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Comment: another booking at the Hobbit Hotel (Score 1) 799

by epine (#48887479) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

If you don't notice a flashing green light barely in your peripheral vision I would start to wonder if you ought to be driving at all.

At my height, the steering wheel blocks out half the dashboard. And, no, I can't fix this problem with a phone book (even if such a thing was still available).

My problem is that I'm forced to recline to a halfway recumbent position to keep from mashing my head into the ceiling.

In many vehicles I end up reclined so far back that I can barely reach the steering wheel. And, no, this is not because I have short arms. It's because the rear passenger window has now entered my peripheral vision. If this strikes you as strange, then I suspect it's been a long while since you spent any quality time with sin/cosine. (I have a wine bottle a mere 2" too tall for one of my cupboard shelves. If I tilt it to 45 degrees it fits just fine.)

So then I have to crank the seat forward until my knees are striking the front dashboard. Strangely, I don't find this uncomfortable for my legs, unless I wish to move them.

My peripheral vision is now roughly oriented toward the driver's seat-belt pulley, and my eye level is horizontal to the tint line on the windscreen. By the time I get the steering adjusted to a comfortable position, it's almost a certainty that half the dashboard is occluded by the top half of the steering wheel.

I can't see stop lights, either, if I'm first to the light and I've pulled up to the stop line, unless I use the old ear-to-shoulder trick—or I spot some other aspect of the intersection control synchronized to the light I'm waiting on.

What look like large vehicles from the outside are usually just as bad. Sure, the cabin height is increased, but usually they take most of it away with a higher seat height (to better accommodate all those fancy seat motors whose very existence makes the seating position you most desire impossible to achieve).

You should book a week sometime in the Hobbit Hotel. It will do wonders for your imagination concerning the circumstances that others face. Probably you should do this before participating in the design of any mechanical thing to be used by anyone other than a jet fighter pilot (whose physiques are carefully restricted to the design environment).

Comment: Re:Censorship? (Score 1) 415

by epine (#48885977) Attached to: Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

Actions sometimes send messages, but they are not speech.

Non-verbal actions are not speech (excepting deaf people and Italians and anyone with secure tenure in hard rock D-block and postural nuance of a clever hostage being photographed by his or her kidnapper), but often they are speech acts (in cases too far multitudinous to list here).

Comment: Re:Useless Art Project (Score 3, Insightful) 162

by Threni (#48880229) Attached to: Researchers Moot "Teleportation" Via Destructive 3D Printing

The rites of spring by stravinsky has no "real life applications" other than the usual art stuff. You know, making life bearable in a pointless, hateful world where the best thing you can say about it is that you're going to die eventually, and beyond that everything in the universe is going to ultimately run out of energy and go dark and cold for ever and ever and ever. I mean, you're right; it would have been better had it improved the speed of an internet search or something practical like that, but sadly, no. Just pointless art.

Comment: freeze-frame campfire empathy (Score 1) 219

by epine (#48849413) Attached to: Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

Just last week I read an entire book by Allan and Barbara Pease. Even this book (which promises the moon in three easy lessons) says that body language is best interpreted though consistent clusters.

Here, the static eye test amounts to a form of dead reckoning.

Claiming that this equates to the general ability to read people smacks of claiming that someone who can track big game from muddy impressions and broken twigs has the cognitive drop on Charles Darwin on all matters of big game observation.

As with personality indicators, one could in all likelihood devise fifteen other masked channels (not all of which consist of static images) with roughly the same degree of outcome correlation (where the reference outcome is something like success in group settings).

I also think this study's emphasis on freeze-frame campfire empathy is unfair to male performance. If you're in the business of poking sharp sticks at snakes or lions, the perceptual ability required is not to determine the animal's emotional state (angry, aggressive, threatened, lethal) but to determine moment by moment whether the animal will shrink back or strike forward.

The Pease book is clearly aimed at people in a sales environment (in which I also include making presentations in a board room) where the ability to form extremely rapid first impressions / first-reaction impressions is critical to career success (as opposed to short-term blood retention).

Compare the "it's not your fault" scene in Good Will Hunting (pachydermous elephant in the room) with the extended marital quarrel in Before Midnight (mass stampede of the unshackled lambs).

In the later case, neither spouse is seeing anything he and she haven't seen before (they could each write a book), but their proficiency in scorched-earth integration to identify a workable point of repair is severely put to the test.

Comment: Re:Really? Theory of Mind (Score 1) 219

by epine (#48849201) Attached to: Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

That sounds a whole like Empathy to me, but dressed up in some fancy new clothes.

How could you know when you identity every person in the entire Empathy clan as just some Jim Bob or Jane Barb from poverty valley?

Empathy was never a precise concept in the first place, and most people are too lazy to clearly distinguish the perceptual side of empathy from the dispositional side (the later of which is heavily conflated with approval seeking and conflict avoidance, and these are further conflated with meekness/aggression, introversion/extroversion, low status/high status).

Dressing empathy up in a recognizable set of clothes (e.g. Marty Mindsight), roughly equates to clearing your throat before attempting to say something civilized.

Comment: rise of woman vs fall of man (Score 1) 154

by epine (#48838375) Attached to: The Anthropocene Epoch Began With 1945 Atomic Bomb Test, Scientists Say

Tying the antropocene epoch to the first nuclear detonation is a brazen attempt to smuggle the Garden of Eden / fall of man metaphor into this discussion under cover of a blinding fireball.

How about using Madame Curie instead, and picking a nice round date like 1900?

In 1900 Curie became the first woman faculty member at the Ecole Normale Superieure [/.sic] ...

I also noted this passage in the Wikipedia article.

Despite Curie's fame as a scientist working for France, the public's attitude tended toward xenophobia—the same that had led to the Dreyfus affair—which also fuelled false speculation that Curie was Jewish. During the French Academy of Sciences elections, she was vilified by the right wing press who criticised her for being a foreigner and an atheist. Her daughter later remarked on the public hypocrisy as the French press often portrayed Curie as an unworthy foreigner when she was nominated for a French honour, but would portray her as a French hero when she received a foreign one such as her Nobel Prizes.

In 1911 it was revealed that in 1910–11 Curie had conducted an affair of about a year's duration with physicist Paul Langevin, a former student of Pierre's—a married man who was estranged from his wife. This resulted in a press scandal that was exploited by her academic opponents. Curie (then in her mid-40s) was five years older than Langevin and was misrepresented in the tabloids as a foreign Jewish home-wrecker.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. [/.sic]

Comment: Re:Academic wankery at its finest (Score 1) 154

by epine (#48838323) Attached to: The Anthropocene Epoch Began With 1945 Atomic Bomb Test, Scientists Say

Nobody speaks it. The closest anyone comes is "church latin" a near variant used by the Roman Catholic Church. That's what makes latin a dead language.

Applying the colloquial criteria of "dead" to a language that remained—however frozen—in widespread and specialized use over many centuries is a complete waste of time for the present discussion. "Dead" is really just a shortened version of "dead to the evolutionary fads of populism".

One could argue that Perl is presently a near-dead language (it's evolution has become famously glacial) and then on this basis write a script routing all security advisories concerning Perl (such as DSA-2870-1 libyaml-libyaml-perl) straight into the round device.

On the other hand, perhaps Perl isn't quite as "dead" as the idiom suggests. Perhaps Perl is merely catatonic, or just resting.

Comment: Re:pfsense (Score 1) 402

by epine (#48825097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Migrating a Router From Linux To *BSD?

I have now been told literally dozens of times that "you don't have to install systemd", but no one has yet to back that up with steps for an install without it, or how to remove it from an existing install.

apt-get install OpenBSD

OpenBSD has the best internal documentation, but has relatively weak SMP and narrower hardware support than FreeBSD, neither of which should matter for a vanilla router.

I've heard good things about pfSense, but haven't used it myself.

If you want to dabble with ZFS for a NAS server as well, then I'd just start with FreeBSD which is what I'm presently using for my firewall (the few internet facing services are jailed or priv-sepped), despite having previously used a separate OpenBSD since 1998. For a ZFS box, it's a heck of a lot smarter to have ECC memory, though.

I totally hear you on the current Linux trend to make radical architectural change on the mainline branch with hardly any prior communication or heads up to the existing user base.

Come with me, little kiddie ... this won't hurt a bit.

Comment: Re:As a mathematician... (Score 1) 106

In the world of mathematical research, what the NSA knows is by construction a superset of what the academic community knows.

Modulo pub net (aka Brewsky's) and "unpublished communication".

But apparently you subscribe to the the maxim that the "publish or perish" edict is axiomatically tantamount to "no unpublished thought" which I find interesting, because stuffy academic writing hardly strikes me as Truman Burbank's brainstem Twitter feed.

Not that this is a subject matter where we should stray into the kind of pedantry best reserved for slicing and dicing The Recognitions or Gravity's Rainbow or Infinite Jest, which is how real geeks test their mettle.

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