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Comment: Re:Oh for fucks sake (Score 1) 615

by rbrander (#49711709) Attached to: The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks

Hate to disagree with another FORTH fan (saw your sig) but dictionary says he's right. Haters called a social safety net "socialism" as a pejorative, conflating any government activity at all with state ownership of factories in Russia. They started off saying it was "socialistic" and then graduated to just calling it socialism. But the dictionary definition remains. You're talking about a "mixed market economy"...which is of course what they ALL are. There is zero pure socialism or entirely free markets anywhere. Demagogues hate shades of grey and love to call you black or white. Ayn Rand embraced that criticism, saying that once you have admitted there's evil, how can you consent to even the smallest admixture of it. Of course, there's no totally free markets anywhere because they, too, would create great evil, so it's all about the balancing act.

Comment: Re:Markets, not people (Score 1) 615

by rbrander (#49711595) Attached to: The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks

> A free market system with a reasonable amount of regulation, for all its flaws, works.\\\\\\ ...has worked in the technological environment since mechanization, the way feudalism worked in the agricultural one...for all its flaws.

(fixed that for you).

It wasn't much of a free market for 99.9% of actors during feudalism, because the feudal lord could interfere with it any time he felt like waving a sword around.

And the "flaws" of the current system may one day be seen as only a little less bad than the "flaws" of feudalism, which worked for 10,000 years. But fell apart rapidly with Gutenberg and literacy and satanic mills and the need for capital to build them. No inherent right-to-exist will protect our current culture and economic system from obsolescence should it fail to match new realities.

Comment: It's immoral to make a sandwich? (Score 4, Insightful) 618

by rbrander (#49711079) Attached to: Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

Jon Stewart once signed off the Daily Show with "If you used a DVR to skip our ads, you're a thief" or some such - it was a sharp way to highlight the foolishness of these guys. We skipped ads when it was only broadcast TV all the time by stepping out to make a sandwich.
The only thing we're doing is voting with our feet that content providers should find another way to fund their work. It's no more immoral than renting direct-to-video movies were immoral compared to watching broadcast TV.

Comment: Re: News for nerds (Score 2) 861

by rbrander (#49681233) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

There are a lot of different beliefs requiring magical thinking. You can believe in any of them, even many of them, without believing in the others. Some of them are even self-contradictory. There are some atheists that believe in ghosts; but oddly, many Christians and Muslims also believe in ghosts, though they already have a whole theology about what happens after death that does not include hanging around on the Earth, causing mischief and pestering Hamlet.

I don't have polling data, but it does pass the sniff test to assume that one form of magical thinking, inculcated from birth, would tend to make the personality more at-risk of accepting other magical-thinking proposals.

Comment: Somewhere, OpenBSD fans are smiling (Score 1) 180

/. announced OpenBSD 5.7 the other day and the usual crowd came out to say, "so what", and "nobody uses it", etc. Well, this is why it has fans. Yes, yes, there were Linux and FreeBSD machines run well enough to be proof against this exploit...it's that OpenBSD machines tend to be safe out of the box and you have to make a real effort to de-secure them.

Comment: Head scratching... (Score 1) 442

by rbrander (#49556229) Attached to: Debian 8 Jessie Released

Despite a CompSci degree and over 15 years of using nearly every breed of Linux at work and home, I feel like a guy who just wants the car to go listening to automotive engineers get angry over a debate on number of cylinders.
I upgrade only when forced to, these days: Linux met all my needs years ago. I was just compelled to upgrade from a long-obsolete Mint to 17.1, which I gather will be around for years before all support stops.
Is there any hope of this particular Good Thing vs Bad Thing debate being settled by, say, 2017?
That's all most of us want to know.
Proof's in the pudding, guys. My hat is off to everybody who tries out the new distro and takes the proverbial arrows in the back so the rest of us can know about a year or so from now if all the dark predictions about "systemd" come true or not.

Comment: I have a depressing feeling about this... (Score 5, Funny) 157

by rbrander (#49546665) Attached to: Wormholes Untangle a Black Hole Paradox

...in fiction, basic discoveries of this magnitude promptly lead to anti-gravity, flying cars, space travel, and replicators.

In real life, some PhDs are pleased with themselves and now understand why we exist and aren't a cloud of random particles - but I *still* don't get a damn jet pack.

Oh, well: the announced today that they have asthma figured out at last and can probably cure it soon. I don't have asthma, but I'm glad we also got a practical discovery.

Comment: The fun of being clueless (Score 1) 154

by rbrander (#49539865) Attached to: Hubble Spots Star Explosion Astronomers Can't Explain

...is that you get to speculate more wildly. Suppose two stars that are not yet (or never could be) able to supernova, smacked into each other at some very impressive clip. Their cores interact and there is briefly a mass in a state for a supernova...which is blown apart in the early seconds of the supernova because uniquely, the relevant core material is asymmetric and the two lobes are separated.

Is that possible? Is it gibberish? I don't know, because I never studied astronomy except by watching, well, umm...Nova, ironically enough.

So there's a lesson for you kids: don't study too hard, just read a lot of science fiction. You'll be dumber, but still have fun.

Comment: Re:So let me get this straight (Score 1) 686

by rbrander (#49539673) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

>not my place to choose to release it.

"Not my place", meaning "the decision was made above me", meaning "I was only following orders". Destroyed as a defence by an American, Robert Jackson, at Nuremburg. No, not a Godwin violation, it just happens to be the series of trials at which it was established that nobody, nobody is below the job of personally evaluating whether the actions of the organization for which they work are criminal, and not merely refusing to take part, but actively opposing the crimes.
Snowden's reasons were clearly stated as arising from constitutional violations that went all the way to the top. Snowden took action not because he was in political disagreement about policy choices, but because his organization was exceeding its legal mandate and violating American civil rights. And the principal authors of a "patriot" act agree with him on that, so it's not like his viewpoint was deluded.

Comment: Criminals? No, not for coding... (Score 1) 305

by rbrander (#49262469) Attached to: Prison Program Aims To Turn Criminals Into Coders

..."Enterprise Software Systems Architect". "Framework Analyst". "Data Modelling Architecture Consultant".

These are the positions that suck $200/hour out of your accounts as they ask you to explain for the fourth time how you manage your list of projects and track their progress and pay their bills. Tens, then hundreds of thousands will disappear like Danny Ocean and the Boys had visited your bank, as your hoped-for upgrade to your Access application is turned into a web-based app with 20-second response time.

Former(?) criminals would be the 'best fit' for these jobs as a certain indifference to the customer's costs, stress and general suffering is valuable.

Comment: Re:Physics violation (Score 1) 690

by rbrander (#49015293) Attached to: Free-As-In-Beer Electricity In Greece?

> Isn't there SOME loss of heat in creating order, information inside a computer?

Article in Scientific American some years ago about that: as it turns out, it can be shown thermodynamically that processing information has to increase entropy because it *destroys* information. Net. You put more data into a calculation than you get out. 5 + 7 can be turned into 12, but not the other way around; the 5 and 7 are lost.

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 2) 297

by rbrander (#49006349) Attached to: Canadian Climate Scientist Wins Defamation Suit Against National Post

Can you provide links to the stories of these "skeptic scientists" (isn't that redundant?) Are you talking about people with peer-reviewed papers being fired because their boss didn't like the results of the work? Or are you talking about people who couldn't get properly-done science published because a peer-reviewed journal had it in for them?

Or are you talking about "scientists" that had strong opinions NOT backed up by science of the kind that can pass peer review?

Even that is fine; firing people for opinions, even ones they cannot prove scientifically, is pretty bad - but I'd like to see the cases, see if they have merit.

I mean, thanks for your link to "climate audit" - the middle of a mathematically-complex *criticism* of a scientific paper; but I know I'm not competent to adjudicate that dispute. Peer-reviewed journals *ARE* able to, generally, and if this criticism could only get published at "climateaudit.org", and not the Journal of Climate or any of 21 other climate-related peer-reviewed journals, then I'm sorry, but I have to assume it's not very good.

My reliance on peer-reviewed journals is not the logical fallacy of "Argument by Authority"; that refers to statements like "Penicillin works because the King has proclaimed it". The statement "Penicillin works because 35 careful studies of infection outcomes showed positive and repeatable results" is another kind of authority altogether.

Factorials were someone's attempt to make math LOOK exciting.