly disable the latter."

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why security is so hard. You have this chaotic ape in front of the keyboard making a mess of everything. Now excuse while I go fetch me a banana.

about a week ago
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Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

rmstar Re:Product of the Great Recession? (283 comments)

I wonder if part of this PhD glut is a delayed effect of the recession, which decreased employment opportunities over the last 6 years or so.

No. This has been going on for a long time and is getting worse by the year. From the linked article:

I would like to present to you this morning a rather analogous theory of the history of science. According to this theory, modern science appeared on the scene, in Europe, almost 300 years ago, and in this country a little more than a century ago. In each case it proceeded to expand at a frightening exponential rate. Exponential expansion cannot go on forever, and so the expansion of science, unlike the expansion of the Universe, was guaranteed to come to an end. I will argue that, in science, the Big Crunch occurred about 25 years ago, and we have been trying to ignore it ever since.

What is happening now is that the situation is becomming more extreme, and so even the best efforts at denial are crumbling.

about two weeks ago
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Science Has a Sexual Assault Problem

rmstar Re:Then it happens less in science than in general (460 comments)

According to a study by the CDC, 51.9 percent of surveyed women and 66.4 percent of surveyed men said they were physically assaulted as a child by an adult caretaker and/or as an adult by any type of attacker.

I suppose that these figures make sense - but only after you include almost any inuendo as an assault.

Basically, I call bullshit. These numbers are way to high. I suspect they equate large swaths of inocuous stuff with real rape in order to furhter an agenda.

about a month ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

rmstar Re: The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (270 comments)

Congratulations on employing the bottom of the barrel.

Now you know how the bottom of the barrel makes a living: by working for the bottom of the barrel. There is something like a Zen riddle somewhere hidden deep within this simple fact.

about a month ago
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When Scientists Give Up

rmstar Re:If you think medical funding is bad (348 comments)

Even in industry, people get dismayed to the point where they leave.

No, people in the sciences don't leave because they are dismayed. It usually is because the money runs out.

about a month and a half ago
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GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

rmstar Re:Er? (314 comments)

The three services are actually needed. [...] centralized management of date/time and locale changes were long overdue. Linux is pretty much the only OS remaining, where application, if needed, can't really know if/when date/time or locale has changed.

Ah no, you are bringing facts into this discussion? How dare you! :-)

Thank you, actually.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

rmstar Re:Powershell (729 comments)

I've studied the language pretty well. I've read the Standard enough to know that a lot of stuff is well defined, and when I go through the program, I see only constructs I recognize as defined (or implementation-defined, or unspecified, and we won't write code that depends on anything unspecified).

Or, put another way, you have spent a very large number of hours to master this stuff. This is a failure of language design, as it is known that you can write languages that do not require such a high time investment.

It is possible to write conforming C++ programs

I don't think anyone is disagreeing with you on this point. The critique is that is needlessly difficult. Even an expert has a bad day now and then, and when that happens, in C++ he is exposed to a much larger number of pitfalls and traps than in other languages.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

rmstar Re:Powershell (729 comments)

We write good C++ here, and enforce it with code reviews.

So you do but you don't? Very good, my friend. Very good.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

rmstar Re:Powershell (729 comments)

Of course, the more you explain about C the less sensible it appears. ;)

It's funny, really.

Quote:

both in C and certainly in C++, it is uncommon to see a screenful containing only well defined and conforming code.

That's what proper language design is supposed to avoid. Oh well.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

rmstar Re:why the focus on gender balance? (579 comments)

Why not let women do what they want instead of trying to force them in to places that aren't necessarily their thing?

You mean, let them care about cooking and pink dresses instead of dealing with psychopathic jerks on wikipedia? I'm sure that if you think this through, you will at some point (maybe in a decade? nah, optimistic) reach some from of enlightenment on the issue. It helps if you talk to actual women, too.

about 2 months ago
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Elementary OS "Freya" Beta Released

rmstar Re:Usability is THE killer feature that Linux need (209 comments)

As someone who uses Ubuntu as their primary desktop OS both at home and at work, I have to say that usability is the biggest feature holding back Linux desktop.

I keep wondering about this one. Because of work requirements, I started using windows again after a long hiatus, and find it rather cranky (windows 7). It was easier to program the reactions to my marble ball mouse under linux than it was under windows 7 (essentially impossible to get reasonable scroll-wheel emulation). Then there isn't anything remotely comparable with xmodmap. I can't have multiple desktops. Files are named in weird ways (PROGRA~1, etc) that have their special rules (it really is much simpler in linux). The keyboard layout kept unhelpfully switching to whatever it felt was right, and it took a long battle to ensure it stays where I want it. And Skype has annoying ads under windows.

Installing updates is gargantuan pain in the buttocks, especially when compared with ubuntu. In windows, a reboot is almost always necessary after downloading and installing updates. Quite often you need multiple reboots, and all of it takes ages. Under ubuntu they are much faster and unintrusive.

So, in my experience Windows actually sucks compared to a decent linux distro. All the talk about the little annoying things in linux is, I think, due to an illusion. Windows is popular today because it was popular yesterday, so people are used to it and all its little (and not so little) annoying things. They just don't notice anymore.

about 2 months ago
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Snowden Granted 3 More Years of Russian Residency

rmstar Re:Not about leverage or influence (266 comments)

You do remember the "girls band" members that tried to desecrate the church right? Russia is not kind to it's detractors.

Fun fact: had these girls done that very same thing in a german church, they would have landed in jail. Probably a better jail, but a jail nonetheless. In other countries, with other sites of religious worship, they would have been killed.

So please, keep it real. Russia is no paradise, but it's not by a very large margine the worst place in the world. Among other things, they have a lot less people in jail than the USA does.

about 2 months ago
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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

rmstar Re:Wha? (204 comments)

Other sources have it as 'increase'.

Actually, it is 'increase' already in the linked article. The quote is

"We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes,"

And it actually makes sense.

about 3 months ago
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Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

rmstar Re:As a Quebecer... (247 comments)

I'm pretty jealous of American billionaires who *do* things.

Elon Musk is south african.

about 4 months ago
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Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

rmstar Re:Specs On Paper & Buyer Mindset (198 comments)

This is simply a stats arms race.

one that seems overheating, too. You can buy quite well speced smart phones (way better than an iPhone, as you have correctly noted) for a very decent prize. Manufacturers seem to be running out of ideas on how to get traction in this market, so this is what they come up with: over-the-top-specs.

A market full of smartphones that can't find a way to differentiate themselves from each other seems to me like a market ready for collapse.

about 4 months ago
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Japanese Stem Cell Debacle Could Bring Down Entire Center

rmstar Re:Why do scientists falsify? Or how can they? (52 comments)

Why do scientists falsify? Or how can they? They must know they will be found out - especially the more sensational the finding.

The answer to that is that they fool themselves. If you ever have been at a top institution of this kind you might have witnessed a certain mix of hubris, megalomania and groupthink. These people tend to be really good, but their selfconfidence, their lack of understanding of statistics, their mutual reinforcement, and the huge pressure to keep producing blockbuster research can warp their thinking. It would not surprise me that they believed the results to be true, but thought it was just the damned data that kept being wrong.

This sectlike atmosphere at some of these institutions is compounded by the fact that people there work so insanely hard that they don't have time to take a step back and think things through.

about 4 months ago
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NSF Researcher Suspended For Mining Bitcoin

rmstar Re:Throw the book... maybe literally at him. (220 comments)

Sure, it's not going to set any records, but with 500-1000 cores and 5-10TB of RAM, it's a lot more than most users will ever see.

Can you provide any links? I'm interested. Thanks.

about 4 months ago
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NSF Researcher Suspended For Mining Bitcoin

rmstar Re:Throw the book... maybe literally at him. (220 comments)

Many of those systems have no (or minimal) idle time.

In my experience, this is true only for the top machines in terms of reputation of the institution where they are run. Many more supercomputing facilities actually idle around a lot if not most of the time. They were bought to confer bragging rights and are embedded into a context that makes them unable to operate effectively.

A lot of these machines are hard to program for, and the institutions that own them hard to deal with (often universities with bad bureaucracy and ridiculous internal rules) which means few bother and even fewer get to run code on them. Of course that is something that is rarely admitted in public.

I think the guy did wrong and should be punished. OTOH, I think he also deserves an award for showing (again) how ridiculous the whole HPC thing actually is. Here we have these supposedly super-high-end machines (in terms of running benchmark software) which just aren't competitive by a hilariously large margin with what is out there mining bitcoins. How embarrasing.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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England: back to Dickensian times?

rmstar rmstar writes  |  more than 3 years ago

rmstar (114746) writes "In the aftermath of the civil unrest in the UK, two guys were sentenced to four years in jail for Facebook postings that incited to riots that never happened. The judge openly acknowledges that the harsh sentences are not for the alleged crime, but are supposed to act as a deterrent against similar actions. Is this the end of freedom of expression in the UK?"
Link to Original Source
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Greenpeace: Evacuation Area Too Small

rmstar rmstar writes  |  more than 3 years ago

rmstar (114746) writes "Independent measurements by environmentalist group Greenpeace suggest that radiation levels outside the current evacuation area around the Fukushima-1 nuclear plant are too high. They are calling for extension of the radius after measuring up to ten micro Sieverts per hour as far as 40km from the damaged plant. That amounts to the maximum allowed yearly dose of radiation for a member of the public every five days."

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