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Comment: Relevance? (Score 4, Insightful) 141

by pz (#48469073) Attached to: Clarificiation on the IP Address Security in Dropbox Case

Someone, who has no apparent power, wants to correct a judge. Just because they think they're right and the judge had inaccurate reasoning, despite coming to the same conclusion. (There's a good XKCD comic on the subject of correcting people in the Internet.) The critic's opinion will carry no legal weight. The same critic has a history of proposing long-winded, half-baked ideas to correct issues he sees with various societal inefficiencies that have gone no-where. I'm not going to waste my time.

Would someone be so kind as to please remind me how we can block posts from a given author?

Comment: Re:Seconded. (Score 3, Interesting) 350

by pz (#48380451) Attached to: Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

You forgot to mention that he has an embarrassingly small sample size and doesn't do any sample correction. He doesn't publish any significance values, so we have no way of knowing if 70% is the same or different than 77%, to the accuracy of the methodology (as well or as poorly thought out as it may be). Then he considers 86% and 67% to be about the same, and subsequently 63% and 79% to be about the same.

I am not a professional statistician -- I hire people to do that sort of work for me when I need definitive answers because I don't know the details. But I know enough to recognize handwaving, and that's all the long-winded original posting is.

Comment: Balance taxes? (Score 2) 299

by pz (#48287063) Attached to: It's Time To Revive Hypercard

I've never balanced taxes. Is this a new thing?

Oh, you mean balance checkbooks and pay taxes. There's much better software to do that these days.

And there are much better ways to teach programming. For a very long time there has been a movement to bring programming to the masses, as if, somehow, everyone would be able to write beautiful, intricate code to solve their most complex problems. Most people can barely match their clothing (note to the reading-impaired: that was hyperbole); why should we expect them to be able to write code?

Writing programs requires clear, linear thought. It requires thinking in terms of structures and systems. The push in the greater population has been toward valuing non-linear thought (although that baffles me), so there's a big mismatch to overcome. Yes, there are plenty of graphical programming languages that reduce the need for precise syntax, but they only REDUCE it, not eliminate it, and they still require procedural thinking which, ultimately, presents an insurmountable difficulty for many people.

Not everyone can or should be a programmer: Not everyone is a writer, Not everyone is a photographer, Not everyone is a painter. Sure, everyone should be given basic skills in writing, and perhaps in drawing or painting as a child, and so perhaps everyone should be given basic skills in programming, but beyond that, why? Not everyone is able to understand calculus; why should we automatically expect that everyone should be able to write Java, Python, or whathaveyou?

Comment: Re:cell phones and notepads (Score 1) 415

by pz (#48276541) Attached to: How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

I always have my appointment book with me in my briefcase, right next to my laptop and phone. When I'm in my office, it's open in front of me. The only time that it isn't nearby is when I've intentionally left it aside.

My scheduling isn't as interdependent as yours. Meeting times are negotiated via email. My schedule has only 2-3 meetings per week, and most of the entries in my book are for allocation of time to work on one project or another. Perhaps it also helps that I'm the boss.

Use the right tool for the job -- for your application, the best tool appears to be electronic. Not so for mine.

Comment: Re:cell phones and notepads (Score 1) 415

by pz (#48275079) Attached to: How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

Pen and paper have some very serious advantages that should not be overlooked when distracted by the new and shiny. Use the right tool for the job.

Personally, I keep my appointment book with paper and pencil. I can access it anywhere, at any time, whether or not I remembered to bring a charger, whether I'm on a plane or in a meeting (and in a meeting, no one can accuse me of playing with my phone instead of paying attention). I also keep a personal journal in acid-free paper and fade-resistant ink so that my grandchildren can enjoy learning about me when I'm long dead and hold a cherished physical object that I held, just as I have enjoyed learning about my grandmother decades after she passed away, and cherish being able to touch something she touched.

But, the right tool for the job also means that I do most of my writing electronically, often switching between multiple virtual desktops. I keep my phone book electronically (although I do periodically dump to printed paper for disaster recovery). My most recent publication will only be made available in an electronic version.

New does not automatically mean better. Use the right tool for the job.

Comment: Re:How is this different from a virus? (Score 2) 46

by pz (#48222315) Attached to: Detritus From Cancer Cells May Infect Healthy Cells

And that should have been part of my posting above that asked the question -- these fragments dock with other cells, inject the RNA, and that RNA causes the cells to become cancerous, which, in turn creates more of these little RNA capsulettes.

I'm sure there are some differences between these and classical virus structure, in some way, but given my ignorance of the subject, they walk and talk like viruses.

Comment: Re:A tragedy, but stretching the bounds of relevan (Score 1) 152

by pz (#48221393) Attached to: Incapacitating Chemical Agents: Coming Soon To Local Law Enforcement?

It wasn't the chemicals, as you point out, but the penetrating object that killed her. She bled out. If she hadn't bled out, she would have likely suffered severe brain damage as skull and projectile fragments entered her cranium.

The relevance being, also as you point out, that shooting anything into the face is a bad idea when non-lethality is the intent. But any chemical that is going to be delivered in such a way has exactly that potential, as do rubber bullets (have you seen what those do? non-lethal does not mean non-damaging).

Any chemical means to convince a highly agitated crowd to cease and disperse is going to have extraordinarily strong effects, even when used correctly, with some suffering the effects more than others. Some fraction of the population is always going to be sufficiently vulnerable for lethality.

Ultimately, I think we're agreed: The very idea of a non-lethal chemical weapon is absurd.

Comment: Re:May I suggest RTFA? (Score 1) 334

by pz (#48183787) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

Thank you for that very clear and succinct assessment of my intellectual capacity after reading a full paragraph of my writing. Touche. You perfectly hit the nail on the head. I am totally and utterly lacking in intellectual capacity, despite any evidence to the contrary.

Now, if you'd care to engage in a rational debate without ad hominem attacks, I'd be happy to respond. If not, please go away.

Comment: Re:May I suggest RTFA? (Score 3) 334

by pz (#48182735) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

My guess: Someone has been promised kickbacks and incentives, and the choice of a replacement has already been made. It will now be followed by a circus to "determine" that it's the best choice. And it will end up costing the tax payers a fortune. I.e. a smaller version of the F-35 scam. Follow the money trail.

DING, DING, DING! And we have our winner! Money and votes are the only motivations here. Nothing else makes sense. Money, some manufacturer is going to get a juicy multi-year exclusive contract. Votes, some MP is going to be able to say, "look how many jobs I brought into our district!"

Comment: Re:Juggle multiple gmail accounts (Score 2) 265

by pz (#48145967) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

More GMail tricks, that may help you: when you have account

all email of the form

goes to your account. The plus sign is a literal character, not a concatenation operator. The only downside to this is that some email validation suites don't allow plus signs in user IDs, even though RFC 5322 allows them. Sometimes I use the format

when giving my email address to so that it's clear from where particular messages should originate.

Comment: Re:To their defense (Score 4, Interesting) 314

by pz (#48140081) Attached to: Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

In contrast, as a normal person, I've used EUR 100 and EUR 500 bills regularly to take care of, well, large transactions that need to be confirmed and delivered faster than a bank transfer would allow (and when the people involved rile at paying 3% for credit card fees, or aren't set up to take credit cards in the first place), like paying vendors, or hotel bills outside of big cities.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp