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Comment: Re:Religion is a choice! (Score 2) 255 255

Some might claim that's true of sexual preference as well, so do we lump homophobia with racism or religious-intolerance?

FWIW I know language is mutable and maybe I'm just behind the curve, but does "troll" now officially mean "anyone who says anything I don't like on the internet"?

It used to be a far more subtle definition, of someone who would post something (occasionally hurtful yes, but frequently the better trolls would use a sort of straw-man sympathic post) *specifically* to draw out a reaction, thus the use of the word 'trolling' as in the fishing technique of not sitting in one place but instead dragging your line behind a moving boat, hoping to provoke an aggressive fish to react just out of the motion-action of your lure.

Comment: who's responsible? (Score 4, Insightful) 318 318

Pretty clear, according to my understanding of OSHA liability in the US anyway:

"...the man who was servicing the robot beyond its protection cage..."

Lock out/tag out and energy isolation (ie unplugging, as well as well as releasing/securing stored energy (compressed gases, springs, kinetic, etc) is ABSOLUTELY the responsibility of the service person.

Comment: Re:If we only set a string precedent... (Score 1) 92 92

If the corporate officers aren't DEAD, then they should still be culpable.

In the particular context of data, it's their choice whether or not they retain that data in a way that it could be sold. If at the end of the day the site fails, the business fails, and they go into bankruptcy, it's entirely their choice to preserve that data and sell it to mitigate their losses OR to destroy it based on their previous commitment to do so.

Now, I recognize that a bankruptcy court might frown on that as destruction of an asset of value, but IMO when you're dealing with such data businesses, it should be explicitly laid out in loan agreements that "the company's private data is NOT a secureable asset and is contractually required to be destroyed at the closure of the corporation" thus making it clear in advance that it's not an asset to be borrowed against.

Comment: Re:Both sides of the coin? (Score 1) 256 256

Except that while we all poo-poo racism, we carefully fail to discuss the fact that racism (and sexism, etc) are all just subtypes of generalization and generalizations persist BECAUSE THEY WORK. Certainly there's some confirmation bias, and some vicious-circle-reinforcement going on, but people wouldn't continue to generalize if they didn't find it ultimately useful.

I don't know about you, but I don't have the mental horsepower to keep a perfectly individual, atomistic view of everyone I've ever met as unique snowflakes in my mind. So I generalize, and these generalizations provide a reasonably reliable predictive value while I navigate the world. I know "guys of a certain age" will respond to something a certain way, while "women of a certain age" will respond another, and communicate accordingly.

Are there exceptions? Sure. I might find the beautiful 28 year old woman with a massive N-gauge model railroad in her basement; I'd amend my generalizations accordingly to say "ok, now there is a 1/1,000,000 chance that the next 28 yr old woman might also be fond of model railroads". The exceptions are where we find the limits to the generalizations and THIS is why (on the other side of the coin) it's so stupid to assert too much reliability to the models - ie act as if the generalizations are durably predictive, instead of generally descriptive. If you deny the exceptions, your 'internal models' just get more and more out-of-synch with reality and less and less useful.

I'd point out as well that the most inveterate racists that I know of any skin color are the people who either live or work the most closely with a diverse group of people - ie the people for whom a good, reliable mental generalization is relevant and useful on a DAILY basis - while the intellectualist "open minded" people seem to hail from the most lily-white suburbs.*

*FWIW I'd assert that most of what's called racism is in fact CLASSISM, and the tragedy of racism is that it masks actual class-based issues that are persistent and pernicious. Personally, my experience is that intolerance for racism/classism and racism/classism in practice are two separate things that have little to do with each other. I know an older black woman who is certain that white men in general are (in her words) "the devil" yet she cheerfully has coffee every morning with two white men in her building and would never harbor a nasty thought about either of them. On the other hand, I know lots and lots of white intellectuals that vehemently and passionately argue against the evils of racism, yet deliberately choose to live in 99.9% white suburbs and send their kids to private (mostly white) schools because they don't like the 'culture' of the public schools, and would sweat bullets sharing a downtown train with multiple 'urban youths' of various ethnicities.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 227 227

There won't be a taxi industry: (accepting for a moment your hyperbolic prediction) so what?

There really isn't a buggy-whip industry now either, nor much of a blacksmithing nor swordmaking one. They're relegated to economic niches that are more pursued as a craft than a vocation. C'est la vie - survival of the fittest.

The taxi industry for at least the last 70 years has been an ASTONISHINGLY widely corrupt one, with collusion between cities and the "medal holders" lucky, rich, or connected enough to be 'allowed' to participate in the business. It's going to die? Good fucking riddance.

And to more specifically address your point? No, it's not going to go away. There will always be a need for rides, and there will always be a segment of people who need/prefer the higher perceived security provided by a certified taxi with a formal organization behind it (in terms of liability). But the bulk-services shuttling drunkards to their homes at 2 am or students around town that can't afford a car? Yeah, no need for taxis there.

Hell, already taxi companies have had to noticeably "up their game" servicewise in the last few years, providing more comfortable, better rides and more electronic tools for convenience. Think that's coincidence?

Comment: The safest strategy (Score 3, Interesting) 76 76

The safest strategy for connecting everything in your home to the internet is....don't.

Why the fuck do you need to connect your front door lock, your coffeemaker, and your refrigerator to the internet?
Forget to lock your door? GO BACK AND LOCK IT. People have been doing it for 1000 years and the world continues to spin.
Don't want to get up in the morning to turn on your coffeemaker? Either a) get up and stop being a pussy or b) get one of the umpteen programmable ones, or c) just plug your damn coffeemaker into a christmas-light timer set to power up before you wake up.
Want your refrigerator to tell you when you're almost out of milk or better still, to automagically order restocks of food? LOOK INSIDE IT. Decide what you need to buy. THEN GO TO THE STORE. You'll meet actual humans there, and interact with them. I suspect there's more actual human value to that than to the supposed minutes you'll save (so you can what, play more video games? Do some more work emails?) not doing those things.

Comment: If we only set a string precedent... (Score 2) 92 92

"..Because the site's privacy policy had promised never to sell or share members' personal details without their permission,..."

Sounds like we could charge the corporate officers with 2 million counts of fraud at least.

If we actually set a strong precedent of punishing site owners for their cavalier disregard for the promises made, I suspect this wouldn't be something we'd have much worry about.

Comment: Really? (Score 1) 227 227

I'm not sure I understand the narrative direction here.

While most people likely find the whole lobbyist thing distasteful, it would be rather ridiculous for a business that challenges long-entrenched collusive bureaucracies (defending millions of dollars of registration fees etc) to proceed without due attention to those realities.

Comment: Both sides of the coin? (Score 1) 256 256

If we're going to strike a pose of moral outrage when a company's employee demographics don't match closely enough the general population demographics, are we going to cry 'injustice' if their numbers climb too high? Ie if African-Americans are 16% of the population, will we complain if they reach 24% of the Facebook employee roster?

Why do we care?

In 2015 do we really believe that some Snidely-Whiplash HR person is rubbing their hands together and cackling while they shred all the valid applications from blacks and other minorities?

Comment: Of course (Score 0) 137 137

Of course they "aren't as vulnerable as believed".

Coral are some of the oldest persistently present organisms on the planet, having comfortably survived MUCH warmer temps (including much more sudden warming from cataclysmic volcanism and/or meteorite).

It always seemed particularly dumb to me that the movement chose coral as the ocean "poster child" for global warming, like picking jellyfish or horseshoe crabs.

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.