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Comment Re:GM producers are shooting themselves in the foo (Score 1) 514

There's another angle to this, namely simple honest labeling rules. An atlantic salmon has a certain taste and texture, and I'm not sure that if they GM its growth functions it will have the same taste and text. As a consumer, I want to know what I'm buying, not because I think GM is poison, but because I like to know the quality of the product, and the species of a fish is an important part of that. A turbot is a different fish from a halibut, and I would not like to be given a halibut if I ordered a turbot. From my perspective, a GM-turbot is not necessarily the same thing as a non-GM turbot since the "G" part is what defines a species.

(and no, I don't trust the FDA's "materially different" to sufficiently describe the taste, texture etc of a product)

Comment Re:Work for free!! (Score 2) 124

Uhhhh...isn't that the same argument the multinationals make when they claim Americans should be happy to be paid the same as somebody in Bangalore or Beijing? That you should be happy to "compete" with the absolute lowest bottom of the barrel wage slave they can possibly find on the planet?

As long as we (or at least the vast majority of Americans and Europeans) do our shopping by going to the absolute bottom of the retailer barrel (walmart / aldi+lidl) and/or online shopping barrel, I don't think "we" are in a position to complain.

(and the worst is people who go to a brick&mortar shop to browse and inspect products and get advice, and then buy the thing they selected online because it is 20$ cheaper - since they didn't have to pay the store, the stock, and the somewhat knowledgeable salesperson...)

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 4, Interesting) 273

The police are keeping you in a protected witness facility because the mob is out to get you, and you start thinking the police might not be as bad as the mobsters --- that's not really Stockhold symdrome territory yet :)

In other words, US supremacy is the worst thing that can happen to the world, apart of course from nazi german supremacy, Chinese supremacy, Putin or Stalin russian supremacy, and good lord just imagine EU supremacy. Death by a thousand red tapes, that one...

Comment Re:I have all of mine on my website. (Score 1) 204

This is the most annoying thing. ResearchGate is as bad as LinkedIn for spam. I've never signed up to them, but I get 'X has requested a copy of your paper' emails from them every couple of pages. If you type the title of any of the requested papers in a search engine, the PDF will be one of the top links. Some people apparently are too lazy to do this, yet feel that I should bother to do this work for them.

Yeah social networks that you don't use can be annoying. If you mark it as spam I guess your mail client should rid you of this, no?

I actively maintain my researcher profile on google scholar and researchgate, but I guess as more such sites spring up you can maintain all of them. It's a shame that there is no sort of researcher API / linked data standard that scholar/researchgate/etc all understand so they I can just publish everything once...

Comment Re:many universities require timely free posting (Score 3, Interesting) 204

The chief drawback of this system is that important papers are scattered all over the place. If you are looking something specific you can find it with a search engine. But if you are periodically browsing the literature to catch up on ideas you may not see these articles unless someone ahas constructed an index.

Yes, this is exactly the problem.

My field is (applied) text analysis. I want to be able to treat the body of literature as a data source. I want to be able to search through, visualize, topic model and classify the literature. I don't want to apply the search tools of the various publishers, I want the data. On my hard drive. Now.

Comment Re:I have all of mine on my website. (Score 4, Interesting) 204

Same here. I think any researcher who wants her/his work to be found does this. Most publishers even allow it in the pre-published form (with review corrections, but without journal typesetting) and/or after a certain time. Researchgate also has a "request full paper" button that allows the researcher to respond by sending privately or by uploading. I've not heard of a single case of a researcher being sued for publishing his own work on his own homepage. It helps that the Netherlands copyright law doesn't allow for punitive damages (imho it's an abomination to have "punitive" anything in civil law, that's what criminal justice is for), so the max they can sue for is demonstrable missed earnings.

What's more, funding agencies are finally pushing against the paywalls and more and more grants demand open access publications. The libraries are also getting involved, and if I've been informed correctly, the Dutch university libraries have a deal with Springer that in return for continuing their $$$ subscriptions, all research published with a corresponding author from a Dutch institution will be automatically open access.

I think the end of paywalled research is finally coming, and the publishers would be wise to find their role and business model in that world rather than trying to stop it (looking at you, Elsevier!)

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 420

Best way would be-
1. Place devices in 1000 or so vehicles, [...]

A problem with this is that it can only be done post-hoc, while these tests are designed to test whether a vehicle is allowed on the road at all. And even with such a test the software could potentially detect such a device (by monitoring the data transmissions or whatever). I agree that the regulators test should be as strict and as realistic as possible while still being standardized enough to be useful, but willful cheating is corporate crime and should be prosecuted as such.

The information you propose would be very useful to inform consumer choice, but doesn't really need to be done by the government (and given the performance of the official regulation bodies, I think I'd prefer a consumer group to do it)...

Comment Re:Of course, this is natural. (Score 3, Informative) 164

** or is that knots?

My dear Sir, miles are a distance unit and knots a speed unit: a knot is a (nautical) mile per hour.

Interestingly, while imperial miles originate in a "biometric" (roman miles were 1000 two-pace steps), nautical miles fit very well in the "geometric" spirit of the SI: a nautical mile is one minute of arc measured along any meridian, ie the distance between the poles is 180×60 = 10,800 NM. The meter was originally defined as 1/10,000 of the distance between the equator and the pole, so these definitions are quite close. Although the definition of both the NM and the m have changed a bit as they were standardized, the international definition of 1NM=1852m is pretty darn close to the expected 20,000 / 10,800 = 1851.85m.

Note that as a European I use metric exclusively: for me, a pound is 500g and an ounce is 100g, and a cup is something I put coffee in. That is, until I step foot on a sailing boat, when suddenly the only units that makes sense are knots and miles. Metric is for landlubbers, I guess :)

Comment Re: MacBook Pro (Score 1) 237

I got the "hiDPI" XPS 13 before they finished the linux version, but it works like a charm.

Two issues:
- It occassionaly hangs (flashing caps = kernel panic?). I blame the broadcom wifi chip.
- The hiDPI is gorgeous but sometimes annoying if applications assume that 10pt should be enough for anyone. My main gripe is actually that it is difficult to work with an external monitor. The hiDPI 13" requires something like 16 - 18 pt fonts to be usable, which is completely silly on a normal 27" HD screen. So, if I have both plugged in any setting is wrong, and as far as I know there is no way to automatically adjust zoom settings per screen that works even when you move a window from one screen to the other. I run ubuntu with the i3 tiling window manager so it's possible that default gnome/kde/unity came up with a fix, but I don't think so?

Comment Re: Not really related to Amazon. (Score 5, Interesting) 106

1) The car analogy actually works better than you think - nowadays 'private lease' is becoming more and more popular, where indeed the leaser/driver doesn't even pay for oil change and in some instances gasoline. You pay a fixed monthly sum and you get a car (and of course the lease costs are higher because people stop taking care of the car as well as they would with their own car)

2) Any insurance scheme (whether company or government) wants to minimize costs. This can be done by discouraging claims (with co-payments, thresholds, or exclusions) but also by encouraging good behaviour. Often, small medical costs (e.g. GP visit) should be encouraged rather than discouraged, even if only 1% of these visits can prevent (or spot early) a condition that can be tremendously expensive. A house insurance can force you to have a smoke detector installed, or they can pay a smoke detector for you - it doesn't really matter since in the end the costs come out of your pocket. Politically, it can be better to pay a GP visit for someone than to force them to visit a GP at their own expense, especially because enforcement is difficult and voiding someone's insurance in the case of serious illness without having made the required GP visits can be seen as inhumane, and emergency visits are often guaranteed by the state even for the uninsured, two risks which are less so with housing/car/etc insurance. So, just paying out the small claims can be easily a winning option if it prevents later costs. In the Netherlands, some (privately run) health insurance companies even subsidize gym/fitness subscriptions or diet advice, so apparently they believe that these costs can be recouped due to decreased risk and/or improved public image or sales.

3) Relating to an earlier post made above, that health insurance is a scam and as a healthy person you'd be better off paying out of pocket: It's correct that insurance encourages risky behaviour, and that people at risk are more likely to value insurance, which is for example why disability insurance for self-employed people is ridiculously expensive (at least down here). However, health insurance in general suffers a bit less from these problems than other forms of insurance, since people don't actually like being sick, and getting a $2M payout for your cancer treatment doesn't actually leave you any richer (of course, some people still engage in short-term behaviour with long-term risks such as listed by GP). Moreover, a lot of really catastrophic health risks are simply random and impossible to pay out of pocket unless you're Warren Buffet.

4) Relating to the GP that obamacare is bad because it forces people to buy insurance: By forcing everyone to participate, you reduce the problem that risky/unhealthy people are the only ones buying insurance, driving up the premiums and further discouraging health people from participating in the risk pooling. If there is a strong negative societal effect from uninsured people, it can be worth it to sacrifice some individual rights to self-determination to help avoid the vicious cycle of unhealthy insured people and high premiums.* And there are strong negative effects of uninsured people: the direct dollar cost of providing them with emergency service and (later) medicare for conditions that would have been cheaper to treat in an earlier stage; the indirect cost of decreasing taxes and increasing social spending when people are sick and disabled; and the humanitarian cost of having people suffer from treatable conditions just because they're poor and/or unlucky. So, there are strong benefits to universal coverage even for the healthy, and due to the risk premium the only way to achieve it is if it isn't voluntary.**

*) In fact, the reason why the US system of employer-tied insurance works at all is precisely because it forces healthy employees to participate, thus greatly reducing the premiums compared to buying private insurance (in the old system, at least).

**) Of course, if you're ideologically libertarian, you would simply not pay emergency service, medicare and social benefits and simply not care if some poor person dies from pneumonia, but in that case I'm not too sure I really want to have this conversation with you :)

Comment Re:Question (Score 5, Insightful) 138

You know what's scary?

(1) That someone on friggin' slashdot has no clue what the # in a url is, and thinks that asking it is easier than just friggin' googling it

(2) That another poster on slashdot answers in apparent earnest with "I usually see it used to make you jump down to a particular heading in, e.g., a wiki article. I think it also activates stuff in scripts sometimes?"

For crying out loud, where did all the nerds go? Reddit?

Comment efficiency (Score 1) 74

Half the advantage of electric cars is efficiency (the other half being moving the pollution out of the city to a place where less people live). Can anyone comment on the theoretical or actual efficiency of this process? And is it simple induction, or does "Shaped Magnetic Field" mean more than activate a coil?

Comment Re:Narrowminded Fools (Score 5, Insightful) 313

Just like in the good old days!
s/spammers/bad guys/g
s/spam/autonomous weapons/g

Dear Musk, Woz, Hawking, and Robotics/AI Experts

Your post advocates a

( ) technical (X) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting autonomous weaponry. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Bad guys can easily use it to harvest weapon designs
(X) Defense systems and other legitimate uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the bad guys
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop autonomous weaponry for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users of weapons systems will not put up with it
(X) DARPA will not put up with it
(X) The military will not put up with it
(X) Requires too much cooperation from bad guys
(X) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(X) Many weapon producers cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
(X) Bad guys don't care about illiegal weapons in their arsenals
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(X) Lack of centrally controlling authority for weapons
(X) Open relays in foreign countries
(X) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
(X) Unpopularity of weird new treaties
(X) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of arms control
(X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes (!)
(X) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(X) Extreme profitability of autonomous weaponry
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with bad guys
(X) Dishonesty on the part of bad guysthemselves

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
(X) Why should we have to trust you and your treaties?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(X) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
(X) I don't want the government limiting my arsenal
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
(X) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall