Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Comment Re:Correlation versus Causation (Score 1) 82

Just because you didn't read the whole study, doesn't mean they make this error automatically. ;) Remember, you only read bits and pieces of a media article linked by dice, you didn't actually read the study to find out if they confused cause and correlation.

Also, some studies are designed with particular causes included in the study, in order to check for correlations. Perhaps they started with situations where bad behavior exists, and then measured what correlates. In that case the knee-jerk accusation would almost always be wrong, because it is activated by the syntax of the speaker having implied a cause. But actually if you're searching for effects of a known potential cause instead of causes of a known effect then it inverts everything. So the knee-jerk reaction based on syntax can never know if it is correct or not. It might correlate with the logical error, but you can't accurately identify the cause of the syntax anomaly as being a logical error.

(If your syntax analysis was better, you might have noticed that even the media story describes the study as having measured the spread of introduced behaviors. Measuring the rate of an introduced factor spreading is the most basic correlation study you can do. There is no reason to presume there is implied cause there.)

Comment Re:Confusing all-around (Score 1) 82

But I don't see why they're only talking about negative behaviour since positive behaviour should also spread by the same mechanism. Perhaps upper management is more likely to spread negative things, or the cost of Enrons is too great to offset the benefit of really functional organizations, but I wish they had at least acknowledged the possibility.

Sure, but as the guys on the factory floor can tell you, "shit always rolls downhill." It is the first thing to look at. Don't presume that studies are intended to be definitive; they never are, they're always incremental. I agree they might not have asked the most important question first, but they did ask about one of the most commonly perceived aspects of the topic, which is a normal place to start.

Comment Re:Avoidance (Score 2) 82

If you believe yourself not to have options, you don't.

Is it really true that a small town factory is the only employer possible for their employees? Did jobs exist before that business opened? Are there roads connecting this remote village to other villages with different employers? It is a totally failed argument that has been attempted many times.

Remoteness rarely restricts employment opportunity, because humans are rarely prohibited from travel. Rather, it is the belief in a lack of opportunity, also known as "ignorance," that binds them. It is entirely internal.

Interestingly, people in cities with labor shortages often still maintain the same belief in lack of job mobility, especially if they haven't changed jobs in a long time, and also especially if they are exposed to media that frequently tells them times are tough or that the future is scary and uncertain.

Comment Re:Yeah, but that just means... (Score 1) 194

The form of his statement makes it clear that he's saying it doesn't make sense for the sides that are fighting. You point vaguely at stuff that contains various truths, but they're not relevant to his point, don't change it any way, and you didn't even attempt to actually add anything.

Are you suggesting that external profiteering means that educated soldiers would NOT want to end a conflict once they understand that it harms their own side, and has no chance to make life better for their families? Or are you just repeating an off-topic cliche in any random position?

Comment Re:Why, You! (Score -1, Flamebait) 194

You're trying to defend a pejorative by using an absurd caricature as a straw man stand-in for people who actually support justice. It is pretty weak sauce. I mean, think how awesome and powerful Justice must be that you have to pretend it doesn't exist in order to argue against people who support it?

You even throw in a True Scotsman for good measure; they are incapable of comprehension, even of a basic ethical concepts like "bullying," because of the nature of Justice. They're just not a real SJW in your explanation unless they just don't care, and can't comprehend extant realities.

Do you even comprehend that you're fighting for perceived social justice in your argument? What is an "SJW?" People who do as you do here, and make a case for social justice. You can't be against bullies, and admit you are, and not be a social justice warrior.

It is really not impressive at all. Turn on the news if you want to know how silly and pathetic and freakin' tiny your complaints are compared to the problems in the world that cause people to seek Justice.

Comment USB is a support nightmare (Score 4, Interesting) 269

Unlike ethernet, which is pretty much standard from platform to platform and basically trivial to support, USB code is completely different between linux, OS X, and Windows, and is a mess, API-wise.

I write software defined radio stuff, and after one incredible nightmare getting a USB SDR to work on all three platforms using conditional compilation (I did succeed), I swore off. No more. If it doesn't have an ethernet interface, or a USB-to-ethernet server app compatible with the standard SDR protocols that makes it appear to me as an ethernet SDR, it's not happening.

Luckily, some of the best SDR manufacturers out there have done it right. Andrus, AFDRI, and RFSPACE. And there are some servers that have been built to hide the abortion of USB, but so far they are very much platform-specific, for the very reason I described above.

USB. Ugh.

Comment The American Way (Score 0) 240

I have an idea. Handle it the way some of the smarter states in the USA do it. About 1 in 100 people in the crowd has a concealed weapon. Try attacking that. Return fire assurance is infinitely more effective as a defense and a deterrent than some ridiculous laws and metal detectors and bomb sniffing dogs and all that predictable, bypassable nonsense.

Comment Re:Important to note (Score 1) 440

It's important because this could have legal consequences. And that's the only reason.

If I call a mule's tail a leg, it remains a tail. Schedule I is only significant in the context of legal repercussions. It's not a valid logical category in any other context. It doesn't tell you, e.g., anything about possible medical uses, even though it explicitly purports to.

Comment Re:Important to note (Score 2) 440

They are by no means the most harmful drugs. Belladona would be a good choice if that was what you were considering.

Tobacco and nicotine are two of the most attractive of the moderately harmful drugs. Most people aren't really attracted to strychnine.

What happened is there is a puritanical groups that seized control, and they decided that they had the right to tell everyone what they should be like, and that what they should be like is the way god made them. There are advantages to this as well as disadvantages, so they were able to suppress all except the very most popular drugs. Their success can be measured by the fact that the DEA will prosecute doctors who prescribe too much pain relieving medication. The underlying belief is that if god causes you to feel pain, you should be in pain.

In most cases I believe that drugs should be legal to purchase, and to sell, and to manufacture, and to transport, but not to advertise either directly or through sponsorship of media that use "placement ads" for them. And in this I include pharmaceuticals used to treat illnesses as well as other drugs, and I feel no distinction should be made. (I.e., I don't feel any of them except antibiotics and, perhaps, a very few others should have their sale regulated.)

Comment Re:Important to note (Score 2) 440

That's not a good comparison. LSD is reportedly not addictive. Sugar is. (Mildly if taken in isolation.) Chocolate probably isn't, but it's usually packaged in a form that contains fats and sugar, which *is* an addictive combination.

P.S.: There are addictive personalities, and people who have them can easily become addicted to normally non-addictive substances. And there are also variations among people's chemistries, such that some of them readily become addicted to things that most people don't become addicted to. Reportedly there's a sizable fraction of the population that wouldn't become addicted to opiates. Supposedly when heroin was invented as a non-addictive cough syrup it was tested on 25 people who all happened to be of a groups that didn't become addicted to it easily.

We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold. -- D.W. Robertson.