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Comment: Re:A solution in search of a problem... (Score 3, Interesting) 320

It is a lot like driving with one hand verses two at the ten and two positions. Many people can safely drive with one hand but it is safer to be in the ten and two positions with two hands which is why we need to do it to pass most driving tests.

In theory (one, anyway) 10 and 2 are the best positions, so DMV examiners have been insisting on it.

In reality, it turns out, 9:30 and 3:30 are safer.

In theory, talking on the phone is distracting.

In reality, it's been shown that drivers who are a little bit tired are much safer if they're also talking.

In theory, texing bans will reduce traffic accidents.

In reality, people in those States text below the steering wheel, completely taking their eyes off the road, to avoid cops seeing then, while those in States without such bans tend to text with the phone at the top of the steering wheel, so they can at least keep half an eye on the road. Paradoxically, texting bans are deadly.

Tibbit's "solutions" work in theory, but reality is far more messy. To assume otherwise is hubristic.

Comment: Re:And.... (Score 1) 34

I hadn't heard of it, and I have been an Amazon Prime member for a few years...

Same here, which means they never advertised it on their own site, which means they didn't want it to succeed for some reason.

Lord knows they've have no problem advertising the Fire Phone or various Kindles over the years.

Comment: Re:define "customer" (Score 1) 287

by bill_mcgonigle (#47894455) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

"Describes the rules you agree to when using our services." Most sites have something like this, and they all start out with "By using this site you agree to..."

And they're all bullshit, like any one-party contract. There has to be an offer, consideration, and acceptance at a minimum.

An "I agree" button _might_ be enough to make that legal, but if somebody has never read those terms they are certainly not bound by them. Google could very easily make somebody sign in to use their service, but they choose to make it completely open instead.

Comment: Re:As a private citizen (Score 1) 211

by bill_mcgonigle (#47894423) Attached to: Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

Technically, no.
You are bound by the treaties your country signed.

You mean mean, 'in theory', not 'technically'. If the local jurisdiction does not enforce the laws, then on a technical basis you are not bound by them. On a theoretical basis you may be, but who cares.

That's the law. That you choose to be a space pirate, is your own problem.

You can't take the sky from me!

Comment: Re:Now Be Very Careful (Score 1) 81

And watch settlement-free peering die quickly too as the monster ISP's declare war on the remaining independents, backed by the FCC (which __DUH__ is in their pockets already). If this happens the monster ISP's will write the new regulations behind closed doors and it'll be strongly in their favor to preferentially comply.

98% of the people who are writing these letters don't even know what the terms that are in play mean, much less are they able to understand the consequences.

I guess that's normal for a democracy - it just hits home when they're coming after your field of work.

Comment: Re:Let's look at the data (Score 2) 59

by bill_mcgonigle (#47887543) Attached to: Ozone Layer Recovering But Remains Threatened

The clinical studies showed the new propellant was no less effective.

That's not the issue. The issue is that the low-cost asthma medications that poor people bought for their kids used the CFC propellants. The FDA would not let them switch to a new propellant without spending something like $200M on a new approval study, which was not cost effective in their OTC market, so they pulled the product. Poor kids don't suddenly get expensive inhalers because their cheap ones went away.

Comment: Re:This article makes no sense whatsoever (Score 4, Informative) 126

by bill_mcgonigle (#47887531) Attached to: Researchers Working On Crystallizing Light

In fairness to the writer of the simply hideous article, which is an amazing compendium of misleading nonsense, irrelevancy and outright falsehood, the research team seem to be speaking in a private language.

No kidding ... I was thinking as I was reading it, "wow, this is the worst-written paper I've read in a long time". They seem to go to lengths to make it as baroque, dense, and devoid of semantically (if not syntactically) valid prose as possible.

I don't just mean that it's very technical - they seem to be engaged in active denial of communication. I spent a little time teasing apart the sections I was most interested in, but that's the opposite of the job of a paper.

I know the stereotype is that "nerds can't write" but really many of the best papers in physics are also fun to read.

Comment: Re:It's a bad sign (Score 2) 223

by bill_mcgonigle (#47887507) Attached to: U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

There are two things you can do about it: ...
98% of the people don't care much about the spying, and will vote for business as usual.

So, voting 3rd-party isn't actually doing anything about it because it's an action guaranteed to not have a result (electoral NOOP). Maybe it makes you feel warm inside, but it will have no effect on the spymasters. We don't even need to drag out Duverger's Law.

"If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it." - Sam Clemens

Comment: Re: I can simply ignore all health and diet advice (Score 2) 290

by bill_mcgonigle (#47882073) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

One current theory on salt is that diabetics, the overweight, and blacks are higher risk groups for salt being linked to blood pressure, but for the large majority of people there is no association.

Right - genetics (and even epigenetics) play a large role. There are SNP's (single nucleotide polymorphisms) that can make a huge difference in some cases!

All of these broad-brush health advice "rules" are going to seem very quaint when we have massively-available cheap sequencing and you can go to a doc once a year to discuss the results of your latest genetic and epigenetic profile and make some alterations based on your own body and its current state.

The current guidelines may be the best approximation we have right now, but they're always wrong in a non-trivial percentage of the population.

Comment: Re:You've never had fruit flies? (Score 1) 82

by bill_mcgonigle (#47871645) Attached to: UCLA Biologists Delay the Aging Process In Fruit Flies

When all (or nearly all) the flies are inside the jar, I just put it under the tap and run water over it until it fills up through the holes. Then leave it for a few minutes to drown them all, and dump it down the sink.

You can just use some apple cider vinegar with a drop of detergent and skip the labor part (just take the plastic off and dump the mess down the drain). Refill & rekill.

Comment: Re:Copyright has no clothes. (Score 1) 362

by bill_mcgonigle (#47859475) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

When it comes to copyright laws another saying applies "unjust laws serve to bring all laws into contempt.

Let us know when somebody invents laws that cannot be made unjust by the corrupt actors of a system. Until then, while somebody restricts by force what I may write on my paper with my pen, copyright itself is an unjust affront to the notion of real property (it fails before even getting to concocted notions like 'intellectual property'). We can do better than pulling guns on people in hopes of getting artists to produce more entertaining things for us (and it probably fails at even that).

Most people will listen to your unreasonable demands, if you'll consider their unacceptable offer.