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Comment: Re:Sad, sad times... (Score 1) 333

For the record I would have ZERO problem doing this at all... in fact I could think for hours...

I bet you cannot do this on a deadline set by others in an environment you're not familiar with. You're just going to sit and wait for the researchers to come back in and announce that your "thinking" period is over. This experiment obviously fails to create the conditions that are needed to be properly alone with your thoughts.

I would absolutely not be able to concentrate in this setting even though I have no trouble at all to be alone with my thoughts for extended periods.

Comment: But why? (Score 1) 112

I really don't get this. You get a radio transmitter, start transmitting stuff en then go complaining that others are listening. Anybody, corporations like Google included, should have the absolute right to do whatever they want with any electromagnetic or other radiation that reaches their bodies or equipment. Any restriction on that would be the modern-day equivalent of prohibition to look at things. If you don't want me to see your stuff or receive your radio waves or listen to your sound waves, just don't be so rude to transmit them towards me, even penetrating my body.

Comment: Re:It's a hipster thing (Score 2) 240

It's not (only) a hipster thing; it's mostly a budget thing. Many photographers want to work with a properly large camera (35mm full frame, medium format (60x60mm) etc. Since most of us don't have the budget to shell out at least several thousand bucks up to well over $10K for a proper camera, our only option to get large format quality is to use old school film.

Said differently: digital has only surpassed film quality in a cost-effective way for very small sensors and/or large volumes of photographs (where the cost of developing film starts to become a factor).

Comment: Re:Meanwhile, in reality world... (Score 1) 784

by zmooc (#46983383) Attached to: Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts

That's not what that link says; it says it has been losing mass "since at least 2002". While it is obviously losing mass now, it has most probably not "been melting for decades". We don't have any serious data on that before 2002, when GRACE was launched. Funny how the real facts get in the way of a good misinformation campaign.

Comment: Re:Those poor bastards (Score 2) 102

by zmooc (#46965461) Attached to: Australian Government To Standardise On Drupal

4.) Rich content editing - Good, finally they found one reason to standardize their CMS onto every agency - because this is such a huge problem with CMSes - wait, what? No, it's not.

As far as I'm aware, all available editors are based on contenteditable functionality, which has been bug-ridden for years and simply was not designed to offer a rich content editing experience to the end user of a CMS. Yes, this is a huge problem with CMSes, including Drupal. For this reason, this is not fluff, pointless of misleading, it is an outright lie.

Comment: Gameability (Score 4, Interesting) 800

by zmooc (#46938531) Attached to: Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?

One thing I believe was not mentioned in the article (though I only quickly scanned it) is that if such cars start behaving too predictively, they can be gamed. Once we know that a car will do whatever it can to avoid a collision with a pedestrian, it will be extensively gamed; cars will be tricked into doing stupid things.

So when the decision who to hit comes up, the only way to be reasonably safe is to determine who's not following the rules and to hit that one. Any other rules will be gamed extensively. This will become a major hassle to adoption of autonomous vehicles; they will probably need to drive much slower than actual humans to avoid getting into such situations continuously, especially in built-up areas where any parked car could hide an annoying car-bully trying to trick your car into acting like an idiot.

Comment: Use windows (Score 1) 266

by zmooc (#46608519) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Just use windows. It doesn't really work any better but at least they don't break core functionality a few times a year and then take months to fix it...

Ok maybe I'm exaggerating and this is only an Ubuntu problem; it's been years since I've been annoying-bug-free for more than 3 months with...

Comment: Re:Out of step with reality (Score 1) 149

by zmooc (#46491193) Attached to: Hungarian Law Says Photogs Must Ask Permission To Take Pictures

I agree that street photography is not some kind of unalienable right. However, I do NOT agree there's a reasonable expectation of privacy in the public space, not even in Germany. With the law as it currently is (though not as it is currently enforced), photo-journalism in public spaces becomes quite a hassle. If we'd all live by the law, our era would effectively become a rather dark one in history; for example just about any photograph depicting the demolishing of the Berlin Wall would have been illegal.

Most Western countries have no restrictions on taking photographs in the public space but they do have laws to protect subjects against negative consequences in case such photographs are published. I think that's the right balance, especially if photogs behave responsible (unlike many paparazzi, which are actually legal in Germany...)

Comment: Re:"Corrections" (Score 1) 326

by zmooc (#46366049) Attached to: The Science of Solitary Confinement

3,500 prisoners serving a life sentence... that's rougly about 1 in 100,000. 80,000 is about 1 in 4,000. In the random western country where I live, only 1 in 500,000 are serving a life sentence. I cannot find numbers for the number of those in solitary confinement but with a total of 1 in 2,000 people in jail, about half would have to be in solitary confinement to match the US numbers.

So, no, I don't think those staggering numbers take the edge out of the argument, they
confirm it. The US has been leading the ranks of prisoners per capita for ages and is one of only a handful of western countries in the top 100.

Comment: Re:not that simple (Score 1) 84

by zmooc (#46232191) Attached to: Iconic Predator-Prey Study In Peril

Isle Royale is being preserved today as a wilderness, but it isn't an "untainted" one, and hasn't been for a couple hundred years. It is what it is because of human activities.

As long as those human activities are merely that: human activities, I would still consider the island untainted in a way; there's nothing especially unnatural about most human actions, even if those actions often bear effects that might be described as a plague. This changes, however, when those human activities start involving actively trying to "shape" "nature", as is proposed by the ecologists this article is about. In my opinion this would instantly change the situation on this island from "nature trying to find a new balance after a small infection with humans" to "not nature anymore".

Through some strange feelings of guilt about the way it has affected nature in the past, mankind has somehow developed the idiot idea to try to keep the few occurrences of nature that we have left exactly like they are now. By doing that, we're slowly turning nature into a museum. Instead of doing that, we should have the decency to let nature be nature, even (or especially) when it changes in a way that we don't like.

This may (will..) probably mean die offs and those obviously aren't a good thing. According to humans, that is, mostly because of their somewhat irrational love for big mammals, cool trees and fear of change. But nature doesn't give a fuck, it doesn't consider humans special. The place will look totally different in 10, 100 or a few 1000 years anyway. Just let nature be and it will find a new balance. Maybe not on a timescale meaningful for the average human, but it will. Because that's what nature does.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS