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CES 2014: Ohio Company is Bringing Military-Grade Motion Sensors to Gaming

roeguard Military grade? (46 comments)

I thought military grade meant reliable, rugged, and manufactured by the lowest bidder. High performance doesn't really seem like its part of the package.

I would rather have something commercial or enterprise grade if I'm after performance, or consumer grade if I am after price. Maybe military grade if its for a toddler and I don't want it to be destroyed instantly...

about 3 months ago
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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?

roeguard What does "Automatically Selecting Targets" Mean? (514 comments)

While the first thing that comes to mind is a machine that instantly targets and destroys, I wonder if this could be something more methodical. Since "friendly" human lives aren't on the line for the decision maker, these could be used to slow down the process of determining whether or not to use lethal force.

For example, much larger sets of data could be used that just "Looks like a bad guy with a gun and I think he might want to shoot me." With facial recognition, individual enemy combatants could be tracked, and autonomous lethal force only authorized after confirming the target has been actively involved in a prior action.

I'm probably being overly optimistic, but without adrenaline, threat of immediate bodily harm, etc; the option to slow things down and not just react under fire is a new luxury human soldiers aren't (reasonably) afforded.

about 4 months ago
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Australian Team Working On Engines Without Piston Rings

roeguard Re:Fuel efficiency is nice, but... (368 comments)

Good point. Now that I think about it, of the two cars that I drove into the ground, it was the transmission catastrophically failing at around 200k miles that did them in -- in both cases I had the engine rebuilt/replaced/recalled long before that.

So what we really need is a heat-less, fiction-less transmission! ;)

about 4 months ago
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Australian Team Working On Engines Without Piston Rings

roeguard Fuel efficiency is nice, but... (368 comments)

Extra fuel efficiency would be nice, but I am most excited about the prospect of the engine itself lasting longer. Less friction = less heat, less wear & tear, etc. A cool, frictionless engine could potentially last for half-million miles before needing replacement. At my paltry 10-20k miles per year, I could potentially never have to buy another car again.

about 4 months ago
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Unintended Consequences: How NSA Revelations May Lead To Even More Surveillance

roeguard Re:In your dreams (207 comments)

The nutty conservative fringe - I'm not talking about rational conservatives who want to put checks on government power and spending - I'm talking mostly about social conservatives who want government to regulate what one does behind closed doors.

Social conservatives don't just want to regulate what happens behind closed doors -- they want to outlaw it altogether. Because like all good hypocrites, its not how they would publicly admit to doing things.

At the same time, the similarly radical element of the social progressives want to regulate what happens behind closed doors by paying for it with taxpayer funds and making sure we do it the "right way" and with "equality". Like a parent who keeps paying your rent well after college but demands you be home every weekend for "family time".

Control is still control.

about 4 months ago
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Mikhail Kalashnikov: Inventor of AK-47 Dies At 94

roeguard Re:PRAISE?!? (283 comments)

In a way, it's an argument related to the old debunked Nazi death camp soldier "just following orders" defence (albeit it much less extreme).

I don't recall that being completely debunked. If anything, the opposite. Not that it's a good thing, but it takes a certain sort of person to willfully resist the orders of a "legitimate" authority. An unfortunate downside for those who have a respect for the rule of law...

about 4 months ago
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Telegraph Contributor Says Coding Is For Exceptionally Dull Weirdos

roeguard Re:brace yourself (453 comments)

Not really angry. More disappointed.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we don't get any kind of respect in engineering. Because that's what they see in us: glorified self marketers. The fact that they couldn't wrap their feeble minds around a tenth of what we have to understand intimately doesn't matter. What matters is that we're notoriously bad at coding. Self-marketing, too.

I guess I'm not the only one who is amazed again and again how simple, trivial concepts can be impossible to grasp for allegedly intelligent people. And of course I consider what I can do fairly trivial because, well, let's be honest, it is. Still, there is an amazingly small subset of the human species that can even begin to understand what I'm actually doing. My move to engineering was quite an eye opener, and it showed me just HOW much people in development don't really understand about their company.

But they're good at coding. They're great at selling their ability that parallels the feat of being able to write out a couple lines of gibberish as the biggest achievement in human history. Because, well, in a nutshell, "computer programming skills" are trivial, at best. I was at first very intimidated by the idea that I should now "program". Turns out it's not that much different from what you have to do anyway while you actually should be doing the normal day-to-day work, just leave out communicating that work to others and you got it.

And that's simply what it boils down to: management is really bad at writing code. We still mostly rely on getting the job done and getting it done well and hoping that people will notice. Bullshit, people don't care. People only listen to the loudmouth who keeps tooting his own horn.

If you don't make any effort to appreciate how difficult and important skillful management is, how can you expect understanding from the other side of the aisle? Just because someone is over a team or has the word "manager" in their title doesn't mean they know what they are doing any more than a half of the coders out there -- be honest, at least half the code you read is garbage. It doesn't mean that coding is a trivial skill any more than management is a trivial skill. If anything, it proves the opposite.

about 6 months ago
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How Safe Is Cycling?

roeguard Re:How safe? (947 comments)

Google is your friend, it can show you every last killed and injured biker.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811743.pdf

OTOH there are 89 car related deaths each and every day in the US, those too do not make the front page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

From the links, bicycle fatalities accounts for about 2% of traffic fatalities each year. I highly doubt that as much as 2% of travelers are using bicycles.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Hardest Things Programmers Have To Do?

roeguard Re:Project Managers (473 comments)

In my experience, you only need one person in that team to be competent -- a decent project manager can plan for an incompetent coder, and an good coder can direct an incompetent project manager.

The real problem is if both are incompetent. And since competency varies from project to project, even within the same person...

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: As a Programmer/Geek, Should I Learn Business?

roeguard Re:To some degree... (167 comments)

I wish I had mod points to boost this up. This is exactly why I went to B-school.

about 6 months ago
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Digital Revolution Will Kill Jobs, Inflame Social Unrest, Says Gartner

roeguard Re:Utopia? (754 comments)

We could have a utopia if the capitalists weren't so firmly in control of our government. Instead we have a dystopia with poverty, disease and social unrest... perhaps that could lead to a better government but it will be messy and the outcome is far from certain.

By any objective measure, the US has less poverty and disease than pretty much any time/place in history. (Unless of course, you define poverty as the lowest paid 5% of the population, but then there isn't much anyone can do to eliminate that -- there will always be a bottom 5% of earners.)

Our biggest problem right now is indeed social unrest, and I think its fair to attribute that to capitalism. For the first time in history, effectively our entire economy is focusing on "Wants" and not "Needs" due to unprecedented productivity gains. That will likely shift the moral foundation of what money represents, strengthening it as a way to keep score among socially conscious, and further reducing its initial role as an abstraction of value provided to the community.

about 7 months ago
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Boston Dynamics Wildcat Can Gallop — No Strings Attached

roeguard Re:Boston Dynamics is a typical example of... (257 comments)

Sadly, a lot of our technological advances originate (or are refined to the point of being actually functional) from military projects such as this. We're all communicating over one of them right now.

about 7 months ago
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Study Suggests Violent Video Games May Make Teens Less Violent

roeguard Experts on aggression? (120 comments)

Somehow I doubt the contributors to "Journal of Youth and Adolescence" are focused experts in human aggression. I similarly wouldn't put much confidence in any paper they published regarding how well children are able to code complex database applications.

The US Military has a large body of research they've conducted over the past 60 years in exactly how to cultivate and control aggression in youths, which is why our soldiers are some of the most lethal on the planet. They also have a similarly large body of research on how to inhibit it -- its instructive how relatively few war crimes have been committed by US Soldiers over the past decade in our many myriad wars.

My layman's summary of their research? Video games are excellent training simulators for violence, but don't actually cause aggression. Aggression is cultivated/controlled through supervised training (or lack thereof). Very similar to Milgram's findings in the 60s.

Dave Grossman's books do a pretty good job of explaining this research in an relatively accessible way.

about 8 months ago
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Is Humanity Still Evolving?

roeguard Re:Not always for the better (374 comments)

Fertility rates among the more educated members of society have dropped like a rock while birth rates are still high among the lower third. It can be argued that education is a poor survival trait.

I think its important to point out that it isn't intelligence that is being selected against -- there are plenty of intelligent (albeit ignorant) people breeding up a storm.

It bothers me tremendously that this is the case. I believe the following to be true:
1) Natural Selection / Evolution are true, and select for "better" traits over "worse" ones.
2) Knowledge is power, and Education is a good thing.

So when I see what appears to be a selection against education in birth rates, my conclusion is that something about our educational system is broken. I don't know what that is specifically, but I'm not really open to challenging the above 2 assumptions right now. Maybe that makes me ignorant?

about 2 years ago
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In Nothing We Trust

roeguard Re:Its not a lack of Trust... (910 comments)

Maturity is

What follows is your arbitrary standard for what constitutes as maturity.

Arbitrary handwaving is not helpful or interesting.

about 2 years ago
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In Nothing We Trust

roeguard Its not a lack of Trust... (910 comments)

The real issue here isn't a lack of trust -- it's a lack of maturity.

Life isn't fair. All the democracy in all the world isn't going to make it so. All the progressive mandates and sweeping government programs/reforms won't make it so. All the freedom and conservative/religious values won't make it so.

The reason everyone feels betrayed is because, down deep in their hearts, they think that life should be fair, and they should get "what they deserve," despite everything going on around them. Maturity is recognizing that bad stuff is gonna happen to you, it isn't your fault, and thats okay. Thats why you have friends, family, and a small local community. That is who is supposed to pick you up when you fall down, just like you pick them up when they fall.

The rub is that being a part of a community requires commitment, maturity, and humility. You can't be a member of a community when its convenient for you, and then not when its a hassle. You have to be willing to forget your grudges and help other members of the community, even those you may not personally like very much. You have to be grateful for the help that others give, and recognize you haven't earned it. You have to be able to swallow your pride, accept help from others, and recognize you don't deserve it.

I don't blame the political system for our current "woes". I blame a citizenship with collective emotional maturity of a 13-year-old girl, constantly screaming "That's not fair! I'm not a little kid any more!"

about 2 years ago
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CIOs Dismissed As Techies Without Business Savvy By CEOs

roeguard Re:CEOs have important priorities (269 comments)

You know, if you have a CIO with business sense and tech sense, why do you need the CEO?

That's like saying that you have a sales person who knows some Perl, so why do you need software engineers?

It worries me that this was flagged as insightful.

about 2 years ago
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CIOs Dismissed As Techies Without Business Savvy By CEOs

roeguard Re:IT = Janitorial Services (269 comments)

This.

I think a lot of CIOs, and IT managers of all stripes, don't understand that there is a difference between just "keeping things working" and actually adding value to the organization as it pursues its market strategy. Typically, I try to spend at least half my time looking for ways for IT to actually add value to other silos. This involves a lot of "fuzzy people" time, learning what those roles do, and how the people in those roles "feel" about their work. When you spend the time to get to know your company, you discover not only ways to make things substantially better for everyone, but you also discover those pesky metrics that demonstrate the value you bring to the bottom line.

In summary, a lot of IT should be very non-technical, very visible, and have results that can be easily quantified into added value and productivity for the company -- exactly what a CEO wants to see out of any department. Its the difference between being good, and being great.

about 2 years ago
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The Supreme Court To Rule On Monsanto Seed Patents

roeguard Re:Culmination of a dream (372 comments)

I agreed to everything you said until you mentioned fascism. I thought, things are bad in the US, but surely they can't be that bad, the US are nothing like Nazi Germany, right? So I googled for a fascism checklist and found this: The 14 defining characteristics of fascism:

  • Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - check
  • Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - check
  • Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - check
  • Supremacy of the Military - check
  • Rampant Sexism - check
  • Controlled Mass Media - check
  • Obsession with National Security - check
  • Religion and Government are Intertwined - check
  • Corporate Power is Protected - check
  • Labor Power is Suppressed - check
  • Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - check
  • Obsession with Crime and Punishment - check
  • Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - check
  • Fraudulent Elections - check

This is scary.

I think it might be a bit hyperbolic to start checking everything off as present so quickly. Most of those metrics, as presented, are subjective at best. I'm not going to get into all of them, but as a single example "Religion and Government are Intertwined" could hardly be considered "checked". If you seriously believe that to be the case, I invite you review 17th century European history. Now THAT was an intertwining of government and religion. Our current situation could be more accurately viewed, historically, as a possible accidental bumping of elbows in a crowded hallway, followed by a curt "excuse me, passing through."

Thats not to say these things don't exist in the micro, or aren't even commonplace among fragmented demographics within the US. But there is hardly uniformity at the national level, especially among political ideologies.

about 2 years ago

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