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Comment: Re:Why is 1984 in this poll? (Score 1) 149

by RedWizzard (#47979949) Attached to: It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

Although 1984 shows up on the list of challenged classics, there is only one challenge listed -- someone in Jackson County, Florida in 1981 thought that it was "pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter".

Fahrenheit 451 isn't even on that list, though it has been banned from specific schools in the past.

Comment: Re: Couldn't Get A Job After Getting A.S. Degreete (Score 1) 93

by ultranova (#47979335) Attached to: The Site That Teaches You To Code Well Enough To Get a Job

I'm currently converting an old WordPress blog into a static website, using Python to extract content from the MySQL database into array structures and files, using PIP as the MVC framework on a PHP LAMP stack, and following standard OOP practices, documentation and unit testing.

Or you could just use "wget -m" or something similar.

Comment: Re:Does it matter? (Score 1) 119

by osu-neko (#47977209) Attached to: Google Quietly Nixes Mandatory G+ Integration With Gmail

Not sure if I follow the real name policy argument. Personally, I understand that people want privacy and there was a huge outcry when Blizzard also required real names as part of their RealID row out. But at the same time I think the issue that both Blizzard and Google wanted to address was cyber-bullying by hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.

You can tell people at a company are speaking from a place of privilege when they assert that using real names will reduce bullying/make people safer/etc. For many of us, using real names pretty much guarantees bullying and danger, and quite possibly even threatens our lives. From Blizzard, it really takes the cake. Like I'm going to put my life in jeopardy for the sake of a video game. And even if the threats aren't serious, many people would just rather avoid the hate and abuse to begin with, even if it's "only" verbal/emotional abuse. Some people use anonymity as a weapon, but most of us use it as a shield. Congrats for those lucky enough to not need it, but understand we're not all so lucky. Removing it just further marginalizes those who aren't privileged enough to be safe without it.

Comment: Re:It is all pork barrel politics (Score 1) 312

by ultranova (#47976987) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

However a much easier method would be to simply ship the thing in a shipping container with the latest Chinese wing dings. Shield the device perhaps to prevent detection in the off chance it is the one in 1000 that is actually checked. Then have it shipped by truck to some warehouse in the middle of a city someplace. Have it set to detonate when it reaches a certain threshold of GPS coordinates.

Why bother with GPS or shielding? Just rig the bomb to explode when the container is opened, and give the customs a tip about a drug smuggling operation. Boom, you just took out a major hub of trade, and likely a major city as a bonus.

Comment: Re:It is all pork barrel politics (Score 1) 312

by ultranova (#47976333) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

The only reason why nuclear weapons are not used (by Nations) is because they simply can not win a nuclear war if the opponent is also armed with nukes. A properly functioning nuclear deterrent is required to maintain the status quo.

The problem is, current status quo is inherently unstable: radars glitch, people press the wrong button, someone forgets to tell their superiors they received a notice for an upcoming rocket launch. We're still here because we've been very, very, very lucky, and that's going to run out sooner or later.

We need a non-nuclear deterrent - some way to ensure attacking another country would be sucide, even if the victim possesses no nuclear weapons. EU has been very succesful in doing this in Europe, however as the Ukraine crisis shows the international system as a whole is still too weak to guarantee a common nation's safety. So, civilizing the "society of nations" and ridding it of its endemic violence needs to be our top priority. The alternative to success is extinction.

Comment: Re:The WHO (Score 1) 458

by ultranova (#47970873) Attached to: Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

Do you want high-risk open-heart surgery, with a fifteen-per-cent risk of dying during the operation, or would you rather continue as you are, with a fifty-per-cent chance you will be dead in two years?

Open-heart surgery, please. You can actually feel your heartbeat, and thinking there's a problem means every irregularity, real or imagined, is going to give you a start. This gets especially fun when you're trying to sleep because that, after all, involves heartbeat slowing down.

Comment: Re:Percent. . .Percent. . . PERCENT! (Score 1) 64

by Mr. Slippery (#47968639) Attached to: London's Crime Hot Spots Predicted Using Mobile Phone Data

Any article citing statistics is invalid when they don't understand the difference between percent and per cent.

FYI: "The one-word percent is standard in American English. Percent is not absent from other varieties of English, but most publications still prefer the two-word per cent. The older forms per-cent, per cent. (per cent followed by a period), and the original per centum have mostly disappeared from the language (although the latter sometimes appears in legal writing).

"There is no difference between percent and per cent. Choosing between them is simply a matter of preference." --

Comment: Re:ask not for whom the bell doesn't chime (Score 1) 458

I guess you don't have any grandparents who live alone, but can no longer reliably identify their own children....You are so deep into denial about the reality of aging

The "reality of aging" does include old people completely destroyed by aging. And we need to get serious about dealing with that, letting people check out when their life ain't no more fun.

But that reality also includes 90-something karate masters who are still practicing.

The "functional limitations" of which the author speaks can, to some degree, be mitigated by lifestyle. So can the supposed "lack of creativity" -- the problem isn't aging, it's stale ideas. Learn something new. Change fields.

My maternal grandfather was still quite aware, oriented, and active in his church at 90. And the heart disease that ultimately did him in could quite likely have been partially prevented or reversed with better lifestyle habits. My paternal grandfather was a bit short of his 79th birthday when complications from coronary bypass surgery (again, largely preventable) did him in. He never really recovered, emotionally, from the loss of his wife (could have used better social support, more community connections), but he was in no way crippled or suffering from dementia in his final years.

So given the example of my grandparents, with good dietary and exercise habits, good social connections, and a little medical help I can hope to get into my 80s with my brains mostly intact. (If we don't completely fsck up the planet, and if we make a few medical breakthroughs, with a little luck I hope to see the dawn of the 22nd century -- I'll only have to reach 131 to do that.)

Of course, I could also get run over by a bus this afternoon, or diagnosed with some particularly nasty cancer next month. One never knows.

Comment: Re:How do you cast a flattering light on this? (Score 1) 390

What I find ironic is that supposedly one big reason for Obama's electoral success was due to his team's deep understanding of technology, the internet, and social media compared to Republicans

No, it's due to him not being a Republican. Personal qualifications might matter in party elections, but after that people are voting for a party, not a person.

Comment: Re:Garbage Disposal (Score 1) 165

Let's get off oil, then they will have no power, no funding, and thus, no threat.

I'd love to, especially since that would also force Russia to ditch dictatorship and start developing or become irrelevant. However, it's easier said than done, as oil happens to be near-ideal power source. The only technologically realistic alternative is nuclear, but that has political problems.

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 1) 390

ItÃ(TM)s hard to imagine even the most ardent Democrats supporting the literal deification of Barack Obama or erecting small shrines in his honor throughout Washington DC. By contrast, after Julius Caesar was posthumously declared a god, Augustus, as his adopted son, became known as the son of god. Along with the other gods, he received dedications at small crossroads shrines throughout Rome.

What are flagpoles but shrines?

It's important to remember that our concept of divine is very different from a Roman's concept. Any fool could all but feel the omnipresent might of Rome, a pattern behind all the roads and aqueducts and legions and whatever. The Emperor was an easily identifiable focus point, giving name and face to something indescribable. But make no mistake, while we don't call them as such we too treat our nations the same way, waving flags, swearing allegiance and if called for, killing or dying for our gods.

So no, people don't deify Barack Obama personally. They deify his position. Power rests in the system itself, and Obama is simply the human currently most closely associated with it, hence any problems in said system get blamed on him. It's actually quite fascinating, the way our institutions take on lives of their own, escape from their founder's control, and all too often display a very human tendency towards megalomania and petty cruelty. And unless we learn to keep them focused on human good, rather than their own self-aggrandizement, and fast, I fear we'll meet the Great Filter.

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 1) 390

There are good reasons to criticize the ACA, but the number of people who have gotten coverage for the first time because of the law is not one of them.

Unless, of course, your very ideology is to make the gap between rich and poor as wide as possible. Then it makes perfect sense that you'd be upset that everyone can afford medical care. And you can always explain away any attacks of conscience by claiming you simply want everyone to be personally responsible for themselves, even as your policies take away the means to do so from the majority of people.

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 2) 390

My point is that democracy doesn't put competent people in charge most of the time. That's just the nature of the beast.

No known organizational model puts competent people in charge most of the time. Even the strickests of meroticracies are subject to the Peter Principle, even if they somehow fail to promote people who are best at promoting themselves. Democracy is superior because it lets outright lunatics to be constrained and removed as well as succession handled without bloodshed.

"What man has done, man can aspire to do." -- Jerry Pournelle, about space flight