Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:an example for those unfamiliar (Score 1) 369

Yes, it's useful. And yet, while other politicians may play to voter emotions by omitting costs and expected consequences of warfare, it might also be a PR device to be vocal about the _presence_ of such consequences. A lot of us respond positively to a leader mentioning the other side of the coin; it lends credibility, trustworthiness, and other supportive emotions. For the fact that it's an emotional component, it can be exploited as part of a political PR toolkit. It's not like the population (including some of us in this thread) will want anything more than a fleeting admission of what's really obvious anyway - that war is, to a significant extent, is indiscriminate; also harms bystanders or ourselves; that there are things that are hard to model, predict or foresee.

It would be equally impossible for a government to fully engage the population in the outcome estimation process, because that would by definition reveal critical information for the adversary which then would shift the odds, rendering the estimation overly optimistic, not to mention cutting the tree under yourself while giving questionable benefit.

Comment Re:So John McCain, then (Score 1) 369

The voting population does'n seem to uphold these standards, as, evidently, politicians get away with misrepresenting or omitting facts. Maybe some people just don't care; some others are naive and eat up the PR; and even some of those with a critical eye just take it for granted that certain things go unsaid, in the grand act called national politics, especially if there's plausible deniability, as part of the PR of any government party that doesn't want to write itself out of history.

Large amounts of data on war and casualties might slowly end up tilting the balance toward better disclosure and transparency; war automation may counteract this by exporting the civilian casualties to the other side. Even this piece of news has become a topic here because presumably, members and facilities of a high profile Western organization were the casualty.

But there's also a human level tendency to downplay or turn a blind eye to inevitable tragedy. For example, everyone knows we're all mortals, yet it's not something we remind one another each and every day and we rarely consult things like Often, personal interaction also leads to hope extended to the terminally ill, with both sides knowing they are talking on an untrue basis as that's the social norm. Even marriage is really smooth to get into and can be very difficult and complex to dissolve. We're just not the rational, unbiased species we like to assume. Even Churchill's famous 'Blood, toil, tears, and sweat' was probably more of a way of desensitization, buildup of dedication and emotional support, and shoring up the motivation, than a way of giving full disclosure, especially that it was an unquantified (and at the time, unquantifiable) aggregate exposure with no confidence intervals and no breakdown to smaller slices of the society.

Underappreciating sacrifice in times of war, fight for resources, blind optimism etc. might be basic human instinct that in the past improved the survival fitness of a lineage, and at odds with your rationality based expectation.

Comment Re:hmmm... (Score 2) 236

Yeah, and sometimes, not being evil is the wrong thing to do. So what now? Both are incredibly vague, unactionable, unmeasurable things whose meanings completely hinge on interpretation and value system. It's a corporate motto, and adherence to it is impossible to measure, even if there existed common understanding about what's good and evil. I.e. it's just part of a company's PR.

Comment Re:Wide open to interpretation (Score 1) 236

This. All the squarehead engineers here start to speculate and reason, and the intern who probably suggested that the negatively formed sentence be recast as a positive, 'actionable' sentence is having lots of giggles as people seek 'meaning' to it. It's just a fscking motto.

Comment Plummet????? (Score 2) 519

This language is being hyperboled away as we speak; the meaning of words are inflated away. A 25% decrease over 20 years? That's an annual decrease of a measly 1.1%! What's the word then to use for what happened to the Volkswagen stock?

Nah, the expression to be used would be: 'slowly eroding, culminating in a 25% decrease over the past 20 years that some observers[who?] consider significant.'

Comment Re: This was not a screw-up (Score 1) 369

What do you mean by 'we'? I'm sure the military has more experience in warfare than 'we' therefore they know there'll be casualties. Even if religious fanatics were not inclined to use human shields which they do.

Or do you expect government communications toward 'us', with updates on next week's forecast civilian casualties? The executive branch is the government and there's a military chain of command. It's not like you and I vote on each airstrike beforehand.

Btw. not defending the major cock-up that this hospital bombing was, all I'm saying is, sure they accepted civilian casualties and also the harm to US soldiers.

Comment Re: state of healthcare (Score 1) 232

It doesn't work like that. Sometimes numerous sets of codes can be alternatively describe the medical situation. From that point on it's a matter of optimization to figure out which set results in the highest reimbursement. Sometimes it's an NP-hard problem, and sometimes there are differences in the risk of rejection.

Comment Re:Halting problem fail (Score 1) 243

Whoa whoa. Why is it that some people act rationally on a personal level, but lose reasoning power if the question is about the larger society.

If stealth is going on in my dorm room, and I suspect someone, it's possible that I can catch him in the act, or after the fact. There are known techniques, like, you know, watching, or using bills with previously recorded serial number, or marking bills with UV ink. Similarly, for other types of crime, once you have a strong suspicion, it's possible to come up with techniques that lead to proof that the crime happened, or was going to happen, had the police not stopped it (e.g. theft of marked bills is OK, but you wouldn't wait for a victim to be killed, and you could still charge the perp with attempted murder).

So it's not the logical fallacy you make it look like.

Comment Re: Doesn't matter w.r.t. the CEO resignation (Score 1) 618

They didn't have proper internal audit for regulatory compliance. In places where they do, they build FMEA tables etc. and, if there's commercial interest is at odds with regulatory compliance, they'll entertain the possibility that they cheat. If it wasn't a known risk element to them, they had no proper risk management and it's ultimately the CEO's responsibility. My opinion isn't what it is because it's popular.

In space, no one can hear you fart.