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Journal: The Trolls 81

Journal by Tom

Wow, it's been 15 years but I've finally got my own personal troll! :-)

I must apologize to everyone I've ever called a troll now that I've seen a real one. Yeah, there are trollish comments, but this... it's a different league. If you ever wondered who these brain-damaged morons were who set up geocities homepages with blinking purple text on blue background with red dots in Comic Sans - that kind of different league.

Now it does make me wonder about trolls in general. Has there been a study on this? I really wonder if psychologists have tackled this because quite honestly, you cannot be mentally stable and post in this and this content at the same time. So I do wonder if trolls on the Internet (the real trolls, not the people occasionally posting something stupid) do have a mental problem. It definitely looks like it. Probably insecurity issues, definitely an exaggerated need for attention, might be related to borderline syndrome or schizoprenia.

And, of course, the Internet provides:

As someone who has had to deal with family members suffering from mental illness, let me tell you that it's not funny. So despite the fact that they are, in fact, obnoxious, aggravating assholes, these sad little fucks also need help and their miserable little existence is not something you'd want to trade for yours, no matter how much you think your life sucks. Trust me, with a mental illness on top, it'll suck more.

Obviously, we can't offer therapy to people who usually comment anonymously and will often go to great lengths to avoid being tracked down. What we can do, however, is get a better understanding for how they act this way (they can't help it, mental illness is stronger than your conscious mind) and that the best thing we can do for them is to not continue the feedback loop. "Don't feed the trolls" - old wisdom there.

The last link in that list contains a few more ideas.

Now that I'm at the end, I kind of regret the smiley face at the top. But I'm leaving it in because this journal entry is a bit of a journey, even if it is short. Thanks to some Internet resources, a bit of research and connecting the dots, I've come a short way, changing my mind a little on this particular sub-sub-sub-part of life.

-----

A short additional statement on how to treat trolling. From what I've gathered from the resources above, a few comments (both here and in the various spammed threads) and my own life experience:

First, don't feed the trolls. Most of them seek attention, so if you stop giving it to them, they become frustrated and go away. Notice that they seek attention, not validation. A rebuke or an angry rant or even a shootout of personal insults satisfies them as much as anything else. Much like the old PR saying "there is no negative publicity", it is all about the attention itself, not about its content.

Second, stand your ground. Do not leave the site or stop commenting just because you're being trolled. It takes a bit to do that, yes. Trolls consider it a "victory" if they shut you up, either by simple flooding or by frustrating you enough to disappear. In their twisted minds, it gives them validation and somehow proves that they were right.

Third, if you see someone else being trolled, give them support. Doesn't take much - a single sentence is more than enough. Someone under attack by a real troll is being flooded. The troll will commonly post under multiple aliases or otherwise attempt to appear as more than one person. Psychological experiments such as Solomon Asch's show how we humans as social animals experience conformance pressure. So give that other person support by showing him that the flood he's getting is no the only opinion around. It doesn't matter if he consciously knows it's just one troll, the pressure is subconscious.

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I'd like to have comments disabled on this journal entry, for obvious reasons, but you can't publish a journal entry with comments disabled, so... 1000:1 bet that he's stalking the journal as well and will add his drivel below?

Also, if the formatting looks atrocious, turn off beta and revert to classic. Seriously.

User Journal

Journal: Continuation on education 13

Journal by jd

Ok, I need to expand a bit on my excessively long post on education some time back.

The first thing I am going to clarify is streaming. This is not merely distinction by speed, which is the normal (and therefore wrong) approach. You have to distinguish by the nature of the flows. In practice, this means distinguishing by creativity (since creative people learn differently than uncreative people).

It is also not sufficient to divide by fast/medium/slow. The idea is that differences in mind create turbulence (a very useful thing to have in contexts other than the classroom). For speed, this is easy - normal +/- 0.25 standard deviations for the central band (ie: everyone essentially average), plus two additional bands on either side, making five in total.

Classes should hold around 10 students, so you have lots of different classes for average, fewer for the band's either side, and perhaps only one for the outer bands. This solves a lot of timetabling issues, as classes in the same band are going to be interchangeable as far as subject matter is concerned. (This means you can weave in and out of the creative streams as needed.)

Creativity can be ranked, but not quantified. I'd simply create three pools of students, with the most creative in one pool and the least in a second. It's about the best you can do. The size of the pools? Well, you can't obtain zero gradient, and variations in thinking style can be very useful in the classroom. 50% in the middle group, 25% in each of the outliers.

So you've 15 different streams in total. Assume creativity and speed are normally distributed and that the outermost speed streams contain one class of 10 each. Start with speed for simplicity I'll forgo the calculations and guess that the upper/lower middle bands would then have nine classes of 10 each and that the central band will hold 180 classes of 10.

That means you've 2000 students, of whom the assumption is 1000 are averagely creative, 500 are exceptional and 500 are, well, not really. Ok, because creativity and speed are independent variables, we have to have more classes in the outermost band - in fact, we'd need four of them, which means we have to go to 8000 students.

These students get placed in one of 808 possible classes per subject per year. Yes, 808 distinct classes. Assuming 6 teaching hours per day x 5 days, making 30 available hours, which means you can have no fewer than 27 simultaneous classes per year. That's 513 classrooms in total, fully occupied in every timeslot, and we're looking at just one subject. Assuming 8 subjects per year on average, that goes up to 4104. Rooms need maintenance and you also need spares in case of problems. So, triple it, giving 12312 rooms required. We're now looking at serious real estate, but there are larger schools than that today. This isn't impossible.

The 8000 students is per year, as noted earlier. And since years won't align, you're going to need to go from first year of pre/playschool to final year of an undergraduate degree. That's a whole lotta years. 19 of them, including industrial placement. 152,000 students in total. About a quarter of the total student population in the Greater Manchester area.

The design would be a nightmare with a layout from hell to minimize conflict due to intellectual peers not always being age peers, and neither necessarily being perceptual peers, and yet the layout also has to minimize the distance walked. Due to the lack of wormholes and non-simply-connected topologies, this isn't trivial. A person at one extreme corner of the two dimensional spectrum in one subject might be at the other extreme corner in another. From each class, there will be 15 vectors to the next one.

But you can't minimize per journey. Because there will be multiple interchangeable classes, each of which will produce 15 further vectors, you have to minimize per day, per student. Certain changes impact other vectors, certain vector values will be impossible, and so on. Multivariable systems with permutation constraints. That is hellish optimization, but it is possible.

It might actually be necessary to make the university a full research/teaching university of the sort found a lot in England. There is no possible way such a school could finance itself off fees, but research/development, publishing and other long-term income might help. Ideally, the productivity would pay for the school. The bigger multinationals post profits in excess of 2 billion a year, which is how much this school would cost.

Pumping all the profits into a school in the hope that the 10 uber creative geniuses you produce each year, every year, can produce enough new products and enough new patents to guarantee the system can be sustained... It would be a huge gamble, it would probably fail, but what a wild ride it would be!

User Journal

Journal: Keystone XL Pipeline Will Raise Gas Prices for US Consumers

Journal by PopeRatzo

Unintended consequences:

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/keystonexl_cwd.pdf

There is no shortage of available crude oil, domestic or imported, in the
United States, and for the last few years there has been a glut at the nationâ(TM)s
largest crude oil terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma. Canadian tar sands oil
would be processed for greater use in the U.S. only as other imported or domestic
sources are reduced. Replacing Mexican oil with Canadian oil would
only trade the closer source for the more distant.

User Journal

Journal: Energy Industry Under Attack from Green Terrorists 5

Journal by PopeRatzo

"Just the other day, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said, 'If the cost of solar panels keeps coming down, installation costs come down and if they combine solar with battery technology and a power management system, then we have someone just using [the grid] for backup.' What happens if a whole bunch of customers start generating their own power and using the grid merely as backup? The EEI report warns of 'irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects' of utilities."

Solar Panels Could Destroy U.S. Utilities

User Journal

Journal: Ohio Sec'y of State Installs "Experimental" Patch on Voting Machines 1

Journal by PopeRatzo

Days before the US presidential election, the Ohio Secretary of State (Republican) directed that an "experimental patch" be installed on voting machines in 39 Ohio counties. Federal law makes it illegal to make any changes in hardware and software to election equipment without it being tested and certified by the Federal Elections Commission. [NOTE: if Brad Blog is not "notable" enough of a source for you, this story is being reported in many other media outlets.]

You Slashdot readers are supposed to know a little something about software and patches and security. What do you think? This sound like "best practices" to you? By the way, John Husted, the Ohio Secretary of State who ordered this "patch" installed, is the guy who tried to stop early voting in Ohio and then told his county clerks to ignore the federal courts when they issued an injunction to put those early voting dates back in place. He's also one of the Republican officials who claimed that the proposed voter ID laws and purges of voter rolls would "deliver" Ohio to the Romney campaign.

I'm a little curious about what any sysadmins who read this and support Romney think of this move.

User Journal

Journal: Militarizing the Olympics

Journal by PopeRatzo

Jeremiah Cornelius has covered this story, but if you haven't read this article about a journalist who infiltrated the G4S security firm, the private company to whom the security for the London 2012 Olympics has been outsourced, go take a look. It just gets worse and worse.

It's a pretty stunning story, not just the plan to evacuate London, not just the 200,000 body bags that were ordered, but the level of incompetence that G4S has shown thus far.

Ben Fellows, the filmmaker and journalist who went undercover as "âoeLee Hazledean", has recently revealed his true identity when the complete blackout on his story by the mainstream media, and other irregularities, have made him fear for his life.

The great Swedish alt-blogcasters Red Ice Radio also have some pretty shocking coverage (warning: includes some rather out-there material, but still interesting). In their 2 1/2 hour special, they get opinions from some pretty impressive people, but also from some, shall-we-say "less conventional" characters like David Icke. But even those interviewees have some fascinating insights (I happen to think Icke is not nearly as loony as he is portrayed). Depending on your tolerance for challenging consensus reality, YMMV.

User Journal

Journal: The Job Creators 14

Journal by PopeRatzo

As any Libertarian will tell you, there's no reason a CEO shouldn't be paid 2000 times the amount of an average worker, because they're worth it.

Keep that in mind when you read the story of Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson. It's a tale of how mistreated the 1% are in Obama's America:

When Duke Energy announced its merger with Progress Energy last year, the two companies agreed that Progress CEO Bill Johnson would assume the same position at the combined company. So he did: On June 27, Johnson signed a three-year contract to helm Duke. When the merger went into effect on July 2, he assumed the position of CEO.

        And then, on July 3 at midnight, Johnson resigned

As the article tells us, Bill Johnson was forced out by the board after the merger, but just imagine the job he did in that one day as CEO when you read about his compensation package for that 24 hours:

Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke. That includes $7.4 million in severance, a nearly $1.4 million cash bonus, a special lump-sum payment worth up to $1.5 million and accelerated vesting of his stock awards, according to a Duke regulatory filing Tuesday night. Mr. Johnson gets the lump-sum payment as long as he cooperates with Duke and doesnâ(TM)t disparage his former employer, the filing said.

Under his exit package, Mr. Johnson also will receive approximately $30,000 to reimburse him for relocation expenses.

Well, thank God for that $30k in "relocation expenses". Renting a U-Haul isn't cheap.

Like the saying goes "The rich are different than the rest of us. They are completely without shame." I want to know what the board of directors was doing the day this benefits package was approved.

But remember, according to Mitt Romney, Bill Johnson is a "job creator". Except, during the 24 very busy hours that Johnson was CEO, he laid off 900 workers. I wonder how much that comes to per laid-off worker?

Books

Journal: History books can be fun (but usually aren't and this is a Bad Thing) 2

Journal by jd

Most people have read "1066 and all that: a memorable history of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 good things, 5 bad kings and 2 genuine dates" (one of the longest book titles I have ever encountered) and some may have encountered "The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody", but these are the exceptions and not the rule. What interesting - but accurateish - takes on history have other Slashdotters encountered?

User Journal

Journal: Wyoming prepares for the End Times with proposed purchase of aircraft carrier 4

Journal by PopeRatzo

I had to double-check to make sure this wasn't an Onion article. It appears that a Wyoming state legislature has advance (yes, there was a vote) to prepare for the worst. They want to create a task force to prepare Wyoming for the total social and economic collapse of the United States (aka, the Zombie Apocalypse).

The best part of the story, and the part you just can't make up, is that the preparations include the formation of a Wyoming Navy . As reported in the Wyoming news source m.trib.com,

The task force would look at the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. And House members approved an amendment Friday by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.

Of course, an aircraft carrier costs about $6billion, but first there's the little issue of Wyoming being landlocked. The purchase of a submarine was not mentioned.

Read more in-depth analysis here.

Is anyone surprised that the amendment creating this task force was written and sponsored by Republicans? It's worth noting that Wyoming, the least populous state in the US gets back $1.11 for every $1.00 it sends to Washington in federal taxes.

User Journal

Journal: Woz: Android is better 1

Journal by smooth wombat

All you Apple fanboys prepare to gnash your teeth, rip out your hair and throw tantrums, the Woz has spoken.

Essentially, Android is more versatile and does things better than the iPhone, including Siri which apparently has problems connecting Woz to one of his favorite steak houses. Woz also doesn't like the fact the you need a connection, at all times, to get voice commands to work.

In short, the iPhone seems to be a violation of Rule #1 of the Three Rules of IT That Should Never Be Broken: never let programmers design your applications.

Woz also isn't thrilled about the short battery life, though Android has its own problems with battery life.

User Journal

Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

Journal by CleverNickName

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

Ernest asks Frank how long he has been working for the company. "Ever since they threatened to fire me."

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