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Comment: Re:Maybe, but maybe not... (Score 1) 194

by quantaman (#47796265) Attached to: Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

Ah yes, only the most reliable sources at Slashdot...

But anyway, the more likely explanation is that like many social media platforms, Facebook uses automated systems to deal with thousands and thousands of content complaints every day. Usually, after a certain number of complaints, the system automatically blocks the content, and the original poster has to challenge the block. Keep in mind that due to the volume of content complaints that these types of services get, humans rarely get involved in the beginning, it is simply all automated.

It's possible and even probable that the complaints themselves are âoeorchestratedâ by people with political aims, perhaps even government employees. But that doesn't mean that Facebook is somehow âoecooperatingâ with the Russians because the head of their Russian office is, well, Russian.

Do you think the censorship effort would be as successful if it were being directed against pro-rebel content?

If not, then there is a legitimate complaint to be made about the partiality of the Russian office.

Comment: Re:Wait.... what? (Score 2, Insightful) 194

by quantaman (#47796243) Attached to: Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

Probably FB's.

Where's the problem? I mean, for FB. Why should FB care whether Ukraine or Russia is winning the media war? As long as people follow it on FB, FB is winning.

In the short term maybe, but bad PR matters.

If people start associating FB with pro-Russian censorship people will think less positively of FB. Even without any kind of boycott they'll enjoy their time on FB less due to the negative association, as a result they'll use it less and potentially even open the door for a competitor a little bit more.

It's probably not a big deal as far as FB is concerned, but it's certainly not something in their favour.

Comment: Re:But is it reaslistic? (Score 1) 359

by quantaman (#47789445) Attached to: Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

I'd be a little more inclined to believe that the person who wrote the document was a real expert if there had been a known case of these guys actually producing a biological weapon. This sounds a whole lot more like people who have never built a biological weapon teaching other people who have never built a biologial weapon how to build a biological weapon. Lots of thought experiments being put on paper as instructions as if they were tried and true methods.

I can do a write up for how to build a nuclear bomb for my terrorist brothers based on my rudimentary undergraduate physics education, but there's no way in hell those instructions would actually produce anything useful.

The Bubonic Plague strikes me as a bit of a red flag. I don't know much about biological warfare but the Bubonic Plague strikes me as something you talk about if you don't know anything about biological warfare and just want something that sounds bad and has historical connotations.

Even if they had a good disease I still think it's a terrible plan.

If they target a western state the health care system will make it mostly useless. If they target a middle eastern state they're at war with it will be worse than useless, the target state will have better health care than the neighbouring ISIS territory, the plague could easily boomerang and devastate the ISIS controlled areas far worse than the target state.

Comment: Re:Could have fooled me (Score 4, Insightful) 212

by quantaman (#47781951) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

I am canadian, and if we are the most scientiically literate. I really pity the rest of you.

I pity us also. Does Canada have lots of relatively successful* politicians with whackadoodle opinions on climate change, Earth's age, and female reproductive biology?

* In terms of votes, not intelligence ranking.

True but it's much more a piece of trivia than a politically relevant fact.

A few years back I remember an article about Stephan Dion and Jack Layton (the then leaders of the 2nd and 3rd largest parties in a minority Parliament) claiming they were both atheists.

I don't know if it was true or not, I honestly didn't care that much. The astounding thing was that was the opinion shared by the overwhelming majority of online comments on the website of what I recall was a right wing paper. A few engaged in mild speculation but no one really cared enough to even dig or get emotional.

These were the 2nd and 3rd most important politicians in the country and the topic of their religious affiliation was so irrelevant people scarcely bothered to investigate.

By contrast the US is so obsessed with religion that congress doesn't have a single open atheist. Not to mention the massive religious examinations of presidential candidates.

Sure this stuff does become relevant, particularly with regards to climate change, but we have nowhere near the culture wars that are going on in the US.

Comment: Re:What to do? (Score 1) 353

A less drastic, but equally annoying solution might be to just turn it off for a month. See what they bill you then.

"It was turned off" is a lot more likely to persuade a small claims court to your side than "I was overcharged by 14%, and here are the dozen esoteric ways I can prove it".

How do you as a consumer prove conclusively it was turned off when AT&T will say "Nuh uh. He was using it the whole time!". Then it just gets into "He said/She said" territory and I can assure you that judges hate that kind of stuff. Plus, we had another poster make the good point that even if you try to go after AT&T, they'll use their army of highly paid lawyers to argue "Change of venue" or try to show how your contract allows them to get summary dismissal. A lot of companies now have clauses that state that you agree to arbitration, which means you can't go to small claims court against them. And they can ask for the arbitration in a location as far away from you as possible so unless you're insane and willing to spend thousands of dollars to maybe win a few hundred back, it's just not worth it. I am having a hard time understanding how this is a constant problem for the original poster though unless he's trying to run a business via what is supposed to be a residential connection or he's the king of torrents. I've had AT&T for years and I've never exceeded my limits even once. Going to Uverse, as suggested in another post, is also a good idea as AT&T is known to deliberately degrade their DSL service anyway. Uverse is so much better than the old DSL service they had, I really don't think it's rational to stay with DSL if you can possibly get Uverse where you live.

Comment: Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

by quantaman (#47756961) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

This is of course assuming a baked potato which has not been augmented with a cup of sour cream, half a cup of butter, half a pound of bacon, and a pound of shredded cheese.

I just had two amusing thoughts about that:

1) That might be a valid paleo meal.

2) If it isn't a paleo meal, probably the only thing they'd disallow was the potato, which happens to be the only thing paleolithic people might have actually eaten.

Comment: The Butler case (Score 1) 92

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47756907) Attached to: Early Bitcoin User Interviewed By Federal Officers
The Butler case is not exactly what you claim. First of all, the scientist in question called in the FBI in a panic because he couldn't account for 30 missing vials of plague vaccine and assumed they were stolen. The FBI found no evidence of a break in and then Butler officially signed a document stating that he was in error and he destroyed the vials himself and he claimed they were missing to cover it up. That got him arrested. Then he said that he doesn't know what happened, whether he destroyed the vials or not. He claims that the FBI pressured him into signing the document admitting he destroyed them and he was probably led to believe that if he signed it they would close the case when it fact it was used against him as "proof" that he caused an FBI investigation for nothing. Let's not kid ourselves here - this is not at all a case as you suggest where the FBI came fishing out of nowhere. Had Butler not contacted them to begin with in a panic, they would not have bothered him at all. He was probably tricked into "confessing" and not told he'd be prosecuted for doing so and that's a valid complaint against the FBI, but they certainly didn't come to him out of the blue and invent a reason for going after him.

Comment: Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

by quantaman (#47756121) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

In Paleo we say that carbs create cravings, so yes, the less carbs you eat, the less you crave them. I can happily stand in front of a rack of aromatic pastries and don't even recognise them as food. There's more to Paleo than that though. It isn't just about weight loss, it is about a lifestyle you can do forever. What can one eat for the rest of one's life? Once you take the food pyramid out of it, which created this distorted notion that carbs are the bedrock of all nutrition, and just stick to meat, fish, animal fats, oily fish, eggs, lard and butter, vegetables (starchy ones in smallish quantities, rather mostly greens) then, Paleo would say, things fall into place pretty quickly. No need for psychological hypotheses. And believe me, bacon is very tasty. But it isn't a problem, because the fats are satiating, unlike carbs, which make one hungry again.

I'm skeptical that our paleolithic ancestors ate a lot of butter and bacon. I have no objection to the idea that paleo works, just to the idea that it's the only real thing that works or that we have a good idea of what our ancestors ate. Lots of modern subsistence hunters get a ton of their calories from starchy tubers or even honey, why not our paleolithic ancestors?

I don't think the success comes from cutting out carbs, it comes from cutting out highly processed food which are designed to be highly palatable (and often contain a lot of carbs). If paleo is an effective method for you then by all means keep doing it, but the source of the success isn't that fats are good or carbs are bad, it's that the super fattening aromatic pastries are definitely not allowed so you can just cross them off the list.

Comment: Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

by quantaman (#47756015) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

Yes, sugar is treated by the brain a bit like cocaine. That's part of the issue, but its not the whole story. High GI foods give you the quick hit of cocaine which wears off quickly. Low GI foods give you a slow burn that keeps you satisfied longer.

I very much disagree that baked potatoes are a weight loss food. You can eat anything if in moderation, but any kind of potatoes is not a great choice in the weight loss stakes.

The potato only diet is an extreme example but definitely shows that potatoes can cause weight loss.

I feel like Gary Taubes and his junk science has gotten a lot of people wrongly obsessed with GI. Protein also has a pretty decent GI load, and a lot of evidence suggests that high protein diets are even more successful than low-carb diets. You're working off the assumption that the body has almost no ability to regulate its own metabolism. But the blood sugar spike is followed by the insulin spike because the body is regulating the metabolism. GI is only a concern for diabetics because they've lost the ability to regulate blood sugar.

The palatability hypothesis explains both pieces of evidence beautifully. It explains why carbs, and particularly sugar, can be very fattening and trigger more cravings. But at the same time why a simple baked potato keeps you satisfied with far fewer calories.

Comment: Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

by quantaman (#47754035) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

People need to stop buying into fad diets and nonsense theories. Barring allergies, most humans are fully capable of assimilating anything they throw at their GI system. Exercise some bloody portion control and get off the couch once in awhile. The rest will take care of itself.

As it turns out not all calories consumed are the same:

Diets that produce lower insulin response give a metabolic advantage and reduce hunger. In the study the advantage of a low-glycemic diet over a low fat one, at the same calorie level, was 125 calories per day. This has matched my own experience, additionally I've seen another 75 calorie per day advantage from hunger reduction when not controlling for total calories. (free feeding) Combined that's roughly equivalent to a 1.5 mile jog for a 200lb adult, nothing to sneeze at.

I don't think it has anything to do with insulin or glycemic index, in fact it's depressingly simpler than that, the palatability hypothesis.

When we're surrounded by highly palatable foots we overeat. And as it turns out mostly highly palatable things have a lot of carbs, hence the association between low-carb or low GI and weight loss. But one of the best weight loss foods is plain baked potatoes, and they're nothing but starch with a ridiculously high GI. That doesn't mean the food can't be tasty, fruit is pretty damn good, but you're not going to be able to get away with a diet of pizza, cookies, chips, and doughnuts because those trigger overeating like crazy. And if you're addicted to them it's not that hard to kill the addiction, just don't have them in the house. Out of sight, out of mind.

I've actually been surprised how avoiding the hyper-palatable foods has improved my cravings. Everyday at work they literally put a plate of cookies on a bookshelf directly in front of my desk and I don't even feel tempted. You don't have to do anything crazy, just keep to simple foods, avoid the super tasty snack foods, and it will make a huge difference.

Comment: Re:Why do they want us to see it anyway? (Score 1) 300

by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (#47749889) Attached to: Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

That's what puzzles me to no end. Why would they want to show us how they behead someone?

To make use hate them? Our media accomplish that easily already, but thanks for the aid. To make us fear them? Why should I fear a bunch of religious lunatics somewhere off in lalaland? Hell, I'm more afraid of the religious loonies in the Bible belt! To show us they can do it? Any idiot can kill someone who can't defend himself, no big deal about that.

So, what should that accomplish? I'm sitting here, puzzled, shrugging my shoulders with a "meh".

Thanks for providing the always obligatory "Christians are much worse than this" post. Yes, for sure they are because the fact that they actually believe in God is oh so terrible to you personally. And don't forget to mention all those family members of yours that church down the street killed in a blood ritual.

What people like you don't get is the following.
1) Some people will always be religious. This crazy idea that one day all religions will go away is never going to happen.
2) When Christianity shrinks, you know what religion is uniquely positioned to grab the people in category #1? That's right - radical Islam. Why? It's messages of "All of your problems are being caused by non-believers" and "You can get a huge reward in the afterlife by doing a whole lot of killing here now" resonate with poor people who have no hope of improvement.

You fail to grasp that if radical Islam does one day show up at your door then they're going to do a lot worse to you as a non-believer than knocking on your door and asking to leave a pamphlet.

Comment: Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (Score 1) 441

Then your company is breaking the law and you should report them. Companies are required to pay above the prevailing wage for the position and region. We paid both of our H1B workers well above average for our staff and when they worked out sponsored their green cards (and boy is that process a cluster!), we're the kind of employer that the program was actually designed for, we were looking for extremely rare talent sets and had advertised the positions for months before looking abroad. I have to say that I have much bigger problems with the screwups in the green card program than I do with the H1B system, permanently bringing smart people from abroad raises the GDP of the US and brings diversity to the country.

It's actually possible to both "pay above the prevailing wage for the position and region" and seriously underpay H1B workers at the same time. All you have to do is define the job in the right way to drive down the "prevailing wage" for it and then hire someone into the job but have their duties be different. Congratulations on being the exception to the rule. My employer, who I deliberately refuse to name, is actually pretty good, but we hire a lot more H1B workers than Americans for certain jobs and it's not logical to conclude that they are "better" than Americans. Cheaper? Yes. I also briefly dated an H1B worker at another company. I'm pretty sure she makes $20,000 to $30,000 less than an American would at her job, but her company is really small so they somehow get away with it, maybe by defining her job differently than what her actual duties are.

Comment: Re:Step #1 Find a Geek (Score 1) 179

Corrections from above.

Step #2, follow him into success.

Step #3, take over the company when he steps down.

Step #4, fail repeatedly throughout a decade.

Step #5, somehow get company to pay you over $20 billion for step #4.

Step #6, teach MBA class at Stanford and USC.

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada