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Comment: On the first reading.... (Score 1) 259

"A dowser is less effective than a geologist and bears, at the minimum, a higher opportunity cost over the average (of instances of people searching for water with a dowser instead of a geologist)."

Wait, a dowser is less effective than bears, at the minimum? What kind of low bar do bears set? Where does one go to hire a bear to find water and how do they go about it?

Comment: The slow blade penetrates the shield (Score 3, Insightful) 819

by Daetrin (#47775285) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

As someone else put it, Putin is aspiring to be a Dune character. Or more prosaically, he's learned a lot from watching US corporations and the US government manipulate the news cycle. Do something that will outrage the public, wait for the new furor, pull back a little, wait for the news to move on to some other subject, and try again.

Comment: Re:*Dons asbestos suit* (Score 1) 1210

"Fuck women! :)"

Why yes, i do like to fuck women! And seeing as how i'm not into rape (for personal and ethical reasons as well as legal ones) i've found the best way to get women to want to fuck me in return is to treat them like respectable human beings. As such i listen to what they have to say, generally believe them unless i have some specific reason not to, and am appalled when other people choose not to treat them like respectable human beings.

(And just for the record, i certainly believe i would treat women in the same manner even if i didn't want to fuck them, but it's always nice when the practical aligns with the moral.)

Comment: Re:The Problem with the Hugos (Score 1) 180

by Daetrin (#47774793) Attached to: The 2014 Hugo Awards
I'm curious, which past Hugo winners did you think were pretentious?

2013 - Redshirts - John Scalzi: Not the best in the field, I wanted Blackout or Captain Vorpatril's Alliance to win, but i'm not sure what was pretentious about it.
2012 - Among Others - Jo Walton: I didn't think this one was pretentious. Just kind of boring and pandering. Should have gone to Leviathan Wakes or Deadline.
2011 - Blackout/All Clear - Connie Willis: Again, doesn't seem pretentious, but i've been disappointed with all the Connie Willis i've read since To Say Nothing of the Dog and Bellwether. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Cryoburn, and Feed were all better than this.
2010 - Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl and China Mieville's The City & the City: I had some serious concerns about the economics underlying the Windup Girl but thought it was otherwise okay. I've never really gotten people's fascination with China Mieville's works however. But neither seemed especially pretentious to me. Robert J Sawyer's Wake really should have won.
2009 - The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman: Okay, this year just sucked. I failed to inherit whatever gene it is that makes so many people like Neil Gaiman, nor have i yet found anything to like about Cory Doctorow or Charles Stross yet. I used to like Neal Stephenson, but his more recent work is just too... i dunno. And i haven't actually read Scalzi's Zoe's Tale yet because i just get annoyed by "let's tell the same story from a different perspective" books.
2008 - The Yiddish Policeman's Union - Michael Chabon: This was before i started going to WorldCon/voting in Hugos, and the only one i've read from that year so far is Scalzi's The Last Colony. Which was okay, but not something i'd have voted on myself. (I tend not to be a big fan of books from the middle of a long series for Hugo consideration in general.)
2007 - Rainbows End - Vernor Vinge: This on the other hand was a great year. I totally agree with the winner, but Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon and Michael Flynn's Eifelheim were both great as well (though admitedly it took me a little while to get into Eifelheim.)
2006 - Spin - Robert Charles Wilson: I think John Scalzi's Old Man's War gave Spin a run for its money, but i don't think this was a poor choice.
2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke: Okay, i liked the book, but my opinion of it suffered from over-hype. I also thought at the time she seemed like a one-hit wonder, and i'm not sure if i should be sad or gloating about being (so far) correct. I haven't read The Algebraist yet, but in retrospect it's kind of sad Ian M Banks didn't win this year.
2004 - Paladin of Sould - Lois McMaster Bujold: Not her best book, but it was pretty good and it was definitely better than the other contenders that i've read, so this seems fine to me.

So that's ten years of Hugos. There are definitely some authors whose appeal i don't get, or at least haven't gotten yet (Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow) but none of them really jump out at me as pretentious.

So what is it about them that bothers you?

Comment: Re:When was the last time (Score 1) 1210

"When was the last time some woman wrote a single line of code ?"

Hmm, let's see *checks SVN logs*

Okay, i'm not sure who's currently using the "Tester" or "Build" accounts at our company, but the last line of code written by someone who was definitely a woman was checked in at 12:34 AM, about 8 hours ago. (Hey, it's still pretty early in the morning right now, _i_ haven't written any code yet, much less checked it in.)

Of course i can look around the office and see a lot of other women who _might_ be writing code right now. Or they might be reading slashdot at work like me *cough*

Comment: Re: Her work (Score 4, Insightful) 1210

Really? She insulted a whole gender? I'm male, and last i checked she hadn't said anything that insulted me. And that's aside from the whole point that death threats are an entirely different kettle of fish from just insults.

"I disagree with your argument, your points are stupid and you are an idiot" is not the same as "I am going to come over to to your house and rape you and kill you."

Comment: Re:*Dons asbestos suit* (Score 5, Insightful) 1210

I do not personally know of any specific corroboration of this event. However i personally know one female who has told me that she's seen harassment at her job in the game industry. A large number of other females that i don't personally know have reported being harassed either while working in the game industry or while playing games. (Not to mention in a lot of other situations not involving games at all.) A number of males have corroborated a number of those accusations. Joss Whedon was told he should kill himself because he retweeted Sarkeesian.

So either there's a massive conspiracy to create the appearance of problem where this is none, or women get harassed a lot, as do a lot of men that try to support them (though usually not to the same degree.) And the problem seems to be exacerbated when they try to get involved in gamer or geek culture. (Or at least i am more aware of it in that case.)

Which means that there's plenty of circumstantial evidence supporting her statement. I'm certainly willing to accept it at face value unless there's some hard evidence presented to disprove it.

Comment: Re:Same as it ever was (Score 1) 181

by Daetrin (#47765879) Attached to: Uber Has a Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report

"If you catch the crest of the wave of the various "sharing economy" services that are popping up, like AirBnB or Uber, you will likely have a good experience. But as they grow and other pressures come to the fore, thus poisoning the well, it's time to get out and move on."

So if you get in early you'll get a good ride, but if you get in late you'll be taken for a ride?

Comment: Re:Sad Puppy Slate (Score 1) 180

by Daetrin (#47731609) Attached to: The 2014 Hugo Awards
So, just for the record, i happen to be a fan of both Scalzi and Baen books. There are also a number of series and books which i have enjoyed very much but which i have not nominated for the Hugos.

David Weber, Jack Campbell/John G Hemry, Elizabeth Moon, Taylor Anderson, Jack McDevitt, Lynn Flewelling, Mercedes Lackey. All write stuff that's great fun. All of them are at least moderately popular and at least some are massively popular. But in my opinion none of them have written anything that i would consider "Best". I feel that a book has to be "impressive" in some way other than just being enjoyable in order to be "Best"

And judging by the Hugo results of this and other years it seems that most of the people who vote on the Hugos agree with me. Even though i said in another post that the Hugos (and all other artistic awards) are a popularity contest, and continue to stand behind that, that doesn't mean people will just vote for whoever takes up the most space on their shelves. (Though looking at 2012 in particular i have to admit that apparently a lot of the voters seem to think that pandering is impressive *cough*)

Are you honestly saying Transformers: Age of Extinction deserves to win the Oscar for Best Film just because it made a billion dollars? I personally quite liked the Underworld movies, they were a lot of fun, but there's not a one of them i would nominate for Best Film (in either the Hugos or the Oscars if i had any say in the matter.)

So yes, i could believe Correia might sell more books than Scalzi (although a quick check of Amazon sales rank does not seem to back that up) but selling a lot of books neither guarantees nor justifies a Hugo. I expect that Weber outsells both Correia and Scalzi put together (though i've admittedly done absolutely zero research on that) but he's never even been nominated, which i don't really think is a scandal.

As far as the people who attend WorldCon, i'm not sure if i confirm your preconceptions by being someone who likes Scalzi and (sometimes) goes to WorldCon, or if i confound them by being someone who like Baen and (sometimes) goes to WorldCon. However i will say that the reason why i started going to WorldCon was because the authors who i follow online kept talking about it. Obviously the fact that Correia promoted WorldCon/the Hugos on his blog had an impact. If all he'd said was "you should go to WorldCon and you should vote for my books in the Hugos" without dragging Vox Day and others into it i don't think anyone would have complained. So perhaps if more of the people who feel excluded did that instead of complaining about biases then the results would be a little more in line with what they think is popular?

As for Toni Weisskopf, i see that he was part of the slate. I didn't actually get around to that category, so i can not personally attest to the quality of work of either him or any of the other contenders. However it is unsurprising to note that about half as many people voted in "Best Editor" as in "Best Novel" (honestly, it surprises me a little that it got even that many) so it was even more susceptible to influence by block voting.

First, 140 people votes for No Award for #1, which seems rather high. Almost 10% of the voters thought _none_ of them deserved a Hugo.

The difference between Ginjer and Toni before the instant run-off was only 25 votes (384 vs 359), or less than 2% of the total vote.

Unsurprisingly that didn't change much after No Award was eliminated, but in the third pass Ginjer picked up about twice as many votes as Toni, and almost three times as many in the fourth pass. (Notably, Liz picked up as many votes in passes 3 & 4 as both Ginjer and Toni combined but wasn't able to overcome the initial deficit. But given that it's not surprising that she came in second.)

So in short there was a minority, the largest of the initial minorities but still a minority that put Toni first. All the other minorities tended to rank Toni fairly low.

Something kind of similar happened with the Wheel of Time for the "Best Novel" category. It wasn't on the Sad Puppy Slate but it was another case where there were accusations of block voting. (Disclaimer: i quite liked Wheel of Time, at least at the start, and i believe i ranked it #3.) It came in second in the run for #1. And then it came in second in the run for #2. And for #3. Despite having the second highest number of #1 votes it ended up coming in 4th in the overall running.

I can't say for sure whether those results were because either Toni Weisskopf or the Wheel of Time was "hated" by anyone (what's a SJW anyways?) but everything looks pretty normal for an instant run-off voting system. I'm not sure why you say it's a "fucked up voting system." The results from instant run-offs aren't always obvious at first glance, and it's well known that no voting system is perfect, but the results are certainly a lot better than the kind of thing that happens with "regular" non-run-off voting.

Comment: Re:Sad Puppy Slate (Score 5, Insightful) 180

by Daetrin (#47720935) Attached to: The 2014 Hugo Awards
Yes, they are. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't been paying attention. The Nebula awards are a popularity contest as judged by people in the industry (authors and possibly editors and publishers as well, i forget the specifics,) while the Hugo awards are a popularity contest as judged by the public.

In theory in both contests the popularity is supposed to be based on the quality of the work. That rule is probably more closely observed for the Nebulas than the Hugos, but in both cases it is impossible to eliminate all personal biases.

I voted in the Hugos and personally found the Vox Day work to be junk, while the other works from the "Sad Puppy Slate" were decent, though not anything i would have considered worth nominating myself. Obviously i agree with the results, but obviously i am also biased like every other human being.

So yes, the Hugos are a popularity contest, as are the Nebulas, the Oscars, the Grammys, and every other reward for artistic achievement that you can think of.

Comment: Sad Puppy Slate (Score 2, Interesting) 180

by Daetrin (#47720673) Attached to: The 2014 Hugo Awards
"Largely unsuccessful" is a bit of an understatement. Those who follow such things have been rejoicing that the "Sad Puppy Slate" ended up last in all the author categories, and that the novella by Vox Day, the guy with very... questionable political and personal views, actually ended up below "No Award". I think it's interesting that despite the outcries and rage and threats about "No Awarding" the entire slate, the only nominee to actually meet such a fate was the one that almost everyone agreed was literarily a piece of garbage.

One does have to wonder how the "Sad Puppy Slate" would have done if it hadn't weighed itself down with a nominee that was simultaneously so objectionable and so poorly written.

Comment: Re:perhaps it isn't technology (Score 1) 304

by Daetrin (#47679139) Attached to: Humans Need Not Apply: a Video About the Robot Revolution and Jobs
No one is claiming that recent unemployment is due to mass robotic replacements. It's something that's about to start happening soon when the stuff that's currently in the research pipeline hits the market.

Restaurants may not have replaced their employees with robots yet, but it's coming:

Comment: Re:Rigged statistics. (Score 2) 183

by Daetrin (#47633797) Attached to: WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak An International Emergency
I'm certainly not an epidemiologist, but i'm pretty sure there are fairly strong selective pressures for viruses and bacteria to become less deadly as they spread. In fact there is _some_ evidence that this is already taking place.

As you say, the death rate is normally between 50 and 90%, but obviously that's comparing different outbreaks, not an average of all infections from Ebola ever. Some past outbreaks have been at the 90% rate but current reports seem to indicate that the death rate for this outbreak is around 60%. It doesn't seem to me that that's a coincidence. Killing anyone you infect quickly and bloodily is not a great long term survival strategy. If a disease kills 90% of the people it infects in a week and there's a mutation that only kills 80% of the people and takes two weeks, that mutation is going to spread a lot more effectively.

To speak in an anthropomorphic way, every disease "wants" to become the next common cold or flu. Almost everyone catches it sooner or later, but very few of the hosts die statistically speaking.

"Floggings will continue until morale improves." -- anonymous flyer being distributed at Exxon USA