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Comment: Re:Nooooooo! Just shut up and buy a dinosaur saddl (Score 1) 278

by Byrel (#43351593) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Explain That Humans Didn't Ride Dinosaurs?

Not if they've been able to find my oil. Earth Science matters to them; not to me. If I have a zillion misconceptions in everything from geology to archaeology it won't objectively influence my life. I don't work in a field influenced by them.

That's not to say I won't be bothered when I find out I was so wrong. It simply means that it doesn't affect my competence in anything I do.

Comment: Re:Nooooooo! Just shut up and buy a dinosaur saddl (Score 1) 278

by Byrel (#43350263) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Explain That Humans Didn't Ride Dinosaurs?

I didn't say that. I was wrong recently when I said here that the PSP had hardware PSX emulation. But that's hardly a consequential fact, unlike basic facts of paleontology. It's possible to have a coherent model of the world where PSX emulation is implemented in hardware. But finding man tracks next to dinosaur tracks would upend entire disciplines of earth science.

And 'entire discliplines of earth science' are important exactly why? Really, the group of people whose lives would be noticeably impacted by an error in ancient history is on the same order of magnitude as the folks impacted by hardware/software emulation on a PSP. A small handful. Everyone else has no real reason to care.

A lot of technical folks, myself included, make a fetish out of factual accuracy in field we find fascinating. A lot of us have very broad interests, so that fetish may well extend into history, philosophy, materials science, rocket engineering, etc. (Actually, that's the first fields that come to mind for my obsession.) But we should try to keep some perspective as well, and admit that we like this accuracy simply because we do. Maybe it's a taste of OCD; maybe it's something else. But no rational argument can justify the amount of time I spend poring over dull tomes of nearly useless data. I just like filling my mind with it, so I do it.

If someone else doesn't care about it, I should probably respect their superior objective function, as it doesn't make them waste time studying the details of minor branches of Austrian economics. Maybe they spend more time on truly useful info.

Comment: Re:A true and accurate and transparent lie detecto (Score 1) 456

by Byrel (#43226061) Attached to: If I could augment my senses (w/ implant or similar) ...

And this poll right here is another testimony of American society as a whole being utterly mentally ill. (As has been shown by that study that compared worldwide societies, and found that all our social science studies are wrong, because they used Americans, and those are not only the exception, but the extreme exception of the exception.)

And we all know exceptionalism is a form of illness.

Comment: Re:Obama in other times would be Reagan (Score 1) 409

by Byrel (#43214719) Attached to: Obama Wants To Fund Clean Energy Research With Oil & Gas Funds

By the sounds of things, idea generation.

This was after being a joke, as the OP was claiming BO was using Republican ideas...

In reality, they're there to help the rich get richer. Their appeal to "different cultures" is just a matter of exploiting anyone whose knees they can make jerk, so that they'll vote against their own best interests.

Nonsense. A good many Republican economic policies can also be found in the works of eminent economists like Milton Freedman and von Mises, as being the best choices for helping the lower classes. You may disagree with those economists; there are experts in the field who do. But when a good chunk of the experts in ecominics actually recommend limited regulation and low government intervention as tending more to uplifting the poor, it's a bit malicious to claim advocates of those positions are in it to hurt the poor. Much more likely, they actually believe (some of) classic liberal economics, and are trying to implement its prescriptions.

It's this sort of ridiculous emotional dismissal which makes public discourse on politics so divisive in the US. 90% of Republicans aren't rich and likely will never be. They obviously support the party for some reason. I think the reasons of 90% of the members for the party's existence trump the other 10%!

It's almost universally better to assume your opponent is arguing in good faith. He may be (very) wrong, but just assume he really means what he says. It's both more likely to be true, and permits a more persuasive argument from you. Even if he isn't, your argument will be heard by others who may be persuaded.

Comment: Re:Assumptions (Score 1) 348

by Byrel (#43166851) Attached to: What If Manning Had Leaked To the New York Times?

And would have completely failed at their intent; a robust 'insurance' policy.

I don't see any real security difference between broadcasting my data where only a few hundred arbitrary people can get it, and publishing it online. If it can be broken, and there's a significant payout in breaking it, it's fairly trivial to intercept all such banking communication through a server. If my bank's security won't protect me against anyone trying to exploit it enmass, I don't care if they publish it or not. If it will protect me from people with a significant profit motive to break it, then I don't care whether they would have to intercept it or not.

At best you have a bit more security by obscurity, which is really poor security in any event, particularly for inherently valuable information.

So far as releasing the key, they were pretty responsible. Not epicly so, but you've got to admit that standard news organizations should have policies in place to deal with encryption, etc.

What the guy at the Guardian did was ridiculous. What wikileaks did was less-than-optimal, but should have been fine if a handful of trusted clients had proved trustworthy.

Comment: Re:well... (Score 1) 397

by Byrel (#43166739) Attached to: European Parliament Decides Not To Ban Internet Porn

I didn't want you to cite a source for a text-to-speech converter. I want you to cite any decent source which claims "Before the early 20th century, rape was a constant. The majority of women experienced it at least once in their lives, many as adolescents. That is the consequences of a chaste society, a hell hole where people are hurt and no one talks about it."

Those are some pretty outlandish claims. (Most pre-20th century women raped? Eh?) A citation would be in order.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.