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Science

Racial Discrimination Affects Virtual Reality Characters Too 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-are-you-so-mean-to-your-Sims-characters dept.
vrml writes: You are looking for the exit of a building in a virtual reality experience when a virtual character gets stuck in a room and cries for your help. Could the color of the skin (black or white) of the virtual human influence your decision to provide or refuse help? That's what comes out from a new study published by the journal Computers in Human Behavior. White users were told that they had to reach the exit of the virtual building as soon as possible. The number of users who decided to help tripled when the virtual victim was white rather than black. Researchers tried also other conditions in which they did not put users under time pressure: this reduced the discrimination, although the number of users who helped remained more favorable for the white rather than the black virtual human. The paper explains these results in terms of the automatic categorization processes that originate from unwanted, unconscious social and cultural biases: putting people under pressure increases automatic responses, leading to more discrimination towards the black character.
Education

Using Microfinance to Develop Coding Talent (Video) 23

Posted by Roblimo
from the by-their-bootstraps dept.
Here's a quote from the CodersTrust website: 'CodersTrust is the brainchild of Ferdinand Kjærulff. As a Captain of the Danish army he served as recovery officer in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. He pioneered a recovery project with the allied forces, bringing internet and e-learning to the citizens of the region in which he was stationed. The project was a massive success and inspired him to eventually create CodersTrust – supported by Danida – with a vision to democratize access to education via the internet on a global scale.' A lofty vision, indeed. But with help from the original microfinance company, Grameen Bank, and the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), it seems to be coming true. Note: If you click the "Read" button below this paragraph, the video interview will play automatically.

Comment: What the fuck is this auto-play shit? (Score 0) 50

by FSWKU (#49021589) Attached to: Rich Olson Embodies the Spirit of the Maker Movement (Video)
Seriously, why the fuck would you have a video that auto plays with no way to keep it from loading and NO VOLUME CONTROL?!?!

Dice, seriously, stop this shit. Beta is bad enough, but now you're wasting people's bandwidth by forcing this bullshit upon us. Yes, you figured out how to embed a video in a webpage. Goody for you. Gold star. Now how about doing something constructive, like fixing the lack of unicode support or any number of usability issues?

Oh wait, that doesn't please your advertising overlords so it's not a priority. Well in that case, go fuck yourselves.

Comment: Re:In other words ... (Score 1) 448

by FSWKU (#48758181) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

... or decrease in quality.

Well, given the level of dreck put out by Discovery Communications alone, it's pretty crap already:

TLC
Reality TV featuring white trash people, morbidly obese people, children prancing around for perverts, "I'm so edgy" wannabe tattoo artists, people who don't know what birth control is, and Sarah Palin being, well, Sarah Palin...

Animal Planet
"Well we ran out of ideas for shows about animals, so lets just put on some reality tv garbage and talk about how our channel is 'surprisingly human' lol!"

Investigation Discovery
Informative Murder Porn. Overly dramatic narration. Love-triangle #533,435,361 ends in someone getting killed.

OWN
Network that nobody really cares about from a former talkshow host trying to stay relevant. For some reason they keep giving Tyler Perry money, meaning he won't just go away already.

Science
Other than a few genuinely entertaining gems, it's fast becoming Jackass for Nerds.

Velocity
A few interesting shows, but they either re-run the same ones CONSTANTLY, or throw on more manufactured drama with bullshit buildoff shows or "look how cool my dealership is" garbage.

Comment: Just get a new case (Score 2) 720

by FSWKU (#48487679) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Making a 'Wife Friendly' Gaming PC?
Corsair, Fractal, Nanoxia, and a few others make cases designed to be as quiet as possible. I've got a Fractal, and even with an i7 and a GTX770, I can barely hear it. Two 140mm fans up front, a 140mm on the ventral side, a 140mm exhaust fan, and a 120mm fan on the CPU cooler. The ventral fan doesn't even kick on unless things get REALLY warm (like 2 hours of Prime95 thrashing all the cores), and with nothing else on, I can still barely hear the system. Oh yeah, and as for looks, it's about as plain and understated as I could find. No window, no flashy lights or any other garbage (I left the power LED disconnected as it is rather bright), and the 5.25" bays are hidden behind a door lined with even more acoustic material.

So find a case designed for silence from a manufacturer you trust, and put the system in there along with some larger, quieter fans. Do this and you've solved both the loud and the ugly.

Comment: Re:Top ten reasons... (Score 0) 145

by FSWKU (#48243291) Attached to: Here's Why Apple Rejected Your iOS App

6% Guideline 10.6: Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected

Then how do they explain this piece of garbage. A remote link to a Windows session is NOT a refined interface. Not at all. And it would seem the reviews agree. Yet somehow it hasn't been booted.

Comment: Re:Non-story? (Score 5, Interesting) 112

by FSWKU (#48226077) Attached to: AT&T Locks Apple SIM Cards On New iPads

Seems like a non-story, don't most wireless providers require you to change the SIM when switching anyways?

I think that was the entire point of the Apple SIM. You could have one card, and go between carriers with a simple software switch. However, AT&T appears to be intentionally breaking that functionality to FORCE you to buy another Apple SIM if you want to switch. With T-Mobile and Sprint, you just pick which one you want. Tried Sprint, but T-Mo's coverage is better in your area? Just cancel the Sprint account and switch to your T-Mo account in the settings. But if you happen to pick AT&T at any point, that SIM can only EVER be used on AT&T, defeating the whole point of a multi-carrier SIM in the first place.

Comment: Re:Please Microsoft... (Score 5, Insightful) 347

by FSWKU (#48207949) Attached to: The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

Maybe I am wrong, but over the years I have noted an increasing condescendension of IT people over "mere users". I wonder why that is. Bear in mind that IT typically isn't the company's cash cow, but "overhead", making this condescension rather inappropriate imho. Even on /. there are many "users" that are no IT people: designers, programmers, etc. I wonder why the interface they are using is apparently less important than computer maintenance software, or any other user experience, for that matter.

The "overhead" designation is precisely the reason IT people tend to hate users (at least in my experience). The end-user sees the IT person as nothing more than an electronic janitor who's sole purpose is to clean up the messes that they, the user, were too careless or too inept to prevent from happening in the first place. Thus, they don't bother to learn how to do things properly, they don't learn how to keep from getting a virus, they don't learn how to do even the simplest of things because "That's IT's job. I shouldn't have to know computers!" No, they don't have to know the ins and outs of every modern OS, but they should know how to at least keep it from obliterating everything they're working on (meaning stop clicking "OK" on every damn thing that pops up!). Then to top it all off, they behave as if security policies, best practices, etc. don't apply to them, even though management approved them as being a site-wide mandate...

So in short, users see IT as "the help" and treat them as such. And much like a janitor who is constantly cleaning up after idiots who have no concern for anyone other than themselves, the IT worker learns to hate certain users because they seem to have a mission in life to make IT's job as miserable as possible.

Comment: Re:(Re:The Children!) Why? I'm not a pedophile! (Score 1) 284

by FSWKU (#48165811) Attached to: FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

If you want protection to be applied to technology that didn't exist in the Founding Father's time, then do the honest thing and press for e.g. a constitutional amendment. Trying to stretch the Founding Fathers' words of over two centuries ago to your pet cause in 2014 is a can of worms that no one should want to open.

I see this same reasoning used by the anti-gun crowd. They want to say the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to things that didn't exist at the time the document was drafted. Let's take that to it's logical conclusion then, shall we?

The First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Using the "no unforseen technology" argument, that means the only thing covered by freedom of the press is exactly that. A hand-cranked printing press. That was the technology of the time. That's why it's called "freedom of the press." It gave people the right to print books and documents without the government having a say in what was allowed. Freedom of speech at the time was speaking in the town square without being arrested, or publishing documents via freedom of the press. Therefore, using any of these "new fangled" technologies to exercise your free speech is not protected, because they didn't exist when the Bill of Rights was drafted.

By your logic, telegraphs, radio, telephones, faxes, photographs, photocopies, computers, the Internet, etc. are not protected via the First Amendment, because those technologies didn't exist at the time, and could not have been forseen that long ago. So I guess we need an amendment to allow those things to be used as well? Unless you're saying that your argument only applies to your favorite amendments and not the others, in which case why even have the Bill of Rights to begin with, or indeed the whole Constitution?

Comment: Re:I'm fine with it (Score 1) 185

by FSWKU (#47958103) Attached to: NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook

It was explicit in the summary that the account was active and that was part of the decision. As was that the ex was hiding by not leaving a forwarding address to be traditionally served.

Here's my question though. I seriously doubt the government lost track of her. The IRS absolutely knows where she is, because they're not going to ignore their cut of any paychecks she receives. If she were being hounded by collectors (even for something like $50), they would have no end of means to track her down. Actually, since it's for a legal purpose, the courts would have MORE access to information than a creditor would. Why, then, would they need to use something like Facebook to serve legal process?

It's (IMO) stupid when they serve via alternate means anyway, but I seriously doubt that not finding a forwarding address constitutes the "due diligence" required to allow an substitute service method.

So even if this woman was "hiding", there were still plenty of options to find her location. This seems akin to service via publication, which I can't help but feel is nothing more than a method of shaming the receiving party into appearing. The fact that it's Facebook makes it look like the judge just wanted to be "trendy."

But that's just my $0.02

Comment: Re:yet if we did it (Score 5, Insightful) 463

by FSWKU (#47800197) Attached to: Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges
The funny (messed up funny, not amusing funny) thing is one of the suggested links I see at the top of the page: "33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater"

That's right. In today's society, you can get more prison time for recording a movie than for killing someone through criminal negligence.

Comment: Re:People have to be paid (Score 2) 207

How easy it is to ignore the fact the that the people who created this movie need to be paid.

They're paid for services rendered at the time of completion.

Not only the actors, writers, directors but the hairdressers, electricians and even the computer special effect workers.

All these people are paid just like you would pay any other contractor. They do the work, you cut them a check. They all work for a set, specified rate, not for any cut in the profits. Those who do earn based off ticket sales are usually A-listers with enough clout to negotiate for a cut of the gross, not the net. So no matter how poorly it does in the box office, these people still get a cut of whatever it brings in.

And God forbid that investors who fronted the money in the hope of a return on their investment should realize a profit.

ANY investment prospectus will tell you that "All investment carries some degree of risk." This means that when you invest in something, yes, you expect a profit. But you also have to accept the possibility that the money you put in will go up in smoke. By your logic, I should be able to sue whoever I invest with if my mutual fund doesn't give me a 500% ROI. They decided to invest in something, they knew it was a risk. Lets not forget that the investors are going to be the LEAST damaged by any of this, since one film is simply a line-item in their ledger.

That being said, downloading films in this manner IS ethically questionable. Mass downloading can make a studio earn a reduced profit. But reduced profit is not a monetary loss. The real loss is that if the profit reduction is large enough, they have less incentive to produce any more films that require actual effort. The more this happens, the more you get dreck that caters to the lowest common denominator (such as The Expendables whose mass downloading furthers the cycle), and filmmaking is reduced to an exercise in formulaic cinematography to maximize monetization and merchandising paradigms (and other such buzzword-y bullshit). THIS is the real cost of mass copyright infringement - an art form reduced to a paint-by-numbers affair where no one dares to make anything truly unique. And to me, this cost is far, FAR worse than any perceived monetary loss.

At least the Capitalists who wish to to profit from the labor of others paid for that privilege unlike simple thieves.

How many times does it need to be said that COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS NOT THEFT?. Theft is the taking of something tangible which deprives the individual owner of its use. Downloading a copy of some bits does not deprive the original owner of said bits. They still have them, and can still use them for their intended purpose.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.

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