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Comment: Re:Dang... (Score 3, Informative) 139

by jc42 (#47535075) Attached to: Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered

Interesting. Science is wrong, and "creationist parks" get the blame.

Hmmm ... This isn't really a case of scientists being wrong. The old images of dinosaurs have generally been "artists' interpretations" of the evidence, and scientists generally agreed that they had little evidence of the outer appearance of dinosaurs. Skin and other soft tissues don't fossilize too well, and we haven't had many samples until recently.

And the idea that birds are close relatives of or descended from dinosaurs isn't new. It was suggested by none other than Charles Darwin himself, based on similarities in the skeletons. Many of his colleagues agreed, but they even more agreed with the reply "Yeah, that's certainly interesting; can you find us some better evidence?" The situation stayed that way until the 1970s or so, because birds don't fossilize well. New fossil discoveries finally supplied enough evidence so that in the 1980s, the birds got officially reclassified as a branch of the dinosaurs.

But it was still well understood that there were a lot of loose ends, and Further Research Is Needed. Were feathers a development of the birds, for flight? Or had their non-flying ancestors had feathers, perhaps for insulation? The evidence wasn't nearly good enough, and it was left as an open question. Over the past decade or so, the evidence has trickled in, and this report seems to be filling in the gap. People who've followed the story aren't surprised; they're just happy to read about the evidence.

In any case, it never was a case of "Scientists thought that dinosaurs didn't have any sort of fur or feathers, but they've been proven wrong". It was more like "We didn't have the evidence, since feathers don't fossilize well, and now we've collected enough evidence that we can be pretty sure that those old artistic interpretations reptilian dinosaurs with bare skin were inaccurate; most of them (except the largest) probably did have feathers." This isn't considered a criticism of the artists, of course, since they didn't have evidence either, and many of them stated repeatedly that most of their drawings included a large shovel-full of conjecture. It was expected that, as evidence trickled in, they'd have to revise their drawings a lot.

But it likely is a good example of non-scientists saying "Scientists proved wrong" when the scientific data goes from "we don't really know ..." to "we've found the evidence ...". This is sorta the flip side of the constant "Those scientists just wasted time and money doing research to prove something that we knew all along" comments from people who have little understanding of what science is all about (and have always "known" things based on no evidence at all).

(Actually, since I first read about this topic back in the 1970s, I've been rooting for the tyrannosaurs having big, colorful cockatoo-like crowns of feathers. But that's just me, and I'm still waiting. But I won't be surprised either way. ;-)

Comment: Re:Propaganda (Score 1) 667

by jc42 (#47497643) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

I thought Obama was Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America, not the world.

For the past several decades, the US political system has considered these to be equivalent. Google "only remaining superpower" to read the evidence. You'll also find lots of uses of the phrase by non-Americans implying that they accept this as fact. Some of them complain, of course, but they often do so in ways that effectively acknowledge the fact of US rule. The US government is now immune from any so-called laws and is free to use its power as it likes anywhere in the world.

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 3, Interesting) 667

by jc42 (#47497565) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

"Terrorist" is the wrong word, it's obvious from the intercepts this was a tactical error on someone's part.

Terrorism isn't defined by actions so much as the reason. For the love of Jebus, it has a well understood meaning folks, look it up.

That may have been true 10 or 20 years ago. Nowadays, here in the US and in many other countries, the common media and governmental meaning of "terrorist" is now "anyone we don't like".

This is a rather familiar sort of linguistic change that has happened to many other words in the past. There's not a whole lot we can do to persuade people to stick with the original definitions. After all, we can't even persuade people to stop using "literally" to mean "figuratively". What's our chance of persuading politicians that they shouldn't similarly retarget handy insult words to refer to their opponents?

Comment: Re: Missing information (Score 1) 32

by jc42 (#47483185) Attached to: Pushdo Trojan Infects 11,000 Systems In 24 Hours

Determining what is "related" is not an easy thing to do, programmatically speaking.

It's especially difficult for the Media, since for most of them, "computer", "IBM machine", "Microsoft" and "Windows" are synonyms. A few have heard of things like unix and linux, and some even use a mac. But hose gadgets are never called "computers", so they're not relevant to any news story dealing with computers. In common speech, saying that some new virus infects "computers" is all that needs to be said, since there are no brand names in the computer industry, only IBM and Microsoft (and maybe Apple, if that's a brand name).

I have seen a number of instances where some geeks will try to bring up non-IBM/Microsoft systems, and the media folks are clearly baffled by why people would try to change the subject, when the topic is clearly computers, not those other electronic thingies. I remember back in the early 1980s, when IBM first introduced their new DOS machines, and the reaction of lots of business and media people was "Finally there's a desktop computer." They didn't see any need to mention the brand name, because computers didn't have brand names. (The more knowledgeable did know that computers actually do have brand names, but since there was only one, it was a waste of time and page space to mention it.)

Comment: Re:Missing information (Score 1) 32

by jc42 (#47475699) Attached to: Pushdo Trojan Infects 11,000 Systems In 24 Hours

Well it runs on Windows obviously. With the number of reported infections, the speed with which it happened, and the fact that it is a Trojan (meaning you need to trick the user into running it), it can only be Windows. There wouldn't be 11,000 Linux users tricked into running it in 24 hours even if it would run correctly on all their distros because we know Linux users are too smart to run Trojans. Hell, there probably weren't 11,000 Linux machines with users sitting in front of them to BE tricked into running it in that amount of time. With Macs - well every Mac user will tell you they don't get Trojans or viruses. That leaves Windows. Lots of doofuses to be tricked there.

While I can appreciate your sarcasm, I also followed the summary's first link to the report at labs.bitdefender.com, and thought it was interesting that in the "Related posts" in the column at the right, there's a Tags section, and the very first is "android" in a large font. There's no instance of "window" or "micro" or "soft" on the page. The obvious inference to a reader is "Hmmm ... Can this actually be a major infestation on android, i.e., linux?"

But no, this list of "Related ... Tags" appears to be some sort of subtle redirection or FUD or something, because as others have already reported here, this is indeed yet another MS Windows trojan infestation. The report page lists keywords including "android", "bitcoin", "facebook", "etc, but doesn't mention MS or Windows as related.

Anyone have any idea why the folks at bitdefender might do things this way?

Comment: Re:Probable cause (Score 4, Insightful) 223

by jc42 (#47419055) Attached to: Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On

I have nothing to hide, except the pron from my wife (she found it already) so why would I care what the FBI does? They aren't going to act on any of this unless these people actually plan to do something criminal and in that case, they should.

If you think you have nothing to hide, you should probably spend a bit of time studying the history of the FBI. Leading an exemplary life has never been a protection from them, if they suspect you may be part of whatever conspiracy is popular at the time. A few decades ago, it was Communists, and having no connection to any Communist organization was never protection from them or their colleagues in organizations like HUAC. It's quite clear that the "anti-terrorist" push nowadays is no more concerned with whether you have anything to hide; if they need a scapegoat and you're handy (perhaps because your name is vaguely like some name on one of their lists), they'll go after you and make your life a hell on Earth.

Having "nothing to hide" is one of the most naive misconceptions going around, and has been for at least a century. Dig into the history of the FBI and assorted other similar organizations. Google can find a lot of it for you. Then come back and tell us again whether you have anything to hide.

(And they probably already have a copy of your pron collection, added to their own. ;-)

Comment: Re:Hello Americans (Score 1) 340

by jc42 (#47404073) Attached to: On 4th of July:

being assholes is the america way

Now, now; that's a feature of humanity that's spread quite evenly throughout all societies. Yes, it's the American way, but it's also the British way and the Italian way and the Iranian way and the Chinese way and the Tahitian way and ...

Americans have no particularly valid claim on assholeness (assholicity? assholitude?). Look around yourself, and if you don't see any, it's probably because it's you.

Comment: Re:It's Okay (Score 1) 725

by jc42 (#47396623) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

Over here in the US, the fascist conservatives equate anything not as fascist as them to be socialists.

Actually, here in the US not one person in a million can tell you anything at all about what fascism stood for. The term is now just one of a growing list of political insult terms with no actual content.

Of course, the fraction of Americans who can actually define socialism or liberalism or any other -ism isn't much larger than one in a million. Such terms are really just the modern equivalent of tribal names. You're expected to hate anyone with a label different from yours, but you're not expected to actually know the meaning of any of the labels. Once you understand this situation, American political rhetoric becomes much more comprehensible.

Comment: Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (Score 0) 200

by jc42 (#47391053) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Ridiculous? As a pilot I don't want people's toys flying around in my airspace. Hit a plane and there's a real chance you'll kill someone.

If you're a pilot who's "airspace" includes a volume in which a fireworks display is scheduled, please informs us of that fact, because I don't think I'd ever want to be a passenger in a plane controlled by a pilot like you. The possibility that your plane might hit a drone would be the least of my worries. ;-)

Comment: Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (Score 1) 200

by jc42 (#47391043) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Read about the new ridiculous rules the FAA imposed about drones...

Until some moron flys one into the path of a commercial airliner, small plane, or helicopter, and people die - than it's "why isn't the FAA doing something about this?"

Rules won't stop someone from doing that because it's obviously intended to try to hurt someone. I say try because in a battle between a jet engine with the power to push 400 tons of steel into the sky VS a drone I'm going to put my money on the jet engine lasting long enough for them to turn around and land again.

Wait; there were jet aircraft flying through the fireworks display's volume? How did the drone miss getting a picture of that? That'd have been really fun to watch, especially when the fireworks started hitting the airplane.

(Given that there was a fireworks display going on in that airspace at the time, I'm kinda doubtful that there were any pilots in the area who weren't well aware of them. And I also sorta doubt that there were any children running around under the fireworks. That's usually strongly discouraged at fireworks displays, and this one was over water. ;-)

Comment: Re:Before you start complaining... (Score 1) 548

by jc42 (#47285389) Attached to: Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative

We are a species that has sexual dimorphism.

Well, yeah, but except for reproduction, most of the differences are essentially trivial. The differences we see are primarily of social origin, not genetic. It is often pointed out that the differences within each sex have a much greater variance than the differences between the sexes. Male and female humans are much more similar to each other than they are to individuals of the same sex in the closest related species (the "great apes" such as chimps, bonobos and gorillas.

Their is a physical muscle mass difference between the genders to the point that all competitive sports are segregated on purpose to not allow a unfair competitive advantage.

It has been often pointed out that the top North American and European female athletes in many sports currently have better performance statistics than the top males in the same sport 50 or so years ago. This supports the claim that the differences are primarily of social origin, not genetic.

There's a useful example of the difficulty of using sports to excuse sexism: American basketball gives a strong advantage to taller players. This is why the pro teams are all male (and now mostly black ;-). But it also excludes 99% of the male population along with 100% of the females. The sensible thing would be to do like the boxing sport has done: Establish height-specific basketball leagues. This would enlarge the sport, and give us some very good players who now can't play on the pro teams at all. And it would likely show a familiar pattern: After some years, we'd have female basketball players who are as good as their male counterparts of the same height. (This idea isn't at all original with me; others have also suggested it. But the sports "industry" ignores it. ;-)

Both male and female brains have the same parts but after being exposed to a different mix of chemicals are wired differently which result in obvious behavioral differences both conscious and not.

Again, aside from questions involving sexuality, there is little if any evidence that these differences are genetic and not social. Human societies tend to impose radical differences in education from birth. If you want to claim that the observed mental differences are genetic and not social, you can't just make the claim without explaining why they can't be the result of social conditions. And again, the larger variance within each sex than the difference between the sexes argues that the observable differences are only slightly genetic, and mostly caused by different socialization and education.

Comment: Re:Want to code? (Score 3, Informative) 548

by jc42 (#47281749) Attached to: Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative

No, it's more like "why is ~50% of the country not pursuing IT?"

Nah; it's more like 99%. The majority of young men are also not very interested in becoming computer geeks.

The problem is that young women are being systematically discouraged from even trying to be part of the 1%. This is, of course, not restricted to just CS/IT topics.

Comment: Re:Before you start complaining... (Score 2) 548

by jc42 (#47281601) Attached to: Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative

... wait to see if this increases the number of women taking these courses and going into CS. If it does then that suggests that women are interested and just needed the right environment or some encouragement. If it doesn't we can conclude that they just are not interested because of genetics or whatever.

Sorry, but women aren't interested or not interested in CS, or any other topic. A woman might be interested, and another woman might not be interested. But implying that women as a class are or aren't interested is sexist in the extreme.

No matter what we do, many women will never be interested in such geeky stuff, just as many men aren't. To be successful, we should introduce any subject to young people in general, and encourage those who find it interesting, regardless of their sexual organs (which really have little to do with their mental abilities ;-). And for the others, find subjects that they find interesting and encourage them to follow those.

(Of course, to function well in modern society, we should try to instill a bit of understanding of a lot of topics in any young people able to understand them. But that's a different topic than finding those who can go deeply into a specific topic.)

Comment: Re:Chicago Blackhawks too? (Score 1) 646

by jc42 (#47275381) Attached to: Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

The word "slave" originates from the Slavic people and the centuries of oppression and humiliation which we suffered through. I demand that you all stop using it immediately. Also I want reparations.

Yeah, and that's actually an example of another common source of "names for neighbors". In the Slavic languages, the root "slav-'" means "glory". So the Slavs actually refer to themselves as the Glorious People. The other people nearby took the reasonable approach of "Let's call them what they call themselves". In several of the nearby societies, the people who called themselves "Slav" were mostly the ones taken as slaves, so the name took on that meaning in the Slavs' neighbors' languages.

This is a fairly common process for producing names-for-neighbors that are insults.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll

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