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Comment Re:Solution? (Score 4, Insightful) 124

To some degree yes, but there are still satirical works of literature throughout history such as Swift's A Modest Proposal that would pose a similar problem. The problem in understanding sarcasm or satire without the visual or vocal cues relates to understanding meaning (a difficult problem in its own right) as well as why a particular response is absurd given the context, which means you also have to know what the expected or typical answer should look like.

For example, if people were discussing world hunger online and someone proposed a solution whereby half of the starving ate the other half, which would not only reduce their hunger, but would also effectively cut the problem size in half, most people would pick up on the sarcasm because the proposed solution is utterly absurd. Cannibalism isn't a typical answer to food shortages.

Other techniques involve detecting flawed logic or intentionally faulty reasoning which is often used in sarcasm or satire. For example, if someone posits that eliminating gasoline taxes would lead to flying cars due to a deterioration and lack of upkeep on roads necessitating alternatives for traversing them, most people would again recognize that an illogical leap has been made.

An interesting way of going about this might be to study how people with autism spectrum disorders process information as many of those individuals often lack the ability to detect or fully process sarcasm or satire, even in the presence of visual or auditory cues. Understanding why that happens or by what mechanism other individuals are able to process that information correctly could allow us to understand how to program computers to detect sarcasm. I

Comment Re:Why not overseas .... (Score 1) 143

Actually it would only drive more demand for automation. Putting up protectionist trade barriers (which is inevitably make it harder for us to export our goods) isn't going to make industrialists magically hire Americans back. Instead companies will seek to find ways to replace that labor and we're back to square one again. We're already heading in that direction anyways, but there's just less incentive to do so when you can get cheap foreign labor.

Protectionist policies might give a temporary increase in jobs, but it will also make the country collectively poorer. The only time protectionism makes sense is in response to foreign government subsidization of industry that leads to an uneven playing field. Otherwise if some other country can do something more efficiently or less expensively, it's better to let them do so and let local industry find markets where they can out-compete other countries.

If we want to increase employment in the U.S. we need to find ways to make it easier for people to start new businesses to replace the ones that we've lost.

Comment Re:How do they know (Score 3, Insightful) 86

That's an interesting thought. I wonder if someone could legally change their name to something else, say a person running for election for example, and then invoke their right to be forgotten to completely torpedo all traces of that candidate for a few days in order to throw an election. A bit far-fetched, but I am somewhat curious as to how well it would work out.

I guess someone with a common name could test this out just to see if it removes results for other people as well.

Comment Re:Just a thought... (Score 1) 277

To be fair, I mostly meant the comment in a tongue-in-cheek way. It's pretty absurdest given the post I replied to as well as the jab about it being due to feminist men, so I was expecting people to mod it funny, but instead it received troll (and that's kind of fair in itself) or insightful mods because everyone (including yourself) seems to be too wrapped up in this to take a step back and laugh at a bit of humor.

Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: That's not funny you misogynist!

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 4, Insightful) 158

People are just horrible at fully imagining all of the negative consequences of their actions. We tend to have an optimistic view and tunnel in on how greats things will be when everything goes according to plan instead of thinking about all of the ways our plans might fail. It's a large part of the reason why things are rarely done on time or within budget.

Comment Re:Is this potentially a "real" legal definition? (Score 2) 57

Zika may not be responsible for the microcephaly cases in Brazil. Colombia is reporting no occurrences or indications of problems despite a large number of pregnant women being diagnosed with the Zika virus. I don't know if it's a relief that Zika may not be as bad as feared or if we should be more worried that we don't know what was responsible for the problems in Brazil.

I don't think we have enough data on the Zika virus yet to fully understand what's going on or if it's just one particular strain that is causing these problems.

Comment Re:Damn that Dell premium (Score 2) 73

Is there much of a big difference in terms of what you get? The only real advantage is ECC RAM support for Xeon processors, otherwise the usual higher system memory limitations or dual-socket advantages don't come into play with a notebook. I suppose the Xeon doesn't waste silicon on integrated graphics if you're going to get a professional grade GPU in the system, but that also means more power draw even if you're not actively using the discrete GPU for any purpose beyond driving the display.

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 4, Insightful) 538

I tend to lean towards free market policies, but given the attacks on personal liberties that most other candidates have come out in favor of, I'll take economic policies I don't like if it means the government won't by spying on me. Sanders doesn't have the best record as far as I'm concerned when it comes to second amendment rights, but he's not as bad as a lot of Democrats. If nothing else, Sanders seems reasonable enough that he won't just shove whatever crap the big corporations, unions, or his party is pushing.

Aligning yourself with a political party and not being able to look outside of it is fucking stupid no matter who you are. It's a large part of the reason we've ended up with so many shitty candidates and such bitter partisan politics where things largely fall along party lines.

Comment Re:Just a thought... (Score 2, Insightful) 277

Another explanation (at least according to github) is that white women are some of the biggest barriers to progress.

Perhaps it is simply the result of men being good feminists and rejecting pull requests from women in order to promote greater diversity and inclusion in tech. I don't know if the authors of the study also factored in race to their data analysis though.

Comment Re:And there was much rejoicing! (Score 3, Interesting) 538

I wouldn't necessarily cheer. If all of her supporters (only about 4% in NH, and even less in Iowa) went to the candidate you liked least of the remaining and it was close enough to put them in a position to win, you probably would prefer that she stay in the race. Though it this case it's not like it really matters much as the rest of the Republican candidates are so unappealing I'd rather vote for a self-described Socialist than any of the remaining Republican plonkers. At least Sanders is honest (for a politician anyway), but it remains to be seen if he'll get his party's nomination as the establishment seems bent on backing Clinton.

Comment Re:oh ffs already (Score 3, Insightful) 277

It's a research study. If you have a problem with how the research was conducted or believe that the conclusions which have been drawn from the study are erroneous or the result of a particular methodological flaw feel free to point it out. Dismissing scientific results on the basis that you don't like them or people are using it for some political narrative isn't reasonable.

Also, it doesn't look like anyone here is calling for diversity quotas or any other particular action. I'm sure some people will use this to point out why company X needs some program or some such stuff, but take umbrage with them or their policy, not the scientists who made an observation.

Comment Re:Django killed Ruby on Rails and Node.js. (Score 1) 19

I have slightly different experiences, but I'm not a web developer so this is more of a one off remark.

I ended up getting handed a website some years ago that someone else had done using Django and that was in need of some updates. The version of Django it was using was completely out of date and there were some major changes to the API in between that and the newest stable version which broke a lot of the old site. It was pretty easy to use, but lack of support for a smooth upgrade path was a major pain in the ass and it was easier just to rewrite the whole things from scratch than to muck with fixing all the problems. Conceptually it wasn't that much different from Rails, which I'd previously toyed with one just to see what the fuss was about, but Python is infinitely preferable to Ruby in my opinion so it does have that going for it.

Hopefully they've got a fairly stable API by now, because I'd hate to use it if they're still tweaking things that break backwards compatibility. Perhaps there was something better I could have done at the time, but I wasn't turning up anything online so it seemed like a rewrite was in order. Fairly easy to use, but changing the API and essentially breaking old code left a bad taste in my mouth.

Comment Re:export energy? (Score 2) 280

Assuming the output of the plant is relatively fixed throughout the year and the power use isn't (there's some variance in a lot of places depending on the season) there may be times when there's excess capacity that can be sold. It's also possible for them to expand and add additional power plants to the existing grid. I'm assuming they've got some of the better land for solar in terms of efficiency, so it makes more sense to put the production there if the transmission losses aren't excessive. In that case it makes sense to start developing the market and infrastructure now so that when they do build additional plants, the ability to export already exists.

Also, even if they could use all of the power internally, comparative advantage might dictate that it's better to sell some of it in order to import goods that would be even more costly for Morocco to make locally.

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Mathematics is the only science where one never knows what one is talking about nor whether what is said is true. -- Russell