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Comment: Re:These laws are hard to grasp (Score 1) 452

by Alsee (#48193299) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

There are clear indications that traditional porn serves as cathartic material and reduces the number of instances of rape and other acts inspired by sexual frustration. The same does not seem to hold for child pornography, where the opposite seems to be the case

When you say "seems" are you to referring to anecdotal comments rather than research?

For an earlier comment here I did a Google Scholar search on the rate of sex-crimes before and after countries changed pornography laws, and some of those studies included changes in the legality of child pornography. It seems that every scientific study found the same result - countries where child pornography became legal experiences a decrease in rates of child molestation, countries where child pornography became illegal experienced an increase in rates of child molestation.


Comment: Re:Distasteful stuff, but should not be illegal (Score 2) 452

by Alsee (#48192981) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

The easiest way to tell might be to compare cultures where normal pornography is easy to get, to those where it is very difficult to get, and see if the rates of sexual attacks and deviant acts vary between the cultures. Does anyone know if such a study has been done?

Comparing different cultures with each other doesn't work, you can't determine weather differences are due to the availability of pornography or to a wide range of other cultural factors.

What you do is compare a single culture with itself, before and after a major change in the availability and content-range of porn. In fact a substantial number of such studies have been done, across a substantial number of countries. The results are consistent. Increases in the availability and content-range of pornography are generally followed by a decrease in rape and other sex crimes, or at worst no change in those rates. This result also extends to a smaller number of country-cases that included child pornography becoming legal. In every such case rape, other sex crimes, and child molestation always decreased. Countries where child pornography changed from legal-to-illegal had increases in child molestation rates.

A Google Scholar search can turn up a variety of such studies. Here are links to one two of them.

Abstract one:
The Danish liberalization of legal prosecution and of laws concerning pornography and the ensuing high availability of such materials present a unique opportunity of testing hypotheses concerning the relationship between pornography and sex offenses. It is shown that concurrently with the increasing availability of pornography there was a significant decrease in the number of sex offenses registered by the police in Copenhagen. On the basis of various investigations, including a survey of public attitudes and studies of the police, it was established that at least in one type of offense (child molestation) the decrease represents a real reduction in the number of offenses committed. Various factors suggest that the availability of pornography was the direct cause of this decrease.

Abstract two:
Pornography continues to be a contentious matter with those on the one side arguing it detrimental to society while others argue it is pleasurable to many and a feature of free speech. The advent of the Internet with the ready availability of sexually explicit materials thereon particularly has seemed to raise questions of its influence. Following the effects of a new law in the Czech Republic that allowed pornography to a society previously having forbidden it allowed us to monitor the change in sex related crime that followed the change. As found in all other countries in which the phenomenon has been studied, rape and other sex crimes did not increase. Of particular note is that this country, like Denmark and Japan, had a prolonged interval during which possession of child pornography was not illegal and, like those other countries, showed a significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.

I wonder what the world would look like if we had legislators who legislated on the basis of evidence and reality rather than ideologies and soundbites.


Comment: Re:Deletionists (Score 1) 98

by Alsee (#48192739) Attached to: Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

Sure sure, verifiable is important. But even with something to verify the information on the page, you still get those deletionists that will claim notability, and fast-track the page for deletion.

If you were paying attention, I explained exactly how to prevent an article from being deleted. Include a couple of independent Reliable Sources talking about the topic, saying things that can be used to build an article. Once you have that then primary sources can help expand the article if used properly, but we have rules against articles built solely with primary sources because primary-source-only articles raise a shitton of problems.

But no, you're high and mighty and you just don't give a fuck about how many pokemon there are.

What the hell are you ranting about? Not only does Wikipedia have an article on Pokemon, we've got literally hundreds of Pokemon articles. That includes a list of SEVEN HUNDRED AND NINETEEN pokemon running up to Number 719: Diancie.

Hey man, you want to trim down Wikipedia of random meaningless shit nobody cares about? Try taking on football.

I would personally be delighted if the world got over it's nutty fascination with football. However the fact is that the world does treat football as important, and there does exist an crazy amount of Published sources Taking Note of every minute facet of football. As a Wikipedia Editor I accept it's not my place to delete other people's football contributions based on my opinion of football's level of "importance". If someone complies with Wikipedia policies, if their article satisfies sourcing requirements etc., then I'll either leave the article alone or I'll work to improve it. Hell, some of my most resent edits were fixes to professional Wrestling articles, which I consider about 42 level lower than football in stupidity. Football is a genuine idiotic violent sport, Wrestling is a fake idiotic violent sport. ~~~~


Comment: Re:Trolls are the lowest form of life. . . (Score 1) 482

by hey! (#48183297) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

Well, every generalization has its corner cases that require careful thought. So while I agree that trolling per se shouldn't be outlawed, there may be certain uses of trolling that should be criminalized.

Take the libelous component of cyberstalking. At the very least this could be an aggravating factor in impersonation. Also, the law already recognizes libel as wrong, but it requires the harmed person take civil action. The Internet exposes more people than ever to reputation harm, but not all those people have the money to hire a lawyer. Social media have created a whole new vista for defamation, much of which is *practically* immune from any consequences.

So I do not in principle object to a law that criminalizes *some* forms of defamation, particularly against people who are not protected by the current laws. But I'd have to look at the the specific proposed law carefully. Just because people *claim* a new law would do something doesn't mean it does, or that's all it does.

Comment: Re:(not)perplexingly (Score 1) 98

by Alsee (#48177909) Attached to: Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

You mixed up the policies. No Original Research is unrelated to why Bjork's Academy Awards dress has it's own Wikipedia article. No Original Research is why the article doesn't contain any new ideas or opinions by the article-writers themselves. The article accurately describes what The World has to say about the dress. The article has 13 sources cited 18 times providing external documentation for almost every sentence in the article.

The policy you wanted was "Wikipedia editors aren't allowed to decide how 'important' a topic is... Wikipedia Notability means that multiple independent Reliable Sources have published significant discussion of the subject." The World decides what is and isn't Notable, not me. As a Wikipedia editor I'm not allowed the opinion that it's embarrassment to humanity that Academy-Awards-Dresses are considered newsworthy. (I can have the opinion, but I can't delete the article based on my opinion.)

The sources include:,, Filmology: A Movie-a-Day Guide to the Movies You Need to Know ISBN 978-1-4405-0753-3, All about Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards ISBN 978-0-8264-1452-6, Vanity Fair magazine, Spin magazine, New York magazine, Reel Winners: Movie Award Trivia ISBN 978-1-55002-574-3, BjÃrk: wow and flutter ISBN 978-1-55022-556-3, The Advocate magazine, And there is no doubt that there are countless other uncited sources that exist. The World has clearly decided that this topic is worthy of significant published coverage.

By the way, this particular article has been getting around 55 pageviews a day. That's a lot higher than many of our more serious minor topics. Apparently there are a fair number of people coming to Wikipedia searching for this article.


Comment: Re:Deletionists (Score 1) 98

by Alsee (#48172737) Attached to: Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

The "worldview" is that Wikipedia is supposed to be an Encyclopedia. Wikipedia is the Encyclopedia That Anyone Can Edit, not a public blog-space. The only thing that prevents Wikipedia from becoming a scribble-board are the Wikipedia Policies, and editor dedication to those policies. If you throw out Wikipedia content-verifiability policies then it would start looking a lot less like an Encyclopedia.

I don't think these people understand how search works.

How search works: If you type a search term into Google you'll get random writings about the topic, no matter how trivial. If you type a search term into Wikipedia you'll get an encyclopedia-style article with Verifiable information cited to independent Reliable Sources, if we have one. ~~~~


Comment: Re:Prison population (Score 4, Interesting) 407

by hey! (#48172573) Attached to: As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

Check out this graph.

The nuimbers of prisoners has not declined significantly since 2009. This doesn't mean the bubble hasn't burst, the nature of the bubble resists bursting. People can leave the housing market, but prisoners can't leave the prison market.

Still, anyone who invested big-time in prisons back in 2008 or so on the basis of 30 years of exponential prison population growth was just stupid. We were approaching 1% of the Amercian population incarcerated, how much higher did they expect that to go?

I have no sympathy with a town that bet its financial future on prisons while its schools rate minimally acceptable.

Comment: Re:I can't wait for it (Score 3, Interesting) 98

by Alsee (#48172205) Attached to: Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

I was involved in a example of this recently. is a one-year-old rightwing website. They ran an attack piece on Neil degrasse Tyson. It was picked up by the rightwing blogosphere, but was totally non-newsworthy (as established by the lack of news coverage). Someone tried to insert it into Wikipedia's biographical page on Neil degrasse Tyson. That edit was promptly reverted because Wikipedia has a policy of being extremely cautious about adding negative material to the Biography of Living Persons. A blogosphere rant against someone doesn't qualify. So then writer started screaming CENSORSHIP and equating Wikipedia editors to religious fundamentalist terrorists for not writing his hit-job into Tyson's biography. *THIS* picked up some minor coverage for the story from other sources.

At this point someone noticed that we had an tiny article page on, and the only sourcing for that article was TheFederalist itself and a blog page from MediaMatters. The TheFederalist page was nominated for deletion. A massive effort was made by many people trying to find an sources talking about, searching for any sources we could use to fix the article. The search turned up squat. Then wrote about Wikipedia nominating their article for deletion, and *THAT* got picked up by a few sources. And *THOSE* stories gave us enough information about in order to write a an article on it.

So yeah..... it was painfully circular. ~~~~


Comment: Re:(not)perplexingly (Score 4, Informative) 98

by Alsee (#48171769) Attached to: Python-LMDB In a High-Performance Environment

Wikipedia editors aren't allowed to have opinions about a topic. The Neutral Point of View policy mandates that edits be deleted or re-written to present a reasonably neutral description of a topic. (And if needed, a neutral description of the sides in a controversial topic.)

Wikipedia editors aren't allowed to "know stuff" about a topic. The No Original Research policy mandates that facts and information must be Verifiable in published Reliable Sources. The sources need to exist, even if they aren't cited. Any information which is challenged, or is likely to be challenged, can be removed or tagged with {{citation needed}}.

Wikipedia editors aren't allowed to decide how "important" a topic is. This one causes the most confusion. Wikipedia's has a specific and somewhat unusual definition of Notability. Wikipedia Notability means that multiple independent Reliable Sources have published significant discussion of the subject. A musician who barely shows up at the #100 slot on a Billboard-top-100 list is Notable because The Wold has created the Billboard top-100 list to Take Note of musicians, and because a few paragraphs about the musician here and there in magazines give us Verifiable information from which to build an article. A Youtuber with more fans than the musician isn't Notable because (generally) books and magazines and the news don't publish any discussion of popular Youtubers. That means we have no independent sources from which to build an article.

So.... the reason this article was deleted rather than tagged "needs more verifiable sources" was that the number of independent usable sources was ZERO when it was nominated for deletion, and because everyone who participated in the deletion discussion did a search for more sources and came up with ZERO.

You can't built a valid Wikipedia article without verifiable sources, and you can't fix a broken article by adding sources to when the sources don't exist.

People can't write Wikipedia articles about themselves saying how awesome they are, or their company, or their pet project. (Well, they can write the article, but it will be deleted if it doesn't cite multiple independent published Reliable Sources discussing the subject).

It doesn't matter how awesome someone thinks their Python-LMDB project is. It doesn't matter how important someone thinks their Python-LMDB project is. If there's no magazines or books or news talking about it, then it's a dead-duck under Wikipedia Notability policy. We can't build an article based on just their own promotional materials, and editors can't just claim "personal knowledge" to make up stuff to write an article.

And no, this lame Slashdot story won't change that. ~~~~


Comment: Re:And he is, probably, right (Score 3) 284

by hey! (#48164185) Attached to: FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

and America has always valued the cantankerous Individual above the glorious Collective, that other cultures prefer...

When I was in college I took several courses from the famous scholar of Japanese literature, Howard Hibbet. In one of the classes there was student who liked to talk about Japanese culture's "Samurai values". The professor listened politely to this student, until one day he said somethign that has stuck with me for thirty years: "You should be careful about uncritically accepting the way a culture likes to present itself."

I have found this to be very true, even of corporate cultures.

Comment: Re:What a terrible, terrible idea. (Score 1) 366

by hey! (#48163861) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

Example: Hawking: 150ish IQ, John Sununu 190.

Many years ago there was a brief vogue among a few companies for psych testing potential employees. So I paid to have myself tested so I'd know what my potential employers "knew". Among other things, the tests informed me that I have an IQ that is 4.3 standard deviations above the mean.

This got me thinking. Which is more likely, that I'm smarter than 99.999% of the population, or that the test score was bogus? It should be obvious that it's far more likely that my test results were bogus!

Just because we can assign a single number to a person's intelligence the way we can to that person's height or weight doesn't mean that that number is as objective as height or weight is. What IQ tests purport to measure *cannot be observed directly*, and therefore cannot be measured directly. So we must not lose sight of the fact that IQ tests are *devised* by psychologists to correlate with something. How do they do this? By comparing a test's scores against something easy to measure -- rank in school for example. An IQ test that correlates poorly to performance in school would be considered "faulty", but one that correlates strongly to performancve in school would be considered "accurate".

In other words, IQ tests are only as meaningful as the outcomes they're deisgned to correlate with. An IQ test correlated to school success doesn't necessarily correlate precisely with "street smarts", many components of which are evolutionarily important (e.g. reading facial expressions).

Another thing to consider about how the test are calibrated is that the result is bound to be reliable ONLY near the mean, simply because confirmatory data out on the tails of the distribution is necessarily rare. So while I'd lend considerable credence to the 20 point spread between a 90 IQ and aa 110 IQ, I wouldn't lend the same credence to a difference between 140 and 160. I'd lend no credence whatsoever to the difference between a 140 and 160 IQ.

Basically, I consider distinctions betwen IQs over 125 unreliable, and distinctions between IQs over 135 as absolutely meaningless. There's no epistemological justfication for ranking people's intellectual abilities by IQ at that level. It's entirely possible that John Sunnunu would score 2.6 standard deviations higher than Stephen Hawking, but that's an artifact of the test, not reality.

Kleeneness is next to Godelness.