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Comment: Re:Who gets fired? (Score 1) 328

by aardvarkjoe (#49540879) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

The highest level person that explicitly signed off on the strike should be fired. That's not the president--he authorises programs like this with the intention that they're carried out properly.

Presumably every single person involved had the intention that it would be carried out properly.


Hubble Spots Star Explosion Astronomers Can't Explain 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-now? dept.
schwit1 writes: The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the explosion of a star that does not fit into any theory for stellar evolution. "The exploding star, which was seen in the constellation Eridanus, faded over two weeks — much too rapidly to qualify as a supernova. The outburst was also about ten times fainter than most supernovae, explosions that destroy some or all of a star. But it was about 100 times brighter than an ordinary nova, which is a type of surface explosion that leaves a star intact. 'The combination of properties is puzzling,' says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. 'I thought about a number of possibilities, but each of them fails' to account for all characteristics of the outburst, he adds." We can put this discovery on the bottom of a very long list of similar discoveries by Hubble, which this week is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its launch.

Comment: Re:People with artificial lenses can already see U (Score 5, Interesting) 137

by jc42 (#49462895) Attached to: UW Scientists, Biotech Firm May Have Cure For Colorblindness

Turns out the biological lens of your eye blocks UV light, but if you get an artificial lens, your retinas can register UV light.

There's some natural variation....

This has been understood for some time. As others have mentioned, various military orgs have used teams with varied color vision as a way of "seeing through" camouflage. Biologists have suggested that the variety in human color vision is adaptive, giving our hunting ancestors' teams an improved chance of spotting spotting prey against various backgrounds, and the addition of dogs (with their very different color vision from ours) improved this teamwork. This is all hypothetical, though, since (as far as I know) it hasn't actually been tested scientifically.

Back in high school (in the 60s), I had a science teacher who did a good illustration of it all. He made the usual demo of a spectrum using a prism, on a sheet of white paper. Then he had students come up and mark the visible ends of the spectrum, covering up each student's marks with another sheet of paper before the next student made their marks. The result was two columns of dots that didn't line up at all; their variants was around 10% of the width of the spectrum. I'd made marks that I could identify, and saw that my UV mark was right at the average point, while my IR mark was one of the farthest out. This explained some things I'd already noticed about the ways that different people saw colors.

This has been known to the photography industry since color film was first produced. Different varieties of film (and now CCDs) have different sensitivities, and different photographers have different preferences for brands of film based on this.

One of my funny personal anecdotes on the topic was once (in Jr High, as I recall), I asked some visitors why the front-left panel of their car was a different color than the rest of the car. They gave me a funny look, then said the car was all black, which everyone else present agreed with. I objected that only that one panel was black; the rest of the car was a deep red. This got me more funny looks, and the fellow who owned the car said that the car had been in a minor accident that damaged the front-left panel, so it was replaced. After that, my family thought I had something called "black-red color blindness" (which is odd, because I was actually the only one without that defect ;-). I was taken to an optometrist, who verified the "condition", but assured my parents that it wasn't a significant problem, and didn't need treating. Actually, there was a simple treatment: glasses that block near-IR light, and I've accidentally got several sunglasses that do just that, making for oddly muted reds.

As I got more into photography, I eventually noticed that my eyes have slightly different color vision, with things looking slightly bluer in the left eye and slightly redder in the right eye. This seems to be extremely common, actually, though most people don't notice it until it's mentioned and they start trying to spot it in different lighting condition. (Hint: It's often easier to spot in lower-light conditions, and difficult in full sunlight.)

Comment: What is the point... (Score 2) 39

by aardvarkjoe (#49458529) Attached to: LG's Leather-Clad G4 Revealed In Leaked Images

I don't understand the fascination that tech news sites have with pictures of upcoming smartphones. Pretty much every standard smartphone looks exactly like every other damn smartphone on the planet -- a touchscreen with a bezel around it. The "interesting" part of this announcements is the color of the back of the phone -- which is the part that you're never looking at anyway.

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

by aardvarkjoe (#49442105) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

Nope, I'm still not buying it. You haven't presented any compelling reason why those in authority should lose their human rights. If you want to introduce ways to make it easier to obtain that proof, I'm all for it, but those in authority should have all the rights that anyone else has. Dehumanizing a group of people is not the answer.

Who watches the watchmen? It has to be us. That means that making sure that the guilt of those who abuse their power -- as well as the innocence of those who don't -- is partly our responsibility.

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

by aardvarkjoe (#49440773) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

Cops and politicians no. We have to hold them to a much higher standard if we are going to authorize the power we give them. The Sword of Damocles must hang over all their heads. We don't put a high enough price on power.

I vehemently disagree. Human rights, including the right to being presumed innocent until proven guilty, should not be waived because of someone's occupation.

The problem of guilt being difficult to prove is one that extends far beyond just police or politicians; it applies to anyone accused of committing a crime, and it means that we know that we allow some of those guilty of crimes, even heinous ones, to walk free. We have made a lot of progress in that area, and will continue to do so. It is appropriate to introduce new technology, procedures, or policies that can help make it more difficult for people to hide their guilt, but at the end of the day, a policeman is a man and deserves the same protections that you or I do.

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

by aardvarkjoe (#49438187) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

Yes, and the rate at which other things occur, like cops being good, or flowers sprouting roadside is irrelevant.
All that is relevant is how often cops go bad. Not how often cops do good things or eat donuts or change underwear.

Assuming a finite number of cop-citizen interactions, the ratio of good-to-bad interactions is relevant to the rate at which bad interactions happen.

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

by aardvarkjoe (#49437703) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

No, it isn't relevant. That's like countering a claim that poison ivy is systemic and widespread with "But look at all the pretty flowers! There must be hundreds of pretty flowers for each poison ivy plant!"

No, it's nothing like that. In a discussion of whether something is "systemic and widespread," the rate at which it occurs is relevant.

You said:

No matter what good things cops do, it can never justify police brutality and murder - at any ratio.

While true, that says absolutely nothing about whether or not something is "systemic and widespread." That is the definition of "irrelevant."

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 4, Insightful) 489

by aardvarkjoe (#49437283) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

500:1? If it were 5000:1 or even 50000:1 ratio of showing cops doing good deeds vs police butchers, it would still be irrelevant.

It is completely relevant to the question of whether it is "systemic and widespread," which was the thread of conversation that you're replying to.

Nobody has said that cops are justified in brutality and murder. They are, however, entitled to be innocent until proven guilty.

Comment: Re:Double the Outrage (Score 1) 92

by aardvarkjoe (#49435371) Attached to: AT&T Call Centers Sold Mobile Customer Information To Criminals

As usual, corporations are people right up until it's inconvenient, then they're an organization and can't be treated the same way as people are.

This has nothing to do with corporations. if you, as a private citizen, hire somebody to do a job, and they then commit a crime using your property, you will not be held responsible for that crime unless it turns out that you were complicit or negligent. AT&T should be held to exactly the same standard.

Comment: Re:Double the Outrage (Score 1) 92

by aardvarkjoe (#49435363) Attached to: AT&T Call Centers Sold Mobile Customer Information To Criminals

By hiring this outsourcer and giving them access my account, AT&T is giving their stamp of approval for this company to act on their behalf and be, for all intents and purposes, AT&T as far as the end customer is concerned. They are backing up the reputation of this company and quality of their work with their own brand identity.

It is a terrible idea to make an employer responsible for everything an employee does. It is the responsibility of the employer to have a level of diligence to protect their customers, through policies and actions, but that doesn't mean that they can predict and control everything that a human being will do.

The fact that a $25 million fine was imposed says that the government believed that the appropriate level of diligence was not taken, but I see nothing to suggest that the negligence was great enough to justify destroying the company like some people apparently want.

It's like if a buy a car and the automaker has issues from a part failing. It's ultimately the maker's (GM's) fault. Not the producer (some company in China) of the individual component.

Car analogies suck, but if the producer of said component got those components into the car by deceiving the automaker, then you bet it's that producer's fault, not GM's.

GM might be responsible for restitution (fixing the problem parts -- which they'd ultimately get the money for through legal action against the supplier), but it would be utterly inappropriate to levy huge punitive fines against them just because their supplier provided faulty parts.

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics