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Comment: Re:Not always true... (Score 1) 635

by mean pun (#49344751) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

And you think someone on a suicide death dive with 200 people into a mountain is going to sit there quietly, breathing *normally*? Unless they are a complete and utter psychopath they will surely be in a heightened emotional state, crying, screaming, blaming anyone and everyone, not casually watching the altimeter spin down.

This is the main reason I have my doubts about this theory. The world is a large and strange enough place that it can happen, but it doesn't seem plausible on the face of it.

Comment: Re:If only Bill Gates was a Billionaire (Score 1) 140

by mean pun (#49285691) Attached to: Gates: Large Epidemics Need a More Agile Response

If only Bill Gates was a Billionaire, then he could spend money to implement his ideas instead of criticizing others.

I fail to see why he deserves this. He is asked what he thinks went wrong with the Ebola crisis. He gives a very sensible answer. That's called discussion. It is essential for a functioning society, and there is far too little of it, as opposed to scare-mongering and partisan sniping.

Perceived and real evils from Mr. Gates' past are irrelevant to this discussion. The man has a sensible opinion, he is in a position to know about the subject, so his contribution to the discussion is valuable. If someone disagrees he should refute the arguments rather than the person.

Comment: Re:Super Computer?? (Score 1) 68

by mean pun (#49271273) Attached to: GCHQ Builds a Raspberry Pi Super Computer Cluster

I think it is best to think of this as a scale model, just like those Eiffel towers some people have built out of matchsticks. Yes, it is not a real tower, because it is not really, err, towering, but it is still an Eiffel tower.

The only difference is that this was done for training purposes (i.e. not let newbees burn CPU time on the expensive real supercomputer cluster), rather than as a hobby.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile... (Score 1) 283

It is also interesting what is driving the change. It is not big government programs, like carbon markets (which have been a corrupted failure) and subsidies, or international agreements (the biggest gains are in countries that were non-signatories to climate change agreements).

Any documentation to back up these claims? Nobody expected miracles from the carbon markets, but as far as I can tell they did make a difference. Subsidies not having an impact seems highly unlikely, and even if your last claim is true it does not mean that the international agreements did not have an impact; directly and indirectly.

Much bigger factors have been shale gas replacing coal, more efficient ICEs, and more efficient use of electricity (LED/CFL lights, variable speed motors, LCDs replacing CRTs).

There have been pretty big carrots and sticks from governments all over the world to get to more efficient ICEs, so claiming government programs did not have an impact seems counterfactual to me. Similar for LED/CFL lights, and at least to some degree CRTs->LCDs (and I doubt this is a big splash in the pool). Variable-speed motors as a big reason for more efficiency seems, err, whimsical.

Comment: Re:This is good (Score 2) 44

by mean pun (#49234957) Attached to: edX Welcomes 'The University of Microsoft' Into Its Fold

It's a vendor-specific training course for a vendor-specific development/operational environment. Over the course of history, many enlightened salespeople have understood that free training courses (note: free "training courses", not free "education") improve brand awareness and market share.

I fail to see the problem. Of course Microsoft gets something out of this deal. So? Brand awareness and market share are just as important for many of the academic partners,why do you think they are offering these MOOC courses?

Every edX course has to be evaluated on its own merits anyway. What is wrong with Microsoft offering a C# language course next to Java and Python courses from other sources?

And they picked as their provider a company that has a list of many thousands of students, but who are themselves playing second fiddle to their competitors -- ie. Coursera and Udacity.

You are of course entitled to your own opinion, but I rate edX much higher than Coursera and Udacity. Better platform, and generally much better courses. And Udacity is in practice not free.

I do not believe in the corporate sponsorship of education. A teacher cannot be a billboard.

Then you're also in favour of demolishing the William Gates building at several universities http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... I suppose? Purity is very nice, but in the real world some compromises are necessary now and then.

Comment: Re:Good. (Score 3, Informative) 183

by mean pun (#49215363) Attached to: Major Museums Start Banning Selfie Sticks

Which, incidentally, is why taking a selfie with it exactly misses the point.

Perhaps for you, but selfies are proof you've been somewhere. That's why I call them evidence photos. For the people in question collecting this evidence may have been the point. Just like the souvenirs that tourists and pilgrims have been taking home for thousands of years.

Comment: Re: Let's do the Chicken Little Climate Change dan (Score 1) 235

by mean pun (#49204581) Attached to: El Nino Has Finally Arrived, Far Weaker Than Predicted

Yes, it has nothing at all to do with the instability in Iraq caused by a pointless war there. War apologist much?

Because there can never be an event that has multiple contributing factors? There always has to be exactly one straw that breaks the camel's back?

Comment: Re:Snowden threads: first few comments, same disin (Score 1) 129

by mean pun (#49187869) Attached to: New Zealand Spied On Nearly Two Dozen Pacific Countries

I'm sorry, but I don't have the intellect to see why replying to the allegation 'this spy agency is spying way too much' with 'yawn, we knew this', or 'spy agencies spy, what did you expect?' is a valuable contribution to the discussion. I'm willing to entertain the possibility that it is just a gaseous burp from an underbelly rather than intentional muddying of the discussion, but a helpful reply? Sorry, no, I don't see it.

Regarding facts, if you think the news item under discussion is in some way factually incorrect, feel free to contribute a correction. And no, the worn-out arguments are not equally divided between both sides of the discussion. There is a constant flow of new revelations about the spy agencies overstepping reasonable bounds, and that is exactly what is so disturbing.

Comment: Re:Snowden threads: first few comments, same disin (Score 3, Insightful) 129

by mean pun (#49184217) Attached to: New Zealand Spied On Nearly Two Dozen Pacific Countries

Of course this is what spy agencies do, nobody disputes this. The point is that they are overdoing it, and that is dangerous.

And there is always a platoon of commenters that use the same worn-out arguments to muddy the discussion. Personally I'm not convinced these people are professionals rather than amateurs, but the distracting effect is there all the same.

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