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Comment: Re:Maybe you should have read more than one senten (Score 0) 264

Whether or not something is morally right or not doesn't change the fact that it may not be a really bad idea given the reality of the situation.

I doubt that even you would decide to walk alone through a bad neighborhood at night while advertising that you have valuable items in your possession. In an ideal world there wouldn't be a problem with that, but we don't live in such a world. The people who will do you harm do not care about your rights, the morality of the act, or your feelings on the matter.

As a rational individual you should be able to recognize that many other individuals are not moral based on your definitions and that it's utterly, utterly foolish of you to suspect them to act in accordance with your moral code. So while you might argue that it would be wrong for you to be accosted on the street at night and deprived of your property, you still know damned well that you shouldn't put it to the test. If you knowingly do something foolish, you'll have a hard to convincing people that you're completely blameless in the matter.

Pontificating on the matter doesn't actually do anything to address the problem, regardless of how sound your principles may be. I'd rather avoid bad situations entirely than worrying about attributing blame after the fact.

Comment: Re:Easy as 1-2-3 (Score 1) 264

by alvinrod (#49336535) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple
Perhaps this was true at a time when Apple's user base was rather small, but they're shipping hundreds of millions of phones and far, far more computers than they ever had before. In the U.S. they have something near a 50% market share for smart phone purchases. Calling it a cult at that point seems more than a little disingenuous.

Comment: Re:wikipedia have not only messed that (Score 3, Interesting) 264

If Wikipedia wants more women to contribute, they really need to change the way that it works. All too often a single person will essentially take control of a page and reject any other contributions (and even improvements) from other people. That kind of adversarial behavior isn't something that most women tend to like working around. Even if their efforts to promote women to join are successful, I don't think it will have any long-term success as they, like many others will run into some asshole that won't work collaboratively.

Wikipedia really needs to change the way it operates and remove the ability for individuals to monopolize and control a page. I think if they moved to a system where multiple editors would work together to collaboratively make changes to a page over several weeks before pushing out the changes to the live version. While that isn't going to eliminate the petty squabbles, it at least results in a less hostile environment that prevents one power-tripping idiot from reverting all of your changes and trying to ban you.

Pandering to women while keeping the same environment that has been shown to drive so many women away isn't going to fix the problem. It's just trying to slap a band-aid on top of a gaping wound. Worse, it's a waste of resources that could otherwise be spent actually addressing the underlying cause of the problem.

Comment: Re:Anyone who believes Wikipedia (Score 1) 264

I think it really demonstrates the importance of having those independent sources (even if a few of them are going to be cranks or pure propaganda) simply because if there's only a single source of information, it becomes trivial to control perceptions. It also suggests that Wikipedia needs to do a better job at fact checking, which is difficult given how many power users treat certain articles like their own little kingdoms and actively prevent others from changing them.

It's a noble goal to provide information freely to those who might not otherwise have access, but it also means that there's a responsibility to ensure that the information you're giving to these individuals is actually good and to ensure that those people who would attempt to subvert the platform to twist the truth or to spread lies should be removed from power.

Comment: Re:AI isn't taking over (Score 1) 291

by alvinrod (#49329243) Attached to: Steve Wozniak Now Afraid of AI Too, Just Like Elon Musk
What constitutes "you" though?

The body is constantly churning through most of the cells that it is composed of so it's not as though the sack of meat we occupy is terribly important. Even our unique DNA is unimportant given that we will soon be able to create exact clones based on it, who are also not "us".

We're already a ship of Theseus, so does it really make any difference if we slowly replaced our entire brain with artificial parts until we have replaced everything that was originally there so long as the stream of consciousness is uninterrupted? If we can do it gradually over time and still be ourselves, does it really matter if we could instantly accomplish the same?

Comment: Re:discussion (Score 1) 515

by alvinrod (#49329127) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?
It's a terrible metric. The test would pass if a female developer wrote a simple function and other female developer called it somewhere else. The function need not even do anything at all or be in anyway important to the project. The simple function and the call to it may be the only code contributed to the project by those individuals.

Do we get to feel good about our project and pat ourselves on the back for being progressive after passing this test even though it's utterly meaningless?

Any industry which does not appeal to ~half of its prospective workers might want to spend a bit of time trying to figure out why, instead of getting all defensive and blaming everyone and everything else for the issue.

Why? The logging industry isn't likely losing any sleep over the lack of female lumberjacks and I doubt the child daycare industry cares one iota about the lack of male workers. No one seems to be jumping on their backs about any kind of sex-based disparity and trying to shove inane tests like the above down everyone's throat is going to do more harm than good because it just serves to alienate people.

Men and women are inherently different in some aspects and have different interests. That practically guarantees that there are certain jobs, activities, etc. that are going to appeal to one group more than the other. Unless we have a case of blatant (i.e. no women allowed) discrimination, there's no reason to expect that everything will have a perfect 50-50 balance.

Comment: Re:"an act of social provocation"? (Score 2) 367

by alvinrod (#49201303) Attached to: Come and Take It, Texas Gun Enthusiasts (Video)
I think you're missing the point.

The point is that in the very near future, guns will be incredibly easy to manufacture. It does not matter if you ban sales. If someone really wants a gun, they will be able to machine their own, and not too terribly long after that, simply feed a series of instructions into a machine that will create the gun without any required skills on part of the person pushing the button.

The point is that you can't solve crime and gun crime with restrictions in a future where it's easy to get a gun whenever you want one and it's even harder for the government to clamp down on the manufacture and distribution. That will not stop criminals or crazy people who really want to harm others. The point is that you need a good social safety net that can prevent people from turning to crime and provide medical help to people who might express violent tendencies so that they don't go on any kind of rampage.

The funny (tragic) part is that the kind of people who tend to be strongly pro-gun, also tend to be strong against social programs that could prevent a great deal of the violence typically associated with guns.

Comment: Re: Bad move (Score 1) 375

by alvinrod (#49161725) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links
Well "and God said . . ." occurs in book X of the Bible which is a fact. Much like any quote can be a fact in and of itself, even if the content of the quote is of dubious truthfulness or outright incorrect. Never mind websites that are designed around debunking myths or other incorrect information which is contained on the page as a matter of reference.

This is a difficult problem to solve and there are a lot of edge cases that need to be considered to avoid poor rankings.

Comment: Developing Skills (Score 1) 158

by alvinrod (#49147707) Attached to: Invented-Here Syndrome
Sometimes a particular problem has already been solved, but that doesn't mean it's not worth taking the time to code your own solution in order to improve your own abilities and to engage in the kind of thinking necessary to develop algorithms and solve difficult problems. You learn a surprising amount of things when you have to build or implement something yourself as opposed to taking something that already exists.

While there's definitely a business case to be made for using existing solutions, if you're doing something on your own and don't need it immediately, there's no reason why you can't take the time to roll your own code and likely improve your abilities and knowledge in the process.

Comment: Re:Interesing... (Score 4, Insightful) 394

by alvinrod (#49138225) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics
A two party system practically guarantees that any major issues will devolve into a for and against and then basic tribalism takes over and people choose sides not based on merits or evidence, but simply based on which group they belong to. There are even some scientific studies that suggest presenting strong evidence will do little to actually change these beliefs. A lot of people don't care about global warming all that much and only assume a position based on their party ideology.

We need to change the voting system to something that breaks up the two party system. That will remove a lot of the idiotic deadlock over some of these things that should be moved to the non-issue category.

"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy." -- Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards