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Comment: Re:Again? (Score 1) 557

by JackDW (#46932757) Attached to: Actual Results of Crimean Secession Vote Leaked

I don't believe this either. There's no corroborating evidence, not even a screenshot (though that could be trivially faked).

This is a conspiracy theory and it's as nonsensical as thinking that Bush's "people" accidentally leaked "the truth" while they were supposed to be covering up "the facts" about 9/11.

Take note of the names of the Slashdotters who automatically believe this sort of thing, and give their opinions an appropriate level of credit.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 3, Insightful) 612

Hmm. Experience suggests the intelligent beings would stare at the 0.0001% and either deny the evidence for it, deny its relevance, or try to destroy it. Inconvenient facts are inconvenient.

You want a piece of toast with the face of Jesus? You already had a man with the face of Jesus, and look what happened to him.... What chance does some toast stand?

Comment: Works both ways (Score 3, Interesting) 1037

by JackDW (#46675609) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

I became an atheist when I was about ten or eleven years old. I was sure of myself at the time.

Twenty years later, I have some serious doubts about it, and have retreated to agnosticism. That's partly because the Internet has given me easy access to all sorts of information about philosophy, religion and politics. I was able to read what the other side actually thought, not what my side said they thought.

I could say that the Internet destroyed my faith in atheism, but I know that you guys really hate the implications of statements like that, so please take it as a (trollish) joke!

What I would say, not as a joke, is that the Internet has not stopped people believing weird and/or stupid things. In fact it has strengthened all sorts of weird beliefs, some weirder than anything in the Bible.

Comment: Re:Am I the only one.. (Score 5, Interesting) 158

by JackDW (#46205371) Attached to: Non-Coders As the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements

But Zuckerberg and the other industry leaders don't want programming skills to be valuable. They want programmers to be cheap and easily replaced, like unskilled workers in a factory. The "year of code" is not for the benefit of school children, or programmers in general. It is for the benefit of the upper management of major corporations, who live in hope that good programmers will one day be cheap.

Imagine that instead of the "year of code", it's the "year of football". The government notices that the England soccer team is not very good. The soccer industry finds that good players are really expensive, and wishes that it could recruit a few more good players straight out of school while they are cheap. They get together with this initiative called the "year of football", with the aim of (1) reducing the cost of employing good football players, and (2) improving the performance of the national team.

The immediate result is a massive investment: a soccer coach for every school, extra soccer lessons, one football to be provided to each child and so on.

But of course it achieves nothing, because the children who love playing football are already playing it in their spare time. The impact is only on the children who hate football and don't want to play it. They are forced to take part in this boring activity, developing skills they don't want in order to play a game that they don't enjoy. They come to hate football even more than before.

And, because the children who love it are forced to play with children who hate it, this ruins the subject for everyone. They all hate having to learn about basic stuff like how to pass a ball and how to tell if someone is off side: the good players already know this, and the others don't care. Meanwhile the schools spend less time teaching general subjects that are widely useful. Everyone loses.

Comment: Re:Useless Article (Score 1) 148

by JackDW (#45766837) Attached to: UK Govt's Censorware Blocks Tech, Civil Liberties Websites

I see what you're saying, but here's how I think that would actually play out.

If this gets further than Slashdot and Reddit, the government's PR will point out the nature of the mistake, and there will be articles on the BBC News about how a blogger got it wrong and the whole thing went viral before anyone checked any facts. Which is absolutely true.

But next time - when there really is some censorship, when Amnesty International really is on the blacklist - the government's PR will say that once again, it's a mistake, and once again, the bloggers are looking at some ISP's opt-in whitelist rather than the real thing. Meanwhile they can quietly correct the blacklist before too many people notice, making it look like (once again) the Internet has cried wolf.

However this goes, they win. The best thing for us to do is take the high ground, and be absolutely truthful about what's going on. Yes, obviously, this on-by-default filtering idea is stupid, staggeringly bad even for the Tories, but we're not going to deal with that by playing amateur PR against resourceful people who do it for a living.

Comment: Re:wow its a vortex board (Score 1) 95

by JackDW (#45551155) Attached to: $39 Arduino Compatible Boardset Runs Linux On New x86 SoC

That matches my experience with a similar Vortex x86 CPU. It was 486-compatible, but Pentium-specific instructions such as RDTSC were illegal. I had to compile a custom kernel, and make sure that all the userspace libaries and programs were 486. But this was no big deal. You always have to do things like that for embedded development, and it's usually a lot more hassle for an ARM-based platform because of the higher degree of variation.

I'd also expect it to run older versions of Windows, though XP may be a stretch.

Comment: Re:Gross, but... (Score 1) 618

by JackDW (#44984403) Attached to: First Cases of Flesh-Eating Drug Emerge In the United States

Gladly: More crime. Poorer grades in school. Higher unemployment, lower employability. General decline in public health and living standards. The emergence of neighborhoods where nobody would choose to live. Large numbers of cases of child neglect handled by the police and social workers.

Not good things. But these are the results of non-enforcement of drug laws. If you look for the evidence you will find it, and if you really want specific examples of places to look, then I can tell you about those. Really, science is not on your side here.

Comment: Re:Gross, but... (Score 0) 618

by JackDW (#44982183) Attached to: First Cases of Flesh-Eating Drug Emerge In the United States

"Legalize heroin to prove me wrong"

Some proof. It would not be a controlled experiment - the results would not be useful.

We would simply end up arguing over the statistics. You'd say that fewer people were dying of overdoses - your criteria for success. Whereas I'd point out that society was damaged in other ways by the large increase in drug use that would inevitably follow legalization. Nothing would be proved either way.

Case in point is, well, anywhere that any drug has been decriminalised. Some people say things are better, and others say they are worse, and both groups have some evidence to support their claims. Personally I would recommend not forcing radical, uncontrolled and potentially dangerous experiments on living people without their consent, particularly when the results are worthless, but then I'm one of those awful people who thinks that drugs should probably not be legalised, so my opinion hardly matters.

Comment: Re:Bad guys (Score 1) 115

by JackDW (#43810487) Attached to: 5-Pound UAV Flies For 50 Minutes, Streams HD From Over 3 Miles

Now you mention it, "the ravings of a drug warrior" actually is a pretty good description of Huxley's "Brave New World"...

As an evil dictator I would not particularly care which drugs people took, or what they believed about the safety of those drugs. From my perspective, the effect would be the same - the people who might otherwise have resisted my power would happily stay at home instead.

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