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Comment: Re:this is one more reason (Score 1) 102

by ultranova (#49158391) Attached to: Under US Pressure, PayPal Stops Working With Mega

It's about avoiding unnecessary risk.

It's about having your cake and eating it too. Banks and credit card companies have succesfully integrated themselves into the society so it can't function without them. They're too big to fail, and can thus take insane risks and the profits associated with them, secure in the knowledge they'll get saved on public dime should those risks turn sour. So why should society not force them to pay the price: make them serve the public good even when that's not in their personal best interests?

Comment: Re:What's the big deal, anyway? (Score 1) 148

by ultranova (#49157809) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

Does this guy want to consider a bunch of other Trans-Neptunian objects as planets too? Because if he doesn't, he's probably either letting nostalgia or some other emotional attachment cloud his judgment.

Or he realizes that the whole concept of a "planet" is just a historical curiosity from ages long past, was invented by people who had no idea what they were describing, and is thus bound to lead to problems in scientific context. Best delegate it to the realm of public relations, where it can serve a useful role to give people a rough idea of what's being talked about without getting mired in details.

So: "A planet is an astronomical object the speaker thinks is best described as a planet."

Comment: Re:And still (Score 1) 148

by ultranova (#49157715) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

And so forth. Why does the concept of another category, dwarfs, enrage people?

I suspect there's some kind of pissing match going on behind the scenes, and Pluto is simply being used as a proxy. That's usually the case when something utterly insignificant gets treated like it was Serious Business.

In the end, even astronomers are just humans, and can't avoid projecting their personal issues into their work.

Comment: Re:Just a distraction from the real fail... (Score 2) 43

by ultranova (#49157569) Attached to: Uber Discloses Database Breach, Targets GitHub With Subpoena

There could be hundreds of legitimate accesses of that file. If the hacker was indeed using a hidden IP address to access the database, but his real IP to download the gist, how are Uber going to determine that from all the other legitimate accesses?

Why would they? They'll simply rise a lawsuit demanding damages against them all. Since that's a civil suit, the accused need to prove their innocence, which will take years and absurd amounts of money - or they can settle out of court with Uber for a couple thousand dollars.

Nothing personal, just business.

Comment: Re:Are we calling this one Gamma? (Score 1) 92

by ultranova (#49148017) Attached to: Xeroxed Gene May Have Paved the Way For Large Human Brain

Oh, I thought someone just took a shit on my Slashdot today.

Today? Opening threads in new tabs/windows has been broken for a while now - the comment area is clipped to half of screen size, with a huge useless margin on the right.

So... It's going to stay that way, huh?

My guess is it's going to get worse. Someone has decided Beta is a matter of principle/authority/whatever for them, and is slowly sabotaging the real Slashdot to smoke out the users before it'll go down.

I guess the lesson here is to never build community around a centralized resource, like a server, especially one owned by a company. I wonder if a forum or an imageboard could be implemented in a P2P fashion?

Comment: Re:Pinky and the Brain (Score 1) 92

by ultranova (#49147855) Attached to: Xeroxed Gene May Have Paved the Way For Large Human Brain

The size of the brain is much less important than the brain to body mass ratio. Several animals have larger brains than humans (elephants being one), but they all have large bodies as well:

No, not really. What sets a human and elephant apart is not how smart an individual human is compared to an individual elephant, but the ability to communicate. Human language is Turing complete, art is basically communication for the sake of communication, and our perhaps most popular form of entertainment is making up stories and sharing them. That's the draw of this very website, and even now I'm using it to serialize a particular neural network - an idea - which you then can deserialize at your leisure.

Almost all human beings who have ever lived are part of a single millenia-old, planet-spanning superorganism we call "culture". It doesn't matter how much gray matter an elephant might be lugging around, it can't even begin to compare to the ~ 100 billion kg total for human species, even with all the issues with coordinating that mass.

And we're getting better at that coordination, too.

Comment: Re:cost analysis (Score 1) 87

by ultranova (#49124637) Attached to: Can Tracking Employees Improve Business?

The more enlightened employers also consider morale and mental health, not just as HR tokens, but as actual productivity tools

Most employers aren't enlightened, any more than most absolute monarchs of old were. Any relationship where one party wields power over the other is always going to become a black comedy. But that's okay; the lesson will be repeated as many times as humanity needs to have it pounded home.

Comment: Re:Do no evil... (Score 1) 285

by ultranova (#49120431) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

Google has ignored that line the minute they became a publicly traded company.

Which rises some interesting questions about the true nature of the stock market.

Every decision they make is how to benefit their stockholders.

No, because making censorship more socially acceptable through its omnipresence hurts stockholders too. What Google is maximizing is the value of holding Google stock: even if a decision hurts everyone, it's okay as long as it hurts stockholders less than non-stockholders.

Perhaps the ongoing collapse of our economic system is a blessing in disguise, freeing us from servitude to what's apparently a monster factory. Time will tell, I suppose.

Comment: Re:Sensational headline (Score 1) 147

by ultranova (#49116783) Attached to: Looking Up Symptoms Online? These Companies Are Tracking You

If a syphilis-infection, for example, increases one's danger of bankruptcy, his credit score should reflect that.

If syphilis increases one's danger of bankruptcy, then creditors can earn higher profits by having your credit scores reflect your syphilis status. But why should those potential profits trump your privacy?

Comment: Re:Universal developer rule... (Score 3, Insightful) 81

Build on a flood plain, make millions of dollars today, and let the tax payers pick up the bill after a catastrophic 100-year flood years later. Rinse, rebuild and repeat.

Seeing how those tax payers have spent 100 years eating cheap food from that fertile flood plain, and the bill only amounts to a tiny fraction of their direct savings - much less the increased economic opportunities inherent in a more populous nation - it works out quite nicely to everyone. Until, that is, someone starts making noices about taxes being stealing, the city remains a ruin, and everyone starves.

Comment: Re: Feminism HURTS families (Score 1) 126

by ultranova (#49113459) Attached to: Inside the Business of Online Reputation Spin

Other than the "ownership" hyperbole, you're right, regardless of the posterior plumbing of the douchebag.

The whole point of slapping - or other low-intensity violence - is to show the victim's very body is perpetrator's possession, to do with as they please. Please explain how describing this as ownership is hyperbolical?

Except the numbers show that, obviously, people do just that. And when a stronger target DOES hit back, the attacker takes more hurt than gives.

Half of population are below median intelligence. Bullies are no exception.

I used to agree with this just as vehemently as you seem to. When the bullies started coming up without a Y-chromosome, though, I'm sexist enough to content myself with discrediting them.

I'm sorry to hear that. Let's hope you get better soon.

Comment: Re: Feminism HURTS families (Score 1) 126

by ultranova (#49111805) Attached to: Inside the Business of Online Reputation Spin

A man who slaps around a woman is statistically much more likely to be punished in court, pilloried by the media, and basically served up to the metaphorical stake. A woman who permanently disfigures a man is fodder for a bunch of washed up old women on a TV talk show.

Just out of curiosity, what talk shows have so many women who disfigured a man and got away with it that you can make meaningful statistics about such appearances?

Also, while "slapping someone around" is not as serious as a fisthfight as far as medical consequences go, the implications are actually far nastier. It's not a fight between equals, it's some douchebag asserting their power - their ownership - over someone else. Because you don't slap someone who might punch back, precisely because it does nothing but anger the target, but only someone who you think is incapable of fighting back either physically or even legally. People engaging in such bullying absolutely should be made examples of, and deserve no one's sympathy when they are. Goddamn overgrown schoolyard bullies.

Comment: Re:Greek Myths (Score 1) 253

The problem is that there aren't any truly capitalist states, nor has one ever existed.

Then how do you know that

A truly capitalist state would be vastly more harmonious and progressive than most any other kind of state, the misery and repression begin when capitalism begins to slip into fascist corporatism.


If 20th century taught us anything, it's that ideologies that promise Earthly paradise in return for absolute obedience are extremely suspect.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 253

There's one problem it won't fix: the Greek debts to EU are not going to shift to the a currency just because Greece does. The debts to the rest of the EU will remain in Euros, and if the Greek "new Drachma" devalues massively compared to the Euro, the relative loan repayments in new Drachma will go up correspondingly.

And the reason a financially independent Greece would keep paying Euro loans is...?

Frankly, Euro was doomed from the beginning. As long as national currencies could float relative to each other deficits and surpluses balanced automatically through such adjustment. Euro scrapped this mechanism with replacing it with another, so now weakest EU nation goes bankrupt, then the next weakest, then the next, etc. Ultimately, they all serve as permanently indentured servants to the final victor (almost certainly Germany). Except of course they'll simply break away, returning their national currencies and declaring their Euro debt null and void.

Money may buy friendship but money cannot buy love.