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Comment Re:sometimes it seems to me (Score 2) 311 311

I get that you want the best possible sound... and in some cases the placebo effect may actually help you enjoy your music more... but are there really enough of these people to base a business on?

If you're effectively making a cable that costs maybe $10 to manufacture, but selling it for $340, you don't need many "audiophiles" to make a significant profit. If you have a few hundred of them, you're already making 6-figure profits. (Obviously some cables may cost a little more to manufacture, but certainly not anywhere near as much as they are charging.)

It's kinda like wine. There have been studies that show that if you serve cheap wine in expensive bottles, people like it better. There have been studies that show that many wine prizes are awarded so haphazardly that you might as well choose them at random. There have been studies that show that actual wine judges at a major competition could barely rate the same wine with consistency above random chance on consecutive days.

And yet, people still will pay hundreds of dollars for some bottles. Recent studies have even shown that people literally get a better "pleasure" response in their brain when they are told a wine is expensive, compared to when it is supposedly cheap. It's more than a casual "placebo effect" -- it's something that people will pay hundreds of dollars to experience, even if most of that effect comes from the act of paying the hundreds of dollars rather than the product itself.**

I'm sure most audiophiles have a similar experience -- they literally receive more pleasure when they listen through an expensive cable. They want to pay more for that experience. So why not let them, I suppose? It's not like faith healers or psychics, who might do real damage with their charlatanism... the only damage these cable dealers could do, I suppose, would be with some obsessed audiophile who goes and throws his money away on expensive cables while his family starves. Maybe there's a couple people like that in the world, but it's certainly not a common problem.

And these sorts of "tests" won't convince anyone. I'm not sure what the point is anymore. It's like James Randi going after Uri Gellar -- true "believers" don't give a crap what the tests of "skeptics" say... they'll just keep believing. Let 'em enjoy their magic cables.

[**NOTE: To be clear, I am NOT saying all wine is the same. There are a lot of different varieties and flavors. But I do believe you should just buy what you like. There are $5 wines that have easily beat out $100 wines at blind tastings. So, if you like a wine and discover it's only $5, keep buying and enjoying it. If you like the $100 wine, and you like the taste enough to pay $100, fine.]

Comment Re:May you (Score 2) 287 287

it's part of history. Any sensible person and most insensible people know the difference between being accused of something and actually being convicted for it.

Maybe "sensible" people recognize that distinction.

But, be honest here -- if you were a young woman, and you searched for a guy you were considering dating and saw he had been "accused of" rape, would you go out with him? Would you even bother asking for his story? Or would just say, "Uh... no thanks"?

If you were in charge of hiring someone for a position, and you did a search and saw a guy was "accused of" rape, would you think twice about hiring the guy? If you had 50 applicants for the job, wouldn't you just skip to the next guy? Even if you'd be okay hiring him, if you were at a prominent company, would you be concerned that people looking up your employees might come upon such a record about this guy? Maybe you'd be okay working with him, but would your customers be? Is the risk worth it?

Is it legal to discriminate on this basis? Probably not. But if you have 50 other candidates for a job, you'll probably just move onto the next candidate... and no one will know why you passed this guy over.

And if your response is to say, "Well, you should find out the whole story" -- well, most "sensible" people probably have other things they need to do with their lives other than researching someone else's past in detail. They look for the most prominent stuff that comes up in a search engine hit -- "ooh, he was a suspected rapist." Boom. Why go further? And it might not even be easy to go further, since news media sources are much more likely to report prominently when someone is arrested for some heinous crime... when the charges are dropped a few weeks later, you're lucky to see a few sentences on page 10, if that.

I do NOT think the current implementation of "right to be forgotten" laws work right, but just acting like there is no problem and "it's all part of history that sensible people should understand" is just ridiculous... particularly if it comes to inaccurate or misleading accusations of something particularly egregious. Facts taken out of context are often misleading. Most of those facts just would disappear from the public eye a couple decades ago (unless you specifically went digging in an archive), but now they can be instantly available for many years. Our public morality and ethics have not caught up with this.

Comment Re:There is no right to be forgotten (Score 2) 287 287

Everything everyone does is part of history.

Actually, that's not at all true, at least in the meaning of "history" before the internet. History is traditionally a narrative created about the past, usually derived from reliable sources (or at least what were considered reliable by the author of the narrative). A random recollection of some dude about some other dude was not "history" -- it was "gossip" at best. It only became "history" if someone wrote down the account and gave it credibility.

In the past, reliable records about the vast majority of events and people were scant. There are major figures of medieval Europe, for example, where we have almost no actual records from their lifetime -- maybe a baptismal record, or a record that they were paid once by some guy at some point, but that might be it.

The fact that little Jimmy went pee in his pants during gym class in 3rd grade didn't used to be "history." Maybe a few of the kids in his class might remember that incident a couple decades later, but it was generally forgotten by everyone else. Nowadays, one of those kids might take out a cell phone and take a picture of little Jimmy's wet pants, text it to some other kids, and the picture might end up on the internet if it's sufficiently entertaining to some stupid kid.

Now Jimmy's pee-filled pants are an official durable record that might persist on the internet for decades, available to anyone with sufficient skills at searching.

We used to have a historical "filter" that would get rid of the random quotidian minutiae of our lives, simply because it wasn't recorded in durable form. "History" would only record "important" stuff.

Now just about any event can be photographed, videotaped, or otherwise documented to become a "meme" or at least passed around among hoards of people (and thereby become a somewhat permanent record).

The problem here is that we ALL do crap in everyday life that would look bad out of context. And once that crap "bubbles up" somewhere on the internet, it really does become a part of "history" in the old sense, because search engines are our new machines that curate historical records... rather than historians digging in archives and collecting records which would be turned into a narrative.

I'm NOT saying any of this is "bad," only that is VERY different from what "history" was even just a couple decades ago.

It starts with misunderstandings and people saying "they were a kid when they did that" and ends with inconvenient facts about what people did before their "views evolved" being forcibly erased for the convenience of the one wanting their past hidden.

You have a good point, though I doubt that anyone can succeed these days in having something "forcibly erased" from the entire internet AND all public databases AND all paper records.

What some people are proposing -- and what people are asking for in the "right to be forgotten" -- is to consider that some information be removed from prominent locations in major search engines, which (as I said) have become our default curators of "history." Note that it is "curating," not merely keeping records -- search engines need to decide what the top links are. And the algorithms they use may bring undue weight to random events that would largely have been forgotten a couple decades ago.

To be clear: I think the "right to be forgotten" actions against Google are NOT a good solution to this problem. I don't have a better solution myself either. But we do need to recognize that we live in a different world, where "history" is very different than it was just a few years ago. How we deal with that is yet to be determined, but our social mores and standards certainly haven't caught up yet in how to evaluate the new kind of "history" available to us.

And making some rant and slippery slope argument that making search engine hits less prominent will necessarily lead to the "forcible erasure" of history is just ridiculous, especially in the age where anyone can duplicate and store information in multitudes of places on the internet.

Comment Re:Not really (Score 1) 292 292

You need to stop confusing "ingredient list" with "chemical composition." As an ingredient, "sugar" means "refined sugar," but there's sugar in everything.

I know the difference between "ingredient list" and "chemical composition." Do you? All ingredients, even "processed" ones, have impurities. The label doesn't need to care about those impurities, but it should reflect the composition relatively accurately.

"Evaporated cane juice" is about 99% sucrose. It's not added to foods for its nutrients or for its flavor. it's usually a whitish powder that tastes just like sugar... because it IS sugar, with a few more impurities that aren't removed in processing compared to regular sugar. The ONLY reason anyone uses it is to disguise the fact that they are using sugar. If they want to call it "evaporated cane juice," I suppose that might be defended by the different processing. But adding an additional label like "no sugar added" is just bogus nonsense. A company deliberately added a processed product that is 99+% sugar to sweeten the result. Putting a big sign on the front saying "no sugar added" is incredibly deceptive... and we have laws in advertising to prevent this kind of weaseling deception. Same with "organic brown rice syrup." Yes, sometimes it can be used specifically for its maltose flavor. But again, it's basically sugar and used in place of sugar or HFCS or honey or whatever because it can have "organic" and "brown" in front of it.

Again, I'm not saying that the ingredient label should be a chemical analysis. My problem is more with companies that deliberately use these things and then claim that there are "no added sugars." That's definitely misleading. Ideally, obscure ingredients should be labeled when possible for their primary function in the food -- that would help a lot. We already see that a lot: "lecithin (an emulsifier)" or whatever.

(By the way, I'm not against sugar. I personally don't buy a lot of stuff with added sugar, because I cook and bake for myself. But if someone actually wants to try to avoid stuff with high doses of deliberately added sweetening agents, they should be able to determine that without seeing labels that say "no added sugar" when it's clearly there and deliberately added for only that purpose.)

Comment Re:Not really (Score 1) 292 292

you yanks need to learn that "caveat emptor" is supposed to be a warning, not a fucking business model.

Umm, you do realize that I wrote an entire post criticizing this business model, right?

I'm totally against this sort of nonsense, which is why I tried to inform people about it. But I'm also against natural foods wackoism, which is what drives companies to do this crap in the first place. "I'll buy anything that doesn't have sugar or HFCS in it" leads companies to come up with "evaporated cane juice" and "brown rice syrup" and all this other BS.

I'm NOT blaming consumers for a disgusting, dishonest business practice. But I am blaming them for being idiots and flocking to buy stuff that has meaningless labels saying something is "all natural," while often paying 2-5 times as much for the same old crap. They are DRIVING businesses to try this crap.

Instead -- if you really want less processed foods, well STOP BUYING CRAP WITH A LIST OF INGREDIENTS YOU NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE. If you look at a label and see "evaporated cane juice," your reaction shouldn't be, "Ah, well I don't see sugar or HFCS, so this must be healthy!" You should instead say to yourself, "Hmm, I've never seen 'cane juice' on the supermarket shelves, so maybe I shouldn't buy this, or at least I should look up what it is before eating it." If you see "concentrated celery juice" in your bacon and hot dogs, you should start to wonder, "Why are they putting celery in my bacon? And why is it concentrated?"

The vast majority of people (even fairly intelligent people) aren't willing to do the work to find out what's in the crap they are voluntarily buying and eating. That doesn't mean they are to blame for deceptive business practices, but they are partially to blame for what they eat when they mindlessly support that business model... even when the ingredients are listed on the bloody label.

Comment Re:a bit too harsh (Score 2) 180 180

Bugs happen. If you've got code that seems to work and then you investigate and it doesn't work on one particular brand of drive, it would be a reasonable suspicion that there is something funny with those drives.

It's hard to evaluate exactly what went on here. If you read the original report of the discovery (which I did last month and is still the first link in TFS), you see this explanation:

Poking around in the source code of the kernel looking for the trim related code, we came to the trim blacklist. This blacklist configures a specific behavior for certain SSD drives and identifies the drives based on the regexp of the model name. Our working SSDs were explicitly allowed full operation of the TRIM but some of the SSDs of our affected manufacturer were limited. Our affected drives did not match any pattern so they were implicitly allowed full operation.

In other words, they didn't know what was going on. Then they happened upon some code in the Linux kernel that explicitly blacklisted certain model segments from certain manufacturers. So, at some point someone made the assumption that this must be related to certain models from certain manufacturers, based on code in the Linux kernel.

This could easily have led to confirmation bias in a situation where errors were not occurring frequently. (Note the further explanation that when they first informed Samsung, Samsung was unable to reproduce the issue until they started using a custom "much more intensive script" to increase the error rate of the problem.)

So, I don't claim to know the full situation, but my guess is that Samsung wouldn't have been blamed for this at all if this blacklisting code hadn't already been seen in the Linux kernel.

I'm not trying to place the blame on anyone in particular. But in this case there were various reasons they probably started thinking manufacturers were the problem other than just simple logic, and the "aha" moment apparently was based on looking at code in the Linux kernel already, not on actual prior observation that certain brands of drives were failing. (Otherwise, they would have probably suspected a hardware problem earlier... but instead the post describes a lot of time searching for software issues before they discovered the blacklist.)

Comment Re:Our value is community. Not the broken site. (Score 1) 550 550

The problem with slashdot crowd-sourced comment moderation is that if you say something that the in-crowd disagrees with, you can be banned. By other users!

Only temporarily. Your post may be downvoted, and perhaps your karma will be hurt if you keep doing it repeatedly. If you build up a reputation as a complete jerk or shill, you may just have to abandon your uid and start over... and that's what you deserve if you end up that way.

It is not about spam. It is about groupthink.

Here's the reality: I've posted MANY things here that disagree with the normal "groupthink" of the Slashdot community, and I've gotten +5 insightful. Why? Because when I do so, I support my points. I explain my position. I often cite reputable sources, particularly when I'm addressing something that's particularly contentious.

You do that here, and people appreciate it. If you provide good information, you WILL get upvoted. Over the years, I've found this site to have some of the most open-minded mods anywhere, as long as you back up what you say. Sure, there have been a few times I've had such a post modded down into oblivion, but only a few. The vast majority of the time when I am reasonable (not a jerk), present rational arguments and evidence, etc., an informative post will get modded up, regardless of whether it agrees with the majority opinion here.

Does it get tiresome to keep having to explain myself and minority opinions or unknown facts over and over? Sure -- but that's what true discussion requires.

Comment Re:Not really (Score 3, Insightful) 292 292

companies use all sorts of tricks to hide stuff like that. Soup companies use yeast to put MSG in Soup without reporting it (it's a by product of the yeast, which serves no other purpose).

And recently there has been the phenomenon where companies try to hide things by using confusing nomenclature. E.g., "evaporated cane juice" in products with "no added sugar." Yeah -- "cane juice" -- it must be good for you, since they call it "juice"! Well, it's just another form of sugar... processed slightly differently, but still basically sucrose.

Basically, it's just a game... try to make things sound "natural" and "wholesome" when they're basically the same old crap. Same thing goes for "brown rice syrup" used as a sweetener in many things... basically sugar. But it's "brown rice"!! (Of course, brown rice also often has elevated levels of arsenic and other things... but hey, it's "natural" and "brown," so it must be good!)

You know how we found out sodium nitrate causes cancer?

Funny that you bring nitrates up, because that's one of my favorite examples of nonsense labeling. First, we get most of our nitrates from vegetables, so worrying about the small amounts in bacon and cured meats is probably not as big a deal as people make of it. (Yes, yes... cooking does other things to the nitrates and can make them bad, but proper curing also deactivates most of them too... we could argue this all day.)

But regardless of that, my favorite misleading labeling is all the "uncured" meats you see these days: "uncured bacon," "uncured salami," etc. Yeah, except these almost always contain huge amounts of "concentrated celery juice" (or sometimes another agent) which contains more nitrates than the standard salts used traditionally to cure meat. (And no -- to those natural foods wackos -- there's no evidence to support the idea that somehow those nitrates are better for you in the concentrated celery juice... basically because "natural" celery juice has unpredictable amounts of nitrates, they need to add more of them than they would for tradition curing salts.)

People just want stuff called "natural" with "juice" and "brown X" and "natural flavors" in it. It's almost all bogus nonsense, and often you end up paying a huge premium for something that could very well be worse for you.

Moral of the story: Labels frequently don't work to tell people what's actually better. Not saying we shouldn't try to use them, but companies will weasel their way around anything to appeal to customers.

(By the way, I'm all in favor of cooking for yourself with whole ingredients, using less "processed" foods, etc. But bogus "natural foods" nonsense is bogus nonsense.)

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 316 316

Instead of going through the draconian methods that would be required to maintain privacy, society will simple learn to accept a world without it.

Perhaps that will come to pass, but likely not for a couple generations.

Basically, for people to ignore all that stuff, you'll need the "people in power" to be okay with it. Most of the people in power are middle-aged or older. Social media stuff has only been the norm for about a decade, so I'd say we'll need to wait at least 20-30 years before most of the "people in power" will have grown up with it.

And then, guess what -- there's a filtering process for the "people in power" where the old "people in power" decide who the new ones will be. And so there will be an even greater lag, where the first generation of "social media natives" will still be shamed as they try to build careers, so in 20-30 years, the "people in power" will be "social media natives," but they'll mostly be selected by the previous generation and thus will hold a "higher standard" -- i.e., the kids who didn't do most of the "nasty stuff" when they where kids.

Maybe when you get about 40-50 years from now, you'll get a true transformation like you describe, assuming current trends continue (which, well... who would have predicted this current world 50 years ago?).

By the way, you can look for this sort of morality issue in various political campaigns, etc. What most of the "cool kids" were doing in the 60s (in terms of drugs, sexual practices, etc.) was definitely not acceptable even when that generation came to power in the 80s and 90s. Maybe in the past few years, we've finally started to see a majority of the public okay with some drugs, etc., but that's been a really slow transformation, as I described above.

Comment Re:If I could abort child, I can do ANYTHING (Score 1) 316 316

A 6 year old girl isn't really terribly safe and would not be able to fight off a kidnapper, that is all I was saying.

Neither could most 6-year-old boys... or 10-year-old girls. Or boys. And even many teenage girls would have difficulty fighting off a dedicated kidnapper.

But all of that is a bit irrelevant, because what really needs to be considered here is prevalence of stranger kidnappings... which is ridiculously low. Something like 0.01% of all kids reported missing are abducted and murdered by strangers. Something less than 1% of all kids who are actually abducted (as opposed to reported missing because they got lost or ran away or whatever) are abducted by strangers.

We're talking about ~100 kids per year in the U.S. who are abducted and killed. And the majority of those kids are abducted and killed by family members or other people they know well, not be random strangers. (Most kids abducted by a stranger are returned relatively unharmed.) Am I saying we shouldn't be concerned about it? Of course we should be concerned about it. But the risks are blown completely out of proportion.

Kids are about 50 times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle than by an abductor. Kids are about 10 times more likely to drown or suffocate, 8 times more likely to take poison accidentally, 4 times more likely to die in a fire, etc., etc.

You're vastly more likely to cause your child to die because you got into a motor vehicle accident while not paying attention (or didn't get enough sleep, or were distracted by a phone or texting or whatever) than you are by letting them wander the streets alone.

And even if you are worried about your kid getting abducted and abused or killed, you should be MUCH more worried about the kid's uncle or brother or father or teacher than some random stranger grabbing them off the street.

If you aren't supervising your kids around people they know out of fear of abuse and abduction (where the VAST majority of abuse occurs), worrying about random strangers shouldn't be on your list.

I am not trying to claim that it is always true that letting her wander the neighborhood on her own is bad. I think that a mile or so hike from the park may be a bit much for a kid of her age though as well.

It's much more likely that a child of that age will encounter some other random problem -- accidental injury, getting lost, etc. -- than being kidnapped. Those are the primary fears parents should be evaluating for kids. All kids are different, and parents should pay use judgment to determine when kids are ready to be out alone. I've read stories of police questioning parents for letting a 6-year-old play alone in his own fenced-in backyard!

Anyhow, I don't know the details of the case you're discussing or the maturity of the kid in question. Regardless, though, we should be concerned about this kid because young kids often need supervision in general -- not because of some (likely non-existent) "bad guy" grabbing her on the street.

Child abduction rates in the U.S. have been declining steadily for at least 40 years. Kids are safer than ever. The hysteria needs to stop.

Comment Re:Our value is community. Not the broken site. (Score 3, Insightful) 550 550

NO. Just no.

I agree with you about the stupid character set problem and the need for better editors/editing, but almost everything else you complain about is actually what makes moderation here vastly superior to just about any other site. It's certainly not perfect, and there are perhaps tweaks to be done to moderation, but if we did what you suggest, it would completely fill the site with crap posts and allow the moderation to be gamed as on every other internet site.

Most of your complaints could be solved by not posting AC and by contributing positively to the site (and thus getting good karma). If users can't be bothered to do that, I don't want to see their posts. I only want to see an AC if it's a really superior post, so the default moderation levels are about right. Again, it's not perfect, but it's superior to most sites and to almost everything you're proposing.

Comment Re:A plea to fuck off. (Score 2) 365 365

I have one strongish password which I modify in a systematic and easy to remember way based on the website name. For example (and this isn't exactly what I do, obviously), say my core password is ghs78kja: on slashdot I would use as a password /DOTghs78kjaSLASH* on the New Scientist's site I would use /SCIENTISTghs78kjaNEW*.

While I understand the appeal of such a system (and tried it briefly years ago), it seems somewhat bizarre to me if you actually want any security. Yes, it will stop some random hacker who obtained a password list from site X from automatically logging into site Y by just applying the old list.

But if a hacker actually gives a crap about what he's doing and actually wants to get into your accounts, a system like this is well-known enough that he could guess your passwords to other sites once he knows one of them.

Obviously you said this isn't what you use exactly, but to really make it reasonably secure, you'd need to have a much more sophisticated method of generating password modifications for each site (e.g., disguising the name or manipulating it in a non-obvious way, performing some non-obvious modification on your "core" password based on the site name, etc.). And once you go down that road to generate something non-obvious, then you need to recreate those steps of generation every time you try to remember a password... which could be tedious and annoying unless you design it well.

Anyhow, for accounts you really don't care about, something like this sounds fine. But GP was talking about strong passwords, which should probably be more individualized for accounts you really want to keep secure.

These passwords are all unique, long, very easy to remember, and use all the character classes.

Yeah, except I'm sure they break half of the password policies at various sites anyway. That's the primary reason I started using a password manager -- even if I used a system like yours, I'd still have to remember all the random constraints on passwords for a various sites.

For example, some sites have length maximums that could be anywhere from 8 characters up. Some sites will accept a longer string when you try to login, but they won't warn you that your password must be shorter, so you keep typing in your 20-character phrase and get rejected because your password is actually the first 12 characters or whatever. And then you have sites that don't accept special characters, or sites that require special characters (but only from a certain list), or sites that don't allow you to begin your password with a number or a special character or whatever, or sites that don't accept strings of more than X letters in a row (yes, those exist, and you have to mix up the letters with numbers or special characters).... or whatever other random constraint applies.

With a password manager, I can have 30-character passwords or whatever on all the sites that accept them. If they use special characters, I can randomly generate a password with them. If they don't, I can specify a random alphanumeric password. Or whatever. And if the maximum length is 12 characters, I can specify that too without artificially limiting the length of my passwords on other sites or having to remember "Oh yeah, that site only allows a short password and it won't warn me if I try to enter my long one..." etc.

I'm not saying password managers are the best option for everything. But for remembering random website passwords, they can work pretty well.

Comment Re:Everything is copyrighted (Score 1) 141 141

Cease and desist. I have patented the software innovation of copyrighting a joke.

No, you cease and desist. I have copyrighted a joke about patenting the copyrighting of jokes, so your post is infringing already.

I've also patented the software innovation of posting internet discussions about patenting copyrights of jokes, so if you plan to respond here, please mail a license fee to me first. Thanks!

Comment Re:i haven't bought a car in a while... (Score 1) 252 252

YMMV but personally I hate parallel parking with my no assist, no camera, no proximity sensor car. I hate trying to predict through the mirrors how far I got left until I bump into someone, mostly I'm overcautious meaning it takes me way too many cycles of back and forth.

Get a friend who actually knows how to parallel park. Have them stand outside your car while you do it on a quiet street. Have them motion to tell you how much room you have and can continue to back up. Pay attention to your mirrors and what things look like. Repeat 10 times. Now you know where your car ends and won't have to "back up until you hit something" again. Problem solved.

Do this exercise with a few different cars types with different types of rear ends (sedan, hatchback, pickup, etc.), and pretty soon you'll be able to estimate your car length pretty well with mirrors in just about any car you drive. I know this is harder to learn for some people, but all it takes is a little practice and a second person to guide you a bit while you practice.

Comment Re:Emissions! (Score 1) 80 80

Mayor promises to eat better: less beans, more fibre.

While beans do have significant flatulence causing aspects in their oligosaccharides and cell wall cements, most things that contain significant amounts of fiber have potential for causing flatulence. So if the goal is to reduce "gaseous emissions," a high-fiber diet is unlikely to help

If at first you don't succeed, you must be a programmer.