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Comment: Re:Popularity is no excuse for bullying or crime (Score 1) 586

by CptJeanLuc (#49352337) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear
Strictly speaking this is true that there are few facts available to us the public, but BBC for sure must have plenty of facts, there must have been lots of witnesses if this happened on a set, and BBC clearly would not let one of their few global stars go unless they saw no other way. I would say those are pretty good indicators.

Comment: A very sad reality check (Score 1) 697

by CptJeanLuc (#49348095) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

First of all, this is a horrible and tragic incident, and I can only imagine what people directly affected are going through.

Unfortunately, this type of incidents is something we as a society can never fully protect against. If you think about it, knowing human nature and the number of people with psychological issues out there, one might think it is a miracle that such dramatic events do not occur more often. Also one can never simultaneously protect everyone and all assets, that is just not feasible - for crazy people or terrorists there will always be soft targets available.

What actually _would_ help is if media could write more responsibly about this type of events, and now I am not just thinking about this particular event but other crazy people acts (which may incentivize other crazy people to want to get attention) and acts of terrorism. If some of the events that haunt our media for weeks were only barely mentioned and sticking to relevant facts rather than always making it about personal stories and tragedies, then terrorist acts or any attention seeking of crazy acts would lose their effect.

I really hope that becoming infamous was not part of the pilot's plan, because if that is so then media must bear a big part of the blame.

Comment: Popularity is no excuse for bullying or crime (Score 3, Informative) 586

by CptJeanLuc (#49347833) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

I hate how the media is spinning this, that because 1 million people or whatever want someone back in a TV show, a TV star should somehow be above the set of laws and expected normal social behavior that the rest of us have to deal with. When someone starts hitting co-workers over the lack of warm food, they should get severely reprimanded - why is this even a discussion. The answer is of course because - and I will put this in tabloid terms because that is the only thing that seems to get across these days - of the way media works this day, how everyone now has a voice through the Internet, and the few voices of common sense gets drowned by moronic opinions of idiots. Why should you care about the opinion of a labour law expert when for each such expert ten thousand average Joe's and Jane's have touchy feely opinions that tell them something different.

The behavior in question seems to be some type of inflated ego syndrome, that people get so full of their own success that they feel petty stuff like following rules and being civil to one another is beneath them, that such things apply only to other people (which by the way includes their fan base). It is always sad to see how someone sympathetic get famous, then are starstruck by themselves, and shortly after enter a downward spiral and discover their dark side.

It is even sadder to watch the fan base. If the average fan turned away from this type of behavior and actually stopped watching a show for a period if the host has done something particularly offensive, that would send a clear message. Instead the shows probably get higher ratings because of the extra attention.

Comment: Obvious from just looking at your own network (Score 1) 112

by CptJeanLuc (#49263533) Attached to: Scientific Study Finds There Are Too Many Scientific Studies

Of course there are too many (useless or only marginally useful) scientific studies. Just look at the people who are working as scienctists that you know personally or that you otherwise vaguely know, how smart they are (everyone cannot be an Einstein) and your estimate of the quality of knowledge artifacts that they would produce, and what is the research they do, not just limited to your own field of schooling or expertise. And what do your friends and connection who are researchers have to say about the publish or perish regime, and whether they are happy about how they are able to go about their research. There is no need for some scientific study to tell us what most people who are not working as scientists ourselves - and thus have no need for convincing ourselves that the world of science is so fantastic and perfectly objective - can plainly see bright as day if we just open our eyes.

Comment: In a privatized correctional facility system ... (Score 1) 305

by CptJeanLuc (#49263131) Attached to: Prison Program Aims To Turn Criminals Into Coders

... it makes sense to receive money to teach inmates a skill which is very unlikely to result in employment opportunities, while preventing the inmate from spending the time on other and more productive training, thus effectively reducing the chances of employment, and increasing the chances of another stay and the chance to take a follow-on course in advanced programming.

Ok, so this is slightly cynical and based on not even reading the article, maybe there is something else going on here ... but after watching too many hours of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and similar, this is the most probable explanation that comes to mind.

Comment: Re:Not at all surprising (Score 1) 187

by CptJeanLuc (#49211567) Attached to: China's Arthur C. Clarke

The thing about sci-fi authors is they can live in the land of ideas and alternative worlds without being constrained by the realities of where we are today. There is plenty other sci-fi covering similar ideas without anyone branding it propaganda.

It is easy to talk about propaganda elsewhere, but seriously we are a bit brain-washed here in the West as well, thinking that our cold-hearted capitalist system with increasingly dumbed-down media and culture is so much better than everything else in every way possible.

Ok, I need to stop because I am about to go on a rant and blood pressure is increasing. Just look through a backlog of about a year or so of the Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, Real Time with Bill Maher, and probably some others I have not been monitoring - and yes these days you actually need to turn to comedy in order to get something which resembles critical investigative journalism and real unpolished news, the world once again needs a court jester. The list of examples of a broken system is quite overwhelming.

So let's not celebrate our broken system too much, and let's not be too quick about branding alternative ideas as propaganda.

Comment: Re:Sign Me Up (Score 2) 135

by CptJeanLuc (#49149499) Attached to: Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected

I actually did this (though 2 hours not 40 mins) when studying for an exam. I had gotten myself into a really bad rhythm getting up around noon or so on a regular basis (this was during a period of only exams and no classes), and decided I should reset my biological clock before the exam. However I knew trying to get up early would fail, because I just loved sleeping in too much - even with a 3-alarm-clock system.

The exam was in 10 days, so I decided to just prolong my day to around 26 hours, which would land me perfectly on exam time - and this is what I did. It was a great experience, I was well rested each "cycle", and during the night it is easy to study with no distractions or interruptions. I had not told the other students living in the dorm about my project, and I remember the priceless look of surprise on one of them as he was getting out from his room at 7 AM in the morning wiping his eyes and coming into kitchen, and the first thing he saw was me taking a lasagne out of the oven (for dinner).

A Mars day with not even 25 hours? Bring it on ... the only thing better would be if we could find a 26-hour planet.

Comment: VR based on current technologies will not be real (Score 1) 71

OP is asking for "real", IMHO it cannot be done. In order to properly experience the forces on your body on a bicycle, you would have to follow the same trajectory as the real thing in a gravity field - or alternatively another experience which provides the same forces, simulating gravity. In order to do that, the simulator would basically have to be put inside a spaceship which simulates those forces. This is something we cannot do with current technology because a spaceship can only provide thrust for so long.

Then there are "VR glasses", which though I have never had the chance to try the latest models, I can say that the only 3D-like experience that technology based on two separate 2D images can provide the user, is one with a predefined focal depth which will not be perceived as true 3D by the brain, i.e. more like watching a 3D movie than being in the real thing. I don't foresee any mechanisms witih eye tracking which would simulate user controlled natural change of focus.

So "true VR" will only happen when we are somehow able to interface directly with the brain at a level that the experience is directly projected into our conscience, thus bypassing our sensory organs. Obviously we are nowhere near that type of technology and perhaps it is not even possible, so in answer to OP's question when do we get true VR, I would answer hard to say, probably not in our lifetime, and perhaps never.

Comment: Unfortunately, we no longer have real "journalism" (Score 1) 645

by CptJeanLuc (#49004499) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

Well, there are a few niche news outlets which tries to focus on real news, but that is not what most people are following. Instead, we get whatever is going to make us buy, click or watch, and whatever is going to keep us buying, clicking or watching. You either get something very tabloid which has next to no news value, or you get something heavily politically laden which is basically a marketing machine for some political or corporate agenda - or a mixture of both.

Unfortunately, as "journalism" is gone and journalists love to sit on their high horses and play the pretend game that they are still journalists, there is noone to tell us about this trend in an honest way.

Of course, showing 22 minute videos of people burning has no journalistic value whatsoever. Probably 99.9% of people have enough imagination they know a 22-minute burning is a very bad thing, without having to actually watch it and be desensitized to watching snuff. A real journalist would leave it at mentioning the incident, and then talking about some important relevant stuff.

This is the problem with "newsotainment", the important stuff gets ignored and coverage has no proportion to the importance of the subject matter at hand. There is always the "personal angle" on anything, and whereas before you could get some relatively neutral coverage about e.g. a court case, these days it is all about how everyone in the process are "feeling", behaving and reacting. As the criminal behind some event which happens to get news coverage, you immediately become a focus of news attention, and their lawyers get lots of coverage about how the accused is "shocked", is "sad for the victims", etc. Everything is told as if there are two equal sides which sort of have 50/50 value, whereas in real life if there was a murder and there is already enough evidence that the accused fleeing from the scene with a bloody knife observed by 20 people, then why on earth do we need coverage about their perspective on the whole thing. Why? Because it is some kind of emotional porn/snuff/whatever, and in some ways similar to the burning incident though not as graphically horrible.

I wish we had real news. And in the absence of that, at least one would hope that newsotainment channels could show some self restraint.

Comment: Re:What scientists "know", not know (Score 1) 514

by CptJeanLuc (#48945663) Attached to: The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

I am not saying scientists are not aware other scientists are people (who are all imperfect one way or another), but they behave as if the scientific processes are more solid than they actually are. It is easy to hide behind science as being the true method of understanding the world, and scientific facts being better than everything else.

Failing to recognize that the scientific process is flawed, is similar to observing the universe through the Hubble telescope with a bad mirror, whilst either being unaware of or ignoring the fact that the mirror is not properly shaped. That is my problem with a lot of the science out there.

It is easy to see how it can happen. You come into science as a young idealistic student, then you suddenly get bogged down by political realities of competing for positions, getting publications and citations, getting funded, catering to eccentric professors, etc. And in the end the practicalities of the situations means that most make the trade-offs required to fit in - either that or leaving the scientific community to do something else. So those who remain are those who are willing to work the system.

In the areas where I find the scientific process to be flawed, I believe it is not self-correcting as you mention in your post - it is "correcting" yes, but it makes the correction in the direction of the flawed process.

It is easy to find examples of how research is biased. Research follows where the money is, and money is granted by institutions with agendas - either governments with all the politics which goes with that, or companies - even worse. Even history is subject to being twisted, as I was told by a friend who is a historian - the narrative of a country's history is selectively told so that it fits with whatever political gains can be made from that. If humans cannot get right even something as simple as recording and retelling what happened in the past, then that does not bode well for other scientific disciplines.

Comment: What scientists "know", not know (Score 1) 514

by CptJeanLuc (#48940603) Attached to: The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

Let's be honest about it, every scientist is not Einstein and every scientist is not altruistic and truly pursuing the interests of mankind. There is enough mediocreness, politics and hidden agendas in the realm of science that being sceptical makes sense. Plus the public mostly get filtered access to scientists through "media", which looks increasingly less like media and more like a circus. And let's be scientific about it ... a lot of the "facts" we had 30 years ago have been replaced by new "facts". Most science seems to be about finding statistical correlations and then making confused and incorrect conclusions mixing cause and effect. A lot of the statements from scientists seems to be speculations outside their true field of expertise. And then there is "science" like some corners of cosmology which includes layers and layers of wild speculation which gets presented as things we "know".

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with science or scientists. I am just saying that scientists are people, with all the flaws that people have and all the problems with outputs of processes of people working together, and it would be unscientific to ignore that - as most scientists regularly do.

Comment: Scientists raise DPISs (doomsdays per year index) (Score 0, Offtopic) 216

by CptJeanLuc (#48897373) Attached to: Doomsday Clock Moved Two Minutes Forward, To 23:57

Newsflash: after analyzing recent world events, new astrological analysis of improved data on planetary bodies, measurement of comet gases from the Rosetta mission and observations of the direction of travel of a newly beheaded chicken as compared to the earth's magnetic field, scientists raise the Doomsdays Per year Index Scientifics (DPISs as defined by 1000 times the expected number of doomsdays per year) from 25 to 41. In related news, sales of canned food and generators are up 25%.

With your bare hands?!?