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Comment: Uh, whoa. (Score 2) 87

by Balinares (#47405767) Attached to: KDE Releases Frameworks 5

I've tried a lot of desktops over the years and always returned to KDE as the most able to be useful when I need it to and stay the fuck out of the way the rest of the time. (Unity, despite its reputation, is good at that too.) But the love was no longer really there. Like a favorite old workhorse that you just no longer really ride for the pleasure of it alone.

So I've not kept track of KDE 5 developments, and honestly I expected to be way underwhelmed. It was, after all, supposed to be mainly a port of the same old thing to the new Qt 5.

But I just tried the live CD linked in the article and, uh, whoa. It looks so *tidy*. Full of that orderly neatness that Gnome, for all its faults, has generally been better at than KDE. And I find myself excited for the first time in a long while, and that's a very nice feeling to rediscover.

Comment: Re:The same way many global warming papers got pub (Score 4, Insightful) 109

by hey! (#47383665) Attached to: How Did Those STAP Stem Cell Papers Get Accepted In the First Place?

Peer reviewed. Yeah, right. And just who is reviewing the peers?

Ha! I knew the denialists would come swarming out of the woodwork on this one.

Consider the stem cell paper that we're talking about here. It was published in January and immediately started going down in flames. Here we are six months later, watching scientists gleefully kick the cold corpse of the authors' reputations. And you're still wondering who keeps the reviewers and editors of a scientific journal honest?

Peer review isn't some kind of certification of a paper's truth. It can't reliably weed out misconduct, experimental error, or statistical bad luck. It's just supposed to reduce the frequency of fiascos like this one by examining the reasoning and methods as described in the paper. It doesn't have to be perfect; in fact it's preferable for it to let the occasional clunker through onto the slaughterhouse floor than to squelch dissenting views or innovation.

That's why climate change denialists still get published today, even the ones who disbelieve climate change because it contravenes their view of the Bible. Peer review allows them to keep tugging at the loose threads of the AGW consensus while preventing them from publishing papers making embarrassingly broad claims for which they don't have evidence that has any chance of convincing someone familiar with the past fifty years of furious scientific debate.

Comment: Re:Sad, sad times... (Score 1) 333

Here's what I think is the confounding factor (there always is one): I'd be wondering, "Does that button REALLY deliver a shock, or is it some kind of sham social psychology experiment prop? I bet it's a prop. If it isn't, it won't deliver THAT bad a shock. If it is, I wonder what the researchers will do when I push it?"

The confounding factor is curiosity. They'd have to do *two* sessions with the overly curious.

Comment: Re:Bad media coverage (Score 1) 1314

by hey! (#47356897) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Except that if you read the majority opinion they actually open up any provision of the law to challenge on the same grounds. They warn that the ruling should not be taken as covering anything covered by insurance, but presumably any such thing could in principle be challenged on the same basis, and depending on the circumstances might likewise be exempted. The majority has opened the door to challenging the application of any provision of this law to a closely held corporation -- indeed any provision of any law. They just don't know how the challenge will turn out.

It's interesting to note that the court broke down almost exactly on religious lines when dealing with contraception. Five of the six Roman Catholic justices voted with the majority, and all three Jews joined by one dissenting Catholic. I think this is significant because the majority opinion, written exclusively by Catholics, seems to treat concerns over contraception as sui generis; and the possibility of objections to the law based on issues important to other religious groups to be remote.

Another big deal in the majority opinion is that it takes another step towards raising for-profit corporations to the same status as natural persons. The quibbling involved is astonishing:

....no conceivable definition of 'person' includes natural persons and non-profit corporations, but not for-profit corporations.

Which may be true, but it's irrelevant. The question is whether compelling a for-profit corporation to do something impacts the religious liberties of natural persons in exactly the same way as compelling a church to do that same thing. If there is any difference whatsoever, then then the regulations imposed on the church *must* be less restrictive than the regulations imposed on a business. Logically, this is equivalent to saying the regulations imposed on a business *may* be more restrictive than the regulations imposed on a church.

Comment: Re:I think it's fine (Score 1) 219

Facebook uses psychology to make minor changes in our happiness, at the expense of our friends, destroying relationships

FTFY. I know it's rare amongst /. readers, but I have friends that aren't the 5 fingers on my right hand, and if they're sad or upset, I fucking well want to know so I can be there for them and help them.

Comment: Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (Score 2) 151

by hey! (#47324801) Attached to: Neanderthals Ate Their Veggies

Some of us are old enough to remember the Vietnam war, which in turn brought us in contact with the long running civil war in Laos. Anti-communist Hmong from Laos fought alongside Americans and after both Vietnam and Laos fell to the Communists many Hmong refugees were resettled here in the US along with their families.

I remember this story about S. nigrum from a newspaper account back in the 80s about foraging by local Hmong refugees. There were lots of stories about Hmong settling in, and because this was pre WWW you read them because you read pretty much everything in the paper that was even vaguely interesting.

Comment: Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (Score 1) 151

by hey! (#47324035) Attached to: Neanderthals Ate Their Veggies

In my experience you tend to crave what you habitually eat. The Hmong forage for Solanum nigrum -- black nightshade -- a plant that is not only inedibly bitter for most people, it's actually poisonous if you haven't spent years working up a tolerance to its toxic alkaloids. And here's the kicker: black nightshade grows wild here in the US and the old folks here go looking for it in the woods, even though they can buy meat and non-toxic vegetables in the supermarket. They grew up with the stuff, so they crave it.

The single most powerful feature our species has is behavioral flexibility. The same plant that is a side dish providing auxiliary nutrients today could be famine food tomorrow if the hunt doesn't go well. If a plant is nutritious and abundant in the environment, I'd expect local humans to eat it with enjoyment.

Comment: What if I don't want to date women smart as me? (Score 1) 561

by hey! (#47323881) Attached to: Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

Maybe I'm looking for a woman who is better looking than me and who'll accept the IQ differential in exchange.

</sarcasm>

True story. I took a long bike ride last summer and ended up in a very affluent seaside community. I cross over the causeway to an island that's the most desirable neighborhood. I pass an attractive blonde woman jogging, but I think nothing of it. Then I pass another one. Then another. And another. I notice the women getting in and out of the Land Rovers in front of the Islands quaint shops. They're obviously blonde joggers too. It's like all the women came from the same Jogging Blonde Lady factory then were rigged out with different accessories. None of them look over 30.

So I start looking for men. They're obviously wealthy, but they appear on average 20 years older than the women. In fact, they're just regular, dumpy old shlumps with expensive cars and watches.

It was weird, like having a young, blonde, athletic wife was part of the homeowners' covenant or something. Sorry honey, but we just got a citation from the association and you'll have to move of the island. Heather here will be taking over your duties; be a dear and show her around the old place.

Comment: I bought a Pebble for just one reason (Score 1) 427

by hey! (#47320535) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

Calendar reminders. That's it. I don't always keep my phone in my pocket and sometimes I have the thing on silent. It's worked out well for me. I tried the email and facebook notifications, but I really don't care about missing those things. For me the whole point of email over phone calls is that you don't have to drop what you're doing because somebody has something to tell you.

Now I've always worn watches; I like them. I like being able to glance to see the time. I also like the quick, crude analog timing function of a rotating bezel, although I can live with a digital stopwatch. And I like a good looking watch; for me this means simple, functional elegance. I think the best looking watch ever made was the Rolex Submariner, although I'd never spend that kind of money. Generally cheap watches are too cluttered for my taste, but you can find a reasonable Submariner knock-off around $80 (e.g., an Invicta 8926OB).

It's not a matter of impressing people with how much I spend. One of my favorite watches costs only $35 (Timex Expedition T45181). I like it because it is simple, functional, and aesthetically pleasing in a subdued way.

But with the Pebble any question of aesthetic elegance goes right out the window. It's an ugly hunk of plastic. It will not impress anyone. But then, missing an appointment because your phone is in your coat pocket on silent isn't going to impress anyone either. The Pebble does one critical thing (other than tell time) and does it really well. Most of the time that makes it my go-to watch. On weekends I go for my Submariner knock-off, or if I'm doing something that will beat up the watch I'll go for the Timex.

Comment: Re:Awesome! (Score 1) 276

by MrNaz (#47314403) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

Actually, this is also incorrect. They do not decide what the law means, there is no decision involved. They attempt, to the most exactingly precise level possible, to determine what congress intended when the law was enacted. It is rare indeed that a law is so vague that it's intent cannot be determined with a reasonable amount of clarity.

Or, should I say, it used to be rare...

Comment: Re:Administrators (Score 1) 538

by hey! (#47299273) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

I've been to college myself, and I bet MIT would be around 1:1 too. The thing is, a lot of the teaching isn't done by faculty, it's done by graduate students. This includes recitations, answering questions one-on-one, and grading papers.

And there are a ton of administrators too, and they aren't sitting around on their hands doing nothing. They're doing stuff like administering grants and supervising the IT and physical plant people necessary to keep the faculty's lab research running.

The biggest time waster for MIT faculty, as far as I can tell, are other faculty.

"Someone's been mean to you! Tell me who it is, so I can punch him tastefully." -- Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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