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Comment: Indeed (Score 1) 499

Getting the world to equate being anti-Israeli with being anti-semitic was a central strategy in the new Israeli state's international policy - one of Israel's first ambassadors (I *think* Israel's first ambassador to the US, Eliyahu Eilat) openly admitted as much when interviewed on the BBC by Michael Parkinson, saying that he regarded his success in that field as the crowning achievement of his career. And in the US in particular, that's hardly exactly been weakened by the degree to which the influential Jewish lobby has consistently demanded that successive governments of every political persuasion back Israel to the hilt, whatever its excesses and however odious its behaviour.

However. There's a biblical saying about reaping what you sow (New Testament, mind - so not necessarily familiar to Israeli politicians, which is perhaps a pity). Put otherwise: equations work two ways. If you want the unthinking, great unwashed to think of "Israel" and "Jewish" as the same thing when the consequences suit you... ...good luck with trying to convince them that's not the case when you'd rather they understood the distinction.

Comment: Re:Question: (Score 1) 115

by Doghouse13 (#47514235) Attached to: UK Users Overwhelmingly Spurn Broadband Filters

Lovely to see that the Loony Left is still alive and well in remoter parts of the country. I thought they'd pretty much gone extinct by now.

Firstly, precisely what's actually on the block list has nothing to do with politicians; that's one of the huge iniquities of the legislation - lack of transparency and democratic oversight. Secondly, politicians of ALL persuasions have been falling over themselves to show themselves "tough" on anything that has the slightest chance of playing to the (pretty much non-existent, but that doesn't seem to bother them) gallery - when last in power, in its need to try and out-macho the Tories, Labour put spurious and gratuitous new criminal offences on the statute books at the rate of more than one a DAY.

This farago had everything to do with PR and spin, and NOTHING to do with party politics. Or, indeed, reality,

Comment: Problem of the Commons (Score 1) 710

In other news, "Fire burns".

I care. But I can't do anything alone. Unless everyone changes behaviour, all that happens if I change mine unilaterally is that I end up paying more for my standard of living, or with a lower one, or both. Impact on climate change - effectively zero. All my effort can buy me is a clearer conscience - and frankly, that's not high on my list of priorities.

Comment: Re:Hmmm, (Score 1) 112

I'd also question whether the usual arguments against "security by obscurity" apply in a case where the software is being used "single shot" and infrequently, with massive potential impacts in the event of a breach. The software needs to work right, once, rather than almost right over a continuous period. Frankly it's a case where, gut reaction, I'd prefer the potential bad guys to have no opportunity to spot a potential vulnerability, rather than rely on the overall community spotting and exposing all such loopholes ahead of time. Too much at stake to get it wrong; too much likelihood that a potential vulnerability will remain exposed and unpatched.

Comment: Tim Minchi, "Storm": (Score 1) 242

by Doghouse13 (#47441221) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

"If you show me
That, say, homeopathy works,
Then I will change my mind
I'll spin on a fucking dime
I'll be embarrassed as hell,
But I will run through the streets yelling
It's a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And while it's memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
It somehow forgets all the poo it's had in it!"

A brilliant number, start to finish. See (e.g.), at about 6'45"

Comment: Let's just say... (Score 1) 381

by Doghouse13 (#47441177) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?
...that the reasons why I and the public in general might have a use for a smart watch are not, as yet, obvious to me. It seems to me that a smart watch inherently cannot do more than my smart phone is already capable of; just redestribute precisely how it's done. So - which are the apps that would work better sitting on a tiny screen on my wrist than on my phone? I have to say I can't (offhand, as it were), think of one. Niche applications, maybe - but niche isn't going to turn smart watches into the next big technological "thing". Oh - and a personal foible. I don't actually wear a watch at all right now, except on those few, special occasions when I know I'm really going to need it. I'd been wearing one for so long that I'd forgotten just how much more comfortable it is not to have one on. I wouldn't easily go back for the sake of a little electronic bling. I have a perfectly serviceable, cheap digital casio in my pocket that I can put on when I need to, and I have my phone. So to get onto *my* wrist, whatever that smart watch is going to do, better not only be something useful, but something I need sufficiently often for it to justify the annoyance of wearing a watch again. Frankly, it seems unlikely to me that that's going to happen.

Comment: No weasel words, please. (Score 1) 772

by Doghouse13 (#47127277) Attached to: Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

It may suit your agenda to do so, but do everyone the courtesy of NOT deliberately conflating two related but very different meanings of the word "believe", please.

1) I will routinely admit that I "believe" (small "b") any number of things. In that usage, I mean simply that something is my opinion (one that I may hold very strongly in some cases, but that I still recognise for what it is). Based on such facts as I know, the balance of probability seems that something is the case. But I recognise that my opinion may be wrong - something that causes me not the slightest degree of difficulty, discomfort or internal conflict. If presented with reasonable conflicting evidence, I will weigh it to the best of my ability to do so impartially and honestly, and adjust my opinion accordingly if required.

2) I most definitely do NOT "Believe" (capital "B") in ANYTHING, in the sense that the word is used in religion - to cling dogmatically to a particular viewpoint in the absence of testable evidence (or, worse, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary), secure in the "knowledge" that I already "know" the "true" answer, and that anything that conflicts with that can be ignored because it is "wrong".**


Do I believe in evolution? Of course I do. The evidence is absolutely overwhelming.

Do I Believe in evolution? Of course I don't. If I'm presented with a scientifically sound, alternative explanation that embraces the existing evidence, yet points to a different conclusion, I'll give it due consideration. And if the evidence for the new theory versus the old is sufficiently compelling, I'll happily change my opinion.

Comment: Yes...but a qualified yes (Score 1) 583

by Doghouse13 (#47105887) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

Funnily enough, my need for controls in self-driving cars isn't the one you usually hear ("I need to be able to take control in an emergency") - as has already been amply researched, (1) the cars are likely to be much better at not getting into trouble in the first place than their cargo, and (2) suddenly handing over control to a human who's been dozing away watching the scenery, reading a book or whatever, simply is a really BAD idea - by the time they've worked out what's going on, it will be too late anyway, and anything they do is likely to make things radically worse, not better.

No, it's a far more pragmatic, human one: Not every car journey I make is a predictable trip from point A to point B, with no regard to what comes between. Sometimes I don't know what route I'll take, until I take it. Sometimes A and B are the same place. Sometimes I don't even know, when I set off, where B is. Sometimes my plans change in mid-journey, at very short notice. And sometimes, how ever good the traffic updates are, I'm likely to spot reasons why the car's preferred route isn't the one to take just then. So I need a reliable, simple interface that will give me enough control over my "autonomous" car to get it to take a particular route, pull over, slow down, speed up and whatever. Because, say, I want to pop into that little shop we just passed, that I've never seen before. Or I need a comfort break. Or the dog's been sick. Or I simply decide I want time to take in admire the stunning view on that windy little back road. What I don't want, and would think very carefully before buying, is a vehicle that takes away some of the freedoms that come with driving for myself.

I have little doubt that, if the time ever comes when these machines finally overcome the hurdles (not least, understandable human prejudices) and make it onto the market (and, frankly, I hope that's not so far away - it looks to this casual observer as though the technology is reaching a level of maturity wher ethe hurdles are legal rather than technical), such features will be there - because, frankly, they're obvious, and any offering that doesn't have them will lose out to the ones that do. But they're definitely needed. Google's prototype's lack of controls is a publicity grabber, pure and simple.

Comment: Two approaches (Score 1) 445

by Doghouse13 (#46309991) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Manage Your Passwords?

Passwords at home, I write down and file (with the exception of hyper-important stuff like bank access, where I choose passwords significant to to me and just write down clear hints that will help me get them but no-one else). I reckon that, if anyone gets access to those, I have bigger problems to worry about.

At work (softwear techie) I had, on average, 20-40 different password-protected access of various types. I (a) followed a theme meaningful to me (usually based on hobby things I'd been doing away from work); (b) used a single password on all systems; (c) guarded it carefully and changed it if I had the slightest suspicion it had been compromised; (d) changed it everywhere at the same time, regularly; (e) wrote down expired passwords so that I could recover any I accidentally failed to change; and (f) tried NEVR changed it immediately before going on leave. I found the combination of a password meaningful to me and the drill inherent in changing it multiple times in succession (and them using it regularly from that point on) meant that I never had a problem. Yes, I only had one password - one breach would have been a bigger exposure. But I NEVER had to write it down - and on the few occasions on which I had a brief memory glitch I could, in the worst case, give myself a big clue by looking back at my previous passwords to remind myself of my current "theme".

Comment: Re:That's a surprise move (Score 1) 195

by Doghouse13 (#46195511) Attached to: IBM Looking To Sell Its Semiconductor Business
The IBM of today is a slow-motion train-wreck that too many business people haven't tumbled to yet. At the executive level it hasn't been about the computer business for a couple of decades; it's simply about screwing as much money as possible out of anywhere it can be found, and damn the consequences. If that means selling off the family silver, that's what will happen.

Comment: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts (Score 1) 618

My first thought was that this sounds eminently sensible. My second was "Just who decides what 'reproducible' means?" My third is that it sounds like a recipe for delaying and tying up in the courts anything the far right don't like, on the grounds that there's "too much conflicting evidence and opinion" for it to pass the test. Frankly - it's a trap. Don't go there. And, just to lay my cards squarely on the table, I have no direct skin in this - I'm not a US citizen.

Comment: Also true at ground level (Score 1) 114

by Doghouse13 (#46139125) Attached to: Engineers Invent Acoustic Equivalent of One-Way Glass
There's another well-known effect in which sound propagates asymmetrically - up- and down-wind at ground level. Viscosity effects produce a wind speed gradient (wind shear), with air nearest the ground travelling slowest. The result is that sound waves travelling downwind are refracted downwards (making them easier to hear), and waves travelling upwind are refracted upwards (making them harder to hear). If the wind's at your back, you can be quite close to a noise source yet unable to hear it - whereas someone much further away on the other side of the source, with the wind in their face, can hear it quite clearly.

Comment: Niche only (Score 1) 254

by Doghouse13 (#45905891) Attached to: I think wearable computing will take off...
There will undoubtedly be niche uses for such devices, but so far I simply don't see anything even remotely resembling the "killer app" that might make anything (that's appeared so far, at least) get widespread adoption; meanwhile, they're simply competing in niches that are already well-populated and quite a bit more mature.. That's not to say it's not possible, but in my book, until and unless something appears that makes these things massively and obviously useful in ways that existing tech isn't, this is just yet another technological "flavour of the month".

Comment: Re:Um... (Score 1) 264

by Doghouse13 (#45885813) Attached to: Experiments Reveal That Deformed Rubber Sheet Is Not Like Spacetime

Indeed. There's a phrase that goes back many decades - "pushing the analogy too far" - which is what's going on here. The "rubber sheet" picture is still fine for conveying the basic idea of geodesics, so it's still an excellent way of explaining "bent" spacetime to someone who's struggling with the idea. The fact that the analogy may be deeply flawed in other ways is irrelevant.

(As for models versus analogies, though - a model isn't usually perfect either; it's normally a simplification of the way things actually are, that is hopefully a close-enough fit to be useful. The more accurate the predictions you need to make, the better the model needs to be. In that sense the rubber sheet analogy is a model as well; just a very poor one.)

Be sociable. Speak to the person next to you in the unemployment line tomorrow.