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Comment: Re:Pandora's Box (Score 1) 215

And what happens when the police departments show complete disinterest to your problem?

Change the system. Sorry there isn't an easier answer, but that's the price of living in a democracy.

If someone hurts my feelings online I'll try to get revenge online.

I've just shown you the cliff at the end of the road you're traveling. If you choose to proceed despite this, there isn't much more that I can say. Via con Dios.

Comment: Re:Pandora's Box (Score 1) 215

Maybe the system itself is broken.

What percentage broken constitutes "broken"? If you're talking about policing, I'm assuming you don't see any major problems with, say, badges. So you don't want to change 100% of the system, then.

So now we're onto a saner argument: what specifically is broken, and how should we approach fixing it?

Comment: Re:Virtual Self Defense (Score 4, Insightful) 215

Come on, you realistically expect the police to handle every case like this?

Police departments that currently exist? Not in every case we'd be talking about, no. We evidently need something new, but that something new is more like a police department than mob justice.

This is no different from having a reasonable right to self defense to protect your life.

The claim that mob internet justice is "no different" than individual right to self-defense is so utterly ridiculous that it borders on not worth responding to. Here is a rather meaningful difference: when you're going to shoot someone, you can see them and know what you're aiming at. I guess you didn't think of that.

If you are being harassed online you should be able to do something about it

I completely concur. That's the point of what I'm saying. You totally should be able to do something about it, and that something should not require you to become a private investigator, politician, lawyer, judge, and security guard. Nor should it only be available to those with enough resources: time, money, knowledge, physical or intellectual capabilities, etcetera.

The earlier you take action, the more you cut off the really bad stuff.

This behavior pattern - acting before thinking it through - leads to what's called "flailing". Experts will tell you pretty universally that this is one of the worst things to do if you're being stalked and harassed on the internet.

What if what is broken is having inherent trust in the system to do everything for you?

Then you've engaged in a strawman. Nothing about what I've just said demands "having inherent trust in the system to do everything for you".

Comment: Pandora's Box (Score 4, Insightful) 215

The irresponsibility with which the modern media operates astounds me. The cheerleading tone of this article is unmissable. We are supposed to rise from our seats and applaud this sportsmensch who hunted down the skeeves speaking ill of his daughter. And hey, on one level, I do.

But here's a little perspective that apparently can't be counted on to supply. Just because this case is pretty black and white doesn't mean they all will be. The next time, some jackass will create social networking profiles with breadcrumbs leading back to their real target, and with minimal effort will get a Curt Schilling to do the dirty work, and bear the legal liability, for them.

This is why we have police departments. I fully recognize that they've deteriorated in capability and trustworthiness, losing their role as guardians of the real public interest to politics and less esoteric concerns like meeting budgets and justifying headcounts, but that's a reason to fix what's broken about our system, not replace it with every-man-for-himself vigilantism.

Comment: Re:Lost focus (Score 1) 52

by mrex (#49168919) Attached to: Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook

Supposing a causal relationship between nukes and peace seems bordering on magical thinking.

I wouldn't totally discount the suppressive effects of mutually assured destruction on conflict between rational powers seeking enlargement of their empires. But those are a lot of qualifiers, and the history of humanity seems to suggest that effective weapons, once developed, will eventually be used.

Comment: Re:Lost focus (Score 1) 52

by mrex (#49167899) Attached to: Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook

there is no large pool of water directly below the reactor

You are THIS totally uninformed, and accusing me of posting "hogwash"?

even if the fuel melted into a large reservoir of water, it could not become critical.

This was not the conclusion of the Soviet scientists and engineers at the time, working with more detailed knowledge than I suspect you are.

even if you somehow made the fuel become critical, it could not explode like a bomb.

Once again, this was not the conclusion of the better-informed Soviet scientists and engineers at the time.

if the fuel mass reached the water table, all that would occur would be another path for contamination in the local area which was already heavily contaminated.

I don't even know what to make of this statement, except that you don't seem to understand what a water table is, as "local area" in reference to one does not make a whole lot of sense.

a power plant contains a couple orders of magnitude more fuel than a bomb.


radiation does not spread like a contagion. This is just plain FUD.

You are probably being deliberately being over-literal, but in any event are once again proving a little too determinedly bereft of clue to bother with.

Comment: Re:Lost focus (Score 0) 52

by mrex (#49167335) Attached to: Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook

The people in remote rural areas would be the most likely to survive the initial blasts. They would also be the most likely to survive the ensuing economic disruption.

This is an extremely naive and optimistic perspective. I'm not here to rain on your parade, but when you're trying to convince people that nuclear war wouldn't be *so bad*, that it's survivable, I feel like maybe I should. Because nuclear war at scale is not survivable. At all. Like, that's the point of it.

I could tell you stuff about how research indicates that a nation needs to lose only a small fraction (~10%) of its working population in order to become permanently logistically non-functional. I could tell you about how

Instead I will just share this one historical anecdote. You remember Chernobyl, right? What a big mess all that was? Well, what most people don't know at all is that we got very lucky at Chernobyl. The tons of enriched fuel that had melted down was only days away from contacting a large pool of cooling water stored beneath. Scientists ran calculations and warned that, should the zircon-and-graphite-clad fuel mixture contacted the water, it would have created an explosion in the range of several megatons. This, the scientists assured us, would have rendered most of western Europe permanently uninhabitable. Even after this pool was drained, there was still a great risk of rendering the entirety of Russia uninhabitable, because the fuel could have melted through the Earth's surface and contacted the water table that feeds all of Russia and a good deal of Europe.

So that's the risk of a single surface blast in the megaton range, and a single plant's worth of fuel pollution. Now understand that, in war, we are talking about potentially thousands of such warheads. Understand that fatal toxicity of plutonium to the human body is at the nanograms-per-kilogram level. Understand that ionizing radiation contaminates and spreads like a contagion. Understand that apex predators like us require whole ecosystems in order to survive that are fundamentally incompatible with a highly irradiated landscape. Understand that, in their last gasps, spiteful empires may deploy doomsday weapons and techniques *specifically* intended to render the planet permanently uninhabitable.

Some people in downtown Hiroshima, and many more in Nagasaki, survived the blast, and the radiation, and went on to have children and grandchildren.

Hiroshima is to nuclear war as a slap upside the head is to a 12 round bout with Mike Tyson.

Comment: Re:Lost focus (Score 2) 52

by mrex (#49167153) Attached to: Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook

We still need to ban nuclear weapons.

And alcohol. And drugs. And cigarettes. And... well, you get my point. Banning something doesn't make that thing unavailable. This is doubly true in reference to sovereign nations dealing in a world lacking a unified system of enforceable international laws.

The genie doesn't go back in the bottle. We are either going to have to figure out how to get along in a world in which each of us has the capability to destroy all of us, or resign ourselves to the extinction of our species.

Comment: Re:Oh God No... (Score 1) 222

by mrex (#49152901) Attached to: Harrison Ford To Return In Blade Runner Sequel

That's a shame, but I think there are plenty of precedents of male actors who have likewise done stupid shit because of the bottle, but have gotten help to get out of it, and given second and third chances.

Not all celebrities are created equal, it's true, but I don't think that's a gender thing. Plenty of men cant get work, and plenty of men have gotten blackballed over the years by directors for similar shenanigans. And for what it's worth, I agree both from a sentimental and practical perspective: Sean Young, the ultimate tsundere, has a special place in my heart and that of many others who fell in love with her screen presence in the 80s. That is a very bankable thing, but it takes a professional to cash it in, and she hasn't proven up to the task so far. I wish her really well, believe me.

There are many older actresses that still do look great, and who aren't used as much as I think they should be. Like Susan Sarandon, who I think looks so awesome precisely because she has aged naturally

Susan Sarandon is beautiful and one of a kind. I'm not sure I'd class her as hard-up for work, though. Same with Diane Keaton, Sally Fields, Annette Bening, Kathy Bates, and quite a few other great and talented Hollywood ladies. This isn't exactly the 1950s with respect to movie studios' attitudes towards mature women, in fact they're an incredibly reliable, and thus courted, box office demographic.

I think it's sad that Hollywood continues to make so many movies with elderly gents in the lead role, but never do you see an elderly woman in a lead role. Even the great looking ones.

I'm probably going to get dagger-stares for it, but here is my two cents. And that's really all it is, but here goes anyway. Part of the thing here is that older women don't necessarily want to be, or see, themselves in the lead role of a film. Be honest, and focus for a second not on the rag-flying co-ed Boudicas at the outskirts of culture today, but the warm-steel wisdom of real American family matriarchs. By and large, they aren't looking for superheros, they're looking for stories that ring true to them and their own experiences.

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn