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Comment: Re:Thai Tasting (Score 3, Interesting) 85

by plover (#48027197) Attached to: Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food'

I definitely agree there is value in testing the ingredients. The strength of peppers varies widely based on their growing conditions, and it would be good to avoid making a dish too hot or too bland.

I can also see using this automated taster to evaluate how a hybrid produces year over year, how the fruit of different parents crossed to produce the same hybrid compares to the original hybrid, or how the taste may vary from field to field. That's when it could be more useful to quantify the difference from the "standard".

But I think when you're hybridizing you'd still want a human doing the evaluation. It's a new thing, and quantifying taste of a new thing isn't as important as the perception of the taster.

Comment: Re:What I've learned: 90% captcha solved (Score 1) 59

by plover (#48026403) Attached to: Analyzing Silk Road 2.0

That's great but how do sites counter bots nowdays?

Bots are like any other parasite. If you have something they need, they arrive, and you have to figure out how to control them. And like controlling parasites, the most effective means is to take away their food source. So sites reduce the value of their site to spammers, black-hat SEOs, etc., by measures such as adding nofollow tags, preventing CSRF, restricting and filtering user uploaded content, and vigilant policing. And CAPTCHAs still help a lot, but as the sophistication of the bot tools is expanded, it's just another measure - not a perfect one.

There are millions of sites on the web. The idea is that if you make yourself harder to abuse than the next site, the bots might leave you alone in search of easier pickings.

Comment: Re:Statistical Literature (Score 1) 122

I'm more interested to know which major character it believes may be dead? Every character is statistically likely to be dead at some point.

Unless of course you take the 'You cannot kill what never lived' point of view.

I think you meant "What is dead can never die". Not only is it a point of view, but it's actually a prayer of the Iron Islanders in GoT.

And yes, they can be killed, too. Just not all at once, it appears.

Comment: Re:Finally (Score 1) 120

by jonbryce (#48022207) Attached to: Apple Faces Large Penalties In EU Tax Probe

And that factory isn't where they are saving the money.

They have a company called Apple Operations International. It is registered in Ireland, and all the staff that work for that company are based in Texas. Under Irish law, the company does not pay any tax because it doesn't do any business or employ any people in Ireland. Under US Federal and Texas State law, it doesn't pay any tax in the US or Texas because the company is registered in Ireland. That company makes a huge amount of money, two thirds of all the profits the Apple Group makes, and doesn't pay tax on it anywhere in the world. Not the very low 12.5% Irish tax rate, not a specially reduced rate. Absolutely no tax whatsoever.

Comment: Re:Americans are smart. (Score 2) 427

by plover (#48021999) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

Not an anti-vaxxer, not by any means, just saying there are lots of things we think absolutely must have been tested to be completely safe when it turns out that it probably isn't as great for you as you'd like to have thought. That's all.

First, nothing is "completely safe." Everything has a limit beyond which it exceeds the capacity of a human to absorb it. On top of that, no injection or vaccination is ever 100% risk free. There is risk of infection, of allergens, of tainted products, etc. And there are also the risks of adverse side effects in some measure of the population.

People don't really understand statistics. They certainly don't understand a "one in a million" chance, as evinced by the profitability of the lottery. They also don't understand the consequences that result from these decisions.

I think a lot of that comes from a pile of numbers that people can't easily relate. Consider that a vaccine may have a 1:1,000,000 chance of causing the disease it was intended to prevent or causing a debilitating side effect. It may also have a 1:100 chance of causing an inconveniencing side effect. Its primary effect is to confer a 98% level of protection against a disease. The disease has a 20% chance of causing a debilitating condition. Unvaccinated people have a 10% chance of catching the disease. Herd immunity kicks in at an 80% immunization rate, and reduces my chance of getting the disease to 5%. Even though they're all based on probabilities, they're not even using the same units of measure for display. How does a layperson put all those numbers together to make a decision whether or not to immunize their child?

The flip answer is "they don't." Too many people lack the education needed to understand the numbers, to combine them, and to compare them; so they turn to experts. But how do they trust an expert? A few people are willing to claim to be an expert to drive their personal profit or agenda, instead of to serve the truth. And some people will cherry pick their list of experts to align with their agenda. It's the latter that are the corrupting influence, and those are the ones that need to be stopped.

Comment: Re:Soon to be patched (Score 2) 320

by Dcnjoe60 (#48020989) Attached to: Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

Nobody actually said that Linux is more secure. What has been said that security flaws are more likely to be reported and patched before they are exploited. The reason Windows doesn't have problems like this is because they really do. However, Microsoft is very good about non-disclosure agreements and the like. But, security by obscurity isn't really security. It's just marketing and wishful thinking.

As for being burned by this, it hasn't happened. The flaw has been there for 22 years and yet not one exploit has been noted. Nobody has been burned by this because of the difficulty in actually exploiting it (without have physical access to the machine). Should this bug be there? No, of course not. But it is the open source nature of linux that led to this even being reported.

Comment: Re:Rent a Tesla for $1 (Score 1) 331

by Dcnjoe60 (#48020933) Attached to: State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives

But again, why is it only automobile franchises that are the problem and not all fast food and retail franchises that are anti-competitive?

You have no idea what you're talking about. McDonald's can own stores and franchise the brand at the same time - nobody cares. I have no problem with auto dealers - the issue is that if Tesla wants to sell directly then they should be able to. The only reason to disallow it is to limit competition for entrenched players.

By the way, thanks for playing the part described above. If not you, somebody else would have. But you folks are always good for a laugh.

Tesla isn't wanting to set up their own Tesla owned dealerships. They are wanting to skip the dealership all together. Given the volume of vehicles they are planning on producing, that makes sense from a business perspective. Delorean tried the same thing, which is one of the reasons states without automobile dealer franchise laws added them and those with them, strengthen them.

Yes, people could take their Delorean to a regular mechanic to work on it (and had to in many states). However, that same mechanic can refuse to work on it. A dealer's mechanic can't and they must service the car. Like it or not, those laws were put into place for consumer protection and to protect the franchise owner from the manufacture. Whether they are still needed or not today, is open for debate. However, Tesla could easily get around the law by selling franchises for $1 each. The fact that they are willing to spend a lot of money on attorney fees to challenge the laws probably means there is some other reason they don't want to do that. That's the question people should be asking.

Comment: Why not.... (Score 1) 94

by Dcnjoe60 (#48018579) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Multimedia-Based Wiki For Learning and Business Procedures?

Wikis let anybody add and edit data. That is there strength and their weakness. That might be good in some situations, but probably not with business policies and the like. In a business setting, maybe something like Wordpress would suit your needs better as you can imbed multimedia in it. If you have more advanced needs, then maybe Drupal would work.

Comment: Re:Soon to be patched (Score 2, Insightful) 320

by Dcnjoe60 (#48018551) Attached to: Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

Fucking Linux. NEVER AGAIN. At least with mswin, my stations will auto-update. (Not to mention they never would have had such a bone-headed obvious hole to start with.) Christ, even my headless server stations that I never thought I'd have to fuck with again are vulnerable. Goddmammit. This could even compromise accounts I have on remote servers if they are not keeping up-to-the-minute updates. I guess you get what you pay for. Caveat Emptor. I just never thought it would come back to bite me so hard. I suppose you never do.

What makes you think Windows doesn't have problems like this? The difference is that being open source third parties can review the code and find problems. There is no way to keep them secret and from the public. Also, fixes were pushed out within hours of notification.

Look at it this way. BASH has had this problem evidently for years and there haven't been any exploits. It was discovered by researchers analyzing the code. In an MSoft world, where nobody has access to the code but MSoft, the public finds out about security holes after they have been exploited. So I agree, Caveat Emptor.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.