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Comment: Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (Score 1) 77

by pentadecagon (#46443629) Attached to: The NSA Has an Advice Columnist
Is there any reason this should have stayed private? This is certainly interesting information, and nobody gets hurt by having this publicly. In fact it is very interesting information, because it reveals the sort of mindset within that agency: People do to others what they don't accept being done to themselves. This is sick.

Comment: Re:Jackpot (Score 1) 617

Why do people always cry for law and lawyers? This case here is blindingly obvious, no need for lawyers. Somebody made a mistake, an accident. The easy solution would be to just send it back, everything is back to normal, nobody gets harmed. Lawyers are only required here because apparently quite a few people are happy to exploit that mistake for personal benefit.

Comment: Re:Good. (Score 1) 699

by pentadecagon (#45122129) Attached to: UK Court Orders Two Sisters Must Receive MMR Vaccine
This is a very selfish view. Sure, you probably won't be harmed if you don't vaccinate against chicken pox, but only because everybody else does. We already do have a high degree of herd immunity and this is the only reason for the very low risk here. Before widespread vaccination we had 4 million cases each year, with 100..150 dead in the USA. In other words, more than half the population was affected. So this is the deal: either vaccinate, or take a 50% risk of being knocked out for a week, maybe hospitalized or even dead.

Comment: Re:this is ridiculous (Score 1) 223

by pentadecagon (#44391407) Attached to: Forget Apple: Samsung Could Be Google's Next Big Rival
For a Google-account you don't have to give up any private information, they just want your name and an email-address.
Do you use any other registration-based service with any other company? If yes you are a hypocrite, because the others are not better than Google when it comes to privacy. If no you are lying, you do have an account at least with Slashdot, and for sure your contributions here tell a lot about you. Are you aware that this page here sends *plenty* of information all around the world? Ghostery finds Google-doubleclick, Google-Adsense, Google-Analytics, Amazon and some other trackers here. So probably Google already knows a lot about you and you gain exactly nothing by not having an account there.

Comment: "More than" (Score 2, Insightful) 62

by pentadecagon (#44215429) Attached to: Lake Vostok Found Teeming With Life
Could we please stop saying "more than" in scientific contexts, except when needed? This phrase is intended to denote situations where we just know a lower boundary of the correct value, but in recent time it's being (ab-)used mostly for a dramatic effect. I really wish people would either give precise figures, or when this is not practical, use the words invented to mark numbers as approximations, like "roughly" or "about". Statistically speaking, the difference is that "roughly" implies an effort to find a "simple" number close to the correct expectation value, but "more than" implies we picked just some number that's surely below the confidence interval.

Comment: Re:It is owned by Google (Score 1) 287

by pentadecagon (#44169645) Attached to: Motorola Is Listening

The Droid X2 runs Android which is made by Google.

And what does this have to do with the problem at hand? The graphics chip is made by NVidia. But you can blame neither company for creepy software created by Motorola. The worst you can blame Google for is being remiss when it comes to cleaning up the existing infrastructure.

Comment: Re:Useless (Score 1) 564

by pentadecagon (#44115523) Attached to: Why Engineering Freshmen Should Take Humanities Courses
History is certainly one of the subjects that could be useful because we could learn something and avoid making the same mistakes over and over. Unfortunately that's not the focus of the historians, they are in it more for the spectacular things. So they spend endless time and money discussing if some ancient piece of fabric in some church belonged to some guy who lived around there. On the other hand they ignore many of the things that could help us today. So yes, as we do it right now history is mostly useless because we don't focus on usefulness here.

Comment: Useless (Score 0) 564

by pentadecagon (#44110371) Attached to: Why Engineering Freshmen Should Take Humanities Courses
Research within the humanities is mostly useless for the society at large. Useless as in "without them we wouldn't miss anything". Doubt it? Then try to find at least one useful result coming out of philosophy or sociology within the last twenty years. On the other hand, teaching humanities may include a gem or two, although I haven't met a scientist yet who had problems because he skipped humanities entirely.

Comment: Re:Catch-22 (Score 1) 396

It's more about intimidation. Now everybody knows the government doesn't like bitcoins, and considering the recently discussed surveillance capabilities nobody can pretend anymore bitcoins are anonymous. The result is 1984-like:
Most people will think twice before using a presumably monitored internet for engaging in something the government doesn't like.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz

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