Lazy Late Friday Open “Tech” Thread: Move Fast, Break the Wrong Stuff…

Shoved aside, amid all this week’s affray. It’s all about noisy displays of public dominance, innit? The NYTimes:

Timothy D. Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Eric Schmidt of Alphabet were among 18 tech executives and investors — many of whom have criticized the Trump administration — who attended the four-hour afternoon session to discuss cloud computing and procurement systems run by government agencies.

For many, it was the second group meeting with Mr. Trump since the election — and another demonstration of the administration’s ability to summon top business executives, even amid controversy.

“Government needs to catch up with the technology revolution,” said Mr. Trump, who strolled in at the end of the meeting to greet the tech titans. “We’re going to change that with the help of great American businesses like the people assembled.”

He later said, drawing laughter, “We have approximately $3.5 trillion of market value in this room — but that’s almost the exact number that we’ve created since my election.”

Few technology specialists from the White House attended. The administration has not filled several major science and technology positions. But the business and economics team closest to the president attended, including Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, and Dina Powell, senior counselor for economic initiatives…

As described by NYMag‘s Select/All blog, “Tech Leaders Cucked by God-Emperor Trump”:

The White House is hosting leaders and CEOs from leading technology companies this week, hoping to get the best in the biz to figure out why the government sucks so bad at technology. The summit was the first meeting of the American Technology Council, which the administration established in May, led by Jared Kushner. Big boy Jared even made a speech, and presumably received an extra scoop of Cheez-Its at snack time for doing so…

Kushner suggested shifting government data to the cloud. “Federal agencies collectively operate 6,100 data centers,” he noted, “the vast majority of which can be consolidated and migrated to the cloud” (a little fun fact for you tech-heads out there: Remote data centers are what comprise “the cloud”). He also spoke about how the Department of Defense still uses floppy disks (not sure how that matters to the average American, but fair point), and that it takes months to update any government website (in part because the “move fast, break things” ethos doesn’t work for enormous populations of more than 300 million people).

The meeting appears to be fulfilling its implied purpose: making the president look good. Breitbart, to highlight one example, is celebrating how these feeble lefty tech CEOs are bowing before their new god, citing quotes like Eric Schmidt’s: “I’m absolutely convinced that during your administration there is going to be a huge explosion of new opportunities because of the platforms that are getting built in our industry.” (In January, Schmidt told an audience of Googlers that Trump would do “evil things,” citing the president’s stance on immigration.) Jeff Bezos said that Trump could be the “innovation administration,” while Tim Cook pressed the president on immigration and requiring coding classes in public schools…

What odds Trump vaguely assuming putting all this government stuff “in the cloud” would make it too heavy to hang over his head suspiciously any more?

In other news…


Addendum: How Much Plutonium Is In That Photo?


As a followup to my earlier post, I’ve been asked how much plutonium is in this photo, so I did a calculation. Read more

Michael Flynn Has IDEAs!


Michael Flynn is known for thinking outside the box, and we need ideas outside the box to solve some of the world’s problems. It’s also great when an action can address more than one problem. But it also helps to know what you’re doing.

Here’s an IDEA: The United States and Russia work together to supply Middle Eastern countries with civilian nuclear power. Several of those countries have been seeking nuclear power. The United States and Russia have companies that can build the plants. That’s the deal Flynn was seeking in October 2015.

The contracts would presumably specify that spent fuel go back to the supplier country, so that it wouldn’t be available for extracting plutonium for Middle Eastern nuclear weapons. The motivations for uranium enrichment and reprocessing, the technologies that could be used for making weapons, are undercut. The very wealthy Saudis would finance the program and thus have skin in the nonproliferation game. It would also help to bolster the US nuclear industry, which is suffering, among other things, from plant closures due to the currently low price of natural gas. Read more

A Critical Problem

This photo gives me the creeps. Read more

Late Night Open Thread: Now I’m Curious


Admittedly, the very thought of math usually puts me off food… and the professional mathematicians I know, while wonderful people, tend to be out towards the far end of the socialization bell curve… but what *could* precipitate such a stern message?

A Different Time

After the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories on both sides quickly got together in early 1992 to work on securing nuclear weapons and the materials they are made from. They were supported by their governments. NATO helped. The cooperation was a marvelous thing to see and to experience. I had a small part in dealing with leftover Soviet nuclear problems.

In 1998, I traveled to Estonia to help deal with a former Soviet uranium-processing plant. I’ve written up my experience. Siegfried Hecker, the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and a primary mover in the lab-to-lab cooperation, has collected the experiences of many participants in a two-volume set, Doomed to Cooperate. He has also set up a website for more information, which is where my story appears.

Check it out. Here are before and after photos of one part of the site.


Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.

Help Me With My Music Library

I spent the last month importing every single CD I own. I imported it all to a LaCie external drive.

I opened Itunes today, and it “organized” my external hd and 90% of my music is gone. Here is what I need besides a hockey puck sized sedative and a box of kleenex.

All I fucking want is to import all of my music in .aiff to my LaCie external hd. Then, once it is all there, I want to be able to make sure it can not be deleted, and I can create playlists for my iphone.

That is it. That is all I want. I am reformatting my LaCie, I am deleting everything with my MusicMonkey Pro and doing a fresh install, and I am doing the same with itunes. I am on a Windows PC running Win10 64 bit, and I have a macbook pro as well.

I want point by point instructions. If I need another application, let me know. I will give you my god damned phone number so you can walk me through this. I am ready to fucking break shit.

*** Update ***

Also, I am in a pretty fucking volatile mood right about now so if you have nothing to offer other than “that sucks” or “buy a radio” this is not the goddamned cocksucking thread for you or your shitfuckery.