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Comment: Re:2-Butoxyethanol (Score 1) 191

What I want to know is why they use this shit in fracking at all. I assume it's because it makes the process more efficient -

Yes. The process of disposing of refinery wastes. The reason they don't want you to know precisely what's in their fracking fluids and where they came from is that these compounds are wastes left over from the petroleum refining process, and they are taking this opportunity to dispose of them by injecting them into our aquifers.

It's might be simpler than that.

Part of it might just be trade secrets, your ability to frack profitably is based on your ability to be more efficient than your competitors. Telling them your secret sauce makes that harder to do.

The other part is PR, when people want to criticize you it's easier for them if they have specific compounds to criticize. It doesn't matter if it's as innocuous as dihydrogen monoxide or as toxic as plutonium, if they have a specific label to attach to it they can make it sound bad.

Comment: Re:Hmmm Tasty Whale Tongue (Score 1) 45

Were you trying to say:

"LOL, nei, (th)að var ekki augljóst að "here" ((væri?)) Ísland og að (th)ú værir íslensk. En ((??????)) Google Translate get ég látið eins og hálfviti á tveimur tungumálum. Ef gert er ráð fyrir auðvitað að Slashdot ((sé ekki að flækja Unicodeið?))"

That is:

"LOL, no, it wasn't clear that here is Iceland and that you were were Icelandic. But (????) Google Translate I can come across like an idiot in two languages. If one assumes of course that Slashdot isn't screwing up the Unicode"?

Comment: Re:Hmmm Tasty Whale Tongue (Score 1) 45

I'll reiterate: People here think it's a ridiculous product. The page is stupid marketing to foreigners. Yes, there are separate accent and apostrophe keys (in case you're curious, here's what an Icelandic keyboard layout looks like). Hákarl (the fermented shark you refer to) isn't eaten commonly, it's actually fairly rarely eaten (though some people do like it). Most of the foods you'd consider weird are rarely consumed, like sheep heads, skate, etc, often associated with a particular festival or whatnot. Probably the only things you'd find weird that are eaten fairly commonly are horse and fish jerky (harðfiskur). Lamb is commonly eaten here but you probably wouldn't find that weird. We also have a lot of dairy products you don't have but I don't think you'd find most of them that weird. Anyway, probably the most commonly-eaten food here is pizza ;) Hamburgers and hotdogs are common too (though our hotdogs are made of lamb).

Whale is eaten here but rarely. Nearly half of the catch consumed in Iceland is eaten by tourists (a large percentage of which, I should add, come from America). Also I'm continually surprised by the percentage of Americans who criticize Iceland for whaling but don't know that America whales too, and no small amount (producing thousands of tonnes of whale meat per year). Yes, they're "natives" whaling, but 1) it's no less traditional for Icelanders to whale than it is for Alaskan natives, 2) Alaskan natives use modern equipment for whaling too, including chasing them down in speedboats, killing them with modern equipment, and dragging them on shore with backhoes; and 3) Alaskan whales end up no less dead than Icelandic ones. None of the Icelandic whale populations are threatened.

Anyone who wants to discourage whaling over here, a few tips.

One, don't come out with the self-righteous stuff, because it doesn't fly. Not only does the US whale too, but receiving lectures on morality from a country where a majority of the population supports torture and who engages in all sorts of obscene human rights abuses and whose domestic livestock are mostly raised in factory farms in horrible conditions doesn't exactly come across well.

Secondly, know that any overt pressure is just going to cause backlash, and the more overt, the more the backlash. Many of you may see for example Paul Watson as a hero. Here he's seen as a ecoterrorist; he literally sent people in to sink ships right in the public harbour. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to distance yourself from these sort of people. You don't make friends by talking up people who come in and wreck up the place.

Third, understand the local perspective. It's not only that they've been eaten traditionally since Iceland was settled (indeed, the word for "beached whale" also means "jackpot" or "godsend", because in the old days it could mean the difference between life or death for a whole town). It's that they live free out in the open ocean, growing up their whole lives unhindered by man (except when, say, a NATO ship uses a super-powerful anti-sub sonar in the area or whatnot :P), living a pretty much idyllic life - and a single whale provides a vast amount of meat. Meanwhile, pigs for example - also highly intelligent animals - grow up in horrible squalid conditions in many of the countries that criticize Iceland .

Fourth, there are actual arguments you can make that have effect, and have on their own been discouraging whale consumption - but which foreigners who oppose whaling rarely make. Probably the foremost of these is the health issue. Whales, being top predators, tend to have dangerously high levels of heavy metal and organic pollutant contamination. If you want to make someone feel uncomfortable about eating whale meat, point out how much mercury and lead they're eating in that serving. There are also lesser arguments you can make that may or may not have effects on the person, depending on the individual - intelligence (but you better be well versed in the scientific literature, unbacked claims won't fly), for example, or how long it takes a whale to die versus other types of animals slaughtered for meat - but depending on the person, that may or may not be seen as a good argument. But the toxin contamination issue will have an effect on pretty much everyone.

(also, realize that not everyone here eats whale at all, and most people who do eat it only rarely)

Lastly, focus on the tourists. They come in for just a couple days and yet a large chunk of them order whale while they're here. Many of them oppose whaling back home, but it's as if when they come here their strict "morality" goes out the door, in the interest of "trying new things". I don't think they realize that they eat such a large percentage of the Icelandic catch, or that they somehow disconnect from where the meat comes from. There's a campaign here called "Meet Us, Don't Eat Us", encouraging whale watching instead of eating whale meat, and I think that's a very good strategy. The whale watching industry is economic counterpressure to the whaling industry.

(As a side note - I say all of this as a vegetarian).

Comment: Re:The Curve on Academic Courses (Score 1) 294

by quantaman (#49621645) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

On academic programming courses - of which I've taught on many - the grade distribution is definitely bimodal and there is a clear gap between those who can and those who can't. Of course, there is variance among those who can but the difference is largely that those who can largely get better whilst those who can't never get even get it.

There does seem to be people who are permanently clueless but I suspect you're also seeing a limitation/feature of the academic setting.

If you are in fact teaching them something then things that were difficult at the start of the course will become easy at the end, in some cases you could even take a student who finished the course one semester and have them TA the next. But when you get into industry you've filtered out everyone who can't, at that point I find a lot of the remaining variance has to do with experience and motivation.

Comment: Re:A year later (Score 1) 281

by LordLimecat (#49621085) Attached to: Ubuntu 15.04 Received Well By Linux Community

You seem to think that anyone who thinks the complaints are overblown are part of some systemd fanclub.

Im not a full-time linux admin, Im just an observer noting that Red Hat and Debian retain their customer base despite the complaints that systemd is ruining the world, and we havent heard widespread reports of systemd induced system failures. That kind of makes me think that the complaints are vastly overstated and that the drama is unnecessary.

If things really are that bad with systemd, I would have expected to see a new, highly popular distro pop up in the last several months (or in the next few months) that blows Red Hat and Debian away-- or perhaps to see CentOS split off and do their own thing. We arent seeing that, which again makes me question the "sky is falling" claims.

Comment: Re:A year later (Score 1) 281

by LordLimecat (#49621055) Attached to: Ubuntu 15.04 Received Well By Linux Community

If every major garage company started making garages a certain way, and a handful of people on some garage enthusiast forums started complaining that they were doing it completely wrong and the engineering priciniples sucked, I might be a little skeptical. Because, you know, if that were true, you'd have a few outcomes:

  1) there would be widespread reports of the failures of said garage engineering principles
  2) those companies would start losing customers en masse
  3) a new competitor eschewing those changes would pop up and become incredibly popular as they gave people what they wanted.

Im not seeing that happen with systemd, which leads me to believe that either the complaints are niche, or overstated, or irrelevant, and that in any case Red Hat and Debian arent "doing it wrong" as badly as everyone on slashdot says they are.

The clothes have no emperor. -- C.A.R. Hoare, commenting on ADA.