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Comment: Grow up. (Score 1) 184

by Medievalist (#47299277) Attached to: EFF To Unveil Open Wireless Router For Open Wireless Movement

Contracts entered into without alternative may be legally binding, but are generally held to be morally suspect.

If you have acted to prevent anyone from getting a fair deal, then I don't have to feel bad about acting to subvert your crooked deal without your knowledge.

And thus morality, ethics and legality splinter into a thousand pointy bits of subjectivity.

Personally, I play by the rules - but it's because I own property, and I don't want to give the corporate-owned mechanisms of state any excuse to confiscate any of it. It's not because I feel any moral obligation to the likes of Verizon or Comcast; the big ISPs appear to be pretty evil, judging from their past actions, and they've never earned any affection or respect from me.

Comment: Re:It's not about fear, it's about release of ange (Score 1) 493

by Medievalist (#47213053) Attached to: Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

I can accommodate a conscientious objector when he's honest and decent, but you seem to be merely a contrarian, and an apologist for people who are putting whole populations in danger of serious illness through smug stubbornness and willful ignorance.

See, that's where we differ, right there. You apparently think it is "honest and decent" to call people assholes, and to openly encourage intolerance towards people you consider smug and willfully ignorant. You can't conceive of an argument of conscience that results in disagreement with your viewpoint and dismissal of your ridiculously overstated fears ("whole populations in danger" hyperbole for example), so it must be contrarianism or apologism.

But how many people have you vaccinated, that are biologically unrelated to you? I'm betting none, although I'd actually love to be wrong.

Meanwhile, not only has my family adopted children and vaccinated them, I've contributed financially to vaccination campaigns in Afghan orphanages. So what's wrong with contrarianism again? Why do you consider it "decent" to engage in negative actions like spreading fear and inciting intolerance, while it's "apologism" to encourage bravery, social change, and ideological tolerance? Which in practice has resulted in positive action?

I think I can be proud to bear the title of "contrarian" in this particular debate, so I'll continue to refuse to play for either team, and continue to vaccinate, and continue to defend anti-vaxxer's right to make wrong choices.

But it doesn't sound like we're ever going to reach a meeting of minds. We're both too convinced of our own righteousness.

Comment: Eyes are tougher than they look. (Score 1) 190

by Medievalist (#47203627) Attached to: Study: Male Facial Development Evolved To Take Punches

You're underestimating the ability of the mammalian eye to withstand and recover from damage. Remember that LASIK surgery doesn't even bother with stitches, for example. And practically speaking the amount of force and accuracy required to drive a weapon or tool through an eye socket isn't much less than what's required to puncture the thinner parts of the skull.

I've been stabbed in the eye with a pencil, hard enough that it lodged in the socket behind the eye until I yanked it out, and had one of my eyes gouged far enough out that it was briefly laying on my upper cheek. Because of that I am at a higher than normal risk for glaucoma, but everything healed up fine years ago. Eyes are remarkably tough! The biggest danger to them is generally infection, not blunt trauma. Although if you actually pop one, they don't always refill without medical intervention, so do try to avoid that.

As for selection processes, remember how much of our brain appears to be optimized for facial recognition - even at birth - and consider how much being recognizable might improve one's chance of being sexually selected. :) That could provide some of the competing constraints you theorized.

Comment: Re:It's not about fear, it's about release of ange (Score 1) 493

by Medievalist (#47183497) Attached to: Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

you're interpreting that as people coming after you personally

Nobody's coming after me; I'm standing aside and watching the mob stream by with their pitchforks and torches.

My children are vaccinated. As am I! Although admittedly I did research each vaccine carefully, and in two cases required that a different preparation be used than the (cheaper) ones our pediatrician was selling. He's a good guy, and did as I asked.

Pretty much 100% of the time, if I say anything about not living in abject terror of disease, people's insistence on an Us .vs. Them dichotomy causes them to repeatedly ignore (as you apparently have) my pretty clear statements that I'm not part of "them". I think avoiding vaccination is both stupid and self-punishing.

But I guess it's hard to accommodate a conscientious objector like me, who has contempt for both sides, when you've got an emotionally fueled "with us or against us" meme running.

Comment: Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (Score 1) 85

by Medievalist (#47182949) Attached to: Lose Sleep, Fail To Form Memory

He wouldn't sleep unless we held him and walked in circles... all night. As soon as we stopped he would wake up and bite.

My daughter didn't sleep through the night until she was four. Walking in circles, jiggling gently... I got to the point where I could literally do it in my sleep. Otherwise I think I would have died. But at least she didn't bite!

One time we tried to let her "cry it out", which everyone kept telling us to do. But the neighbors started complaining after six hours of continuous all-out screaming... which they could hear, through their closed windows, in their brick house, from our brick house, with it's closed windows...

Comment: I guess I did agitate there. (Score 1) 493

by Medievalist (#47158637) Attached to: Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

Re-reading my earlier post, I see that I did say " If you want to attack someone, show some spirit, and attack the rich and powerful ".

Although I hope this was clearly rhetoric to my point, I guess in the most technical reading of the language I was inciting an attack on the powers that be, and should have more carefully worded my scoffing at the lack of courage of anti-anti-vaxxers.

Not that the rich and powerful have anything to worry about from you or me, of course. We're like bugs to them, they would barely care if I was inciting to riot.

Comment: Re:It's not about fear, it's about release of ange (Score 1) 493

by Medievalist (#47158367) Attached to: Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

Wait, maybe I'm a paranoid retard because I'm not living in a hysterical frenzy of fear over other people's stupid health decisions?

Yeah, that makes sense. Glad you were around to clear that up, I got other things to do today.

But are you sure you're not just looking in a mirror? I haven't proposed attacking rich people, I've just pointed out that the people who want to attack anti-vaxxers are pretty much all too chicken to agitate against any people who are actually a real significant threat to them. Anti-anti-vaxxers are mostly bullies and cowards, and it shows in how they bluster and name-call and belittle anyone who disagrees with their extremism.

If you really want to make a difference, you don't have to "attack rich people". Hey, you could start working on real world vaccination initiatives, rather than screaming at bumbling idiot anti-vaxxers. But that, of course, would be much harder than beating up on chumps, and less immediately emotionally satisfying. So I think most people will continue to vent their spleens on the anti-vaxxers, indulging their anger, instead of doing something more helpful.

Comment: Re:It's not about fear, it's about release of ange (Score 1) 493

by Medievalist (#47124129) Attached to: Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

Sure, there's always a perfectly valid excuse. That minority took our jobs, that other minority runs all the banks, that one is lazy and corrupts our youth.

The chance that any third party - YOU for instance - will be harmed by anti-vaxxers' stupid refusal to vaccinate their children is incredibly small. It's far more likely our government's unwillingness to stop corporations from poisoning our air and water will kill you, or your children, or your grandchildren. But people aren't going to do anything about that, because the government and the corporations are big and scary and they'll fight back.

Meanwhile anti-vaxxers are stupid and easily set up as punching bags, and people want someone weak to punch, someone that won't punch them back.

I'm not trying to offend you, although it probably looks that way. I'm just telling you what I see. The anger and venom directed towards anti-vaxxers is very familiar to me, I've seen people scapegoating minorities before. It's a very old story, and one that shows no sign of ending soon.

Comment: Re:It's not about fear, it's about release of ange (Score 2) 493

by Medievalist (#47123913) Attached to: Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration


I have lived all my life with the possibility of contracting a fatal disease from some other person. The fact that I've been vaccinated, and others haven't, doesn't provide me with some magical immunity to death.

We all die. Stop being such an alarmist and live your life without this unseemly and childish fearmongering.

And stop looking for scapegoats among the foolish and weak. If you want to attack someone, show some spirit, and attack the rich and powerful who are doing more to hurt you than any stupid anti-vaxxer ever will.

Comment: It's not about fear, it's about release of anger. (Score 1) 493

by Medievalist (#47120693) Attached to: Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

And it's not "fear based on misinformation", it's fear based in real risk. When large numbers of people refuse to get vaccinated from serious infectious diseases, they're putting everyone else in the population at greater risk of infection.

If this risk ever equals the risk that our governments (and the corporations that run them) are placing on everyone in the population with their anti-humanist policies, do be sure to let me know.

Quite frankly the hysteria over anti-vaxxers hasn't got much to do with real-life health risks, it's really about a whole lot of people who want to inflict their will on somebody - anybody - while still retaining a feeling of moral righteousness. It's the same psychology that drives religious crusades - lots of people have an unreasoning urge to lash out against other people, and anti-vaxxers are a target that has been designated as acceptable in our time. In other times and other places other groups have been vilified for similar reasons. People's (very real) fears serve as an excuse and a rallying cry, a way to designate a "Them" that is opposed to "Us".

Comment: Surface is crap, according to our real world users (Score 2) 321

by Medievalist (#47110135) Attached to: I Want a Kindle Killer

My employers bought a couple of the Microsoft "Surface" boxes.

They got passed around, starting with the CEO, proceeding through around ten professional IT staff, and then through business middle management, then through the secretarial staff. Each of these users decided that the surface was not meeting their needs and gave it back, and we gave it to the next starry-eyed patsy.

Now they sit in a drawer in the IT support room, and every time some new hire comes in we ask them if they'd prefer a conventional laptop or the surface. Unless they've already used one, they always ask for the surface and use it for anywhere from one week to three months, then give it back and ask for a cheaper, more powerful laptop. These people come from all kinds of backgrounds but the response is always the same.

I only know of one real live person (as opposed to Internet commentators) who is productive with the Surface and loves it. She is a 20 year old art school student who also has a desktop PC and a windows phone. She proves that there is a niche for the device... but it appears that it's a very small one, and may be restricted to graphic artists.

When I used one for two months I found it to be an awkward compromise between a pad computer and a laptop, providing no real benefit over either one. Personally, I particularly hated the keyboard (although I liked the magnetic attachment schtick).

Comment: Re:The Nook is/was excellent (Score 2) 321

by Medievalist (#47109955) Attached to: I Want a Kindle Killer

No idea how the Kindle destoryed the Nook market when you can take both devices side by side and find the Nook to be quite better (in specs and functionality).

The Kindle's lower up-front cost and much longer battery life had a lot to do with it.

But don't discount the way the cheap android pads & phones and the expensive Apple equivalents also cut into the Nook's demographic niche.

The Google Nexus 7 sitting next to me has SIX e-reader applications installed, including Nook and Kindle and FBreader apps. I am a happy Nook owner (flashed with Cyanogenmod and running Torque in my plug-in hybrid car) but for reading books the Nexus 7 was better right out of the box, no reflashing required.

The big achilles heel of Google's device is lack of SD card slot. It's a huge barrier to hackability and upgradeability, essentially they've designated it a throwaway device for its target user. I wish B&N had continued to develop the Nook, and I'd love to know where the original designers are working now.

Comment: GOTO is all about readability. (Score 1) 143

by Medievalist (#47108563) Attached to: Become a Linux Kernel Hacker and Write Your Own Module

If you think your example was more readable than the parent, I don't think you're entirely clear on what the word "readable" actually means.

Go home = Very Readable
Go to the Store = Readable
Go to 713 Bond Street = Readable
goto label = Readable

void thing() { a && b && c; } = NOT READABLE!

The idea behind what very experienced programmers call "readability" is to reduce the highly domain-specific knowledge that the reader must study before comprehending your code. The more expertise required in a specific language's structures and idioms, the less readable the code is. Your code may be the greatest thing ever, but frankly its readability sucks.

Over the last 40 years I've frequently encountered code in languages I'd never seen before that was perfectly understandable, because the programmer wrote it with human understanding in mind rather than assuming that humans would spend hours studying abstruse syntactica before reading it.

Elegance in programming is hard. You have to balance the needs of the task, the engine, the user, and the maintenance programmer. Readability is sometimes not achievable without commentry, but truly elegant code is readable.

An example of coding for readability is to be explicit about order of operations; don't make the reader have to look up precedence of operators in your chosen language, use unnecessary parentheses instead... the compiler will not care and the code will not be less efficient, and you'll reduce opportunities for future human errors.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.