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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

wired_parrot Re:Black box data streaming (503 comments)

Black box data wouldn't help in this case. The data from the black box would likely only show you a perfectly normal flight up to the second in which the missile hit. There's enough evidence to show that it was a missile strike, and the question now is who fired it. That evidence may be found in the debris of the missile that hit the aircraft, and in pinpointing the origin of the missile fire. The flight data recorder may provide supporting evidence that it was a missile strike, but it won't tell you who pulled the trigger.

about two weeks ago
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Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

wired_parrot Re:This means nothing without context (265 comments)

Even taking into account the lowest of your figures of 3.6% black graduates in Computer Science, this would still leave the 1% rate of black employees at Facebook substantially lower than their potential hiring pool. Also consider that Facebook reported that their percentage of black employees among non-tech workers is not any better at a measly 2%. Considering that blacks represent 10% of all college graduates, this would imply that your average black college graduate is 5 times less likely to be hired at Facebook than a person of different ethnicity.

Sorry if that doesn't give your axes a nice fine edge, folks, but the likes of Google, Yahoo, and Facebook don't hire only misogynist racists for their HR departments - In fact, all three soundly beat the above graduation rates, making them arguably biased against hiring white males.

Their hiring numbers for women may be in line with graduation rates in computer science, but their minority hiring is significantly lower than graduation rates, no matter how you look at the numbers. And given their large employee sizes, this a statistically significant hiring bias. Turning a blind eye to the statistical reality won't make the problem go away.

about a month ago
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Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

wired_parrot Re:This means nothing without context (265 comments)

What is the percentage of black, women, etc people with the skills and training that google, facebook, etc is looking for?

Are there out of work fully qualified programmers that can't work at facebook because they are black? Maybe the ratio is the way it is simply because there are not enough minorities looking for high end development work (Unlike baseball). That doesn't make it Facebook's fault if it is truly hiring the most qualified workers.

8% of MIT's class is black Among the general college population the numbers are closer to 14%. But even assuming Facebook, Google and Yahoo were exclusively recruiting from the top Ivy-league universities, their numbers should be significantly higher than the mere 1% of black employees that they are showing. If my company were showing such significantly different demographics from the graduate population they are recruiting from, especially among such a large employee base, we'd be under investigation for racial discrimination.

about a month ago
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Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

wired_parrot Re:Ok, next question. (275 comments)

The type of person you want on a dangerous and risky mission to mars is one with strong survival instincts, one who will do everything in his means to ensure the survival of the mission. That is the exact opposite of the type of person who'd volunteer for a one-way mission. You do not want a person willing to die in charge of a multi billion dollar endeavour. And if you did volunteer on that mission, you wouldn't want your team members to be suicidally prone.

about a month and a half ago
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Yahoo's Diversity Record Is Almost As Bad As Google's

wired_parrot Re:Most qualified and motivated candidates? (435 comments)

I thought that competitive business was supposed to hire the most qualified and motivated candidates? Seriously, get out there, carve out your own space, and get hired! "Diversity" is just a politically correct buzzword and is not guaranteed to lead to an agile workforce..

Except that African-Americans represent 10% of graduating students and about the same percentage of computer science grads. Even among an Ivy-League technical college like MIT, blacks represent 8% of the college body. I can't expect Yahoo and Google to fix social problems in the US, but I would expect that their employee ethnic makeup roughly reflect the ethnic makeup of the colleges from which they are recruiting from. The fact that their percentage of black students is 8-10 times lower than their available recruiting pool implies to me either a systematic bias or discrimination in their hiring practices.

about a month and a half ago
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Mayday Anti-PAC On Its Second Round of Funding

wired_parrot Re:May Day???? (247 comments)

At least now, bad as it is, I get to contribute to groups that represent my views, even if imperfectly. Seriously, with all the abuses of other moneyed interests,(mine, of course never abuse the system) no one has ever even tried to explain something better to me.

Here in Québec we have a campaign contribution limit of $100 per person, and a total campaign spending limit for each party of roughly $1 per elector in the province. This ensured that no one had a disproportionate financial impact in the election, while still allowing me to contribute to the group that I wished. Despite what may seem to be low limits, we had a healthy campaign, with a diverse number of parties. And considering that 4 different parties managed to elect representatives to the assembly, with a high rate of voter turnout, I'd say our democracy is faring better than in the U.S.

So yes, there are better models of campaign financing out there if the US was serious about campaign finance reform

about 1 month ago
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Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

wired_parrot Re:3000km is not a lot in the U.S. . . . . (363 comments)

This is a hybrid system, with the Lithium-Ion battery being used for daily commutes and the Aluminum-Air battery only kicking for long distances. The regular range of an electric car like the Nissan Leaf is 135km, which covers most daily commutes, including yours. If you were only using the car for commuting and regularly charged the Li-Ion battery, the Al-air battery should in theory last indefinitely.

The Aluminum-Air battery will only be drained for those long-distance trips which exceed the range of the Li-Ion battery, and only then for the segments of the trip where the Li-Ion battery wasn't charged. Hence their claim that one ought to be able to extend the 3000km life-cycle of the Al-Air battery over at least 2 years.

about 2 months ago
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Canadian Teen Arrested For Calling In 30+ Swattings, Bomb Threats

wired_parrot Re:Autoimmune disorder... (350 comments)

There is huge risk in sending out the swat team, this has been proven time and time again, by far the safer and quicker response is by a properly managed police force and confirmation being sought by 'actively' patrolling police officers. No public call should ever, I repeat ever, activate the swat team, only a request by a senior officer on site should bring the dogs out.

And this appears to be exactly what happened in this case, as the kid is being charged with multiple attempts at swatting only. The attempted calls to the investigative reporter were defused by calls from the local police department. The police appear to have learned their lesson from previous swatting incidents, and no tactical teams were deployed.

about 3 months ago
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Canadian Teen Arrested For Calling In 30+ Swattings, Bomb Threats

wired_parrot Re:Autoimmune disorder... (350 comments)

In the articles linked, it is mentioned that he is being charged with making bomb threats and attempted swatting. In the case of the investigative reporter targeted, he was targeted three times and each time the situation was defused with a simple phone call from the police department or a drive-by from a beat cop, with no swat team intervention. Thus, despite concerns here about the police overreacting, the police in all cases calmly verified the situation, avoiding the need to send in a tactical team.

In the case of bomb threats, there is no way to properly verify the situation without doing a thorough search and evacuating the building. If you know better way, police departments across North America would like to know.

about 3 months ago
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Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down

wired_parrot Pitfalls of sharing economy (255 comments)

This is why I am critical of the sharing economy. It is is the pinnacle of outsourcing where the management (uber, airbnb) reaps the cream of the profits at little risk, while their "subcontractors", so to speak, take the burden of all the risks (legally and financially), while also having to shoulder maintenance and operating expenses. The responsible and ethical move for these companies would be to properly inform these subcontractors the insurance requirements, legal risks, local workplace standards required for operation, and try to assist them if possible to meet these requirements.

Instead, they prefer to claim ignorance and shoulder all responsibility on their user base. When legal problems inevitably arise, they cast their users/subcontractors adrift, letting them fend for themselves. It's utterly disgraceful.

about 3 months ago
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Snowden Queries Putin On Live TV Regarding Russian Internet Surveillance

wired_parrot His question was important and legitimate (396 comments)

I don't understand the hatred towards Snowden for asking an important question regarding surveillance. From the linked article his question:

"So I'd like to ask you, does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals? And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify placing societies, rather than subjects, under surveillance?"

It is a perfectly valid question which needs to be asked to all world leaders. While Putin's answer can certainly be seen as pure political spin, the question itself is a legitimate and forceful question to be posed. And by asking it, it forced Putin to provide an answer through which he can be measured against. He has basically said in nationwide tv that if they did have a mass surveillance system, the state would be breaking the law. This public statement can now be used to hold him accountable should evidence surface proving him as lying.

I would also argue that the question is a far more direct one regarding surveillance than any that has been posed to Obama. And unlike Putin, Obama insists such a surveillance program is legal and necessary. One cannot reform the system without admitting the problem first. Were Obama to give the same answer as Putin to that question, the repercussions would be enormous, as it places a moral and legal standard on the role of surveillance in our society from the chief executive of the nation itself.

about 3 months ago
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Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

wired_parrot This is great and all but... (98 comments)

They've gotten themselves into autonomous cars, fiber optic internet, robotics, and Wi-Fi balloons.

That's all great, but if I was shareholder I'd be worried about what their long-term vision for the company is. Sure, their R&D projects are a geek's wet dream, but they are unfocused. They appear to try and cover any and all emerging technologies, from wide variety of disparate sectors. Apple tries to focus on the consumer electronics sector. Google? I'm not quite sure what they are trying to be, and as an investor I'd be wary in investing in a company with such a schizophrenic view of its future.

about 3 months ago
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Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

wired_parrot Re:Not going to work... (408 comments)

A while back I was prescribed an anti-depressant. The doctor said he didn't know if it would work for me. He said it wasn't even well understood *how* it worked.

You had a bad and uninformed doctor. A good doctor should have at least a general idea of how the medication works, and he certainly shouldn't be prescribing drugs without knowing if they'd work or how!

That confused me because presumably whatever was in the pill was added for a reason, but clearly there's a lot of trial and error. And clearly there are extremely nasty side effects from many drugs.

So many pharmaceuticals' effectiveness may be overrated, as may be their safety. I'm not sure some medicinal plants are necessarily less effective or less safe.

Presumably chemicals in our drugs are often extracted from nature. why wouldn't the same chemicals in their natural form have the same potential to work? For example, willow bark has salicin (from whence aspirin came), and has been used medicinally since the time of Hippocrates.

There may be side effects from pharmaceutical drugs, but they are well understood as a result of the extensive testing they are required to go through, and a lot of effort is made to minimize those side effects. Medicinal plants have the same range of side effects. The difference is herbal medicine doesn't go through scientific testing, it's side effects are not required to be labeled and are not as well understood. Drugs that are isolated from medicinal herbs will typically try to isolate the active ingredient, reducing the chances of side effects from other plant ingredients that may have unwanted pharmacological properties and refining the dosage to the minimum necessary.

The idea of treating the whole person instead of just the symptom is a growing concern in western medicine. This has always been the defining characteristic of homeopathy's holistic approach.

So many homeopathic treatments are almost certainly bunk, but throwing out all homeopathy may be short sighted, just as throwing out all of western medicine would be.

The defining characteristic of homeopathy is the "like cures like" approach, with medicine prepared from repeated dilution. This has been repeatedly proven to be bunk and without merit. If the core fundamentals of their medical approach is false, having been consistently disproven, why shouldn't the whole field be throw out as discredited and without merit?

about 4 months ago
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Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370

wired_parrot Re:Tracking` (233 comments)

I assume the live-streaming solution you're talking about is the one proposed by FLYHT. Their proposed solution, however, would only send essential data at the moment an event is detected, and it wouldn't supersed a standard flight data recorder. It wouldn't carry cockpit voice recording, for example, which was essential in determining what happened in the case of AF447. With the Air France case as an example, the search for the black box would still have to be carried out to close the investigation. And while it may have narrowed the search area, we already had an idea of where it went down based on transponder and ACARS data. And the ACARS transmissions also provided a good idea of what the precipitating event was in that case. It is therefore unclear what the FLYHT system would have added in value to that event.

As to the MH370 case, as I mentioned it is quite likely that whatever took down ACARS and the transponder systems in the aircraft would have also affected live-streaming by any black box recorder. And even with some data streamed, you would still need to find the cockpit voice and flight data recorder to get a complete picture.

about 4 months ago
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Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370

wired_parrot Re:Tracking` (233 comments)

Without understanding what went wrong with the plane, we can't know whether the proposed enhanced black box would be effective. There were systems in the aircraft to report its position and status remotely - namely ACARS and its transponders. These failed or were disabled early on. It is quite possible that whatever took those systems out would have also disabled communications from an enhanced black box.

Until we know the cause of the crash, proposing a solution is premature.

about 4 months ago
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Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

wired_parrot Bennett Haselton = Sheldon Cooper (273 comments)

All of Bennett Haselton's post suffer from the same flaw: they're long winded, technical solutions for problems that are at their core are a social problem. Trying to impose a convoluted mathematical solution to a human/social problem is always doomed to fail. It's almost like I hear Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory" speaking through him when he posts: a complete lack of understanding of social interaction in the real world, and an obstinate belief that you can fix the real world if only people would use your methodically thought algorithms to plan their lives.

about 4 months ago
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Will Living On Mars Drive Us Crazy?

wired_parrot Antarctica (150 comments)

How is this different from winter over expeditions in the South Pole, where you have a small group of people, isolated in a dome from the rest of the globe, and only able to leave their dome through puffy bulky suits.

And in fact. winter time expeditions at South Pole station are a better representation of Mars would be: they are effectively isolated, with the potential of any minor equipment malfunction turning into a life-or-death issue in the harsh Antarctic winter, dependent only on their own supplies. I doubt these NASA volunteers staying in a balmy hawaiian island will have to worry much if a medical problem or equipment malfunction occurs.

about 4 months ago
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Russians Take Ukraine's Last Land Base In Crimea

wired_parrot Re:I dont get it (551 comments)

This is like asking why a battered wife doesn't defend herself against her abusive husband.

The Russian military is much larger than the Ukrainian military, and the Ukrainians knew they didn't stand a chance in any conflict. Additionally, having a tumultuous change of government at the same time which paralyzed decision making didn't help. The Russians, on the other hand, had been preparing for this for weeks, moving additional troops into the Crimea before the opportunity presented itself. It didn't help that Ukrainian military equipment is antiquate soviet holdovers, with very little equipment upgrades in the last 25 years.

On top of it, the majority of the Ukrainian navy was in the Crimea, which enabled the Russians to easily bottle it up. Ukrainian policy allowed servicemen to be based near their hometowns - which would have made the army more pliable to local pressures. Finally, the Ukrainians also have to worry about the Russian-speaking eastern part of the country separating at the moment.

There was very little the Ukrainians could do, and shooting back would have been a pointless loss of lives and only provided an excuse for Putin for even further aggression.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?

wired_parrot Technical solution for a social problem (478 comments)

You're asking for a technical solution to a social/political problem. The only feasible solution is to make sure your policy is clearly explained and understood to all who board the limo-bus, and then strictly enforcing it by expelling anyone caught with a camera. Sure, you won't be able to monitor people 100% of the time, but if you're strict with enforcement people won't risk taking snapshots. It will probably be more effective than any technical solution which would be expensive and easily circumvented.

And if the owners of the limo-bus are really that worried about photos onboard, the simplest solution would be for everyone to deposit their electronic devices into a bag, and they can then recover their devices after leaving the limo-bus.

My guess though is that your policy is likely to lose your limo-bus company customers, so the owners better make sure whether enforcing it is worth the cost.

about 5 months ago
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NSF Report Flawed; Americans Do Not Believe Astrology Is Scientific

wired_parrot Re:Really good question (326 comments)

I imagine most just don't know what "Astrology" means off the tops of their head, and they probably think it's some scientific term for astronomy

All pseudo-science tries to utilize scientific sounding jargon in an attempt to sound more credible.

Therefore, if we are to to better educate Americans to prevent them from falling prey to pseudo-science mambo-jumbo, it is equally important to sharpen their vocabulary skills. Those who push astrology deliberate try to capitalize on it's perceived confusion with astronomy. Astrologers would probably look at the fact that the majority of people confuse it with astronomy as a positive. We shouldn't take any consolation that this may be an explanation for the survey findings, and instead look at how to better educate young Americans.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Thai police: we'll get you for online social media criticism

wired_parrot wired_parrot writes  |  about 2 months ago

wired_parrot (768394) writes "After a leading protester of the recent military coup in Thailand made several critical posts in Facebook criticizing the military takeover, Thailand's Technology Crime Suppression Division tracked his location through his IP address and promptly arrested him.. The arrested was meant to send a message to Thailand's online community. Said the police: "I want to tell any offenders on social media that police will come get you"."
Link to Original Source
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NSA tracking movements of americans through cellphone location data

wired_parrot wired_parrot writes  |  about 8 months ago

wired_parrot (768394) writes "In the latest Snowden documents leak, the Washington Post is reporting that the NSA is tracking hundreds of millions of cellphone locations worldwide. This data includes a large amount of American cellphone users collected "incidentally". This allows them to track people from afar into confidential business meetings or personal visits to medical facilities, hotel rooms, private homes and other traditionally protected spaces."
Link to Original Source
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NSA planned to discredit radicals based on web-browsing habits

wired_parrot wired_parrot writes  |  about 8 months ago

wired_parrot (768394) writes "New documents leaked show that the NSA was not only monitoring suspected radical sympathizers, but planned to discredit them based on their web-surfing habits. This includes not only evidence of porn browsing and online sexual activity, as well as extorsion and blackmail based on innapropriate use of funds. At the same time, the document leaked notes that very few of contacts noted were associated with terrorism"
Link to Original Source
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Air Force believes anti-g suit is cause of F-22's oxygen problems

wired_parrot wired_parrot writes  |  more than 2 years ago

wired_parrot (768394) writes "The USAF believes it may have identified the root cause of the F-22 Raptor's oxygen troubles: pilots are running into physiological limitations in attempting to breath oxygen while under high-g loads, leading to a condition know as acceleration atelectasis. This is being aggravated by the anti-g suit worn by pilots, which puts pressure in their chest. It may be that the F-22 has reached the edge of what a human pilot can handle"
Link to Original Source
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Growth of pseudoscience harming Australian universities

wired_parrot wired_parrot writes  |  more than 2 years ago

wired_parrot (768394) writes "The international credibility of Australia’s universities is being undermined by the increase in the “pseudoscientific” health courses they offer, two academics write in a recent article decrying that a third of australian universities now offer courses in such subjects as homeopathy and traditional chinese medicine, which undermines science based medicine. "As the number of alternative practitioners graduating from tertiary education institutions increases, further health-care resources are wasted, while the potential for harm increases.""
Link to Original Source
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Volkwasgen turns off e-mail after work-hours

wired_parrot wired_parrot writes  |  more than 2 years ago

wired_parrot (768394) writes "Responding to complaints from employees that email outside of working hours was disrupting their lives, Volkswagen has taken the step of shutting their email servers outside work-hours. Other companies have taken similar steps, with at least one taking the extraordinary step of banning internal e-mail altogether. Is this new awareness of the disruption work email brings on employee's personal life a trend?"
Link to Original Source

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