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Comment: Why apartheid "worked", why the Shah "worked", ... (Score 1) 474

Why apartheid "worked", why the Shah "worked", why Christianity "worked".

It is really too bad when science comes down on the side of the iron fist, but the studies show over and over that justice requires peace, and peace requires trust, and diversity reduces the social capital necessary to assure trust.

On the other hand, who wants to live under ISIL or similar diversity busting regimes? But one of the first prerequisites for a peaceful society appears to be a shared culture first, at least with respect to how people treat each other. It would be nice if we could use clothing to mark culture, so that when I see someone wearing a hoodie I could KNOW that indicated a peace-monger, but it just is not so, any more than someone wearing a sash with a swastika is identifying themselves as a keeper of the word of gawd.

The question has to be, how to get social capital higher and the science appears to suggest homogeneity. I don't like that answer, any more than I liked it when simulations showed "tit-for-tat" was the preferred strategy in cooperative games. I don't like that I cannot just flap my arms and fly either, but at some level all of these findings are our realities.

Comment: Re:Jargon (Score 1) 111

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48420835) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question
It does to people who view the world through a specific jargon. I would prefer to read good cosmology with math to help my understanding, but that market is pretty small compared to simplistic "analogies" that feed and nurture the the public discourse. For an example, run down the virtual particle discussions until you finally get to the one (and it was deep when I found it) that explains that the classical virtual particles as used to explain Hawking radiation are not the virtual particles of the foundational theory, so a lot of effort gets expended trying to explain amateur "what ifs" that are founded on this simplistic analogy. Trust me, I sometime try to express my semi-naive questions knowing that what I really need to do is run down the equations and see if my question is a function of the popularizing analogies, or is it truly answerable (and needing said answer) in the mathematics.?

So, yes, popular jargon sells more books, why oh why are you surprised?

Comment: Left-Right dichotomy vs Compass (Score 1) 111

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48420737) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question
As a statistician, I am seriously annoyed with the usual Left-Right dichotomy we see in most press articles. While I like the Political Compass I am a bit nervous of their clustering algorithm, and the questions they use to feed the analytics. Even more interesting is Johathan Haidt who has achieved some TEDTalk fame describing a five-dimensional feature space (though he does try to reduce to two clusters - liberals and conservatives). So I pose a two part question, (1) do you think the public discourse is hampered by the popular press always reducing politicians and voters to "liberals" and "conservatives"? And if you are concerned, (2) what can we do to push back against such simplifications, especially here on Slashdot?

Comment: Clean browser (Score 1) 125

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48309395) Attached to: It's Official: HTML5 Is a W3C Standard
Meanwhile, I am toying with creating a pre-browser or embedded filter that removes all tags beyond what Slashdot permits, then feeds that reduced set to the display functions. I am sick and tired of trying to throttle back wacko behavior one fekking feature at a time. Or does such already exist (for Firefox or Chrome?)

+ - Why would a star cluster have a hole in its heart?

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "When you consider the short life of a star cluster — from a collapsing molecular cloud to a nebula rich in gas and dust to a bright cluster of shining stars until the time it dissociates — you might think that they’d all be the same, except for a few details like mass and density profile. But then how would you explain Messier 26? Here’s a cluster, 89 million years old, whose core is almost totally devoid of stars, exactly where we’d expect it to be densest. You might think there’s some leftover, nebulous dust, but in a cluster this old, that’s unheard of! You might also think that there’s just a stellar deficiency, but that’s also unheard of! As it turns out there's a simple explanation: the intervening dust of our galaxy, that would have shocked and surprised the original discoverer of this object, who was simply disappointed at his findings."

Comment: The Math is against us (Score 1) 728

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48122213) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win
The sorts of analyses that can be conducted using game-theoretic formulations can be used to see what happens when a population is unable to defend itself because it swears off retribution in kind. The numbers are pretty dismal, without strong cooperation by the good people there is a sort of inevitability that the nice go extinct. Until the mid 1800's outlier antisocial behavior ran a high risk of being met by termination, which might not be a deterrent, but it sure reduces recividism. Once we became too civil to retaliate in kind (or stronger) we run the risk of losing to the trolls.

The ability to be anonymous just makes it harder to stop trolls, and any strong efforts to prevent anonymity are met by claims that the internet needs to support anonymity if it is to deliver freedom in the lands of tyranny.

All of this is fodder for great movies (where the bad guys are pursued by the good) but only if the bad guys hit equally evil players will they find meaningful retribution. If the trolls were to accidentally cost the Russian mafie some serious coin, they might find a knock at their door that would be much worse than having the FBI come a-knocking. (This is the plot of one of my tech-fi stories).

Comment: As proven before ... (Score 1) 276

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48114429) Attached to: No Nobel For Nick Holonyak Jr, Father of the LED
A good part of how you get a Nobel is similar to how you get an Oscar. Someone works very hard to publicize your work to a voting committee. They vote.

So a Nobel prize, like an Oscar, is a function of two strong independent variables.

Computing coefficients is left as an exercise to the interested student.

Comment: Re:"will present results Oct. 17 (Score 1) 315

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48111291) Attached to: Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal
Multi-stage heat to electricity systems can help minimize the local heat effect, though to the extent the earth is a closed system, if we are adding heat it might be like sticking burning candles into an oven.

Solution? MASERs tuned to frequencies that the atmosphere is transparent to, to pump excess heat out into space. I envision roof-top masers as the final stage of a buildings HVAC system (replacing the current simple heat exchangers). We could mandate that all AC units over a certain size must use same, just don't fly over them. Did Clarke get patent credit for his suggestion that satellites would be useful in telecommunications?

How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb? Let's see, can you use a shell script for that or does it need a C program?