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Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 3, Interesting) 423

by Mr. Slippery (#48895471) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Are there any valuable functions mapped to a middle button anyway, that make it so important?

Yes. For people who use real computers, middle button = "paste selected text".

Who puts three fingers on the surface of a mouse?

People who use real computers but have not yet found the one true pointing device, the 4-button Logitech Marble Mouse Trackball.

Comment: Re:Popcorn time! (Score 0) 375

by Mr. Slippery (#48892573) Attached to: Behind the MOOC Harassment Charges That Stunned MIT

I've heard claims that one in four women will be raped at some point in their lives, and have yet to hear any sort of data-based rebuttal.

Really? You heard such an extraordinary claim, but apparently made zero effort to look into its validity?

Here you go. And here. And here.

Essentially, that inflated number is based on questionable surveys which often fail to distinguish between a regrettable drunken hookup and rape, and is not just about rape but about behavior ranging from grabbing a woman's butt on up through attempted rape and actual rape. (Yes, grabbing someone's butt is bad. It's assault. It's unacceptable. It is not, however, rape.)

Is rape much more common than most people think? Yes. The data is murky but I would be surprised if the lifetime victimization rate for women was less than 5%, 1 in 20. Is it 25%, "eeny-meeny-miney-RAPE!" common? No.

And a teacher sending a student sexy messages over the internet is certainly a breach of professional conduct...but it's not rape.

Comment: Re:It's about time. (Score 5, Interesting) 138

by Mr. Slippery (#48875195) Attached to: Simon Pegg On Board To Co-Write Next Star Trek Film

Star Trek now has freedom to have any future the writers can come up with

No, they're stuck with the universe Abrams left them. A universe which makes no sense, where starships are irrelevant because transporters can move people over interstellar distances (from Earth to the Klingon homeworld), and where a cure for death has been found in Khan's blood. Not to mention the absurd political situation, with a corrupt Starfleet operating accord to some bizarre system of personal prerogative of individual commanders rather than any rational chain of command.

Comment: Re:selling your vote versus the secret ballot (Score 2) 480

by Mr. Slippery (#48796097) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

The open ballot worked fine in the US for 100 years.

Are you seriously referring to the era of American history when slavery and Native American genocide were at their peak, when women and those of the wrong skin color were deprived of the vote, when worker revolts were regularly put down by armed force, when violence at the polls was a regular occurrence, as a time when voting "worked fine"?

Here's how we used to vote. Any claim that this system "worked fine" is disconnected from reality.

The ahistoricalism of American political discourse never ceases to amaze me. Nor does the desire for technical fixes to social problems: to get voters to vote, we don't need on-line voting, we need better candidates, a reform of ballot access and campaign finance laws. (And a preference ballot and ad binding "none-of-the-above" option.)

Comment: Re:Knuth is right. (Score 3, Insightful) 149

Discreet mathematique are the basis for computing

Not at the semiconductor junction level.

You are confusing computing with computers. Indeed, a "computer" used to be a human being implementing algorithms with a mechanical adding machine, and then were tube-based electrical systems, and in the future may use something wholely other than semiconductors; computing, however, remains the same. A bubble sort is still a bubbble sort.

Comment: Re:Going for cop's gun drastically escalates situa (Score 1) 368

by Mr. Slippery (#48667159) Attached to: Study: Police Body-Cams Reduce Unacceptable Use of Force

Brown was shot because he escalated the situation to a "high risk arrest" by going for the cop's gun. Period.

We have no evidence that Brown was trying to take Wilson's gun, only the word of a cop who's been caught lying before. Cops know that "he was going for my gun" are magic words to justify themselves when they commit murders.

And of course it's irrevelvant whether Brown tried to get control of Wilson's gun earlier in the confrontation. Brown was not trying to do so when he was murdered, he was (according to the majority of witness testimony) attempting to surender.

Comment: Re:Big bags of water... that's what we are. (Score 0) 156

by Mr. Slippery (#48648969) Attached to: Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

Yes there are good reasons for going to Mars. Greatest among them is to safeguard the species from any catestrophic impacts on Earth they would extinguish us.

No potential impact to Earth would render it less hospitable to life than Mars is. For speicies survival a set of fortified underground bunkers/mini-cities would be far more practical -- and unlike Mars, we do have the tech to do that.

The suggestion that we currently have the technology to colonize Mars is, in brief, ridiculous. No human has been move than 500 miles from Earth's surface in over four decades, and the farthest we've ever sent a human is under 250,000 miles; at its closest, Mars is 38,000,000 miles away. We do not know how to safely get a human being that distance through interplanetary space, and the first few people we try to send are quite likely to die.

That investment of blood and treasure might be worthwhile if there was something useful for humans to do when they got there, but there isn't. We'll get better scientific results by building and sending better robots.

There is no practical reason to send humans to Mars in the near-term -- say, next five centuries. Especially not when all of our resources are needed over the next century or so to put human civilization on a sustainable footing. We can probably do some useful stuff with humans in Earth orbit and maybe on Luna, but deep space is for robots.

The only justification to put humans on Mars is some vague hand-waving about "inspiration" -- i.e., it's a huge performance art project. Maybe someday humanity can afford that. But not now.

Comment: Re: Diversity is good, especially in SciFi (Score 1) 368

by Mr. Slippery (#48595317) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Science fiction isn't fiction that has elements that aren't science but might appeal to geeks who like science....Science fiction is science that is fictional. Very different animal and naturally restrictive.

You are using a defintion of a term, which is at odds with the defintions of that term used by almost every other educated native speaker of English. This will probably make it hard for you to communicate. You might want to look to that.

Comment: Re:James Risen vs James Rosen (Score 3, Informative) 55

by Mr. Slippery (#48587741) Attached to: Attorney General Won't Force New York Times Reporter To Reveal Source

Luckily, he is James Risen from the New York Times... If he were James Rosen from Fox News...he would be labeled a criminal co-conspirator and flight risk by Eric Holder so that they could trace his phone calls and emails.

They snooped on Rosen. That's bad.

They snooped on Risen and threatened, repeatedly over the past six years, to lock him up. That's worse.

Both journalists were attempting to enable the American people to keep tabs on the U.S. government (supposedly "theirs", in reality owned by corporate interests and the security-industrial complex). Your partisan take on the matter is counter-factual.

Comment: Re:Fire all the officers? (Score 1) 515

by Mr. Slippery (#48583163) Attached to: Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

We love to rag on cops, but they do a dangerous job

Farmers are more likely to be killed on the job than cops are, and most cops who die on the job die in vechicular accidents, not assaults. Cops' seige mentality is bullshit.

If you start firing cops for every mistake or worse, jailing them, you quickly run out of cops

(Of course a citizen watch would be a huge social/poltiical change. But I'm not sure anything less than a huge social/poltiical change would fix the problem.)

Comment: Re:Fire all the officers? (Score 3, Insightful) 515

by Mr. Slippery (#48583091) Attached to: Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

You and OP look to be in the same clan when he claims they're doing this "in a rather violent manner". Hyperbole much?

An unjustifed arrest is assault and kidnapping. It is a violent crime.

That's true even when the pigs (and those who trample citizen's rights deserve that epithet) don't apply chemical weapons or electrical torture devices, or beat citizens into submission, or use lethal force.

If I forced someone into a cage at gunpoint for no good reason, I would go to jail for a long time. The same should apply to a cop.

Comment: Re:Read one, write other (Score 1) 567

by Mr. Slippery (#48575195) Attached to: The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

I guess you've never seen a regular web user. They don't write documents at the same time they're reading a website.

At home, perhaps their media masters have managed to turn the web into as passive and one-way a medium as television. But at work, even these drones are quite likely creating documents in a word processor, or e-mail messages in their MUA, or entering data into a web form, while referring to another document (e-mail message, website).

There is a reason that every physical desk is in landscape mode. Put documents next to each other.

Comment: Re:5th Admendment? (Score 2) 446

by Mr. Slippery (#48510113) Attached to: 18th Century Law Dredged Up To Force Decryption of Devices

And you're thinking that George Washington was one of those idiots who thought a little tyranny would work out well?

George Washington the aristocratic slaveholder who crushed the Whiskey Rebellion, screwing over farmers (including many Revolutionary War vets) to pay off bondholders? I'd say "a little tyranny would work out well" might be a decent description of his stance, sure.

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