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Comment Re:Dangerous power (Score 1) 265 265

"We have had very ugly case in Poland recently..."

Just so you know: the problem in the USA is pretty much the exact opposite. There are practically no mental health care institutions anymore.

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/30/science/how-release-of-mental-patients-began.html

Instead, people with mental problems wind up in the criminal justice system and wind up in our massive prisons, locked up with violent offenders. At least this bill would give some kind of check-and-balance on the proceedings, with doctors involved (not just cops) for at least a few hours.

More generally, if you don't have a US-mindset, here in the states there is little to no public assistance or support for anything like being down on your luck or sick: no public health care, no mental health care, no maternity or family leave, no federal minimum vacation or sick days, etc., etc.

Comment The Magic Words (Score 4, Insightful) 139 139

"This year’s legislation arms the intelligence community with the resources they need"

Translation: There's nothing here that really needs to be illegal; and we do not expect this to be enforced regularly or equitably. We just want to be able to declare as criminal anyone we take a disliking to, or who doesn't bend over for us on demand.

Comment Re:Misleading Title (Score 1) 342 342

"...officials believe that human error was to blame for the incident, rather than a problem with the robot."

Of course officials at the factory are going to suggest that first... because they're liable for mistakes of the robot, but not for mistakes of the worker. This is standard boilerplate and counts for nothing. Only a proper investigation can determine the truth. More 1%-vs-the-rest, really.

Comment Re:What is the purpose of regulation? (Score 1) 668 668

Are the words of Bernie Madoff credible? Is the whole point not that he's a liar proven demonstrably to all rational people? Who cares if he's got some rationalization for hurting people. The rules of our society shouldn't be written by and for sociopathic personalities.

Comment Re:Snake oil is everywhere (Score 5, Insightful) 668 668

"The prior shows a logical certainty, the latter [absence of evidence] is rationalization."

No, the latter is not mere rationalization; it is a logical use of limited resources (like time and money).

People can come up with a billion crazy theories or stories. We don't have time to test all of them or start using all of them by default. Hence, the responsibility falls upon the story-teller or seller to do the test and present evidence before anyone else gives them attention, time, or money in return. That's not rationalization -- it's simply rational.

As I say in my statistics classes: "The null hypothesis gets the benefit of the doubt; the alternative hypothesis has the burden of proof". (Or as Wikipedia puts it: "Rejecting or disproving the null hypothesis... is a central task in the modern practice of science, and gives a precise sense in which a claim is capable of being proven false. The null hypothesis is generally assumed to be true until evidence indicates otherwise.").

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_hypothesis

Comment Nads N. Nads (Score 5, Informative) 290 290

The writer, Nadia Drake (as listed in the byline at Wired.com), doesn't explicate until almost the end of the article: it's not that FB is misinterpreting her actual name as overly exotic, nor is she using a stage or business name, but her account is registered as "Nads N. Nads". She justifies this by saying that her friends commonly call her "Nads" for short and that she also wants to avoid a stalker. That might be justified, but the fact that she buries it near the end of the article, after a whole bunch of support for actual minority and Native American names, makes it feel just a bit self-serving. I would argue that proper journalistic practice would be to front-load this information in the first or second paragraph.

Comment Re:Idiot (Score 1) 1067 1067

The major difference here is that in the first scenario the water stops in the sink, while in the second scenario it doesn't (so no division actually occurred). Every scenario you can think of will have this same problem; in your second version the material will have not been consumed, and you'll be in a situation of still needing to deal with it or pass it on, which is totally unlike the first case.

Reflect on why this is literally called an "overflow" error.

Comment Re:x/0 does not equal 0. (Score 1) 1067 1067

There is a system called the extended real number line which does in fact have +INF and -INF as usable values. As you expect, division by zero is still undefined even in that situation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_real_number_line

On the other hand, there is an extended complex plane (Reimann sphere) with a single added "point at infinity" for which one can consistently define 1/0 = INF. But this is not the same as any standard computer number format, of course.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riemann_sphere

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