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Comment: Re:Hit piece (Score 1) 580

by JMZero (#46750149) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

I agree she was probably well meaning to start - but she was also dangerously irresponsible.

And now I think she understands she was at least partly wrong - but instead of coming out and saying "Hey, I got some stuff wrong about vaccines and autism and autism treatment", which I think could really help sway some people in a positive way, she's equivocating.

In terms of "how should we talk to people who don't want to vaccinate", I'd agree villainizing McCarthy is probably not helpful. But, personally, I think she did something ethically wrong by staking so many people's health on her own little anecdote. I mean, she didn't just make a personal call on some health decision, she evangelized this idea as hard as she could.

And I think she's choosing now to downplay all that to avoid embarassment, or maybe to avoid feeling like she betrayed people - instead of owning up to mistakes and potentially doing a lot of good.

Comment: Re:Hit piece (Score 1) 580

by JMZero (#46749535) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

I agree that this does harm, but it's mainly because there are real anti-vaxxers who don't get any vaccines, primarily out of religious belief.

There's lots of people who don't get vaccines because they think it'll give their kids autism. Which they think because people, including Jenny McCarthy, told them it did. She held onto this belief, virulently, in the face of a lot of evidence - supporting Dr. What's his name long after it made any sense.

Comment: Re:Hit piece (Score 1) 580

by JMZero (#46749193) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Yeah... Uh, go back to 2008 and listen to her talk, in fairly certain terms, about how vaccines (and fungus and who the hell knows what else) cause autism and mental regression in children. This was when this wave of anti-vaccination scare was just getting going, and she played a big part in popularizing it.

I don't know if it's in that video, but I remember her saying, pretty much "Would you rather your child have measles, or autism?"

At the same time, she was supporting very dangerous crap like chelation as an autism treatment (with the idea that you could remove the mercury from the vaccinations, and then the autism would go away or something) - pretty much telling parents with autistic children to "try everything", so they could be cured like she believed her son was (there's a good chance her son didn't actually have autism to begin with.. but that's another story).

Again, the fact that she's now moderated some of these views doesn't mean she didn't do real harm.

Comment: Re:Hit piece (Score 2) 580

by JMZero (#46748121) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Uhh.. The point of the article is that her op-ed is disingenuous and doesn't correspond to what she has said over the years. Quoting from that op-ed to argue that the article writer isn't giving her true position... well, that's not really grasping the chain of argument here.

The reality is that she's been virulently anti-vaccine over a long period, has played a real part in convincing others to forego vaccination, and is now trying to sell us on something like "she didn't really mean it that way", and pretending she's always held some more moderate position. I mean, go read stuff she wrote years ago.

Comment: Re:Great for learning programming, too! (Score 1) 101

Lots of people have always got attached to their first language or IDE or whatever, but the core skills learned are transferable. What's being talked about isn't vocational training; it's introducing, for example, programming to patrons at a library.

I think a Chromebook has some very good properties for a public library. They're not just cheap, they're simple and maintainable. If they couldn't support learning how to program at all, I think that would be an important disadvantage. But I think in the context of a library, having online tools and sites available to learn programming is perfectly reasonable, and "ticks that box" so to speak.

Comment: Re:Incentivising the good behaviour (Score 1) 116

by JMZero (#46709881) Attached to: How Riot's Social Scientists Fight <em>League of Legends</em> Trolling

Try playing 20 games of Heroes of Newerth, then 20 games of League. You'll feel the difference.

I much prefer Heroes as a game - but in HoN it's routine that over the in game voice chat people will threaten to kill you because (for example) you missed denying a creep - and if you mute people, you lose any kind of coordination. In League, strangers have to type out their abuse - and if you get tired of it, you just mute them (because most "real" communication is done via pings anyway). But for the most part, you don't have to mute people - because the whole happy sticker tribunal thing actually seems to work. Heck, people are often legitimately friendly, even when you're losing.

Overall, in League, 1 in 10 games will be ruined by someone going nutbars griefing or hurling abuse, or leaving because they feel abused. In HoN, 5 out of 10 games are ruined that way.

So even though I love the game (Newerth), I'll probably never play again. The League stuff works.

Comment: Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 1) 469

I don't think you're an asshole at all (though there's plenty of condescending jerks in this thread, on both sides). This subject just has a lot of baggage and history - much more emotional content than makes any sense. There's a good chance many people responding negatively to you have just been primed by encountering a lot of condescending idiots in the past.

It'd be like trying to start a new discussion of "Intelligent Design" or something. Whatever your argument or question is, or its merits, many people would be likely to get very mad very quick.

Comment: Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 1) 469

If that same person said they had mathematical evidence that proved he could see Saturn with his naked eye, I don't think I'm out of line for asking to see that data.

Well yeah - if someone could actually see the moons, they'd likely be able to produce evidence pretty easily (or at least they'd conciously know they're lying). You could ask them to say, for example, whether the moons are currently aligned or whatever. The positive side of this is really easy to resolve - if you find a dead Sasquatch, that kind of resolves things.

It's the flip side - "can you prove nobody can see the moons?" that's more the question here. I mean, you can give an explanation of why this would be very unexpected based on normal human visual acuity and how eyes work. And you can say that you've tested lots of humans and none of them can see the moons. But you can't stamp out the possibility that SOMEONE can tell the difference, just like you can't eliminate the possiblity of Sasquatches just based on never having seen one.

To be clear though, the presence of this possibility is not usually what's being argued by the "other" side. Rather, they're saying that the differences are large, reasonably easily heard, and attributable to phenomenon that don't make sense or they don't understand. It's not like they're saying "there MIGHT be Sasquatches". It'd be like if 1/3rd of the people in every discussion claimed Sasquatches were common and they saw them every day. And when questioned further, it really sounds like they're just seeing a dog - but they get very defensive when you mention dogs. Meanwhile, any time you've gone out to meet these people, they've been unable to show you a Sasquatch (time and time again) - but have pointed out several dogs.

You could imagine how it would get tiring being a "Sasquatch denier" and having this discussion often - so I don't envy people who are involved in, say, making audio equipment, and I don't fault them for being a bit chippy.

Comment: Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 1) 469

The fact that it isn't 100% mathematically provable is true, but also kind of uninteresting.

I mean, if someone comes and claims they can see the moons of Saturn during the day with their naked eyes, that's an extraordinary claim. I can't invalidate it with 100% mathematical reasoning. It's far outside the bounds of what we know about human visual perception, but it's not impossible.

Still, there's also no reason to take their claim seriously - especially when other people have made the same claim many times (and done so with honest belief they're right) and always been shown to be wrong. There's just something about human perception of audio that attracts a lot of superstition and false conclusions.

Comment: Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 1) 469

Looking back at your original question:

Can you show me the math that proves that there's no difference between an uncompressed audio source and a 320kbps mp3?

The best I can say is to read something like But the proof you're looking for isn't going to be mathematical - and is not 100% sound or something. The only real proof is empirical (people can't tell the difference in double blind tests); the psychoacoustic stuff is just an explanation for why that result makes sense given basics of how our ears and brains work.

It's also interesting to look at how audio compression works, and frequency space transforms and what not. But that's very easy information to find.

Comment: Uhhh... (Score 1) 25

by JMZero (#46672609) Attached to: Hackathon Gold: How To Win a Job Offer In a Coding Competition

It isn't like Code Jam is their main stream of employee finding, and in general their engineer interviews are less puzzly than they used to be.

Google has a broad variety of problems that need solving, including a lot of problems where understanding algorithms is tremendously important. If anything Code Jam allows Google to cast a broader, more inclusive, fairer net - giving opportunities to people to shine who don't have a degree from MIT education or who don't fit the average software developer mold.

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 1) 277

Well, the starting point for this discussion a discussion like this is "the attacker has access to the hashed passwords and they understand our hashing algorithm, are they able to recover the passwords". Nobody is talking about attempting a million logins through their interface.

Rather, my comment was just stating the obvious - if you are capable of logging in a single user based on the information at rest, then an attacker can use that same test, with the same information, in a brute force attack on a short password.

Their actual solution, which I didn't realize when I wrote my first comment there, is that their system can't just validate a single user.

Comment: Re:Google Code Jam (Score 4, Interesting) 25

by JMZero (#46656775) Attached to: Hackathon Gold: How To Win a Job Offer In a Coding Competition

Google Code Jam is a really super excellent way to get into algorithm programming competitions, at least in North American. The serious competitors are pretty thin on the ground here (or at least they have been in past years) so with a bit of commitment, some programming experience, and a little luck, getting to the on site rounds is very achievable.

It's especially a great opportunity if you're interested in working at Google - doing well will definitely attract their attention.

It's also one of the most approachable competition formats; it's very "approach agnostic", and doesn't focus on anything too obscure in terms of required knowledge or skills. The time bounds are loose enough that you don't have to worry about things like "reading from a file efficiently". The initial rounds usually just test whether you can do basic programming. The test cases they supply do a good job of making sure you get things like formatting right - meaning you get to focus on the actual problem instead of goofy side issues.

Very well run contest, and lots of fun even if you're not a real expert.

Work is the crab grass in the lawn of life. -- Schulz