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Comment: Re:The Best Investment (Score 1) 43

by DerekLyons (#49545973) Attached to: Hubble Turns 25

Cassini having plutonium fuel was about as close as I can recall, but even that was a blip by comparison to the LHC.

The Cassini flyby was before Facebook and Twitter. Seriously, the rise of clickbait journalism has made it very difficult to discriminate between genuine public concern and the meme-of-the-moment.

Comment: Non Sequitor (Score 5, Insightful) 322

by eldavojohn (#49539223) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

I'm not disappointed at all. Drones are so much better than actually invading Pakistan, and reduces the number of kids that get killed in war.

I never got the hate for drones in the first place. Why would you want to launch a ground invasion instead, which means MORE kids getting killed?

Sure, if you want to kill someone, you're right. I think the argument against drones is that if you push a button and someone dies on the other side of the Earth and you didn't have to go to war to do that ... well, fast forward two years and you're just sitting there hitting that button all day long. "The quarter solution" or whatever you want to call it is still resulting in deaths and, as we can see here, we're not 100% sure whose deaths that button is causing. Even if we study the targets really really hard.

And since Pakistan refuses to own their Al Queda problem, we have to take care of it for them.

No, no we don't. You might say "Al Queda hit us now we must hunt them to the ends of the Earth" but it doesn't mean that diplomacy and sovereignty just get flushed down the toilet. Those country borders will still persist despite all your shiny new self-appointed world police officer badges. Let me see if I can explain this to you: If David Koresh had set off bombs in a Beijing subway and then drones lit up Waco like the fourth of July and most of the deaths were Branch Davidians, how would you personally feel about that? Likewise, if Al Queda is our problem and we do that, we start to get more problems. Now, that said, it's completely true that Pakistan's leadership has privately condoned these strikes while publicly lambasting the US but that's a whole different problem.

Also, we must always assume that war = killing kids. The fact that people think kids shouldn't be killed in war basically gives people more of an incentive to go to war in the first place. When Bush invaded Iraq, the public should have asked "OK, how many kids are we expected to kill?" Because all war means killing kids. There has never been a war without killing kids.

The worst people are the ones that romanticize war, by saying war is clean and happy and everyone shakes hands at the end. War is the worst, most horrible thing, and we need to make sure people understand that, or they'll continue to promote war.

Yep, think of the children -- that's why we should use drone strikes, right? Look, war means death. Death doesn't discriminate and neither does war. If you're hung up on it being okay to take a life the second that male turns 18, you're pretty much morally helpless anyway. War is bad. Drone strikes are bad. There's enough bad in there for them both to be bad. This isn't some false dichotomy where it's one or the other. It's only one or the other if you're hellbent on killing people.

News flash: you can argue against drone strikes and also be opposed to war at the same time. It does not logically follow that since you're against drone strikes, you're pro war and pro killing children. That's the most unsound and absurd flow of logic I've seen in quite some time.

Comment: You just don't get it. (Score 1) 296

by DerekLyons (#49536763) Attached to: Futures Trader Arrested For Causing 2010 'Flash Crash'

I owned stocks that crashed. They recovered again way before I had time to do anything about it.

Good for you! That means you, or funds you own, didn't have a "sell if it drops by so much" or "drops below" order.

But you aren't everyone.

The people who it significantly affected were speculators.

And ordinary people who were invested in those stocks or market indexes, no matter how hard you handwave or blow smoke.

. Yes you could have been invested in one of those companies, but if you have a diverse stock portfolio, what are the chances that all the companies you invested in were the losers in this incident?

More moronic drivel. The claim was "nobody got hurt but speculators", not "nobody lost everything but speculators".

If you only invested in companies that lost a lot of money in this flash crash, you are essentially a speculator (by virtue of only investing in companies that speculate).

Are you really that spectacularly ignorant? The market average went down, which means that market index funds went down - something plenty of people who aren't speculators are invested in. On top of that, several major companies (like Procter & Gamble and General Electric, hardly something that would be invested in "only if you're a speculator") lost significant value.

Unlike other market/housing/banking crashes that really did affect lots of ordinary people, this one really didn't. I don't know a single person (ordinary or otherwise) who lost or gained anything (at least not anything they can recognize).

I hate to be the one to break it you - but you aren't the center of the universe, and the set "people you know" is hardly a significant sample.

But you are a clueless drooling moron.

Comment: No, This Is Important for People to See (Score 5, Insightful) 251

by eldavojohn (#49536145) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

Wait. A person who made dubious claims that had no scientific backing to them was actually lying? What next? Water is wet?!!

I think pretty much everyone but the nutjob, true believers in psuedo-science knew all along that this woman was lying.

So you're saying everyone knew she was lying about her charity donations as well? Or was it only the charities that knew that? From the article:

The 26-year-old's popular recipe app, which costs $3.79, has been downloaded 300,000 times and is being developed as one of the first apps for the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. Her debut cook book The Whole Pantry, published by Penguin in Australia last year, will soon hit shelves in the United States and Britain.

So you're saying the 300,000 downloads are by people that knew they were downloading the app architected by a liar? And they were paying $3.79 to Apple and this liar for a recipe app that contain recipes that someone lied about helping her cure cancer? And you're saying that everyone at Apple that featured her app on the Apple Watch knew they were showing a snake oil app on their brand new shiny device? And that the people at Penguin did all their fact checking on any additional information this cookbook might contain about Belle Gibson's alleged cancer survival? And that everybody involved in these events know society's been parading around a fucking liar and rewarding her with cash money while she basically capitalizes on a horrendous disease that afflicts millions of people worldwide ... that she never had?

No, this is not the same as "water is wet" and it needs to be shown that holistic medicine is temporarily propped up on a bed of anecdotal lies ... anybody who accepts it as the sole cure for their ailment is putting their health in the hands of such charlatans and quacks.

Comment: Re:They should be doing the opposite (Score 0) 297

Creation is usually influenced or built off earlier creations.

[[Citation Needed]]

Seriously, I'm not buying it. Despite the massive increase in copyright terms over the last few decades - there's been no noticeable drop in the rate of creation of artistic works (books, movies, music, whatever).

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 0) 397

You see, it is often the case here that roads are built for speeds much higher than the actual posted limit. Parameters like lane width, grade, shoulder presence & width, presence/absence of median, etc. all contribute to an intuitive psychological understanding of what an appropriate (and safe) speed is.


Comment: Re:Education is a red herring (Score 1) 282

by DerekLyons (#49521437) Attached to: Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers

I would back date the origin to something closer to the late 19th century as urbanization and cities grew. You had increasing agricultural efficiency allowing more people to live away from the land and more and larger business organizations that required "white collar" jobs to manage the organization -- clerks, accountants, record-keepers, etc.

White collar isn't necessarily middle class - Bob Cratchit was a white collar worker after all. The conflation of the two (with the massive growth of university graduates, white collar jobs, and rising salaries) is largely a post WWII phenomenon.

That was short lived, but a great example of how PCs in many ways decimated a field as a single accountant could now do the work of many. I think they said that long-term it didn't hurt that much because as the ease of which you could create sophisticated models in PC applications became understood, the same number of accountants were now doing vastly more complex accounting jobs.

My favorite example is my wife's job (as it happens, she is an accountant)... Thirty years ago, at about a quarter of it's current size, they had a full time accountant, two bookkeepers, and a filing clerk. Today they have a mostly full time accountant (who also doubles as IT and HR) - and the phone girl who does data entry and filing. The difference is today they have a POS.

Accounting really hasn't changed much in that time, especially for medium and small businesses. It's only the big boys that really go in for heavy duty modeling, for smaller businesses there's just not that much need.

Comment: So? (Score 2) 48

by DerekLyons (#49520127) Attached to: The Logistics of an eSports Tournament

So, the "biggest eSports" tournament isn't even as big or logistically complicated as a lightly attended baseball game here in my mid-sized market town?

Color me unimpressed.

Seriously, as far as "big" events goes, the "World Of Tanks Grand Finals" doesn't even make the needle twitch off the zero peg. And not even the "on a computer" aspect is very interesting here in 2015.

Comment: Re:Genius! (Score 4, Insightful) 332

by DerekLyons (#49520005) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

If millions of people die because of inadequate testing then that's the fault of the people who tested the drug. There are plenty of humans who would volunteer for tests with full knowledge and understanding of the risks.

On your planet maybe. But here on Earth we don't allow human testing in the early phases of drug development. And even if they did allow human testing, the volunteers can't possibly have full knowledge and understanding of the risks - because at that stage of the game, that knowledge doesn't exist. That's why we test on animals in the first place.

There are plenty of animals that don't suffer the same was a chimps to, such as mice, that can be used for a lot of the tests.

Where they can be, they already are. Primates are among the expensive and difficult lab animals to maintain, and thus are only used where no other reasonable alternative exists. (Or, again, the world you describe is a very different one from Earth.)

Comment: Re:Education is a red herring (Score 1) 282

by DerekLyons (#49519921) Attached to: Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers

I'm increasingly of the opinion that the notion of a broad middle class is a kind of historical accident caused by the confluence of growth in technology, wide and cheap resource availability and high labor demand. We may be nearing the end of the middle class as we've known it and mostly like it, and returning to a more historical pattern of broad poverty and narrow wealth.

I've been saying that for a decade now - the middle class as we know it today essentially didn't exist within living memory. (That's changing as the Greatest Generation dies off, but my point stands.) It's a product of the post-WWII explosion in technology and consumer demand. But it's the set of conditions that most living Westerners grew up in, and thus they take it for granted that it's theirs by right.

Where they seem to get nervous is over the fact that the jobs increasingly eliminated by automation are jobs that previously required a lot of education and were high wage, white collar jobs. And they're not being replaced by new jobs of the same type, they're being replaced by low-wage jobs that require hard to automate manual skills -- when they're being replaced at all.

That's the big change that's happened right under our noses over the last thirty odd years, and that almost all experts and so close to all of the masses as to make no difference completely missed... not automation (robots, etc... what's usually thought of as automation), but the microprocessor revolution. High skill jobs, formerly requiring college trained professionals (engineers and accountants for example), have vanished at a frightening rate.

Comment: Re:Whatsisname is...mistaken (Score 1) 282

by DerekLyons (#49519779) Attached to: Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers

In the past, machines replaced "manual labor." Today, machines are replacing "white collared labor." Getting more education won't help you anymore.

It's even worse than that - machines are replacing skilled white collar labor, professionals with degrees like engineers and accountants. Not only will more education not help you anymore, neither necessarily will experience.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin