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Comment: Re:Programming lesson (Score 1) 194

by notionalTenacity (#34440958) Attached to: <em>Pac-Man's</em> Ghost Behavior Algorithms
Yeah, its not a bad movie, but its kind of unsubtle.

Anyway, I was just asking the OP if they would rethink making jokes like that in the interest of a more welcoming community.

There's a difference between people having the freedom to say what they want, and thinking that all things are equally good to say.

Comment: Re:Programming lesson (Score 1) 194

by notionalTenacity (#34440942) Attached to: <em>Pac-Man's</em> Ghost Behavior Algorithms
I'm not advocating a community so afraid of offending, that nothing gets said.

I'm just point out that what you've got is a community thats not a nice place to be in, for one of the minorities in that community.

I'm not saying 'Thought Police - Make An Arrest!' - I just asked the OP to re-consider their comment, and how it might affect women within the community, in light of the current issues the broader community have.

There's a difference between people having the freedom to say what they want, and thinking that all things are equally good to say.

Comment: Re:Programming lesson (Score 0) 194

by notionalTenacity (#34440034) Attached to: <em>Pac-Man's</em> Ghost Behavior Algorithms
Yeah, I hear you.

I'm just concerned about the accretion of such jokes into the community culture. (see my other post).

We aren't talking about rights - I dont want anyone jailed or chastised! I'm just asking people if this is the sort of culture we want to create - because the jokes we make, and upvote, effect the culture we create, and how welcoming it might be to women.

And right now, open source has some questions to answer about how welcoming it is, as a culture, to women.

Comment: Re:Programming lesson (Score 1, Troll) 194

by notionalTenacity (#34440018) Attached to: <em>Pac-Man's</em> Ghost Behavior Algorithms
One great thing about hacker culture has always been the ideal that individuals are evaluated on their merits. How does the "Ms Pacman had no sense of direction because she was a Ms" type of thinking gel with this?

Now, you make a lot of good points there, many of which I agree with.

I agree that there has to be a distinction between harassment, and humour.

My concern is that its easy for people to accidentally create a culture which makes the people at the butt of the jokes feel bad. People often don't see that when they aren't at the receiving end.

The 'science' bit is irrelevant. I'm not in any way attacking the joke because of its scientific inaccuracy.

By way of analogy, statistically, black males have a higher tendency to do prison time in the united states. If the original context somehow the ghosts been in jail all the time, because they were black, would it be ok? What if slashdot had a strong neo-nazi sub-community - would that change how OK the joke was?

I think the context is important. I think in the current context of women feeling harassed in the open source community, we should think about whether such jokes are ok. There are few enough women in the community - thats fine, if thats their choice - but maybe we should err a little on the side of caution, to make sure the culture we create is welcoming for the rest?

Comment: Re:Programming lesson (Score 0) 194

by notionalTenacity (#34439884) Attached to: <em>Pac-Man's</em> Ghost Behavior Algorithms
I sympathise with your post, in that some of the 'political correctness' brigade only care about sexism when it happens in the direction that negatively effects them. However, in so far as your post defends the GP, it does so purely on the basis of 'two wrongs make a right' - which isn't a very interesting argument.

Comment: Re:Programming lesson (Score -1, Offtopic) 194

by notionalTenacity (#34439212) Attached to: <em>Pac-Man's</em> Ghost Behavior Algorithms

Then you'll get one kid who goes "Aww man. I totally thought this was Ms Pacman! I built it with no sense of direction whatsoever!"

Here's an interesting article you might like to read, which covers the area of sexism etc. Considering this sort of thing is topical in the community at the moment, you might like to consider whether your joke could have unintended consequences. Maybe a joke is just a joke, I'm not sure - but its food for thought. http://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/417952/306ab90f60276bf2/

Comment: buddy, you don't know what you are talking about (Score 4, Insightful) 809

by notionalTenacity (#34366040) Attached to: The Luck of the Irish Runs Out
You clearly know nothing about the situation, or our country, and just have a free-market axe to grind. Well buddy, I'm a believer in free enterprise, and I'm Irish, so let me give you a summary of what's going on. The billionaires referred to are the large investment institutions and the high net worth individuals that took bonds in the Irish banks. The argument is that they were paid interest for the bonds, in return for risk (thats how investment usually works, the reward is in return for the risk). The banks became insolvent (partly due to the global banking crisis, partly due to irresponsible behaviour, partly due to the low EU rate of interest (which suited the larger economies) providing cheap credit). The comment in the summary is referring to the fact that the bonds of the investors, who took the risk, are being guaranteed by the Irish state. Supposedly to avert a banking crisis, due to the systemic importance of the banks. Only we seem to have gotten a banking crisis anyway; which has made the billions poured into the banks seem like a bad use of money... As such, the losses of the bondholders (the 'billionaires' of the summary) are being socialised. This is what pisses people off. Irish people are very pro enterprise, pro business, and pro building shit. That's why so many companies invest here. We have a low rate of corporation tax, true, which is a big part of things; but we've also got a creative culture, and its a good business environment here. People like to have the craic; but they also like to work hard, and have a healthy disrespect for authority that helps them innovate. Now, sure, there is social welfare for the poor, and free health care, which maybe you are referring to. And its probably a little on the high side, these days. But Ireland doesn't have a culture of entitlement. The history of the people of Ireland is not one of entitlement, and its not in our psyche. Sure, some of the kids in the boom recently may be a little entitled - but thats because of the free money they had, not because of the welfare state. If anything, there isn't enough entitlement in Ireland. We didn't really know what to do with the money because it was the first time we ever had it; people couldn't believe how good it was, couldn't believe it could last, and that economic prosperity could come to us... ...and so didn't ask enough questions about whether it was being managed right, whether the politicians were properly serving us etc. And as regards the parts of a welfare state we have being so bad... Well, I remember spending a summer in Boston. Lived in cambridge, beside Harvard, MIT. I'll never forget walking past a really awful looking woman, sitting on harvard square. She was clearly pregnant and had a sign saying 'please help, pregnant with AIDS'. And she looked it. I've worked in the valley too - great tech culture, great enterprise culture. But walking around palo alto, past the homeless crazy guys on the street, asking for money, with nowhere to go... Well, no, Irelands not perfect; but there's aspects of a welfare state I'll take over the 'fsck the poor' attitude any day. Don't believe the false dichotomy - you can have a great culture of enterprise, without stepping over broken people on the way to work. If we can figure some way out of the bank bailout here, maybe we'll get there yet.

Comment: Re:The difference? (Score 1) 586

by notionalTenacity (#31677684) Attached to: Magnetism Can Sway Man's Moral Compass

volunteers were more likely to judge actions solely on the basis of whether they caused harm -- not whether they were morally wrong in themselves

Short of a Doctorate of Philosophy in Ethics, what's the difference?

I find it a little scary that the difference isn't apparent. For example, it's morally wrong to put poison in someone's food, even if it later turns out they are immune to the poison and it doesn't cause them any harm. Its morally wrong to try and blow up a building, even if no one else ever finds out, and you fail in the attempt, because you made a mistake. These are two clear cut - if simple - situations of actions that don't cause harm, but that are morally wrong in themselves. Now, you do have to be very careful making legislation which criminalises acts that don't cause obvious harm - in case you end up with thoughtcrime-esque laws. But that is a separate point from the clearcut issue that concrete actions can be very morally wrong, while not resulting in harm.

Comment: Re:HPC Community (Score 1) 739

by notionalTenacity (#31654450) Attached to: "Install Other OS" Feature Removed From the PS3
>I wonder how the HPC community is going to respond This sounds like an excellent way to recruit teams of skilled computer scientists to the PS3 hacking scene. Perhaps that was Sony's plan after all? Maybe they were upset that the PS3 hasn't been hacked fast enough, and were trying to convince more people to get involved? Crazy company.

Comment: Stock price meaningless, use Market Cap. (Score 2, Informative) 1

by notionalTenacity (#31502768) Attached to: Baidu stock overtakes Google's for first time
The summary is misleading. The total value of a company's shares (aka the Market Capitalisation) is the [price_of_one_share] * [number_of_shares] Now, Baidu has a much smaller number of shares (34.75M) than Google (317.98M). So while each of Baidus shares is now worth slightly more than each of Googles (573$ vs 565$) the fact is that Google is still worth 180B while Baidu is only worth 20B. In other words, comparing the value of the price of one share is a meaningless metric to use - market cap ([price_of_one_share] * [number_of_shares]). If I make a company worth 2000$, and issue two shares, each worth 1000$, my stock will have 'overtaken' Googles, by the metric uses in the summary. Its not a meaningful way to compare companies, its only useful for comparing the worth of a company currently, against it in the past - what they should be talking about here is market capitalisation.

Comment: Missing important point about alternative (Score 1) 480

by notionalTenacity (#28954023) Attached to: Can We Abandon Confidentiality For Google Apps?
I'm not saying you're fully wrong, but I think the discussion here is assuming that the alternative to google docs is a hardened computer, in a secure facility, surrounded with armed guards, razor wire, etc. And thats not the case. Speaking about small and medium legal and medical settings, the typical alternative is a poorly backed up, poorly secured, office computer, connected to the Internet, filled with viruses and backdoors, and enthusiastically contributing to the botnet du jour. Small businesses, in general, do not take the time to understand their IT security. Most lawyers do not understand technology, and unless a practice is very large, its not going to have a dedicated IT guy. So when you consider the risk of data loss, or breech, and compare that typical scenario with google docs, then suddenly google docs doesn't look so bad. Without education there is no security; and there isn't much chance of your average lawyer becoming tech savvy enough to secure their network any time soon - so maybe outsourcing aspects of this problem is an improvement.

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

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