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Comment: Re:Does HFCS count? (Score 1) 294

by JesseMcDonald (#47936867) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Fructose is a natural sugar, and HFCS in its pure laboratory form is only a highly concentrated fructose derived from corn.

It's only "highly concentrated" compared to plain corn syrup. Despite the name, HFCS isn't pure fructose; it's about 55% fructose and 45% glucose, whereas sucrose is closer to 50/50. And the fact that HFCS tastes sweeter means that you can use less of it for the same result.

Comment: Re:Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (Score 1) 920

by JesseMcDonald (#47915039) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

The thing is, the doctor did give you evidence. He's an expert in the field of medicine, you know of no reason why he would lie to you, and he said that you have cancer. There is also the fact that he is placing his reputation and livelihood at stake—a false cancer diagnosis would probably be ruinous. Even if he declines to explain his reasoning, you can infer that it is most likely based on his extensive medical training. Whether that's enough really depends on how you plan to use the information, and the risk you're taking if it happens to be wrong. If a hypothesis won't affect your actions either way then it doesn't really matter whether you believe it or not. On the other hand, if you're considering radiation or chemo for your hypothetical lung cancer, it might be a good idea to get a second opinion before undergoing treatment.

Comment: Re:So-to-speak legal (Score 1) 418

by JesseMcDonald (#47914779) Attached to: Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

What's a "server?" A piece of software with a local display and keyboard connecting to the net is called a client if that piece of software is named "web browser" and a server if it is named "X windows." "Server" is an entirely arbitrary distinction.

It's not arbitrary at all. A piece of software is a server if it listens for incoming connections, and a client if it establishes outgoing connections. If it does both then it's a peer or node in a peer-to-peer network. A web browser is a client because it establishes connections to web servers. X is a server because it listens for incoming connections from apps (the X clients).

The client/server distinction has nothing to do with which side is closer to a keyboard or local display.

That said, if your "ISP" has a TOS which specifies "no servers", then IMHO you're not really receiving Internet service. The ability to accept incoming connections, and thus to run servers, is an essential part of being connected to the Internet.

Comment: Re:So-to-speak legal (Score 1) 418

by JesseMcDonald (#47914747) Attached to: Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

With government, you can complain on Constitutional grounds if they infringe your rights. With Comcast, you're shit out of luck!

Let's think about that one for a minute. With the government, you can complain to the government if they infringe your rights—and they may say that the Constitution gives them permission to do so. With Comcast or any other private corporation or individual, you can complain to any suitable arbiter (even the government if you so choose), and the private entity has no excuse. They don't have a Constitution supposedly granting them permission to infringe your rights under any circumstances. In terms of rights, you're on even ground, and if it comes down to force it's far easier to stand up to a corporation like Comcast than a massive entity which has its own military, recognizes the authority of no higher court or arbiter, and is falsely attributed a veneer of legitimacy by far too many of your complacent fellow-citizens who will assume that you're in the wrong simply for resisting authority, regardless of the situation.

Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 1) 264

by JesseMcDonald (#47891437) Attached to: Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

There's no legal basis for requiring an ankle bracelet for an armed robber and not for a drug dealer.

True, but that only goes to show that the law lacks any moral authority—and that enforcing it would be immoral. You may not see a problem with implementing disproportionate punishments so long as they're "legal", but I do.

Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 1) 264

by JesseMcDonald (#47873769) Attached to: Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

They're on parole.... As long as the measures are temporary, I don't see the problem; nor do I see how "Liberty" is lost.

I agree, provided that they're on parole for committing a legitimate (i.e. non-victimless) crime for which the restrictions of their parole are a proportionate response. Unfortunately, that isn't something you can take for granted these days.

Comment: Re:Can someone clarify the state of BitCoin? (Score 1) 134

by JesseMcDonald (#47869315) Attached to: Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

In deflationary currency returns a risk free rate, which will drive out any investment not returning more.

Which is good, because that would have been a poor investment anyway. For the investor, and for society; any money poured into a venture paying less than the "risk-free" rate of deflation would take real resources away from other investments with higher returns. We're all better off if that money is "hoarded" instead until a better rate of return comes along.

Comment: Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (Score 1) 363

by JesseMcDonald (#47866739) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Look at all the companies that pay minimum wage; they do not like to pay a bit more so those less well off can have it better.

That's far too simplistic. It's not like they can just raise wages with no consequences. There is a trade-off between the amount they pay and the number they can afford to hire. Raising pay at the expense of the number of workers would have the effect of concentrating income, not spreading it around.

Assuming you don't want to cut down on jobs, where do you think the funds for the extra pay would come from? Perhaps you don't think the investors (read: ordinary people with 401ks or IRAs, saving for retirement) deserve a share for supplying the productivity-multiplying capital goods which allows those jobs to exist in the first place?

I think that when you talk about "most capitalists" you have a very select group of people in mind: the fabled "one-percenters". Even within that group I don't think you're giving enough credit—poverty in first-world countries pales in comparison to less developed areas, and that can be attributed largely to the 1% everyone loves to disparage—but in any case the 1% isn't "most capitalists". Anyone with investments is a capitalist. If you have a 401k or IRA, you are in effect playing the part of a capitalist whatever your political views. While that isn't everyone, it is a very large chunk of the population. And most of those capitalists are perfectly happy to donate to charities and help out their neighbors.

In my opinion there are two basic aspects to systematic poverty (not counting temporary conditions). One relates to the individuals themselves, whether it's a matter of priorities, habits, or plain mental illness. Mere habits can be changed, if the motivation exists, but if someone chooses their current lifestyle over getting out of poverty, or lacks the capacity for making the choice in the first place, there is little anyone can do short of an unjustifiable infringement of their right to self-determination. The other aspect comes down to people deliberately tearing down the very capital structures needed to avoid poverty in the name of making everyone equal—equally poor, that is.

Comment: Re:This is why piracy is just and will flourish (Score 1) 363

by JesseMcDonald (#47864229) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Of course it's information. A description of a work, to any level of detail, is information about the work. It's also censorship and deprivation of free speech--the courts in the U.S. even explicitly recognized it as such. That's the reason we have "fair use"—in the end the court bowed to industry pressure and chose to compromise and overlook the blatant violation of the 1st Amendment, but in exchange insisted on a few token exceptions with minimal commercial impact to save face. The correct and honest ruling would have been that copyright is incompatible with freedom of speech and the 1st Amendment, and thus unconstitutional.

Comment: Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (Score 1) 363

by JesseMcDonald (#47863817) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

I gladly pay a bit more so those less well off can have it better.

Oddly enough, so do most capitalists. The difference between socialism and capitalism (politically) lies not in whether you personally choose to "spread the wealth around", but in whether you advocate forcing others to do so.

Comment: Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (Score 1) 363

by JesseMcDonald (#47863759) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Tax some (UK population) and give benefits to others (rest of the world) is not socialism, generally the rule is everybody pays and everybody gets.

If everyone receives value in proportion to what they pay, then there is no point to the system. You might as well just leave everyone alone. If not, then you are taxing some to give benefits to others.

Comment: Re:Assignement in Python (Score 1) 729

Observe that one needs two operators, memory copy, and "point to".
What is wrong is to use only one symbol for the two, and change the meaning according to operator content.

No, the problem is in how you're thinking of the data. There is only one operation: "point to". When you execute "a = 2", you're making the variable "point to" the number two (which you can think of as an immutable object). Storing small, immutable objects directly inside pointers instead of allocating memory for each instance is an implementation detail, nothing more. So long as the data is immutable, it doesn't matter whether you're making a copy or a reference.

Note that larger integers (like 2**80) are actually allocated as regular objects on demand rather than stored inside the pointers. Python breaks referential transparency a bit here through the "is" keyword, since the program can observe that equal numbers are actually separate objects in memory ("2**8 is 2**8 ==> True"; "2**80 is 2**80 ==> False"). If it kept a cache and reused the objects the program wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Comment: Re:For fuck's sake (Score 2) 67

In English, currencies are not normally capitalized. You don't capitalize "dollar", "euro", or "rupee", so you shouldn't capitalize "bitcoin" either.

You're correct when referring to the currency ("one bitcoin"). However, when referring to the software ("Bitcoin Core"), the network, or the protocol, the name is a proper noun and as such should be capitalized. The capitalization in the summary is thus correct; in the title, the word "bitcoin" refers to the currency but should be capitalized anyway, simply because it's part of a title.

Comment: Re:1. Read 2. Argue (Score 1) 528

by JesseMcDonald (#47769897) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes

The "knowledge" is just a mass of facts, disconnected from how they were obtained. Some grounding in basic scientific knowledge is indeed essential, but that isn't the real point of a science class. The actual science—the main thing a science class is intended to teach—is the "scientific processes" by which those facts are theorized and either verified or disproved, which is precisely what this bill says not to focus on. It takes classes which are meant to give students the tools they need to investigate and understand the universe and replaces them with rote memorization backed by an appeal to authority.

Comment: Re:Never talk to US law enforcement (Score 1) 92

by JesseMcDonald (#47756827) Attached to: Early Bitcoin User Interviewed By Federal Officers

One presumes that while they may not be willing to commit outright perjury, they would have little problem with taking your words out of context. Subtle shifts in emphasis can make a huge difference sometimes, and there is nothing obligating them to write down the parts of your account which do not help their case. As unjust as it is, their notes from the meeting will be taken as fact, while your account would be considered mere hearsay.

There really should be a requirement to fully document (with audio & video) every single encounter between public officials and potential suspects or witnesses, or have it considered hearsay. Until then, don't give them any extra ammunition to use against you.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz