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Comment: Forking is good, whiny bitches (Score 0) 330

by Theovon (#48481309) Attached to: Debian Forked Over Systemd

On the one hand, forking is what drives Free Software. It allows us to innovate, adapt software to new needs, etc. Without it, the FOSS community would not be as strong as it is.

On the other hand, Debian's board took a vote, and the anti-systemd people lost. Democracy happened. Democracy is good. Those people who created this fork are a bunch of malcontents that are whining because they didn't get their way. This isn't a "downstream branch" like Ubuntu, which strengthens the community by sending patches upstream. This is breaking up of a strong community, and it's now going to be inherently weaker.

Comment: Maximizing profit (Score 1) 510

by Theovon (#48466007) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

Although they are regulated to death, power companies want to maximize profit, and there are no rules that say they have to invest in improving infrastructure "as long as everything is working fine." They have no motivation at all to seek out aging sections of their power grid and replace them during normal operation. Rather, they are entirely reactive. When power goes out, they fix it on demand. Nothing more. Moreover, whenever there are major storms that take out massive swaths of their network, they cry for help from the government to pay for the repairs becuase they "can't afford it." The only reason they do anything at all when power does go out is because they'd be slapped by regulators if they didn't. Otherwise they'd be perfectly happy to leave paying customers without power the way Comcast leaves paying customers without internet service.

Just imagine if power delivery were government-run. It would be even worse, because there would be no profit incentive.

Comment: Puritans go home! (Score 0) 350

by Theovon (#48379737) Attached to: Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

Or whatever you want to call yourselves, you perverted prudes with unhealthy sexual hangups.

In general, those people who want to judge others on the basis of something they consider to be immoral typically have the same problem themselves. Some Christians I have known who speak out actively against homosexuality, for instance, I have had the impression that they had latent homosexual tendencies themselves that they're fighting.

Similarly, we have religious people speaking out against public breastfeeding, and I get the impression that they worry too damn much about having impure thoughts or something. If that's what's really going on, that their own problem, since breastfeeding is a natural thing that we should encourage, and babies get hungry at "inconvenient" times, so you just have to feed them.

One thing I wonder is what would have happened if the women in the photos had been much less attractive. They're both very pretty, which I suspect is further fueling people's worries about being spurred on to have impure thoughts.

As a final note, while I encourage breastfeeding, there are some people who are nazis about it. I think it should be a choice. Moreover, there are some people who have trouble with it. Sometimes they naturally don't produce enough milk. Sometimes, the baby has trouble latching on; for instance, tongue-ties are fairly common.

Comment: Re:Remember: Cultural, not racial (Score 1) 459

by Theovon (#48363165) Attached to: Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

Just to be clear, I am pefectly well aware that "racial" groups have far more overlap in genetic diversity than they have differences. You can compare individuals in intelligence. You can compare population averages, although the averages aren't all that different. But even if the averages were much different, you couldn't project population averages to individuals, because the population variances are huge.

If Neanderthals were still around (more than some genetic remnants), it would be cool to analyze the differences. I suspect that they wouldn't be generally less intelligent than homo sapiens, but that they'd have slightly different strengths and weaknesses. I could see that being really useful for team building with complementary skill sets. As it is, with all of our "racial diversity" humans are a monoculture compared to what it would be like if we had more high intelligence species.

Anyhow, "Are whites more prone to discriminate against other groups?" isn't necessarily a dumb question. None of those questions is stupid from the point of view of detached scientific inquiry. The answers are all going to be mostly or completely "No," but science is often about asking stupid questions, even if the effect is to provide quantifiable evidence for something we intuitively knew. Also, that the answers are "no" is not intuitive to everyone. Moreover, slashdot has linked to plenty of cases where scientists tested something "obvious" and the results came out different from what we expected.

There IS some basis to say that some populations (on average) are smarter than others, when it comes to variation in specific strengths and weaknesses. Racial groups have been apart long enough that we've all adapted a little bit to slightly different environments. We're all more or less well-adapted to those environments, and since those environments have some differences, we're going to have some differences. An example is skin color. It's likely that humans living in Africa 1/2 million years ago had a medium brown complexion, owing to the higher density of trees, greater moisture, and other factors making sunlight exposure less than it is now. As the environment in Africa became more arid and sunnier, humans there adapted to develop darker skin, while those who migrated to the far north developed lighter skin so as better absorb the more limited UV radiation and generate enough Vitamin D. (Incidentally, Inuits are too dark to generate enough Vitamin D where they live, so traditionally, they would get it from blubber. Now that they have adopted more western diets, they're getting sick due to insufficient calciferols.) Another difference often pointed out (but hot much if it's genetic I'm not sure) is how Africans tend to have superior social ability. Although this doesn't necessarily imply anything about other components of intelligence, it may represent a tradeoff, where different human groups all have about the same average intelligence, and as a result, greater social intelligence will trade off against other kinds of intelligence. One example I recall reading about many years ago pertained to children with cognitive impairment. A white child with an 80 IQ will be generally retarded, while a black child with an 80 IQ will be socially normal.

BTW, I've always argued that social intelligence is a major blind spot for IQ testing. That doesn't mean that IQ is useless. It just means that sometimes, IQ will underestimate someone's over-all intelligence if they are smarter in an area that IQ doesn't test for. There are other kinds of intelligence left out of IQ, such as bodily–kinesthetic.

And one last thing. In 100 years, hopefully this line of inquiry regarding racial intelligence will be as boring as questions about gender intelligence. Also, hopefully gay marriage will be boring too. We'll have some knowledge about these things, but we won't prejudge people on those basis. We won't assume the neighborbood is going to hell if a minority family moves in, and we won't disown our children if they turn out gay. But at this time, there are many people who would love to pervert science to tell a story that gives them permission to be assholes to other people, which forces us to carefully analyze those questions. (But of course, when science goes counter to their preconceived notions, they'll reject it.)

Comment: Remember: Cultural, not racial (Score 1) 459

by Theovon (#48361845) Attached to: Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

In engineering and academia, I've appreciated those rare black colleagues. For one thing, they were all much more social (and it is well established that culturally and/or genetically, africans statistically have superior social ability to whites and asians), so I could enjoy hanging out with them more. Another is that they had different things to say, making our work environment litterally more diverse in terms of ideas.

However, in many ways, those black colleagues were not extremely "black" culturally. Dialectally, they sounded more mainstream, along with their general comportment.

As others have pointed out here, the biggest barrier to blacks getting into white collar jobs is black culture. Those who manage to escape the anti-education indoctrination demonstrate themselves to be just as smart as everyone else. It's not politically correct to suggest that different genetic sub-groups (i.e. races) might have different intelligence levels (albeit just averages), but it's anthropologically, it's an important question. However, what we find is that the culture dominates so strongly that we can't even begin to explore that question. (And of course, it is both stupid and unethical to assume that every member of a race is equivalent to the average (whatever that is) and prejudge them on that basis.)

That does not compute.