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Comment: Re:sounds like North Korea news (Score 1) 104

by ultranova (#47435159) Attached to: Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

Worse than that. It's like Brave New World news. The only things fit to publish are the things that keep us happy(and thus amendable to advertisements in this case). It's not trying to make on specific entity look good, it's trying to engage in actual mind control via selection bias.

Ironically, this might actually end up giving a more accurate picture of the world, because disasters and scandals tend to be big and flashy, while good news come as constant stream of small things. Overall, the stream drowns out the flames - our civilization would had never gotten off the ground otherwise - but it's the odd flame that becomes ever so more newsworthy by its very rareness.

Politics of fear are based on and enabled by this very phenomenom, and we've all seen them cause completely irrational - and often very destructive - decisions. So feel-good popular newsfeed could very well end up undermining demagogues by acting as counterpoison to fearmongering.

Comment: Re:Hi speed chase, hum? (Score 1) 354

by ultranova (#47434957) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

Nature -- specifically evolution -- disagrees.

Evolution doesn't deal with life or death, it deals with the relative abundance of properties in populations. If anything, our innovation - cultural evolution - is such success precisely because it removes death from the equation. Now the main thrust is on the evolution of our various superorganisms - cultures - rather than our bodies, thus allowing adaptation at blitzkrieg speeds compared to even bacteria, much less any other complex organisms.

Comment: Re:Why is this news? (Score 1) 354

by ultranova (#47434641) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

In other words, even though the statement about cars kill a lot of people is true, the statement does NOT make the cyclist are menace to be false.

"Menace" is a subjective value judgement. "Cars kill a lot of people" does affect "cyclists are a menace" because both are statements about the dangers of various forms of locomotion. Locomotion itself is unavoidable, so the question becomes which form is safest, and "menace" implies cycling is far from it.

Comment: Re:The Elephant in the Room (Score 1) 86

by osu-neko (#47434407) Attached to: Arecibo Radio Telescope Confirms Extra-galactic Fast Radio Pulses

The summary doesn't mention extra terrestrials. Is this because they don't want to jump to conclusions or is it because the nature of the pulses doesn't appear to be organic?

When astronomers point a telescope at the sky and see a large bright object, they tend to assume it's a star, not a giant alien lighthouse. If they see a bright flash of light, they assume it's due to some natural process and not an alien strobe-light. Is there some reason they would jump to an "it's aliens" conclusion in this case? You do understand that light is light, right? Even if the wavelength puts it in the radio-frequencies instead of the visible-spectrum? There's no particular reason light in one part of the spectrum is more likely to be made by aliens than natural phenomena.

Comment: Re:I found this article to be more informative (Score 1) 206

by ultranova (#47429977) Attached to: After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

The Gestapo actually wasn't that good at spying. The German people were, however, quite good at turning their neighbors in to the Gestapo.

Which means Gestapo was good at spying. The indicator is whether you get results, after all, not whether you get them because you're smart or scary.

There's a lot of myth concerning the Nazi police force. It's unfortunate that even today people repeat it without thinking.

"He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you."

Tyrants stay in power, not because they're stronger than their very source of power, but because they're good at building myths. A nation, company or any other organization is nothing more than a myth shared by its members. And the myth of the Third Reich is so strong it still persists, long after its embodiment is gone, as a kind of ghost nation. Time will tell whether Hitler will take up permanent residence in our collective pantheon along the Caesar's and Napoleon.

Comment: Re:Moron Judge (Score 1) 132

by ultranova (#47427225) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Fortunately we have laws that define those pieces of paper as legal tender, which differentiates them from little bits of hash solutions and things that people define in internet forums.

"Legal tender" where? I don't have to accept your funny paper. Not that you could send it to me anyway, since only fools tell their Real Life adress over the Internet, and even if I did, it would take days - and neither of us would have proof that the transaction actually happened. And of course, it's not like I'm obligated to give you credit in the first place, especially not in an Internet forum.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin isn't money but it's still a financial (Score 1) 132

by ultranova (#47427085) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Silk Road used it is to launder money.

Silk Road didn't use Bitcoin to launder money, Silk Road used Bitcoin to transfer money and a tumbler - a series of transactions meant to disguise the "border" transactions between Silk Road and the rest of Bitcoin economy by blending into the crowd - to launder it.

Except it was not really even proper money laundering, since it didn't invent a legal source for the Bitcoins being withdrawn from the system. That would had required a cover firm, a suspiciously succesful gambling site or something.

Comment: Re: "Emergency" laws. (Score 1) 145

by ultranova (#47426909) Attached to: UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

The British actually need to learn the difference between a pedophile and a child molester.

Alas, they're too stupid to do that.

To be fair, the words are used interchangeably outside of medical profession. A pedophile would gain nothing by coming out, and likely lose a lot, so the only ones the public knows about are those caught molesting.

So it's not necessarily a matter of not knowing, but not having any reason to care.

Comment: Re:UK is not a free country (Score 1) 145

by ultranova (#47426841) Attached to: UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

Democracy without constitutional limitations is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

Democracy with constitutional limitations is the same, except the wolves have toilet paper. And every other form of government is the wolves skipping formalities.

If the majority of your population are wolves, you're screwed, no matter what form of government you have.

Comment: Re:UK is not a free country (Score 1) 145

by ultranova (#47426777) Attached to: UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

Many people appear to have a great deal of faith in both politicians and governments.

Or little faith in their own ability to fight monsters. Or even little ability to even perceive monstrous as monstrous anymore, having been socialized into believing that the strong should dominate over weak and the only issue in question is the specific form this takes.

Once you've been conditioned into believing it's just and right you lose your livelihood because it happens to benefit a higher-up, is it really that much a stretch to believe they can just plain kill you? It enhances shareholder value to not have you dirty bum begging on the street, and using tax money to feed you would violate sacred property rights. And you're just a looter anyway, not welcome in Galt's Gulch.

Comment: Re:Who do they think they are? (Score 1) 107

by ultranova (#47425593) Attached to: India's National Informatics Centre Forged Google SSL Certificates

All countries conduct espionage to the extent that they prioritize their capabilities, and against targets where they perceive threats and/or opportunities.

All countries keep an eye on their neighbours, just like all people keep a general awareness of their surroundings. All countries don't tap the phones of their neighbours's leaders, or install malware on equipment sold to them, or even spies over. Morals aside, taking hostile action tends to backfire, as the US is learning. Reputation is a resource, and it's stupid to waste it.

The problem with Machtpolitik is that even if you win a few rounds, you can't stop playing without giving away all your ill-gotten gains, and sooner or later you lose. And when you do, you don't get back what you've lost, even if you quit. And sometimes the house wins and everyone loses big time. And the Devil's the dealer.

The US is a good case study: the country is hopelessly in debt and the infrastructure is crumbling, yet it's going to be spending $ 1 trillion for a new fighter. It's madness, but that's the price US pays for the way it fought the Cold War. Ruthlessness doesn't go away and leave you alone just because whatever enemy you conjured it up to win has. That's why it's foolish to ignore morality, even in international politics - especially in international politics, since there's no nice constable to run to if you manage to get in over your head.

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