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Comment: Re:does not compute (Score 1) 203

by miserere nobis (#42817109) Attached to: Google Redesigns Image Search, Raises Copyright and Hosting Concerns
So in scenario 3, the server load is even higher: page contents, plus thumbnail, plus high res image after all of that. The same fact holds true, that the change very well could result in a reduction in bytes served, and the final outcome depends on how user interaction plays out after the change as compared to how it did before.

Comment: Re:Monogenism (Score 1) 528

Not that your question has no merit at all, but I think you're a bit more sure of yourself on the settled nature of monogenesis vs. polygenesis than the scientific community is in general. As far as I know, the current trend actually is to believe that a single point origin of modern humans in eastern Africa is not only possible but likely. Not to mention that if we're talking about a long process of evolution with many similar, related, human-like primates in the recent history of the world it isn't necessarily obvious that the scientific "modern human" corresponds exactly with the theological "mankind".

Comment: Re:does not compute (Score 1) 203

I suppose, if there is no "page that contains the full resolution image" in the first place. I guess Google image search is most likely smart enough to be following links that look like they're going to another version of the image, assuming they're true links and not lightbox loader script click events. As for having a clue about web design, most amazing example of this I've seen recently was when I was looking for huge images with Google, and landed on some sort of corporate blog type web site that took an extraordinary amount of time to load, only to finish and have the image nowhere in sight. It seemed to be very close to what I wanted for some wallpaper or whatever I was after, so I took the time to look more closely at the code, and found buried in a side panel in some minor place on the page a spot for a thumbnail image set to display at 111.32 x 74.36 (yes, the styled size was specified as a decimal number of pixels). The actual file set as the img src, OTOH, was 11,132 x 7436 and 10.5 MB in size. This one image, despite being a tiny, inconsequential part of the whole page design, was causing a page to take probably close to a minute to load that could have been served in a second or two even on the slow server they seemed to have...and then you couldn't even see the image in the end anyway, because Chrome apparently can't handle resizing a 10.5 MB image to 1% of its height and width and successfully display it.

Comment: Re:does not compute (Score 3, Informative) 203

It isn't as obvious as you make it sound. Scenario 1: Google links to your page. People who want your image click through, your server throws them the whole page plus the high resolution image. Scenario 2: Google links only to your image. People who want your image download just that, your server sends them just that. All else being the same, scenario 2 is less bandwidth, not more, because you'd be serving the same image either way, but in one case with and in the other case without all the other stuff on the page as well. It's entirely possible for it to add up to more, but this depends on how the new search affects people's usage of the results- it requires that more people actually click to view the full-resolution image as a result of the changes. That's a likely, but not necessary outcome.

Comment: Re:Quality of evidence (Score 3, Insightful) 528

Here's the thing about evidence and verifiability. Science is a framework which has proven extremely useful, for good reason. It distills out a sort of best practices for a kind of practical philosophy of approach that results in its practitioners being able to make more effective predictions about the universe around them. I would hope anyone interested in truth of any sort is keenly attentive to the benefits of exploring the world scientifically.

But the problem is that this is not enough. We are forced to live in all the dimensions of life, constantly, many of which are partly or entirely made up of decisions and beliefs (or at least tentative beliefs) for which we have no choice but to rely on unfalsifiable, unprovable hypotheses. I would venture to propose that most of our everyday decisions about how to live our lives, what to pursue, how to interact with other people, what is worth spending a life on, what is good and what is bad...basically our entire set of operating assumptions about the meaning of our lives is untestable, because we can't step outside of those lives, we can't see them from an objective point of view, we can't repeat conditions, we don't live consistently enough to isolate any of the possibilities as we'd have to do in order to measure things in a controlled test, and we won't be around in the end to see whether we were right (nor is there is any obvious way of measuring this even from the perspective of the "end of the story"). Plus, well, once we're dead, the outcome is not helpful, so we all live according to our best estimation of what life is about.

This doesn't by any means demonstrate that a particular faith of any sort has a basis in truth. The point is that there is no choice but to live by faith, because the knowledge we have about the whole deal, or even that we can possibly acquire in time to make any difference, is miniscule. The faith we're holding to might not be religious or deistic in any way, but no matter who we are, we're living according to some operating assumptions, and putting enough faith in them to make decisions based upon them, letting our lives slip away having applied them irrevocably to one or another path. And so, knowing that there is utterly no way to apply the framework of science to all of the matters concerning us, we have no choice but to use other methods of exploration as well, in order to build anywhere near complete enough a working model of how things are. Philosophy, theology, these are just that sort of exploration: ways of searching for understanding in the midst of this situation. One can't live without them, live "only by science", any more than one can make a successful and worthwhile journey by car taking into account only those truths that are clearly visible within the small bit of road directly illuminated by one's headlights.

(Even worse would be to insist that only the things that can be illuminated by headlights exist at all. Occam's Razor often gets shoved into the "science vs. religion" debates in a way that doesn't work. It's a very useful expression of the mentality one uses within science because it creates methodical practice out of what could be chaos. What it is not is any kind of proof of how things actually are. It is helpful to investigation to avoid multiplying entities unnecessarily. But is it true that there are no entities beyond those which are required to explain the currently visible portion of a phenomenon? We can't actually make that kind of positive assertion without resorting to exactly the kind of unfalsifiable truth claim that science supposedly doesn't care much for.)

But interesting you should mention critical peer review- in this area you'll not find theology wanting, at least not when it comes to trying. There is not a doctrine out there that isn't dissected, taken apart, put back together every which way, and run through the rigorous gauntlet of critical review, in many cases hundreds or thousands of years of such review. Of course, the whole thing lacking some of what you bring up (verifiability, etc.), this critical examination is hobbled somewhat in its ability to definitively rule out bad theories, but certain things still do apply; for instance, subjecting arguments to expectations concerning logic.

That definitely doesn't answer all of the pieces of your question, it is more a set of thoughts sparked by that question.

Comment: Re:Provoking (Score 1) 1130

Though I do agree, by the way, that "gun nuts" shouldn't be equated with trained snipers. By far most of the people really obsessed with the awesomeness of guns and how awesome it would be to defend their houses with them against jackbooted FBI or military thugs (or who fantasize about going and shooting up someplace) are just idiots who have fantasies of their own ultimate soldier credentials, and who in many cases don't even know how to properly operate guns, much less use them effectively. And thank God for that, because it does mean that most of them, whether they're gangbangers or classroom shooters, kill a lot fewer of their targets than you'd expect in a contest between unarmed people and a heavily armed person. The United States does have a lot of trained gun owners, though: millions of military veterans.

Comment: Re:Provoking (Score 1) 1130

"why the US lost in Iraq" has a rather large, built-in, non-self-evident premise. Considering the flow of the war, from the perspective of someone who had a family member there for extended periods three times at different points, one sees a rapid military victory, followed by an ill-planned occupation that therefore had to deal with a growing insurgency...that then itself gradually was cut down, leaving Americans eventually with a quite low casualty rate, but unsure what to do with the country they had conquered, unwilling to pay the costs necessary to hold onto it indefinitely or really commit to nation-building. Neither is it true that the people "did not support the invading U.S. forces at all." Deciding not to occupy a nation forever that the U.S. never planned to occupy forever does not equate to "lost". The only real sense in which you could claim the US "lost" there is that it is leaving behind an unstable mess of a nation which is at least as likely to fail as to become stable and safe. That may ultimately make the adventure a foolish one from a long-term geopolitical standpoint, or at least foolishly planned and directed in terms of ever reaching the goals its originating commander-in-chief might have imagined for it. But this kind of failure isn't exactly a military loss in the way you seem to suggest.

Comment: Re:Provoking (Score 1) 1130

And you aren't playing under the same cost/benefit equation? Is it worth the fairly likely cost of the lives of several fellow insurgents or innocent bystanders to disable a tank for a matter of hours, only to see it back in action the next day? This is how occupiers can be successful- the price paid by insurgents is usually much, much higher.

Comment: Re:No no no and no (Score 1) 183

by miserere nobis (#42675567) Attached to: The Mobile App Design Tail Wags the Desktop Software Design Dog
Not sure that's quite fair, the quote wasn't "one need only look at the new Google Mail interface...to conclude a new direction is widespread," but "to view the effects of" the new direction. In other words, in the sentence you quote, GMail is being proposed as an example of this trend, not as wholly sufficient evidence for it.

Comment: Re:Not ridiculously expensive... (Score 1) 193

by miserere nobis (#40070543) Attached to: Maryland Teen Wins World's Largest Science Fair

* No bullshit. Make sure you get an itemized bill for your next surgical procedure, it'll piss you off what they charge for some of this shit.

I know someone who had to have a late-night imaging done once in the ER, I forget if it was an MRI or a CT scan. The bill had extra charges for overtime for the technician who had to be called in after-hours, and- I'm not making this up- also had extra charges for what amounted to after-hours overtime for the machine itself. I wasn't aware the machines had unionized or otherwise negotiated for extra pay when called into service outside normal business hours. It was only through looking closely at the itemized bill that they noticed this, and managed to argue the charge away, as there really was no justification the hospital could give for it.

Comment: Re:Not ridiculously expensive... (Score 1) 193

by miserere nobis (#40070457) Attached to: Maryland Teen Wins World's Largest Science Fair
Surely insurance is a major factor, but there's more to it than that. Have you noticed how many hospitals have the cash to spend on massive, high-tech additions with fancy architecture or altogether new buildings these days? How many have cash enough to buy up all the other hospitals in sight? How many millions they are spending on advertising nowadays? Somehow, even in the midst of the current health care crisis and economic crisis, there is a large number of hospitals making very big profits. I am not an accountant, but I know there are often games played with manufacturing "losses" in order to make actual profits, and I have a suspicion that a lot of these inflated prices- which almost nobody pays, because every insurance company has negotiated prices that are a fraction of the billed cost- have something to do with being able to treat uninsured people as a bigger on-paper loss than they might really be. As in, "This patient, over the course of his stay, required five sharpie markers, but had no money, so we took a loss of $500 on him!"

Comment: Re:A few points (Score 1) 172

Is it really free to UH? Someone said something about free up to 5000 users, which I can't imagine covers this case.

If there are no employees than there is no one to use the data. Another point is that, depending on the contract we have never seen, the data may have to be destroyed if ownership changes.

Sure there is: whoever walks off with the hard drives at the end of the day. Good luck tracking down who has physical control over everything and verifying somehow that all the data was securely wiped (much less actually getting a copy) when your only access is through a bankruptcy trustee or a few remaining or former employees who may have legal reasons to avoid saying much.

How ias an employee who is accountable to a university different from an employee who is accountable to Google who is accountable to the university?

That should be obvious. The longer the chain of accountability, and the greater the number of separate walled institutions serving as the links in that chain, the less real that accountability is. Have you really never encountered this phenomenon? It is universal, across the spectrum of services, from janitorial services to web hosting services. Do something in-house, and you can investigate, fire, and possibly legally hold your own employees accountable for their violations. Plus their sense of loyalty, assuming they have any, is toward you. Certainly their livelihood is in your hands. Pay an outside firm to do it, and you stand not only a good chance of being misled or lied to- with no real recourse or ability to find out otherwise- about whether a violation even occurred, you'll have one heck of a time getting complete information, making sure the right people are held to account, or changing things. You don't have control over sloppiness in procedures, you can't even see whether it is present. I would contend that in a significant number of cases, outsourcing doesn't save anything real at all, it just hides the fact that the savings are being made by cutting corners that an in-house operation isn't willing to cut. This has nothing to do with any kind of ridiculous "all corporations are bad" idea. It has to do with short-sightedness or sacrificing important things to try to save dollars without realizing the importance of those things.

Comment: Re:A few points (Score 1) 172

It might be individual employees of the university run mail system. What makes Google employees any different than University employees?

Accountability to the university.

It might be the university attempting to make money by selling the information. Any future owner of Google, if theat ever happens, would still be bound by the contracts signed by Google.

Sure you can come up with scenarios that can cause issue. The point is that these scenarios apply to any entity that handles the university's email be it Google, the University or another provider.

No, they don't all apply in the same way. The university is probably long-lived in comparison to any of its technology vendors, and its interests do not coincide exactly with the interests of outside vendors. And a service provider bankruptcy, company split, spin-off, or acquisition is likely to be something of a free-for-all, with nobody ever even knowing where everything went or able to force any action of any sort. Just try going and enforcing the contract that says they need to archive your data, do so securely, and make it available to you when there are no employees left. When you outsource something, you aren't just giving up control in the financial operations sense. You're also giving up control in every other sense. This is the sort of decision people in business regularly plunge into without sufficient forethought. Who would I prefer handle it? The university itself. There is no inherent reason why an outside provider for something like email has to be cheaper in any significant way for a client the size of a major university. And I'm not making any assumption about incompetent IT professionals- I think you're making an assumption that it was IT professionals at all, rather than business administrators who have made this decision in most universities.

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