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Comment: Re:Its been done (Score 1) 405

by swillden (#47709115) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

I don't have a link handy, but a group (from Stanford, IIRC) did it as a study, rather than to make a point. They found that by driving slow (perhaps even below the speed limit) in a line, they could fix traffic jams. Not because of anything to do with speed limits, but rather just the dynamics of heavy traffic which can cause self-perpetuating jams, even though there is actually plenty of road capacity, no obstructions, etc. By creating a moving roadblock for a few miles and creating a gap that allowed the jam to unjam, they could quickly get traffic flowing smoothly.

Comment: Re:you must not have done well in math class (Score 1) 211

by swillden (#47707713) Attached to: Figuring Out Where To Live Using Math

Maybe because places that don't have a problem with crime in the first place don't care about making laws to restrict access to weapons?

Perhaps. Assuming you're right, it leaves open the question of whether the restrictions actually affect the level of violence and in what direction. The assumption of the cities with high violence and tight restrictions is that the restrictions reduce violence. Though that assumption seems logical, history calls it into question. For example, both DC and Chicago saw massive increases in violence after they enacted their draconian restrictions. The rest of the country also saw rising violence at the same time, but nowhere near in the same degree. So perhaps the city leaders were prescient, saw the coming wave of violence and acted to mitigate it, or perhaps their action actually exacerbated it. Or maybe the restrictions made no difference at all.

My money is on restrictions increasing the violence, mainly because the restrictions only affect the law-abiding, which gives criminals an advantage, and eliminates their single biggest worry (per FBI studies, in which violent criminals overwhelmingly report that their biggest fear when committing a crime is that the target might be armed). We'll get a chance to see over the next few years, since DC and Chicago have been forced by the courts to loosen their restrictions dramatically.

Comment: Re:Oh really... (Score 4, Insightful) 121

by afidel (#47706807) Attached to: Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board

They're already the second largest Iaas provider after Amazon (EC2 vs Azure) and the second largest business Saas provider after Salesforce (SF vs Office365/Dynamics cloud). As they cloudify more of their offerings they'll be able to capture plenty of revenue from mobile, and since they'll actually be eating their own dogfood their tools for large customers should get better and more and more small customers will just host with them.

Comment: Re:Another take on the matter... (Score 1) 354

by Remus Shepherd (#47696633) Attached to: Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

Nope. From the article, the looters were chanting that they believed Ebola was a scam. They do not believe it exists. So they're not going to bother trying to sterilize the objects stolen or 'purge' the infected. They're going to treat them as if they're going to get better. But they won't, and now the entire neighborhood is vulnerable to the disease.

Comment: Re:Expert?? (Score 4, Interesting) 431

by swillden (#47695381) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

The misogyny arises from the implied assumption that the woman is just the object of men's desire, that she has no will of her own or ability to act, except to comply with the wishes of whichever man reaches her. The story doesn't actually say any of that, but it is pretty strongly implied. There's also the implication that the physicist and engineer are male, but that's the lesser issue.

It's interesting to note that merely reversing the gender roles in the story causes the perceived problem to disappear, but doesn't address the real issue. This is because it's not the story itself that implies the misogyny, but the cultural subtext, and since that subtext assumes that men are actors and initiators that the man has decided to go along with the game. You can truly eliminate the problem by modifying the story to make the woman the organizer of the little game, which puts all three on equal footing. She's acting by setting the scenario up, the men are acting by deciding whether or not they wish to participate and if so, how.

The difference is subtle, but such subtle, unconscious biases in many different areas can and do often combine into significant -- though often completely unintentional -- bias against women.

As an aside, when we speak of the "objectification" of women, the original use of that word in that context means not object as in "thing", but object as in "direct object", from grammatical structure. The objectified person is one who is always acted upon rather than acting upon others. This story clearly indicates both meanings of the word: The woman in the story is an object of desire, in this case sexual. That's actually perfectly fine. Men and women both can be objects of sexual desire, and as long as the desire doesn't translate into unwelcome advances or into other negative effects, everyone appreciates being thought desirable. But the woman is also and object upon which the physicist or engineer will get to enact their will, and her will isn't relevant. That is the way in which objectification is negative.

Revising the story to make the woman the initiator of the game, while not removing the ability of the physicist and engineer to choose, makes all of the participants actors and none of them pure objects.

Comment: Re:Actually... (Score 1) 115

by swillden (#47692791) Attached to: No, a Huge Asteroid Is Not "Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth In 2880"

Everything I've read said it's very unlikely to hit Earth in 2880. One chance in three hundred does not "likely" make.

On the other hand, 1 in 300 is pretty close to the chance of a Straight coming up without a Draw....

If we can't figure out a way to reduce that probability to approximately zero sometime in the next 866 years, we deserve to get smashed.

Comment: Re:Switch to linux / OsX. (Score 5, Insightful) 318

by swillden (#47688275) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

Which will last exactly as long as it isn't profitable to make a virus for it. If everyone swapped to a certain distro of Linux, I'd be willing to bet you'd have major problems within a week.

Actually, compromised Linux systems are in high demand because they make great botnet command and control servers. They're far more valuable than a compromised Windows box.

Also, the assumption behind your assertion is easily demonstrated to be untrue. MacOS had major virus problems, in spite of being much less popular than Windows. OS X has almost no viruses, in spite of being much more popular than MacOS. Android is a great case study: The dominant Android versions, using the Google Play store only, have no significant virus problems, while the much, much less popular Chinese devices have lots. iOS, of course, has basically none, and it's a far more attractive and profitable target than Chinese Android devices. It's less popular than mainstream Android, but given the demographics of the platforms is probably more attractive.

Market share has basically nothing to do with vulnerability to malware.

Comment: Re:Just red tape? (Score 1) 139

by afidel (#47687235) Attached to: Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry

The AP1000 is a worldwide design, and Westinghouse is going to use parts of the supply chain from China for plants around the world (like just about everything else more complicated than a bread box). My point was that they've managed to supply all of the parts for the Chinese facilities very close to on time so the delays are not with Westinghouse, they're with the US based construction contractors.

Comment: Re:you must not have done well in math class (Score 2) 211

by swillden (#47687183) Attached to: Figuring Out Where To Live Using Math

Of the top ten States in terms of strictest gun laws, 7 have the lowest number of gun deaths.

You know when gun deaths were really low? Before guns were invented. The homicide rate, however, was about an order of magnitude higher than it is now.

Your statement is true, but utterly irrelevant to the question of where the safest places to live are. Does it matter what weapon is used to kill you? Or rob you or, rape you, or... Of course it doesn't. You have fallen victim to (or else are disingenuously pushing, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're foolish, not malicious) to a very clever stratagem pushed by advocates of gun control: Focusing only on gun crime and ignoring other crime.

The statistic that matters isn't the number of gun deaths, it's the number of homicides, assaults, rapes, robberies, etc., total. And on any one of those scales, those states with strict gun laws don't do particularly well. To make them look good you have to do exactly what you did: arbitrarily exclude much of the violence.

Comment: Re:cant even get the keyboard right on their lapto (Score 1) 93

by swillden (#47687149) Attached to: Not Just For ThinkPads Anymore: Lenovo Gets OK To Buy IBM Server Line

Touch pads have however always been the weakpoint of thinkpads.

I'll never know. The very first thing I do when I get a new Thinkpad is to disable the touchpad on it completely. The trackpoint is greatly superior to any touchpad, even an Apple touchpad.

Comment: Re:Just red tape? (Score 1) 139

by afidel (#47686005) Attached to: Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry

Part of the problem is that the infrastructure and supply paths for constructing nuclear plants has to be re-constituted as no plants have been built for quite some time.

Not really, the first two AP1000 are basically finished in China, only about 9 months behind the original schedule whereas these US plants are looking to be about 4 years behind the original schedule. I have to assume it's the typical contractor issue where there's plenty of money to be made being part of the problem.

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340