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Comment Re:A remarkable number of people are idiots (Score 1) 315

I know this is off topic, but now I'm curious. Do people who are incapable of taking the test still impact the scores? Does a 100 IQ indicate the median score of the set of "successful" test takers, or of the set of "functional humans", or of the entire population of all humans?

I believe you're saying that IQ 48 is approximately the minimum required level of functionality required to successfully take the test, but there is obviously a set of people who can't achieve that. And while 48 may be the lowest point on the curve that can be measured, the continuation of the curve is still implied below that point. People below 48 will still fall along some spectrum of abilities, but they're not measurable using the current test. So there may very well be someone with an "equivalent IQ" of 14; it's just the current IQ test lacks the resolution needed to identify that person.

And I'm not saying we should expend any effort to alter the test to measure lower IQs. I doubt that would add any value to society, nor would it be likely to benefit the people who can't take the test today. Such people are already identifiable as requiring a certain level of care, and most of the disabilities at that point are so profound you probably couldn't even use the scores to predict the costs of caring for them.

Comment Re:Can Verizon Stealth cookies be spoofed? (Score 1) 79

Browser fingerprinting is where it is at, and there is -no- browser that is resistant to this.

Au contraire. Apple iPhones are as common as houseflies, and as indistinguishable. Because Apple doesn't really let their users change anything about their browser configs, all the non-jailbroken Safari browsers for a given iOS version return the same fingerprint. So if you have one of those phones, you can hide in a very large crowd.

That implies the marketplace could actually use a common browser everyone can rely on to not share these details, but erasing fingerprints also means giving up useful functionality. Will people accept a browser that doesn't display a variety of fonts because they could be tracked? Will they be happy if the web sites can't deliver a page to fit their screen size? Are we looking for a tradeoff of not being tracked that only a few thousand privacy wonks will accept?

Submission + - "First, Let's Get Rid of All the Bosses" - the Zappos Management Experiment

schnell writes: The New Republic is running an in-depth look at online shoe retailer's experiment in a new "boss-less" corporate structure. Three years ago the company introduced a management philosophy that came from the software development world called "Holacracy," in which there are no "people managers" and groups self-organize based on individual creativity and talents. (When the change was announced, 14% of the company's employees chose to leave; middle management openly rebelled, but perhaps surprisingly the tech organization was slowest to embrace the new idea). The article shows that in this radically employee-centric environment, many if not most employees are thrilled and fulfilled, while others worry that self-organization in practical terms means chaos and a Maoist culture of "coercive positivity." Is Zappos the future of the American workplace, a fringe experiment, or something in between?

Comment Re:No, just no. (Score 3, Interesting) 679

The idea that in every field, we must have 50/50 is simply stupid.

I completely agree with you on this. As a worker in the technology field, I believe this is an area that naturally suits a meritocracy (confession: this is also why I am not a big union supporter specifically in tech). With that being said, I think Slashdotters should consider that there are some potential upsides to "getting women into tech/coding" efforts:

1.) I believe that people have natural affinities to certain fields of endeavor. It's possible (probable?) that more women than men don't find tech attractive. However, it is undeniably true that there may be some females who would otherwise like tech but are discouraged by a culture that feels like it is discriminating against them. To throw out a counter-example: I see a disproportionate(?) number of Slashdot posters who express no interest in sports. (I am a huge nerd and huge NFL fan, BTW.) What percentage of those Slashdotters might otherwise have found that they really like (football, baseball, hockey, whatever) but were turned off by a middle/high school culture where the football players were dicks and picked on nerds? Had they had a different environment in which to acclimate themselves to the topic, would they have found something that they really enjoyed and are missing out on because of how they were introduced to it? I was introduced to sushi in the mid-90s by a group of rich douchebag semi-friends (I used to spend on food in a whole day what they spent on a single sashimi order) who insisted I throw a glob of wasabi on top of everything, and I hated it. It took me more than a decade to figure out it was something I really liked just because of the social context in which I first experienced it, and when I tried it "on my own terms" I found out I loved it.

2.) Racists are generally people who have never spent serious personal time with a large group (not just a few) of people they discriminate against. Most of their opinions are formed by inherited bias or media. Similarly, MOST (not all) misogynists are generally men who have had very limited SERIOUS interpersonal experience with women outside their family. (I want to note for the record that my 17-year-old, turned-down-by-every-girl-I-asked-out self would certainly have qualified as a misogynist; just like at that age I thought "fags" were perverts because I didn't actually "know" any, even though I knew several who were my friends but I didn't know they were gay). Just like I think the "cure" for racism is to actually get to know a LOT of people of other races (not just a few and in limited contexts), I think the "cure" for misogyny is to get to really know a LOT of women, as friends, bosses, subordinates, co-workers, whatever. It may not relieve your frustration with dating, but it will certainly change your opinion of "what women want/are." And having more women VOLUNTARILY in tech cannot possibly help but make that situation better.

TL/DR: it makes no sense to force women into tech or require a certain percentage of workers be women (or other minorities). But efforts that encourage females (but don't mandate them) to enter tech should be encouraged by every male tech worker.

Comment Re:Not competitive (Score 1) 92

Between CNN and Flipboard, I can read lots of news for free

People don't go to the NY Times for the same news they can read on CNN etc. (I say this as one of the million digital NYT customers referenced in the article). CNN and free news aggregators tend to just republish stories they licensed from the Associated Press or UPI. (True fact: you can be a "news site" without having a single reporter, just pay your AP license and publish recycled content all day long! viz. Breitbart)

"Premium" news outlets like NY Times, Wall Street Journal, FT, Economist, Washington Post, etc. spend the money required in many cases to actually send their own reporters out who can do original reporting and offer additional information, differing views, or focus on in-depth/investigative reporting and add some "why" to the "how" that most AP stories consist of. That's worthwhile reading to me, and why I am more than OK paying a subscription for it - I think supporting quality journalism is an important thing to do. Otherwise nothing will be left but the Breitbarts of the world.

Comment Hey, this is open-source... (Score 0) 681

Hey, this is open-source. People join and quit projects all the time. They do it for any number of reasons. In this case, is the departure over the attitude as stated in the article or is it over the direction (Linus not wanting to include a BSD-style secure level interface)? Both are acceptable reasons. Why? Because the contributors are volunteers and can leave for any reason they want.

There isn't a story here. People already know that people join and quit OS projects all the time, so this departure isn't news. People already know that LInus can be brutally honest in his comments to others, so the reason for the departure isn't news either. Even a fork of the kernel isn't news because there are a number of them.

So, unless I'm missing something, there is no news here and we should all just move on.

Comment Re:Monopoly on what exactly (Score 2) 215

I can't believe you think that's what I am saying. I am not saying they ARE the same. I'm saying, legally, HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT.

Legally, if I take a girl out on a date and I pay for a nice dinner and we have sex afterwards, it's not prostitution. That's because - although she might not have had sex with me if I didn't pay for dinner - there was no expressed or implied contract (offer, acceptance, exchange of value) saying that she DEFINITELY would have sex with me SPECIFICALLY in exchange for free dinner. Likewise, if a friend drives me somewhere and I offer to pay for gas, my friend may or may not take me up on it but will still drive me. If my friend said "if you agree in advance to reimburse me for gas and pay me for my time, then I will drive you there," then yes you have a contract for transportation services.

When you catch an Uber ride, there is a legal, contractual exchange of money happening explicitly for performance of services. It's not a very gray area at all. Legally speaking.

Comment Re:Well, yeah (Score 3, Insightful) 919

Is Linux successful? Debatable. It has success in limited uses, but has never grown beyond these uses. It is a feature, not a product. Linus accomplished a lot, but what groundbreaking thing has he done in the last 20 years?

None of which has much to do with the kernel. I doubt there's a single feature you can point to and say "because the kernel is missing/mis-implemented this, people will not adopt linux". The lack of adoption of linux in userspace, if it is due to any technical reason at all, is to do with problems in the userspace tools.

Comment Re:Good in beginning, but a little long (Score 1) 240

Agreed - I remember thinking during that bit "please dont use a fire extinguisher please dont use a fire extinguisher please dont use a fire extinguisher please dont use a fire extinguisher"... and then the Iron Man bit left me thinking a fire extinguisher would have been better. Mostly I thought NASA and Watney would have known that rendezvous would have been nearly impossible with neither the MAV nor ARES having maneuvering thrusters, and could have built one from the hydrazine bottle and palladium he already used for the water synthesis. Except it would have been a "fire extinguisher" except in name only (a "FEINO"?).

Comment Re:the lard of hosts for fat ads (Score 1) 343

Prior to the rise of advertising, almost all sites were 'independent'. They'll be around for a long time after the end of Internet advertising, because they're run for love, not money.

And none of those sites carried breaking news or the AP wire, at least not legally. Or had sports scores (ditto). Or showed streaming video other than self-produced content in 240 x 160 "QuickTime postage stamp theater" format. Or paid anyone to write content for them. Or provided social media capabilities (vital to the ubiquity of the Internet, whether you personally like/use them or not). Or did much of fucking anything other than be personal projects or part-time blogs that ran until the proprietor got a job/spouse/kid and realized it was an unsustainable time (and bandwidth cost) investment. All that would be left is e-commerce sites; personal sites where the creator can handle technical duties and pay the cost of hosting (remember, no ad-supported WordPress!); 100% sponsored sites (which would thereby lose all credibility of independent thought); big corporations that could afford making "loss leader" websites or sustain the costs of being subscription-only (also as bad); a tiny number of donation-only sites like Wikipedia with enough notoriety to sustain themselves; and some government pages funded by your tax dollars.

I loved the era when you had to install WinSock or MacTCP to use your college's Internet connection. Browse the Wayback Machine from 1996 and you'll get warm fuzzy feelings, but remember that this was when the Internet was a nerd phenomenon like Usenet, not a global force for easy information dissemination and democratization of media. To return to it would be the death knell of the Internet in all functional ways.

Advertising may be annoying. But it is what fueled the growth of the Internet into what it is today, and I personally don't see celebrating the death of sites like Ars Technica, Longform, Foxtrot Alpha, Jalopnik, The Onion, Kotaku, TheForce.Net, Grantland, Slate,, or pretty much any other site on the web that I currently enjoy for free. Insert whatever other site here that you enjoy reading and you do not currently directly pay for.Your mileage may vary, but I don't think "the rest of the world will celebrate" as you seem to believe.

Comment Re:The useless and redundant (Score 1) 55

Back in the real world, the reason there are so few phone companies is because the government gives them a monopoly on use of radio frequencies.

Umm, no. The reason that there are so few mobile phone carriers is that it is really f***ing expensive to put up 40,000 or so nationwide towers and all the network infrastructure and BSS/OSS needed to support them. Never mind care, devices, sales channels, marketing and all the rest. Cellular services simply don't work well with unlicensed spectrum (capacity planning is a NIGHTMARE if you don't know who you're sharing spectrum with and what their loads are), so you also need to have the money to buy spectrum licenses. (That's right, none of the carriers were "given" a monopoly on their spectrum, they had to buy it. For a lot of money.)

This is what business school professors call "high barriers to market entry." If you don't have giant piles of money in quantities starting with the letter "B," you naturally can't play. Sure, there are lots of MVNOs which can be stood up comparatively cheaply (as in the tens of millions of dollars startup cost), but those aren't new carriers, they are just resellers of one of the "big four." If you want to be a local wireless company where you don't need many towers etc. then you can do that - there are dozens of those in the US, primarily serving rural areas where the "big guys" don't see a good enough return on investment - but they have no pretensions of being competitors on a national scope.

It's like asking "why aren't there more car companies?" It's not because of regulation (though I am not personally a big fan of government regulation of wireless), it's because it costs a metric f***ton of money to become a company that builds its own cars.

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.