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Comment: sure until you get used to it (Score 1) 103

by argStyopa (#47716501) Attached to: Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

I am a bibliophile, and much prefer to read a book to my kindle.
Nonetheless, I travel a lot and a kindle is inarguably an advantage for me.
I found the kindle was terribly distracting for at least the first month, until I settled down and didn't have to think at all about using it. So I would like to see this test done with experienced users.

Comment: What? (Score 1) 381

by argStyopa (#47695757) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?

No, I wouldn't pay a single penny.

See, I'm reasonably mature, and if someone says something that I don't like, I can choose to ignore them or, if I feel like it, engage.

It's as simple as clicking away (or even just closing my eyes).

Of course, this post might be labeled as a 'troll' because I'm deliberately being condescending, but that's a stylistic choice to convey that I believe someone, anyone, who claims to have been hooked by a troll 'against their will' needs to fucking grow up.

Comment: Dear Daimler (Score 1) 231

by argStyopa (#47695671) Attached to: Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It

Dear Daimler,

You don't really seem to 'get' the value of emails. The point is that they can be processed whenever. To delete them is stupid. Essentially, by negating the time-independent aspect of email, you're reducing it to little more than a phone call in terms of utility.

I'm not sure if you noticed, but the rest of the world doesn't conform to your standards of vacation, and there are even alternate TIMEZONES in this world, so it's entirely reasonable that someone might send an email while you're not there.

I look forward to the first time a Daimler exec sends an email to someone out of the office for something important to be done when they get back from vacation.

Dumb fucks.

Comment: Re:of course (Score 1) 538

by argStyopa (#47670039) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

First, where'd I use the word "race"?

Second, I keep hearing this "there's no genetic basis!" bullshit as if it's a fact. Are you asserting that there is no genetic basis for epicanthic folds or for melanin levels in the skin? Are you seriously saying that these characteristics are not heritable?

Because if they're heritable, there's a genetic basis for it, and (generally) vice versa.

Now, the problem with race is as much one of definition as of identification.
The human 'race' isn't like a bunch of different color legos - discrete and identifiably different. It's more like a river flowing into a fen - due to geography and history, there's a diffusion of the 'theoretical root human' into a myriad of generally-observable channels, but even THEN none of them were ever really discrete, and mixing is continual at the margins.

NEVERTHELESS, to therefore deny that there are what are generally recognized as ethnicities because of this pedantic insistence on focusing on boundary-cases is silly.

Comment: Re:Different approaches for different situations (Score 1) 254

by argStyopa (#47669881) Attached to: The Benefits of Inequality

It's honestly not a bad idea, except for the 'problem of the mandarins'.

Because our society is exceptionally complex, even the role of 'managing the managers' assigned to execute tasks/policy is a major challenge, and no single person can be expected to have enough expertise to do everything.

So politicians rely on mandarins - unelected, professional bureaucrats that ostensibly just know how to push the levers and pull the strings to execute the mechanisms of government.

When a freshman politician arrives, these mandarins wield a great deal of power, as this politician is pretty much at their mercy. If there's nothing BUT 'freshmen' politicians, these bureaucrats essentially run the government. A long-service, professional politician at least has a chance of intuiting when policy is being deliberately interfered with.

Is that 'ability' to babysit the mandarins worth the permanent old boy network of back-scratching career politicos? That's really the question, isn't it?

Comment: of course (Score 1) 538

by argStyopa (#47649719) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

Hell, geneticists won't even accept that a FLOOD of hormones throughout our development from blastocyst onward that spur dimorphism, change the development of significant parts of the human anatomy, the voice, musculature, hell even the very skeletal structure itself has *any* impact on mental abilities, strengths, weaknesses etc in any way.

If they won't admit something so fundamental because it's taboo, how could they possibly admit that ethnicities have different strengths and weaknesses?

Comment: Evolution, not revolution (Score 1) 218

by argStyopa (#47646493) Attached to: Point-and-Shoot: TrackingPoint's New Linux-Controlled AR-15s

This merely pushes engagement ranges out once again. WWI riflemen were trained to shoot at hundreds of yards, in fact the sight-system on the old WWI bolt-action rifles is often stepped out to crazy ranges like 1200 yards. (Not that they'd actually hit anything.) It's only with the advent of general-issue personal weapons with rapid fire capability that aimed-fire ranges have shrunk in the modern era. (Some would say that they shrunk to what typical engagement ranges were ANYWAY.)

Now, the conventional wisdom of shooting from 500 yards instead of 100 yards is shooter safety, as it gives the advantage to the shooter - the reply-fire (even if it's of large volume) is likely to be reflexive, hasty and (normally) unlikely to hit anything 500y away.

This is no longer necessarily true. Counter-sniper systems are getting better every day - more sophisticated, quicker, and more accurate - meaning .50 cal or heavier suppressive fire can land on the shooter's position as quickly as 0.75 seconds from registering the incoming shot.

What this means only is that infantry combat is truly entering the computer age.

Human reflexes have been recognized to be largely too slow to perform any but the grossest weapons-release functions for air and (some) naval combat, this now means that even for infantry combat we're going to have automated rifles firing on targets, and automated systems firing back - both quicker, and better than people could do it.

Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 1) 322

by argStyopa (#47625439) Attached to: With Chinese Investment, Nicaraguan Passage Could Dwarf Panama Canal

The existing canal has been widened, and there are alternative plans for the next step of increase, but nobody has moved forward because the economics just don't make sense.

Further, despite the breathless headline, this is likely to be about as realistic as cold fusion. There are HUGE engineering problems with the plan for the Nicaragua canal, not to mention massive ecological ones. The Chinese group allegedly signing up for this has NO history in mega-engineering projects, and is apparently little more than a boutique venture-cap agency. Finally, there's no REASON for the canal - US East Coast ports are nowhere near being able to handle such ships as would require that scale of canal....which is expected by actual experts in the field to cost north of $100 bn, not the $40bn mentioned.

There is, quite literally nothing of substance to this plan, nor even any plans of substance expected. Sure, if China just wants to buy a canal, they have the cash. Then again, unless they care to ignore the international community, there are a host of other decade+ hurdles that would need to be crossed for it not to be an environmental catastrophe.

Let's look at an INDUSTRY trade publication, instead of a "rah rah China" periodical:

It *would * be amusing to see how the US Navy would literally shit themselves to have a massive Pacific/Atlantic canal controlled politically by China.

Comment: Re:not really that hard, theoretically (Score 3, Interesting) 177

by argStyopa (#47622137) Attached to: Algorithm Predicts US Supreme Court Decisions 70% of Time

Nonsense, an editorial screed by the New Yorker is meaningless. And if you want to bring context into it, you'll lose even harder.

Firstly, judicial review wasn't even a principle until Marbury v Madison in 1803. So we're talking about the 19th century only.

In cases in the 19th Century, the Supreme Court ruled pretty much only that the Second Amendment does not bar state regulation of firearms. (For example, in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 553 (1875), the Court stated that the Second Amendment âoehas no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government,â and in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 265 (1886), the Court reiterated that the Second Amendment âoeis a limitation only upon the power of Congress and the National government, and not upon that of the States.â )

Although most of the rights in the Bill of Rights have been selectively incorporated into the rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment and thus cannot be impaired by state governments, the Second Amendment has never been so incorporated.

It's only since 1939 United States v Miller, that federal court decisions considering the Second Amendment have largely interpreted it as preserving the authority of the states to maintain militias - not the '150 year history' stated in the deliberately-misleading text of the quoted article.

(much of the above is clipped verbatim from

In fact, it's ONLY in the latter 20th Century that we've even HAD this debate, as all constitutional commentary and understanding previous to that was universal in its understanding of the 2nd Amendment as an individual right, *not* dependent on being in a militia:

Of course, you further disregard that according to the US code, all males from 17-44 *are* by default in the militia. (

Comment: Anthropic principle (Score 1) 54

by argStyopa (#47621925) Attached to: Ancient Worms May Have Saved Life On Earth

Isn't this just the anthropic principle at work?

Yes, the action of these worms kept oxygen levels at "just the right level" for animals and other species to evolve...but isn't it simpler to expect that (lacking these worms, and with I suppose the much-higher oxygen levels) some other feedback mechanism would have eventually kicked in and THEN life would have evolved around that norm instead?

Obviously, with a sample size of precisely one, it's hard to say.

Comment: not really that hard, theoretically (Score 1, Flamebait) 177

by argStyopa (#47621537) Attached to: Algorithm Predicts US Supreme Court Decisions 70% of Time

The US Constitution is only about 4 pages, 4400 words (and the bulk of that is structural & procedural minutiae about the US government).
The role of the USSC is simply resolving if a law does or does not conform to the US Constitution.

Given those relatively limited boundaries, it shouldn't be that complex of an issue to predict algorithmically the results of a given judicial ruling, one would think. (The devil's in the details about parsing meaning and context.)

Of course, I believe phrases like "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" are indisputably clear, and I'm astonished that people can find convoluted ways to try to tear it apart syntactically.and semantically.

Comment: Lord of the Flies (Score 2) 51

by argStyopa (#47616641) Attached to: Researchers Make Fruit Flies Perform Aerobatics Like Spitfire Pilots

Not to trivialize the little buggers' reflexes, but this can't have been entirely unpredicted?
Human quick-fire nerve channels transmit signals at 100m/s, so, considering it's nearly 1m from my fingertip to my brain, that's 20 milliseconds right there from finger to brain back to finger for the reaction. That same distance in a fly is what, perhaps 0.2mm? That means his signal-time is 0.004 milliseconds unless I've misplaced a 0 in there somewhere.
Not to mention, I'd expect that there's something to be said for the efficiency of function in the CPU, as it were. A brain evolved for perhaps 8 'tasks' in total (walk, fly, seek food, eat, seek mate, reproduce, recognize danger, flee danger?) would likely be intrinsically quicker-processing at any of those tasks than one that is (one hopes) substantially more complex?

The bogosity meter just pegged.