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Comment: Re:Um... (Score 4, Insightful) 77

Euh locks on doors don't stop burglars. They stop kids from doing petty vandalism. Burglars can easily pick your door locks, or will simply break a window to enter.

Door locks are the equivalent of FTP server banner messages telling people "access is restricted to those authorized".

What prevents burglaries in civilized countries is the social contract, and the fact that most people have a common moral and ethical sense that tells them it's wrong. The idea that you're better off working for a decent salary and that you should respect the property of others so they'll respect you is a basic logic that holds true in many places (less so nowadays in some countries where the working poor are worse every day).

The reason it doesn't work on the Internet is because this contract falls apart because of distance and the anonymizing nature of the Internet. Not just the fact that bad guys can be pseudonymous, but because to them you're not a person, you're an IP address. It de-humanizes contact and makes it easier to justify bad behavior.

Add to it the fact that there may be a small portion of people in a city or neighborhood who are lacking enough in morality to do burglaries, but in the whole world there's a lot more of them. And although they can't all break into your house, they can all break into your computer...

Comment: Re:Yeesh (Score -1, Flamebait) 584

by jeffasselin (#48521359) Attached to: Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

You are a sexist troll. The fact that you got a +5 insightful on this post is disgusting.

The truth of the matter is that there is no significant difference, physiologically, between men and women, as far as the brain is concerned; and thus no difference psychologically. Almost every so-called "male" or "female" feature is a result of brain plasticity and is imparted culturally.

The way to get a girl interested in science is exactly the same way to get boys interested in science. Do not treat a woman differently from a man and you will get the same results.

Comment: Seriously? (Score 0, Offtopic) 76

by jeffasselin (#47783107) Attached to: For $1.5M, DeepFlight Dragon Is an "Aircraft for the Water"

No one with red blood in their veins buys a sports car and hands the keys to a chauffeur

This is such a ridiculous sentence, I couldn't get past it to read the rest. First of all, veinal blood is really dark, not red. But most telling is that the writer assumes people like cars, want to drive cars, and can drive cars. I don't like them, I don't drive, and I don't own one. If I was to ever buy one, I would have someone else drive me. So according to this un-enlightened individual, I don't exist.

Comment: The lottery winner problem (Score 2) 245

by jeffasselin (#46876753) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Back Up Physical Data?

Planning for such an event is like planning for winning the lottery: it is almost certain will win the lottery, and it's almost certain it won't be you.

Likewise, such catastrophic events happen to someone sometimes, but you don't have to worry about it happening to you. Really. Stop worrying so much.

If you live in a tornado-targeted area, you should prepare for a tornado to hit your house.

If you live in a flood area, prepare for a flood.

It's all about statistics and the Bernoulli equation: examine the chance of something happening and the effect it could have on your life, and prepare for the events that pose a significant danger.

Comment: Worst: when they use magic (Score 1) 512

by jeffasselin (#46611911) Attached to: Why <em>Darmok</em> Is a Good <em>Star Trek: TNG</em> Episode

I rewatched the whole series last year, and I got really annoyed at the episodes where magic is featured. There are quite a few, considering it's supposed to be a science-fiction show.

That's about every episode where Troi uses her magic powers, incidentally. I especially hate when she can sense an alien being's emotions at a distance of A FEW LIGHT-YEARS.

Comment: Reliability? (Score 1) 133

by jeffasselin (#46519267) Attached to: New Facial Recognition Software May Detect Looming Road Rage

What is likely to be the accuracy of this system? Even a 99% accurate system would be fairly useless. Say you get 1 rager per day out of 100 000 drivers. Over 100 days (about 3 months), it will properly flag 99 people and miss one. But during the same period would flag 1000 people per day who aren't raging or dangerous.

It's the same every time someone says they can "detect" a rare event out of a completely random sample, whether it is mass screening for rare diseases or conditions, terrorists or road rage. Unless your screening method is extraordinarily accurate, the sheer number of individuals examined by the system will cause a significant number of false positives.

Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.