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Submission + - Germany wants to force FB to obey its rules about Holocaust denial->

Bruce66423 writes: In a classic example of the conflict of cultures bought about by the internet, Germany is trying to get Facebook to obey its rules about banning holocaust denial posts. This, of course, is in total contradiction to the US tradition of 'anything goes'. Who should win, and why?
Link to Original Source

Submission + - More than half of psychological results can't be reproduced->

Bruce66423 writes: A new study trying to replicated results reported in allegedly high quality journals failed to do so in over 50% of cases. Those of us from a hard science background always had our doubts about this sort of stuff — it's interesting to see it demonstrated — or rather, as the man says: "Psychology has nothing to be proud of when it comes to replication,” Charles Gallistel, president of the Association for Psychological Science.
Link to Original Source

Comment Fair comment (Score 1) 705

True, there is a history of legislation introduced in a rush going horribly wrong. OTOH, unless an incident occurs, legislators are unlikely EVER to act. Actually the prospect of a successful group litigation might concentrate a few minds as much as legislation; a few shareholders asking 'Is the CEO confident that the cyber security of your firm is adequate' might then concentrate minds. Certainly it's got the subject publicity!

Comment Fascinating misunderstanding (Score 1) 705

With the exception of a few horrendous examples of gay people fearing for their lives, I'm not aware of danger of PHYSICAL attack as a result of this fiasco. And if you were in the slightest hearing me as suggesting that would be good thing, then I've got it badly wrong.

But suppose this hack had been of the identities of people watching child pornography? Wouldn't the reaction from the majority have been far more negative? Instead of a mixture of embarrassment and tittering, the people exposed would have excoriated by wider society. And yet, it is arguable, that a WATCHER of child porn is less destructive to real children - especially if that porn is CGI generated - than an adulterer who destroys a family.

To my mind it is appropriate to challenge BOTH these behaviours to a substantial extent. Yet in practice the adulterer tends to be easily forgiven, whilst the child porn viewer is held up to public rejection for ever more. How would you react if a friend of yours got sent to prison for watching child porn? And how would you react if she got caught in flagrante delicto with another person?

Ultimately it's all about WHERE we draw the line, and why. Everyone draws the line somewhere: Overt racism will probably get you booted out of most circles etc etc. I think the adulterer deserves the same treatment as a racist. YMMV. But to dismiss my treatment of an adulterer as the behaviour of a lynch mob but condone similar treatment for an overt racist shows a failure to think. Adults are expected to think - that's why they let us vote...

Comment Anecdotes and theses (Score 1) 705

"Does an anecdote prove a thesis? No, but it can disprove one."

Whilst a persistently recreatable test tube based experiment will disprove a thesis in 'hard' sciences, in the social sciences, the best that is on offer is a degree of correlation: this pattern of behaviour is associated with more positive outcomes than this pattern. It's on this basis that the claim that marriage acts as a bulwark for family stability is made - there is a marked propensity for married people to stay together, thus providing kids with the stability they need - whereas there's a propensity for the unmarried to split up. Now there will be exceptions - and the fact that you can show an example of an unmarried couple staying together is good to hear - but it doesn't disprove the thesis.

Comment OK? (Score 1) 705

The bible records a lot of things. That it's 'in the bible' doesn't prove that it's OK. The story of Lot being got drunk by his daughters and then seduced by them (Genesis 19) doesn't give a commendation for their behaviour. There are passages that you can argue endorse behaviour that we can't accept - but this isn't one of them.

Comment Sexual frustration as an excuse for divorce? (Score 1) 705

Underlying society is a set of implicit and sometimes explicit contracts that make the place operate. One of the explicit ones is the terms on which a marriage is entered. Historically there was also an implicit understanding that children would only be born within marriage.

Modern rebelliousness has resulted in marriages becoming less worked at, and the need to get married before children are born has disappeared. The result is a lot of messed up kids. It's also led to an epidemic of loneliness.

We've now arrived at a society where 'personal fulfilment' has become the ultimate good, to the de facto exclusion of all other considerations. A society will fall apart if there is that freedom to do whatever you want without regard to your responsibilities. Bread and circuses may get us through a few more years, but Islam will be along shortly to appeal to those who have had enough. I assure you that that won't be fun...

Comment Marriage WORKS (Score 1) 705

A stable environment is the best basis to bring up children - that's as clear cut a conclusion of social science as I know of. Marriage should provide a bulwark in achieving that stability. That you seem unwilling to accept the value of stability or the value of marriage towards that stability, I find perverse. That your perception of human nature is so pessimistic, I just find sad.

Comment Vague gawping sounds... (Score 1) 705

One of the fun bits of life on the internet is that you encounter people who have such radically different view points from yourself that you go: 'You what?'

The general conclusion of modern society is that 'open marriages' don't work; there really is something about sex that is fundamental to a marriage in a way that can't be proved, but is the general experience, and does tend to lead to early divorce. Certainly one of the problems of the open marriage model is that it tends to be imposed on the weaker partner by the stronger, and is part of their dominance of the other. Beyond that? Living by a radically different moral code is interesting, and may make you some remarkable friendships. However given the complexities of your situation, for the sake of your possible partners, you have a duty to declare this belief of yours very very early in any relationship.

Comment Interesting question! (Score 1) 705

Thanks for making me think. I tend to agree that this case isn't the best one to provide a clear model of financial liability, because as you eloquently point out, the damage here isn't the sort that gets a sympathetic hearing for financial liability. However there is an expectation of privacy, and that has been violated because the AM site didn't make a decent attempt at security, and for that it deserves to be punished.

A more general case arises over medical data, or data that would enable identity theft. In the case of medical - or indeed legal - data, there is a very strong presumption of confidentiality because that is at the heart of what those professions are about. I need to be able to trust those professionals in order to enable me to benefit from their services. If I'm not confident what I tell my doctor will stay private, I'm liable to edit what I tell him - and end up with the wrong diagnosis. Whilst it may be difficult to identify specific damage from a particular data loss, the overall effect of destroying confidentiality would be very serious. To the extent that this fiasco chips away at that real trust, it has a far wider significance than a 'financial' calculation points to.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.