109 posts • joined Saturday 22nd September 2007 17:14 GMT
I don't think this is a repository of personal information...
Based on the design schematics that were published when this originally blew up, there is little personal information stored within the website architecture itself. Rather, it relies on taking the information entered by a user and makes numerous calls to other, non-public sources that are outside of the website itself. Presumably, that would require knowing a person's information if you wanted to plumb the depths of what the government has on you.
Of course, if the profiles that users have to set up are in fact stored within the public-facing system and can be accessed through the tried-and-true methods of SQL injection and the like, that's a problem. However, evidence to this point suggests such access does not exist (as pointed out by another commenter, the existence of SQL in the autocomplete only shows it's a frequently searched term by users, not a welcome mat with a key underneath). Executing a call to a separate system typically isn't that easy and would require a lot more knowledge of the design of the system as opposed to script-kiddies with too much time on their hands. A DDoS attack is still the mostly likely (and most damaging, from a PR standpoint) attack vector.
Part of the problem...
Is less pirates and more boneheaded ordinance. As written, a candidate cannot be eliminated from consideration until all other candidates before them are verified to have more votes. By ordinance, all candidates who are mathematically impossible to be elected must be eliminated at once. That's not too bad, as it's pretty easy to count all the first, second, and third choice vote for a candidate and say, "Yup, they can't exceed even these candidates first-place votes." And in the case of Minneapolis for this specific election, all other candidates first, second, and third choices could not exceed the eventual winner's first-place votes. But the problem is later in the ordinance:
Mathematically impossible to be elected means either:
(1) The candidate could never win because his or her current vote total plus all votes that could possibly be transferred to him or her in future rounds (from candidates with fewer votes, tied candidates, surplus votes, and from undeclared write-in candidates) would not be enough to equal or surpass the candidate with the next higher current vote total; or
(2) The candidate has a lower current vote total than a candidate who is described by (1).
So, instead of just saying, "Yup, Betty's first place votes exceed the combined first, second, and third place votes of all other candidates", a condition which was known very early on, following the ordinance meant they had to manually disqualify, via clause (2), that each candidate did not get more than those in front of them, because of the higher level requirement that all candidates must be eliminated at once.
Chalk one up for over-analyzing all possible outcomes and trying to define all possible terms, even the ones that seem rather unambiguous.
And for those who care, the winner was finally declared a a couple of hours ago.
"During routine website maintenance, a home page prototype was accidentally moved to the actual site. As with any mistake in testing, engineers noticed the error and quickly brought the site back to its normal
functionfiction," Jeff Misenti, chief digital officer at Fox News, told The Register in a statement.
I will say, the teachers and social workers I know tend to the happiest about their career, if not their compensation. It says a lot about both the UK and US that we laud those who sit in a cube, take orders, and do the 21st century equivalent of the assembly line work (myself included), but we gleefully take the piss on those who dare to do something they enjoy for less money, less respect, and even less safety. For example my wife, a teacher, has been physically and verbally assaulted doing her job, both by students and parents, while the worse I have to worry about in my cube farm is a pissy email from some colleague who thinks red, bolded font is threatening. I've also never been barricaded in my cube by coworkers who decided to stage a riot, or had people intentionally distract me so a partner can sneak into my cube and steal from my backpack.
Perhaps as a whole, we should really rethink what we venerate and why those who are unhappy about how little control they have over their work situation are somehow "better" than those who take risks.
Obviously, I can only go on anecdotal evidence. Yes, Lewis really took the piss with the published work, and I cared enough, I might even read through the actual paper. But as Can't think of anything witty... said, Psychology is not an easy subject, and it's no more a soft science than Computer Science is the same as IT. Accounting for differences I've seen between the US and the UK, psychology tends to pad the early courses with the Freud and Skinner, because they are often used as classes for general education credits and it's easier than trying to learn about action potentials, anatomy, and neurochemicals.
My experience is that most psychology professors laugh, outwardly even, at the crap produced in the early to mid 20th century that is passed off as psychobabble in media today. It's only those who want to major in psychology that get introduced to the neuroscience, psychophysiology, chemistry, and the like. Once you are there, the first thing you learn is statistics... real statistics. And not just how to use Minitab, but the logic and rules behind the theory of statistics. You also learn the same research methods found in medicine and science, like lab procedures, ethics, etc. It's all there. And it's not easy.
And personally, I work in IT, or would if my current company hadn't worked hard to keep business and system analyst hybrids on the business payroll (I'm sure it makes the accounting easier). My math and analytical background from psychology has opened more doors than if I had signed up to learn programming languages in college (in retrospect, it would have opened more doors to have at least learned some along with my degree, even if I didn't want to go through those doors right away). Not to mention the stigma in interviews is not nearly as bad as what IT folks experience (I'm assumed to have people skills... ha!)
I also love the bitter grapes that people have over "working hard" in college, while assuming others did not. I knew CS majors and math majors who were just as likely to sleep through class, get drunk every night, and still stumble to the finish line and get a degree. Psychology had them as well, and if my brother's description of his engineering university is anything to go by, they probably lost more engineers to drowning in their own vomit than academics. It's what college students do, and some can handle it, others cannot. To belittle an entire field of study because you don't understand it is rather ballsy, especially when there is nothing other than your own bias and superiority complex to back it up.
Re: @Tom 13
Most of what you are said was subjective, conjecture, gross exaggeration, or outright distortion. And then you delved into the world of paranoia and tin foil hats with the spying and the IRS, followed up with a healthy dose of "woe is me” martyrdom. Bush spied, Obama spied. The IRS went after crock-o-crap groups who filed like mad in 2010 to exploit a loophole, and those groups got mad they were caught being utter cocks. The fact that liberal groups also were checked at roughly the same rate (and rejected, something the right can't claim happened) doesn't register in your mind, because, you know, tin foil.
I’m not looking to engage you in discussion, mostly because it would be fruitless and filled with your own personal rants about particular grievances you or the website you couched your talking point from have against the government, people who work for the government, people who used the government, or people who might have six degrees of separation from government. Just wanted to make sure you and others knew how off-base and completely meritless you “responses” to another person’s post were.
Re: They did add a pony
SNAP today is limited to "healthy" items. It's not just a cash benefit; there are very specific items that qualify. For example, many fruit juices don't qualify, because of the massive amounts of sugar they have for very little nutritional content.
Also, the reduction that is going into effect after Oct 1 is happening because it was a temporary increase as part of the stimulus bill in 2009. What Republicans want to do is remove a provision from a 1996 bill that allowed states the leeway to suspend a the 3 months of SNAP in 36 months for able-bodied, unemployed, childless adults. In times of economic duress, states are allowed to suspend the requirement that such folks get jobs or go to job-training programs if they want to continue in SNAP. Many states have suspended that requirement because of the economy. Republicans want to do away with that, in addition to reducing the already scheduled to be reduced SNAP benefit (which is about $4/day/person for those with the lowest income... not exactly Oscar-style filet mignon... or even McDonalds-style "food".)
Re: The Republican Dream
The "pox on both houses" sentiment is valid only if you want to take the most cynical look at politics. Not to say that you are of this ilk, but time and again, attitude and behavior research shows that the so-called "indepentents" and "both parties are the same" folk are ones who talk big but don't tend to know a lot about the political process, party platforms, or even basic information like their Congressional Representative. To put it lightly, such attitudes are the provence of folk who don't care but want to pretend they have a good reason not to care.
You could be an exception, but in that case I would question your knowledge of what the core principals of each party are, the various splinter groups within each party, the regional differences that can explain a lot more about the propensity of a Representative or Senator to vote in a way that might seem counter-intuitive or like they are "in the pocket" of lobbiests.
If you are trying to come up with another way to say, "I don't like either party because they don't represent my views," that's fine. But then you should at least have an idea of what other organizations out there represent you. As I tell others who complain about the current process: It's fine if you don't like it, it's fine if you feel left out. But if you want to be taken seriously, stop hand-waving the entire thing away and using it as an excuse to be apathetic and apolitical. If you truly care about these issues, you would expend some of that energy finding like-minded folks, something that is easier today than finding a lobbiest in Congress. Stop complaining and do something or stop pretending you care.
I hope you are are aware of the whole vsync thing, so the 60Hz screen limited to 60 fps, while the 120Hz screen can hit 120fps, assuming it has a video card beefy enough to drive it. And I believe those were first-person shooters, so games that have other things to account for, like perceived and real latency and lag between game action and user input.
Human vision is more attuned to movement than static images. A flickering light is really just a static image, where as a video will likely have movement and keep the eyes and brain on high-alert. You should try staring at yourself in a mirror for a while with a single point of focus, and see what happens. Here's a hint: Your brain gets bored and plays games with itself....
Re: "Modern", "streamlined", what?
My honest to goodness experience with web UI redesigns in various companies in the past is that they were unintended outcomes of backend changes. Be it because of a vendor change, an owner change, or some other change, the new hardware and/or software that served the business and warehoused the data turned out to be incompatible with the portal or other web front-end that was currently deployed. So invariably, it required a redesign, which was usually an excuse to troll through hundreds and thousands of comments, emails, IMs, tickets, and other dusty relics to determine what users wanted.
Usability studies, UX consultants, UI designers, and the like were typically left out until the very end, usually after the architecture work had been completed, meaning that the UI was a complete and total afterthought. So the DB would be set up with internal tools in mind, rather than serving the UI. And I wish I could say that these redesigns were for deployments that had minimal customer interface or just was an alternative to direct queries on the DB, but no. These were the public face of billion dollar companies or web-based internal applications that served the foundation the company was built on.
Of course, there are always excuses to be made for botched implementation, but it will probably be some poor schlub or hastily press-ganged consultant who's forced to fall on their sword to protect the VP who dreamed up the pig's breakfast. If they are lucky, that act of protection will result in a new appointment elsewhere as part of the compensation....
I always thought...
That Yahoo! Groups were the place for cash-strapped high school students to troll for pron... years ago. I'm surprised as you to find out they both still exist and apparently have enough users to get upset about it. You'd think they'd have migrated to other free pron sites by now.
Re: I have to wonder...
Once again, you miss the point. At no point did I say, "Government, monitor away!" In fact, my original post and my follow up detail that the problem is that someone like you sits here and whines about what the big bad government is doing, yet giving a free pass to non-government entities who are doing much the same. And if the PRISM revelations are anything to go by, that unchecked data collection and monitoring by corporations just gives governments a one-stop shop to pick up a dossier on anyone they please.
So one more time: Those who froth and foam at the mouth about big bad government collecting data but then turning a blind eye to commercial collection of the very same data completely miss the majority of risks when they go on about privacy and freedom.
Re: I have to wonder...
Really? You don't think peoples lives can be ruined just as badly though identity theft? People don't get jobs because of bad credit scores. Is having no income or low income worse than the chance you might be hassled over an off-color joke about the government? Or perhaps through the leaking of intellectual property that causes monetary loss? Different laws in different lands, I suppose, but the reality is that the risk of finding yourself on a Gitmo holiday is less than being struck by lightning, and being there because of mistaken identity is much less. You are more likely to be shot to death by the police while trying to board a subway. Heck, you're more likely to be on the business end of a Predator strike because you had the unfortunate luck of living in a village or outpost that a target of value decided to hide in. That doesn't make it right, but that's the reality.
And do you forget the number of companies that The Register has had articles on who routinely use Facebook and other social networking sites to spy on prospective and current employees? And let's not forget the almost daily (even now) stories of companies who have had their websites compromised through a simple SQL injection, spear-phishing attack, or other security breach that allowed the perps to wander away with account information that could contain sensitive information or be used to procure additional sensitive information elsewhere.
The simple fact is that in risk analysis, people who are worried about the personal consequences of the government having information on them are missing the real risks. These are the same people who think planes are the most dangerous form of transportation and children are always snatched by strangers, yet think nothing of getting behind the wheel of a car every day or handing their kid off to a non-custodial parent or grandparent who they just threatened to cut off completely. You can worry about your all-expenses paid rendition holiday to the former Eastern Bloc; I'm going to keep monitoring my credit score and push to have companies disclose all breaches promptly and held liable for any personal damage that occurs. In 10 years, I'm sure I'll have more problems to deal with than you ever had.
And if you are doing anything to deserve such a trip, well... I guess that's proof the government spying works.
I have to wonder...
When people talk about the free exchange of information on the internet, did anyone stop to wonder who might be looking at that information? Here's a hint: It's not just the government, and they don't necessarily care if they come across something that is actionable intelligence that could save lives.
I realize that many people try to draw a bright line and say, "Government, you stay over here, while the rest of us will play over here." Besides the logistical impossibility of that, I think it's a rather dangerous game to play. I'm not even talking about the whole criminal enterprise aspect and government trying (vainly perhaps) to protect us, or the scammers who try to dodge and weave their way into a bank account or other ill-gotten gains. There is the fact that we have told the Government to stay out of our sandbox, while inviting our "friends" in who just happen to have resources equal to or greater than most governments to trawl through our tawdry details, all in the name of commerce.
We lie to ourselves by saying we can always do business with someone else, but does anyone actually believe that Facebook and others aren't aggregating enough information to find you elsewhere on the internet if they could profit from it? You can check all the boxes that say, "No, don't track me or sell my bank account to Nigerian princes," but it doesn't take many data points to at least predict your demographics, and a few more could narrow you down further to you or your terrorist twin in Algeria, the deciding factor being the result you click on when looking to add to your knife collection.
I don't condone the behavior of the American government, and at least I have a voice (ha!) as an American citizen. Perhaps even a bit more protection. And I don't subscribe to the "Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide" bull, because it's the same claptrap that was pushed by Dick "Powered by Hate" Cheney. But I also don't think that my online persona, my personal communications, and all my real and virtual meanderings are free from use and abuse by other entities. While rendition is a terrible thing that no human should ever be subjected to, regardless of real or perceived intent, what about my credit score, my identity, my life being trashed by a bad algorithm, poor security, or corporate neglect or malfeasance. We should take to government to task for this, but that same harsh light and public interrogation should be turned onto the companies, entities, and others who have the same data and use the same mining and exploitation. If we fail to do that, whining about what the government is looking at is nothing more than mistaking a single tree for the entire forest.
Re: No SD slot?
Perhaps I'm missing something then. I often swap movies and music in and out of my phone using a USB cable and disk mode. And I have a removable micro SD card. It's just that by the time I remove the back of my phone, take it out, plug it into the USB port via its included USB cradle, and start the transfer process, I could have just plugged my entire phone in with a USB cable, selected disk mode, and started the transfer. And some phones with removable SD cards are hiding them in a way that requires tools and other procedures just to get it out of the phone.
While I get that a lot of the internal memory can be used by the OS and bloatware (7.5 of the 16GB on the S4 and with the added pleasure that they didn't allow you to install apps on an SD card you inserted), it does seem like much ado about nothing. I get if you are on a longer trip or stuck on a transcontinental flight, it might be nice to have more than a couple of movies with you. But we are still talking about a feature that isn't high on the list for most smartphone buyers, who rightly or wrongly have been wooed by light and thin. Perhaps it will be in the future, but with WiFi everywhere, pretty decent LTE coverage (at least stateside), and other things, on-phone storage of media might become rather antiquated. Data caps might strangle that idea before it can get out the cradle, though.
Re: No SD slot?
That's a use case that probably has many other requirements beyond a removable SD card.
I for one am glad to contribue to the downfall of man...
Err... I mean the advertising useless crap that I don't care about. If I'm at Newegg and they want to target me with ads about something that's related to other stuff I've browsed there, thank you. Same with any other site. It's bad enough to see the crapvertising that's based on my IP address, telling me that Obama commands me to get new car insurance, or I should contribute to some turd's reelection campaign in the armpit of my state. If I want to block third-party cookies, that's my choice.
Now if only there was a way to modify those third-party cookies into something malformed that made their database drop a huge load all over the floor....
While I still use my old-fashioned flim SLR for photography once in a while, it, much like its younger DSLR siblings, is bulky, large, and requires more than just pants pockets to keep on you. What do you consider an "actual camera"?
The compact digital cameras that mimic the old point-and-shoots aren't exactly head and shoulders above the Lumia 1020 on paper, and for good reason: for day-to-day photography (not just selfies in the bathroom mirror), smartphones have been destroying those $250 compacts. You (almost) always have your phone, so that quick pic at the bar or out on the lake (I'm a fisherman) is going to be handled by it. No need for a dedicated camera that is only slightly less limited than your phone (or more if being able to upload immediately is a major want/need).
If you want to take artsy selfies, portraits suitable for hanging, landscapes, nature photography, action shots, or low-light shots, the DSLR is still the best bet, as it has swappable lenses, larger CMOS, and much better optics. But as I said above, the problem is the size and bulk that prevents everyday use, plus the much greater cost. At the same time, I know that some of the camera companies are trying out compact DSLR-type cameras, in hopes of carving out a niche between smartphone and prosumer photography. This could make such a job harder... or promote a very nice middle-of-the-road option for people to use in a point-and-shoot-sized body.
Re: Someone (or people) much smarter than I
That's my point: The incumbents have the option to either combine the two use cases into a single OS or create two parallel OSes that share a design language. Both options have merit and problems.
And again, the actual sales numbers point to declining desktop and laptop usage, not just projections made for 2019 by Gartner and others looking to provide consulting services to flailing companies. In fact, last night the Q2'2013 numbers were just published by both Gartner and IDC, and it looks like worldwide sales dipped another 10% from the same period last year.
It's a niche that matured 5 years ago. A software company can't spend billions of dollars on maintenance and incremental upgrades to a platform that stopped being a growth category. For years people took Microsoft to task for keeping so much legacy code and operations that stretched back to Windows 3.1. It was repeatedly claimed that if only Microsoft rebuilt from the ground up could they create a pristine OS that would rock out world. Well, they took a bite at that cherry with Vista and botched the implementation. Win 8 came around and tried again, but they were upfront about the design language, and people spent the next year whining about how things had changed and how terrible it was that their modern OS specifically designed for the new wave of tech (touchscreens, specifically) didn't work how they wanted. So MS capitulated and came out with 8.1. Hopefully for their shareholders, a lot of money wasn't spent to give the start button back.
Someone (or people) much smarter than I
Was referenced above when it was pointed out that the desktop is a dying breed. Disregard the projections all you want, the numbers from the last few quarters point to the slow bleed of the desktop world. Due to laptops, tablets, netbooks, smartphones, or the back of a shovel with a rock, the desktop that I know and love is fast becoming the province of code monkeys and those who can't play FPS games without WADS and a mouse.
Even laptops are being displaced in some workplaces by tablet and smartphone combos (though you'd have to pry my EliteBook out of my cold, dead hands). Sadly, that means a modern OS is going to have to either account for that (Win8 and the Ubuntu attempts) or divide and (attempt to) conquer (iOS and OSX). The former strategy promotes bloat and waste while upsetting the apple cart just to frustrate and irritate the current users, while the latter provides a consistent experience that tricks users into thinking interoperability should be flawless.
Transition points are often no-win situations for the incumbents. MS made their bones when the world moved from command-line to mouse-driven GUIs. Yes, the grifted and stole from existing products, lied to collaborators about their intentions, and generally begged, borrowed, and stole their way to the top, but if it wasn't them, it would have been someone else. Apple got out to an early lead with iOS, but they've stagnated and rested on laurels, much like they did in the 80s. Android is just a way for Google to make money on ads and will lose its support if the shareholders ever find a way to force a spinoff or end to the various pet projects that happen. It might be for short-term gain and kill the company long-term. but that is what today's shareholders do best.
Perhaps some wear-leveling algorithms/circuitry combined with spare capacity, just like the solid-state drives today? I'm not an electrical engineer by any stretch of the imagination, so I'm sure there's some reason why that's an insurmountable issue or some such.
The practice of isolating specific isomers is very common among pharmaceutical companies as a way to "extend" patents. Take a look at the Omeprazole to Esomeprazole "conversion" that was done, along with the marketing material "proving" that the Esomeprazole version was more effective, when the evidence shows that the acidic environment of the stomach converts either version of the chemical into the bioactive version.
That's not to say handedness isn't important: there is a predilection towards left and right handedness depending on the class of biological chemicals you are looking at. However, the isolation and synthesis of the desired version isn't exactly the stuff future Nobel Prizes will be built upon.
Bad for traders, but still okay for investors
I think a central misunderstanding by arm-chair market participants is how bonds work. Yes, just like stock, they are commodity that can be traded. The price is supposed to represent a value above or below the face value of the bond itself, based on expected cash flow over the remaining bond term, other investment vehicles that could be used in place of the bond, etc. So if you are a bond trader, as in you rely on buying bonds at a discount and selling them at a lesser discount or even a premium, then yes, a large drop in the market value of the bonds will tank your portfolio
But if you are a true investor, as in, you are looking for guaranteed fixed income over a number of years, this is probably the best time to buy the bonds. They are so discounted that a buy and hold strategy would net you some pretty profits, assuming you want to lock the money up. Since the 30 year bonds have a 3.9% rate and you can buy them for 85 cents on the dollar, buy and hold would get you a 17% return at maturity, plus the 29+ years of interest payments. Is it the best use of money? Probably not if you have a burning desire to grow your portfolio more quickly, but if you're 65, 70 years old and want to lock in some kind of return for at least the next 10 years (30 years is a long time for a tech company, but that cash hoard should at least take 10 years to burn through), there are probably worse strategies out there. And if you are buy and hold, there are a number of 3 to 5 year maturity bonds you can probably buy off of panicked traders, though the yield is less than the current dividend yield of the AAPL stock.
And there isn't the added heartburn of "will they, won't they" every time a debt ceiling debate comes up in the US Government.
It's all about heat transfer
As discussed in many stateside papers and pop-science articles, the thought is that a higher-than-global-average warming at the poles is creating a more "uniform" distribution of heat across the globe. Since the air currents (upper and lower level) are mostly a function of such heat differences, it's easy to theorize that there would be a reduction in the speed and strength of those air currents. As those winds (especially the upper level ones) are integral to the movement of weather systems across the globe, any slackening of those winds would easy cause "stuck" patterns and allow the tropical and arctic air masses more time to intrude upon the temperate latitudes. The jet stream buckles more and only a kick in the teeth from a larger-scale phenomenon, such as changes to the tilt of the planetary axis, provide the necessary energy to move the jet stream around.
This is the "extreme" weather phenomena that is predicted to occur more, as those buckles are more amplified and move slowly across the globe. So one season might be extreme heat, the next might be extreme cold.
It's all fun and games until you have to run...
His disappearance is probably due to the HK's warning of extradition. Why he chose HK over a number of other areas is beyond me. Actually, why he did this at all is beyond me, if only because the big reveal (the government is spying on electronic communications!) is yesterday's news. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to parse together the immunity clause for telecom companies along with the authorization for warrantless (but judicially-approved) gathering of call and email logs contained within the Patriot Act and come up with the basic outline of the PRISM program.
Examination of the contents of specific emails and calls, if you are a US Citizen, typically requires a warrant (though that's not much of a barrier with the "special" court"). The sheer amount of data means that actually logging the contents of every communique would result in a huge noise-to-signal ratio, so instead they log and triangulate the sender, destination, duration, frequency, etc and look for patterns. Obviously we don't know the utility of such actions, but the likes of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and others have been telling the market that such activities are huge moneymakers.
While I abhor the activities, until the Patriot Act is revised or trashed such things are legal. The actual legitimacy under the Constitution is both hard to determine (mainly, is this really unconstitutional search and seizure) and easy to dismiss (national security concern, no real mechanism within the Judicial branch to review such behavior or evaluate the national security claim).
So the solution....
Must be to regulate the ammunition instead of the delivery vehicle. Anyone with a bit of ingenuity can make a dangerous (to the user) vehicle to deliver a bullet in a specified direction. Heck, they might even hit the broadside of a barn once or twice (without suffering injury). But without ammunition (which can be hand-packed today, I know), these plastic, pipe, prison, etc. guns are useless. So just make the ammunition hard to obtain. If that means people go back to black-powder muskets in an attempt to circumvent the rules, so be it. I'll take my chances staring down an barrel that isn't rifled shooting a lead ball that couldn't be described as spherical.
Re: @Eric Olson
I'm stateside, so our system is a bit different. For one, there were no qualifying assessments made before graduation. It was either successful completion of the classes required or not. Arguments about the merits and issues with the two educational systems aside, anecdotal evidence suggests that my education in data analysis exceeds the education my younger brother received when he obtained his computer and electrical engineering degrees. However, his knowledge of IEEE standards and the National Electric Code far outpace my own. As does his salary.
Not sure how psychology is taught in the UK...
But at least where I was 10 years ago, psychology was a statistics-heavy degree. It put you miles ahead most other graduates outside of the math department. Maybe it's the kind of attitude on display in this article that pushed psychology to fiercely legitimize itself through math, but statistical analysis and quantitative analysis are huge parts of the degree in many schools today, which has allowed me a career in IT and (currently) software business analysis (with no degree-based IT experience or training).
More broadly, t I think this is again a problem with the idea that people who are in school now should be literally placing bets on the usefulness of a specific degree 10, 15, 30 years from now. In 2000, the big degrees were in finance and pre-law, both of which now are suffering from massive over-supply issues. Right now it is Comp Sci and Engineering, two very specific skill-sets that are already showing signs of over-supply, at least at the entry-level. While "doing what feels good" might not be the best strategy, it seems those of my cohort who came out of college with no specific job or field in mind are doing the best and are the most satisfied with our jobs... excluding the teachers.
But that's my two cents.
Stay with me here...
Storms move along steep pressure gradients, typically caused by thermal differences. High pressure moves into areas of low pressure. A low-pressure system won't move west, east, north, or south without something pulling it along. If an increase in air temp throughout a given column of air above the polar regions reduces such gradients, blocking highs will become the norm. Such blocking highs would continue to cause continued buckling of the atmospheric flows, resulting in energy being shunted off in directions normally not seen.
Taken together, this is why the whole idea of "extreme" instead of "warm" weather is predicted by most climate models. With more energy in the system, it takes an even greater push to move highs along their merry way. This allows diversions of upper-air winds to carry tropical or polar air further into the temperate regions. Tropical air tends to carry moisture, polar air tends to be dry. In general, that means a pattern is formed and harder to break. That's not to say such things did not occur in the past. But should we just accept that by adding more energy to the system in a way the creates more equilibrium than before (polar areas are warming much more than tropical areas) is a good thing? It just creates a more sluggish climate that responds only to gross changes in energy, such as the changing from summer to winter, rather than smaller energy fluctuations. The climate works on a system of equalization, tropical to polar. Reducing that difference reduces variability and cements patterns. That's not a good thing.
Re: Scientific Terminology
While the media do certainly get a bit excitable when things like this happen, the facts are that the storm lost its tropical characteristics before landfall, which was later confirmed in post-event analysis. The National Weather Service, in fact, has been called to task for not only keeping its Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings active when the storm was in fact no longer tropical in nature, but also for confusing the subject by trying to explain in the text of those warnings that it wasn't in fact a tropical storm. According to the NWS, they didn't want to mislead the public into thinking that the phenomenon associated with tropical storms (storm surge, tornadoes, squall lines, hurricane-force winds, etc.) no longer were present just because the storm had transitioned from from tropical to extra-tropical.
It doesn't help that many homeowners policies for the coastal United States have extremely specific clauses regarding hurricane, tropical storm, nor'easter, and other storms that come off the ocean as opposed to from the land, which makes classification even more important from a legal standpoint, as usually if it's classified as a Hurricane, insurance moves from a replacement policy to a shared or large deductible (I think 10 to 15% of the insured value of the home) policy. That's quite different from a $500 deductible when your home is worth $150,000.
I know this is about old games...
But anyone else get a chance to play with the new SimCity a few weeks back? It seemed to have a similar amount of entertainment I remember from the original, without getting deep in the weeds like SimCity 3000 ended up doing.
Well, now we need something else to complain about...
It doesn't have a 10-key? Is Dell intentionally selling a crippled laptop in order to make Windoze machines look better?! </sarcasm>
Re: The future of home computing
Here across the pond, about the only thing the National Weather Service gets wrong to the point that people gripe is exact snowfall locations and amounts (perhaps not something you need to worry about in the UK, but here, there is a bit of a difference between 2" and 6") and tornado warnings that turn out to be false alarms. The former is because a slight shift (a dozen miles, if even) in the upper atmosphere can change both the type and the amount of snowfall, while the latter is erring on the side of caution, as tornadoes not just ruin your picnic, but probably put the sandwiches through the house down the street (maybe a slight exaggeration).
Maybe it's the island location that plays havoc with the weather forecast, or maybe the expectations are so high, it's absurd. Given than the NWS is able to predict the general path and area of impact of most hurricanes five days in advance within a 300 nautical mile error, I'd say we're doing pretty good. Just because it rains on you when you forgot your umbrella doesn't mean it's the end of the world.
Re: Is the opposite also true?
You don't? That's common courtesy up here in the Midwest.
But human health isn't enough?
As seen in Beijing this past week, soot, black carbon, fine particulate matter, etc., isn't a global warming issue. It's a direct human health issue. Black lung is a very well-known disease caused by coal dust and that isn't even as fine as the combustion products that come from diesel. In polluted urban centers, black lung or similar symptoms are appearing among the people living there.
Honestly, if we can't even be bothered to take action to clean up the air so it doesn't shorten our lives and worsen lung conditions, why would finding that reducing it might decrease global warming by a small bit spur us into action?
Re: Correlation != causation
Unless you read the study and went through the data and mathematics, you can't assume all Dr. Chen did was make a pretty graph with depression on one axis and drink preference on the other, slapped on a regression line, and called it a day.
More likely, this variable was isolated using a variety of statistical tools that approximate making all other things equal and took into account the other known risk factors for depression.
Of course, it's possible he did just make the graph, since I haven't read the full text either. But the fact that it's being presented at the annual AAN conference likely means that it's not designed the same way that someone competing in a high school science fair would have done.
Re: Blackboard patent
Like it or not, folks, but patents as originally envisioned in US Law did not require the "realization" of a product, production of a product, or successful commercialization of a product. The express purpose was to protect the inventor, creator, etc., from having their theory "acquired" by someone with deeper pockets or more patience.
A patent's purpose is to allow some person or group the chance to take an idea to market without having to worry about having it stolen, copied, or otherwise infringed upon by another market player. If, as in this case, a market participant is found to have infringed upon an awarded patent, they must contest the awarding of the patent; failing that, they need to prove that they did not do so knowingly. In the case of Marvell, the findings to this point show that they not only infringed on an awarded (and therefore publicized) patent, but did so knowing they were infringing. This is how patent law is supposed to be used.
The reason for all of this is that back before the commercialization of invention and creation, a person in the garage or shed would conceive of a new way of doing an existing process or an entirely new way of doing something. However, working out of said shed might preclude them from "creating" a product, or perhaps they are not savvy enough in the materials. A patent protects that person from being robbed blind by someone else the inventor entrusts with the secrets, the process, or just the idea in hopes of commercializing it. If the inventor wants to sell the patent to someone else that's their prerogative, hence licensing agreements and the like.
Re: "D-OR" - Not Quite Correct.
Wow... that's quite a statement there. I won't delve into whatever personal grudges you might have against Senator Wyden or the Democrats, but I'm pretty sure they don't have a place in this specific discussion.
As far as the profits to Google... I don't know. They make their money on click-through ads for the most part, so unless the law also mandates some kind of Google advertising on each data use app, I'm at a loss as to how this would improve Google's bottom line. But if you have evidence, I would love to hear it.
Re: More "efficient" but...
Considering that GE is easily getting around the "ban" of the 100W by using a slightly lower watt halogen bulb, I'm not sure you'll have a problem with either the heat or the lumen output. The "ban" is really just a requirement that a bulb put out a certain amount of light per watt. Since the bog-standard bulb, unchanged for the most part since tungsten was discovered to be a prime filament in 1910, can't keep up with that at the 100W level, it is being phased out. That's all there is to it.
Re: Double Fail
When at home (the place most likely used to check more sensitive accounts like banking and email (access to all the things) ), having long passwords written down isn't really an issue. As long as the place is secure, which a private residence typically is, you don't have problems.
The work environment or you laptop bag is probably the place where written down passwords may cause problems. But even that can be foiled a bit by substitution, reminders that only you could determine, or even just keeping the reminders in your wallet.
And finally, as has been pointed out numerous times, taking a less popular song lyric (so maybe the chorus from a deep cut on an obscure band you like) and then using the first letters, mixing in capital and lower case, then tossing on something at the front that makes it unique for that specific website (and can get around stupid limitations placed on it, like no special characters, short lengths, etc.) will probably be about as secure as we can get.
I'm not sure I want to go the route of a encrypted USB stick that has a very strong password and the passwords in a text file or something, that you copy and paste, in the hopes you avoid keyloggers (wouldn't it be simple enough to also log clipboard information?). But that is one of the things that the linked NY Times article proposes.
10minutemail, however, was an awesome find. I can't believe I went that long without it for all those stupid websites that want a verification email, but otherwise have no reason to contact me ever again.
Re: Not a fan
I wonder how much has to do with changes by the wireless companies, though. Here in the States, Verizon (and others, since they aren't an industry leader so much as an industry optimizer) has done away with the ability to purchase a phone with new two-year contract regardless of how much was left on the old contract. Instead, if you aren't "upgrade eligible", you pay full retail with the option to "trade-in" and sell back your old phone. However, it's rarely enough to cover the difference between full retail and subsidized prices (my old-tech HTC Incredible will fetch a whole $16).
So you are locked into that two year upgrade cycle unless you have lots of cash in your pockets. A Galaxy S3 with 32GB will set you back $100 less at retail price than a 32GB iPhone 5. Is that $100 really worth it since the two devices are comparable in many ways if you strip out the stupid brand loyalty wars? And even if you like your iPhone 4, but want a larger screen or better battery, can you really stomach that retail price? If you were going to upgrade regardless, maybe you figure that while the iPhone 5 is nice, it might be worth it to give the Galaxy S3 or RAZR HD phones a chance (I kind of like my wife's new RAZR HD) since they cost less. I just don't see the cost-benefit to upgrade, unless the refresh of the iPhone 5 ends up being more than just an Intel tick (die shrink, same architecture).
With the way I use my phone (less phone, more media, internet, calendar device), though, the Galaxy Note 2 might be a better option for me, and that's something Apple, in terms of size and features, can't compete on right now.
Re: Retail Paper Prices vs Cost of Production
Is there any legitimate reason these days to print anything out that isn't meant for archival or storage? Even businesses are catching up to the concept of paperless, though usually that's more to do with limiting liability (very difficult to subpoena old emails that were never printed and have a 36 month deletion policy when you called all your clients muppets and described the toxic products you were selling them) and making sure there are no traces of poorly thought-out business plans or processes (under the disguise of ISO 9001 compliance).
This laser could make things less lucrative for companies like Iron Mountain. Along with their archiving business, they seem to throw in on-site shred bins that really just provide them with tons of paper they can pulp and sell to the highest bidder for recycling. Clearly this must be profitable, as their clients seem to be encouraged to tell their employees that even personal records and other destructibles can be brought from home to ensure identity security.
It's one thing to use cherry-picked data to build a case supporting one's bias...
But quite another to take data from another group and applying bad logic to support your bias. The stats, unless there is more in the NPD survey than reported, do not support the basis of the article. With the data presented, it states that in Q4'2011, people who never owned a smartphone were more likely to buy an Android-based phone than any other, while people who already owned a smartphone were... more likely to buy an Android-based smartphone, albeit at a lower percentage.
However, there are no listed statistics to back up the assertion that people who owned an Android-based phone were turning away from the OS to purchase an iPhone. Comparing two disparate groups and stating that it demonstrates any kind of movement away from the Android is low IQ at best, outright pandering to Apple at worst. The only conclusion you can take is what is presented, which is that Android is winning the mind and market share of those who are new to smartphones, while Apple, with a head-start in the smartphone biz, is holding 43% of all upgrades.
A more salient question that would actually answer the question of loyalty is to compare pre- and post-upgrade phone choices. Only if after looking at the data and see iOS with a larger share of the post-upgrade user base than the pre-upgrade, could you conclude that Android has a problem retaining users. Until that happens, all we can conclude with the data in this article is that the author fails basic comprehension of statistics. And if the information was present in the NPD survey and was not included in the article as the basis for the conclusion, it shows that the author fails basic journalism.
We do realize...
That 11 billion US is less than what you would find between the couch cushions of the US economy,right? Saving that much is literally 0.1% of the GDP in 2009. To put it another way, that's a tad less than $40/year/US citizen, presuming that the savings quoted is yearly. Not exactly earth-shattering, or even enough to make most industries sit up and take notice.
And that's probably assuming that all the finds pan out, regulation stays away, and the US economy recovers enough to bother with manufacturing instead of outsourcing it to China and other locales.
I realize Andrew has a bone to pick with British government and society, but a proper frame of reference will go a long way in winning over hearts and minds.
Considering that water can be toxic and cause water intoxication, this isn't completely far-fetched. Too much water and not enough electrolytes will cause your brain to go wonky and eventually kill you. See the Wee for a Wii contest a few years ago.
So yes, this is a technically correct ruling. However, most people recoil in horror at technically correct, especially if they view it as being against common sense.
I realize we're all cynical bastards here....
But for the life of me, I can't even be that cynical. The masses, while unversed in the scientific method and the (hopefully) critical examination that theories go through, aren't that simple. In general, your average Joe happily accepts most scientific progress without so much as a bat of the eye. It's only when you try to violate their core beliefs (beliefs being the important word here), that they get bent out of shape. And for some (many), things like evolution or the impact of man on the global climate (for example, our dear friend Andrew O), strike them as utterly bonkers.
Because most of science is based on the null hypothesis, you do have to rely on things like probability (which even scientists have problems with) to present your case. Even a five sigma event means there is still a chance, however small, that you're being fooled by randomness or fuzziness. Therefore, most scientists qualify statements with things like "probable" or "statistically significant."
In the real world, where the rest of us mortal folk live, probable just means that you are pretty certain, such as in the law where the phrase "probable cause" is thrown around. We know of arrests, using the "probable cause" standard, that were later thrown out or resulted in the release of someone. But, because of the nature of science and not knowing everything, the shortcomings of language color the opinion of the man on the street.
But no, I don't think most people would immediately organize a book burning in the town square for all the false physics textbooks out there. In most cases, it's a failure of language and communication that causes the problem. That's why philosophers still have a use these days.
No need to be cynical...
At least here in the US, one of the best funded disease-based foundations is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (http://www.cff.org/). Likely they will throw large amounts of cash at any corporation willing to bring a drug to market (see the recent payment of $75 million over 5 years to a small biotech firm). And more importantly, this isn't a cure so much as a cocktail of drugs has the possibility of correcting the underlying defect enough to allow near-normal cell function. It's a similar approach to something the above biotech firm is doing with a number of drugs. It will make lots of money, as the genetic defect will still require daily dosage. Now, given that I hoover down 30+ pills a day for CF, I'll take a substantial reduction in that, especially if it's proactive therapy instead of reactive.
Also, at least in the US, CF drugs (and drugs for other "smaller" diseases and disorders) get what's called Orphan drug status, which means that there are greater patent protections to the developer, financial incentives, and often times expedited approval processes. The theory goes is that if you have a market of 50,000 for one drug, and a market of 5,000,000 for another drug, you're going to focus the time, energy, and money on the latter, cause if successful, you have a blockbuster (see dysfunction, erectile), while all you get for treating the 50,000 is a warm fuzzy feeling and a couple of bucks back for the effort. Is this the greatest arrangement in the world? No... but it's been extraordinarily effective at bringing quality treatments to those of us with rarer disorders.
And what I would be interested in seeing is if this kid found the same kind of drugs that Vertex has is Phase 2 and 3. Those were found in a similar way, using high-throughput computing to fold and shape proteins to see what might interact to existing chemical compounds.
The only concern is the water table...
Here in the good ol' US o A, two groups are getting in a tizzy over natural gas and fracking: Energy companies and NIMBYs. On the whole, both have valid points: The energy companies are engaging in "extract at any cost" behavior, even when going through aquifers and water tables, and the NIMBYs are a bit too NIMBYish. Sadly, our paralyzed governments are sitting this one out, so litigation is king.
The latest we've heard is that even after being told not to for the last 10 years by the government, the energy companies continue to use diesel fuel as a solvent for many of their fracking operations. Now they are being sued, and trying to defend themselves with the ever-popular "We thought when you said not to use it, you meant that we could use it!" defense. Good times. Of course, it's only a problem with the fracking operations that aren't using the proper containment techniques, and nothing goes wrong. But a few water tables have been spoiled, or at least contaminated enough to require expensive filtration costs for the city or water authority.
But, 85% of the time, that doesn't happen (number randomly pulled out of my backside), so instead of putting some decent regulations in place (no diesel or other difficult to clean out solvents without some kind of insurance that will cover clean-up/mitigation costs, prompt reporting of accidents and "incidents" to local authorities, and transparent bidding/contracting processes), the energy companies are going whole hog where they were let in (rural areas, poor areas, etc), while being completely blocked in other areas.
The only other concern is that in some areas of the country that are a slight bit more geologically active than the area I call home, there has been increases in micro-earthquakes, usually detectable only by sensitive instruments or animals, with one or two real earthquakes (4ish on the scale) that might be attributed to fracking operations.
While I have no axe to grind myself...
This article was premature in the same way that most men are their first time out. We are just over 72 hours from the quake and tsunami, with nothing yet contained, and someone is going off half-cocked about how this is a win for nuclear energy concerns the world over. However, let's toss a little (boric) acidified seawater on this reaction.
First, as of 6 AM Japanese local time on Tuesday, officials confirmed that a third explosion had indeed damaged and weakened the containment of Rector 2, making any build-up of pressure in the reactor core that much more dangerous. Additionally, after the explosion, the radiation level climbed to at 11,900 μSv/h, which is approaching dangerous territory for anyone at the plant.
Second, Reactor 4 was suffering from a runaway fission reaction and nuclear material was actually burning in a fire, releasing much larger amounts of radioactive materials into the air than any previous situation at the plant. While Reactor 4 wasn't running, it still contained spent rods, which seem to be having a grand old time right now. (Update: While I was writing this, Japanese officials indicated the fire had been extinguished for now.)
Third, due to the containment breach, threat of further explosions, the aforementioned fire, and rising radiation readings, Japan was considering an evacuation of all workers from the site. Let me repeat that. They are considering a wholesale evacuation of all technicians and support personnel from the site, effectively ceasing any and all recovery and containment activity. In essence, the plant is being given up for dead, and it's entirely possible that Reactor 2, at least, will suffer a containment-busting explosion and/or meltdown, resulting in the release of uranium and plutonium into the air, let alone their decay products.
Fourth, if this does occur, a little known problem could be the cooling pools used to store spent rods. As Rector 4 is demonstrating, they still have enough energy left in them to burn and release radioactive material. The problem is that they are in cooling pools are lightly protected and poorly contained, and only have enough water over top of them to remain unexposed to air for a week or two. Clearly, a full-scale meltdown would make any kind of mitigation impossible, and they would soon begin burning and releasing even more radioactive material into the air at a rate much greater than the relatively contained reactor cores.
So, while I don't personally find nuclear power abhorrent or otherwise unpalatable, it seems like this piece was exceedingly short-sighted and resulted in the tarnishing of a reputation that had to this point been decent. It's unfortunate that someone clearly let personal bias trump the facts on the ground and didn't even let the events settle down to a point that experienced people in nuclear physics would say the threat was contained. Poorly handled by Mr. Page.
A better article would have been something like this: While we don't know the extent of the damage and fallout (har) of the Fukushima nuclear incident, we know that nuclear power is safe most of the time, assuming we aren't dumb enough to build on the coast in a tsunami-prone area that is very near a large fault. Such self-evident things, sadly, only become apparent after calamity strikes.
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