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Comment: Re:"Fully Half Doubt the Big Bang"? (Score 5, Interesting) 552

by hey! (#46820019) Attached to: The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

All ideas may have been created equal, but they do not remain so after they've been tested.

Scientific theories are the ideas that you don't have to prove again every time you use them, because they have already been tested very thoroughly. This means a paleontologist is allowed to assume that dinosaur bones are the fossilized remains of extinct animals that lived millions of years ago. He doesn't *have* to waste his time dealing with the opinions of Young Earthers who think the world was created 7000 years ago and that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs. He can just assume as factual that dinosaur fossils are millions of years old and dismiss the Adam-and-Even-on-a-dinosaur idea without further ado -- until the Young Earthers come up with proof.

And it's not the least unfair, any more than its unfair that a football team that gets the ball on their own ten yard line has more work to do to score a goal than one that gets the ball ten yards from goal. It may seem discriminatory to people who haven't been following the game up to this point, but that's because they aren't aware of the work it took to get the ball where it is.

Comment: Re:Something wrong at the foundation - (Score 1) 452

by hey! (#46810183) Attached to: Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

This is the flip-side to regulated utilities. When your profit is determined by the government, you always turn to the government to increase or maintain your profits, which in turn means you become quite expert at that game.

Which is not a problem, if the legislators, governor and regulators are working for the public. The public needs a grid and base generation capability, and the utility is guaranteed a safe and reasonable profit if it provides these things.

Comment: Re:Animal cruelty? (Score 2) 204

by hey! (#46810081) Attached to: NYC's 19th-Century Horse Carriages Spawn Weird, Truck-Size Electric Car

Bostonian here.

My work has taken me to cities all over the country, and I have to say that I've found New Yorkers to be the most considerate and helpful big city denizens in the US. The picture of the typical New Yorker as an obnoxious ogre is a phony movie and television trope.

People mistake adaptations to the pace and concentration of urban life as unfriendliness. Yes, people don't smile and nod at everyone they meet as they stroll the length of 5th Avenue, because after three or four blocks they'd need a chiropractor. But approach one of those people on 5th Avenue for directions, and most of the time he'll be pleasant and eager to be helpful.

Of course, you take your chances approaching strangers in any big city, but I also think that a lot of the treatment you receive is determined by the attitude you bring with you. I've heard wildly different reports on the infamous rudeness of Parisians, but the reports are usually a reflection of the kind of person making the report. Courteous people tend to be met with courtesy wherever they go, and obnoxious people get a rude reception.

Comment: Re:401k (Score 1) 466

by JMZero (#46808413) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

Yes. That's probably what it is. You're probably me in the future.

That's bad news for me, because that means I'm going to lose most of my net worth, start earning well under half what I make now, and become really, really stupid. And I'm not sure how I'll reconcile my experience doing things like "presenting in board meetings of large companies", and "planning acquistions and deciding on company valuation" with what will be my newfound understandings of how these things "really work", that deep understanding that you have based on paying off your house and buying windows and retiring on $500,000. All these revelations I'm about to have will be very disconcerting. Maybe my university will give me a refund on all those economics, business, and accounting courses?

I guess I'll also be 3 or 4 years younger - and I'll also be extremely confident, impervious to reason, and desperately smug about my stupid cynical worldview. So I guess that's cool too.

or by making more and more ludicrous statements which can be more easily dismissed

Yes.. I've said some crazy stupid crap here - that the stock market is a zero sum game, stock prices don't affect executive pay, "the ability to access money.. is 'solvency'", and that stock prices don't reflect earnings.

Oh wait, those were all you. Or maybe you're right about all those things, and it's basic enonomic theory and observable reality that's wrong.

Comment: Re:A chilling EMP scenario (Score 1) 270

by hey! (#46807871) Attached to: Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

I've seen a lot of manuscripts that follow this basic template in my writing group. You have an enemy (often Muslims speaking dog-of-an-infidel Arab-ese) who launches a ludicrously successful EMP superweapon, and in the collapse that follows a charismatic leader with a military background emerges to lead the building of a new, and looks-likely-to-be-better society.

I've seen enough of these to justify doing some research on the physics of nuclear EMP, and have yet to see a Ms that is even remotely scientifically accurate. These stories come out of a sense of dissatisfaction with where 200 years of democracy have brought us. These authors long for rule by extraordinary men (always men), unencumbered by the dead weight of by-definition-mediocre 300 million ordinary people. Remove technology, remove most of that 300 million people and set the remainder to the task of survival, and there is no longer any constraint on the greatness of the extraordinary few.

Of course there's nothing wrong with an authoritarian fantasy, any more than there is anything wrong with a story about the restoration of the "rightful" king. You can enjoy such a story without *really* believing you'd be better off under a charismatic military leader or king. The key to enjoying such a story is "suspension of disbelief".

Comment: Re:401k (Score 1) 466

by JMZero (#46806633) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

To call the difference between financial earnings and share price "hair splitting" is to say that you have no clue whatsoever what "Earnings Per Share" (a fundamentals analysis benchmark) is, or P/E ratio, or anything about the stock market.

Yep. That's what it is: I don't know what PE is. I had predicted "pathetic attempts at condescension" before, so I'm glad you delivered on that.

No wonder you're so whacked. You actually think stocks reflect earnings.

People usually grow out of their "reflexively contrarian" phase in high school. Again, read the whole conversation again. Look at the stupid crap you've argued for. How could anything I say make you sound dumber?

I'm not providing new fodder for conversation. I'm just going to insult you from here on out. I kind of thought you'd get more angry, so I'm still looking for some of that.

Comment: Re:401k (Score 1) 466

by JMZero (#46805913) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

Phew. I thought for a second you weren't going to post a really stupid reply, and I would have hated being wrong about that.

And I don't even have to tell you why this reply is dumb. I mean, just read it yourself again in the context of the conversation. If you can't see that it's hair splitting contrarian wankery, me spelling it out long hand isn't going to help. No thanks; I'm joining the probably very long line of people who can't be bothered to talk to you.

Comment: Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (Score 1) 397

by hey! (#46796433) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

I don't know if this is nuts. I'd have to see the full arguments on both sides, and so far what we have to go on is a one-sided summary.

If the *only* effect of the proposed regulation would be to increase beer prices, then sure, I agree with you 100%: government is being stupid. But if there's a good reason for the regulation, then I'd disagree with you.

Reading the article, it seems like the idea that this regulation will cause beer prices to spike dramatically seems a bit alarmist. The regulations would require brewers who send waste to farmers as animal feed to keep records. It seems hard to believe that this would significantly raise the price of beer or whiskey given that alcohol production is already highly regulated. On the other hand, it seems like there is no specific concern related to breweries. They were just caught up in a law that was meant to address animal feed.

If you want an example of a regulation free utopia, look no further than China, where adulteration of the food chain is a common problem. If the choice were a regulatory regime that slightly complicates brewers lives, and a regime that allows melamine and cyanuric acid into human food, I'd live with higher beer prices.

Fortunately, we don't have to live with either extreme. We can regulate food adulteration and write exceptions into the regulations for situations that pose little risk. Since presumably the ingredients used in brewing are regulated to be safe for human consumption, the byproducts of brewing are likely to pose no risk in the human food chain.

Comment: Re:What poetry is this? (Score 1) 182

by Alsee (#46795773) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

Or flip the view:
A towering bank undercut by a small church.


In the intersection between religion and the modern world
Religion razes grandeur to the ground for 20 pieces of silver.
In the intersection between religion and the modern world
Religion refuses to budge from barren historical ground.
In the intersection between religion and the modern world
A towering bank undercut by a small church nearly kills us.


Comment: Re:401k (Score 1) 466

by JMZero (#46793393) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

It's cute you think share price controls executive salary, instead of, you know, contracts

God you're confident in your ignorance. But you're not right. Executive compensation (I didn't say "salary", I said "what they get paid") normally varies with performance, and often it's quite public how this works. Look at Intel's arrangement, as an example:

The other obvious way executives' compensation varies with performance is, as you mention, stock options. Stock options are obviously worth more as share prices go up (and are often, indeed, worth nothing at all unless share prices go up).

You probably think executives are paid too much or something. So do I. But if you can't see something as banal, obvious, and easily verifiable as "share prices control what executives get paid", I just don't know what to say. This isn't like some kind of gray area or something that's hard to grasp, and I can't imagine under what grounds a rational person would dispute that it's true. It's just reality; many, if not most executives will make a lot more money if share prices go up.

I see two possibilities here. You realize I'm right, and maybe that will open some crack of light into your mind that maybe you don't understand things as well as you think you do, that maybe you're not working very hard on comprehension, and you just don't bother to reply. Or, you double down on stupidity and anger and pathetic attempts at condescension and write a really, fantastically stupid response.

I'm betting on the latter. Either way, I'm done. Bye.

Comment: Re:LaserJet II and LaserJet 3 (Score 1) 694

by hey! (#46791117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

The most wear sensitive part of a laser printer is the copy drum. If I recall correctly the old LaserJets had the drum integrated with the toner cartidge, so you replace to most quickly wearing part of the printer four or five thousand pages. It's no wonder they lasted so long. The mechanical parts that move the paper through the printer are pretty robust, so I wouldn't be surprised if the printers go until the capacitors in the electronics dry up, or the internal power connectors go bad.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]