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Comment: Re:It'll never happen (Score 1) 301

I can think of several ways we might go extinct. Of course there is unrestrained war with weapons so powerful that they make nuclear war look like a pillow fight. There's the Terminator kind of end. There's also the possibility that there's some extremely dangerous discovery we are near to making. What if some experiment at a particle accelerator creates a miniature black hole that doesn't rapidly decay, but instead lasts long enough to devour the Earth? But I wonder most about boredom. Ennui.

If we discover intelligent extraterrestrial life, it's highly likely to be far, far more technologically advanced than we are. It's been 65 million years since the dinosaurs were wiped out, and we've been civilized for a mere 0.01% of that time. If nearby intelligent aliens exist, it's likely they already know all about us, knew about Earth millions of years ago, and just don't care to communicate.

Comment: Re:Who are you? I'm bat- er, ANON! (Score 1) 408

Let's hope that it stays safe to say things in support of due process, fairness, understanding, and moderation on such a charged subject, and that doing so is not willfully construed as favoring pedophilia. Freedom of speech, right? Some people seem awfully anxious to demonize pedophiles, to the point of mob hysteria. It looks like some of the tough talk on child molestation is out of fear, so that the mob doesn't turn on them. It's like that old SNL skit, the Church Lady, asking her guests if they hate Satan.

Pedophilia has a long history. The Roman Emperor Hadrian, one of their best, had a favorite greek boy. However, Roman Emperors were notorious for excess, and certainly don't make a good choice if one wants average people. There are still older customs. In early Iron Age battles, the winning commander might rape the losing one. Why? Maybe to demonstrate as graphically as possible that he was victorious and to humiliate the loser even more if that was possible, maybe as a severe punishment to further inspire other commanders to do all they could to win or die. The Bible is full of divine punishment for "deviant" sexual behavior, in particular the fates of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Could some instances of pedophilia be consequences of disease? For instance, there's Toxoplasma gondii. I find it amazing that a parasite can hack an animal's brain so subtly, removing the fear of cats and only cats, while largely leaving other brain functions intact. If that's possible, why not a disease that makes people have pedophilic urges?

I can't see anything wrong with using drawings of children, or blow up dolls, or whatever other harmless substitute may be available. Especially if that keeps a pedo from harming real children.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 1) 304

by bzipitidoo (#48894321) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

It was private railroad limitations and greed that spurred the creation of the public highway system.

Now in the US, all that's left of passenger rail service is Amtrak, plus a small resurgence of local subway and light rail service in large cities. Amtrak is terrible. Very expensive, slow, late, and poor coverrage. To get from California to Texas by passenger rail, they are likely to try to route you the long way around, through Chicago.

Comment: Re:NHTSA Safety standards cock-blocks the idea (Score 2) 128

I've looked into bringing a car from Mexico to the US. Latin America has lots of models that aren't available in the US, such as the Ford Ka. Unfortunately, US safety standards thoroughly "cock block" that idea. It can be done, but it's not worth doing. A car made to Mexican safety standards, such as they are, I think can be driven in the US by Mexican owners, but can't be simply bought and driven by US citizens. A US citizen can't pop down to Mexico, buy one of these cars and just drive it back to the US and get it all properly titled and licensed. No, it has to be brought up to US safety standards, which means thousands of dollars of work to strengthen the B pillars and other areas of the passenger compartment. Then the owner might want to think about hot rodding the car a bit to compensate for all the extra weight those safety modifications added.

The big exception to safety standards is the antique car. It can be heavily modified, but so long as the owner has a title to one of the real things, he can say it counts as whatever the original car was.. A US citizen can legally drive a "T-bucket" (a highly modified Model T). It's dangerous but legal. So what many automobile experimenters do is get the shell of an antique, and stick whatever power train they want in it.

Comment: Re: It all comes down to payroll (Score 1) 263

by bzipitidoo (#48884687) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

You're looking at it wrong. Replace the corporations!

Set up solar and wind power with batteries, disconnect from the grid and fire your scumbag monopolistic electric company. Get an electric car, and destroy your Exxon Mobil credit card. Get a 3D printer and make your own household goods, including robot servants. Join with your neighbors to set up your own ISP as a public utility. Of course, freely download all your entertainment, and ram home the message to Hollywood that copyright is dead. Take a leaf from your great grandparents and have your robots grow your own vegetable garden so you can tell the grocery chain you won't need them any more either. Have the robots do "new homespun" too, and make your clothes for you, in exactly the right size and style and color you want. And put in a well and a septic system so you can tell the city to shove their endless rate hikes for sewage and water. Obtain a robot surgeon and an expert system diagnostician, and tell your doctors that their outrageous billing practices are history.

The disruption is going to be fun!

Comment: Re:Who supports it (Score 1) 60

by bzipitidoo (#48811629) Attached to: Exploring Some Lesser-Known Scripting Languages

using obscure syntax and constructs to save a couple of lines, sacrificing readability and maintainability.

But that's one of the paradoxes. Saving a couple of lines reduces eye clutter. What's obscure to you may be obvious to an expert in that language. Shorter is usually better.

What makes Perl difficult to read is the same thing that brought Perl to prominence, the regular expressions. People went nuts for regular expressions, and overused them. The Camel book warns readers about that. People are used to skimming through code quickly, because so much of it really is boilerplate. But you can't quickly skim regular expressions except the trivial ones. You have to study each symbol. Miss one backslash, and the entire meaning changes. I think the other big complaint about Perl is that the language overuses sigils. Having a $ in front of every scalar variable name is tiresome for both coder and maintainer. Adds visual clutter. Smacks very much of putting the compiler writer's convenience ahead of the application programmer, a sin committed in many languages. Why couldn't they use plain names? C did that, it's not hard, just need to reserve a few words, for example, don't allow a variable to be named "if".

Comment: Re:Dear Nazis (Score 1) 177

by bzipitidoo (#48802371) Attached to: The Importance of Deleting Old Stuff

What's that saying that's used to justify spying on everyone? "If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear".

You can't divorce security from ethics, because so much of security does not make everyone safer, it often makes a small group safer from the public, and that may not be in the public interest. Security against viruses is good for everyone but the few who want to use viruses to the detriment of the infected. Security against "pirates" is much more controversial, as "pirates" too often means everyone else. MS tried propaganda and strong arm tactics to pass off Windows Genuine Advantage as security for users. That was an insult to our intelligence, and a lie. Worse were Sony's music CDs with the root kit. I wonder if any of the leaked info has details about that, perhaps puts names to the people who decided make Sony's own CDs help spread viruses, including their own? With tax season around the corner, and Turbo Tax in the news again for anti-social behavior, the stunt they pulled a decade ago is worth mentioning again. Their "security" measures in their software screwed with the boot sector of their users' hard drives, risking the loss of all their users' data, in order to "protect" their software from piracy with, once again, DRM that does not work.

If you're a security expert, what do you do when you're asked to help cover something up, something that may be criminal and/or dangerous? Or, you're asked to use your knowledge to help make everyone less secure, by, for example, designing a root kit for music CDs? Blow the whistle, or follow orders? Whichever way you go could be trouble. Lose your career because no one wants to hire a whistleblower, and the government does a bad job of protecting whistleblowers, or lose your freedom when you are implicated in the cover up and sent to prison for it? Maybe you can blow the whistle without blowing your cover. No one was sure who Deep Throat was until long after Watergate. For the example of the root kit on the music CDs, you might make a judgment call. You would understand that this is a variation of DRM that will still be ineffective, the root kit is a clumsy idea, and therefore is unlikely to do much damage to the public. The outcome can only be what actually did happen, which is that the root kit was soon noticed and the only harm of significance was self inflicted harm when Sony lost much trust and was forced to recall all the infected CDs. So, your best course of action was likely some form of CYA, documents that you warned management that the root kit was a very bad idea, and that you were going ahead with it only under protest. You could still be blamed and fired of course. Maybe management will believe the root kit would have worked if not for your "treachery" in deliberately doing an incompetent job, despite any words anyone else tells them to the contrary.

Comment: Re:Where's the Beef? (Score 2) 73

Not necessarily. There's cheating to factor in. The people may have actually voted otherwise, but some incumbents abuse their power to rig the election. That's what's going on in the US. Bush should never have won the presidency. Currently, the majority of North Carolina's representatives should be Democratics, instead, most are Republicans. Republicans have been engaging in a number of tactics to tilt the vote their way. Gerrymandering is something both sides have done for decades, but in recent years the Republicans have pushed their cheats more. They make sure there aren't enough voting machines in districts that lean democratic, and they manufacture a problem with voter fraud and use that as the excuse to kick people off voter registration lists and pass these photo ID laws. They even try to intimidate voters in democratic districts with big scary warnings that cheating at the polls is a felony for which you could spend 10 years in jail. Anyone who believes that threat is not going to take a chance like that, better not to vote at all. The courts struck that one down, but there are many other tactics. Crosscheck is a big one. Voters have to jump through a bunch of hoops to be allowed to vote. Recently in Texas, a 4th choice was added for voters who want to vote straight party ticket. Used to be R, D, and Libertarian. Now there is ... Green! How did the Green party gain enough strength to do that? Perot's Reform party is not on the ballot, and he's from Texas. Answer: the Greens aren't strong enough, the Republicans put them on the ballot, figuring that would split the Democratic vote.

The worst part is that the Republicans who do this crap have very limited understanding and not much intelligence. They really seem to think it's okay for them to cheat. The end justifies the means, you know. But no one else better cheat, no sir! If they were smarter, they would understand that cheating is destructive. Instead, they behave as if "might is right" and that winning any way you can, even by cheating, is acceptable, and indeed a show of strength. The other guys were too "wimpy" to use the same "aggressive" tactics, so they deserved to lose! They've even convinced themselves that they aren't really cheating. It's how they can sound like such straight shooters even while their pants are on fire. That last is all part of their overall campaign against reality, science, and reason. For me, one of the most telling moments was the night of the 2012 election, when Romney's gang chose to believe slanted polls and propaganda that showed he was going to win, rather than the best, most unbiased polls which showed that he was losing, and then the actual results, in which he lost.

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 1) 162

by bzipitidoo (#48779735) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

And yet, many of those people who ditched college to make money, even if they succeed at that, are jealous of people who earned degrees, especially if the degree is a PhD. They feel they too are smart and talented enough to earn a PhD. After all, they earned huge piles of money. But they seem to prefer to stay bitter and jealous about it rather than take the time to put their notion to the test and try to get an advanced degree themselves. They rationalize that it's all "academic" and a waste of time anyway. And they all have stories of the "dumbass" PhD, that often turns out to be unfair. Like, maybe that this guy with a PhD couldn't find his car keys one time, and he was holding them in his hand the whole time. One little mistake like that is good enough for them to crap all over everything he's ever done, his alma mater, and the entire college education system.

The anti-education folks latch on to this. That's the raw meat they crave. Mr. Jealous Millionaire didn't think of that, but, if he even cares, he discovers it's very hard to undo the damage. That's the same sort of uncomfortable position Henry Ford was in when Hitler sent him a medal for all the Jew bashing he did.

Comment: Re:noooo (Score 1) 560

by bzipitidoo (#48721147) Attached to: 2014: Hottest Year On Record

Are you seriously equating predictions of Climate Change and the problems it will cause, with the likes of the 2012 phenomenon crowd (Mayan calendar stuff), Jupiter Effect believers, and other disaster and "end times" false prophets and nuts? The one is backed by solid science, the others are pseudoscience. If you can't be bothered to appreciate this distinction, then you won't have any idea which warnings to ignore and which to heed. Ignore them all at your peril.

Global Warming has been happening for years, perhaps centuries. Originally, it was thought that Global Warming didn't really start until about 1800, with the Industrial Revolution, and about 1750 could be used as a baseline. Newer research suggests that even in 1750 there was enough human activity to throw things off. It's only relatively recently that the effects are becoming easily visible, and you can see this yourself if only you will look. Sea level has already crept up a few cm. The ice cap at the north pole is smaller than ever. Glaciers all around the world are shrinking. Atmospheric CO2 has passed 400 ppm, after fluctuating between 180 and 300 ppm for millions of years. Noe of this is as yet a bad problem, and some of it is even good, but if it continues the problems will get much worse.

Comment: Re:noooo (Score 5, Informative) 560

by bzipitidoo (#48716951) Attached to: 2014: Hottest Year On Record

For some places, Climate Change will be a positive. But the net is hugely negative. 1/3 of the world's people are close enough to a coast that they will have to do something when sea levels rise.

Climate Change is happening too fast for much life to cope. The speed of the change is all negative.

The driver of Climate Change is Atmospheric Change. Everyone talks about warming, but all this CO2 has a lot of other effects. The other big effect is Ocean Acidification. This is deadly for shells and corals. The whole oceanic food chain is being strained to the limit from this, and from overfishing.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner

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