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Comment: Re:Having a private pilots license (Score 4, Informative) 269

Aircraft injuries/fatalities are only better than cars because the vast majority of traffic is on commercial airlines that are rigorously maintained, with pilots who must pass (relatively) stringent qualifications.

Little private planes are much more dangerous, mile for mile, than cars

Comment: Re:Nothing new. (Score 4, Insightful) 167

by Aeonym (#45981213) Attached to: Russia Backs Sending Top Students Abroad With a Catch

But to complete your comparison, you'd also be able to make 4 or 5 times as much money overseas because wages in the US were considerably lower. In the short term, debt forgiveness is appealing--but in the long term it's a bad deal compared to the extra earnings/savings you could accrue.

Comment: But... (Score 1) 325

by Aeonym (#43815485) Attached to: Predicting IQ With a Simple Visual Test

"standard IQ tests, which have been criticized for cultural bias"

The voices who complain about cultural bias will always find a reason that any test is biased, as long as it continues to score their preferred racial/ethnic/economic/victim class lower than their supposed oppressors. If current tests showed that poor African immigrants with little schooling were "more intelligent" than the average middle class white person, the tests would be hailed as scientific evidence of the tyranny of the current social regime.

That said, the classic IQ test is very limited. It does measure one thing pretty well, but just what that thing is isn't well defined--and that thing, while helpful in some ways, is in no way required for a successful, happy life.

Comment: More quack science (Score 1) 758

by Aeonym (#42942051) Attached to: Is "Left" Vs. "Right" Hard-coded Into Your Brain?

If conservatives are risk averse, why are a strong majority of successful businessmen and entrepreneurs conservative? Please don't say it's because greed and the desire to keep their money overpowers their inherent timidity at the world. That would be incredibly smug.

If liberals love uncertainly and novelty, why are they the ones who push for the certainty and banality of pervasive welfare programs? Please don't say it's because their inherent love of "people" overpowers their personal inclination for uncertainty. That would be incredibly patronizing.

Comment: Raters gonna rate (Score 5, Interesting) 67

by Aeonym (#42106103) Attached to: Google's Manual For Its Unseen Human Raters

I've actually been a Google rater. I spent about 2 years total doing it--long enough to become a 'moderator' who ensures quality feedback from other raters--in between, and supplemental to, "real" jobs. Raters give feedback on lots of Google services but it falls into two buckets: ranking the quality of legitimate results, and learning to spot the "spam".

Legit results are easy. Spam is more interesting. For one thing, I didn't entirely agree with their definition of what spam was--that's part of the reason you still see spammy results in some searches. The other part of course is that the spammers are constantly changing tactics. But it was actually kind of fun learning to spot the various methods spammers can use, and know that I was helping to improve search results by getting them off the front page (and hopefully off the top 100 pages).

But I always assumed that rater feedback was used to judge and adjust The Algorithm rather than individual page results. The Algorithm has always been king at Google.

Comment: Re:Less work, more life (Score 1) 969

by Aeonym (#39380629) Attached to: Bring Back the 40-Hour Work Week
As an American who worked in Denmark (Aarhus and Copenhagen) for two years, I have to laugh at the "better quality of life" meme that people so easily assert about Europe in general, and Scandinavia in particular. Maybe true if your definition of quality of life is only based on nationalized health care, but for the things I consider QoL, they're far behind. Even in the upscale neighborhood of Copenhagen where I lived, the homes (nearly all row houses, natch) are small, old, mildly drafty and unsoundproofed, with feeble plumbing and heating. Denmark's per capita disposable income is also among the lowest in Europe, thanks to exorbitant income tax rates. But wait, you say, Denmark is routinely hailed as one of the most "happy" nations on earth? How do you explain that? Here's why, though an explanation alone can never make it sink in the way firsthand experience can. Many of you will dismiss this explanation as egotistical, nationalistic, racist, ignorant...whatever. For the rest of you: Danes are happy in their low-disposable-income, somewhat-shoddy-living-condition lives because they are all in it together. The quality of shared "Danishness" is a cultural foundation that most Americans literally cannot even imagine. They are a small, proud, culturally, economically and genetically homogenous culture who are individually willing to make shared sacrifices because they see the benefits going to people like themselves. This is why the so-called Scandanavian Model can never, EVER work in the US. And it's not so much that they backstab and keep others from getting ahead, as that there are very strong, generally unspoken social norms such that being seen as trying to get ahead of your fellow Dane is a cause for gradual social ostricization. The culture doesn't hold people back, it prevents them from wanting to risk getting ahead. Important difference. And to any Danes reading, I do love a lot of things about your country. It's the only place in the world where people feel safe enough to leave their babies in strollers outside the supermarket while they shop (incredulous foreigners, I have seen this more times than I can count!). I just can't stand my fellow Americans misunderstanding *why* Denmark is lovely--and the fact that we can never be like you.

Comment: Conflict of interest? (Score 0) 504

by Aeonym (#36625866) Attached to: Climate Skeptic Funded By Oil and Coal Companies
So a skeptic was financially supported by like-minded corporate interests? Stop the presses! I look forward to the shocker exposes detailing how climate change evangelists were given grant money (from likeminded sources) to perform more studies which confirmed *their* beliefs. Oh wait--that won't ever happen. Because the academic grant system is pure and unbiased. LMAO.

Comment: Re:NO. (Score 1) 503

by Aeonym (#27846051) Attached to: European Union Asks US To Free ICANN

I can make a telephone call to almost any country in the world from here. The UN doesn't seem to have done a bad job ensuring that this works correctly...

Do you seriously believe that the UN gets credit for global telecommunications? I'm sure they'd love to, a la Al Gore, agree with you but that's ridiculous. And would you seriously claim that the UN--a political organization by definition--would somehow NOT politicize ICANN more than it is now? Some people don't like America having the control it does, but that's political as well. Show me one way in which the US has abused its oversight and then we can talk about reasons for a possible shift in control. Until then, stop your reflexive inclination toward warm fuzzy handholding, and get back to work improving the world rather than trying to control what others have made.

1 Billion dollars of budget deficit = 1 Gramm-Rudman

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