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Comment Programmers not needed (Score 2) 165

Programmers are taught to code for a specific, well-defined objective, whereas untrained ordinary folk think more along the lines of "do what I mean". Recently, however, through the ACA state funding case, decided that what is *said* is immaterial, and that the law should reflect what Congress obviously *meant*. In other words, "do what I mean". Given this, language is no longer important, and it is up to the high priests of the US Supreme Court to view the auguries to determine true meaning. In other words, thanks to the Supreme Court it is not programmers that are needed, but magicians.

Comment Re:Not the same, but I guess the best we can do (Score 1) 73

I'm afraid that willfull, destructive ignorance and barbarism isn't a problem that technology can solve. A digital copy, however perfect, remains a copy, and by nature, can't be used as proof that there ever *was* an original, which is the entire purpose of ISIS's destruction of these relics.

Even having a physical object is not proof that it is the original. Moreover, I submit that even backups of purported original texts of the Library of Alexandria, for example, would be extremely informative, especially when the only other options is nothing.

Comment Interesting Idea (Score 4, Interesting) 73

It seems to me that if museums, as a matter of course, scan and extensively photograph all new inventory as well as old inventory -- and put the data on the interwebs -- that will provide some protection from the pigshit known as ISIL as well as other semi-human garbage. It would generate a lot of data, but these days that seems pretty cheap.

Part of the problem is that, although it is possible for museums from stable nations to storehouse collections from museums in unstable regions, the practical end result could be that those regions would be unable to show artefacts for decades or centuries. Further, if an official from semi-civilized country Y says, "give us back our junk", who is authorized to say yes or no, even if the purpose of getting stuff back is to destroy it? As I understand it, even now, items in museums in stable democracies are being returned to the country from which they were were taken, because those countries are asking for them back. Scanning such items before returning them at least provides the possibility to make a backup in case the original is damaged or destroyed.

Comment 70 years doesn't sound over-the-top (Score 1) 121

If this is 70 years, period, and not lifetime plus 70 years, then it may be tolerable, I think. If 50 years was the previous term of copyright, it would conceivably be possible for an artist to create a work when very young and outlive its copyright. This is even true for 70 years, but that seems like a better balance between public and private good.

Comment Ad hominem attack? Maybe Soon is on to something. (Score 0) 448

In the grand scheme of things, it is irrelevant how much he earned, or his detractors earned, from their respective supporters. In a debate, when someone resorts to saying, "you're stupid", or "you're ugly", it's a sign that the attacker is unable to counter the argument. Given the heated rhetoric directed at Soon, he must have landed some solid body blows against the 'global warming' position. If his evidence could have been easily swatted away, it would have been, and no one would have bothered to try to dig up dirt against him.

Comment Re: Aspergers, LOL (Score 4, Interesting) 289

I don't think you were paying attention to what the OP was saying, which is that credentials are not related to performance. Public schools, however, are generally unionized, so that credentials are valued more highly than actual performance. From local reports I have heard relating to students on the autism spectrum, it seems to me that they are either given some dumbed-down busywork, or efforts are made to keep them from disturbing "real students".

For those who know about ASD, however, this is not entirely unexpected. One of the problems is that autism is a *spectrum* of behaviours, meaning that everyone with autism is different. Of a hundred people with the disorder, you will find those with developmental delay as well as mental giants, those with physical handicaps and the physically healthy, some who dislike being touched and others who don't mind, some who speak and some who don't, etc. etc. Lumping them all into a single classroom, or using a single teaching method, is bound to leave many of these kids behind.

Comment Re:what counts as "an image of the prophet?" (Score 1) 228

That's a very good point. To censor images of scruffy-looking beady-eyed men wearing turbans sounds like a double insult. (It's like the story of two diners at a restaurant: the first says, "the food is terrible", to which the other replies, "yes, and such small portions!") For all we know, Mo might have looked like Sean Connery.

Comment Time to divert investment away from China? (Score 1) 145

What if Apple were to move its manufacturing to India, for example? Do Apple fanatics really need to prop up a dictatorship (oligarchy) so they can have their latest "iWantThat"? The same goes for the other tech toys made in China. Lots of people are willing to fork over money for "fair trade" coffee, but don't think twice about where their latest gadget comes from.

Comment Does it have teeth? (Score -1) 172

I wonder whether the agreement has any penalty clauses, or whether it's just another political ploy. In either case, if EU member states actually try to achieve these objectives by making it harder to do business, it would be foolish to imagine that other nations would "give them a break". Whatever additional pollution controls are put in place will need to be done with the cooperation of business.

The larger issue, however, remains whether greenhouse emissions controls are good policy from an environmental point of view. The so-called scientists who are waving the banner of man-made global warming have stepped outside their proper role as scientists and into public advocacy. Their climate models have utterly failed to predict future events, indicating that they do not have a grasp of the complexity of the Earth's climate. Why is this important? Well, let's consider our objectives.

Do we want the global climate to remain about the same as it is now, or do we want it to operate as it did when humans had less impact on the environment? If the objective is the second, then we have to recognize that significant climate swings will continue to happen, as they done in the past. This has included ice ages as well as much warmer periods. This is what Earth's climate does without human intervention. If, however, we want the climate to remain about the same, then we have to *meddle* with natural processes, and how many are confident that we know enough to do that? (I refer again to the predictive climate models that fail to predict climate, as an example.) Presumably, if we are going to meddle with climate, to keep it about the same, then we will want to reduce greenhouse gasses at one point, and increase them at some other point in the future. Are we truly 100% confident that reducing greenhouse gasses is the right thing to do at this point? If we knew the Earth was due to enter another Ice Age, would this choice remain the same? It seems to me that we ought to put the science back into "climate science" before we start messing with it. That's like trying to fix a jet engine without a repair manual, while it's in flight.

Comment Re:You are the only one. (Score 2) 370

Am I the only one who thinks many of the quality control issues and failed projects in the tech industry can be attributed to age discrimination?

Yes, you are.

You'd be one of the younguns, I suppose, and are illustrating his point.

Those fresh out of uni have yet to see the executive suite cut back on (or eliminate) quality assurance because it's "too costly" and it "slows down development". You believe that every problem you see has never occurred before, especially to someone as smart as you, and you know that your solution shows your absolute genius. Management loves you because you believe whatever they tell you.

Submission + - Climate scientists force defector to resign from GWPF

J Story writes: Professor Lennart Bengtsson, a prominent climate scientist who had recently signalled support for the climate sceptic camp by joining the board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, has been forced to resign from that board, stating: "It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology."

Comment Re:Coder Boycott (Score 1) 303

I suspect, rather, that Google thought there were no copyright issues. If Google had thought otherwise, it would have done everything from scratch. Given the amount of resources that Google spent in producing everything else, creating the API, relatively speaking, would have been trivial. If copyright law were more clear, Google would never have gone down the Java-ish path.

As for this judgement, I think the judge got carried away with his legalistic brilliance, but has actually introduced greater uncertainty. He reminds me of the story about classifying military officers as stupid/brilliant and lazy/not lazy, with the best officers being both smart and lazy, and the most dangerous being stupid and not lazy. This judge, it seems to me, is the latter.

Comment Re:Meanwhile, people are bailing from the IPCC (Score 1) 987

I think you inadvertently demonstrate my point.

If we look at the US as the touchstone of honest dealing, then the game is already rigged. The US rated 73 in the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, placing 19th, and was behind Canada (9th at a CPI of 81) and Denmark (1st at a CPI of 91). It gets worse, however. The median CPI for the 175 countries listed was 38, held by Bukina Faso, Jamaica, Liberia and Zambia, among others. Half of the countries rated even worse, with Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia at the bottom with a CPI of only 8. Here's the thing: how can we expect the UN to be free of corruption when it is populated by countries where corruption is endemic?

It is easy to think that the IPCC is aboveboard because "science", but there are reports that the IPCC deliberately excluded input from climate scientists who did not follow the IPCC's narrative. That is not science, but corrupt practice. In the West, it is commonplace for committee reports, court rulings and the like, to include dissenting views, as a matter of transparency. The IPCC clothes itself in the garments of undeniable truth, but underneath is putrid corruption.

Comment Re:Meanwhile, people are bailing from the IPCC (Score -1, Troll) 987

Meanwhile, after you read past the end-of-the-world predictions that were likely lifted directly from one of those churches that makes a living predicting the End Times, here's a more realistic assessment from a real economist who told the IPCC to remove his name from their "summary": http://joannenova.com.au/2014/...

People here tend to forget that the UN is filled to the brim with corruption. That their human rights body is chaired by countries with the worst human rights records -- and worse, that this is allowed to continue -- demonstrates why everything that comes out of the UN should be looked at with the greatest scepticism.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.