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Comment: Re:Introduction already $$$ (Score 1) 57

by RingDev (#48478961) Attached to: Researchers Discover an "Off Switch" For Pain In the Brain

Here's the thing, there are some forms of nerve damage that we currently don't have a cure for, there are far more that we don't even understand well enough to have an idea for a cure, and there are some that are so poorly understood, even significant swaths of the medical community doubt that they are real and accuse patients of being drug seekers.

For example: Fibromyalgia. It isn't a disease in it's own right, it is a classification of a set of symptoms that have not been able to be attached to a source. There are lots of theories and progress is being made in the field. But when the causes could be genetic, dietary, environmental, psychological, or even sleep related, any step forward could be helpful for some subset of FM sufferers, but leave the rest without aid.

If this approach can be made to work, it would mean that virtually all of the FM sufferers in the world could lead a normal life, while at the same time research continues on the underlying causes of their conditions.

When you wake up every day and have to see your spouse, your child, or your friends in agony because for no meaningful reason their brain decides that they should feel like every joint is coated with sandpaper, that every muscle is strained and torn, that every tendon is inflamed, then any option, even one that profits some greedy ass in a suit, becomes a miracle.


Comment: Re:This is clearly futile... (Score 1) 172

by Tom (#48478951) Attached to: Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

How does one filter the good information from the bad?

Academically? Untracktable problem.

Pragmatically? If you can't find it on Google, then for 99% of the Internet users, it doesn't exist.

it fails because it ignores the technical constraints to implementing such an idea.

I say it succeeds, because it takes a pragmatic, real-world approach to the issue and accepts that its solution is not 100% pure mathematical perfection. But in the real world, 99% or 95% or 80% or sometimes just 51% is sufficient.

For example, if a politician is caught for embezzling money,

This point is much stronger and better thought-out.

Yes, in an ideal world, we could guarantee that the search results return a balanced view of the subject, with both pro and contra, bad deeds and good deeds, accusations and convictions as well as acquitals.

Until we live in that world, is it better to throw up your hands, accept Google's profits as more important than the life of innocent people ruined by "oh shrug, that's just how our search algorithm works" or is it better to protect real breathing humans and force Google to spend one millionth or so of its profits on it?

But at the same time, your problem is also the answer to why this law doesn't apply only to those innocently accused. Because there's no objective truth that would help us decide what to keep and what to forget.

without bringing child pornography into it.

I chose that specifically, because for other crimes people might decide to simply ask you if it was true. For child porn, that's very unlikely. You'll just be dropped from the list of candidates without ever learning why.

Comment: Re:This is clearly futile... (Score 1) 172

by Tom (#48478921) Attached to: Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

10 years later they would more be more likely remember the arrest, not the charges being dropped.

The probability of someone remembering a news headline from 10 years ago that - at that time - was not personally meaningful to them is next to nothing. The probability of someone putting your name into Google just to check what comes up is much higher than zero.

It's actually very pragmatic, reasonable and smart to address the likely issue that is reasonably easy to address and ignore the highly unlikely one that's very hard to fix. The EU is much smarter here than you are, because they're dealing with actual problems in the actual world, not with philosophical abstractions in an ideological exchange.

Comment: Re:You are in support of what??? (Score 1) 172

by Tom (#48478897) Attached to: Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

By targeting major international search engines, they can enforce it (IE, they are being lazy).

No, they're doing what they should be doing. Instead of putting their head into the sand and singing "nothing we can do about it, la la la la la", they are doing what they can do about it.

It's not perfect, but outside of the ivory towers of the computer departments of universities, that's how the real world works. We have a law against murder as well, even though it doesn't actually prevent murder. But it's better than nothing, it's what we can do about the issue, and it works reasonably well.

Most of the real world happens between the largely philosophical positions at the extreme ends.

Comment: Re:This is clearly futile... (Score 1) 172

by Tom (#48478869) Attached to: Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

I may not have been clear enough.

The news websites in question may all have put up all the information, including - in my example - your acquittal.

But due to the way Google page rank works, only the "arrest for child porn" headlines show up on the first 20 pages for your name.

That is a problem of Google's making, not of the news sites.

Comment: Re:This is clearly futile... (Score 1) 172

by Tom (#48478715) Attached to: Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

If you want information hidden, have the site that is hosting the information remove it.

You missed the point. It can well be that the site hosting the information presents a balanced view, showing both your (to stay in my example) arrest as well as your acquittal.

But Google will show only parts of it because arrests simply tend to make more headlines, and thus more links, and thus higher page-rank.

Comment: Re:Reading and comprehension (Score 1) 114

by Zontar The Mindless (#48478199) Attached to: Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source

No, "or" would make it quite clear that the the power generated by clean tech is greater than any *one* of the alternatives. This is what we have the word "or" for.

I've tried offering my services to Slashdot on more than one occasion, but they don't seem terribly interested in having an editor who can actually, you know, edit.

Comment: Re:What's with turkey anyway (Score 1) 103

by Zontar The Mindless (#48478157) Attached to: I prefer my turkey ...

Howdy! Last night we just did some chicken legs under the broiler--not a holiday here in any case. But I will probably cook a turkey either this weekend or next, if I can find anyone to come help us eat it. And if I don't have to go too far afield to find one--last year the shops in our neighbourhood were full of them at this time but this year I've not seen a one so far.

Did you ever finish your Wizard of Oz sequel?

Drop me a line at the gmail sometime and let's catch up.

Comment: Re:What's with turkey anyway (Score 1) 103

by Zontar The Mindless (#48477975) Attached to: I prefer my turkey ...

I know you think you're being clever, but I wasn't bragging about the size of my vocabulary*, rather I was expressing my amazement that my spell-checker didn't "know" such a common word.

*Although, since you bring it up, I've done several tests which suggest that my English vocabulary is about 20% larger than average. Make of this what you will.

Comment: Re:I just don't get that. (Score 1) 91

by jd (#48477863) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Says Legal Fight Has Left Him Broke

I agree the justice system has gone haywire.

I agree the justice system has no business going haywire.

I agree the justice system has no business treating one person differently from another.

I agree that what was done was completely wrong, not just in this case but in many others.

I've said as much, repeatedly, on The Guardian's website on relevant topics. This isn't a new opinion for me.

There is a difference between having no sympathy for the guy (IMHO he deserved it) and agreeing with the justice system. I agree, and always have, with Tolkien's phrasing of it: "Deserved death? I daresay he did. I daresay there are many who live who deserve to die. I daresay there are many who've died who deserve life. Can you give them that also?" Whilst I admit that I'm "quick to judge" on occasion, I heed Tolkien's words and do not believe that "deserving" is sufficient to warrant inflicting what is "deserved". I do not believe retribution is a functional way to go about things. Trashing a hard drive with a sledgehammer might stop bugs in software affecting you, but it doesn't actually fix anything. To do that, you have to not inflict retribution but therapy, fixing the defects.

The same is true of people. Fixing the defects of character is harder, but certainly achievable in most cases. That pays attention to Tolkien/Gandalf's advice, leaves the world a richer place, and is generally a Good Thing. It's also cheaper than inflicting punishment. A lot cheaper, if the world is a lot richer for it.

He has smarts, he has savvy, with a little examination of why he chose the path he was on and some tests, it would not be hard to figure out how he could either offer the same service in essentially the same way in a protected manner, or (if he preferred) to do something different but that makes use of his skills and knowledge.

Bankrupting him has left the world poorer, because there's no way on Earth anyone will convince him to be more charitable and considerate now, and that's the only way the world would ever benefit from his skills and know-how.

To me, this is simple economics. At vast expense, the US has turned a person who was merely dysfunctional but a potential asset nonetheless to society if he could be persuaded into a dysfunctional wreck with a chip on his shoulder the size of the Empire State Building who is never going to let the world see the positive in his abilities. In short, by clocking up a huge liability, the US has achieved the dubious distinction of turning an asset into an additional liability.

I hold that there is always a solution that is both economically sound and ethically sound over the long term, over society as a whole, and that on closer examination, such solutions will always be superior to those that appear ethically sound but are economically unsound. Most of what is truly ethical is also a boost to some key aspect - to a person, society or planet - in the long term that is in excess of the cost, and thus will automatically be also economically sensible. Everything that is truly unethical may produce some short term benefit of some kind to some person, but is invariably expensive to everyone and everything in the long run. In consequence, even the ethical things with no obvious benefits will be cheaper than the great burdens created by the unethical.

I would not do well in a Star Trek universe.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.