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Comment: And India (Score 4, Insightful) 700

by nten (#49577375) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

The four most populous countries use the death penalty and in total over 50% of the world population lives in nations where state aurhorized executions occur. Capital punishment is not unusual even among the worlds economic leaders. There are many good arguments against capital punishment but this isn't one. Instead cite 4% of those executed being innocent or the higher cost relative to incarceration.

Comment: risk aversion (Score 4, Insightful) 112

by nten (#46557893) Attached to: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Controls Learning Speed

I disagree. The inventors of the trebuchet had no idea about the Higgs, the inventors of the windmill didn't understand Bernoulli's work, and the first people to take Valerian root had no concept of biochemistry. We can use observed patterns to serve our needs without understanding the reasons for those patterns. Yes a lot of people died eating random plants, but there are a lot of us, and we learn quickly. My favorite part about engineering is using techniques to solve problems that no one understands yet. Its like magic. The best is when a true subject matter expert tells me "that shouldn't work!" and yet it does. Science always catches up and we are the better for it, but that is no reason to proceed with caution when we have so many people, and so much to learn. I would qualify this by saying test subjects should be informed and consenting.

Comment: redundancy (Score 1) 158

by nten (#46217035) Attached to: DDoS Larger Than the Spamhaus Attack Strikes US and Europe

As someone above pointed out, load balancing and redundancy are valid reasons to send packets with source IPs not in the originating AS. That mostly doesn't apply to residential subnets where the zombies are, but one reason does. I sometimes use LTE tethering and my home internet connection simultaneously because the LTE is as fast or faster than my home connection during non peak hours. I don't know if it is doing load balancing between the two uplinks, but why shouldn't it?

Comment: loud party (Score 1) 248

by nten (#45864371) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

If your alarm is a very loud sound system playing an obnoxious song, the police might get called for free, no monitoring. Add another track over the song of people talking and perhaps vomiting noisily, and you are set. They won't show up as quickly as if an alarm had been tripped though, unless your neighbors are important.

Comment: go (Score 5, Insightful) 237

by nten (#45469421) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Trust Online Tax Software?

I have heard circumstances like this multiple times. It really bothers me that we have invented a tax code that is on par with the game "go" as far as its ability to be computerized. There are extremely talented individuals making a living interpreting our tax code. Those same people could be doing something far more useful to society than they are now, but we have created an entire industry that sucks them away from more useful endeavors by cobbling together a tax code that is a mashup of bribes to interest groups, bribes to voters, authoritarian interference with our individual lives, and a glass ceiling protecting the one percent. If any highschool graduate can't just sit down with a calculator and pay the *exact* amount owed, we have done something wrong.

Comment: used to think that too (Score 1) 440

by nten (#45411567) Attached to: Soylent: No Food For 30 Days

I got down to a healthy weight by counting calories (or so I thought). Much later, I decided I wanted to lose more and see my sixpack, so I divided my caloric intake by 3... and gained 25lbs. I'm now overweight again. That is impossible I thought, thermodynamics works! But I realized I was sleeping almost 12hrs a day, and barely moving the rest of it. It seems fairly clear that at least *my* body can save energy. The military studies that indicate the body will not enter starvation mode until you hit 6% body fat no matter how little you eat only worked that way because the soldiers maintained the same level of daily activity. They were forced to. You have to monitor your calories expended, it can vary. The previous time I had lost weight, I had been doing a lot of weight lifting just before cutting calories, and I think my lost weight was a combination of losing a huge amount of muscle mass, and the high number of calories burned by that resting muscle that I had built. So now I'm off building muscle again and eating the number of calories I would expend if I were the weight I want to be, so that I asymptote down to that weight.

Comment: employers (Score 5, Insightful) 545

by nten (#45311397) Attached to: A Plan To Fix Daylight Savings Time By Creating Two National Time Zones

It would be easy for your employer, and for schools to simply adjust the time at which people are expected to arrive. If some employers did it and others didn't, or some did it by different amounts or on different dates, it would also thin traffic at rush hour and lunch which could save lives, but cost more in labor for places that are only open at those times. If I were an employer I would have the work day begin after sunrise by the amount of my employees average commute, plus some margin. So your start time is different each day by a minute or two. I would rather have them mix up now and then and be a little late, than wake up in the dark and be groggy for a few hours.

Comment: eye of the beholder (Score 1) 204

by nten (#45301329) Attached to: Larry Page and Sergey Brin Are Lousy Coders

Maintaining and extending software is *always* hard. If abandoning concepts such as minimizing coupling, or hiding data make the design/implementation easier, then do it. Code that tries to adhere to these best practices when the problem space makes it difficult is consistently horrendous to extend and no easier to maintain. Not all problems can be partitioned out into neatly abstracted uncoupled cohesive realms of responsibility. Beauty is code that works well and is easy to extend, not code that is easy to understand. The latter is often impossible despite all our best efforts.

Full disclosure, I mostly write research code now, and my observations are based on over a decade of production coding experience that is probably not representative of normal business/web software.

Comment: all noises? (Score 1) 262

by nten (#45300179) Attached to: Do You Need Headphones While Working?

What about binaural beats (or however you spell that)? I thought they specifically forced the left and right brain to communicate. And would white/pink noise act as an impairment, or just raise the noise floor effectively deleting all the other background noise? On my todo list is to make a completely analog battery powered pink noise generator for isolation purposes.

Comment: progressives (Score 3, Interesting) 668

by nten (#45172015) Attached to: A Ray of Hope For Americans and Scientific Literacy?

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure he is suggesting that progressives (educated scientifically literate liberals) want a philosopher king. Woodrow Wilson could be considered the prototype of such a king. An authoritarian schoolmaster if there ever was one. Willing to trample the rights of the individual to make the correct decision *for* that individual. The fact he was very well educated and probably right quite a large portion of the time doesn't alleviate the effects of removing individual responsibility and freedom upon creative thought.

And the notion that a greedy optimization algorithm like a anarcho-capitalist pure free market is so incredibly elegant that it must work, neglects the nasty inelegant humans that are part of that market and screw everything up. If it doesn't work, it doesn't matter how elegant it is. I think that is the mysticism the gp was talking about. The faith Ron Paul has placed in elegant ideas often involves handwaving and appeals to common sense, rather than empircal tests. I think that is somewhat unfair as he does cite historical incidents, he just has different interpretations from his detractors. Also doing correctly scaled economic tests that control for all the variables is impossible. Still, he's kinda handwavy even compared to economists.

Comment: old gnome (Score 1) 631

by nten (#44947673) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are We Witnessing the Decline of Ubuntu?

Does the classic gnome share that problem? Or are you talking gnome 3? You can select either. I like the new gnome 3, but I never used the mouse much and the keyboard shortcuts didn't change. If you are starting from scratch though, you are right, it makes no sense to pick a distro that you would have to customize, if there are others that are configured as you wish. I was simply pointing out that if it is already installed, and you decide you don't like the windowmanager, switching them is trivial, and because people have different preferences, each user can have their own window manager. That is one of my favorite aspects of linux.

Comment: not just charge cycles (Score 2) 364

by nten (#44947171) Attached to: Car Dealers Complain To DMV About Tesla's Website

Charge cycles are not a lithium ion batteries worst problem. Rather it is age. They lose 20% of their capacity every year in ideal temperatures. In Phoenix the nissan leaf was losing upwards of 50% of its capacity (read range) in the first year due to the heat. Also I wish the batteries weren't so heavy, I like tiny light cars, and the tesla roadster's battery pack was 450kg, the only reason they got the weight down to 2700lbs was all the carbon fiber. ICE + fuel tank still weighs less than electric motor + battery pack. I want an electric car, for the torque and the elegant simplicity, but the battery life is a deal breaker for me until my city has a recycling station for them, and the cost of swapping them once a year is even with the maintenance on an ICE car.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents