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Comment: Re:Human Rights (Score 1) 377

by horigath (#46240065) Attached to: Assange's Lawyers: Follow Swedish Law, Interrogate Him In the UK

I don't know a thing about law in Europe or England but is a man required to respond to questioning when accused

In Swedish law, yes. The UK agreed to extradition even though he hasn't been charged because they considered the request for questioning to serve an equivalent purpose under Swedish criminal law, and that the authority to call him in was real—because the actual laying of charges comes later in the process than it does in Anglo-style criminal systems.

Comment: Re:Smoke & mirrors on user statistics (Score 1) 209

by horigath (#45973165) Attached to: Canadian Government Trucking Generations of Scientific Data To the Dump

No not really. You've successfully used three different sources two of which are known for excessively strong anti-conservative leanings, for the sake of being anti-conservative. Both the CBC & G&M have an axe to grind.

The Globe and Mail endorsed the Conservatives in the last three elections. So I'm not sure in what circles they are known for disliking them.

Comment: Re:Healthcare (Score 1) 356

by horigath (#45558131) Attached to: Computer Model Reveals Escape Plan From Poverty's Vicious Circle

Elective or cosmetic surgery isn't necessarily a natural monopoly: unlike, say, emergency care where you tend to go wherever the ambulance takes you, or GP care where quality is difficult to judge without spending years with a particular service, or even insurance where you suddenly find out that the service sucks when your life, or at least your quality of life and your employability, is on the line and they drop you or screw up your coverage. People getting cosmetic and elective procedures have plenty of leisure time to shop around, and because they aren't things that you need to have to live, they do marketing and directly compete on price. It's part of why lots of countries with nationalized care (single-payer or otherwise) make exceptions for those services and they are covered by out-of-pocket, private insurance, or maybe only a partial subsidy.

Eye care (and sometimes dental) are often caught in the middle ground between true electives and the core system. I wish they were better covered here in Canada, because they seem necessary enough to me, but I recognize that not everyone agrees with that—and that in both cases there are lots of tricky aspects that shade between necessary and elective, like when your orthodontist is trying to upsell you to “improve” your jawline when really you just want your gums to the healthy.

Comment: Re:correlation without causation, but why? (Score 3, Informative) 187

by horigath (#45536113) Attached to: Art Makes Students Smart

...and 'critical thinking skills' (which, without context, means nothing).

I'm not sure what kind of detail you read the article in then, because it describes the students being given an essay-question test. And if you read the links given you'll find out how the test was blindly scored looking for certain specific techniques as evidence of critical thinking: “observing, interpreting, evaluating, associating, problem finding, comparing, and flexible thinking”. They even built in a test for their system, having separate researchers score overlapping samples so that they could make sure they were producing consistent results.

And here's a little bonus:

A large amount of the gain in critical-thinking skills stems from an increase in the number of observations that students made in their essays. Students who went on a tour became more observant, noticing and describing more details in an image. Being observant and paying attention to detail is an important and highly useful skill that students learn when they study and discuss works of art. Additional research is required to determine if the gains in critical thinking when analyzing a work of art would transfer into improved critical thinking about other, non-art-related subjects.

I'm not sure why the summary doesn't include a direct link to the study, as is present in the NYT article, but there you go. There's more detail in there about what they mean by empathy and tolerance (specifically including a measurable decrease in the student's support for government censorship).

Comment: Re: Typical (Score 1) 264

by horigath (#45252765) Attached to: France Moves To Protect Independent Booksellers From Amazon

I would assume that the theory here is that other things affect the demand for books as well. By protecting publishers, authors, and local booksellers with connections to their community, they are hoping to create cultural value on books that will encourage reading despite the prices. Those seem like reasonable goals to me.

Comment: Re:How safe? (Score 1) 947

by horigath (#45229697) Attached to: How Safe Is Cycling?

I'm sorry, but saying "but but but other people break the law too" isn't saying you don't approve of what bike riders are doing, it is trying to excuse it.

OK good thing that the person you are arguing with said exactly that and nothing else. Certainly not anything about unclipping his pedals on an almost completely different topic.

I guess you must be really are annoyed by some cyclists who run red lights sometimes and since you can't argue with them on the streets you want to do it here.

Comment: Re:How safe? (Score 1) 947

by horigath (#45228959) Attached to: How Safe Is Cycling?

Who said anything about court? If you want to go there, how does the logic "it was inconvenient for me to have to unclip my feet from the pedals" work in court, were any bicyclists ever given tickets for failing to bother to even try stopping at a red light?

Did you not understand the comment? The annoying thing is that the author has already stopped at the stop sign and has to awkwardly stand there waiting for the driver who has right of way before eventually determining that the driver is waiting for him. Cars thinking that cyclists are unpredictable is annoying at best for the cyclists, at worst dangerous. But at least they see us, which is more than I can say for lots of drivers.

It is a logical fallacy to claim that the illegal thing you are doing is ok because a few other people do other illegal things.

Yeah, you are assuming that the poster is making excuses for breaking the law when in fact they are going out of their way to explain to you that they don't approve of doing so. It's not a false equivalency to point out that two people running red lights are both running red lights. It's not an excuse, it's an observation.

Comment: Re:An important distinction (Score 1) 947

by horigath (#45227875) Attached to: How Safe Is Cycling?

This is one reason why dedicated trails and sidewalks are more dangerous for cyclists than the road. I know that the most dangerous place on my commute is similar, whether I stop or not before the road, visibility is poor and more importantly many drivers just aren't looking (never mind that the cars have a yield sign while I have a stop sign so it's wonderfully ambiguous).

Comment: Re:How safe? (Score 1) 947

by horigath (#45227815) Attached to: How Safe Is Cycling?

Recently opened bike network is probably a sign of increasing ridership—between it being built for increasing numbers of cyclists and its presence encouraging more. So no wonder the accidents are growing faster than population, if more and more people are starting to ride.

Comment: Re:Bah, postmodern art (Score 1) 151

Cans of shit? We are expected to keep a straight face?

What does keeping a straight face have to do with art?

Please don't try to educate me about conceptual art. Maybe instead of telling us about your magic power to determine what art is objectively the best, you should educate yourself about why many people who love art disagree with you.

Comment: Re:Bah, postmodern art (Score 1) 151

Some art is bad. Doesn't make it not art.

I understand that many people don't like projects like this. That's fine. Others might disagree. But no matter what—there's no reason to insult the entire discipline because you don't like one project.

As an artist whose work is very different than this, I still can't help but be disgusted every time I see someone talking about "artists" in quotes, or with an extra "e" on the end (as they do elsewhere in this discussion), or making silly comments about blank canvases and reductive caricatures of conceptual art and uneducated statements about what art "has" to do—that's actually the position that the onion comment is making fun of: the conservative assertion that inauthentic "crap" art and artists are damaging society (in a classic moral formation as "sicko painters" and in a contemporary misguided-fiscal-conservatism way).

Even if those imperative statements were unproblematically true, they still wouldn't answer the just-this-side-of-trollish questions at the top. Why not drive around for half a day collecting random crap, then toss it all in a public square? What if that was beautiful?

Comment: Re:Academia? More than you'd think (Score 1) 556

by horigath (#39345613) Attached to: Indian Gov't Uses Special Powers To Slash Cancer Drug Price By 97%

I'd love to fund universities if they weren't so busy trying to pump out BA/BSc students who only want those letters to get a job and have absolutely no interest in the education or any research at all.

That's the same problem: reducing public subsidies to educational institutions encourages them to feel desperate and start trying to maximise their other income. It leads to them treating students as customers, where tuition payment becomes a simple transaction which pays for an entitlement to a degree title.

Better public funding is absolutely part of the solution to declining academic cultures and performance standards.

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