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Comment Re:Wow, it seems like someone doesn't like enginee (Score 1) 454

Many statements from the summary directly contradict my personal experience. The summary states:

"Survey data indicates engineering faculty at universities are far more likely to be conservative than people with other degrees, and far more likely to be religious."

Well, I'm an engineer and I work with engineers all day. I find the majority to be fairly liberal and not very religious. I always thought that it was a result of people being intelligent and familiar with the scientific method that made them less likely to swallow propaganda and dogma. Also, it is a largely foreign population and that is a factor since I meet the people who were educated enough to get jobs in different country from their own. I find that it is we Americans who are conservative and religious.

Liberal minded people are more likely to pursue the sciences or arts, conservatives to pursue engineering or business. It's certainly not deterministic but there's a bias. I know a lot of people who came to software development from engineering and some from computing science, in general I find the CS people to be more liberal and less religious.

As for the foreign origins of your co-workers note that you're working with a sub-population who explicitly emigrated to the US. You'd expect them to be a lot more liberal and irreligious regardless of profession.

Also, the summary states:

"Gambetta and Hertog speculate that engineers combine these political predilections with a marked preference towards finding clearcut answers."

I speculate that Gamgetta and Hertog are fearful and jealous of engineers. I work in chip design and there are very few clearcut answers. Furthermore, your opinion on whether or not something is a good idea has no bearing on whether or not it actually is. I find that to be a major difference between engineering and the the more "normal" fields; you have to build things that work in the real world, your ability to persuade someone will not improve the quality of whatever it is you are building. If my chips don't work, I can't argue in front of a judge that they really do work. Nor can I publish a book speculating how good they really are. No, I fscked up and I have to deal with it.

I speculate that you're just being defensive :)

I think it's more the case that different failure modes exist for different disciplines.

With engineering it seems to be an idea that you can nicely solve things and create a robust solution, this works well with chip design, but when applied to societies there's a tendency to want to enforce a conformity that helps everyone work. I think this appeals to terrorists who want to bring their solution. There's also a tendency to reject slightly fuzzier sciences, for instance skeptics of AGW and even evolution tend to come from the engineering ranks. Some comes from pre-existing religious beliefs but some is just their experience in not trusting systems that rely a lot on random or statistical components.

For Liberals the failure tends to be towards excessive non-conformity. If someone is exhibiting self-destructive behaviour they tend to be overly accommodating or even idolize it. If someone becomes critical of non-conformity they'll attempt to punish that person so people feel free to be non-conformists (ie SJWs). They also tend to be sceptical of Western medicine due to the power structure and conformity it implies. I consider myself a Liberal and I'll readily admit that Jenny McCarthy has killed more people through her ignorance than most terrorists could dream of.

Comment Re:Or (Score 1) 454

Engineers are handy personnel assets in nearly every venture, and the field of terrorism is no exception.

It is likely many promising young jihadists are schooled to suit the perceived needs of the movement.

If only there was some part of the summary where they talked about looking into and dismissing that hypothesis.

The claims in this summary reek of arriving at an opinion, and then fitting in the evidence as it suits your case.

To have a bias about a group, seeing evidence that contradicts your opinion, then twisting that evidence so it instead re-enforces that bias.

Can you even conceive of such a thing?!?!

Comment Re:Time for a policy shift (Score 0) 359

It seems like if we had any sense at all, we'd immediately dump the corporate income tax and replace it with a revenue-neutral increase in the capital gains and dividend taxes. The corporate shareholders ultimately end up paying any dollars that get paid anyway, and humans are much easier to tax than corporations are. A corporation is a shape-shifting non-entity that can "spend a year dead for tax purposes," so trying to change the laws fast enough to get any revenue out of them is a losing battle. All we end up doing is giving them an incentive to do ridiculous things like hold money in foreign accounts and set up subsidiaries all over the world to move revenue around. It's great for the tax lawyers and financial consultants, but it doesn't really get us any real revenue. It's the tax enforcement equivalent of the drug war.

Then rich people who own those corporations shift their assets overseas to low tax jurisdictions and pay the taxes there.

Comment Re:They aren't really still blaming DPRK, are they (Score 1) 50

I was never sold on that explanation. The notion that North Korea even could pull it off - let alone would - I find to be absurd. Certainly if they had the ability, someone in that crew would have been aware of the Streisand Effect by now and would have said it was an awful idea. I watched The Interview, which was an awful movie - if the North Koreans wanted it to go away the right thing to do would have been to let it fail on its own. Had Sony not gotten this free PR for it, the movie would have promptly fallen into the same realm as Manos: Hands of Fate and various other un-watchables.

I thought it wasn't awful, it wasn't great, but it was more or less an average to slightly below average comedy flick.

As for NK's objectives, was their plan to stop The Interview, or to deter future projects? I doubt other studios are anxious to do another film critical of NK and draw a potential hack or something worse.

Comment Re:Best part of the summary (Score 2) 423

Lucas came up with story treatments for a new trilogy, those materials, to put it bluntly, were discarded

This is absolutely the best thing that could have happened to Star Wars. While he did have good ideas back in the 70's, he's long since used up whatever talent he ever had. He single handedly turned his franchise into "mule fritters" with Episodes 1-3. There is no way for the franchise to go but up now that Lucas is no longer involved.

Good riddance. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

I'm not sure it's so much that he lost the talent as he lost the perspective or relationship with the state of film that made the first trilogy so good.

Both the first and original trilogy involved a boy getting recruited into an order of what was essentially mystical monks.

Both had really goofy aliens in the main cast (Chewy and JarJar), both had influential family connections (Anikan's wife and mother and Luke's sister and father), and both really pushed the technological bounds of what was possible.

I think one of the main problems is that acting styles have changed. In the first trilogy Lucas got more emotion when ranges were subdued and got emotional connection, in the second trilogy he did the same when actors tend to overact and he got whiny melodrama.

The other big problem is in the 70's he was very limited to a few props, cheap costumes, and lines drawn on the film. So by necessity he ended up with a very stark aesthetic that gave the feel of a western and felt very physically present.

In the 2000's he could give people superpowers and create entire cities, instead of a fantastic turn on real life he ended up with a completely different world no one could relate to.

Put today's George Lucas back in the 70's with the same concept of a fantasy space opera and he might make the original Star Wars again, but take the George Lucas from the 70's and take him to 2000 and Star Wars IV-VI might look a lot more like I-III.

Comment Re:Embrace Movement (Score 1) 181

Seems to me this could help the sport more than hurt it. If the guidance is more visible, it makes it more interesting to spectators. Something that swerves is more fun to watch than something that mostly stays in a straight line.

The problem is you can make rocks do this and this. The thrower is irrelevant on a shot like that since even a moderate sweeper can put the rock wherever they want. The skill and precision of the throwers is the big draw of the sport, along with the sweepers working like crazy to cause a moderate difference. With those brooms you end up turning it into a weird game of chess.

Note that the brooms from that video were never actually released to market, they were just used to spark the controversy as a demonstration of what could be done.

In fact both those brooms and the sweeping technique used were likely illegal under the previous rules.

Comment Many curlers think this is BS (Score 4, Informative) 181

Sorry for the lengthy post but I've been following this very closely since is started and the media account has been highly misleading so far.

Basically this is largely a controversy involving two companies, BalancePlus (BP), a long established broom manufacturer, and Hardline (HL), a company that's been around for about 5 years and is built around their broom.

Both companies sponsor teams, that's the major way they market equipment since brush effectiveness is really hard to evaluate, so often the only way a club curler will trust a broom is if they know elite curlers are using it.

Hardline's broom was a big step technologically. There's a number of nice features but a couple are the fact it's very light (you can sweep a lot faster), and instead of sweeping with a woven fabric there's a diamond pattern applied to the fabric that seals it against moisture (brooms become less effective when they're wet).

Now no one really heard much of Hardline for the first few years but then last year they sponsored some of the top young teams and a couple of those teams had breakthrough seasons and started winning a lot. It could just be because they were young teams poised for a breakthrough, or it could be because the brooms gave them a huge advantage. Either way a lot of elite curlers started looking at the brooms and thinking they were really good, some decided to try getting Hardline sponsorship, some pushed their own sponsors to design comparable brooms, and others may have started thinking the brooms were too effective and were detracting from the skill of the game.

Now jump to October of this year and people are suddenly talking about a players meeting that happened in Toronto and some agreement among top curlers. Eventually over the next week the news starts leaking out. There was a big World Curling Tour event with a lot of the top teams including those sponsored by both BalancePlus (BP) and Hardline (HL). The BP teams came with a special kind brush that was doing ridiculous things, they could make a rock that would normally curl 6 feet one way fall 4 feet the other way, or make a draw run completely straight, the brooms also destroyed the ice in the process. Everyone present could see that whatever they were using shouldn't be allowed in the sport. Either way the BP teams said they'd stop using their brooms if the HL teams stopped using theirs.

BP then released a statement talking about how they'd been told the HL brooms were doing unnatural things to the rocks, so they investigated and found they used "directional fabric" (no one know what this means). So BP says they did this stunt to show that if they really wanted they could make a broom so effective it would wreck the sport but that they really felt that no one should use directional fabric (this was mixed in with all sorts of shots at the HL broom).

So within a week of this event there was an agreement that the HL sponsored teams would flip their brushing material inside out (it's just a cover with ordinary fabric on the underside). If the diamond pattern was "directional fabric" they'd just have an ordinary fabric. Of course they kept on winning and so people decided it must be something else. This seems to the motivation behind the World Curling Federation ruling that bans the texturing HL used on their fabric (supposedly the "directional fabric") and some other extra modifications to make the brush head firmer.

Here's the problem, there's absolutely no actual evidence that's been presented that the HL brooms are any different than other brushes, the only thing BP released is the two videos of their own demo brooms doing unnatural things. No one has ever shown HL brooms doing the same (and there's a lot of people who have them). In fact they only actual test I've heard of involved two teams trying to sort it out by testing with both brooms at some event. The test finished with both brushes performing the same and one of the complaining non-HL curlers saying "Ok, I'll shut up now".

There's also the fact that sweeping rules changed a couple years ago and teams are starting to experiment with new techniques. One of the specific allegations was a HL brush could make rocks curl more. But this was the very thing those two teams tested and now BP teams are using the same sweeping techniques to make rocks curl more!

There's actually a lot of anger right now over how this has been handled. Before September no one had heard anything about HL brooms being unfair, all they knew is that everyone loved them and were buying them like crazy in the stores. But then BP pulls a very shady PR stunt, a few of the elite teams shame other elite curlers into signing a joint letter, and now the World Curling Federation just designated HL's brooms in their default form to be illegal. More than that they stated "Only sweeping equipment sold retail to the public as of Nov. 17, 2015, and not modified will be allowed on the ice", read in its most literal form it means that you can't use a HL broom in any form in competition. More likely you can use it inverting the fabric... but that's a pretty bad stigma and people might want to avoid a broom where they have to flip the brush material inside out and makes other people look at them like cheaters.

There's a lot of people right now who see this fiasco in a completely different light. They think BalancePlus was getting killed in the retail market by Hardline so they decided to convince people that Hardline's product should be banned, so far the evidence is completely consistent with that.

Comment Re:Internet News (Score 1) 181

American footballers are schoolgirls.

And then there's Curling. Real blood sport. My experience with Curling: Went to Ottawa for business, stopped in Vancouver for a connecting flight. In one waiting area bar was a few televisions with people watching Curling. I had two hours to kill so I sat down with a beer and watched Curling. Two hours later I left to get my connecting flight. Two hours of looking at my watch, drinking Molsen's, and watching Curling. Two hours. Seemed like 5. I tried to get into it, honestly. Then I left Vancouver. That was my last experience with Curling. Seriously. It could have been an English documentary on cheese making. I left with the same impression. Woah. Need a sleep-aid? Watch Curling.

Could have been worse, you could have been watching baseball.

Though seriously curling is like any sport, way better if you understand it and have some context for what's going on.

Comment Re:Easy (Score 4, Insightful) 222

All PETA members and their families should be identified.

If they should ever turn up needing medical services, they should only receive services that were not devised/tested via animal experimentation.

I expect they'd quickly be whistling a different tune.

I don't think that's entirely fair since their belief is those same medical services could have been produced without animal experimentation.

I think they're mostly wrong of course, and more than a bit loopy, but I'd rather treat them with well deserved scorn than trying to saddle them with our version of what we think they want.

Comment Re:Crowd Funded = Scam Artist (Score 1) 211

I'm beginning to think that Crowd Funding is the latest greatest version of a scam artist's dream.

Step one: Promise the world
Step two: Set up crowd fund account
Step three: Exploit Media for free publicity
Step Four: ???
Step Five: Profit!
Step Six: don't deliver anything to anyone.

Crowdfunding is just like a startup or any other kind of project, failure is to be expected.

If you want a guaranteed product then go to a store and buy an item that already exists, but if you're banking on the creation of something new there's a real chance it won't work out.

Comment Re:much more effective to go after the money (Score 2) 275

Forget going after their internet communication. Go after their money. Bomb their trucks, bomb their oil wells. Block all money flowing from Saudi Arabia to ISIS. We can't do anything about random terrorists in Paris but we can do something about the huge area of land that ISIS is occupying. Many people in that region are joining ISIS just so they can get better food, cheaper electricity, and luxuries like Redbull.

And what happens after ISIS when all the oil wells are gone and the area is economically devastated and unemployed? Part of the reason ISIS took hold is the Iraq war, and economic devastation was a part of that.

Really I think it should be easier than that to cut off their money flow. Oil isn't diamonds, it's very cheap so you have to move a lot to make money.

A big oil trunk is ~10,000 gallons and there's 42 gallons in a barrel, at $40 a barrel that means a big truck can only carry about $10,000 in oil, that's not a very efficient way to smuggle oil.

If they're selling oil there has to be ways they're smuggling big volumes of oil to parties who are geographically close to ISIS. If it's happening I can't imagine it's that hard to shut it down.

Comment Re:Soylent Yellow (Score 2) 381

They never go into detail in the book (I believe... pardon it's been an eternity since I've read it) but my assumption was always Soylent Yellow and Red were some artificially produced edible protein where it's entirely likely yellow came from insects and red maybe even came from real animals (rats?).

The way to get people to eat this stuff is to have it come out in NOT-INSECT-LOOKING form such as a cube of blended worm-meal.. maybe even with some artificial flavoring / coloring added. I mean... people eat Tofu don't they? (I don't... but some people do. ;)

Or process it into protein powder (assuming it's cheap enough of course) though that's not viable for the home market.

I think the issue isn't just the repulsion against eating insects but the lack of processing you can do. My biggest amount of squeamishness doesn't come from the fact that they're bugs, but from the fact I'm eating heads, digestive tracts, etc. Of course you can get over it and I think some sardines come in a similar condition but we like to think of our food as nice and pure and it's hard for those to do.

Comment Or not (Score 1) 131

Just do course smoothing and you can reduce the bias to zero.

Either way I don't know what my watch does but I have 5 marathons recorded and the recorded distances ranged from 41.95 to 42.5. Being Boston Qualifiers they were at least 42.195 so 4/5 were overestimates and a total error of less than 1%.

I also do a series of XC races where the published distances (measured by mountain bike) are notorious for being 5-10% longer than peoples GPS. Assuming the bikes aren't horribly calibrated the explanation is these are hilly courses (GPS misses the up/down) and the GPS will cut corners.

So on a straight course without correction it should always be an overestimate (barring error in the start/finish pos), but to claim in overestimates in every scenario is wildly inaccurate.

Comment Re:Can you liberals please wake the fuck up? (Score 4, Insightful) 965

The shooters are yelling "Allahu Akhbar" and you goddamn liberals are blaming the French !!

I have to say, this is a rather fair point...

Fighting in a war zone is one thing, going into restaurants in the middle of Paris and opening up with automatic AK-47s into civilians eating dinner is quite another.

People who would do such things are animals and aren't worth dealing with on an even level. If they wish to behave this way, then they should be treated that way.

ISIS and what they stand for are unbelievably horrible.

But for them to carry out terrorist attacks on western civilian targets is sadly rational. Right now ISIS is being perpetually bombed by the west, and that's likely to continue until they cease to exist. The only way that ISIS survives long term is if they carry out wave after wave of terrorist attacks against western civilian targets until western populations decide saving the middle east isn't worth it and they call back their planes.

To put it another way it's asymmetric warfare. We bomb ISIS because they can't fight back against bombers. They carry out terrorist attacks because we can't fight back against terrorists.

I don't know how we should respond, bombing ISIS will lead to unspeakable tragedies here, leaving ISIS alone to collapse by other means creates unspeakable tragedies there. Letting in refugees probably means some ISIS militants sneak through the cracks to carry out attacks, keeping out refugees causes a humanitarian crisis and creates resentment and homegrown terrorists. It's a balancing act with many bad outcomes.

Hotels are tired of getting ripped off. I checked into a hotel and they had towels from my house. -- Mark Guido