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Comment: Re:Their buying clout alone should end this deal. (Score 1) 105

by ilparatzo (#48982915) Attached to: Staples To Buy Office Depot For $6.3 Billion
"But, if you just need a couple packages of paper, are you really going to order that online?"

The brick and mortar stores can't stay in business because of the occasional need to pick something up like that same day, especially when there is competition from own market AND from the likes of Walmart. Most businesses, the bread and butter of their revenues, are getting deliveries in bulk. Stores like Walmart, Target and similar can often cover the one time needs of stuff that may run out. It would probably be more profitable for a place like Staples to allow you to stop by their distribution warehouse in an emergency, or just allow same-day for a premium or X number of same day "emergency" drop offs as part of a contract.

With continued competition, these stores are going to get worse and worse and they eat away at each other while both are getting needled by the mega-store chains. I'd rather have one store that is maybe more expensive (I doubt it though, given the other secondary competition they face both physical and online) and has a decent selection, then two stores that are tiny and worthless.

Comment: Re:Ban censorship, except the stuff that offends m (Score 1) 228

by ilparatzo (#48924479) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey
"Facebook and other social networking services put their resources into tagging content (religiously offensive, sexually explicit, drug use and other types of content that users often find unpleasant)"

This is an excellent idea. The problem is though that it's not that people don't want to see it themselves. They simply don't want it to exist at all where others might see it. Or the argument used with pornography, "where are innocent youth might stumble upon it".

So although yes, this is a great idea and would help keep offensive things from being seen by those who don't want to see them, it misses a major portion of that group which is offended. It's not that they don't want to see it, it's that they don't want it to exist. And just like with pornography or homosexuality in the United States, I'm sure it's not just the crazy fanatics that think this way, it's many of the middle of the road types as well. It's wrong. They don't want to just not see it. They want it to be gone entirely.

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 1) 823

by ilparatzo (#48878831) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret
Most of the links I was able to find stated that event the NHTSA felt that their were major weaknesses in their study. First, it was done in only 12 states. Second, it is only since 2000 so that sample set is drastically reduced compared to other accident studies which can typically go back much farther. Though you can start to use this sort of data to think ahead, you can't use it to make broad statements and force change in the automotive industry. It also doesn't use the more tried and true method of accident studies which is based on distances traveled. It's more of a "wow, something to think about and consider" versus a "hey, this is a fact, shut up and get used to it" kind of study.

On a side note, for pedestrian accidents the increased rate is primarily due to backing up, something you can easily attribute more to noise but I thought we were going to solve with backup camera mandates?

But overall, those looking at the study and performing it agree that the data set is too small to make large scale conclusions. And unless we want to just be alarmist, it's probably not a good idea to take this and run with it. Instead, use it to commission some larger and more detailed studies. Who knows, maybe the people who drive hybrids tend to not pay as close attention to what they are doing? I could make a latte sipping, enjoying the smell of their own farts joke here, but I'll refrain. Oops, I guess I already did. ;-)


Comment: Re:Honest question. (Score 1) 479

by ilparatzo (#48832725) Attached to: Fighting Tech's Diversity Issues Without Burning Down the System
"In our society, there should be nothing that stops someone from getting a job"

Other than qualifications and competition, obviously. If there is someone more qualified than me, I expect I won't get the job. Teasing out this from true discrimination can be difficult and we usually have to just trade types of discrimination in an effort to defeat one type.

Theoretically, I shouldn't be prevented from getting a job because of my gender, as much as a woman should not be prevented due to her's. A 20% quota on female hires could accomplish that as a by-product.

Of course, I work in a tech field where as the male I am in the minority, surrounded by a strong majority of female analysts and developers. So does it have something to do with the field, the need, the qualifications, or the gender? Simply looking at a percentage doesn't tell you 100% of the story. And seeking to hit a particular percentage doesn't really address the root. Maybe it's a start? Or maybe it's taking you down the wrong path. Who am I to say.

Comment: Re:Hey, what about Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking? (Score 1) 227

by ilparatzo (#48830669) Attached to: An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI
"So Elon Musk and worldwide-famous physicist Stephen Hawking spread FUD in your opinion?"

So being an expert in one field means that I've got to listen to you in all others? Last I checked, Stephen Hawking was a physicist and Elon Musk was an entrepreneur. Do you believe everything that Bill Gates tells you about particle physics?

Being an acclaimed scientist and genius in a field does not make you an expert in all things everywhere. And does not exempt you from the ability to make biased or incorrect statements.

Comment: Re:"Forget about the risk that machines pose to us (Score 1) 227

by ilparatzo (#48830485) Attached to: An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI
There is a difference between "discussing and addressing problems before they are a threat" and making wild claims with little factual evidence and then basing your arguments on them. Arguments against AI are largely based on fictional stories about them, not around the facts about what is possible, how it works and how research in the field is performed. And they largely come from people outside of the field.

You make an excellent point with bringing up Global Warming, just in reverse. With Global Warming, the major complaint is that you have scientists in the Climate field saying something and many others outside of that field arguing that what they are saying is wrong. With Global Warming the rally cry against those claiming it's false is that they aren't scientists, they don't understand the science, they aren't qualified.

But in this case with AI, people are listening to the non-scientists, the non-experts and claiming that it's THOSE people we need to be listening to and not the experts in the field, the scientists, the people with all the factual knowledge around what AI is currently and it's limitations now and into the future. Why is that? Is it because we've been trained over the years through fictional stories that AI is something that it isn't and we have a hard time believing otherwise? Isn't that one of the same reasons we say anti-global warming people are biased and should be ignored?

Comment: Re:good luck with that (Score 1) 125

by ilparatzo (#48796155) Attached to: Obama Proposes 30-Day Deadline For Disclosing Security Breaches
"that both parties are against the needs of the people!"

I wouldn't put it that way, as often enough they are. I think it's just #3 on the priority list behind getting re-elected and helping out their cronies, be they private parties or political parties. Those two are nearly one and the same, and as long as they aligned with the needs of the people, they're all set.

Part of the issue though is defining what exactly the "needs of the people" are. Dictatorships. communist and democratically elected governments all alike do things everyday for which they state they are meeting the "needs of the people". Besides, one could argue that the government doesn't exist to meet the needs of the people, but the needs of the country. And often acts to meet the needs of the government.

Comment: Re:On the other hand... (Score 1) 786

by ilparatzo (#48793557) Attached to: Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science
Yet the article includes a statement such as "The good news is that scientists have truth on their side".

No, what scientists have on their side is an excellent process for trying to uncover truth. Thousands of scientists throughout history have failed to have truth on their side. They have examined the evidence, done research and come to a conclusion that was wrong. Maybe they made a mistake, or maybe they didn't have access to enough information, but they in the end for one reason or another were wrong. Yes, many scientists ultimately reach truth, but that truth needs to be expected to be tested over and over again. That's what science is about, continually examining and coming to new conclusions.

Simply reaching a point and saying "this is the truth, it is no longer up for debate" is the antithesis of science.

Comment: Re:Disregards the people completely (Score 1) 319

A good politician would never miss an opportunity to use an emotional moment such as this one to push their own political agenda. It's rarely been about looking at the situation and what the government can do to better protect against it or learn from it. It's most frequently about finding some way to connect something you and those around you want to push through and manipulate the situation to make them apparently connect.

The same politicians that stand up and exalt scientific studies and research routinely fail to use the scientific methods in their own processes. Because in politics there is little worse than finding out you might be wrong or your opponent may be right on a subject.

Comment: 2.5 GPA = Hard Worker? (Score 1) 703

by ilparatzo (#48775181) Attached to: Obama Proposes 2 Years of Free Community College
I know that a 2.5 GPA is a B, but it's a damn low B average. If I had a 2.5 GPA average in college my parents probably would have started to stop providing their support. Hell, I would have been embarrassed to have my entire average be that low, meaning I'm getting a good share of C's.

Add onto that the fact that this 2.5 GPA is expected at community college. A little research finds that in 2006 the Average College GPA was 3.11 (and a large number of results claiming grade inflation). Articles discuss that today's 3.11 is the 2.52 of the 1950s.

This tells me that paying for someone who gets a 2.5 GPA isn't paying the hard workers. It's paying the tuition of just about everyone but the bottom of the barrel. Not to mention the "easy" classes that will be no doubt be taken by many to help keep that GPA up lest you get hit by a big bill suddenly.

This strikes me as a great opportunity to drive people into STEM fields that need more people, or at least that we're told need more people. I don't necessarily like the idea of forcing people that aren't meant to do it there with free money, but just handing people cash to get any degree they want, as worthless as it might be for them or for society, doesn't seem like a good plan either.

Comment: Re:I wouldn't worry about it (Score 2) 130

by ilparatzo (#48739637) Attached to: Writers Say They Feel Censored By Surveillance
Look what is happening to people who wrote "private", "speech protected" things at Sony that had their communications dumped out on to the Internet? Their names and reputations are being dragged through the dirt. Increased government surveillance can mean the government could, anonymously, do something similar to groups they dislike. It doesn't have to be what I write and make public that destroys me, but my own private communication. And it could be my public writing that causes increased scrutiny on my private writing.

I would guess that the majority of concern isn't with the government trolling through my public writing. But that the content of my public writing creates increased attention by the government that then does surveillance on me and those around me for "dirt" to either illegitimatize me or worse. Because every writer also has mountains of writing and communication (emails, journals, etc) that they don't intend to make public as they are personal in nature.

Because of that risk, I then am more careful with what I write such that I don't get unwanted attention from the government surveillance apparatus.

Comment: Re:LOL (Score 2) 381

Idiocy spans all political parties, countries, religions, scientific circles and humanity as a whole. One man's genius is another man's idiot. And today's genius may find that they are tomorrow's idiot and vice-versa.

But I would argue that much of the problem is with the name calling (or idiot calling in this case) as much as anything else. When we wage our intellectual battles by calling each other names meant to degrade and or trivialize, we are just as much of an "idiot" as those who seek to harm.

"All my life I wanted to be someone; I guess I should have been more specific." -- Jane Wagner