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Comment: Re:Why would anyone start there? (Score 1) 121

True, but Austin has been a cultural hub (SXSW, live music capital of the world, etc.) for the weirder aspects of Texas for quite some time (and truly, Texas makes industrial strength freaks to survive the rest of the state), and it started well over 20 years ago with cheap rents, a college educated populace, and a mostly hands off government. That the rest of the country decided to take notice and drive up the costs isn't anything new. Boulder is going through the same now.

Truth is the next Big Thing could be almost anywhere that is cheap, well educated, and free to fail without it being catastrophic. I'd bet on any of the college towns in the South, especially given drought concerns out West. Even their governments are starting to take a clue and realizing the legislature isn't the place to fight a cultural war.

Comment: Re:false positives (Score 4, Informative) 174

More to the point, this is a problem of funding in all fields.

No one wants to pay for basic research, even if it yields other useful ideas for further research. Unless it hyped to high heavens, the possibility of getting dollars is nil.

Gent I know was a decent researcher who got demoted to teaching community college. After a year of not being able to produce the "right" (read: able to secure further funding), he was canned, and another researcher who was more accommodating to fudging results got the position.

It's not like the experiments were going to be reproduced anyway. Just fodder for additional grants because you produce "results".

Comment: Worse: they're multiplying (Score 3, Interesting) 210

Place I work at had a single manager over the entire department. Under two expansions, she still managed consistently good performance reviews and kept the idiocy of other departments at bay.

She was replaced by two managers. One was forced to retire early after a near fatal accident she caused, and the other...

There were week long celebrations after her retirement. I can only imagine it was similar to the relief felt when Carly Fiorina was drummed out of HP. It was that bad.

Now we have four additional middle managers. The entire department is a clusterfuck of miscommunication and petty turf wars. They haven't quite grasped the exodus that has been happening with people quitting, and certainly seem oblivious to the contempt the underlings have for them. Lawsuits are starting, and the complaints are written off as the disgruntled.

And of course, since we are short-staffed now with increasing demands, there is talk of... even more managers and dividing the department into smaller departments, since it is too unwieldy for 6 people to handle.

Fuck me.

Comment: Re:Insurance industry viewpoint (Score 1) 247

by quintessencesluglord (#49565887) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

Give and take. Sports cars also tend to be the safest cars on the road in that you have more options to avoid getting into an accident in the first place rather than just slamming down on the brakes and hoping for the best. Especially for top tier sports cars, their capabilities far exceed legal limits and cost too much in insurance and repair costs for much risky behavior.

Comment: Re:How you drive (Score 1) 247

by quintessencesluglord (#49565833) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

Thing is I can't control what other people around me do. Even with anticipation, there is a too much of a difference between what a safe, prudent driver do or an idiot with a death wish would do. The responses to each vary considerably, and miscalculating can lead to a white knuckle moment, not to mention the same applies to a minivan following a motorcycle normally, but the minivan driver doesn't care, which is really the issue.

And even with good safety measures from engineers, I think there is such a thing as making the vehicle seemingly too safe in that people do even more stupid things behind the wheel (vid of the guy on the highway climbing to the back seat because his car has lane assist and adaptive cruise control) thinking technology will save them. The safest car has what appears to be a gigantic steel spike pointing directly at the occupants faces, and no indication of any modern safety features at all.

Comment: Re:Stuff Happens (Score 3, Informative) 334

Um, no.

Obama greatly expanded the policies of Bush the Younger, even when he promised to pull out of Iraq (pull out, not forced out), has had a multitude of foreign policy mishaps (ISIS anyone), and has made the region far worse overall.

And more importantly, has greatly expanded drone operations.

One of the arguments for not using drones is that they are too far removed from the area of conflict. It is too easy to take risks when there is no skin on the line.

Boots on the ground tend to make better risk assessments, and have a better feel for what they are getting in to.

Drone operations are too abstracted, and it's not like this isn't in a long line of unintended killings, the only difference being the US gets to take this one on the chin instead of some brown people.

There is a reason people are adamantly against using drones. That's all Obama.

Comment: Re:Propaganda Works (Score 2) 686

by quintessencesluglord (#49536533) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

You've got the same biological responses that have always been in play (sex, emotional cues, peer pressure, etc.) that do just as much to serve as inhibit propaganda (some of the propaganda from WWII inferring peace-niks were back home having relations with lonely wives were just as likely to cause doubt as remind people what they were fighting for), and also disinfo campaigns (serving up several platitudes that you probably accept with a few questionable ones so you are less inclined to question their validity), as well as buzz (think of any viral videos you've seen that were far beyond what you would normally watch).

But especially with fragmented media, it allows you tailor a message to a specific group to where Snowden could have been represented as youthful rebellion to a certain segment, and then altered to following in the grand traditions of the country in another.

What I think most people overlook is that with so many media choices, they think they have a better chance at getting at some type of "truth". Not really, they've just opened themselves up to several venues of manipulation. Especially at a time when everything is seen as biased, you can tell huge bold-faced lies with little in the way of consequences, and for the time it takes to research and debunk, move on to another bold-face lie until no one trusts much of anything (even their neighbors) and leaves them primed for more instinctual propaganda.

And even then, the propaganda only really has to target the vocal. This is why education has become such a partisan issue. Sure, not everyone is going to accept things like they did in the age of Cronkite, but you only need those willing to shout down the dissenters for it to be effective.

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 3, Insightful) 407

by quintessencesluglord (#49525539) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

Let's travel back to 1965 when these drugs were legal. A nurse I know mentioned how Adderall was freely available at the nurses station, and after a period of experimentation (I believe she made mention of working a 60 hour week), most everyone dialed it the fuck down, and its use was mostly relegated to having a case of the Mondays, with a few burnouts here and there. This was also when three martini lunches were in vogue. Can you risk not having a few drinks with your business partners? Would you really call that performance enhancing?

Fact is our drug war has been the response to already going down this road before, and in case the evidence from Portugal isn't clear, most people tend to reduce there drug use across the board when they are legal.

The other side to performance enhancing drugs is that they tend to increase your ability to do physical labor, but otherwise they make you sloppy. 100 billable hours isn't much good if only 25 of them are useful, and you don't see meth heads rising to the top of industry or otherwise courted for employment.

The biggest factor in their use now is that they are illegal, and only a select few can pull the right strings to get them, which gives them a temporary advantage.

But if they are freely available? Most people still won't touch them, and are capable enough that even a slight increase in other's performance (at best, they will land you 5-10 more points on a standardized test) is indistinguishable from natural variation. Especial in the case of speed, there has been enough scaremongering (speed kills) regarding that is laughable. Drugs are a fun tangent, but eventually real, clear-headed work needs to be done.

Comment: Re:Those skeletons don't like daylight (Score 1) 163

We've learned a fair bit in the few centuries this country has been around that honestly we could easily create a better system to replace the one we have now. If nothing else, we've identified the problems with the current system.

Oh, and let's not forget pure democracy was choosing people at random to be representatives, and required voters to perform some type of civil service (in Athens case, military service) before they could vote.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...

There is no doubt in my mind that would be several orders of magnitude improvement over what we have now.

Comment: Re:Mod parent up (Score 1) 649

by quintessencesluglord (#49515245) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars

Small problem with that is even benign changes to other components on a car (intake, exhaust, cams, etc.) usually require changes to the ECU, and this legislation effectively locks out tuner shops, who are qualified to make changes to the ECU.

If you are to go down the route of lowest common denominator of what people have the experience or knowledge to do, do we outlaw doing your own lawn care, since you might misuse the chemicals involved? Do we outlaw people canning their own foods, since most people are not trained to federal safety standards regarding? Or wiping your own butt, since people have not been trained in the transmission of E Coli. and Hep A?

Next will be telling me I can't change a lighting fixture since I'm not an electrician.

Comment: Re:The third factor (Score 1) 385

by quintessencesluglord (#49501721) Attached to: Can High Intelligence Be a Burden Rather Than a Boon?

Too much of being even moderately bright is banging your head against convention and a society that doesn't cater to you, but the lowest common denominator. A lot of motivation is simply having the will to work out a better method and hoping others will adopt it. Mostly they don't, and remember these are the same people by whom you judge your success. As one of my instructors put it, it doesn't matter if you are the smartest person in the world if no one else glimpses the horizon you see.

Even the very brightest have their determination beat out of them simply because they realize how pointless it is. The best and brightest mostly don't rise to the top. They simply create defensive strategies to get by as best as possible on their own terms, and display their intellect in ways that doesn't get much reward or attention unless it is furthering the status quo.

Comment: Re:You aren't the audience (Score 1) 76

by quintessencesluglord (#49495927) Attached to: StarTalk TV Show With Neil DeGrasse Tyson Starts Monday

Yeah, but that has its own set of problems, vis-à-vis “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.”

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for making difficult subjects easier to approach, but when you have to dress it up with celebrity and T&A, it seem to be missing the point that these things are interesting and worth knowing about in their own right, and not because it has some celebrity endorsement.

There already has been enough problems with dumbing down in regards to science reporting that I'm not certain moving even further down that path is a good idea.

Comment: Re:Students + Anonimity (Score 1) 234

It's a bit more than that.

Sabrina Rubin Erdely already had a history of sensationalistic sexual abuse stories, but she was award-winning and pretty much beyond reproach.

That no one decided to maybe look into her past history of negligent reporting was suspect, but rape culture is the zeitgeist of the times. Can't let something like facts and accountability get in the way.

And even now, the campus rape epidemic has taken on the tenor of the satanic ritual sexual abuse moral panic of the 80s. And just like McMartin, the allegations have proven to be false, yet people seem hellbent on continuing this witch hunt with ever more extreme tactics. People old enough remember how every media outlet joined the fray as they quietly swept the sexual abuse by priests under the rug. This is bigger than Rolling Stone, who are just patsies to the madness of the times.

Comment: Re:Just get rid of democracy instead (Score 1) 327

Method could be as involved as, I forget the name, but the system was people chosen at random to then choose the next group of people to choose the next group of people, and seven iterations that group then finally choose the representatives. Or you could just select from the social security numbers in a state. Fairly anonymous then.

As other people have mentioned, increasing the numbers of representatives makes it cost prohibitive to buy legislation. If people are chosen randomly, you get a broad section of the population who don't have re-election campaigns to donate to. They serve three years and then they are gone, replaced by the next lot who have no allegiances to previous backroom deals. Downside is it also makes it near impossible to pass legislation, so you need clear delineations of authority, and even greater checks and balances. Citizen juries have already been used in lower government functions to good effect, so it's not like it is unprecedented.

Regarding fairness, it isn't absolute, as it will still have a strong element of majority rule, except for the occasional fluke, however, it is proven to be more effective:

http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.0455

Comment: Re:Just get rid of democracy instead (Score 1) 327

There is too much vested interest in maintaining the current power structure for any substantive legislative change to happen within my lifetime. At this point, short of open revolt, there will be nothing except for a dog and pony show, with a token reform here and there.

Nope, I'm looking more for future generations, and up and coming countries to learn from our mistakes and institute something new. We are not even a federal republic anymore, but an oligarchy, and as with all corrupted governments, a footnote on the way towards a better society.

Money is the root of all wealth.

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