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Comment: Re:Ahhhh.... (Score 1) 448

by ultranova (#48187395) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

Um, this law is wholly illiberal, why would liberals ever want this?

"But why would they want to kill their own customers?"
"Why do madmen do anything? They're bloody madmen, that's why!" -Arcanum

Political debate gets a lot easier when you pretend your opponents do not have any motives besides being card carrying villains. This also has the added benefits of not needing to think your own politics or their consequences, after all since your opponent is evil you are by definition good. Operation Barbarossa? What's that?

Basically, the OP was simply confirming their tribal identity as one of the Good Guys, and happened to belong to the tribe called "conservatives". Since the issue at hand is not one of the flag issues - issues used for defining the tribe's identity - they were free to acknowledge the proposal as evil and attribute it to the other tribe ("liberals"). Had this been one of those issues, for example gay rights, we'd been treated to a convoluted logic to "prove" that their tribe was correct and the other evil.

This kind of behaviour is typical for political fringes, where it serves to help the members keep their flame going, but since the US only has two parties it gets injected straight to the core of the nation's political life, the result being increasing instability.

Comment: Re:Overly broad? (Score 1) 382

by ultranova (#48186835) Attached to: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

Also, for the natural foods buffs, please note that honey is mostly fructose and glucose in almost the same concentration as HFCS, so if HFCS is bad for you, "natural" honey is probably not a solution to this problem.

Well, perhaps we could repurpose a rollercoaster to produce a less sugary alternative to insect vomit?

Comment: Re:are the debian support forums down? (Score 1) 279

by ultranova (#48186637) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Stop PulseAudio From Changing Sound Settings?

The base coding languages, which are abstractions of the machine language. Those are the only libraries that should be installed, in the first place.

I don't really see how an interpreter or a JIT compiler would help the problem, or even be a library for that matter. The issue isn't how to make the same code run on multiple architectures, after all, but how to make the program logic flexible enough to handle the absence of a service yet make full use of it when present.

Also, most languages are still stuck with only standard input and output without third-party libraries, which are typically an awful fit. This is not the 80's anymore, that hasn't cut it for the long time now, and not really even then. Most applications aren't headless servers, and require graphics and proper UI.

Comment: Re:The mention of Valentina Tereshkova is ridiculo (Score 1) 185

by ultranova (#48185191) Attached to: The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut

It depends on whether you consider "look what happened to me!" to be worthier than "look at what I achieved in my life through my own skills and determination".

Wan Hu was determined to go to space. That didn't do much good for him, since he happened to live in 16th century (if at all). It takes more just personal qualities to achieve anything at all, thus evevery achievement has an element of "look what happened to me!". And of course this is all ignoring the fact that while you did indeed earn those skills, the intelligence and discipline required to do so were handed to you by birth and upbringing, both of which simply happened to you.

It takes more than just the end result ot judge the worthiness of an accomplishment. You also have to determine the starting point and any factors influencing the performance along the way. But that might lead to some uncomfortable conclusions about the nature of pure meritocracy, and especially about how fair it actually is, so in practice people simply worship fortune and fame.

You're also assuming that the Soviets simply sent up the first woman who happened to walk past the recruiting office, with the famously reliable Soviet technology eliminating the need for any training or even basic guts, but whatever.

Comment: Re:Best use of resources? (Score 1) 87

by ultranova (#48179767) Attached to: Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

If we developed an Ebola vaccine, it might be the world's greatest knows way of eliminating Luddites.

You can eliminate Luddites by making sure people losing their jobs to machines don't become desolate. That was, after all, Ludd's complaint. But of course any actual method of doing so would be eeevil socialism, so I guess it's easier to remain ideologically pure and pretend ludditism is about some inherent hate of progress.

Comment: Re:are the debian support forums down? (Score 1) 279

by ultranova (#48179749) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Stop PulseAudio From Changing Sound Settings?

And this is why we have LIBRARIES.

And when someone complains they should be able to install only the libraries they want, what layer of abstraction comes to rescue then?

Making the entire system an onion doesn't solve the issue but does add complexity, and it's completely irrational to do so just because someone wants a custom system out of the box, especially since they won't be any happier with n+1 library dependencies either.

Comment: Re:Can We Get This for Kids? (Score 1) 304

by ultranova (#48177317) Attached to: Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

I wonder though, what you might suggest for a child that refuses to be responsible? Do you think it will go better for them if the parent just slowly goes hands off regardless of the child's maturity level?

Actually, yeah, it might. You said it yourself below:

I've know kids that simply needed to realize the world was hard work and became responsible adults.

It's much better for everyone that this wakeup call comes before the person in question can, for example, make legally binding contracts or other actions with long-lasting consequences.

That said, it just occurred to me that I'm arguing with someone who's family I've never met about their parenting methods based on a three-paragraph Slashdot message, so... sorry.

Comment: Re:are the debian support forums down? (Score 1) 279

by ultranova (#48177161) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Stop PulseAudio From Changing Sound Settings?

How about "can have and run only if you want".

No, because to do so every program needs to support 2^n different configurations, where n is the number of services they could potentially make use of. Most developers aren't going to bother, so in practice you either run a set of services or don't run the program. And at that point it makes sense to define a standard set which a program can expect a server or desktop to have.

Comment: Re: Heavier than air flight is impossible (Score 1) 340

by ultranova (#48175425) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

And who knows what "the physics" will be like in 20, 50, 200 years time?

Theory of Relativity didn't mean you could suddenly ignore gravity and just jump into space. New physics might unify and connect phenomenom previously thought unconnected, but they won't make them go away.

Also, the reason we don't currently use fission rather than coal is political, and the same politics will also keep either hot or cold fusion from being used, should either ever get functional. People conditioned to fear anything nuclear will not change their minds until the rolling blackouts start, and at that point it's far too late.

In other words - just because currently "the physics" says "cold fusion can't be done", is no reason to say "so we shouldn't try" - that way lies stagnation.

By all means, keep trying to jump into space, just don't expect other people to pay you attention until you succeed and can prove it.

Comment: Re:Power Source (Score 1) 348

No form of currently-achievable propulsion yields a higher Isp than a fission fragment rocket, with the exception of photonic / magnetic sails, which are impractically low thrust for interplanetary travel.

You have it backwards: the longer the distance, the better option solar sails are, since low constant acceleration means the yacht will eventually overtake the dragster. It's in the short-distance travel - like Earth to Moon - where sharp but short acceleration shines. Amd of course you need it to get off from the planetary surface, at least for now.

Of course, all this is ignoring the possibility of revolutionary new materials. There's no theoretical reason why a solar sail couldn't generate the 1+g of thrust needed to lift from Earth's surface, it would simply have to be very strong and light, perhaps made from carbon nanotubes or even plain graphene sheets.

Comment: Re:Already gone (Score 1) 304

by ultranova (#48168669) Attached to: Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

Psychological bullying that leads to things like rape or slavery are not that uncommon. There have been cases of modern day slavery where people were not physically restrained or abused but none the less felt unable to leave and worked for free, sometimes for years.

You just described minimum wage employment, and we as a society have already decided that's awesome as long as the exploiter goes through the motions to let us pretend it's voluntary. So we probably shouldn't be surprised that some people drop the mask of civility, nor shocked of the grinning skull beneath.

But you have to admit, a system that makes the slaves compete for wearing chains while repeating slogans about freedom is pure evil genius, farcical as it might be.

As for relationships, it's a well established pattern for people to stay with abusive partners even after they become violent. It's just as bad when the abuse is psychological, and just as much rape.

As bad, yes, but even harder to prove.

Comment: Re:To their defense (Score 1) 314

Call me all the names you want, but I saved 10% and you didn't. I can't be caught or punished. I submit that the system is stupid, not me.

The system is built around the assumption that most people aren't sociopaths and take into account effects besides their individual interests. This is a reasonable assumption, because no system can survive the majority of its members being sociopaths. So your submission is incorrect.

You're also incorrect about not being capable of being caught. Of course you can be; all it'll take is one of those contractors being caught and ratting you out. Even more likely your punishment will arrive in the form of shady contractors doing substandard job, for which you have no ability to seek relief without exposing yourself.

But ultimately it doesn't matter. Every organism has some amount of parasitic load. Why would memetic ones, such as Finland, be different? Keep boasting of being a sufficiently insignificant flea to go unnoticed if that's the most impressive thing about you.

Comment: Re:Already gone (Score 3, Insightful) 304

by ultranova (#48153717) Attached to: Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

So, are you saying that it's OK to rape and beat your wife as long as you don't leave marks?

And absent signs of physical trauma, you won't believe it happened?

Absent signs of physical trauma, do you have any kind of evidence it happened? If not, why would you automatically believe a person has committed a heinous crime just on another person's word? Malice is equal opportunity.

Violence leaves marks that can be examined, but it's not in general possible to determine afterwards whether someone consented or not. It's bat that a criminal might walk free, but it's also bad that an innocent might not. If you have a solution to this situation, do feel free to share.

Scientists will study your brain to learn more about your distant cousin, Man.