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Comment: Re:I would think (Score 1) 91

by Antique Geekmeister (#46798971) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

> Multiple eyes on code, security, these are things that are great about open source, except they aren't. This is a prime example of how bugs get through anyhow, major bugs. So it is now shown beyond a shadow of anyones doubt, open source is NOT superior in these respects.

Really, no. The horses are still pulling plows, and carts, and carriages, every day. The library is still in use in operating systems world wide.

This is more visiting the barn that had horses stolen and making sure the locks and doors actually work the way they should before it's trusted at all again.

Comment: Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (Score 1) 323

by hey! (#46796433) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

I don't know if this is nuts. I'd have to see the full arguments on both sides, and so far what we have to go on is a one-sided summary.

If the *only* effect of the proposed regulation would be to increase beer prices, then sure, I agree with you 100%: government is being stupid. But if there's a good reason for the regulation, then I'd disagree with you.

Reading the article, it seems like the idea that this regulation will cause beer prices to spike dramatically seems a bit alarmist. The regulations would require brewers who send waste to farmers as animal feed to keep records. It seems hard to believe that this would significantly raise the price of beer or whiskey given that alcohol production is already highly regulated. On the other hand, it seems like there is no specific concern related to breweries. They were just caught up in a law that was meant to address animal feed.

If you want an example of a regulation free utopia, look no further than China, where adulteration of the food chain is a common problem. If the choice were a regulatory regime that slightly complicates brewers lives, and a regime that allows melamine and cyanuric acid into human food, I'd live with higher beer prices.

Fortunately, we don't have to live with either extreme. We can regulate food adulteration and write exceptions into the regulations for situations that pose little risk. Since presumably the ingredients used in brewing are regulated to be safe for human consumption, the byproducts of brewing are likely to pose no risk in the human food chain.

Comment: Re:Why do these people always have something to hi (Score 1) 333

Not so. For example here is the privacy statement from a well-known university:

Privacy of Information
Information stored on a computer system or sent electronically over a network is the property of the individual who created it. Examination, collection, or dissemination of that information without authorization from the owner is a violation of the ownerâ(TM)s rights to control his or her own property. Systems administrators, however, may gain access to usersâ(TM) data or programs when it is necessary to maintain or prevent damage to systems or to ensure compliance with other University rules.

Comment: Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 0) 333

OK with which part? Trying to repress work of scientists for political ends or trying to preserve their work for future study?

One is the despicable work of slimeballs trying to supress scientific inquiry or just simply punish people who have ideas they don't like, and the other is the work of archivists and libraries.

Clearly we have the former going right now. Fortunately the courts came to the right conclusion.

Comment: Laser printers from the mid-late 90s (Score 1) 665

by phillymjs (#46791589) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

I had an Apple LaserWriter Select 360 (built around a Canon engine, IIRC) that I bought new in 1994 last me until mid 2011. HP was putting out some damned good printers back then, too, before Carly Fiorina came in and turned HP into peddlers of second-rate shit.

Honorable mention to the TV in my basement, an RCA F35751MB-- the biggest CRT TV I could find in 1994. I don't yet own a flatscreen, because I'm just letting them get better and cheaper until the RCA finally gives up the ghost.

Comment: Re:LaserJet II and LaserJet 3 (Score 1) 665

by hey! (#46791117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

The most wear sensitive part of a laser printer is the copy drum. If I recall correctly the old LaserJets had the drum integrated with the toner cartidge, so you replace to most quickly wearing part of the printer four or five thousand pages. It's no wonder they lasted so long. The mechanical parts that move the paper through the printer are pretty robust, so I wouldn't be surprised if the printers go until the capacitors in the electronics dry up, or the internal power connectors go bad.

Comment: Re:A bit of background for slashdotters (Score 4, Informative) 333

by hey! (#46790777) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

This isn't a case "insisted upon by a conservative group". This is Mann suing a journalist for libel, and the journalist requesting info from the university under FOIA to prove his case.

That would be interesting, if it were true. Here's what TFA says:

The ruling is the latest turn in the FOIA request filed in 2011 by Del. Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) and the American Tradition Institute to obtain research and e-mails of former U-Va. professor Michael Mann.

"Del." I assume is short for "delegate". According to their website, the American Tradition Institute's tag line is "Free Market Environmentalism through *Litigation*" I assuming this means they aren't pals with Greenpeace, or even The Sierra Club, any more than the National Socialists in Germany were pals with the socialist Republicans in 1930s Spain.

Comment: Re:Why do these people always have something to hi (Score 4, Insightful) 333

by hey! (#46790657) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

Depends on what you consider "hiding the research". A fishing expedition through a scientist's personal correspondence is an invitation to judge his work on *political* grounds.

In science your personal beliefs, relationships, and biography are irrelevant. There are evangelical Christian climate scientists who believe climate won't change because that would contradict God's will as expressed in the Bible. These scientists may be regarded as religious crackpots by their peers, but that hasn't prevented them from publishing in the same peer-reviewed journals as everyone else. Since their papers invariably are climate-change skeptic, clearly they are publishing work which supports their religious beliefs. But their motivations don't matter. What matters is in their scientific publications.

In 1988, Gary Hart's presidential bid and political career were ruined when he was photographed cavorting on a yacht named "Monkey Business" with a woman that wasn't his wife. Now I didn't care how many bimbos he was boinking, but a lot of people *did*, which made it a political issue (albeit a stupid one in my opinion). Do we really want to use the coercive power of the state to dig through the private lives of controversial scientists?

It's a pretense that that would serve any scientific purpose. Maybe Mann is intent on overthrowing capitalism and creating a socialist utopia. That would be relevant if he were running for dogcatcher, but it's irrelevant to what's in his scientific papers. Scientists publish papers all the time with ulterior motives, not the least of which is that they're being paid to do research that makes corporate sponsors happy. As long as what's in the paper passes muster, it's still science.

Comment: Re:authenticity (Score 1) 55

by hey! (#46789973) Attached to: Lying Eyes: Cyborg Glasses Simulate Eye Expressions

What about acting? Or fiction? These are artificial experiences that evoke real emotional responses. Once the right buttons in your brain are pushed, most of your brain can't tell the difference between what is real and what is synthetic.

Granted, authenticity in human interactions is important, but it's overrated. Fake engagement often is a perfectly acceptable substitute. Situations where people put considerable effort into *seeming* pleasant usually *are* more pleasant than they would be if everyone felt free to paste their indifference to you right on their faces.

So this is a very interesting technology. What's disturbing about it isn't that people might be fooled into thinking the user is truly interested; it's that the user himself no longer puts any effort into creating that illusion. What if that effort is in itself something important? What if fake engagement is often the prelude to real engagement? Maybe you have to start with polite interest and work your way up to the real thing; I suspect the dumber parts of your brain can't tell the difference. If that's true, taking the user's brain out of the interaction means that interaction will automatically be trapped on a superficial level. This already happens in bureaucratic situations where employees are reduce to rules-following automatons. Take the brain out of the equation and indifference follows.

I suspect that the researchers are well aware of these issues; I believe that I discern a certain deadpan, ironic puckishness on their part. People who truly view engagement with other people as an unwelcome burden don't work on technologies that mediate between people.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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