Chaos Corner V02 N08 17Aug92 A BOLD NEW PROPOSAL FOR MATCHING HIGH-TECHNOLOGY PEOPLE AND P

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Chaos Corner V02 N08 17Aug92 -------------------------------------------------------- A BOLD NEW PROPOSAL FOR MATCHING HIGH-TECHNOLOGY PEOPLE AND PROFESSIONS Over the years, the problem of finding the right person for the right job has consumed thousands of worker-years of research and millions of dollars of funding. This is particularly true for high-technology organizations where talent is scarce and expensive. Recently, however, years of detailed study of the finest minds in the field of psychoindustrial interpersonnel optimization have resulted in the development of a simple foolproof test to determine the best match between personality and profession. Now, at last, people can be infallibly assigned to the jobs for which they are truly best suited. CLASSIFICATION GUIDELINES Mathematicians hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing out everything that is not an elephant, and catching one of whatever is left. Experienced mathematicians will attempt to prove the existence of at least one unique elephant before proceeding to step 1 as a subordinate exercise. Professors of mathematics will prove the existence of at least one unique elephant and then leave the detection and capture of an actual elephant as an exercise for their graduate students. Computer scientists hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A: 1. Go to Africa. 2. Start at the Cape of Good Hope. 3. Work northward in an orderly manner, traversing the continent east and west. 4. During each traverse pass, (a) Catch each animal seen, (b) Compare each animal caught to a known elephant, (c) Stop when a match is detected. Experienced computer programmers modify Algorithm A by placing a known elephant in Cairo to ensure that the algorithm will terminate. Assembly language programmers prefer to execute Algorithm A on their hands and knees. Engineers hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching gray animals at random, and stopping when any one of them weighs within + or - 15% of any previously observed elephant. Economists don't hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants are paid enough, they will hunt themselves. Statisticians hunt the first animal they see N times and call it an elephant. Consultants don't hunt elephants, and many have never hunted anything at all, but they can be hired by the hour to advise those people who do. Operations research consultants can also measure the correlation of hat size and bullet color to the efficiency of elephant-hunting strategies, if someone else will only identify the elephants. Politicians don't hunt elephants but they will share the elephants you catch with the people who voted for them. Lawyers don't hunt elephants, but they do follow the herds around arguing about who owns the droppings. Software lawyers will claim that they own an entire herd based on the look and feel of one dropping. Vice presidents of engineering, research and development try hard to hunt elephants, but their staffs are designed to prevent it. When the VP does get to hunt elephants, the staff will try to ensure that all possible elephants are completely prehunted before the VP sees them. If the VP does see a non-prehunted elephant, the staff will (1) compliment the VP's keen eyesight, and (2) enlarge itself to prevent any recurrence. Senior managers set broad elephant-hunting policy based on the assumption that elephants are just like field mice, but with deeper voices. Quality assurance inspectors ignore the elephants and look for mistakes the other hunters made when they were packing the jeep. Salespeople don't hunt elephants but spend their time selling elephants they haven't caught, for delivery two days before the season opens. Software salespeople ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice for an elephant. Hardware sales people catch rabbits, paint them gray, and sell them as desktop elephants. Ann Halpin (halpinae@dayton.bitnet) contributed the preceding, originally from Peter Theobald, National Center for Software Technology, Bombay, India. ------------------------------------------------------- Static in the Shortwave Listening Article Dick Crepeau (szyy@cornellf.bitnet) reported problems with reaching the archive of shortwave listening (SWL) information mentioned in the previous Chaos Corner. Dr. Chaos points out that I typed the address as vmsserv@arecibo.aero.edu rather than vmsserv@arecibo.aero.org. Apologies to Dick and anyone else who tried to reach the archive. A recent addition is "DX'ers Guide to the Galaxy", now available from vmsserv@arecibo.aero.org ("send galaxy.txt"). The guide contains information on DXing (long distance listening) satellites and other space communications, produced by Radio Sweden. ------------------------------------------------------- Interested in helping with cloud movies (like the Weather Channel?) Joe Ahlgren (author of GeoClock, remember?) has been thinking for quite a while of developing a system where cloud overlays could be played across GeoClock maps, just as the sunlight overlay is now played. One of the local "crazies" there (Geoff Chester, who runs the planetarium at the Air and Space Museum) has built a system in his home to get weather satellite transmissions automatically and convert then to GIF format. He posts them on a BBS 4 times per day. Unfortunately, he cannot seem to get any calibration data so that pixel coordinates can be turned into lat/long. Joe wonders if there is anyone the Chaos Corner list who might be interested or helpful in this project? ------------------------------------------------------- Time Zone Map Available Joe Ahlgren's time zone expert, Roger Wollstadt, said that the list of time zone names in the message we sent Joe confirmed his opinion that there were no standard names. He pointed out that quite a few zones had English names but no English speaking people! There is a new time zone paper map, beautifully done, which sites GeoClock as a source. It is available from MapLink, 25 E Mason St, Santa Barbara CA 93101, 805-965- 4402, for $9.95 plus $5 S&H. (Joe says he doesn't have a piece of the action, but it is nice to seem his name in print.) Some interesting things are shown by the map. For example, the Navajo reservation in NE Arizona celebrates DST (unlike the rest of Arizona), but the completely surrounded Hopi reservation does not. The DST map, therefore, shows a square donut in NE Arizona. ------------------------------------------------------- Got an old version of NCSA Telnet? --- Update it! Older versions of NCSA Telnet for both the Macintosh and the PC had a security loophole that you may not be aware of. By default they were shipped with a configuration file that specified "ftp=yes" meaning that an FTP server was available in your system any time the program was active. That FTP server allowed ANYONE on the internet to have read/write access to all the files on your personal computer. Scared yet? If not, it may be because you wisely removed that line from the configuration file -- *wrong* -- "ftp=yes" is the default, so that option is in effect unless you changed the configuration file to specify "ftp=no", or unless you set up a password file using the "passfile=" option and the 'telpass' command. Current versions of NCSA Telnet are available from ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu in the /PC/Telnet or /Mac/Telnet directories. The Macintosh version was last updated in July, 1992 and the PC version was last updated in April, 1992. ------------------------------------------------------ Cleaning Up Empty News Directories If you happen to get a newsfeed to your Unix system, one problem you face is that as groups come and go, (particularly in the alt sections) the directories that were created are left behind to clutter up your file system. The "last word" on the appropriate command to clean up all these unused directories is the following Unix 'find' command: find /usr/spool/news -depth -type d -exec rmdir {} \; >/dev/null 2>&1 This command removes all empty directories, even for active newsgroups, but that is OK because NNTP (or is it C-News?) will recreate the directory structure as necessary when articles come in. The only problem is with the directory 'out.going' (used for posting articles to the network). The suggested solution is to create a dummy file in the 'out.going' directory so that it doesn't get removed. ------------------------------------------------------- Converting sound files between various formats So now you have Windows 3.1 and are having troubles finding the sounds you want in the .wav format? The popular utility, sox, for converting between various sound formats is available for PC users, pre-compiled and located in the /mirrors/msdos/sound directory on wuarchive.wustl.edu and in the /pc/sound directory on garbo.uwasa.fi (for those of you in Europe). Look for the file sox4d.zip, and don't forget to use the 'binary' option when transferring it. Now that you have sox, you can convert the .au format files that you find on sciences.sdsu.edu in the /sounds directory into .wav files so that you can associate them with the various Windows events (just like Mac users have had for years!). ------------------------------------------------------- Frequently Asked Questions on Audio File Formats (Sound) All you ever want to know about sound file formats is here in one easy- to-read 1400 line file. Like most of the FAQ files, this one can be found on pit-manager.mit.edu. To retrieve it via anonymous FTP, look in the directory /pub/usenet/alt.binaries.sounds.d, OR for an e-mail version, send mail to Dr. Chaos at chaos-request@pelican.cit.cornell.edu asking for a copy of the FAQ on Audio File Formats. ------------------------------------------------------- Keeping up-to-date on the Time If you want your Unix workstation to maintain the correct time, you should use the Network Time Protocol (Version 3 is most current). The authoritative source for information is on louie.udel.edu. The source code is in pub/ntp/xntp3.tar.Z. There is a file (clocks.txt) which lists the best NTP peers to use and also sources for your very own high- precision radio clocks. If you just want to know the current time, try the command (this doesn't work very well from real or simulated 3270-type terminal, but otherwise it is OK) "telnet india.colorado.edu 13". ------------------------------------------------------- More Time Information than you'd ever want to Know The original GMT was the mean time derived from mean solar time (based on *smoothed* time between successive noons - it's smoothed as the actual solar time gains and loses about 16 minutes throughout the year due to the earth's elliptical orbit, etc.). This smoothed time, however, was not able to correctly deal with the small variations in the earth's rotation (on the order of thousandths of a second per day). UT0, based strictly on celestial observations, became the time which accounts for these variations. UT1 then became the time (based on UT0) which adjusted for the large scale variations on the earth's rotation. This time standard, however, was still not precise enough and in 1958, the US Naval Observatory established A1 using atomic clocks with the time coordinated with the Greenwich observatory. In 1967, a second was defined as 9,192,631.770 oscillations of a specific radiation from cesium 133. Until the end of 1971 the time was adjusted to match the earth's rotation when it was about 1/10 second "out of sync." On 1 Jan 1972, the system was changed and atomic time took over. Enter UTC. When UTC is out of sync with UT1, a leap second is added (or removed) to UTC. The last leap second was *added* at 23:59:60 30 June 1992 (note the second is *60* and not *59*). So what is GMT? GMT is UT1 (celestial time adjusted for the earth's rotation). What is Zulu time? So-called Zulu time is UTC which is based on a set of atomic standards and it may be close to 1 second out of sync with UT1. Who cares about this difference? Navigators taking fixes with a sextant need UT1/GMT. A one second error in timing a sighting will have a 1/4 mile error in the fix. (The above is abstracted from "Types Of Time" by Bill Brogdon appearing in Ocean Navigator No. 47) with thanks to Rick Emerson at ssg.com. ------------------------------------------------------- How do you REALLY write code for BSD Sockets? In the oldies-but-goodies department (as Dr. Chaos looks through some of the files that have been around for a while but that people still might find to be useful) we have a summary of where to locate information on and programming examples on how to use BSD Sockets for communications. It was compiled by "Tundra" Tim Daneliuk (tundra@eskimo.chi.il.us). If you want a copy, send e-mail to chaos-request@pelican.cit.cornell.edu and ask Dr. Chaos for one. ------------------------------------------------------- What to do! What to do! If you say that very often, you just might need the XView To-Do List manager (XVTDL) that has been recently updated to version 3.1 and, like much other fine X-Windows free software, is available from THE X11 site, export.lcs.mit.edu in the contrib directory. For XVTDL, look for the file xvtdl-3.1.tar.Z. ------------------------------------------------------- PC Games and supplemental programs Of course, Dr. Chaos is sure that all you loyal readers recall that the "standard" collection point for PC games is at ftp.ulowell.edu in the msdos/Games directories. What you may not know is that a number of the games (in particular, the Apogee games like Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D have had supplemental programs written for them that do things like provide maps (or allow you to easily build your own map), add new levels of play, and describe methods of patching the programs to get unlimited lives, ammo, etc. Jeff Bryer (umbryer@ccu.umanitoba.ca) maintains the archive at ccu.umanitoba.ca in the /pub/wolf3d directory. For a description of what's in the archive, send mail to Dr. Chaos at chaos-request@pelican.cit.cornell.edu. ------------------------------------------------------- Weather satellite images for others than North America Weather satellite images in both the visible and infrared bands are available in gif format for anonymous FTP from two places that Dr. Chaos knows about. The files are updated several times a day and may be found at cumulus.met.ed.ac.uk; look for files /images/gifs/eur.vis.gif or eur.ir.gif. Other images are available if you replace "eur" with "norden", "uk", or "world" (this last one shows Europe, Africa, and the Middle East). Many of these images can also be found at mirror site in Switzerland, liasun3.epfl.ch in the /pub/weather directory (for your information, EPFL is the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne on the north side of Lake Geneva). For weather on the Australian continent, FTP to marlin.jcu.edu.au and get some of regularly updated GMS-4 images. The images are available for various Australian states, and the entire country. The images are in a unusual format, but this is solved by retrieving a public domain package (ALCHEMY) from many FTP sites. It will handle the conversion from their format to gif or other formats. ------------------------------------------------------- Dr. Chaos apologizes for the length of this issue, but the items were backing up and he was running out of disk space (isn't that always the case?). Remember, for subscriptions to Chaos Corner, send your request to chaos-request@pelican.cit.cornell.edu. Dr. Chaos (I have a Master's Degree

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank