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Comment: Re:Already debunked by one of Columbia's finest... (Score 1) 149

by quantaman (#48952953) Attached to: NFL Asks Columbia University For Help With Deflate-Gate

'gas physicists', Neil deGrasse Tyson. In a Jan 26th tweet he states, "For the Patriots to blame a change in temperature for 15% lower-pressures, requires balls to be inflated with 125-degree air."

Full article here: http://uproxx.com/sports/2015/...

Celsius or Fahrenheit? I presume Fahrenheit as he's an American tweeting to fellow Americans, but he's also a scientist so maybe Celsius.

125 Fahrenheit would be possible, but implausible.

125 Celsius would be absolutely ridiculous.

Comment: Re:Most is a Lame Argument (Score 1) 420

by quantaman (#48943615) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

"Most X Support Y" is such a lame argument for doing anything.

Most people here would like to kick your ass but that doesn't mean we should.

Most drivers on the freeway would like to speed but that doesn't mean the should.

Most kids support not brushing their teeth but that doesn't mean they should skip it.

Most people would like a double-wopper-hopper burger with extra fries but that doesn't mean they should eat it never mind every day.

Most people supporting something is a lame argument for anything.

Stop rationalizing and get rational.

Most people wanting to speed means most people think getting somewhere faster is a good thing.

Most people wanting a burger means most people think burgers are tasty.

And most people supporting government action on climate change means most people think climate change is a real problem.

So despite your dismissal this poll (if accurate) is important.

It shifts the question from "Is Climate Change a problem?" to "What is the appropriate response to this problem?"

Now you can still argue that "nothing" is the appropriate response to the problem, but you've lost the argument claiming the problem doesn't exist.

Comment: Re:Shame on them (Score 3, Interesting) 179

by quantaman (#48942421) Attached to: Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

Nonsense, they're just following the most basic of mathmatical formulas:

Money > Ethics

Put another way:
Ethics = Brain(Money)

There are rational arguments in favour of the NSA's spying, it's in the Mathematicians' interest to adopt those arguments.

Given the choice between a) giving up a ton of money and feeling morally sound, b) accepting a ton of money and feeling morally compromised, or c) accepting a ton of money and feeling morally sound, most people want to choose c, and since it's a lot easier to change ethics than sources of money the morality is the part that's going to adapt.

Hell, I'm from Alberta, oil sands central. A massive portion of our economy comes from oil. Even though I believe in global warming and my work only has a secondary connection to oil & gas there's still a part of me looking for reasons to justify our continued extraction. I have no doubt Mathematicians are playing with similar rationalizations.

Comment: Re:And all this without Jobs (Score 1) 525

by quantaman (#48924857) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

It just goes to prove no one is irreplaceable; not even Jobs.

Not necessarily.

Jobs' brilliance wasn't in his management, it was in his design sense, personal charisma, and knowing when to throw his company behind developing and pushing a new product (OS X, iPod, iTunes, Tablets).

Tim Cook doesn't have the same epic level of charisma but that could change, and he clearly hasn't screwed up the management part, but we've yet to see his signature on the design and product fronts. I think you can call Apple Pay and the iWatch products of the Tim Cook era so their success will be the first real test of whether he can keep the Apple innovation machine turning.

Comment: Re:Accidental bugs? (Score 1) 211

by quantaman (#48918073) Attached to: Serious Network Function Vulnerability Found In Glibc

I have yet to have one such buffer overflow bug in my code.

That you know of. Besides, I'm sure you've had many that you've caught during the standard code -> compile -> run -> segfault -> debug cycle, but the more subtle ones are harder to trigger.

It's the most basic rule to check for buffer boundaries that even beginner programmer learns it quickly.

Depending on what the code is doing and what kind of legacy cruft you're dealing with it's not always trivial.

There must be agencies seeding these projects, commercial and open source, with toxic contributors injected there to deliberately contaminate the code with such bugs. The further fact that one never sees responsible persons identified, removed and blacklisted suggests that contamination is top down.

More likely the other devs feel like it's bad form to drag the names of past contributors through the mud in public. Particularly when the reviewers missed the bug as well.

Comment: Re:jessh (Score 2) 397

by quantaman (#48916569) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

According to your logic, officials should shut the city down if there is even a tiny chance of a snowstorm.

I'm pretty sure it was implied that P(snowstorm) is high enough to make the cost/benefit rational.

Unless of course you think his comment would be better off at 4 times the length, detailing all of the obvious common sense assumptions he made.

Comment: Re:Just for fun (Score 2) 351

by quantaman (#48901795) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Traditional breeding yields crops with numerous unwanted and unidentified genes while genetic engineering only brings in the targeted genes.
Genetic engineering does however allow for the genes to come from extremely dissimilar sources though the designs prefer to avoid such extreme options when they can. As to viruses, all bets are off since we already know that viruses shuffle genes from all kinds of species whenever they damn well want to because they are viruses and don't give a damn. It's amazing how much horizontal gene transfer they are finding in nature.
By the way, in case you weren't aware, they've found a lot of dna in humans that they believe was put there by viruses.

I was aware but as the old saying goes:
To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.

The same applies to traditional breeding vs GMOs. Genetic modification is a much more powerful tool than the various sources of random mutation. As such we're going to create new classes of risks that we don't understand yet. We don't exactly have the healthiest environment right now and farms aren't sealed labs, before we inject massive numbers of plants with several novel and powerful traits into an ecosystem we need to understand what the effects of those actions are.

Comment: Re:Just for fun (Score 1) 351

by quantaman (#48901761) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Viruses are natural vectors for genes to cross species. Are you more comfortable with this happening at random in the wild or when it's watched and monitored in a lab?

It's ridiculous to assume that the mechanisms of selective breeding, where the changes originate in random mutations -- often accelerated by the use of mutagens -- plus random viral- and bacterial-vectored transgenic splicing, is somehow safer than deliberately-engineered splicing. It's like expecting that a bridge created by a fallen tree is more trustworthy than a manmade construct.

The tone sounds like you're disagreeing him but it sounds like you're actually agreeing with him and debating my point.

Whatever the source of "natural" evolution (selective breeding, random mutation, horizontal gene transfer) we've been dealing with it for thousands of years and understand the risks. To use your example it's pretty easy to evaluate the safety of a fallen tree bridge. But with manmade bridges it took a while before we learned to avoid things like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Comment: Re:Just for fun (Score 4, Interesting) 351

by quantaman (#48900193) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

I googled for "GMO Hazards"

https://www.google.com/search?...

and out of the top 10 sites not one had actual problems that were caused by GMO foods

Lot of might and could be, but no actually. No "Killer corn ate my baby "

So How bout labeling foods that are produced from selective breeding genetically engineered as well ?

I think the labelling thing is nonsense since I don't think health risks are a big concern but I am a bit more cautious about the long term environmental effects as I suspect we're underestimating the probability of black swan events.

I think of selective breeding vs GMOs is a bit like traditional medicine vs modern medicine. Traditional medicine generally ranges from slightly beneficial to mildly harmful, you're not going to do yourself much harm, but you're not going to help much either. By contrast modern medicine is devastatingly effective in good ways and bad.

Right now you'd be a fool to choose traditional medicine over modern medicine, especially if you have a serious health issue, the benefits are too strong and we know how to manage the nasty side effects.

But at the dawn of modern medicine? You're probably better off dealing with the traditional stuff, a lot of people died because modern medicine was an incredibly powerful tool and people didn't know enough about that tool to use it safely.

I worry we're at that stage with GMOs and the environment. We don't really understand what it does to the ecosystem when we introduce new traits at that speed and effectiveness. We really can't know until we've done it a while. I'm sure GMO crops are the answer for the future, but I'm worried our capabilities are outstripping our knowledge.

Comment: Re:sounds complicated (Score 1) 126

by quantaman (#48894005) Attached to: Linus Fixes Kernel Regression Breaking Witcher 2

Wouldn't it be easier to run Windows 8 in a virtual machine like VM Ware on a Linux computer? Why go through WINE and possible incompatibility issues? Or buy a gaming laptop for gaming on windows? I'm sure you geeks make $30 an hour and can afford two computers.

I do a fairly limited amount of gaming but if I do any I'll do it on my the Linux desktop I built myself.

I have no interest in buying a copy of Windows just for gaming so install on a VM, it's not even a question of principal, I just can't be bothered to go through that much effort for a crappy solution.

Comment: Re:Size (Score 1) 324

by quantaman (#48893105) Attached to: What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

Your making this into a binary situation when it's more subtle than that.

Should it be illegal? No.

Does it make people uncomfortable? Yes.

Why does it make them uncomfortable? Because the added possibility of a surreptitious recording makes them a little more cautious than they would have been otherwise (even in public). It's not about appropriate vs inappropriate, I know I wouldn't feel comfortable having a connected conversation about my feelings with a potentially global audience. You've never passively eavesdropped on a couple's conversation? What about the people who think that conversation is so interesting they'll start recording and post it to facebook saying "check out this fascinating conversation I overheard".

I'm still not saying ban it, but there are social consequences we need to consider.

Comment: Re:Good news (Score 4, Insightful) 420

by quantaman (#48889107) Attached to: Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

Sorry, but while TOS did do a lot of exploring philosophy and some groundbreaking stuff, it was full of glorious almost campy action throughout. That's because Roddenberry actually hadn't forgotten what audiences wanted to see on TV.

TNG was preachy at the beginning and then they fixed it. TNG was never horrible, but the first season was sort of blah and I think it only really made it because "ZOMG HOLY SHIT WE HAVE TREK BACK AND PATRICK STEWART AND THE ENTERPRISE-D, FUCK YEAH!"

The thing that comes closest to a philosophical masterpiece of Trek is probably the snoozefest that is TMP. Trek's answer to 2001, only not really.

Kirk punched people out and had sex with green slave girls. The only thing that the new Trek got wrong about all that is that their portrayal of sex was presented stylistically as fan service, and they made Kirk into a frat boy instead of a red-blooded macho hero-type.

I'm not saying Star Trek should be a plodding intellectual discussion, the action and adventure is an essential part, but without the philosophy the films have no heart.

Look at Wrath of Khan, you open up with Kobayashi Maru, a discussion about dealing with hopeless situations, and then transition to a discussion about growing old.

Khan isn't just a random villain, he has a somewhat legitimate grudge against Kirk who exiled him and his crew on a planet and then never checked up on them and thus never realized the world was dying.

In the new Star Trek Kirk is basically a kid with a spaceship, there's very little underlying philosophy guiding his actions and to the extent it does come up emotion is driving his philosophy rather than the other way around.

Even the first TNG movies remembered this and have a bit of lasting power, the new Trek movies are just very forgettable.

Comment: Re:Good news (Score 3, Insightful) 420

by quantaman (#48888091) Attached to: Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

But then you have to just remember how awful JJ's Star Trek movies were.

Really? The first one was terrible because nothing can live up to the expectations of angry nerds.

It was also terrible because it was terrible.

Well not quite terrible but completely forgettable in the way that generic sci-fi action flicks are.

Then you have Khan. Perfectly good movie. And you had nerds raging because herpaderpawhiteguynamedKhanNoonienSingh.

I didn't hear that, though in retrospect it would have been cool to have a non-standard ethnicity in the role.

Either way I just re-watched the new Khan movie a few days ago, it was better, but still a fairly generic and forgettable action flick.

Abrams will do fine. He probably won't do Empire-level excellence, but I have no doubt it won't be the complete clusterfuck that was sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and IT GETS EVERYWHERE. DO NOT WANT.

He'll do fine in the sense that it will be another generic and forgettable action flick.

I don't really understand why Abrams is getting all these franchises, he did some good TV series but I haven't found his film work to be particularly exceptional.

That being said I think he's a far better choice for Star Wars than he was for Star Trek. Star Trek was always about exploring the philosophy, something Abrams has never really shown any particular talent for.

Star Wars on the other hand is more about the myth, which is really the strong point of his best work. Maybe he will make something great with this one.

Comment: Re:Size (Score 1) 324

by quantaman (#48881807) Attached to: What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

You can stand on the street in front of my house if you wish but my door is on my property.
What you do not get is that are creeped out because they MIGHT be recording you. Not that they are recording you. So do you demand that no one takes out a cell phone in public? They MIGHT be recording you... Horrors.
Get a grip... You are probably really not that interesting.

You've never seen a viral video of an ordinary person doing something really stupid? I can think of many.

Someone wearing Google Glass (and constantly recording) catches you saying or doing something that sounds incredibly funny/offensive/strange, they post it online, it goes viral, and suddenly your life is different.

Sure it's unlikely but the threat is there. I'm not going to be nearly as comfortable having a conversation in a restaurant when I know people are recording because there's an extra filter all my words have to pass through.

Comment: Re:His ties to the KKK? (Score 3, Interesting) 420

by quantaman (#48877251) Attached to: Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

That's stretching it a bit. While touring New Orleans to speak about his opposition the Stelly tax plan, he spoke once to a small EURO contingent, hours before the actual convention, not at the actual convention, one stop among many. Guilty by brief association?

http://www.snopes.com/politics...

The snopes article doesn't quite back you up. It's possible that he spoke to a related gathering a few hours before the convention, not knowing it was EURO related nor that there were a few white supremacists in attendance. But it's also possible that he did address the EURO convention with full knowledge of who they were, either because he wanted their support (or non-opposition) and/or he was sympathetic to their beliefs.

The truth is there's insufficient information to know what really happened.

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