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Comment Re:The Message (Score 1) 127

It seems that animals living their whole life within the immediate environment of Chernobyl fare much better than for instance migratory birds. While there seem to be no increased gene defects in the local wolfpacks, with migratory birds raising their young in the Chernobyl area, we see heightened gene defects.

So the jury is still out there. Maybe living from craddle to grave in Chernobyl will be ok, but appearently living abroad and returning once in a while will not.

Submission Data Transfer Pact Between U.S. and Europe Is Ruled Invalid

Sique writes: Europe’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that a widely used international agreement for moving people’s digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid.

The decision, by the European Court of Justice, throws into doubt how global technology giants like Facebook and Google can collect, manage and analyze online information from their millions of users in the 28-member bloc. The court decreed that the data-transfer agreement was invalid as of Tuesday’s ruling.

Comment Re:From a geek's perspective (Score 1) 342

As a matter of fact, my children are old enough to watch the show and get most of the references. Especially my daughter seems to become an übernerd, taking courses in robotics, writing fan fiction, wearing gaming apparel and reading all the classics like Tolkien, Adams, Gibson and Pratchett.

Comment Re:How do they define GM? (Score 4, Insightful) 310

Basicly you are telling us, that you think forbidding to even tell about a proveable and real property of a thing is something to applaud to. The food is genetically modified. That's a fact. Why not tell it everybody?

If you keep it a secret, it makes people much more nervous about it as if you tell. If there is no problem with it, why not be honest about it? If people realize that they are eating GMO food all the day, and they are still healthy, wouldn't that be much better for proving that GMO food is ok? Everyone thus can see it.

Comment Re:The algorithm isn't clever, but scales well. (Score 2) 82

Especially for DNA comparisation, this shortcut won't work. Moreso, it is antithetic to the task at hand. We want to know the edit distance, or in DNA speak, we want to know how many mutation we need to get from DNA1 to DNA2, for instance to determine relation. The shortcut that we just look if all letters are present and begin and end are ok, and don't care about their sequence in the middle of the word doesn't give us the edit distance, as it hides exactly the answer to the question we asked to begin with. It's ok for determining which words are there, and it speeds up reading, but only if all sequences of letters are actually words we know perfectly well. It would slow down the reading to a crawl if our task was for instance to read a text in a foreign language and translate it with the help of a dictionary. If we then stumble upon scrambled words, it will take ages until we figure out the right sequence of letters to look the word up in the dictionary.

Comment Re:In the comments below the interview... (Score 1) 90

It works in this case, because everyone knows what you are modelling: You are using the english language analog to the language of Westeros, which makes sense for english listeners, because they already associate a scotch accent with "north", and a spanish accent with "south". As the whole series is in english anyway, this works. With this choice, you can control the context, because what you are suggesting with the variation of the accent is equivalent to the setting in the fantasy world.

But using a dying language in a movie just because it's a dying language and you want to preserve it makes no sense in most cases, except you find a language environment, that is a) somehow historically or locally connected to english as the main language used in the movies and b) carries with it all the connotations you want to use. You could for instance have the people of the Southwest of Westeros talk Cornish (Kernowek), if they should have their own language and if it should be distinct from the main language. But using for instance one of the languages once spoken in Tierra del Fuego does not make sense, as the connections to English are so different from anything we get told about Westeros.

Comment In the comments below the interview... (Score 5, Insightful) 90

In the comments below the interview, there were several comments along the line that Hollywood should not pay someone to invent a new language, but rather revive one of the many languages on the verge of extinction. One answer of one commenter was that exactly those people who invent languages for fun and for a living are also exactly those linguists who preserve those languages destined for extinction.

I would add a second thought: First, it doesn't make sense to have an invented place speak a real language in lieu of an invented one. It just creates a confusing context. Lets say the people of the eastern regions in Game of Thrones would speak a language like the Mansi language. It would somehow place Westernesse into the Ural mountains as Mansi is spoken east of the Ural. People from West Siberia, who might not speak Mansi, but recognize the sound of it would always be somehow reminded of their home land instead of being immersed in a phantasy world, and the Mansi people then would then wonder if the people of Westeros should somehow be identified with the Russians, and why there is no Khanty language (a neighboring language both locally and linguistically) in the series.

Chosing a language always sets a context, and if you want to control the context, you can't chose languages at will.

Comment Re: No Way ! (Score 1) 110

I have an issue with the notion that something should be allowed because it is possible. Yes, it is possible to collect the data about my buying habits. But should it be allowed? It is also possible for me to ram a knife into your chest, but should that be allowed?

For a long time, we didn't think about the consequences of wholesale collection of all available data of people, because the sheer amount of data meant, that it wasn't done for all people in the most complete manner. There were specialized professions which collected as much data as possible, but only for a certain subset of people: tabloid journalists for celebrities, spies for high profile persons in politics, investigators for people accused of a crime and private eyes for targets the paying customer named. And we thought, that those limits somehow made sense, as most of us are neither celebrities, high profile persons in politics, accused of crimes or in an enduring conflict that makes one side willing to pay large sums of money to private investigators. And we somehow felt, that those persons are special, and thus permitted special care, and we told ourselves, that those persons deserved it because of their life choices.

But with the availability of data storing and processing, we all are now in the role of celebrities, accused, politicians or people in deep conflicts. Suddenly it's not a choice anymore to get your privacy constantly violated. It happens to all of us. And now we see that the old idea, that if something is in the public view, it belongs to the public, and it should be allowed to indiscriminitely record, store and process it, is working against us.

About 300 years ago, we understood that for special types of data, it shouldn't be the case. Works of Art were in the public view, but it was explicitely forbidden in the Statute of Anne in 1710 to record, store and process them without explicit permission, because mostly everyone understood that those works somehow incorporate a value.Now with the advent of big data, we also see that other data, which are not Works of Art, still have an intrinsic value, and if everyone is allowed to siphon it from us, we lose, and someone else who is not us, gains, albeit it's us who created the value in the first place.

Comment Re: there is no (Score 4, Informative) 403

The full-coverage satellite data show continued warming in the last 20 years. I don't know which data you are looking at, but of the 20 year period you are talking about, nine out of the ten warmest years are after 2005, and 2015 might set a new all time record. If it wasn't for the extreme outlier 1998, the warming in the last 20 years would have been nearly linear. Actually, one of the Anti-AGW propaganda tricks is to take an ok sounding period like 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, in which 1998 is close to the start. Until 2008, it was always "the last decade doesn't show warming", after that it was "the last 15 years", and now, since 2013 and thus more than 15 years since 1998 are over, it's obviously 20 years. But for some reason, 2013, 2014 and probably also 2015 were pretty hot years globally, and thus the graph, that looked so convincingly anti-warming in 2008 was mildly constant until 2013, but since then, even 1998 does no longer help the argument, as even the graphs that take 1998 as their starting point have a rising trend.

Comment Re:it just makes so much sense (Score 1) 202

It's not totally false. The only reason why the companies could transfer personal data (that is data which enables one to identify an individual) to the U.S. was the Safe Harbour provision, which basicly stated that the EU Commission trusted the U.S. to have similar data protection schemes in place. And exactly this is now called in question. If the EU High Court follows the opinion of the Attorney General, then no personal data is allowed anymore to be transferred out of the protection of EU law. And that means everything, starting with e-mails sent from EU citizens to other EU citizens, from personal profiles on social media plattforms (except they get individually requested by U.S. residents, then they are allowed to be sent, but have to be erased on U.S. soil as soon as the U.S. resident is no longer looking at them), includes cloud data of European customers, up to health care data processed abroad. It means that most business plans which include storing or processing data in U.S. facilities are now called in question, as the provider of the storing and processing has to actually prove first that he follows EU law as long as he is processing EU data. Until now he just could ask the U.S. to certify him without any EU institution doubting the certification.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...