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Comment: Re:Feminism ruins society again... (Score 1) 560

Feminism ruins society again...

Feminism (once you sweep aside academic verbosity) boils down to some very simple ideas about women being able to vote, have careers, use contraception, etc., and not being predestined to a life of child-rearing/cooking/cleaning whilst subservient to her husband. That feminism has almost been a success in western civilization, though many would like to drag us backwards. Moreover, it bore good fruit for other afflicted parties: if you're Jewish, black, LGBT, disabled, or foreign, you have feminism to thank (in part) for the opportunities afforded to you by modern society.

Are there feminist extremist? Sure. Is society over-correcting for its past? Yes. However, the proper response isn't to jerk backwards and polarize; the proper response is to reaffirm first principles (human rights, equality, due process, etc.) and temper extremism from both ends.

Comment: Re:If you demand all your supporters be flawless.. (Score 1) 653

by firewrought (#49415199) Attached to: Carly Fiorina Calls Apple's Tim Cook a 'Hypocrite' On Gay Rights

He's gay and claims to be a Christian. Pretty hypocritical if you ask me (or Moses or Jesus or the Apostle Paul).

Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same. -- Luke 3:11

How many shirts do you own, PRMan?

Comment: Re:Yeah good luck with that... (Score 2) 587

by firewrought (#49415065) Attached to: Hugo Awards Turn (Even More) Political

SJW^h^h^h People of all stripes have one thing in common: a relentless drive for conformist groupthink on the issues they fight for.

FTFY... we all feel most comfortable around people who have the same politics/ideology/worldview as us.

Few people are as scary and dangerous as the ones who are convinced that theirs is a righteous battle, and are prepared to fight it, whether their belief flows from religion or from ideals.

I'll buy that.Most injustice (at societal scale) involves either greed or ideology, and the greedy tend to be easier to fight or negotiate with.

And what appears to make the SJW crowd more belligerent is the fact that often they are right, in that there are still plenty of inequities and social injustices.

I'm not sure I follow. Perhaps you are simply saying that because public sympathy largely aligns with "SJW" values, it's harder to temper their extremes w/o being portrayed as an extremist yourself. GamerGate, to the limited degree I've researched it, seems to be an example of it: there are many reasonable voices on the pro-GG side, but their cause has been "helped" (/s) by extreme right-wingers, men's rights groups, and trolling 15-year-olds. Which made it easy for the anti-GG side to tar the whole thing as misogynist (especially since they owned the media outlets being criticized).

Compared to other "noisy" groups like extreme right wingers, these are the noisiest, most exclusionary, and indeed most violent.

Noisiest? That's subjective, but it seems like staunch right wingers have some powerful megaphones (Fox news, AM radio, plenty of pulpits, etc.). Progressives own more megaphones, but tend to be softer-spoken with them, though a good argument can be made that this is less true as time goes on (MSNBC, for instance). Increasingly, it seems like civilized discourse in our society is just two extremes yelling at each other.

Violent? Whoa whoa whoa... don't see where you're getting this. There's very little ideologically-driven violence in the United States, but notable incidents (Una-bomber, Eric Rudolf, Oklahoma City bombing, various anti-LGBT murders/assaults) are exclusively committed by right-wing actors. (Feel free to enlighten me if I'm wrong.)

And the really scary part is that because the issues they attack are real, this mindset is percolating into the mainstream. Writers being excluded from an association or from an award because they have the wrong ideas. Or in my home country, where no one so much as blinked when a school official stated that "if you have the wrong ideas or are a member of the wrong political party, perhaps you shouldn't be a student or a teacher here"

So it seems like the question is: how, and how much, should we tolerate the intolerant? Legitimate food for thought.

Comment: Re:Probably Xamarin (Score 3, Insightful) 96

Write your logic in C or C++. Its how cross-platform has been done for decades.

Yep... just like people keep talking about this "car" gizmo when we've had decent horse-and-buggy technology for centuries! I don't understand why anybody would want to cross the country in this proprietary Ford nonsense when--with just a little knowledge of horsemanship, veterinary science, metal-working, carpentry, wilderness survival, food preservation, hunting, and gunsmithing--they could take the slow, dangerous, proven approach!

Comment: Re:Reminds me of one thing (Score 1) 737

by firewrought (#49347545) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

We (almost) have self-driving cars. Aircraft generally self-drive themselves almost all time now. Why not have self-driving aircraft?

Seems a lot safer for now. Pilot can enter anytime if an emergency of non-standard situation is declared (and verified).

You're not thinking like an attacker... sure, this removes the homicidal co-pilot from the equation, but now you have to worry about the homicidal operators who oversee remote control of the system, not to mention the homicidal engineers/programmers/telecom folks who helped design the system and the homicidal hackers who figure out ways to seize control of it. Those would all be new areas of expertise, too, so you're going to discard the time-hardened crew system we currently use and replace it with a bunch of unknowns; that means flawed designs and fresh incompetence, which means many hard/painful lessons over several decades before aviation safety could return to its current pinnacle.

Basically, commercial aviation has gotten almost as safe as it can get. Make any one aspect safer and you're probably adding more danger than you're taking away. That's not to say we shouldn't try: real engineers and analysts need to study the problems and tackle them, but just about every "internet solution" is naively looking at this one situation without considering the system as a whole.

Comment: Re:it always amazes me (Score 1) 341

It always amazes me when people try and censor stuff that is already public.

What's most egregious is when the US military banned their staff from viewing Wikileaks. This suggests one of several possibilities:

  1. Military leadership is completely out of touch, believing that the they can put the genie back in the bottle by burying their heads in the sand. (Not unbelievable for a hierarchical/bureaucratic/authoritarian organization helmed by senior citizens.)
  2. Military leadership plans to use NSA intelligence to detect/find future leakers, and a staff-wide ban reduces the background noise/false negative rate in making that detection. (Very believable.)
  3. Military leadership is afraid that the existing leaked materials could spur staffers to make additional leaks. (Also believable, since there's bound to be [scattered throughout the sprawling military-industrial complex] a bunch of folks who've witnessed corruption/wrongdoing/gross incompetence and then subsequently been frustrated by formal channels for redressing such wrongs [or afraid to use such channels].)

Comment: Re:VR Demands Specialized Input Devices (Score 1) 124

by firewrought (#49264721) Attached to: Valve's SteamVR: Solves Big Problems, Raises Bigger Questions

I just want to have an infinitely large computer screen with no additional cost beyond buying the VR glasses. I don't give even one tiny shit about the "virtual reality" part. I basically want to be able to set my virtual desktop to some ridiculously large size, then look around at it using the VR glasses as a viewport.

Wouldn't that be a fun Window Manager to write? :-) However, instead of an infinitely large flat surface, I'd rather sit inside a ~6 foot virtual sphere. Important programs go right in front; reference docs, database queries, and utility/diagnostic apps would be to the left and right; email, IM, Facebook, news feed, and other "status"-y applications would be above or below. In hectic/messy work situations, you might end up with apps fully surrounding you, though obviously you'd be able to rotate the sphere with respect to the neutral head/neck position.

Short-term though, you're going to fuck up your eyes using any first-gen consumer VR for 8-10 hrs per day (a la any work situation), and it'll be cheaper/more expedient to just buy an extra monitor.

Comment: Re:This is some serious sci-fi drama (Score 1) 78

The word you are looking for is inventor. A discoverer is someone who finds something that was there all along.

While I agree with your definitions and word choice, there's really a vague area between the two terms: did Thomas Jefferson invent a better plough, or did he just discover a mathematical shape that offers the least resistant when passed thru a soil aggregate mixture? Did Thomas Edison invent the lightbulb, or did he just discover a filament that emits light when electrified (and then discovere a way to protect it from oils or direct contact with fabrics by housing it in glass... itself the result of a discovery that treating sand in such-and-such a way results in a convenient transparent solid)?

In one sense, every "invention" is merely a discovery about a mathematical truth of the universe... it may be a mathematics that reaches deep into chemistry or the human mind (far past our explicit understanding). You could probably turn it around too and say that every "discovery" is an "invention", which seems intuitively correct for (say) a complex image-compression algorithm, but very incorrect for something like Columbus's "invention" of America. :O

Comment: Re:Their two biggest mistakes (Score 1) 300

by firewrought (#49198415) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

With the Eich issue, they alienated a heck of a lot of conservative and libertarian users who switched to various forks or Chrome afterward in protest.

The Eich issue was an unfortunate overreaction, and one that should cause some introspection for Mozilla employees. Part of being a professional is the ability to work with people who view the world (outside the job) in ways that passionately disagree with. (And I say this as a supporter of marriage equality.)

However, if you're going to choose your browser on philosophical (instead of technical) grounds, there are larger issues at stake that relate much more intimately to the role of the web browser. This Eich thing is a sideshow to bigger issues of freedom, privacy, and open standards. For instance, it's really, really good for end users that Mozilla can participate in the standards-making process as a not-for-profit entity that owns a good chunk of marketshare.

I'd be saying this same thing had history gone the other way... e.g., if Mozilla had kept Eich and liberals had abandoned FireFox for that reason.

Comment: Re:"Conservatives" hating neutrality baffles me (Score 1) 550

I can't believe the bullshit I see from some of the "conservatives" I know who treat this like some kind of commie takeover of the Internet.

This. Republicans claim to worship the free market, but when asked to protect a free market (that has brought a whirlwind of innovation from which all Americans have benefited), they try to eliminate it in favor of entrenched monopolies.

Comment: Re:Yes, and? (Score 1) 178

by firewrought (#49182341) Attached to: One Year Later, We're No Closer To Finding MtGox's Missing Millions

I thought it was so you could purchase illegal contraband without leaving a paper trail. Either way, it's for criminals that are trying to hide activities. That's why I stay away.

Every technology initially attracts attention for how it can be abused. With pagers it was drug dealers; with the internet it was child pr0n; with drones it's terrorists/pervy neighbors/drug traffickers/whatever. With bitcoin, it's black markets.

So I'd caution against being close-minded up front. (It's not as if you're contributing anything novel to the conversation by doing so... somebody parrots this talking point on every bitcoin thread.) We have yet to see how bitcoin will play out in the real world. Personally, while I don't think it's a great investment vehicle and it's a dubious means of wealth storage, it does look useful for wealth transfer.

With Credit Cards, you have a few central banks skimming a huge amount of profit from the bulk of commercial activity, basically inflating costs for all of society. With cash, the government (at taxpayer expense) has to continually print more while exchanging/destroying old notes and simultaneously fighting off counterfeiters. Maybe bitcoin can reduce these overhead costs to society while simultaneously making it easy to conduct a long-distance economic transaction.

Comment: Re:doesn't DNA age or lose fidelity ? (Score 1) 55

I'm not slightly a DNA expert, so this is a question for those who may be. But doesn't the DNA in the seeds degrade ? Does storing them in a vault protect them from stuff that makes them degrade?

Quoting the Wikipedia article on seed banks:

Depending on the species, seeds are dried to a suitably low moisture content according to an appropriate protocol. Typically this will be less than 5%. The seeds then are stored at -18C or below. Because seed RNA (like our DNA) degrades with time, the seeds need to be periodically replanted and fresh seeds collected for another round of long-term storage.

The bad news is that recalcitrant seeds can't be stored this way, so no cocoa, mango, avocado, or rubber.

Comment: Re:Wrong conclusion (Score 1) 135

by firewrought (#49150159) Attached to: Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected

Sensory deprivation experiments where people live without clocks and daylight for more than a few days show that people tend to lengthen their "day".

Came here to say that. I remember one study/book that concluded people "naturally" have a 25-hour clock. Study participants lived in a (working) hospital with randomized staff schedules and all the clocks taken down, so it may not have been as pure as some other experiments on the matter. The participants had to wake up and go to sleep as a group so their schedules stayed in sync.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir