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Comment: McCarthy the Playmate? (Score 3, Insightful) 584

by ExecutorElassus (#46745853) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"
Don't get me wrong, I have no issues with people celebrating human sexuality or whatever, but isn't it a bit ... overindulgent to be treating a former Playboy Playmate as an authority on much of anything, or really caring at all what she says? I get that debunking anti-vaxxers is a good cause and all, but why are we bothering with this anti-vaxxer?

Comment: Multitasking (Score 2) 184

by ExecutorElassus (#46738949) Attached to: The Case For a Safer Smartphone
The problem lies, in part, with what I guess you could call the aesthetic of multitasking. We love to think that we're good at it, but -- as research has proven over and over [warning: first link is a pdf download] -- we are actually really shitty at it. The same is true of driving. I remember as a kid riding in my dad's car, how he would try to change the channel on the radio, or do something with the A/C, and immediately start veering the car off the road. At stoplights, the minute he stopped thinking about it, his foot came off the brake and the car would roll out into the intersection.

I don't think fixing cars or cell phones is going to get to the root of the problem. The root is that people think they can do more than one thing at a time and not trip over their own damn feet. Since changing the culture seems out of the question, no amount of technological fixes is going to save us from trying to do more than we're cognitively equipped to do.

Comment: Re:Famous last words (Score 0) 179

Actually, you are slightly incorrect about motives, though the end result may be more scientifically accurate. "Climate change" and related terms were created by Frank Luntz specifically in order to make the phenomenon less scary-sounding, and thus to blunt action -- almost entirely by Democrats -- to respond to the problem.
In so doing, he created decades of thumb-twiddling inaction by the US government, leading to the problem becoming much more severe and intractable than it might otherwise have been.
But, yes, technically "climate change" more accurately describes what's happening, though "climate disruption" or something similar would probably be a better choice.

Comment: But it's the panacea! (Score 1) 259

by ExecutorElassus (#46523677) Attached to: Overuse of Bioengineered Corn Gives Rise To Resistant Pests
Someone explain to me again how GMO crops are the only possible way human beings are going to solve all our agriculture problems, and people opposed to them are Luddites? Did they not think that natural selection more or less negates any gains reached through GM within a few generations?

Comment: Thanks OBAMA (Score 1) 157

by ExecutorElassus (#46309539) Attached to: Safety Measures Fail To Stop Fukushima Plant Leaks
I'm surprised the free-marketeers haven't trolled this article yet, so I guess I'll do it for them. Here goes...

SEE?? This just proves that government bureaucrats can't do anything!!!1 If they'd just gotten those stupid regulators to get their boots of the throats of the job-creators, the guiding hand of free-market capitalism would have fixed this by now! This is why we need to cut capital-gains taxes and destroy the EPA!!!1

THANKS OBAMA WHERZ TEH BIRF CERTIFICATE BENGHRZGGG etc

Comment: Public Exposure (Score 1) 213

by ExecutorElassus (#46206209) Attached to: Reason To Hope Carriers Won't Win the War On Netflix
Right. Because citizen activists publicizing how big powerful entities do horrible things when the government is too chickenshit to stop them really worked wonders in the case of the NSA's mass-surveillance program. Not to mention extraordinary renditions, offshore torture, firing DAs for not investigating bullshit "voter fraud," lying to Congress, lying to the UN, to the American public, etc etc.

Comment: Re:Why the ©? (Score 2) 46

I think companies who insist on putting copyright/trademark/registration symbols into their marketing should be required, in every verbal exchange with media, at every speaking engagement, and in ever recorded advertisement, to compel their representatives to speak the terms out loud.

So, for example, should one of their sockpuppets be reading their press material at a conference, it would sound like this: "In addition to the revolutionary remote replacement, HAL *COPYRIGHTED!!* is also introducing wearable technologies such as their HAL *COPYRIGHTED!!* Watch HAL *COPYRIGHTED!!* Ring, and HAL *COPYRIGHTED!! Glasses, etc etc" like a bad case of Tourette's Syndrome.

Comment: Re:Unable to memorize times tables - a real proble (Score 1) 384

by ExecutorElassus (#45959087) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can I Improve My Memory For Study?
This should be modded up. A lot of the OP's stuff seems pretty garden-variety college overload, but THIS. If he's in his mid-30s, and can't do simple multiplication, there is something dysfunctional in his cognitive processes. And yes: if he's suffering learning disabilities like this, maybe college isn't the right move. A trade school, sure. But I would steer him away from any four-year degree. I wonder what his major is...

Comment: "Within the Rule of Law" (Score 2) 242

by ExecutorElassus (#45734233) Attached to: Panel Urges Major NSA Spying Overhaul

"surveillance must be guided by standards and by high-level policymakers"

So, if I'm reading this summary correctly, the only real problem is that our chickenshit congress never tripped over its own feet in a rush to hand the executive branch these exact powers in some most-assuredly extra-patriotic piece of legislation? All the issues with this law will go away if it gets a stamp of approval?
On a second note, why is it that nobody seems to mind (or make laws against) treating the inhabitants of other countries to police-state surveillance, including the heads of sovereign states?

Comment: Re:intelligence (Score 1) 370

by ExecutorElassus (#45675541) Attached to: Chimpanzee "Personhood" Lawsuits Fail In New York Courts
holy crap, why are you the only one who seems to have understood what this lawsuit is actually about, and not (like every other upmodded comment) immediately freaked the fuck out at the word "person"? Every time this case has been discussed the last week, every thread is full of people waving these bullshit arguments about how now we have to let chimps vote or whatever, instead of actually reading about what is meant by the idea of non-human personhood. It's really disheartening to read that much stupid.

Comment: Re:Holy Biased Presentation Batman! (Score 4, Informative) 466

by ExecutorElassus (#45631219) Attached to: US Issues 30-Year Eagle-Killing Permits To Wind Industry
A not altogether unbiased source has a handy comparison of bird deaths between wind, nukes, and fossil fuels. This is the thing all this hoopla about bird deaths on wind farms conveniently overlooks: the number of wildlife deaths from other industries -- how many birds died in the Deepwater Horizon spill, by the way? -- vastly outpaces those from windmills.

Yes, it's sad, and I would like to see them mitigated. But it's the same idiocy that makes people compare three high-speed collisions in Tesla Model S fires to the tens of thousands of fires that happen every year in ICEs with nary a peep.

Comment: Re:How could you tell? (Score 1) 162

by ExecutorElassus (#45560221) Attached to: Encrypted Social Network Vies For Disgruntled Facebook Users
sigh ... I wish folks hadn't read more into my initial comment than I intended, but I suppose its my own fault.
I wasn't actually stating an opionion on whether people trading pictures online was in itself a bad thing-- in fact, I suspect the other commentor up above is probably right, that "won't anybody think of the children??!!" is a bullshit argument that probably does more harm than good.
But any service that explicitly advertises itself as beyond the reach of surveillance will be, I suspect, very quickly populated with people circulating things that are, for better or worse, illegal.
An unintended consequence of trying to avoid the NSA and Facebook's marketing bullshit quickly gets known as a haven for perverts, rather than the actual good it might do (and yes,, it may very well -- though I don't know nearly enough to have an opinion on the matter -- thus provide a safe outlet for people who might otherwise act out on their urges in more harmful ways).
Just look at Tor: what started out as a means for dissidents to escape surveillance is now known to most laypeople as "that place where drug dealers meet with money launderers and identity thieves and hackers to trade with impunity."

Comment: Re:Why is this even a question? (Score 1) 452

by ExecutorElassus (#44800371) Attached to: The Reporter's Fifth Amendment Paradox
Man, I wish I could mod you up. This entire argument is proto-fascist in its logic: criminals are bad people, therefore should have fewer protections than us good citizens. No, dumbass: it's precisely criminals -- even guilty ones -- who should have the most protection from prosecutorial abuse. Why? Because that's how you guard against a police state in which *everyone* is guilty, and only the whim of the state decides who among them is to be compelled into prison. It's how you ensure that the system is one that delivers *justice*, instead of inflicting revenge. Without the assurance that the one prosecuted is the guilty party -- and this can only be the case if self-incrimination is prohibited, since it can so easily be coerced -- the whole system collapses into illegitimacy and tyranny.

If you really don't understand just how easy it is to compel innocent people to incriminate themselves with the right kinds of pressure -- physical, emotional, psychological -- then you really don't know anything about how the justice system can be abused, and definitely have no business writing opinion pieces whining about how unfair it is that good people aren't coddled like all those undeserving criminals.

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