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Comment: Re:oh delicious irony (Score 4, Insightful) 463

by geoskd (#48588909) Attached to: Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

Then please tell us how a rake would not work.

The surface consists of a hardened layer that has been darkened by weathering process'. The subsurface is a much lighter layer of sand that blows away easily, and is a different color from the hardened surface. Once damage has been inflicted on the surface, the sand beneath can blow away (and does with each storm) causing the damaged areas to spread over time. The only way to prevent this is not to cause the damage in the first place.

It should be noted that there is no wildlife in those areas of sufficient size to damage the surface, It is only through human intervention that damage can occur. If Greenpeace values its reputation, they will expel every idiot involved in this debacle and tell them don't come back.

Comment: Re:So close, so far (Score 1) 561

by geoskd (#48427345) Attached to: "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

No-one is asking for special treatment to make women "more" than men, just to restore the balance, which by practically every metric shows that women are at a disadvantage in society, and especially the workplace, and double-especially in IT. We (feminists) want everyone to be equal, as we are equal, and that means highlighting these oft-overlooked degrading behaviours and circumstances which conspire to keep this gender difference around,

The fundamental problem is that equality will not be good enough to make women equal. I understand that sounds pretty self-conflicting, so let me explain.

The world works around a few basic principles that apply to almost all situations. The first of those is evolution and survival of the fittest. The root of this is that any action that gives an individual an advantage will ultimately be selectively bred for. It has made humans aggressive, and our societies have similarly evolved to favor aggressive people. Men, by historical chance happen to be the more aggressive half of the species.

Women end up taking a back seat (statistically speaking) because they are not as aggressive. We can change society to help address this imbalance, and make up for the existing discrepancy, by artificially selecting against aggression, but this may in fact be a fools errand. If the selective advantage of aggressive behavior is too great, attempting to eliminate that advantage, could potentially end up destroying society. If you breed out aggression, there is a strong possibility that you also breed out the single trait which makes us nearly unstoppable: Our drive to challenge and thoroughly destroy any competitive or existential threat. Those that have not bred out this trait then come in and mop us up, as our own species represents our greatest rivals.

At the end of the day, it looks as though we are making these societal changes to weed out and breed out aggression, but it is important to note that these changes in our society are being met with a certain degree of backlash from various religious groups, and also seems to be coinciding with an apparent decline in many facets of American society. The two are likely unrelated, but we have to consider the possibility that there is a causal relationship between the reduction in aggression and the decline of our high standard of living.

Comment: Re:What other word means the same? (Score 1, Interesting) 554

by geoskd (#48391391) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices

So if "consumer" connotes a livestock mentality, then what's a better word for "someone who buys a thing other than to use it to make other things that he can sell"?

There really isn't a better word for it, but it has negative connotations because the behavior is generally not rational. There are two kinds of consumption: Necessary and discretionary. No one talks about necessary consumption because it is a fact of life: Eating, place to sleep, clothes, etc... The other kind of consumption is not necessary to survival, but consists of luxuries. The purchase of luxuries is not rational, but rather an expression of personal enjoyment. Some discretionary consumption is more rational and socially acceptable than others. For example, buying a large wardrobe, or eating out at fancy restaurants are perfectly socially acceptable forms of discretionary spending. What is generally less socially acceptable consumption is the purchase of a gas guzzler, wearing offensive clothing, etc. While we wish to preserve the right to do these things, we wish to excise a tax on the behavior in order to discourage it, while at the same time helping to offset the cost to society of allowing these behaviors at all. At the end of the day, the individual right to operate a vehicle has a huge cost to society, is monumentally destructive to the environment, and should be discouraged in favor of public transportation and higher fuel efficiency wherever possible.

There is an old saying often attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes JR, "My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins." Operating a motor vehicle on public motorways is right on the line where everyones nose begins.

Comment: Re:never mix science and politics (Score 1) 282

by geoskd (#48340699) Attached to: When We Don't Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

Hell, politics would be an awful lot better if politicians were driven by scientific results instead of baseless ideologies.

I like that idea. Lets make em run on a platform of what they intend to do, and what they intend to maintain while in office. These intentions have to be measurable. Once in office, they stay in office until they fail to meet the requirements they themselves set. Once they fail, there is a new election to replace them with someone new to make new promises.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 1) 349

by geoskd (#48281659) Attached to: Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

As I said before, 2 people have contracted the virus here in the U.S., none of them were innocent bystanders or family members of someone who was over there. If you are this scared of these people you should just walk around in a full bio suit all the time, it is the only way to be safe.

The paranoia is not about whether I should be worried about catching the disease myself, it is about the fact that an Ebola epidemic is very difficult (expensive) to contain. If you catch it while it is still only in the low teens or single digits, it will only cost $millions and a few lives to stop. If it gets to 100+ people, some of whom are not medical personnel, then you get the kinds of breakdown that is happening in west Africa. Anyone who doesnt believe that that kind of irrational behaviour can happen here is welcomed to spend a few days with these folks .

At the end of the day, Hickox is playing a very dangerous game. Not because I think she is likely to be spreading Ebola, but because she is indirectly empowering *everyone* to make that decision themselves, and in any group of people there will eventually be someone who makes a stupid decision. The only perfect way to safely contain Ebola is through perfect quarantine. If that werent true, then Ebola would not have made it to the USA. Violating that concept is in itself a demonstration of a lack of concern for the greater good and a violation of the Hippocratic oath. Hickox actions have put our government in a very bad position of having to come down on the wrong side no matter what they do, and have guaranteed another erosion of our rights. Now, the limits of our rights in this regard will have to be codified, and our freedoms die a little more, all because some ass-hat is trying to make a point. This bears many similarities to the Deep-water horizon disaster, except the stakes are higher, and the potential benefit of the risky behaviour is practically non-existant. At least BP could say there was millions if not billions of dollars at stake. Hickox is putting everyone at risk for what? a weekend bike ride that she could wait three weeks for?

Comment: Re:Thanks for making my point (Score 1) 928

by geoskd (#48281071) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

It happens about 40 times a day on you average PC, it is just rare it hits anything vital. If you run ECC memory you can track how many read errors it corrects. In fact error-correcting memory exists for servers and workstations for this very purpose. It is real and common.

If it is happening at all with any regularity, it is a sign of faulty hardware. The fact that you would allow a machine to continue operating with a demonstrated record of on-going hardware errors shows you are either using very faulty equipment, or don't have any reason to care.

NASA uses mil-spec parts for good reason. They dont have the luxury of hot-swapping a broken part. Long story short, if youre seeing any ECC failures, you have a faulty part that needs to be replaced. If you're seeing it across an entire range of machines, youre observing either a design flaw, or a manufacturing problem.

Comment: Re:If you tax the rich, they'll leave (Score 4, Insightful) 255

Basketball tickets are a luxury. If you buy them, it's because you chose to give Ballmer money. I can't help you with that.

Thats right, we can choose not to buy basketball tickets (and I'm already in that camp), but we can't choose not to subsidize Balmers purchase of the team because a set of, long since gone, politicians wrote that nice little loophole into our tax code for us. The way I do the math, those assholes transferred about $10 from my pocket into Blamers pocket with just this one transaction. I had no say in the matter. I had no interest in the stupid basketball team (or the sport for that matter), and yet here I am subsidizing it...

I want to know: What humanitarian need did my $10 fill? In what way is the world a better place than it would have been if Balmer had to cough up the price without my subsidy? I could fully support the idea if my money had gone towards curing cancer, or helping dying children, or something equally righteous, but how is supporting Basketball, a sport that is fully capable of paying its own way, helping better humanity? How is this anything other than yet another way in which those with the power and the money are stealing from the rest of us?

Comment: Re:This seems the obvious solution (Score 1) 202

by geoskd (#48233975) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Make a High-Spec PC Waterproof?

Hmmm... do you have a better solution?

I finally concluded that submerging the entire system was impracticable. Ultimately, I concluded that something that just circulated the liquid against the CPU itself in a closed loop would be better. This is in fact what most modern liquid coolers do.

I looked at a number of fluids including Flourinert, but concluded they were just not really reasonable. Almost all liquids get more viscous as they get colder, which makes pumping them more difficult, and requires special pumps. Many of them are susceptible to contamination which changes there behavior. I've always suspected that the mineral oil became corrosive due to contamination, but I had moved on before I could test anything.

Comment: Re:This seems the obvious solution (Score 4, Informative) 202

by geoskd (#48231433) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Make a High-Spec PC Waterproof?

Another idea which I like even better is to immerse the whole machine in mineral oil.

This is actually not that good of an idea. I ran a mineral oil rig back when I was in school, and the mineral oil dissolves the dielectric used in the "can" style capacitors used on almost all electronics. Over the space of about 3 years, the oil will destroy the exposed caps, and the machine will become flaky and ultimately stop working altogether. Also of note, the oil permeates and partially dissolves most silicone caulk and the plastics used for hot glue. Ultimately, its pretty nasty stuff in spite of appearing to be relatively inert.

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.