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Comment Re:Subservient? (Score 1) 462

Can I assume that you don't use INTERCAL ( much? To quote:

INTERCAL has many other features designed to make it even more aesthetically unpleasing to the programmer: it uses statements such as "READ OUT", "IGNORE", "FORGET", and modifiers such as "PLEASE". This last keyword provides two reasons for the program's rejection by the compiler: if "PLEASE" does not appear often enough, the program is considered insufficiently polite, and the error message says this; if too often, the program could be rejected as excessively polite. Although this feature existed in the original INTERCAL compiler, it was undocumented

Comment Re:How is this newsworthy? (Score 1) 292

Governments don't give rights...

I think you would be taken more serious if you didn't simply issue this kind of dogmatic crap. Basically, you only have a 'right' to something if you are able to hold on to it; if you want to live in a society - or any group - your right are limited by what that group allows you. You can leave the group if that doesn't suit you; but to be part of the group and enjoy the benefits of it, you have to accept the limits imposed by the relationship with the group. You may think that picking up arms is a way to take more rights from the group, but I don't think it is a fruitful strategy in the long run, since you will have to be on your guard 24x7; and your actual freedom will less than what you would have had otherwise.

But you are right - governments don't give rights - society does. You can call it 'infringement' if you like, but it isn't, really, it is simply part of the price you pay for being in a given group. It is of course very reasonable to argue for changes to the rules - it has obvious benefits for the group that its members do so, but dogmatic arguments are weak. It would be better to argue in a way that people can relate to intelligently.

Comment Re:Go one step back in the reasoning (Score 1) 667

- The lack of critical thinking in analyzing the merit in complaints.

I'm sure you can do better than trying to imply that I don't think critically. And I note you havn't addressed my criticism: that people have feelings, and that it is relevant to show consideration simply for that reason. It is always possible, in my experience, to criticise without going out of your way to hurt people's feelings; not even trying is at best mental lazyness, and at worst deliberate aggression.

Comment Re:Hard to Believe (Score 1) 217

I do want to see adverts.

So do I - when I am looking for something and want to find the best deal. But I don't want sharks circling me in the hope of an easy kill. Which means, I don't want to be tracked and probed by smarmy gits in a suit, hiding behind false smiles (wow, that sounded almost poetic). I am perfectly capable of deciding when I need or want things without 'help'. These people are not "friends" who want to provide "the best value for money" - they are predators, simply.

The decline of Yahoo, to me least, looks like a symptom of an ailing internet; we have seen the explosion of WWW fueled by advertising from nearly nothing just a decade ago. I don't think it is sustainable; one things is that there is far too much advertising, and it will, by necessity, decline, and it may collapse suddenly. But even if there is a reasonable amount of advertising, it still rests on an unsustainable amount of credit fueled consumerism, which will have to come to an end, obviously (since it is unsustainable). Basically, credit is really only sustainable, if it leads to investment with a sufficient return to the debtor - credit for consumption doesn't, in general. So, consumerism driven by credit must come to an end, and the WWW as we have it now, fueled by advertising, cannot continue. Convince me that I'm wrong, but be warned - I'm don't fall for references to higher authority.

Comment Re:Go one step back in the reasoning (Score 1) 667

There is some involuntary comedy in the fact that people here seem to be complaining loudly about how they have to tolerate all this intolerance ...

When someone complains about hurt feelings,...

Well, the right to criticise is of fundamental importance to society, democracy and all that, of course. But we have to remember that complaining about hurt feeling is also a form of criticism, and having to tolerate criticism applies to everbody. The right to offend comes with a duty to be considerate; a good comedian is able to find that balance, sometimes even to the extent that the 'victim' joins in the laugh.

Comment Re:Hard to Believe (Score 2) 217

Well, the basic problem is that there is too much advertising - far too much. When you reach a certain degree of saturation, it no longer makes any difference - people just ignore it, and I suspect adding more after that point actually leads to a decrease in effect, when people start to react negatively to it. Hence the widespread use of ad-blocking, script blocking, tracker blocking etc. We have had enough, simply. I don't know of anybody who actually wants to see adverts.

So, with this being the case, it seems obvious that companies whose only way to generate revenue is advertising, will get into trouble, sooner or later. I think it is quite likely that Google too, as well as Facebook, Twitter, etc will end up feeling the squeeze. The problem isn't that these services don't attract users, but that companies will begin to realise that this form of advertising isn't worth the money.

Comment Re:They will run out of birds before drones. (Score 4, Insightful) 137

Another in a long list of moronic solutions that will never work against an intelligent attack, or even a large number of idiots.

Firstly, this is research; so, they are saying "could this work?" Research is what you do when you don't know, but want to find out. Secondly, they are not talking about large, sustained attacks - hopefully there will better ways of handling this, but there is a need to protect certain areas, like airports, from the occasional, stray drone.

One reason it seems attractive to use a trained animal is that animals are already fully autonomous. If you can train large birds of prey to attack drones, you can pretty much leave it to patrol the area. Birds are territorial, so they will tend to stay within an area, if there is enough food available, and it is already well known that these birds can be trained to always come back to their handlers for food. All in all, it might not be a stupid idea to try to get it to work.

What really made me decide to comment on this was the never-ending contraryness that always meets news about things people don't understand or don't feel fits in to their own, narrow field of interest. Looking back, it seems to me like most of the best things innovations started as something that people didn't understand and couldn't see the point in. If it had been obvious to most, it wouldn't have been much of an innovation, really.

Comment But why? (Score 1) 220

But what if everything was optimized to fail all at once?

The only ones to benefit from this are the ones selling the crap - and they don't see any incentive either. What difference does it make whether people discard their old HW because 1 compnent is broken or because all of them fail? A far better concept, for the consumer at least, would be if all gadgets were repairable and upgradeable. It is perfectly doable from tachnical point of view; it is not really a big challenge, whether is is phones, tablets or computers - or even cars. The only reason we don't have it is that producers don't like it, as it would cut into their profit margins. Just imagine a world where all parts for all cars were standardized, so you could find any spare part for any car from a large number of producers - and even better: you would be able to gradually upgrade from you smallish, cheap set of wheels to a flash superbeast. Suddenly car manufacturers wouldn't have a virtual monopoly on certain things. Same thing with everything else. The technology needed to make a small computer like a smartphone repairable and upgradeable is well understood, and again the only reason we are not already heading down that way is that manufacturers don't want to. Well, that and historical reasons: concepts like modular computer systems, clustering etc have evolved alongside the hardware, but we could actually do it now.

Comment Re:Don't Worry (Score 3, Interesting) 96

Apparently one of the gases is "probably not carcinogenic" and the other is only classed as a "possible human carcinogen" so really the title should read "Desktop 3D Printers Shown to Emit Gases some of which might be hazardous". Not to mention that if the safe exposure level is 50g/m^3 that's almost 5% by weight of air so either someone messed up the units or one of the gases emitted are safer than carbon dioxide and nobody suggests that we ban candles.

The good old "it won't happen to me"? Unfortunately, reality isn't as kind as that, as I'm sure you know. The purpose of this research is not to get 3D printing banned, or even to "discover" that it is hazardous; we already knew that there are hazards connected with working with hot, melted plastic. We just hadn't quantified the hazards well enough, yet. It makes sense to figure this out, so we can make informed decisions about how to mitigate the problem.

Comment Re:Take back Slashdot (Score 1) 1305

I think I can answer some of those (obviously, I'm not part of the /. team):

Is Slashdot going to stop those ridiculous paid links to

No. 'Anything for money' seems to be at the core of the ethos in online media. I would encourage /. to do us hardcore engineers a favour and flag up any article with links to the glossy magazines, so we can ignore them. There are, believe it or not, people who actually want to read that stuff.

What about the relentless left-wing social justice stories that blame nerds for everything wrong in the world?

You have completely lost me there - to anybody other than an American, there seems to bo nothing in American news that can be called 'left-wing'. As for reports on activism - I don't recall seeing many reports on that; certainly not enough to call it relentless. But unlike the glossies, these are actual news: actual stories about things some people actually do. News are not necessarily something we like to hear about - I certainly don't like to hear about Daesh, but it is necessary to keep in the loop to some extent. And I don't see nerds being blamed for everything in the world; I see discussions about spammers, hackers, scams and other abuses of technology. Are nerds involved in this? Some are, no doubt, but nobody claims that every nerd is a criminal.

What about constant news-today-gone-tomorrow political stories that are general news, at best?

I like those - as a nerd, I am in fact intensely interested in politics, philosophy, religion, science etc - anything that requires deep thinking. If you don't like it, don't waste your time on it. Politics has its own category, so it should be easy. Technology doesn't exist in isolation - if there is an anti-science trend in politics, then it is likely to have a bearing on what we are doing, if the States doesn't invest in education while China invests massivly, we will end up lagging behind, and that will have a bearing on what we are doing, ... I think it is important, and the political stories are one of the main reasons why I haven't left /. a long time ago. That in itself may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your view, of course.

Comment Re:Refugees (Score 1) 308

Aww, I scored a -1 Flamebait. That's cute in a way.

I wonder why, though. Was it the one where I was ironic about people in Scandinavia routinely referring to especialy Muslim immigrants as 'swarthy' and other niceties? Or was it because I suggested that people ought to have a bit more confidence in themselves - immigrants are not going to overrun the country, 'breeding like rats' and ransacking our culture just like that. They come, among other things, because they have heard about the way we live, the tolerance and freedom, and they like it. If we really believe our own culture is so good, should we not believe that newcomers would want to learn it and become part of it? You are only up in arms because you are scared - and that is largely because you lack confidence in your own values.

Revising my comments above, I can't see why they should be modded down - I wouldn't have done it myself, even if I disagreed. I think it is the kind of things people do when they can't think of a counter argument; IOW, when they know I'm right.

Comment Re:Refugees (Score -1, Flamebait) 308

...Muslim immigrants. They hang onto a religiously-driven cultural conservatism and reject the more liberal cultural values of their host country...

As opposed to, say, Catholic immigrants from Poland coming to UK? Or Jewish and Italian immigrants that came to the States in the past? The first generation will very often cling on to the culture they grow up with, but as we have seen many times, their children, by and large, adapt to their new country - if they are not kept out. But if you are met with suspicion and hostility, like for example they Turkish immigrants in Denmark a couple of decades ago, or the refugees now, then it is quite hard to feel welcome, and as a reaction you keep out.

...abandon their cultural and religious practices that were incompatible with their host country or already had a culture and values similar to the host country.

Yeah, they are just not like us, with their murky skin and garlic-breath, is that what you are saying? Why would they have to abandon their identity? That is an absurd and shameful thing to demand, and it is designed solely to ensure that muslims understand that you think they are somehow lower than you. We in the West would hardly feel it was reasonable to have to abandon our culture and identity in a similar situation. You are simply being mean and rather despicable.

Immigrants are people just like us, except they are quite often in a desperate situation. Some may be criminals, sure, but most are fairly good people; they don't expect to be waited on, they just want a small chance to survive, but people like you would rather see them and their children drown in the Mediterranian than reach out and give them a hand, am I right?

Of course we shouldn't just throw open the doors and let them in just like that; but we can much better than we do at the moment. We could, for example, emphasize that a permit to settle is a contract - we let them in and help them get started, and in return they have to make serious efforts to integrate well into society. There is no need to abandon your culture - living in London I know that, at least; I wade knee-deep in mosques, Hindu temples, Buddhist temples, synagogues, etc, not to mention a large number of Christian churches. They don't seem to be plotting to kill me.

But even then what you're arguing for is that Scandinavia needs and wants is economic expansion via labor pool expansion, not that there's something missing from it socially and culturally that the contributions of conservative Islam.

One of the things I hear quite often in the news is that there is not going to be enough of working age to support the growing number of people in retirement. So, we either have to get used to working significantly longer before we retire, or we need more people of working age. Unless, of course, we start euthanising people of a certain age; I am not convinced that this would be popular. So, what do we choose? Do we all work until, say, 75, or do we invite people in, who are able and willing?

As for what may be missing in Scandinavian culture - who knows? Perhaps a bit more self-confidence? Or a wider horizon? Look to UK: they have had a huge influx of cultures and immigrants from all over the world, certainly since the days of the Empire. But there is no mistaking Britishness: it is very distinctive. Immigrants have come in, made their mark, and become British.

Comment Re:Gibberish (Score 1) 121

Thanks, alvinrod, this is the first, intelligent input to this discussion today; hopefully it won't be the last.

The question that always haunts me, is whether there is any objective reality to the feeling most have, that we are somehow something that is looking out through those eyes, so to speak; a soul or whatever. And by objective I don't mean anything deeply philosophical, but simply whether it is something that could be measured somehow; I suspect that is what most people would put in it. There is something not quite satisfying about the discoveries we've made so far; they explain the mechanisms involved, but still leave the question open, whether the "I" is simply the sum of those mechanisms, or whether the mechanisms are, in a sense, the lens through which something else perceives the world.

It isn't an easy question to answer - and before anybody accuses me of being religious, please check my postings in this forum to see that I'm not. I have no time for religion, but I try to keep an open mind, and I think it is important to know the limitations of our current, scientific understanding. Otherwise, how can we discover new, interesting mysteries to solve?

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