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Comment: Not so sure (Score 1) 193

by argStyopa (#49752613) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

It's very trendy to say "When it comes to risk assessment, there's one type that humans are notoriously bad at: the very low-frequency but high-consequence risks and rewards" but I'm not so sure that's true?

These kind of talks seemingly always look at risk/reward calculations as symmetric, which they very abundantly aren't.

The fact is that people are extraordinarily conservative when it comes to the rare-risk, high-cost cases, but rather daring when it comes to rare-but-high-reward cases because, well, we're alive and we'd rather stay that way. A 0.000001% chance that you and everyone dies *should* be regarded far more seriously than a similar chance you win a big pile of cash because one of those situations you survive either way.

Nota Bene: I don't play the lottery; well, I did play it ONCE, recognizing that my odds of winning were the highest possible with that one play, and only decrease from there.

Comment: Re:Not getting the whole story..... (Score 1) 367

At our school, staff and volunteers are banned from taking anything home that has children's names on it like seating charts, absent logs, or even track schedules. It has something to do with the kids being minors.

So teachers can't take homework home to grade (has students' names on it)? No one can take home a yearbook (names AND photos, oh my!)? School newspapers (has bylines)? And so forth...

Comment: Re:Ha ha ha ha..... (Score 1) 817

by argStyopa (#49748183) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

And to believe that "The purpose of a cigarette tax is to either impose a penalty or to pay for public treatment for the resulting negative externalities " speaks of a naivete of government in general.

The more people want/need something, the more the government recognizes that is a revenue proposition; and in the US if you can make it a "sin" tax with just a whiff of punitivity, all the better.

Comment: PUBLIC school (Score 2) 367

by ichthus (#49746443) Attached to: Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos
The article isn't clear on this, and I'm too lazy to google the school, but it looks like this is a taxpayer-funded, public school. And, the sporting events look an awful lot like public performances. No privacy violation and, since the school is not [supposed to be] a for-profit corporation, no rights can be claimed on the photos.

Comment: Ah, good play (Score 2) 95

by argStyopa (#49739501) Attached to: Do Russian Uranium Deals Threaten World Supply Security?

Make sure the discussion is about whether this is dangerous to the world uranium supply (it isn't), and not about the president/presidential candidate team that took $millions$ from one of the USs main geopolitical opponents to secure said deal.

90% of magic is making sure the audience is looking where you want them to be looking.

Comment: Ha ha ha ha..... (Score 2, Insightful) 817

by argStyopa (#49736037) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

...you didn't REALLY think that by driving your electric or hybrid car that you were going to permanently somehow avoid the government's rapacious tax-addiction, did you?

It's just like the cigarette taxes or any of the 'sin' taxes: they've worked so hard to get people to stop smoking, they are suddenly realizing they're losing revenue.

There's no question that we need to pay taxes for the roads we drive on.
Formerly, the connection between general road use and gasoline was irrefutable; now they need another mechanism.

Comment: Re: Affirmative Action (Score 1) 527

by Dread_ed (#49733127) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

I agree with your points regarding police and their misuse of power, the social repercussions of our destructive over-prosecution and incarceration systems, and even that minorities (and especially black people) have suffered from restrictions on housing, access to medical care, and educational opportunities.
However, I differ in opinion to the reasons why.
Let's approach this semi-Socratically and start with a question: why is it even remotely arguable that our country's first black president can be said to have done more for, and tried harder to pander to, illegal residents of this country than he has for our own black citizens?
Another question: why are the republicans fielding presidential candidates that are supporting amnesty for illegal aliens when conventional wisdom paints them all as racist pigs who hate Mexicans?
I believe the answer to these questions is directly related to the reason why black Americans continue to suffer in our country. Namely this, when a group remains flexible in their political approach and support, they will have the advantage of participating in and reaping the benefits of the political policies generated by both the democrats and the republicans. However, when a group remains singlemindedly dedicated to one party, either the democrats or the republicans, and is antagonistic toward the other, their ability to maintain meaningful representation and to effectively influence the political landscape is destroyed.
Just look at Christian religious groups and individuals in the U.S. In the past they had great control over both parties. Now as the faithful lapdog of the republicans, they get to watch while their Armageddon approaches. Gay marriage and rights legislation are passing in state after state, and even some of their republican leaders are beginning to entertain the idea of coming out for gay rights.
Similarly, black Americans have watched as their infrastructure, business opportunities, and educational prospects have dwindled to the point of permanent subclass status, all under the care and feeding of the democrats they elected and that overwhelmingly control the ghettoized landscapes where they are increasingly forced to live. They watch as their children are undereducated and let their leaders prevent any competition in their school systems and make underperfomring teachers impossible to fire. They see businesses retreat from their neighborhoods in droves, and continue to elect candidates who raise taxes on business. They vote in leaders that offer social programs, instead of economic opportunity.
And who can blame either party for taking these people for granted? These black peoples and religious zealots are almost exactly the same. They have proven time and time again that they will sacrifice their personal integrity, compromise their beliefs and ethics, and whore themselves without reservation to their dedicated political party, regardless of the abuse and distain they are treated with, without a care for what those parties do to their closely held beliefs, and without a thought for the future of their progeny.
So, let's contrast the Hispanic voting block with the two sad-sacks I just mentioned. They appear similar to both groups actually. Religious, maybe even overwhelmingly so to some. A minority with a history of abuse and disenfranchisement. No outright slavery in their past, but if you knew how hard undocumented produce workers had to labor for less than minimum wage and with no benefits, well it's hardly above slavery at that point. And yet, here we have two parties competing for their vote. They haven't thrown their hat in one ring and started the aggressively self-enforced indoctrination of their children and peers toward one party, punishing those who dare to be different with ostracism, vituperation, and even violence. Hell no man! They are doin it right, esse! They have both parties eating out of their hand, offering them everything they want. I mean really, our first black president decided to (ostensibly) violate the freaking constitution, defy congress to their face, and singlehandedly stand up for millions of illegal aliens by wielding his presidential power like no one has ever done before. But when asked about the plight of African-Americans that led to the recent riots, he totally cops out with a lame ass excuse, saying it can only be fixed if everyone wants to fix it, and everyone has to work together or nothing will happen; and people fucking accept that shit?
So, as you can see, I feel expressly that these points are all data leading to the conclusion that political devotion Is political suicide. Make both parties vie for your affection and you can have just about anything you want.
  Need more proof? Look up all of the vastly successful companies that donate money to both parties. They get everything they want.

Comment: Re:Gerrymandering (Score 2, Insightful) 601

by argStyopa (#49725331) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

Nice try, but Republicans have been the minority since they were a party. Your "they just gerrymandered" their way to success can't logically explain their regular ~50% success at the polls.

Their success electorally has to do with the fact that they're generally (until the relatively-recent evangelical swarm) the party of grownups who have jobs & families, understand cause/effect, understand TAANSTAFL, and participate much more deliberately in the political process.

This is not to assert - as you have - that "only one party" does it. Hardly; both parties routinely and aggressively gerrymander whenever they have the chance. In fact, you might want to check your etymology: the very WORD "gerrymander" came from Gov Elbridge Gerry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... - a Democratic-Republican (whose party's spiritual descendant are today's Democrats).

And in terms of future opportunities, I have to say that it's obvious the current GOP leadership are deeply incompetent, as you're right, they have missed the ability to connect with potential hispanic voters who "should be" natural Republicans with their religiosity, hard-work ethic, and general conservatism. If the GOP leadership does at some point wake up to this, I wouldn't be terrified for the future of the GOP.

Comment: mistaken parallels (Score 3, Interesting) 284

by argStyopa (#49717559) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

The article dismisses the significant difference between the auto industry and the computer industry: if your computer is a piece of crap, it's just some lost $. (ie the only thing lost is some money and perhaps time). If your car is badly made, it can quite easily kill you and your family in a host of interesting ways.

This means that buyer conservatism is high, and willingness to 'experiment' is extremely low.

You'll notice in similar industries where computer equipment is of comparable mission-critical role, they are likewise extremely slow to adopt "the next big thing" and nothing like the 'retail' electronics marketplace.

So no, the automotive industry won't behave anything like the retail electronics market. Not at all.

Comment: Re:Oh shut up (Score 5, Insightful) 769

Oh stop.
To suggest that being dismissive of some wuss whinging about a MAD MAX movie contributing to the gynocracy somehow means that I would therefore not care about a son (or anyone) being falsely accused of rape is the sort of histrionics that one might have, 60 years ago, attributed to an overreacting woman.

I'm not saying that the militant feminism hasn't gone too far (it has, but I submit that's symptomatic of the overwhelming force of political correctness generally, actually). What I'm saying is:

I directly dispute our culture's determination that "anything the feminine way" is the "right" way and anything "the male way" is some sort of pathology that needs to be corrected ASAP.

Part of classical masculinity is, to me:
- if shit bothers you, you go fix it, you don't piss and moan over the fence to other people trying to gin up sympathy.
- lead by doing, not by "calling" for leadership
- there's nothing wrong with feeling emotions; there are places where displaying them is ridiculous or inappropriate
- be strong; understand some shit is trivial and not worth regarding. You give it power by whinging about it.
- understand that you are not a special snowflake
- you deserve only the respect you earn ...none of these are exemplified by men crying about the latest Mad Max film.

Comment: Dubious calculations (Score 2) 72

Your prodigious display of math is all for naught since you've essentially proved 1=2.

I grew up in the early 60's when sonic booms were part of the background along with Duck and Cover. Nuclear war was just around the corner, or so we thought, and jets routinely generated sonic booms. Sometimes they'd sound like distant thunder and other times they'd rattle the house. Those were far louder, and more objectionable, than your putative 10 mph breeze.

Thankfully, they tapered off towards the end of the 60's as the Air Force realized people *really* didn't like being rattled and those same people objected to Congress. Since the later controlled the budget, the Air Force cut back on high speed overflight over the cities.

Booms weren't just domestic issues. NOVA interviewed a British Consul who was sitting in a tent in the Middle East discussing trade issues with his Middle Eastern counterparts. The Concorde flies overhead and the resultant boom startled all the conferees. The Consul said one of the men pointed at the sky and said "Concorde." at which point the Consul realized another trade issue had just been raised.

Some of those booms were anything but quiet and they sure weren't FUD as you assert.

Comment: Tell you what (Score 1) 616

by argStyopa (#49711961) Attached to: Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

Let's let all that "content" that is solely ad-fueled die, and we'll see what's left?

See, because I think that's pure bullshit. No, let me amend that: it's bullshit for all the content that's worth seeing.

Because, see, anyone that SELLS anything is going to see the value in connecting to customers more easily and conveniently - ergo, those sites will pay for themselves.
All the hobby sites, where Billy & friends post their dungeons and dragons house rules, well, they'll still do it because they love it.

Media sites, like say popularmechanics.com, etc have the implicit 'trade' that is the same as their physical publication: enjoy our content, and we'll trade your viewership eyeballs for ad revenue. No problem there.

The bulk of the rest of sites "fueled by ads" are none of these. ehow? Fucking worthless. Ads shoveled to me on amazon? Ebay? BN.com? I'll block those, because I'm already paying them for a service in the price of the goods; if they can't support their mechanisms on that, then too bad, they die. (I suspect that they can, and ad-revenue is just another profit-mechanism.) Huffpost? Fuck off, I'd rather read my news from actual news organizations than some shitty aggregator reposting crap.

So no, I think the things that I "need" from the web already have payment mechanisms built into their models. The rest either are labors of love or can die, and I rather suspect we'll be better off.

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine

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