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Comment Cool - but could we also ban... (Score 1) 305

Direct-to-doctor marketing? Doctors shouldn't have 'reward' programs for recommending certain brands over others. Then again, the profit motive itself pretty much makes a mockery of the practice of medicine in general. I just don't think the promotion of "awareness" of profitable drugs that this system provides doctors is worth the corruption and fleecing involved.

Ryan Fenton

Comment 12 episodes? Isn't that half a season? (Score 1) 83

MST3k typically had 24 episodes a season, and part of the shtick of the series was that it was a relatively cheap production with a small crew licensing movies that cost almost nothing to show.

I get that we're motivating folks to gather together later in their career than before, and 'competing' with other opportunities they have - but if you're going to start up the engine, seems a bit of a shame to pre-plan to shut production down after 12 episodes.

Heck, given the nature of the series, you should really be mixing crowdfunding sources a little. Yes, the Kickstarter is important - but you should connect your stretchgoals to Patreon income also, and permit a couple extra options.

1) After the "pre-funded" Kickstarter episodes, let Patreon income build up funds for future episodes - while still keeping a nice mid-season break and even cast shifts as needed for quality of life.

2) Let the show grow as you go - keep your megacheap ethos/comedy style - but if you find a nice line of comedy, you want to do a special on, let it get a sub-fund and decide how it can fit into the schedule. 100,000 patreon fans contributing 1-10 bucks can get you more than enough when you've already got the set and many other things. That, and likely chances to get secondary income streams.

3) You know you're VERY likely not going to get a really good deal with a cable channel. Don't let the shiny prize of a commercial-pushing income source let you shortchange your audience on things like DRM. Do it for you too - make a show you'd like to make first, compromise where it matters least as you can, and the audience can do more than the promises of any executive. Let us circulate the '.mkv's.

4) Stay cheap, the audience will help. Don't do silly things like commission CGI movies of fantastical comedy scenes as part of your budget. Ask the audience to help, and we will make the stupidest, most hilarious things for you. Use that - USE IT!

Ryan Fenton

Comment Forcing philosophy through example... (Score 3, Insightful) 197

"Government doesn't work - it CAN'T WORK!"

"What about all those countries where it mostly does and, um, all of human history, eh?"

"Oh really? Sheesh! Listen - I'll just do a little governing here, and governing there - and BAM - doesn't work anymore. See - governing ruins everything!"

"Doesn't that just mean YOU ruin everything?"

"Wait - wait - I'll prove it some more. Give me more time and I'll REALLY prove it!"

Comment Important distinction: Obervable vs watching... (Score 4, Interesting) 168

The important thing about being 'observed' is if it has an effect on something else - such as the photons from the laser used to record it.

What is most certainly does NOT mean is that it does anything because a human consciousness is watching the process. A robot or mote of dust could have been 'observing' it (and in effect WAS), and the same effect would happen.

That's what I strongly dislike about the terminology around 'observer' effects. It makes people evoke touchy-feely human awareness stuff, when it's really just referencing microscale interaction events. What matters is that if events occur which COULD matter outside the system, like photons bouncing against the atom, then that's an 'ovservable' event in the context.

In the microscopic landscape of these experiments, we're a distant afterthought - a bacterium would be almost too big to sensibly consider - and trillions of bacteria would barely be observable to us. In other words, it's really not about US, to any sensible interpretation. Psuedoscience is all about us - keep that in mind when you see the sales pitches, as they'll be using the bad interpretation all the time they can.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Won't quite yet... (Score 1) 374

It worked OK on a spare laptop I tried it with way back in the semi-public beta - figured out how to disable the most egregious annoyances to just act like the Windows 7 upgrade I actually want. I'll likely add a block on an external firewall where the hosts file no longer blocks for known MS data collection (spy) servers. I expect Microsoft to act evil wherever it can - nice to see them less suicidal-evil compared to Windows 8.

Didn't apply the update to any other systems though - found too many missing drivers still from lazy/defunct manufacturers, including my Edimax Wireless AC USB I use on two of my systems If it comes down to the wire, I'll just get a new wireless USB for the applicable systems - but I really just want to wait for a better user library of replacement DLLs to bypass the usual MS bullshit while still offering the Windows 7 functionality I care about.

Hopefully someone will make a nice open-source replacement for Windows Update, that will offer to schedule updates entirely for all users, rather than force updates or demand enterprise-level purchases.

Ryan Fenton

Comment In the land of ironic framing, signal from noise? (Score 2) 44

Have you ever watched parliament? For as long as I've ever seen it (occasionally through the years on streams), the ratio of deeply ironic statements to sincere ones would make it almost impossible to interpret systematically. Even judging the number of 'harumphs' after a statement, or forced group laughs wouldn't give you a clear clue in that audience.

It's like trying to judge violence in a group of young apes who do nothing but posture all day, only accidentally actually hitting eachother. It's all a strange mix of false outrage, forced laughter, crude imitation, lies, and accusation of lies. Things get done in a way, but not without a mountain of pagentry and indirection.

If you want signal from noise in that scenario, you're better off looking at finances, rather than speeches.

Ryan Fenton

Comment One thing that always bothers me... (Score 3, Interesting) 269

Isn't the job of the nerves in the brain supposed to be to communicate?

Shouldn't we just have to play the role of a nerve, and just 'ask' the brain nerve to tell us its contents, and those of its close neighbors?

I mean,there's parasites that do this to an extent, such as toxoplasma gondii, seems odd that we haven't created an interface to work with nerves and just get them to communicate to us, as nerves logically have to do, in order to act like minds.

Even if the process is slow, we should be able to do it at lots of locations simultaneously, so long as it's non-destructive communications. Sure, we'd be reinforcing connections by doing the queries, but so long as it was even-handed, it would be *nothing* compared to acts like dreaming or most of regular life.

Worst case, even if we couldn't recreate a living landscape of a mind completely right away, we could at least save the long-term memories, and have something better than the complete destruction of being that happens with death now.

Even if it would be embarrassing by conventional standards, I'd actually like the idea of my complete memory set continuing after I'd dead, rather than the feeble methods we currently use to leave something of ourselves. Add a query system to it, could be very odd, but really neat too - real life information ghosts.

Far better than nothing, for my preferences at least.

Ryan Fenton

Comment There's some big philosophical differences. (Score 4, Insightful) 247

Evil, outside of special pleading for a particular belief system, is usually framed in terms of actively choosing the harm of others (even if it is masked in deniability). There's some very important meaning in 'don't be evil' that I always liked. Even if some evil is deemed unavoidable by sheer weight of circumstances in life, the general policy should still be to avoid it if at all doable, by any philosophy I'd respect..

"Do the right thing", however, is utterly subjective. Genocide can be seen as the right thing, by a great many, many belief systems, as could complete elimination of all other belief systems. Complete stagnation lies down most 'pure' roads. Utter evil, the complete willingness to harm others at a whim, is constantly 'justified' in the name of most ideals taken in isolation.

I suppose that's a problem with business groups though - the more people involved, the more push to 'optimize' towards some ideal that gets so important, that 'evil' is no longer a limitation. All groups do evil, because there are people involved, but most businesses seem to become blind to their own evil as they grow, until they specialize in mostly doing that evil. Well, until those outside the group start reacting to their actions, then they seem to asymptotically bounce against, and push out the ethical line.

Fortunately, the end result isn't so horrible, by most standards, basically ever measurable aspect of culture has reliably improved over time, from freedom, to intelligence scales, to health and others - but it's just interesting how groups specialize and play such strange roles.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Re:I find this mostly true, some mixed causation.. (Score 0) 86

>>Definitely seemed a physical thing rather than a physical one.

Meant phyical rather than a mental one. I must reiterate - I am rather sleepy today - still can't get a nap going, and am now in that stage of the day where it's better to wait for night at this point. Thus, slashdot.

Ryan Fenton

Comment I find this mostly true, some mixed causation... (Score 0) 86

Most of the colds I've encountered have made it significantly more difficult to sleep. That's actually why I'm home today - taking a rare sick day for an otherwise symtomless cold that just left me 'static-y' without letting me really sleep. No nagging mental troubles, no troubles previous nights, no cough, no caffeine or diet issues I could tell - just a steady heartbeat/mental state that wouldn't actually trigger a proper dream state all night. Had earplugs, sleeping mask, and a nice zen state to dismiss any stray distractions - just resulted in a lightly relaxed trip to dawn. Definitely seemed a physical thing rather than a physical one

I can definitely picture a virus/bacteria amongst trillions in a body focusing on this approach in order to create a niche to reproduce in. Just got to trigger/immitate one signal pathway, and boom, whole body is weakened, and the body is all too happy to play 'security theater' in order to be careful.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Expect a LOT more of this stuff... (Score 5, Interesting) 381

Due to a new technique called "CRISPR-Cas9", there's been a whole lot of rapid development on the gene-identification front, and likely to be an explosion of new ones in coming months/years.

It's definitely being used here: Linky.

Likely lots of half/false leads will also come out of all this too, but thanks to all this, we're getting a lot further into exploring the whole nature/nurture beyond simple debating points, and I think it's all amazing and interesting.

Ryan Fenton

Comment That's mostly just the US. (Score 1, Insightful) 786

In most places outside the US, science isn't accepted as something that can be so casually threatened by special interests working against all objectively observable sources of information.

I've been following the wider skeptical movement here in the US for a while now. Perhaps earlier on (over a decade ago), challenges to the scientific consensus on things like global warming had some legitimacy as a real movement - but by now, it really is just a shill movement. Every existing doubt remaining is NOT in terms of the science being wrong, but rather which implication of the science is most correct. Yes, you can always find a theory or person willing to speculate in any direction you want - but nothing that still constitutes a challenge to the science of global warming anymore. It's observed from space, observed from dozens of major lines of evidence, observed from all known history we can trace, observed from watching other planets, and passes every known line of meta-analysis that uses an actual scientific process.

It's only here in the US (or perhaps OPEC nations) that none of that really ends up mattering to what a person at random gets to hear. Don't get me wrong - nowhere is science really reported without a million biases, just the same as no scientist or agency perfect - but we really do distort our science reporting with a huge amount of false controversy. It's just painful to see how much of that twisted interpretation of so much science so heavily represented in so many of these slashdot stories.

And so often,l it's from the libertarian side, which also weirds me out - again, I come in as a close follower of the skeptical movement (got a JREF card in my wallet), which is filled to the brim with libertarian ideals. It weirds me out, because in order to have a meaningfully free society, it seems absurd that the overwhelming push is to close off so much from objective observable truth, and to use the constant barrage of logical fallacies so rampant in the global warming denial popularizers toolset.

Honestly, just follow more lines of evidence, in just about any direction you want - the pattern of global warming, and it's predictable (if chaotic at some scales) effects are as much a science as anything I've seen. The studies themselves come from all sorts of people - but they all get to the same places in wonderfully surprising ways, and the overall picture is rather resilient by this point. Skepticism should mean looking for truth, eliminating where we're lying to ourselves, and at this point, the only folks consistently lying have been the folks in steadfast and unobserving denial.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Makes sense... (Score 0) 63

Still low compared to college dorm/cheap apartment ratio of about 10 years ago - those folks are spreading out, and spreading expectations.

We sometimes see ideas spreading 'virally', but really, largely shared ideas are often established generationally - the 'viral' ideas are usually just those ideas exposing and exploiting those slowly growing generational ideas that have been growing as people's desires and needs shift.

Wifi is an expression of this expanding set of generations desire to be ever connected to faster information and resources through computers.

It's a neat time to have grown up in - and I don't think we've fully imagined all the places we can go with it.

It's sort of a 'real' version of the previous generation's largescale exploration of meditation, medication and spirituality, only made consistent, shareable, but oddly balkanized. For instance, there's still awesome music involved in all of it, but more sort of everyone's flavor of the month, and seemingly fewer universal classics than previous generations.

Ryan Fenton

"I've seen the forgeries I've sent out." -- John F. Haugh II (jfh@rpp386.Dallas.TX.US), about forging net news articles