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Comment: Re:Its been done (Score 1) 389

by swillden (#47709115) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

I don't have a link handy, but a group (from Stanford, IIRC) did it as a study, rather than to make a point. They found that by driving slow (perhaps even below the speed limit) in a line, they could fix traffic jams. Not because of anything to do with speed limits, but rather just the dynamics of heavy traffic which can cause self-perpetuating jams, even though there is actually plenty of road capacity, no obstructions, etc. By creating a moving roadblock for a few miles and creating a gap that allowed the jam to unjam, they could quickly get traffic flowing smoothly.

Comment: Re:This actually makes perfect sense. (Score 2) 76

by hey! (#47708377) Attached to: Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Except water vapor is the gaseous form of water; the plankton would have to be transported on individual molecules of water to reach the ionosphere.

If plankton were transportable in microscopic *droplets* in the troposphere as you suggest, a more plausible explanation is that the equipment was contaminated -- both the station itself and the gear used to test it.

Comment: Re:Trust, but verify (Score 1) 125

I disagree. It means trust but don't rely entirely on trust when you have other means at your disposal.

Consider a business deal. You take the contract to your lawyer and he puts all kinds of CYA stuff that supposedly protects you against bad faith. But let me tell you: if the other guy is dealing in bad faith you're going to regret getting mixed up with him, even if you've got the best lawyer in the world working on the contract. So you should only do critical deals with parties you trust.

But if the deal is critical, you should still bring the lawyer in. Why? Because situtations change. Ownership and management change. Stuff can look different when stuff doesn't go the way everyone hoped. People can act differently under pressure. Other people working at the other company might not be as trustworthy as the folks sitting across the table from you. All kinds of reasons.

So you trust, but verify that the other party can't stab you in the back, because neither method is 100% effective. It's common sense in business, and people usually don't take it personally. When they *do*, then that's kind of fishy in my opinion.

Comment: Re:you must not have done well in math class (Score 1) 211

by swillden (#47707713) Attached to: Figuring Out Where To Live Using Math

Maybe because places that don't have a problem with crime in the first place don't care about making laws to restrict access to weapons?

Perhaps. Assuming you're right, it leaves open the question of whether the restrictions actually affect the level of violence and in what direction. The assumption of the cities with high violence and tight restrictions is that the restrictions reduce violence. Though that assumption seems logical, history calls it into question. For example, both DC and Chicago saw massive increases in violence after they enacted their draconian restrictions. The rest of the country also saw rising violence at the same time, but nowhere near in the same degree. So perhaps the city leaders were prescient, saw the coming wave of violence and acted to mitigate it, or perhaps their action actually exacerbated it. Or maybe the restrictions made no difference at all.

My money is on restrictions increasing the violence, mainly because the restrictions only affect the law-abiding, which gives criminals an advantage, and eliminates their single biggest worry (per FBI studies, in which violent criminals overwhelmingly report that their biggest fear when committing a crime is that the target might be armed). We'll get a chance to see over the next few years, since DC and Chicago have been forced by the courts to loosen their restrictions dramatically.

Comment: Re:Surprise? (Score 1) 536

by Anne Thwacks (#47701559) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft
Not the original poster here, but I have dual boot with FreeBSD, and its only Linux 14.04 that has these issues. It might be "drivers" or other hardware specific stuff, but it might be that some people use features others dont.

I have Psensor installed, and that is absolutely a cause of multiple disasters.

However, I suspect that if Munich goes back to Windows after more than 10 years of Linux, there will be a lot of angry users - even if they retain Libre, Word is not great in German anyway.

Comment: Re: Surprise? (Score 2) 536

by Anne Thwacks (#47701535) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft
Word is not only miles ahead of Libre on this

I am not sure if your are a troll or just stupid or ignorant. Libre and Open are WAY ahead of MS Word on this feature. It is far more stable and easier to use.

If people have trouble readng the docs with Word, tell them to download Libre - its free. It is Word that is an inconsistent, unstable (from version to version) POS, and it is DOCX that is poorly defined. If you want to share, you should be using internationally standard format for your documents, which works even with Word, not some unstable proprietry format. If you use a proprietry format as a government, you probably ought to be investigated for corruption (yes I know stupidity is the most likely explanantion).

I give you "calc" is wierd and lacking in the graphing area, but Writer is WAY better than Word and has been since version 4 got stable.

Comment: Re:Truly sad (Score 1) 354

by Anne Thwacks (#47697639) Attached to: Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted
Africa is a good example. At least 40% of the people who get Ebola are likely to survive it

However, in Europe, who knows?

There is a reasonable chance a significant portion of the West African population has some degree of immunity. There is NO chance the same is true of Europeans - It may well turn out like when the Spanish invaded South America. - or plague in Europe in 14th century.

Sure we might be better prepared, but with incubation of 20 days or so, who did you shake hands with three weeks ago? Come on, make a list - we need to interrogate them NOW!

Comment: Re:Quarantine vs. being stubborn (Score 1) 354

by Anne Thwacks (#47697513) Attached to: Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted
I always knew rap was bad, but I never knew it could transmit Ebola.

I have no intention of listening to it just to find out! However, I suspect that most of the population of West Africa do not actually understand the words of rap music anyway. Perhaps Afrobeat or Highlife would work better?

Comment: Re:Expert?? (Score 4, Interesting) 430

by swillden (#47695381) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

The misogyny arises from the implied assumption that the woman is just the object of men's desire, that she has no will of her own or ability to act, except to comply with the wishes of whichever man reaches her. The story doesn't actually say any of that, but it is pretty strongly implied. There's also the implication that the physicist and engineer are male, but that's the lesser issue.

It's interesting to note that merely reversing the gender roles in the story causes the perceived problem to disappear, but doesn't address the real issue. This is because it's not the story itself that implies the misogyny, but the cultural subtext, and since that subtext assumes that men are actors and initiators that the man has decided to go along with the game. You can truly eliminate the problem by modifying the story to make the woman the organizer of the little game, which puts all three on equal footing. She's acting by setting the scenario up, the men are acting by deciding whether or not they wish to participate and if so, how.

The difference is subtle, but such subtle, unconscious biases in many different areas can and do often combine into significant -- though often completely unintentional -- bias against women.

As an aside, when we speak of the "objectification" of women, the original use of that word in that context means not object as in "thing", but object as in "direct object", from grammatical structure. The objectified person is one who is always acted upon rather than acting upon others. This story clearly indicates both meanings of the word: The woman in the story is an object of desire, in this case sexual. That's actually perfectly fine. Men and women both can be objects of sexual desire, and as long as the desire doesn't translate into unwelcome advances or into other negative effects, everyone appreciates being thought desirable. But the woman is also and object upon which the physicist or engineer will get to enact their will, and her will isn't relevant. That is the way in which objectification is negative.

Revising the story to make the woman the initiator of the game, while not removing the ability of the physicist and engineer to choose, makes all of the participants actors and none of them pure objects.

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor