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Comment: Mind blown (Score 1) 323

by benjfowler (#48652827) Attached to: Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline the breathtaking, towering arrogance of people who presume to have a say on how to raise SOMEBODY ELSE'S kids.

I don't smack or condone it (speaking as somebody who came from a deprived background and got smacked a lot -- results were lackluster at best). But some cultures make use of a lot of it, e.g. people from Africa, who in my observation, are very strict/religious, and run very tight ships at home. So the cultural Marxists are effectively criminalizing entire cultures, as well as the lower (white) economic strata, who must fall back to corporal punishment, because they don't have the social/cultural capital to do fancy stuff like timeouts or whatever.

Just because these clueless, sandal-wearing, muesli-munching wankers have the education and intelligence to put little Hugo and Tarquin into timeout, doesn't mean that everyone else is able to.

So now we have stuff like smacking bans -- in half of Europe, child rearing methods are literally enshrined in law. It's fucking insane.

Comment: Darwin bait (Score 1) 880

by benjfowler (#48599401) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Islam is merely a lens for losers to focus their rage through. The fact this is "terrorism" is only marginally relevant.

There will always be losers with a chip on their shoulder. There will always be people who are of below-average intelligence, or with poor judgement or impulse control, who will pull stuff like this. What makes Islam so incredibly dangerous, is that it allows this sub-human scum to wield their hate and anger like a weapon against other people.

With luck, this worthless drug-fucked piece of crap will be a piece of medial waste lying in a morgue somewhere. I shall not shed a single tear for him.

Comment: Impulse control is like a muscle (Score 2) 312

by benjfowler (#48533115) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

I struggle with exactly the same thing. OTOH, the real superstar developers I've seen, can instantly achieve cast-iron concentration and focus. So it matters.

I figure that it ultimately boils down to practising impulse control, and trying to avoid distractions. Surfing the web is like a string of thirty-second activity-reward cycles: open a Web page, read it, *boom* dopamine hit.

I have two strategies I use: firstly, I try and maintain my awareness of 'flow' at work, and the little things that break it. Secondly, I go out of my way to find things to do which require achieving and holding focus (but don't overdo it).

Firstly, I find that when I'm working (cutting code), things like slow compiles break my flow, because it's easy to hit Alt-Tab and start surfing shit (until I catch myself, and get back on task). So I find little ways to maintain flow; staying off email, staying off Facebook, staying off Reddit, etc etc. Ringing my terminal when compiles finish, so I can get back on track more easily.

Secondly, I go out of my way to spend my off-hours doing things that require focus, and don't involve a computer. I'm working on a maths degree, as well as teaching myself a musical instrument, and when I establish 'flow' on either activity, I know I'm benefiting. Just the mere act of practising 'establishing flow', has yielded improvements.

I know I've had a good day, when I get home, and I'm too tired to do anything else. Focus is like a muscle; initially it is weak, and needs training up, but with exercise, it gets stronger and stronger.


Comment: The killer app for magnetic transmissions (Score 1) 103

by benjfowler (#48514513) Attached to: Practical Magnetic Levitating Transmission Gear System Loses Its Teeth

Deep-space power systems to run big space probes like Galileo and Cassini are nuclear powered, but use incredibly inefficient RTG... which are only 1-2% efficient.

Somebody (US Department of Energy) was looking to boost this by using a plutonium heat source to drive a Sterling engine coupled to a generator. The problem with this arrangement is that moving parts wear out.

It just so happens that deep space is very cold...

Comment: Get the basics right first (Score 1) 367

If we can't even manage to do the easy things, like limiting human population growth, re-wilding, going after polluters and corporate liability-dumpers, switching away from fossil fuels, etc etc etc, what chance are we gonna have to to do **HARD** stuff, like modifying the weather??

Geoengineering, like CCS, is bullshit trotted out by pro-business 'conservatives' to claim that even if climate change *IS* humanity's fault, then we have an excuse to do nothing, because our grandkids will take care of the problem.

I wouldn't expect anything less from greedy, clueless, Me-generation conservatives, to be honest.

Comment: Better idea (Score 1) 236

by benjfowler (#48432497) Attached to: Russia May Be Planning National Space Station To Replace ISS

If the Russians want to ditch their share of the Station, why not invite the Chinese to come and take over the Russian segment, hand them all the technology, give them manned spaceflight experience, and then build an ISS2, partnering with the Chinese. Putin+cronies will be cured of their delusions soon enough...

The future belongs to rising countries like China, not with decaying has-beens like Putin's Russia.

Comment: Bizarre (Score 0) 334

by benjfowler (#48340009) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

So much for the idea of "making hay while the sun shines" /s

Perhaps all the morons buying hummers and F-150s need reminding that the people selling us all this cheap oil are NOT our friends, and are sure as hell not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. The Saudis are bottoming-out the price of oil to punish marginal north American oil producers, and the Russians, not because they want to give Joe Sixpack a break.

I'd like to see us putting in punishingly-high tariffs in place against Muslim and Russian oil. More tax revenue to tackle deficits, pressure people to switch to alternatives, help shale oil producers, AND punish our enemies. Win-win-win-win situation.

Comment: Yikes (Score 1) 228

by benjfowler (#48309751) Attached to: New GCHQ Chief Says Social Media Aids Terrorists

As an anti-libertarian, I'll have a bob each way by saying that while we must accept that after September 11, "business as usual" isn't going to fly (if you'll pardon the pun), this is a pretty poor start from a man who ought to know better.

Absolute privacy ain't gonna happen in this day and age, but Mr Hannigan needs to make it clear they will be held thoroughly accountable by the people they're meant to be serving. To do otherwise would shred any remaining legitimacy they have.

Comment: Re:Dupes (Score 1) 739

by benjfowler (#48288925) Attached to: Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

Redistribution makes sense, up to a point. Most countries in the OECD do better than the US on most important measures on quality of life, and do it far more efficiently. Probably because there is a pragmatic understanding around the world that there are times where open markets make most sense, and there are times when markets don't make sense -- and some kind of redistribution is required. For instance, the British healthcare system shits all over the American system in every conceivable way (except for really, really high-end, experimental stuff -- and I'm sure I could get it in Harley Street anyway).

I blame the American tendency towards a blinkered belief that markets can never, ever fail, and that government, as a manifestation of the collective will of the people, can never do anything right -- an extremist POV everywhere else.

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." --Matt Groening