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Comment: Re:How in the hell did this pass IRB? (Score 1) 160

by Alien1024 (#47379943) Attached to: Facebook Fallout, Facts and Frenzy

I don't understand the "-1, Troll" moderation.

Quirkology by Richard Wiseman, an interesting read, is a compilation of rigorous experiments in social psychology, many of which were conducted, *gasp*, without the subjects' consent.

Retail stores do research on consumers' behaviour in order to try to sell them more sugary, salty and fatty snacks. Addiction to those nasty foods is a very real issue with health consequences. Where's the outrage?

Comment: Re:consent (Score 1) 130

by Alien1024 (#47349201) Attached to: In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

I really doubt Facebook conducted this experiment in order to "develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge" out of the kindness of their hearts. Far more likely, they seek to profit from it by generating more posts, more traffic, etc.

This is no different from retail stores conducting studies linking customer spending habits to item locations; they do such studies all the time.

Comment: Re:Python (Score 2) 466

by Alien1024 (#47242895) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

As others have pointed out, what the OP is asking for is, basically, a language that does it all across many platforms, a tool that does all jobs, and I'm afraid that doesn't exist. The closest thing, IMHO, would be the oh-so-obvious answer "Java", except it's not interpreted.

Anyway, a question to those who are answering Python and Javascript: since the OP is asking for something that has, among other things, "mobile relevance, GUI desktop applications relevance", are there any decent IDEs/APIs/whatever that facilitate Rapid development of desktop programs and what these days is referred to as "mobile" (meaning, mainly, iStuff and Android Apps)?

Comment: Re:Copyright or Trade Secret? Pick One (Score 1) 197

by Alien1024 (#46536071) Attached to: Ex-Microsoft Employee Arrested For Leaking Windows 8

An "haute-cuisine" cook can make business by keeping their recipes secret. That falls under trade secret.

The same principle holds for source code.

And for other industries, too. Cars, aircraft, hardware... The blueprints, or the sets of steps necessary to build those things, can be trade secrets.

Nobody suggests they can't sell the resulting products while keeping those processes secret. The only reason it doesn't make sense to copyright a dish (I mean the edible dish, not the recipe) is because those things aren't information, you can't take one of them and make a copy just like you can with software.

Software is peculiar in the sense that both the "recipe" and the resulting product are information - but they are not the same information, and there's no reason both sets of information should receive the same treatment.

Now, what doesn't make sense is to patent one thing and try to keep the same thing a trade secret.

For full disclosure, I am firmly against software patents as they are conceived in many jurisdictions. Patents should be detailed and should include the best method known by the author to carry out the patented process - for software patents, this means they should include the source code.

Comment: Re:Not If I don't buy it (Score 1) 178

by Alien1024 (#46529469) Attached to: Your Car Will Soon Sense If You're Tired Or Not Paying Attention
More seriously, though, in a low-speed collision at certain angle, a seatbelt can make the difference between the driver hitting their head, which may cause them to fall unconscious and lose control of the vehicle, and retaining control of the vehicle and the ability to avoid running over pedestrians, for example.

Any driver safety feature provides safety not only for the driver but also for all other drivers and people around the road. Whether each and every of those features should be made mandatory is another, more complex, question - tinfoil-hatters are speculating rear cameras will in fact serve nefarious surveillance purposes - and sometimes tinfoil-hatters are right. The safety of airbags is questioned, too. An airbag may hurt a passenger when it's too close to them.

Comment: Re:More likely (Score 1) 625

by Alien1024 (#46229231) Attached to: Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science

That was my first thought as well. But we should know exactly how the question was phrased. TFA mentions "astrology, the study of celestial bodies' purported influence on human behavior and worldly events", but the linked PDF merely states "surveys have asked Americans whether they view astrology as being scientific".

The PDF provides other interesting figures, such as the percentage of people correctly answering the question "Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?... which I found shockingly low for the surveyed regions - 74 in the US, even a bit lower in the EU... only higher for South Korea.

Comment: Re:Concerning... (Score 1) 189

by Alien1024 (#45749655) Attached to: Scientific Data Disappears At Alarming Rate, 80% Lost In Two Decades

Fair enough, it was just one piece of a massive collection of knowledge lost.

I was just questioning the claim that paper has "been fine for thousands of years".

While paper (if carefully stored and looked after) is more durable than any digital media invented so far, you can't ignore the many advantages of digital media: extremely easy and quick to copy with no loss of quality, possibility to do that remotely, far less bulky...

Comment: Re:Concerning... (Score 1) 189

by Alien1024 (#45744295) Attached to: Scientific Data Disappears At Alarming Rate, 80% Lost In Two Decades

the dead tree that's been fine for thousands of years

Not so fine.... The Alexandria library fire was perhaps the most catastrophic loss of human knowledge ever. For example, it destroyed the details of a heliocentric theory, which was postulated by Greek astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, millennia before Copernicus brought it to mainstream.

An adequate bootstrap is a contradiction in terms.