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Comment: hubris and strange misunderstandings (Score 3, Insightful) 132

by obtuse (#45812027) Attached to: The Strange Story Of the Sculpture On the Moon

Is this a promotional piece for the artist? Interesting that van Hoeyndonck's pride isn't in his chubby tuning fork, but in conning other people into doing a tremendous amount of work for him. "I am the only human being who has been able to get a sculpture to the moon." That, and the tendency of the Apollo era astronauts to be stand-up guys, makes me skeptical of skewing all those misunderstandings in his favor. They negotiated pretty carefully with the stamp dealer, but didn't discuss the intention of the piece or marketing of copies or any timeline? I don't feel sorry for the guy, and am a little irked that this promotion will likely make him a pile of money.

Comment: Re:Feds, pick one or the other! (Score 1) 258

by obtuse (#45676415) Attached to: Bitcoin Token Maker Suspends Operation After Hearing From Federal Gov't

This is incorrect, as his bitcoins have value beyond the coin itself. He is buying and selling financial instruments (bitcoins) and packaging them. When they were a few bucks each, nobody cared. Now that they're around a grand each, it makes a difference.

He doesn't just package your bitcoins, he takes yours and gives you one in a nice brass or silver package, minus fee.

Franklin mint coins have trivial precious metal value, and no other value (their "collectible" value is borderline fraudulent.)

Comment: Hardest problem (Score 1) 113

by obtuse (#44863571) Attached to: Doctorow: Rivalry Keeps Google From Doing Evil

I have often said that this is the hardest problem Google faces: How not to be evil, and how to make that an ongoing legacy. It's just possible as long as the founders retain control, but after that it becomes truly hard.

Assuming they take this seriously, I hope they dedicate resources to this, and do not underestimate the complexity of the problem.

Comment: Lying for the Lord (Score 1) 1448

by obtuse (#44240809) Attached to: Orson Scott Card Pleads 'Tolerance' For <em>Ender's Game</em> Movie

This is a known tactic. He can say anything he wants, as long as it serves what he perceives as serving a higher purpose. Look up "lying for the lord". See also Mittens Romney.

I can tolerate him, but I don't ever have to give him money or listen to him again. I'm not asking that he be jailed for his treason. That's pretty tolerant.

Comment: Re:Psychologists vs Psychiatrists (Score 1) 329

by obtuse (#43706771) Attached to: Psychiatrists Cast Doubt On Biomedical Model of Mental Illness

The other thing clinical psychologists sometimes assert is that they should be able to prescribe drugs. It's the converse argument in this turf war.

Incidentally, I was speaking with someone who identified themselves as a psychologist, and mentioned that my father was an experimental (as opposed to clinical) psychologist. Her response "Ah, he's a scientist!" Yup.

Comment: Re:No help for the OED until they change pricing (Score 1) 91

by obtuse (#43672681) Attached to: Help the OED Find a Lost Book

This was one of the best christmas gifts I ever got from my wife. It's the single volume, recently printed, nine pages to one, on onionskin paper. It is a beautiful thing. To they guy who said the plates had worn in the recent printings, I see no such effect, and mine is from the early 2000's. Used copies of the compact OED (compact is the complete 2nd edition) can be had for less than a hundred dollars.

Comment: Re:Targeted Ads at their best (Score 1) 284

by obtuse (#43224785) Attached to: Schneier: Security Awareness Training 'a Waste of Time'

To be fair, Mitnick's Security Awareness Training is directed at IT people & management, & so is part of Schneier's solution of helping us keep the user out of these situations in the first place. It is the sort of thing that helps us as IT professionals avoid these situations, and it's engaging. I got a quickie session, and it was very informative, and a hoot as well.

Comment: Good Samaritan Laws (Score 5, Insightful) 467

by obtuse (#42852631) Attached to: What To Do When an Advised BIOS Upgrade Is Bad?

My main concern is this: If the manufacturer gets punished for failing to properly support out of warranty hardware, they'll just stop altogether. Too many manufacturers will already refuse to talk to you about out of warranty equipment.

Since they tried to help, I'd prefer not to see them punished for this mistake. Think of it like good samaritan laws: They protect a person who stops to offer aid to the injured, from being sued.

My other thought is that perhaps there was some hidden problem that something in the update triggered. Updates often have new functionality, or may write to memory not used before, so it isn't too hard to imagine them tickling an existing bug. For a car analogy, imagine you bought a used car from a friend and complained that it shook horribly at 75, but since your friend never went over 65 he never noticed when the tires and alignment deteriorated to that point.

Finally, I'm appalled that they don't make old firmware versions available. That would be the appropriate response to your problem. Hopefully you can find someone helpful who has the old firmware around, either inside or outside the companies. Definitely appropriate for people to be warned that these updates can cause problems.

Comment: Working Interview, crazy environment (Score 1) 232

by obtuse (#42808517) Attached to: Making Sure Interviews Don't Turn Into Free Consulting

Awhile ago, I answered an ad and took an online test for a position where I'd be sole sysadmin and support person for a camp in the mountains. Terms were $20 per hour and room and board, but I'd get snowed in reguarly. I aced the online test, and went up for my interview. On arrival, I was told to be subtle, as the person I was replacing was still working there, and didn't know he was leaving. Welcome!

After the interview with the owner (old lesson: Sole Proprietors are crazy) I met with various high level users, to discuss their problems. In each case, I suggested a solutions, some of which were implemented then and there.

Not a place I was eager to work, but I'd been out of work for a long time, and they were eager to have me. Fortunately, I took a position which payed a great deal more, wasn't an insane environment, and I never looked back. The camp did hold the position for me for quite some time, in case the other job didn't work out. Just a data point about the "working interview."

Comment: Pschiatry for depression saves lives (Score 1) 213

by obtuse (#42627409) Attached to: <em>The Atlantic</em>'s Scientology Advertorial

Still nonsense. Psychiatry for depression saves lives. Not a scam. This matters.

Psychiatrists are not frauds (which is exactly what the word "scam" implies.) Tom Cruise is "not right about this too." Psychiatric treadment for major depression saves lives.

Tom Cruise is Jenny McCarthy to depressives. Tom Cruise claims his religion works better that medicine. Medicine that helps people with major depression (which you ignore) to not commit suicide. Suicide: 10th leading cause of death worldwide.

It is unfortunate that SSRIs appear to be overprescribed. Having personally known people for whom they seem to have worked, I certainly can see how psychiatrists (whom you have characterized as scammers) might sincerely disagree with you.

If you don't mean do support Scientology, stop mischaracterizing a treatment that saves lives as a scam. Stop claiming that "Tom Cruise is right".

Comment: Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (Score 1) 213

by obtuse (#42610269) Attached to: <em>The Atlantic</em>'s Scientology Advertorial

Nonsense. Assuming your quoted study is valid, there is much more to psychiatry that works, and well.

You've pointed out one limited mistake, but the fact is that even granting that, we know for certain that other antidepressants save lives in severely depressed people. The referenced study is very limited (only addresses moderately depressed people, only SSRIs.) That's not where antidepressants are most important. Severly depressed people tend to kill themselves, and antidepressants help prevent this. Calling all of psychiatry a scam because some popular methods are flawed, is a far worse error than your accusation against psychiatry.

Like a lot of medicine, it doesn't work as well as we'd like, but it's much better than anything else out there. Psychiatry includes other methods of treatment besides drugs as well. Scientology doesn't. You aren't allowed to use any treatment they don't approve of, including proven psychiatric drugs.

Comment: Not an incentive problem (Score 0) 468

by obtuse (#41508323) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Incentives For IT Workers?

This is a management problem, not an incentive problem. Deal with these people as individuals. Some aren't pulling their weight? The manager should probably convey that to them, and that their behavior is unfairly causing others to have to work harder. Just remember that slacking off when things are quiet is its own incentive, and be sure you're not just asking people to look busy.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"