Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:BBC not to blame here, Clarkson is (Score 1) 537

by quantaman (#49348497) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Evidence seems to indicate it for one. If he's such a horrible person, why is that he self reported the incident? Somebody who is horrible enough that simply being around them is enough to "goad" them, doesn't seem like the sort that would later take a step back and go "hmmm, that was really stupid of me. I should notify that this event happened". They'd more likely not see any issue with what they did and just carry on.

It could also be that they he it would get reported anyway and wanted to get his version in first, he may have even thought they were in the right.

When I heard of this my thought was of Jion Ghomeshi, a CBC radio host who is being charged with multiple sexual assaults for a long pattern of behaviour. Before things broke the thing that got him fired was him showing a video to management with the belief that it would clear him, instead management realized the stuff on the video was sexual assault and fired him.

Comment: Re:BBC not to blame here, Clarkson is (Score 1) 537

by quantaman (#49345867) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Are you familiar with the term "The straw that broke the camels back"? It is tied to the notion that one seemingly insignificant event caused a catastrophic result. The BBC and the producers had been riding him for a very long time about being "proper" so as not to offend certain groups. This ran counter to what made him so entertaining. He spoke his mind and said what a lot of us would say if we weren't forced to be proper in mixed company. I didn't agree with half the things he said but I usually found what he said to be humorous. None of us know what transpired in the exchange between Clarkson and the producer but I suspect the producer had been goading him prior to this encounter and Clarkson simply snapped. Clarkson's no saint but he's also not petty and I choose to believe there was something deeper going on that led up to this.

Or the person outspoken and abrasive television was even more outspoken and abrasive in person, why assume producer had it coming at all? With the right kind of people you "goad" them simply by being around them long enough.

It doesn't matter if they're the star of a show or an executive, if you break the rules there's consequences.

Comment: Re:Hasn't been involved with Greenpeace since 1985 (Score 1) 572

by quantaman (#49317401) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic

You misremember.

Southern Democrats were more pro civil rights than Southern Republicans, and Northern Democrats were more pro civil rights than Northern Republicans. But Southern Democrats were opposed to civil rights as compared to Northern Republicans, and since there were a lot of Southern Democrats there were a lot of anti-civil rights Democrats.

No, this is false. In fact, during the Civil Rights movement, the majority of those in congress who voted in favor of reforms were Republicans.

I can't speak to all the civil rights legislation, but as to the civil rights act itself you just ignored my entire point (and you were still wrong). Look at the vote totals:

        Southern Democrats: 7–87 (7–93%)
        Southern Republicans: 0–10 (0–100%)

        Northern Democrats: 145–9 (94–6%)
        Northern Republicans: 138–24 (85–15%)

Being a libertarian myself, I agree with that viewpoint, but it has nothing to do with racism. If I owned a business, I wouldn't deny service over race. But I would deny it to a gangbanger who comes in with baggy clothes hanging so low that you can see the brown stains on his whitey tighties.

Of course that has nothing to do with the era in question. If that person was white they'd probably get the service, but if they were black no matter how dignified they were they'd be denied service (or at least forced to wait behind the white person for service). Even if the owner themselves wasn't racist they'd have to discriminate or the prominent white folk in the community would single them out.

How do you approach that issue as a libertarian? Community groups forcing business owners to discriminate if they want to stay in business.

However, the three presidential elections afterwards, none of the southern electorates went to Republicans. The first for that to happen (other than goldwater) was Richard Nixon, who took basically the entire nation (including left wing havens New York and California.)

You might want to read this, which consults several historians and has sources:


That article doesn't really disprove my point. No one claims that every Dixiecrat changed their party registration overnight, people are incredibly reluctant to change political identity and the first ones to do so will be the new ones entering the system. And I don't care about Goldwater as an anecdote, but if you were voting against civil rights for racist reasons (either personal or political) wouldn't you couch your vote in some better principal?

But to claim it has nothing to do with civil rights and racism is to be incredibly obtuse. The change started with the civil rights act, the south still has a lot of racism and civil rights issues, and the Republican party still has a lot of issues with civil rights and racism.

Comment: Re:Hasn't been involved with Greenpeace since 1985 (Score 1) 572

by quantaman (#49312297) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic

Can we talk about how the right endlessly defended slavery?

Take John C. Calhoun [wikipedia.org]: "he became a greater proponent of states' rights, limited government, nullification and free trade".

What does this have to do with today's right?

It's relevant since there's still a lot of racism on the right and even some who defend slavery as something that wasn't so bad.

John C Calhoun was part of the same party that Obama is now part of. And no, the parties didn't switch spectrum, rather all of them have changed their stances on certain subjects. Remember it was still the Democrats that were largely opposed to civil rights during the 50's and 60's (for example, it was a Democrat governor who called in the national guard to keep black students out of Central High School in Arkansas.)

You misremember.

Southern Democrats were more pro civil rights than Southern Republicans, and Northern Democrats were more pro civil rights than Northern Republicans. But Southern Democrats were opposed to civil rights as compared to Northern Republicans, and since there were a lot of Southern Democrats there were a lot of anti-civil rights Democrats.

The Democratic party chose to make a stand on civil rights, since then the South has belonged to Republicans.

The biggest change a lot of people refer to happened during the 80's under the Raegan. Prior to Raegan, Democrats were staunchly opposed to communism (Kennedy and Johnson for example) and somehow the modern Democrat party moved away from that hard line stance

We're apparently talking about different Democratic parties.

Comment: Re:Completely bad idea (Score 2) 1087

by quantaman (#49298527) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

Mandatory voting is a hugely bad idea:

1) It goes against freedom

Living in a Democracy comes with some responsibilities, mandatory voting is one I'm comfortable with (you can still cast a protest vote/spoil a ballot).

2) It encourages people to vote who have no idea (or less idea) what the issues are. This brings poorer choices and dilutes the votes of those who DO know what the issues are.

The people who come out to vote now aren't informed as much as they are rabid partisans. Get everyone involved and the knowledge will tick up.

3) It encourages people to vote who apparently have no interest in the issues.

That's a wonderful idea. The last person I want voting is rabid partisans who thinks their candidate losing means the end of the world. You know why McCain chose Palin? Because they figured she could motivate the base. She did that brilliantly but it really took a staggering amount of extremism and incompetence on her part to become a hindrance to the campaign. In a mandatory system you'd never let a representative like her anywhere near the campaign.

What we desperately need is the introduction of some form of preferential voting like instant runoff voting (and possibly the end of the electoral college). THAT would make a HUGE and PRODUCTIVE change in ways that really matter. We could then be free of being locked into a two-party race where both parties essentially suck. People could vote for who they want without fear they are throwing their vote away or fear of allowing someone they don't like getting elected because they didn't vote for the lesser of two evils.


I think that would be cool but I don't think it's the cause of your voting woes. A preferential system inserted into the current US system would simply mean more chaos and an electorate who has no idea who's doing what.

Comment: Re:do you really want the uninformed voting (Score 2) 1087

by quantaman (#49298479) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

So do you really want the uninformed/non interested making a vote.

The unspoken assumption behind this proposal is that yes, Obama does want the uninterested and uninformed to vote, because he assumes they will trend Democrat. Some of the Democrats' greatest strongholds are high-density urban centers where both education and income levels are low. So Obama extrapolates that out and decides that means that mandatory voting will be a big windfall for Democrats, and give them a one-party lock on government.

I suspect that the reality wouldn't be as rosy for them as they're hoping. I could see it being a boon for third parties, as people who have no interest in the two major parties are compelled to find a candidate they don't hate.

The Republicans have a turnout advantage so mandatory voting would certainly help the Democrats. However, it's still a really good idea.

Here's the fundamental issue with the current arrangement. Turnout is very low, particularly during midterms, this creates two big problems.

The first is that the only people coming out to vote are the highly motivated, they may be informed but they're going to include the fringes of society which is why they're so motivated. They're the people watching Glenn Beck thinking Obama is founding a secular Nazi caliphate or reading the Huffington Post health section and trying to ban vaccines to stop autism, they're the last people who want steering the government.

The second problem is it's really hard to change people's minds. So even in a Presidential election you don't win by swaying people to your side, you win by boosting your turnout and depressing the opponents turnout. That means more scaremongering and mudslinging, the Tea Party didn't succeed by convincing people of conservative ideals, it succeeded by riling up conservatives to go to the polls.

Change to mandatory voting and the only thing motivation helps is your volunteer base. If you want to win the election you need to win the centre which means changing peoples minds, and that's where you get a better political system.

Comment: Re:I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means (Score 1) 317

I assume this is all actually FB trying to stave off lawsuits, but I don't see that they could do more, nor that they could afford to ignore the issue.

Doubtful, since when have you heard of a social networking site getting sued for failing to prevent a crime by snooping on its users?

Far more likely this is actually a sincere attempt to save lives. The US has 41,000 suicides annually. Assume 50% of those people are on FB, and 10% of those actually post stuff that's a really strong indicators (guesstimates). That would mean that every year there are 2,000 deaths that FB could prevent if they intervened early enough.

The realization you could save thousands of lives isn't something many people would take lightly. True there are some creepy aspects too this project, but if this is effective you have to admit that FB has the opportunity to perform a pretty spectacular amount of good.

Comment: Re:the establishment really does not like competit (Score 5, Insightful) 366

by quantaman (#49289345) Attached to: Uber Shut Down In Multiple Countries Following Raids

I know, licensing has a bit of a reason behind it, but still, I can't help feel that its the established players who want to kill any newcoming competition. that - in itself - really annoys me.

I wonder if this will backfire and people will want to support the underdog.

Maybe that's the reason why the laws weren't changed, but it's not the reason Uber is getting shut down.

They based their business model on breaking the law. When they were told they were breaking the law they ignored the authorities and kept on breaking it.

There are times when you break laws as a matter of civil disobedience, and there are other times when you break them because they're really hard to follow. This was neither, this was Uber saying they know they're breaking the law with every transaction they make and they're going to keep on breaking the law until you legalize what they're doing because they're make more money that way. That's not how things work, if you pretend the law doesn't exist then you experience the consequences.

Comment: Re:Utility vs. freedom (Score 1) 114

Banning enforcement of certain aspects of a contract may be useful. But it deprives the parties of the freedom to meaningfully enter into such contracts, and I'm not at all sure, the utility ought to outweigh the liberty.

In fact, I'm quite sure of the opposite...

It seems to me that banning non-competes increases both utility and liberty.

For the utility it seems obvious, non-competes are a tragedy of the commons. The talent pool is a common resource for companies and they all benefit from the largest and most talented pool, ie one without non-competes. But on an individual level a company benefits from having a non-compete since employees have a more difficult time leaving, so the entire talent pool suffers.

As for the freedom level I find the argument unconvincing. The only reason employees accept them is because they effectively have no choice since companies make it the standard. You're effectively talking about someone trading away a right for a very dubious personal benefit (how does a non-compete make you a better employee?) and a societal harm. If there's ever a cause for banning a class of contracts than non-competes would seem to qualify.

Comment: Its about using your best skills (Score 1) 114

I think the article misses the mark when it focuses on inventors explicitly choosing districts with non-competes. That may be a factor, but I think people tend to choose the job based on the company and the offer. Things like non-competes are typically a secondary motivation.

Far more likely the effect comes from better skill utilization. If you work at a company for 5 years and become an expert at X then you're probably an extremely valuable employee when you do X. If you change jobs you'll be most effective at a new company where you can do X, but if you can't work for rivals the number of companies doing X might be drastically smaller.

Removing the non-compete lets employees use their full range of abilities, probably no one benefits more than startups since they're the ones with the least time and resources with which to mentor and develop a new employee into an expert.

Comment: Re:Sacred cows? (Score 1) 90

by quantaman (#49277769) Attached to: Interviews: Ask SMBC's Creator Zach Weiner a Question

Look, if I burn a flag, I am likely to get an evil eye from a bunch of people, and possibly be punched in the nose by a veteran. All things considered I don't regard that as a huge threat, and I admit a certain fondness for these misguided patriots, even as they're punching me in the nose.

If I burn a Koran, I may be murdered by those who want to split the USA into favored adherents of Islam versus subjugated slaves of Islam (dhimmis). I am... uh... really not OK with that, and I despise and want to publicly shame people who promote that agenda. Do you see the difference now, hippie? :)

Your original argument was that the mere desire to ban Koran burning made them Islamists, now you've switched to talking about the Muslims who want to kill you for it. That is another conversation.

And as you admit you're sympathetic to the people who want to ban flag burning (or at least threaten burners with violence) so you're apparently ok with people who want to ban burning of your special symbol, but when it comes to people who want to ban burning of their special symbol you label them Islamists and readily conflate them with people who will kill for the same reason. How would you feel about a Muslim who gave someone a black eye for burning a Koran?

Do you think it would be fair for me if in a discussion of anti-abortion protesters I kept on conflating them with the people who shot abortion doctors and blew up clinics? Why do you do the same to Muslims?

Comment: Re:Aren't these already compromised cards? (Score 1) 269

by quantaman (#49276727) Attached to: Fraud Rampant In Apple Pay

It may not be Apple's fault (exactly), but it sure as hell is their problem. If more than 1 in 20 ApplePay transactions are fraudulent, what merchant in their right mind is going to accept it as a payment method? (Remember that fraud is paid by the merchants, not the banks.)

Even if it isn't Apple's fault, it sure is their problem to solve.

This seems a little crazy, assuming thieves make the same average purchase as non-thieves it suggests that about 1/20 people who walk into a store and use ApplePay are thieves.

How many people are using ApplyPay? I wonder if this isn't essentially a statistical blip of some gang hitting up a high end electronics store.

Comment: Re:Your justice system is flawed, too. (Score 1) 1080

by quantaman (#49272787) Attached to: How To Execute People In the 21st Century

There is something called "The Social Contract", which is something of a "shrink wrap license" you agree to by being born into a society, that by doing so, you agree to abide by that societies rules.

Ridiculous. You can't agree to anything just by being born; you aren't even sentient at that point. There is no meeting of the minds, no clear agreement. If this so-called "social contract" existed, it would be a contract of adhesion which no human being in history ever explicitly agreed to, and any competent court would throw it out with prejudice after a cursory hearing.

What about the laws of physics? Can I opt out of those as well?

If you're posting on slashdot you're probably from a wealthy nation, which means you have the ability to emigrate. You have the ability to either work to change the social contract of the nation you live in or move to another nation where the contract is more agreeable. But unless you have some political/cultural arrangement I'm not aware of I'm not sure there is such thing as a society where you don't have to agree to anything you don't want to.

You know you've landed gear-up when it takes full power to taxi.