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Comment: Re:Care to explain that? (Score 1) 212

by IamTheRealMike (#49825461) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

I posted specific examples so that people could discuss the issues and point out problems with the conclusion. Several, in fact.

None of your examples support your thesis. I've been reading and posting to Slashdot for 15 years. People posting "an opinion that's not *quite* right just to get people to respond" is pretty much the lifeblood of Slashdot, how else would you test out ideas and discover they were wrong? Heck, in another story I'm getting my ass kicked right now because I didn't know that light American aircraft had registration numbers visible from the ground. Other posters are setting me straight. Yet I do not work for some shadowy organisation.

Your other examples are equally bizarre. People posting that they think the Paul's have a few good ideas and lots of crazy ones? That's not an organised conspiracy, that's just ..... a common viewpoint! One that was even mocked and made fun of in the last story about Rand Paul I remember reading.

You took the most vulnerable example and framed it in a "conspiracy theorist" context, and used it to frame the entire position. That's fine, it's a good use of rhetoric, but it adds nothing new to the conversation other than "in my opinion...".

You're the one using rhetoric! I didn't take "the most vulnerable example", I picked one at random because they're all equally ridiculous. Why exactly would any government or paid trolling operation even care about Uber?

And yes, if it's not clear, my reply said in my opinion you are sounding kind of crazy and appear to be giving in to paranoid delusions. Your position is: they don't disagree with me because they think I'm wrong. They disagree with me because there's a vast shadowy conspiracy to undermine me, Okian Warrior, and my world view, using subtle powers of rhetoric!

Occam's Razor says that, maybe, Uber is controversial and politicians like the Paul's tend to have many different views, with which few if any people agree completely.

Because looking at the chemical plant explosion hoax [] and Acorn hoax [] would indicate ro me that sock puppets can have an enormous negative effect on public opinion and government policy

What change to government policy did the chemical plant hoax bring about, exactly? And what effect on public opinion? Your link provides no backing for this assertion. It seems like the hoax was nothing more than a bizarre timewaste, given the triviality of phoning the chemical plant and discovering it was not on fire.

If you really can't see why "be careful of sock puppets" is damaging, just go browse further down this thread. There's an example of a guy who says he is Russian asking for evidence that Russia shot down the jet liner. And literally EVERY reply except mine is on the lines of, "go away paid Putin troll". That kind of thing shuts down debate and closes people's minds.

What's more - there's nothing you can do about it. So what if some people are being paid to post to Slashdot? What's the worst they can do, exactly? Say things you don't like to hear?

Comment: Re:Life in prison (Score 2) 179

by IamTheRealMike (#49825135) Attached to: Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison, and ...

The judge talked about that argument quite extensively in her sentencing. She had read academic studies of violence in the drug trade and found Ulbricht's arguments about lessening violence to be wanting - she pointed out that the drug trade causes lots of violence upstream.

Now you can of course argue that this is only because drugs are illegal. And that might well be true. But even if America legalises every drug tomorrow, Indonesia is still gonna have the death penalty for dealing, and the illegal drugs trade will still exist, and Silk Road would still be a part of it.

Comment: From who? (Score 5, Insightful) 104

by IamTheRealMike (#49825083) Attached to: FBI Is Behind Mysterious Flights Over US Cities

The planes are registered with fictitious companies to hide their association with the U.S. government.

Hide their association from who, exactly? Air traffic control? It's not like you can see who registered a plane from the ground.

This statement just screams "we are breaking the rules and don't want to get caught"

Comment: Re:It's very real (Score 1) 212

by IamTheRealMike (#49824879) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

Yes, see, the moderation and replies to this post are quite disturbing.

This troubles me greatly. Internet debate is being shut down on the internet, but not by paid Russian trolls. I have yet to see proof of such things happening on Slashdot, and the article itself largely draws blanks with regards to English-language interference.

Debate is being shut down by an army of people who automatically assume any position they disagree with w.r.t Russia is held by "non people" and therefore anything they say can be safely ignored. It's basically a modern witchhunt - your opinions look funny to me, so you must be a witch! Burn them! Evidence? We don't need none of that, just look at those opinions!

Given the fairly direct path between "westerners demonizing Russia" and "war" this is one of the most disturbing things I've seen on the internet in years. Now is the time for people to use the internet to talk to each other and understand each others viewpoints. Instead people in the west are simply sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting "LA LA LA PUTIN TROLL CAN'T HEAR YOU".

Fuck, you know what? As far as I'm concerned, even if there are people being paid to post Putin's views on Slashdot - bring it on! Our media doesn't even try to tell the Russian side of the story, and as the Slashdot poll disclaimer says, you shouldn't be making decisions based on internet popularity contests anyway. I'll evaluate things I read for myself and so should everyone else.

Comment: Re:Don't forget slashdot (Score 2) 212

by IamTheRealMike (#49824791) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

Er, I think what you are observing is just called debate. People disagree with you about Uber? No conspiracy theory needed for that - perhaps your views about what other people think just aren't as accurate as you had believed. Rand Paul? Likewise.

There have been delusional people with nonsensical arguments on the internet since the internet was invented. As with terrorism, this recent rise of "you disagree with me thus you must be a secret government paid sockpuppet" is by far more damaging than anything paid trolls could actually do by themselves. It ends debate and closes people's minds. They can rest easy without having to be troubled by arguments that suggest they may be wrong, because ZOMG RUSSIA! Where by $RUSSIA you can of course substitute almost any government, as if there's one thing Snowden showed us it's that the idea of western exceptionalism on the internet is pretty naive.

Comment: Re:RAND PAUL REVOLUTION (Score 1) 492

Greece is running a primary surplus right now. So try again

Um, according to their own figures which are highly dubious they were, but now are not anymore. And whilst a primary surplus is an interesting metric, you can't simply ignore debt. It's not ignorable. What they actually have is a massive deficit they cannot fix.

Spain and Ireland were running large surpluses when the crisis hit.

Bear in mind that there was a lot of lending from bad banks which was then taxed.

Says you. Meanwhile here, in the real world big state countries like Canada, France and Germany seem to sustain their debts without problems. Yes creditors asked for a smaller state. What else is news? Yet their interest rates are extremely low, which shows that at the end of the day said creditors are happy with the status quo.

As I pointed out already Germany is paying off its debts, it has a real budget surplus. Other EU countries have low interest rates because the ECB is more or less outright funding them at this point: it's not a real market when one of the biggest players can create their own money.

Comment: Re: Simplistic (Score 1) 353

Not really. Spoken like somebody who had crap teachers. Back in times of yore when people were still using the transmission model that might have been workable. But, it's a good example of being penny wise and pound foolish.

What kind of utopia did you grow up in? I'm 31 and 90% of my teaching at high school and university could best be described as "transmission". Long lessons full of note taking, reading the textbooks, and then if we got lucky we'd get to duplicate some practical work the teacher just showed us. Yes, sometimes you got individual assistance if you were falling behind. And sometimes you didn't. It was ridiculously high stress and a generally crappy way to teach people. That was in the UK. University was even worse: same style of teaching, minus the actual love of it that many of my high school teachers did at least have.

I do not believe schools have changed significantly in the last 15 years. Vast majority of the work teachers were doing could be replaced by high quality optimised lectures a la Khan Academy, automated question setting/marking, plus in-class supervisors (basically the nannys OP mentioned), plus on demand assistance from pools of remote teachers in cheaper countries.

Comment: Re:Simplistic (Score 1) 353

Not this again. The truth is there has been NO ADVANCES in AI since the 1970's. NONE.

lol. Google disagrees with you. They saw the word error rate on their voice recognition drop to near-human levels of accuracy due to the deployment of deep neural nets. DNNs were NOT available in the 1970's by the way. The concept of a neural net was, but nobody knew how to build one that worked like they do today. Obviously "learning how to build something that was previously impossible" is an advance under any reasonable definition.

Comment: Re:RAND PAUL REVOLUTION (Score 3, Insightful) 492

In real life, as opposed to in your head, evidence suggests that to the contrary, what is better for everyone is a rather expansive state. To wit, in most indicators, including wealth, large state countries such as western Europe, Canada and Japan are at least comparable and often better than the USA, while small state countries such as Somalia or Haiti are much below

By that logic Greece should be paradise.

Right now most big, rich, western countries with high quality of life are supporting themselves either via oil or via debt. That is not sustainable, which is why many European countries are either significantly cutting back the state or being told they really need to by various creditors. Balanced budgets as in Germany are sustainable, but Germany is also a fair bit poorer than people realise: wages have hardly gone up there for many years.

Comment: Re:Android IS a huge financial success. . . (Score 1) 344

by IamTheRealMike (#49790685) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

If you're the sort of person who believes any and all business is merely a way to make profit and nobody who creates a company ever actually cares about the task they perform, then sure. Reality is more complex than that.

Re: China. iOS is in the minority in China. Even at the time of the iPhone 6 launch iOS market share was only 20%, but iOS market share always spikes around the time of a new iPhone launch, then falls back down in the other quarters. And China is a special case - Google isn't willing to play ball with the communist government so the services that make Android most useful are all blocked there. Apple cooperates so they can sell iOS as is, getting a built-in advantage. Despite this, Android still dominates.

Comment: Re:Android IS a huge financial success. . . (Score 1) 344

by IamTheRealMike (#49790039) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

From their perspective it'd be much worse than higher search rev shares. If Android did not exist, Google Maps would have been wiped out overnight on mobile when Apple decided to go it alone (against the wishes of their own userbase, no less). Android was never about making direct profit, it was always about ensuring Google was able to deliver their services directly to users. They were quite open about this from the start. And judged by this standard it has been an incredible, epic success.

iOS is on the way down anyway. Outside of English speaking countries and Japan it's in the minority everywhere. In some countries, especially European countries like Germany and Spain, the iPhone has been crushed.

Comment: Re:What a guy (Score 3, Interesting) 388

by IamTheRealMike (#49786323) Attached to: Obama Asks Congress To Renew 'Patriot Act' Snooping

These career govt employees feed info to the pres, make recommendations, and fight for their interests. Even if a new pres wants to turn on a dime, Washington DC is a large ship that turns slowly.

Bingo. The old UK comedy "Yes Prime Minister" was a rather cutting illustration of this phenomenon at work.

What happens to someone when they become the prez? Enormous numbers of apparently experienced people begin telling you all kinds of secret things. They stress the importance of secrecy. They tell you about this plot or that plot. They say it's vital they get new powers and they not-so-subtly imply that if you don't help them Women And Children will DIE! And although it's left unstated you know perfectly well that if you don't give them what they want, you will see leaks in the press from anonymous officials that paint you as a prevaricator, as weak, as unconcerned for the lives of Patriotic Heroes And Their Women And Children.

The problem any US President has, and I daresay many other countries presidents, is that they are immediately submerged into a fantasy world woven from the agendas of the people around them mixed with their own pre-existing views, and those people are themselves also in a slightly less extreme form of a personal fantasy world and so on all the way down. A toxic brew of patriotism, belief in American exceptionalism, militarism and most of all pervasive classification means that it's impossible for a prez to penetrate the fog of misinformation that surrounds them. They can be manipulated into believing nearly anything because it would take an incredibly strong willed personality to say directly to the senior bureaucrats feeding them classified intelligence, "I think you are bullshitting me and I am going to personally audit your shit and prosecute you if you're lying to me".

Obama is very much NOT a strong willed personality. He sees himself primarily as a reasonable man who finds compromise between different factions. This makes him easily manipulated: all it takes is for people who agree to present him two apparently opposed positions - one extreme and one very extreme - and Obama will reliably pick something that is quite extreme. And the officials around him know that.

In hindsight it should have been obvious. Obama has no real track record of achievement in politics. He supported no particularly controversial positions, or showed any particularly clear thinking. Compared to Bush he seemed like a genius of course but Bush was a fucking man child, so that wasn't hard.

For that reason, Rand Paul fans might be disappointed if he won. I don't expect he would be able to accomplish as much change as people would like.

Almost certainly not. But it looks like Rand Paul is made of stronger stuff than Obama. Paul consistently argues for positions that piss off most of his party. He seems able to come to conclusions about things himself regardless of what other people believe. He seems to have fairly strong principles. He doesn't come across as the sort of wishy-washy people person that Obama is. If there's any US politician that actually might tell the people in his secret briefings "stop bullshitting me or I fire you", it's probably Rand Paul.

Comment: Re:None. Go meta. (Score 3, Insightful) 335

by IamTheRealMike (#49786191) Attached to: How Much C++ Should You Know For an Entry-Level C++ Job?

That sort of logic holds true when moving between languages that are very similar. The transition between Python and Ruby or Java and C# spring to mind.

However if I need a C++ programmer and need one pronto, I'm not gonna hire a guy who has only JavaScript on his CV no matter what. Learning C++ is not merely learning a different way to create an array or slightly different syntax. To be effective in C++ you need to know how to do manual memory management and do it reliably, which takes not only domain knowledge but more importantly: practice and experience. You need to understand what inlining is. You very likely need to understand multi-threading and do it reliably, which takes practice and experience a pure JS guy is unlikely to have. You need to be comfortable with native toolchains and build systems: when the rtld craps its pants and prints a screenful of mangled symbols you need to be able to understand that you have an ABI mismatch, what that means and how to deal with it. Unfortunately that is mostly a matter of practice and experience. You might need to understand direct manipulation of binary data. There's just a ton of stuff beyond the minor details of the language.

Could the pure JS guy learn all this stuff? Of course! Will they do it quickly? No.

Comment: Re:Stupidly in charge of user interfaces too (Score 1) 147

by IamTheRealMike (#49776347) Attached to: Apple Design Guru Jony Ive Named Chief Design Officer

Yeah, I agree with the growing sentiment that whilst Ive is a talented hardware designer, he is also seriously overhyped (by Apple, not himself).

Case in point: how long did it take for Apple to make a larger iPhone? A long time. I read a story about Ive in a magazine. It described the process of them deciding to make a bigger screened iPhone. The design team milled dummies of a bazillion different sizes and carried them around to try and figure out the perfect larger size. They spent ages on it. They tried literally every size. Eventually they produced something ..... just like their competitors. You know what? Apple ignored the trend for years. Then they procrastinated because their holy design team can't do anything fast. They could just have looked at what was selling well - it's not always a good idea but it's not always a bad idea either. But they made a mountain out of it.

Why do Apple's products have almost no customisability? Why did it take YEARS for them to even support setting a wallpaper image in iOS? Well, probably because:

Ive’s decision to offer choice was a challenge to Apple’s recurring theme of design inevitability. In one of our conversations, Ive was scathing about a rival’s product, after asking me not to name it: “Their value proposition was ‘Make it whatever you want. You can choose whatever color you want.’ And I believe that’s abdicating your responsibility as a designer.”

He was probably talking about a Motorola phone. But I guess that's why everything Apple makes is white. You wouldn't want to "abdicate your responsibility" by letting people choose colours! Well, unless it's a watch, of course.

If you read the whole New Yorker article you'll get an overwhelming sense that the design team there live in a bubble where they feel it's OK to spend months on a trivial detail and then produce something almost exactly the same as what their competitors did in a week. Apple has been consistently behind the Android market for years now when it comes to features and even new design ideas, and reading the article will reveal why.

If it wasn't for Newton, we wouldn't have to eat bruised apples.