28 posts • joined Tuesday 4th December 2007 19:58 GMT
Little dirty fact... Some of the 'enemy combatants' were not taken in Afganistan. Or Iraq. Tortured (er, enhanced interrogation techniques), broken, and now we don't know what to do with them. People who were supposed to be disappeared I guess.
Very depressed that the people who scream bloody murder if anybody goes near the second amendment, think that the rest of them are negotiable (citizenship, due process, speedy trail). GTMO isn't about that, but when you play fast and loose with the Geneva Convention et al, it tends to come around. In the name of saving American lives.
I'm an American, and I understand the power of a state to kill its' citizens. But I feel it's very important to make the state go through the hassle of either slapping a military uniform, or prision jumpsuit on me before they do....
Re: Racist factor?
I am reminded of a joke... What's the difference between northern racists and souther racists? Northern racists don't mind blacks getting uppity, as long as they don't live next door. Southern racists don't mind blacks living next door, as long as they don't get uppity. Methinks this girl just got designated as 'uppity'...
The pig bicture
Global climate is a complex system. There is enough data and variances to be able to pick something, and run either way with it. Pick a gas, pick a location, and a side to the argument. We have the doomsayers, who predict big problems in the next decade or two, and the denialists, who say we're a drop in the bucket.
I guess I look at it from a modified doomsayers position. If we've already tipped the balance, we've already screwed the pooch. If we haven't, we lack the teeth to get the developing world to play along with our paranoia. Decreasing pollution is a good thing, and has benefits aside from 'saving the world' which are tangible to those parts of the world.
Do what we can, and deal with what we can't. Personally, I think we overestimate our foot print on the climate (a natural event can outweigh us), but we do have an effect. But there is a benefit in lightening our footprint. I think nuclear still has less of a footprint than solar or windpower.. there's no such thing as a free lunch.
Damn lies, statistics, and the big picture
The relativistic argument can be a bit of a stretch. 4 billion years ago, the earth was 40 C warmer across the board, so it's not 'unprecidented'. Specific areas can be cherry-picked to make either sides' argument, so I take it all with a grain of salt. Many natural events can greatly affect the amount of CO2, making our contribution seem small in comparison. I'm not a big believer in doom and gloom.
That said, amazing things have happened when we try and cut down our pollution levels. It forces us to find better sources of energy, and in the long run it can save money. I'm sure Lewis would've downplayed the role of tetraethyl lead, bituminous coal in London, and the use of solvents in industry and their impacts on the environment, just to name a few. DHMO-based solvents have proven to be much cheaper, and also less polluting. Less NOx and SOx mean less smog, and the engines run fine without TEL. I also know there's no free lunch when it comes to energy (nuclear seems to me still the way to go), but pressure to improve the process isn't bad.
Program languages to many programmers are like guitars to guitar players... Many will go through a bunch in order to find one they can 'play. It's not the instrument, it's the technique. If you have a problem of 100 tires in your yard, bad C practice is to make 1 stack of 100. Bad C++/OO will make 100 stacks of 1. I have had discussions with people quoting Stroustroup like it was the bible. Just because you can do it doesn't necessarily mean you should.
I've used C++ for embedded, and it's useful (Broadcom has done it well IMHO). I've seen subclassing done backwards more times than I care to (mention scope, they say OO automatically is scoped, as they litter statics through the classes).
The allure of C++, perl, and other languages is you can create a meta-language to describe the problem you're solving. But often it's jargon, ergot, or some other obscure cant that repackages what's already there. I think that's people not trusting the language, or invoking rituals (in OO, everything must be dynamically allocated... why? ... it's not OO if it's not. So, before I bang my head off the rock).
Re: What was the name of that console system
Steam definitely has the means, and an established path which is much more than Phantom (thanks whoever reminded me) had. They have a good DRM model. Not like Phantom. It's a matter of getting the developers to work on that common denominator.
Re: What's with the partizan posts?
Yeah, we're bad yanks. We had no business invading Iraq. But we kind of inherited a mess there, with all the divisions, and trying to break majorities by pitting them against each other. I know the Ottomans were there, but there was someone there after that had the place all screwed up by the 1920's. Big colonial power, and thought they were good at it. Weren't they involved in Pakistan also, when it was part of India?
Hmm... WHO could that have been... At least they weren't Dutch, French, or Belgian.
You can learn a lot in an operational environment, just by observing. Especially in an informal environment, you can get people talking, and gently steering the conversation you get the information you need. Programmers have favored methodologies, and bad ones will use that for everything. You have the managers who work with their staff, and those who consider it a good day where they don't make a decision, or make a decision which is outside their realm (mgmt - strategy, staff - tactics).
You find gaps between people. You find out the users are doing unexpected things. You find a platform stretched enough to where race conditions happen. Woe become you if you tick off a test procedure, and someone else can demonstrate it.
You find out enough about the what happened, and why, blame matters less. A nice valid chain of events leading to failure is very tough to refute, and generally spreads the blame out. As an engineer you want to know those so you don't repeat it. A good saying is there's a name for people too smart to learn anything.... dumb.
I should've gotten a doctorate in epidemiological studies.. Anybody read the paper? There's no info in it, just a defense of the methodology. People have felt so strongly they have left their homes, so there must be an effect. Spent 40 pages explaining why it scientific not to turn to science.
How about finding some students for a few quid who can replicate the results? How about isolating the specific part of the turbines that are causing the symptoms? Have any of these folks heard of science? Reproducability?
Nothing is free, or green. Windfarms have environmental impact, just like everything else. But prove it already. Don't say it's impossible to prove, but it happens because people complain about it. Plausible to me, but dammit, prove it.
The US still uses Restricted?
US classification, I thought they did away with RESTRICTED a long time ago. They replaced it with SUB (Sensitive, Unclassified, Burn), and even that they replaced with FOUO (For Official Use Only). FOUO isn't classified, but it's not public. They were trying to downgrade a lot of CONFIDENTIAL as well.
The reason was to reduce the number of documents which had to be tracked I thought, and a lot of CONFIDENTIAL information was downgraded for saving money.
It's simplified a lot since I've been in that stuff.
I don't think they're looking too hard in the area for radiation. It's probably rained a few times since the event, and the surface stuff has decayed a bit, but also has been concentrated into low-lying areas. Also, the exclusion represents confidence in the containment at the site.
Safe for 99.99% of people, maybe 99.9 depending on how many basements are present.
In order words, you're downplaying, but you're mostly right. The chicken-little press only uses 3-inch headlines for things that are 99.99% safe however.
FUD and the antithesis
My take on increasing the Fukushima disaster to level 7 isn't on the amount of radiation put out exactly. I think their reasoning for going to declaring it level 7 is partly because they are taking responsibility in the face of the rest of the world (face being a key word), and also that they feel they do not have a firm control of the situation yet.
There has been some impacts. That said, I appreciate Mr. Page's take on the media frenzy (uSv isn't media-sexy, but stating that it's x times the normal exposure is. Becquerels, especially when couple with SI prefixes from Mega to Exa make people wonder where all the fallout shelters went). I loved when CNN had an expert and a journo and the journo said how alpha rays penetrate, and the expert said nothing. My wife got an earful.
There are some serious hot zones at the plant. They don't have the dosimeters for individuals. Even around Chernobyl today, people can go around, and find some lichens which will excite the geiger counters. It will have some consequences, for some time. It will probably be a decade before they can get close enough to the reactors to get the fuel out (Not done at Chernobyl, took a decade at TMI).
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for espionage in 1953. U.S.Code does still have the death penalty on the books for espionage (not sure if/when that was changed), but only in times of war. Assange is too high profile I think to be renditioned, and if the US took action, the backlash would likely be more breaches of security.
The irony of this is when dealing with classified information, copies are at the same level, and need to be registered and safeguarded. Someone seriously screwed the pooch here on the security side. The data released shows a lack of compartmentalization, which I think is the rush for DHS to get their grubbies on intel data to legitimize themselves. In the name of security, the basics were disregarded, and now nobody can use USB drives in the DoD. Now they probably won't allow DVD's either.
The US (although I can't speak for my fellow americans) would best be served if he were allowed to slink away, and not be martyred in the process physically, or legally.
The politicos mentioned treason, but Assange can't be considered treasonous, he's not a US citizen. I don't think the US has much of a case here, They probably want to question him, but they can't disappear him. I think the last execution for stealing secrets (which Julian didn't) was Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
I'm not sure how easy it would be for the US to extradite for a crime which isn't necessarily universal.
Our good friend irony
Let me get this straight... It's not ok for the state to kill a bad person, but it's ok for the state to put a uniform on someone, tell them to go stand in front of people in other uniforms who are trained to shoot people in that uniform.
And I don't think people get the whole thing about painless capital punishment. The preference is for a method which doesn't necessarily cause discomfort to the condemned, but for the witnesses. Even where beheading is practiced, they draw off most of the blood beforehand to make it less like Mortal Kombat. If they could make it like flipping an off switch on a human being, it won't ever go away, because it doesn't distress people enough. Accidentally decapatate a few people, and there's a shot.
People like to think they're above all that. But the state does retain the authority to kill it's subjects when it deems to be necessary... don't kid yourself. One makes sense while the other does not. At least you blokes don't have conscription.
A country can't do it to bad people by any justification, but they can do it to good people with really good justification. Is that what you're trying to say?
(that said, I don't think it's much of a deterrent. It's used really in only aggravated murder cases here)
The reason as I read
Was he skipped school that day (at least that's what was claimed in the lawsuit). Bueller? Bueller? (although that guy got busted for being a paedo).
Props to El Reg for not going British on the geography on this one (Lower Merion is in the vicinity of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).
History repeats itself, Ollie...
It's been repeating itself for at least 100 years. New type of media, expansion, consolidation, control, to a new type of media. From film to radio to television, to the internet. The first chapter is the mad scramble. Then people realize how much money there is to be had, and it expands, and then consolidates into the hands of a few. In the past, ecomics has intervened.
To plead that it costs jobs or money is disingenuous. Fewer people work in the industry mainly because of consolidation (how many projectionists does a modern multiplex employ?). Your cries of lost money in reality is unrealized profit. Very difficult to plead lost money when movies make hundreds of millions of dollars (Avatar).
The reality is the same however: a balance will soon be struck once the new media is put to good use. And then it will get turned on its head, and the cycle begins again. I've seen it happen with the software industry, and I've seen how the music and television industry work at the entry level (you need a day job).
The bigger, the fewer, the more complacent. With each new media, a little anarchy creeps in, and it is good. Piracy will always happen, just as sure as consumers will get ripped off. With more opportunity, comes more jobs, and more media. I've increased my DVD library considerably from failed video rental places (used, but cheap, same for CD's).
The versions of the market
Always in flux. Prior to recordings, people would bootleg copies of sheet music. The consumer wants their music for free. The producer wants the consumer to pay every time they listen to a song, and their adverts (Why do I have to sit through 5 minutes of non-forwardable adverts when I bought the bloody DVD?).
Ah, a free market is a beautiful thing. Charge too much, and you make piracy economical. Make it reasonable, and sales increase.
Bono *never* exploted resorted to being a media whore... Ironically, U2 is one of those 80's groups I don't listen to any more... Perhaps I was force-fed it too many times on the radio and TV.
Maybe I'm being Captain Obvious here, but...
The thing I found odd (and maybe missed by the canucklehead) is not the reference to America, but I was wondering where in Virginia. I know Oxford is a collection of colleges like 20 or so, but there are quite a few possibilities in Virginia. For example, Virginia is the home of black helicopters (Langley), the Pentagon (Alexandria), and GWAR (Richmond, VCU I think). There's higher tech in Blacksburg (Va. Tech) and artsy pastoral schools in Fredericksburg. Maybe Dave Matthews was involved.
I wish the Reg would cover the research being conducted at the Slave Pit though, because of the Antartic ice melting.
Could be worse I suppose.
Maybe they drank too much 'Arn. Could be worse... They could've mispelled it Cleveland. Or one that really riles people up, Pittsburg.
Funny. First international trip, land at lovely Heathrow Airport. Have a day room at the Hilton. Asked me my address. Pittsburgh I said.
What was on the receipt? Phishdursh. I did not have any drinks on the flight.
They could integrate the cloth into a rigid matrix
I have this vision of the MOD buying up a bunch of textile-resin plates, and affixing them to the tanks... That's right, they're going to have Trabant armor.
Very evil setup. They probably don't need shills, they just need to make sure the world is bidding on the items. A larger bidding group also naturally increases the number of snipers, and does a pretty good job of preventing collusion.
I want to say they can sell stuff at 20% of price, and break even (each bid nets .75, and increases the bid by .15).
To us yanks
The map kind of makes sense, because you English types get your princes from Wales. And then they get stoned on scones or something... knowing the Scottish food, that ain't suprising. That would also explain the tooth stereotype if you think about it...
Always struck me as ironic
The irony is that my hometown of Pittsburgh is home to a few universities (Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Duqesne to name a scant few), and the standard of living is on the cheap side compared to other places. And the lament from just about everybody out of university is "there's no jobs around here".
Well, if the H1-B people do come here, at least they can make sure their meagre dollar goes further here than, say NYC or DC (or abroad, where it's really meagre!). Also, our centres of higher learning provide good opportunities for graduate studies. Good time to come over and buy houses, because us yanks can't afford them!
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to yinzer, before my head explodes. Maybe I should have some crisps first... *boom*
multiple returns == Coding by Exception
As a reviewer, I'll generally allow an if-else block at the end for returns. Beyond that, I take a very dim view.
Here is why. For any given solution, there are a finite number of rules, and an infinite number of exceptions.
When you start doing extensive data checking, you must consider first whether it's your business to know what information you're handling. If you're a typical Object-Obfucated programmer, you'll have 80%+ of your code checking what it isn't (and what to do). You'll also be sure and include the sanity checks in every class in your 12-layer chain of inheritance.
Now, the constant of gravity changes, or the customer wants another argument in the API. And at that moment, you will be cursed with 3 eternities in maintenance hell for your transgression. Of course, your tester will already have cursed your name to 20 lifetimes on helldesk duty in that case... Of course, the jobu who did it originally has probably spread the love to 10 other places, or writing a book.
This is programming, and not law. Just because there's prior precedent doesn't make it right. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
The Tao of programming states if you're going to make bugs, make them obvious. After all, a tarantula is easier to find than a flea, and not nearly as deadly.
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