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Comment: Re:Is it healthy or unhealthy for society to have (Score 2) 190

by Jason Levine (#47968583) Attached to: Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

If you're talking about the Moon landing conspiracy theorists, it doesn't do much harm. Other conspiracy theorists, though can cause harm. For example, the "vaccines cause autism" folks have convinces a lot of people to skip vaccinations for fear of giving their child autism. Enough people are skipping the vaccinations that herd immunity is breaking down and we're seeing outbreaks of disease. These diseases are hurting and even killing people.* So, yes, some conspiracy theorists are harmless but others (especially in large enough numbers) CAN cause harm.

* My son actually has autism (diagnosed Asperger's Syndrome / High Functioning Autism). Even if, despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, vaccines gave him autism, I'd rather he be autistic and alive than non-autistic and dead of measles/whooping cough/etc.

Comment: Re:You can't sink a conspiracy (Score 2) 190

by Jason Levine (#47968503) Attached to: Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

This is the same phenomenon that keeps people sending money to the Nigerian scammers. When you've sent $10,000 to the scammers you have two choices:

a) Admit that you were tricked and you've lost $10,000

b) Keep believing that this is real and that this $1,000 you are sending will finally unleash millions of dollars on you.

The deeper you get in, the harder it is to escape by picking A. Conspiracy theorists are very deep (mentally, not monetarily).

Comment: Re:I thought this was long ago debunked (Score 1) 190

by Jason Levine (#47968471) Attached to: Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

This has been debunked dozens, if not hundreds, of times in many different ways. The problem is that the Moon landing conspiracy folks ignore when they're debunked or hand wave it away as just being "part of the conspiracy." You can't actually prove them wrong in their eyes so they'll continue to parrot the same, long-ago debunked "reasons why the Moon landings were faked" while the rest of us groan "not THIS again."

Comment: Re:There are numerous other obvious flaws (Score 1) 190

by Jason Levine (#47968423) Attached to: Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

The Moon Landing deniers will be forced to live on a crashed rocket on the Moon. Naturally, they will deny that they are on the Moon. As they accept that they are actually on the Moon, they'll be kicked off of Utopia: Moon (sent via rocket back to Earth). The last one to deny he/she is on the Moon wins!*

* First prize is absolute proof that you are on the Moon via the opening of an air lock.

Comment: Re:There are numerous other obvious flaws (Score 1) 190

by Jason Levine (#47968397) Attached to: Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

You get the same thing with the anti-vaccine folks who either move their goal posts constantly as to why "vaccines cause autism" (mercury, # of shots, mysterious unnamed "toxins") despite tons of studies proving that this isn't true. They've taken to claiming that they are pro-vaccine but simply want all vaccines removed from the market until they are 100% safe with no side effects. If we required this of all medicine, we would need to recall every single medical treatment there is. They don't seem to understand the difference between a vaccine with a tiny risk of minor side effects and a disease (rare only because of herd immunity) with a very large risk of moderate to severe side effects.

Comment: Re:There are numerous other obvious flaws (Score 5, Insightful) 190

by Jason Levine (#47968359) Attached to: Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

I see conspiracy theorists as an example of believing in a very unlikely scenario to boost your ego.

Suppose for a second that the Moon landing was faked. The level of conspiracy needed to do this and fool most of the people (including the Russians who would have called us out on it had we obviously been filming on a sound stage) would have been massive. You'd need engineers, scientists, government workers, astronauts, etc. All of them dedicated to pretending that we went to the Moon when we didn't. This would have to be a VERY well organized conspiracy. (Which alone should debunk this theory. Government is too inept to pull something like this off.)

Now, your normal person buys into the "faked Moon landing", but you are special. You are more intelligent and perceptive than they are. You see through the conspiracy and spot the flaws. In fact, you are so brilliant that the flaws seem stupidly obvious to you - which only elevates you more above the sheeple who buy the official story.

Of course, this also makes it nearly impossible to have a conspiracy theorist admit that he's been debunked. To admit this, the conspiracy theorist must lower his mental image of himself from "stands tall above all those stupid masses" to "actually a bit below those masses." This is unacceptable so any proof that the conspiracy theorist is wrong is rationalized away as being a) planted by the conspiracy to trick the foolish, b) irrelevant enough to ignore completely, or c) not proof debunking $MOVED_GOAL_POST.

You could load the conspiracy theorists into a rocket, send them to the moon, and they would still claim it was all faked just to preserve their mental image of themselves.

Comment: Re:We like to feel smart (Score 1) 603

by Jason Levine (#47964505) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Just to argue the flip side, isn't it better if people like memes/people based on real science instead of hearing people say "I love watching So-and-so communicate with the dead. They're really talented"? It might be a small step, but at least it's a small step in the right direction.

Comment: Re:Oh Well and (Score 1) 104

by Jason Levine (#47964453) Attached to: Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

There is no free market when it comes to ISPs. If I don't like Time Warner Cable's service or business policies, I have no other ISP to go to. Yes, I could leave entirely, but then I'm without Internet access (not an option when you're a web master, like I am) and Time Warner Cable still won't change their policies. If your only plan of action to force a group of companies to change is "everyone in the US cancels their Internet service", your is doomed to failure. Saying "let the free market decide" when it comes to ISPs is essentially saying "let the big ISPs do as they please no matter what they do."

Comment: Re:There is no "controversy" (Score 3, Interesting) 104

by Jason Levine (#47964257) Attached to: Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

In the case of Time Warner Cable/Comcast and other ISPs who also provide TV services, this is by design. The last thing they want is for you to realize that you don't need to pay them $100+ a month for a thousand channels - only four of which ever have anything decent on. They don't want you to decide that you'd rather stream videos from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon VOD, etc. The speeds they give you are "good enough" for normal web browsing. Any faster risks their monopoly Internet service provider business hurting their non-monopoly TV business and that can't be tolerated.

And just to make sure that Internet video doesn't supplant cable TV, they'll institute caps and "fast lanes" to kill off Internet Video, and keep charging you hundreds of dollars every month. Cable TV service - as it stands now - is going to be dying business a generation from now. The cable providers see this too and are working as hard as possible, short of actually innovating with their service (e.g. IP Television service or ala carte), to stave off the death for awhile longer.

Comment: Re:"Stakeholders" (Score 1) 104

by Jason Levine (#47964195) Attached to: Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

I think the number I heard was 1% of the comments opposed Net Neutrality. Assuming that's true, and that there were 3 million comments, then a mere 30,000 comments opposed Net Neutrality and 2.97 million supported it. Politicians might be many things, but unable to count votes isn't one of them. Hopefully, they realize that such one-sided support of Net Neutrality means that opposing it would be committing political suicide.

Comment: Re:The review ecosystem is good and truly broken.. (Score 1) 236

by Jason Levine (#47963515) Attached to: Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

I ran a review site a decade ago for infomercial products. I'd get helpful reviews (both good and bad) of products and a bunch of shills. This was back when the shills were easy to spot. All of a sudden, a dozen positive reviews would show up from "different people" all of whom coincidentally had the same IP address. There were also reviews that seemed suspicious to me, but I had no way of telling if the reviewer really was enthusiastic about the product or if they were trying to boost the ratings.

As an aside, the site mainly failed because I had to manually approve every review. Combine that with lack of free time when my first child was born, and the site quickly died. Had I kept the site running, I would have needed automatic publishing of reviews and would have had to develop some way of spotting possible shill reviews. I am still sad that I had to shut it down (it was the first major website I made), but I am happy that I don't have to figure out the difference between a positive semi-anonymous review of a product posted because the user liked the product and the same posted because the person was paid to increase the products' ratings.

Comment: Re:Not necessary complacent... (Score 1) 271

by Jason Levine (#47961743) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

It would be more accurate to say I stop actively thinking about work. If the solution to a work problem suddenly comes to me, I'll make a note of it (e-mailing myself or something), but I won't spend hours actively puzzling over a tricky bit of code or trying to debug a function. If my subconscious wants to keep at a work problem, that's fine, but I've got too many other things to take up my mental energy when I get home.

Comment: Re:Get a (New) Job (Score 1) 271

by Jason Levine (#47949661) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

I have the opposite situation. I've been in the same job for 13 years now. In that time, I've taught myself and gotten training for many new technologies. Some of these got integrated with my workload and some didn't. Of course, we have a big library of applications that have been developed over the years (by myself and other developers) that are running on old code. It would be great to rewrite them from scratch using new technologies, but this would take more time than I have available so we maintain them and work new technologies into the mix in other ways - finding the right balance between the old "it still works fine" and the new "isn't this cool."

Comment: Re:Not necessary complacent... (Score 5, Insightful) 271

by Jason Levine (#47949621) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

I grew up watching my father leave for work at 5am, come home at 6pm with a stack of work, do work at nights, and do more work on the weekends. His excuse was that his bosses saw him producing a certain level of output and he needed to keep it up. He's retired now. Do you know what all that extra work got him? Laid off when someone else with better connections wanted his job.

When I first started my job, I made it clear that I wasn't going to do this. I'm willing to remote in if there's a problem that can't wait until morning, but that's the exception, not the rule. I get into work at 8am, leave at 4:30pm, and stop thinking about work the minute I leave the doors. Granted, I love what I do - web development - so I'll often freelance or work on my own stuff on the side, but that's my choice. I'll also put that stuff on the side to teach my boys how to ride their bikes or to watch Doctor Who with them.

I enjoy my job, but part of what keeps me enjoying it is that I don't let it take over my life.

"If there isn't a population problem, why is the government putting cancer in the cigarettes?" -- the elder Steptoe, c. 1970

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