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Comment: Re: 'unreliability' (Score 4, Interesting) 176

by flyingsquid (#47568077) Attached to: An Accidental Wikipedia Hoax
These kinds of myths and frauds aren't unique to Wikipedia. For example, there's a myth out there that prior to the Vietnam War, soldiers were reluctant to kill the enemy, and that during WWII, about half of them would either refuse to fire their guns at the enemy, or would aim to miss. This story is repeated a lot, because it's an appealing idea. It paints human nature in a positive light, it says that fundamentally we don't really want to kill other people, and it takes a lot to get us to do it. In this narrative, people are fundamentally good, until the military corrupts us and turns us into killers. Unfortunately, it's a myth, based on academic fraud. The "discovery" is based on the work of a single researcher, who never published any of the primary data or interviews his conclusions are supposedly based on, and no one- certainly no military historian- has ever found even a shred of evidence to back it up. If you think about it for even a moment, it becomes obvious that it has to be a fraud. The Japanese fought to the death over those little scraps of coral in the Pacific, preferring to commit suicide to surrender. A group of Marines isn't going to be able to take those islands unless every single soldier is fighting with the willingness and intent to kill the enemy. Contemporary accounts of the battles make it clear they were bloody and vicious, and the behavior of American soldiers wasn't always merciful. One diary talks about machine gunners gleefully using parachuting Japanese aviators as target practice, and the skipper got pissed- mostly because they were wasting ammunition.

Years ago, this myth was exposed by an article in the New York Times. And yet the myth keeps getting repeated. A couple of years ago, I saw this nonsense being perpetuated- ironically, in an article in the Times. I wrote the editor of the article to complain that he was repeating something that the Times itself had debunked, and that they should publish a correction; they never did (the Times are a bunch of smug, lazy hacks).

I do think Wikipedia is probably worse for this than most other sources of information, but the bigger problem is that people are insufficiently skeptical. We assess information based on how well it fits what we already know, and what we want to believe- instead of trying to verify it. Slashdot is a perfect example of this- people constantly prefer to pull bullshit facts out of the air to support their opinions, rather than spend two minutes to read the original article or look up a statistic online.

Comment: Re:Elop (Score 1) 149

by miffo.swe (#47548963) Attached to: Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

I am just as amazed as you are. That many of us at Slashdot could predict exactly how it would play out was a nice discovery. I also fail to grasp how it is possible to so blatantly dismantle and kill a competitor by a mole without so much as a single lawsuit. And considering this is not the first company Microsoft killed and maimed killing one as large and successful as Nokia without repercussions makes you think dirty money must have changed hands. Either the board was full of drunken Finns oblivious of what was happening or they got paid to shut up and kick the share holders in the groin.

Comment: Its dead Jim! (Score 5, Insightful) 149

by miffo.swe (#47548455) Attached to: Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

Windows mobile phone forays are dead, done, finito, kaputt and out of steam.

Windows Phone 7 has been out for almost 4 years and still barely holds 3% market share. Thats pretty awful by any measure, especially since the platform before it had much larger market share. They lost customers with current platform without gaining any new ones.

Windows Mobile was out 7 years and failed, and before that Microsoft failed with Pocket PC.

I am amazed they still happily beat the dead horse instead of putting effort into supporting the winning platforms. Android will be succeeded by something in the long run and until then i fail to see the business perspective of dragging a dead horse round the racetrack with a lawn mower trying to catch up with a Jumbojet. Why not just book a seat in the Jumbojet instead?

Personally im sure Nadella would like nothing better than to put a fork in Windows Phone, but entrenched forces inside Microsoft makes this very hard. It has to fail on its own dying a long agonizing death instead.

Comment: Re:meanwhile overnight... (Score 1) 503

by flyingsquid (#47486325) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

Here's the current list of the top 5 most read articles on the New York Times:

1. Jetliner Explodes Over Ukraine; Struck by Missile, Officials Say

2. Obama Points to Pro-Russia Separatists in Downing of Malaysia Airlines Plane

3. Fallen Bodies, Jet Parts and a Child’s Pink Book

4. Maps of the Crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

5. World Leaders Match Anger With Calls for Inquiry Into Ukraine Plane Crash

I'm going to really go out on a limb say that Putin has already lost the propaganda war here...

Comment: The US must hate money. (Score 1) 749

by miffo.swe (#47454733) Attached to: Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

This is the worst decision ever in a long time. Cloud services is taking off for real and are the next big boom in computing, and with this decision it becomes impossible to lawfully use American companies services in Europe and most of the rest of the world.

This is not just about American citizens but also any citizen abroad with an account at a US service provider. Anyone litigating in the US can get a warrant like this issued, from any country.

Talk about stabbing your own industry in the back. This is giving the protectionists a free reason to only keep services inside their borders all over the world, in local companies :D

Comment: Re:What about range on this smaller car? (Score 2) 247

by flyingsquid (#47383557) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

People will like the smaller car and lower price,but if it doesn't have the range... they will not flock to it...

A lot of families have more than one car. You could have a large, gasoline powered car to go visit Aunt Mabel or on a camping trip in the Grand Canyon, and a smaller electric car for commuting, runs to the supermarket, etc. The hope is that eventually electric vehicles will have the range, rapid recharge rate, and charging infrastructure that they can compete with and replace gas engines; in the meantime the technology may already be mature enough to compete in particular niches. The nature of disruptive technology is that it initially plays to its strengths and gets a foothold in a market where conventional technology does not perform as well, and as it improves it eventually moves in and takes over from the conventional technology.

That being said, we are a long way away from a fleet that is all-electric or even substantially electric. It's growing rapidly compared to where it was a few years ago (basically, no electric cars), but it's still a tiny segment of the automobile market. According to Wikipedia, .62% of all cars sold in 2013 were electric. Even if that were a much higher figure- say, one-third of all cars sold each year- the average car is around 10 years old. So assume we replace ten percent of the fleet every year, then it would take years to reach a fleet that was one-third electric. Internal combustion engines are not going to go away any time soon. Tesla's stock price is soaring but GM, Ford, and Chevrolet still sell a lot more internal combustion engines than Tesla sells electrics.

Comment: Re:Helpful Genes (Score 0) 133

by flyingsquid (#47377357) Attached to: Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human
They're both big-game hunters, but had a very different approach to it. Neanderthals had stabbing spears; they basically ran up to their prey and stabbed at it. The problem with this approach is that you have to get very close to the prey. It's hard to get close enough to a horse to kill it with a stabbing spear. It might be easier to get close to a slow-moving animal like a mammoth or wooly rhino, but then you face the problem that if it's in range of you, you're in range of the tusks/horns/feet. It's possible to kill large animals this way- saber-toothed cats did- but dangerous.

When Homo sapiens show up, they've got an entirely new technology- the atlatl, or spear-thrower. They can throw a dart 60 feet with enough force to impale a large animal. This means they don't need to get as close to strike. It also means that when they do strike, the prey can't hit back. The difference in build between Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis seems to reflect this different hunting strategy. Neanderthals are short and stocky, like wrestlers. Homo sapiens are long and lanky, like basketball players. For the one, strength is key. For the other, speed, agility and long-distance throwing are key.

This may also explain the different effects that the two had on the fauna. When Neanderthals show up, we don't see any major extinctions. When Homo sapiens show up in Eurasia, we see the disappearance of mammoths, wooly rhinos, Irish elk, etc. The run-up-and-stab it hunting approach of Neanderthals wasn't that different from the hunting strategy of saber-toothed cats from the prey's standpoint. Raining sharp sticks of death down from dozens of meters away was radically different than anything the local fauna had ever faced before.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".