Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:1000 times (Score 2, Informative) 622

by TheNastyInThePasty (#49529773) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

You don't need to have a crystal ball. The price drop only happened because Saudi Arabia wanted to assert its dominance in the global market. With higher fuel prices, North American companies were investing in more expensive extraction methods that only become profitable when prices are high.

Saudi Arabia has been keeping its production down to drive up fuel prices and decided that enough was enough. They didn't even ramp up production to full capacity and it's been causing oil companies in North America to shutdown sites and lay off workers. Once Saudi Arabia decides that the oil companies get the picture, they will cut production again.

Then, even when prices rise, investors will think twice about risking their money to support oil extraction.

Comment: Re:well.. (Score 5, Informative) 760

I think the point is not for the police departments to get Teh Phat Lootz, but to equalize the pain of violating the rules.

You can't have one without the other. Unless you deny the entire government the money from the fines, the rich will become the only ones targeted by traffic cops. It's already bad enough that police departments prioritize money over safety. It could perhaps become bad enough that the cops ignore anyone without an extremely nice car because the revenue is not worth it.


Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use 255

Posted by timothy
from the wait-til-you-see-how-scully-revives-walter-white dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: Vimeo and Youtube are pressured to remove a dark, fan-made "Power Rangers" short film; Vimeo capitulated, while Youtube has so far left it up. I'm generally against the overreach of copyright law, but in this case, how could anyone argue the short film doesn't violate the rights of the franchise creator? And should Vimeo and Youtube clarify their policies on the unauthorized use of copyrighted characters? Read on for the rest.

Comment: Re:There is no legitimate reason to show it. (Score 1) 645

"Look at those evil Muslims killing innocent people to further their political goals! They are barbaric demonspawn! NUKE THE ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST!"

Of course, people with this view (I know a few) are completely unaware of the incredible irony...


Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work? 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-get-what-you-pay-for dept.
Bennett Haselton writes Sidecar is a little-known alternative to Lyft and Uber, deployed in only ten cities so far, which lets drivers set their own prices to undercut other ride-sharing services. Given that most amateur drivers would be willing to give someone a ride for far less than the rider would be willing to pay, why didn't the flex-pricing option take off? Keep reading to see what Bennet has to say.

Comment: Senator John McCain (Score 5, Insightful) 772

by TheNastyInThePasty (#48558351) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

"I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence. I know that victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it. I know they will say whatever they think their torturers want them to say if they believe it will stop their suffering. Most of all, I know the use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights, which are protected by international conventions the U.S. not only joined, but for the most part authored."

From a Republican even.


Twitter Should Use Random Sample Voting For Abuse Reports 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the tell-us-everything dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: Twitter has announced new protocols for filing and handling abuse reports, making it easier to flag specific types of content (e.g. violence or suicide threats). But with the volume of abusive tweets being reported to the company every day, the internal review process will always be a bottleneck. The company could handle more abuse reports properly by recruiting public volunteers. Read what Bennett thinks below.

Big Talk About Small Samples 246

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: My last article garnered some objections from readers saying that the sample sizes were too small to draw meaningful conclusions. (36 out of 47 survey-takers, or 77%, said that a picture of a black woman breast-feeding was inappropriate; while in a different group, 38 out of 54 survey-takers, or 70%, said that a picture of a white woman breast-feeding was inappropriate in the same context.) My conclusion was that, even on the basis of a relatively small sample, the evidence was strongly against a "huge" gap in the rates at which the surveyed population would consider the two pictures to be inappropriate. I stand by that, but it's worth presenting the math to support that conclusion, because I think the surveys are valuable tools when you understand what you can and cannot demonstrate with a small sample. (Basically, a small sample can present only weak evidence as to what the population average is, but you can confidently demonstrate what it is not.) Keep reading to see what Bennett has to say.

Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism 350

Posted by timothy
from the believe-the-worst dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: A editorial with 24,000 Facebook shares highlights the differences in public reaction to two nearly identical breastfeeding photos, one showing a black woman and one showing a white woman, each breastfeeding an infant. The editorial decries the outrage provoked by the black woman's photo compared to the mild reaction elicited by the white woman's photo, and attributes the difference to racism. I tried an experiment using Amazon's Mechanical Turk to test that theory. Read on to see the kind of results Bennett found.

Comment: Re:America is a RINO (Score 4, Informative) 588

by TheNastyInThePasty (#48319501) Attached to: Marijuana Legalized In Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC

In most states over 10% of the voters register as Independent. How do you gerrymander those to vote Republican?

It doesn't matter what they're registered as. What matters is what they vote for and most will vote predictably.

Democrats cluster in large cities. How do you evenly distribute their votes out into Republican districts on the other side of the state?

You don't have to distribute the democratic votes in the major cities. You assign as many as you can to majority Republican districts and then fit the rest into a district that is as close to 100% Democrat as you can.

Imagine a state with 800 people. Let's ignore the geographical distribution for simplicity. 59% (470) of the people vote purple, 41% (330) will vote orange, and you are in charge of drawing 4 districts such that the orange politicians remain in power. How will you do it?

3 districts with 110 orange people and 90 purple people (that's a 10% lead in elections which is plenty).
1 district with 200 purple people.

Congratulations! The orange people get 3 seats and the purple people get 1 despite the purple voters being a clear majority of the total. Here is a good illustration on wikipedia that also illustrates drawing the borders around geographically distributed voters.

If it wasn't for Newton, we wouldn't have to eat bruised apples.