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Comment: To the face-in-phone generation(s): (Score 1) 161

by fyngyrz (#48216325) Attached to: We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

You old people crack me up.

No, honestly, you arrived pre-cracked.

It may well, somehow, be our fault that you are cracked, but it an absolute certainty that our habits of actually talking to people are superior to yours of sitting at a table or walking down the street with your friends, looking only at your phones, as you busily talk to anyone but the people you're actually with.

Comment: Not a feminist issue. (Score 1) 451

by fyngyrz (#48216257) Attached to: The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll

Among the healthy and mature, there's no right "not to be offended"; not for men, and not for women. There is 100% equality here.

Such offense is subjective; every possible attempt to minimize it by law boils down to an unworthy suppression of freedom, something that is unhealthy for society no matter how you go about it.

Even when a particular mode of speech, or some consensual/personal action, is pretty much uniformly despised, it's far better to know who says, and therefore has motivation to say, or does, these terribly offensive things, than it is for society to repress these people and then jump up in stark surprise when they move from unseen and unheard to resentful action as a means of kicking back against said repression.

Speech, in many cases, serves as a moderately effective safety valve. You never want to close such a valve and walk away. Because you get this.

If something you look at offends you, look away. If something you hear offends you, stop listening. If something people do offends you, don't participate. Your subjective feelings of offense can never rise to the relevance required to legitimately regulate the behavior of others.

Until something breaks your bones, damages your property/finances, or impugns your reputation, or these things similarly directly affect those for whom you perform the role of parent or guardian, the correct action is to turn to managing your own sensibilities -- rather than trying to control other people's actions.

Now, as to the immature and incompetent, in particular, children: Parents and guardians have a dual responsibility here. In order to be able to execute that responsibility, your home should be a safe haven in the sense of you being able to completely control who, and what information, gets in, and when they get in, and when they must leave. Society owes it to you to see to it that this capacity is readily available to you. Your home should indeed be your castle. To the extent it isn't, society has either failed you, or you have failed your charges. Schools and/or any other situation requiring attendence must likewise be supportive and safe, or society has lost its legitimate right to force your children to attend.


On the one hand, it is your responsibility to see to it that your charges are not bullying, generally or specifically being an asshole to others. You are responsible for inculcating the understanding that immature and/or insufficiently abled minds can be taken to, and beyond, the brink by bullying, and then you must see to it that this understanding translates into reasonable behavior by your charges (which, by the way, will work to reduce many types of essentially pointless trolling later on.)

On the other, it is also your responsibility to see to it that your charges are not being bullied. You should know where your charges hang out, who they hang with, what the environment is like, and you should step in when that environment, in your estimation, becomes unhealthy. Stepping in may involve a note to someone else's parent or guardian, removing your charge from the harmful environment, or simply providing sufficient perspective so that the behavior is seen in the light of failure of the perpetrator, rather than any kind of lessening of the value or self-image of the target.


If your charge cannot be taught to healthily handle the speech, displays, or consensual actions of others, then it is your job to see to it that they are not exposed to those things. It is not society's responsibility to turn the entire planet into a padded room for your charge. If you need a padded room, you should build one of your own.

For every story I have heard so far of horrible consequences to bullying, my reaction has been "Where were the parents during all this?"

And I have to ask: If your charges are not being raised with healthy self-images and a strong sense of self, what the fuck are you doing? And why are you doing it? Why are you such a totally shitty parent or guardian? And why do you expect the rest of us to compensate for your failures?

Again, these people's abject failure at parenting does not rise to the level of telling everyone else they can't call someone something when, in fact, it is pretty apparent that something is called for.

Having said that, most online forums and comment sections are not public operations. They're private. And in that role, they have both the power and the right to monitor and control the content and activity on that forum. If you invite people to spend time in what pretty much amounts to an environment you created, then you'd better tell them up front what the limits, if any, are for that environment, and see to it that you are accurate about it. If (points at facebook) you allow your operation to get too large or otherwise out of your effective control, I really don't see how that absolves you in any way from being absolutely clear to all participants that you are not, in fact, able to guarantee any particular kind of environment or control what is going on. And no, burying such things in a veritable tar pit of legalese doesn't suffice. Be plain; be clear; let no user into your "thing" without a road sign that says "alligators!" or whatever else it needs to say. Because it does need to be said.

The very idea of freedom requires a concomitant effort to ensure a competent citizenry. If you create a nation of pearl-clutchers, you will have created an environment where repression is the always go-to of the regulators. To some extent, this is already happening, particularly in nations like England, which has pretty much fallen off the wagon of sanity and is busily engaged in chewing its own tail off. It would be lovely if the USA didn't follow them any (or at least much) further down that road.

+ - Microsoft exec opens up about Research lab closure, layoffs->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "It's been a bit over a month since Microsoft shuttered its Microsoft Research lab in Silicon Valley as part of the company's broader restructuring that will include 18,000 layoffs. This week, Harry Shum, Microsoft EVP of Technology & Research, posted what he termed an "open letter to the academic research community" on the company's research blog. In the post, Shum is suitably contrite about the painful job cut decisions that were made in closing the lab, which opened in 2001. He also stresses that Microsoft will continue to invest in and value "fundamental research"."
Link to Original Source

+ - Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin at Tsinghua University in Beijing 1

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Abby Phillip reports at the Washington Post that that Mark Zuckerberg just posted a 30-minute Q&A at Tsinghua University in Beijing in which he answered every question exclusively in Chinese — a notoriously difficult language to learn and particularly, to speak. "It isn't just Zuckerberg's linguistic acrobatics that make this a notable moment," writes Philip. "This small gesture — although some would argue that it is a huge moment — is perhaps his strongest foray into the battle for hearts and minds in China." Zuckerberg and Facebook have been aggressively courting Chinese users for years and the potential financial upside for the business. Although Beijing has mostly banned Facebook, the company signed a contract for its first ever office in China earlier this year. A Westerner speaking Mandarin in China — at any level — tends to elicit joy from average Chinese, who seem to appreciate the effort and respect they feel learning Mandarin demonstrates. So how well did he actually do? One Mandarin speaker rates Zuckerberg's language skills at a seventh grader's speech: "It's hard not see a patronizing note in the Chinese audience's reaction to Zuckerberg's Mandarin. To borrow from Samuel Johnson's quip, he was like a dog walking on its hind legs: It wasn't done well, but it was a surprise to see it done at all.""

+ - Radical 4-in-1 Piston Engine Promises Hybrid-Like Efficiency->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "One of the many challenges facing engine designers is the need to increase power output while simultaneously retaining or improving efficiency. Although a four-cylinder engine is still an engineering marvel, there remain many friction points that reduce energy output. Namikoshi Electronics of Japan believes its unorthodox 4-in-1 concept engine could provide an alternative powerplant to the automobile industry."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:May I suggest (Score 1) 324

by PopeRatzo (#48211335) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

I want them to have the tools that they might realistically need

I do too. I just don't want them to have those tools be less obtrusive or noticeable.

There's already some statistics on departments that have started using wearable cams for their officers, and the drop in police use of force, and in citizens' complaints about police abuse, are quite remarkable.

If police behave better when there are eyes on them, I don't want to take ears off them.

I realize your argument is more reasonable, by the way. Just so you know I'm aware of that. I'm just still a little raw from a summer with so many examples of the negative results when local municipal police officers become Tommy Tactical. I'm not talking about SWAT teams, I'm talking about regular rank and file officers.

I live two blocks from the Chicago Police Academy - walk the dog around the campus every day - and after decades of seeing the department start to hire more professional men and women, it's disheartening to see ex-Blackwater commandos training them in urban warfare.

+ - This app can solve differential equations, just by taking a photo of them-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Croatian startup MicroBlink built an an app that solves differential equations, just by taking a photo of the equation. If there was concern in higher education about smartphones being used to cheat in exams, now that fear has become even more justified.
The app, called PhotoMath operates in the most intuitive and easy to use manner: You just need to use your smartphone’s camera. After running the app, you aim the camera at the equation or exercise, and within seconds, without even pressing one button, the solution will appear on the screen. Just like that. To reach this level of simplicity, the application uses an advanced and fast OCR algorithm that identifies the characters and digits in front of you instantaneously. But the application does not stop there. If you want, with one click you can see all the steps taken to get to your final answer. The solution can be broken down into the step-by-step actions, and the user can simply browse back and forth between the different steps. The app currently supports arithmetic functions like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication; fractions and decimals; roots and powers; and simple linear equations with one or two unknown variables. Application developers are promising that additional, more complicated functions will be introduced in the near future to solve calculus and combinatorics equations."

Link to Original Source

+ - CryptoWall Ransomware Infecting Visitors to Major Websites like Yahoo, AOL and M-> 1

Submitted by DavidGilbert99
DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "Up to three million visitors to some of the web's more popular websites — like Yahoo, AOL and — are being put at risk of being infected with the pernicious ransomware known as CryptoWall through malicious advertisements, with the criminal gang behind the campaign thought to be raking in $25,000-a-day"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:May I suggest (Score 1) 324

by PopeRatzo (#48209821) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

What makes you believe that?

Well, the main firearm for police is the sidearm. The weight that a suppressor adds makes the gun more difficult to handle. Granted, my only experience is with the old fashioned suppressors with the rubber grommets, but I don't think the new suppressors are that much lighter. Additional weight at the muzzle of a handgun may not matter in target shooting (my forte) but it really matters in tactical situations.

When you hear the evidence that suppressors make a weapon more accurate, it's always in reference to a stationary firing position.

Also, the new types of suppressors are much less effective in quieting a weapon. Even the volume of a suppressed weapon is enough to cause hearing damage (it's the attack portion of the envelope that causes the damage as much as it is the volume).

Of course, this is not viable so long as silencers remain regulated and taxed as heavily as they currently are in US (much more so than guns themselves).

I'm pretty sure the suppressor regulations are local, not national, by the way.

If anything, local police are too eager to go to their weapon to solve a problem as it is. I'm not sure you want to encourage more of it by making gunfire quieter.

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!