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Comment: Another bloviation from Bennett (Score -1) 246

Who the hell is this guy sleeping with, that Slashdot has become his personal blog-pimp site? (Rhetorical question, it's clearly timothy, soulskill, and you guys know about each other?)

Seriously? If his points were insightful, it might just BARELY be acceptable (but still, not really - did we want this to become the 21st century's Chaos Manor column?)...but I have to say, they aren't. I was going just refute as an example a few of his issues, but they're so fucking obvious, what's the point?

Bennett, I'm not going to educate you basic premises of business, marketing, anecdotal evidence, etc. Seriously, talking about the goddamn WEATHER?


Comment: I love the little mitigatory clause in there (Score 5, Insightful) 377

"...illegal drug use (including abuse of prescription painkillers) among technology workers and executives in high-pay, high-stress Silicon Valley. ..."

I know a shit-ton of people whose lives/work is JUST as stressful working their 3 jobs to make ends meet, but since it's not "high pay" that would probably mean they're not worth talking about, right? Certainly, we're less interesting in the 'why' of their drug abuse issues, because they can only afford cheap mood-altering chemistry like booze and cigs.

Personally, I'd say the fact that Silicon Valley folks make stupid-large amounts of money means they have even LESS of an excuse to complain.

Lots of people have more stress for much less self-inflicted reasons than pursuing of giant piles of cash.

Comment: Re:Not news (Score 1) 303

You might want to revise your facts.
Mice gengineered to be germ free were fed drinking water from public sources. Within the life span of the mice, they developed GI tract bacteria that were ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SPECIES.

Hell, Galapagos Finches evolved different heritable beak differences in

Comment: Re:Not news (Score 1) 303

To answer your points in order:

1) I could point to thousands of species that have, and are growing, adapting, and doing quite well thank you. Bacteria, virii, insects, lots of plants, fungus, etc. I'm sorry that they aren't the adorable big/furry mammals that excite your sympathy gland.
2) Even with the most sophisticated weapons and tools, have we exterminated every species of whale? Nope. Heck, even with the determined effort of CENTURIES, have we (or are we even close to) exterminated the common mosquito? Nope.
3) I wasn't really blaming them for anything. I was saying that no species cares about its environment, in that, humans are EXACTLY like the other animals...we're going to reproduce and poison our environment until it kills us. That's just the natural way of things.

You ENTIRELY missed the point of my comment, by the way. Righteous indignation makes it hard to read, I get it.

Comment: Re:Not news (Score 1) 303

Or perhaps the entire idea of 'peacefully coexisting with nature' is completely, utterly wrong and a romantic, emotionalized intellectualism first dreamed up by Thoreau and lately enfranchised by Greens because it thrums sympathetic heartstrings of the same naive urbanites that think you can hand-feed wild animals or coexist with bears (Grizzlyman!) because they're cute?

NO species "peacefully coexists with nature". Zero. Nature is a cold-hearted bitch, and to "win" against it, species have evolved their own ruthless strategies.
Every species from the single-celled protozoa to grey whales eats and reproduces heedless of the consequences to the environment. Ultimately, one of three things happen:
1) the species cannot reproduce fast enough to outrace environmental pressures and is wiped out (either slowly over time, or just a result of shitty luck like an asteroid strike - 'scale' is always the tricky question where environment is concerned).
2) the species comes to an equilibrium, where reproduction/expansion are roughly balanced against the environmental pressures, and a sort of stasis results (until the next environmental variation that exceeds the flexibility of the population to sustain)
3) the species overwhelms environmental pressures, expanding until they exhaust resources and are confronted with #1 again, or is able to move to another environment and "restart" the calculation.

That's it. Every species, ever. Three (really 2) possible results. But no matter how you decorate it, #2 isn't some delightful rainbows and unicorns happy time either - both 'sides' are voraciously, impersonally, automatically fighting both directions. Think of it as a bloody tug of war....just because the flag in the center isn't moving much, doesn't in ANY way imply that both sides aren't struggling mightily every single second, and wouldn't cheerfully win if given the opportunity.

Hell, even plants are selfish, arrogant assholes when you come right down to it and see how they fuck each other over. They just do it really slowly.

(To be clear, I'm not anthropomorphizing it either, it's simply useful for the point here to suggest the forces are 'contending'. In reality, they're both entirely insensate....which is kind of my point.)

I know it's futile, since it's such a pretty delusion (and so politically useful for so many...) but can we ever dispense with the bullshit notion that anything, ever, "peacefully coexists with nature"?

Comment: FUD alert (Score 3, Informative) 212

"Most people wouldn't even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps. "

Um, no.
First, the normal flush pressure comes from the water tank on the EVERYONE would be able to flush at least once. (Actually, in a disaster, that tank isn't a bad source of freshwater, at least for a while.)

Most communities have water tanks above their population, either on a nearby height, or in water towers. This makes the system - at least in the short term, until that tank is drained - impervious to power outage. Even NYC has tens of thousands of rooftop tanks with the same function, but on a per-building level.
GRAVITY, not electricity, produces water pressure that refills that local toilet tank. So until the community tank is emptied, and electric pumps are required to fill that large tank, everyone would be able to flush just fine.

Comment: Re:Real world consequences (Score 2) 190

FUD, now in "patronizing" flavor.

To suggest that critiquing a stupid unit of measure is somehow trivializing the problem is itself a strawman.

If I said that I'm 1,930,400,000,000 picometers tall, people SHOULD mock me for using a stupid unit of measure. When people are primed to overreact to an event like Fukushima and then confronted by a number in public reporting that uses just such an inappropriate unit of measure, one can either mock the report for being foolish, or condemn it for being deliberately inflammatory. Which would you prefer?

Comment: Personally (Score 1) 535

by argStyopa (#47525329) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

I have minor strabismus, one eye points about 10-15 degrees offline.
I'm told it's barely noticeable with glasses on, but very evident when I have them off. Plus, I've lived all my life with glasses and I'm nah, not worth the bother/risk.
If I was 20 and didn't have this vanity thing? I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Comment: Am I just too old? (Score 0) 60

by argStyopa (#47522055) Attached to: How the Internet of Things Could Aid Disaster Response

Am I the only one that finds the "Internet of Things" a catastrophically, pointlessly stupid idea?

I don't WANT my refrigerator, stove, blender, toaster, home climate control, garage door opener, office fan, or toilet connected to the internet. I cannot see how adding additional potential points of failure to everything makes them better, just so I can see when (and/or what) little Jimmy flushed this morning, or I can log in to my toaster's web page and change the settings remotely (why?).

I've been an 'early adopter' of lots of things - computers, the internet, dvds, digital tvs, etc - but perhaps at 46 I'm simply too old to "get" the IoT (like twitter or instagram, I don't really "get" those either).

Comment: I don't think Socialism is the controlling factor (Score 1) 612

...if it is, it's more a symptom than cause.
I believe it's societies in which the economically optimal behavior is cheating.

In Socialist East Germany as many have posted here anecdotally, the system was so broken that cheating - going outside the formal rules of the system - was the only way to get many basic and preferred needs met.

This is endemic to CORRUPT societies, not just socialist ones.

For cheating to be optimal, you have to have two elements:
- a system that gives people motivation to break the rules AND (importantly)
- an alternative - a black market, corrupt officials, etc - that is workable.

I'd argue that *any* overbureaucratic society will eventually reach this point.
Capitalism - insofar as it mitigates the issue - allows people to DIRECTLY follow their self-interest, without having to 'cheat' around the system.
I'd argue that the conflicted desire of the US populace for ever-greater safety-nets and protection by the government (and thus control) will likewise ever-more incentivize cheating in precisely the same way.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.