Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 12.3

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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31 Comments

  1. Maybe they *assumed* it was a virus, and ordered a complete re-install of the entire lab. A common end-user error – everything’s a virus if it looks unfamiliar, and you don’t know what it does.

    But even still, if you have that many computers, it pays to have a common image that you can reinstall from.

    The only way I can imagine it costing that much is if they have a whole sh*t load of computers, or if they’re including the cost of work lost due to network and processor lag. Even that’s a little much.

  2. I’m not sure why it’s surprising Warren refuses to stand against those laws. Why would a fundamentalist Christian be against a law persecuting gays?

    It’d be like the Trix Rabbit passing on a bowl of Trix.

  3. I haven’t used [email protected] for a few years, but back in my System Administrator days, I had it installed as the screensaver on a dozen headless Macs I had stuck in an unused cube. It was fun to have the little farm sitting there churning away. The questions I got about it were amusing too.

    Boss: “What’s up with the cube full of hard drives?”

    Me: “Those are spare machines, I’m setting them up in case someone’s workstation goes down.”

    Boss: “Why are they all on?”

    Me: “Updates.”

    Boss: “But they don’t have monitors or keyboards.”

    Me: “Firmware updates. Very tricky. I ssh into to them from a remote terminal, then route the backups to /dev/null. Makes for faster transfers over the network. Also it allows me to rapidly implement a document standardization system using common industry protocols*.”

    Boss: “Keep up the good work.”

    *= install microsoft office

    I miss that job. Babysitting a nearly all Mac design firm was a great deal of fun. Lots of free time to work on my own projects, endless games of Quake… decent salary… too bad the place imploded.

    Oh, and SETI really didn’t affect the network at all that I noticed. The school must have a huge setup, and SETI running as a background task instead of as a screensaver.

  4. Despite the fact that the pro-yoga people in that article sound pretty vapid in their defense, I don’t understand what regulation is supposed to do. Is it doing enough harm that could be stemmed from expensive state regulation? Has this been shown to be the case with, say, personal trainers, or as the article states, ballroom dance?

    Bellydance isn’t state regulated, but you can hurt yourself pretty darn well if you are doing it wrong. My teachers go through expensive private certification to be able to teach what (at least seems to be from my experience) a very safe way of dancing, and state regulation on top of that just might shut them down financially.

    I just wonder if these regulations are consistent or efficacious.

  5. There’s a thread over on the Randi Forum about the [email protected] on Work PCs issues. Apparently there is more to that story:

    The IT Admin in question also forgot to install firewalls, security patches, and other basic functions which may have put private data at risk.

    He may also have stolen some hardware.
    In short fired for incompetence, while the Media jumped on the sensationalistic angle.

  6. “Teaching, after all, is speech. Pure and simple,” therefore, teaching absolute pseudoscience for thousands of dollars in college tuition is constitutionally protected. Genius!

    @jsg: Thanks for the clarification. I kept saying to myself, “[email protected] only uses idle bandwidth and cpu time, how did this cause a problem?” so I’m glad to hear it was something more substantial behind this.

  7. “Virginia announced that yoga teacher training programs, which officials consider vocational classes that prepare students for a job, must be certified by the state”

    If it’s a state sponsored vocational program, the state should be able to demand certification. If it’s a religious experience, it shouldn’t be in a state sponsored vocational program. If it’s not in a state sponsored vocational program, then it gets classified with golf pros, personal trainers, and life coaches – do any of these require state certs?

  8. @jsg: The IT Admin in question also forgot to install firewalls, security patches, and other basic functions which may have put private data at risk.

    Wow. That is simultaneously the worst adminning EVER and the worst reporting since the Berlin Daily Mail announced the opening of the Dachau amusement park.

  9. Regarding the SETI fellow, it seems that the school also asked him to uninstall it previously and he didn’t do so. Over 3 or 4 years, it isn’t implausible that this could add up to on the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars in electricity costs.

  10. They should regulate Yoga teachers everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, the practice of yoga is pretty awesome and indeed beneficial for you, but try to find an instructor that’s not spouting out woo. Just the “open yourself to the universe” nonsense is too much for me to ever pick up yoga.

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