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Comment: Re:Boy who cried wolf (Score 3, Informative) 163

by minstrelmike (#48530857) Attached to: New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible

It's not that the reports are "alarmist". It's (1) you're not understanding the actual risk, and (2) you're pretending that the reports are predicting the end of the world.

Yup. that applies to most of the comments.
Viruses mutate and flus occur regularly. Occasionally, one is deadly.
To get in front of evolution and have 50 million vaccines ready for distribution, you need to make educated guesses.
This year we guessed wrong. That's the gist of the article.

Comment: Re:Let's do the math (Score 1) 307

by minstrelmike (#48453503) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies
There appears to be an infinity of possible things that could happen evolutionarily.
But if you look merely at the number of stars in the entire universe, approximately 300 billion billion, that's essentially 10 to the 20th power. That means in order for life to be unique in the universe, all we need are 20 one out of ten possibilities in a row.

Comment: Re:Device is not relevant but OS version is. (Score 2) 52

by minstrelmike (#48379869) Attached to: Popular Smartphones Hacked At Mobile Pwn2Own 2014

If the hack results in a jailbreak, I'm sure there will be a patch or a workaround on Cydia. I remember this happening with a SSL issue a few years ago.

Absolutely true. If the hack causes users to trash their old phone and buy a new one, well there's an incentive for the company to NOT fix the hack.
OTOH, if the hack causes jailbreaking and the carrier loses money, now we're talking about terrorists trying to destroy the entire capitalist system.
Incentives are very powerful.

Comment: Re:BlackBerry Z30 (Score 1) 52

by minstrelmike (#48379837) Attached to: Popular Smartphones Hacked At Mobile Pwn2Own 2014

Every carrier (this wasn't about the phone but the network) in India provides a back door to the Indian government.

Lucky for all of us in America that we have the Department of Homeland Security "protecting" our private data.
(That's called sarcasm for those of you who are poorly socialized.)

Comment: Re:Falsifiability (Score 1) 282

by minstrelmike (#48229795) Attached to: High Speed Evolution

I'd really like to see a falsifiable rendering of "evolution". It would make discussion so much easier.

That must be the basic problem with physics too. The universe we live in is NOT falsifiable; therefore physics can never come up with a valid scientific theory that us internally consistent and also completely covers everything.

Is that the philosophy of science in a nutshell? Enquiring minds want to know ;-)

Comment: Re:20 generations (Score 5, Informative) 282

by minstrelmike (#48229761) Attached to: High Speed Evolution
The average height of post-war (WWII) Japanese was 2 inches taller than the previous generation. and that was due merely to the better availability of food--an environmental factor--but probably not anything to do with evolution per se.

As stated in another post, if you kill off the shortest 1/3 of the population, the average height immediately goes up.
Similarly, if the small-footed lizards drop off the trees and can't find enough food, the average foot-size immediately increases in the population independent of evolution occurring. Evolution is 2-step process. The environmental advantage or disadvantage occurs during the individual lives of each member of the species. The passing of genes to the next generation is a separate process that still reshuffles the genes via sex relentlessly regardless of environment. That's what makes it hard to determine when evolution via genes is occurring vs purely environmental factors winnowing a current population. The new population of lizards still produces some amount of small-footed ones due to sexual mixing of genes--and if the environment changes to reward smaller feet, the population will again change quickly.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 720

It may be good for the economy. It may not be so good for the people who can no longer support themselves because they just lost their minimum wage job to a robot. It may not be good for the people who then get mugged by said hungry person either.

Actually, if it's bad for the workers on the bottom, then it will be bad for the economy over the long run.
Economics is civilization's circulatory system and when money stops circulating because it gets trapped at the top, the economy stops working. /*Money never gets trapped at the bottom */
Quote from the FED: You can't push a string.
No matter how low you push interest rates, it ain't worth borrowing to build a factory if DEMAND--the key to all economics--does not exist or cannot exist because the bottom-most folks have no money. Using taxes to rebuild our roads, bridges and aging water treatment systems would kickstart demand again (by hiring mid-level and low-level construction workers throughout America) but the rich folks think it's "my" money when it's really "our" economy.

Ayn Rand wrote fiction. Reset her "heroes" in Somalia or The Congo or some place without a strong central government and you can quickly see the benefits of a government that provides roads, infrastructure, and enforces contracts.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 1) 463

by minstrelmike (#48154621) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker
I think the Texas hospital caused the infection _because_ we used First World thinking.
1. They did NOT spray the hazmat clothing down with bleach before taking it off--something they do in Africa
2. They suspect the nurses became infected performing intubation or dialysis, neither of which are done for patients in Africa.

Everything, even advanced medical technology, comes with pros and cons, benefits AND costs.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 1) 463

by minstrelmike (#48154519) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker
Last I read, they are suspecting the nurse(s) got infected performing dialysis and intubation, neither of which are ever done for Ebola patients in Africa. There's a lot more possible exposure while doing stuff like that. And it may have been a simple unprotected neck or perhaps an error when taking the infection protection stuff off.

Comment: Re:Take the money and run (Score 4, Insightful) 54

The lawyers have the same disincentive for getting the best price that a Realtor does.
As soon as a Realtor has _any_ reasonable offer for your $300,000 house, even if it is 30K less than what you want, the Realtor is looking at a decent 6% commission. S/he isn't too concerned with trying to get 6% of an additional $10-$30,000 AT THE RISK of losing 6% of the $270,000 already in hand. S/he'll honestly tell you it's a good deal because for her, it is a good deal.
For you, maybe not so much.

+ - Why do contextual ads fail?-> 1

Submitted by minstrelmike
minstrelmike (1602771) writes "If we give up all our privacy on-line for contextual ads, then how come so many of them are so far off the mark? Personal data harvesting for contextual ads and content should be a beautiful thing. They do it privately and securely, and it's all automated so that no human being actually learns anything about you. And then the online world becomes customized, just for you. The real problem with this scenario is that is we're paying for contextual ads and content with our personal data, but we're not getting what we pay for.

Facebook advertising is off target and almost completely irrelevant.

The question is: Why? Facebook has a database of our explicitly stated interests, which many users fill out voluntarily. Facebook sees what we post about. It knows who we interact with. It counts our likes, monitors our comments and even follows us around the Web. Yet, while the degree of personal data collection is extreme, the advertising seems totally random."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Not where *I* work. (Score 1) 342

by minstrelmike (#48068657) Attached to: Blame Tech Diversity On Culture, Not Pipeline
That's how social change starts.
The ones who want it to occur faster ignore the inertia of society.
imo, we (most folks) have accepted Global Warming/Human-Caused Climate Change fairly quickly. The ones who think we haven't done it quickly enough probably don't recognize their own input which delayed acceptance. We've kinda, sorta known about it since 1990 so that's a fairly quick change in attitude. And the ones who want it quicker want it to go on their time schedule. It's like a religion almost. If they were convinced (converted) in 1996, then _everybody_ who still doesn't believe is part of the problem. Yet they don't consider themselves being part of the problem in 1993.
I think acceptance of women as actual equals will occur fairly quickly in American technology. It takes awhile. The Bab was the first religious prophet to declare men and women are equal and need equal access to education. That didn't occur until 1844. We're moving ahead.

The sooner all the animals are extinct, the sooner we'll find their money. - Ed Bluestone