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Comment: Re:everyone's a brain scientist now (Score 3, Interesting) 211

As someone with a long history of depression and high intelligence I've spent quite a bit of time trying to understand my condition. One thing I've noted frequently is that I tend to derive less enjoyment than other people from most activities. (I think this is a cause of the depression rather than a result of it.) The most notable exception is sexual gratification, whether from sex with a partner or from masturbation. I don't find this surprising as I think that it is such a basic part of the way our brains are wired. Given that I am not in a relationship more often than I am, I frequently watch porn to masturbate.

So in my case, I'd say it seems likely that a deficiency in the part of the brain associated with reward processing causes a greater exposure to porn.

Comment: Re:No, no it's not. (Score 4, Informative) 379

by CanadianRealist (#47034583) Attached to: Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming

Fourthly, there's good reason to believe that at least some of the ones this week were started by (d-bag) arsonists.

The claim is that climate change is making the fires worse. That's very different than the question of how any one fire started.

Your argument is like pointing to a smoker killed in a car crash and saying "see, cigarettes don't cause cancer."

Maybe someone did start some of the fires. That's happened in the past as well. The real question is, are the fires worse now? From the article: in the 80's an average of 2.9 million acres burned each year, from 2010 to 2013 it was 6.4 million acres per year. That sounds quite a bit worse. Maybe the last few years were just unlucky years, or maybe the fires really are getting worse.

Maybe it's statements like yours from "non-scientists" arguing issues other than the ones raised that are confusing things.

Comment: Re:Missing the obvious? (Score 1) 183

by CanadianRealist (#46795175) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

But wind produces considerably less force at angles.

True, which is why that is not normally considered. But in this case the lack of support at the corners made the building particularly vulnerable to diagonal forces. That was the point I was trying to make with the Lego example. And if you're designing such an unusual building maybe you should consider more than just the first "first obvious choice" for what could go wrong.

Comment: Re:Missing the obvious? (Score 1) 183

by CanadianRealist (#46795089) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

No, they didn't.

LeMessurier had accounted for the perpendicular winds, but not the quartering winds.

With only the forces of the perpendicular winds considered and reported, the contractor's decision was ok. While it is true that the bolts were weaker than the welds would have been, they were strong enough to handle the forces the design specified. There's a quote by LeMessurier in the podcast that says this.

Comment: Missing the obvious? (Score 2) 183

by CanadianRealist (#46794757) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

I know hindsight is 20/20 but not considering the effect of wind hitting the corners of the building seems unbelievable. With no support at the corners it seems obvious* that the easiest way to cause a failure would be to apply force directed towards a corner. TFA does say that wind at the corners is not usually an issue, but when designing something so radically different you have to consider the effects of those differences.

*For anyone who has ever played with Lego: imagine building something that looks like that building and think of the easiest way to push it over. Consider how you control the direction when felling a tree.

+ - Slashdot beta sucks 9

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Comment: Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (Score 2) 722

by CanadianRealist (#45245303) Attached to: Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You

I also think that autonomous vehicles will be much safer than human-driven vehicles. We can keep making them better based on experience while on the other hand we would keep adding new inexperienced human drivers. I'm sure that we can correct any problems that we may find with early autonomous vehicles. I doubt that we'll ever be able to correct human distraction, emotional reactions, bad judgement and general stupidity.

Do you have any stats on the percentage of accidents caused by physical wear and tear on brakes rotors and axles? Or on the "other thousands of extraneous factors" that you've considered? How do those compare to the percentage caused by any sort of human error?

The following claims human error is the sole cause 57% of the time and a contributing factor 90% of the time, while mechanical fault is the sole cause only 2.4% of the time.

Comment: Re:Not shared by him doesn't mean a thing (Score 1) 220

by CanadianRealist (#45165723) Attached to: Snowden Says He Took No Secret Files To Russia

TheRaven64 says there are a million people with the same clearance level and asks what are the chances that none are Chinese agents. You counter by making them all sysadmins who are all* stealing other people's credentials. And you think he's using hyperbole?

The opposite of none is at least one, not all of them.

* I know you don't use the word "all" but it is clearly implied in what you wrote. Compare the following: "There are a million people who have cancer." and "There are a million people, some of whom have cancer."

Comment: $3.6 Million Bitcoin Seized (Score 3, Interesting) 620

Will the government try to redeem these bitcoins? Wouldn't that be like saying that they accept that bitcoin is valid? (Of course they could be hypocrites and say that bitcoin is completely invalid and redeem them anyways.)

It would be neat if all the seized bitcoins could be identified and recorded as being worthless now.

Comment: Re:news media has lost interest? (Score 3, Interesting) 513

If the CEOs were really interested in reporting on this they could make their own news with a sting operation. Plan to do a few "embarrassing" searches, document them ahead of time with a few high profile lawyers then do them. When the NSA acts, you reveal it all on your news programs.

Comment: SWATH doesn't require power (Score 4, Informative) 43

by CanadianRealist (#44780563) Attached to: New Ship Will Remain Stable By Creating Its Own Inner Waves

Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) is a design that minimizes the effect of the waves. Most of the volume that supports the ship is below the level of the waves, making it very stable. The stability comes from the hull design, so it doesn't require any power and the stabilization isn't prone to failure like an active system.

Here's a short video of a SWATH ship in rough seas, with a regular hull ship for comparison. I'm pretty sure this is the one that I saw in a documentary about the design. They showed a glass of water sitting on a table in the SWATH ship, not spilling. I'm pretty sure that the glass would go flying in the other ship.

Comment: Re:For the love of Junior Johnson... (Score 2) 325

Airbags are passive: drivers don't have to do anything at all, they just work.

Automatically. Which is the point that was being made in the post that you originally replied to.

The question of active or passive is a separate issue and is complicated by the government's way of defining it. (Which seems backwards to me.) I would expect active/passive to refer to the device itself, rather than the user's interaction with it. The way the government defines it a self driving car is pretty much a passive device. A rock is an active device - it doesn't do anything unless you pick it up and throw it. Imagine a fully automatic predator drone that takes off, locates a target and attacks completely automatically. That would be labelled a passive device. I don't think those labellings match the usual interpretations of those words.

Comment: Re:For the love of Junior Johnson... (Score 1) 325

Red herring. Airbags are passive safety devices, not a device to automatically do something the driver had to do previously.

Sounds more like red herring argument to me. Deploying automatically, at high speed, at the instant an accident occurs is not at all passive. A seat belt is passive, once the driver attaches it. (At least the older style fixed ones were. Modern ones which lock only in response to a sufficient pull are questionably passive.) And as for not being something a driver had to do previously, they could have been set up as such, but I'd bet they would almost never have been used at the instant when needed since human reaction time is pretty poor. It would probably have been better for the human to try to avoid the accident in the first place.

Them as has, gets.

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