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Comment: Our Galaxy May Be Teeming with Networking Signals (Score 1) 390

I don't know that there ISN'T a von Neumann probe in our solar system. How would we know? The solar system is huge. The probe could be tiny. Again, how would we know? Have we tried communicating with it? Would it try to communicate with us? Or would it report to a nearby star, first, and await instructions delivered after centuries?

I've heard that the radio emissions from Earth are actually really, really weak, and distribute radially. Nobody can hear us out there.

The entire galaxy could be teeming with life, that's communicating point-to-point. Why waste energy in radial communication, when you can just draw a straight line from star to star?

Sometimes, I think, all we need to do, is point a big powerful laser at a nearby star, and request boot-procedure handshaking instructions, from the nearby access point, and then just wait for the signal that inevitably responds, with instructions on how to maintain the communications link.

Comment: Re:video demo? (Score 2) 71

by vikman (#48631053) Attached to: Ars Reviews Skype Translator
There is no constraint on any reviewers (or real users) about taking own photos or videos... there are of course (as with most new product launches) screenshots, how-to videos, user guides etc. that are made available by Microsoft. Given the preview just started, more hands-on reviews are just making their way out. Several have been posted already - and are pretty representative of the diversity of experiences ("magical/awesome" to "can't handle my accent/recognize my speech"), and have continued to be helpful in improving the system - which is the entire point of a preview release. Here are a couple that I bookmarked: http://mashable.com/2014/12/15... http://www.gizmodo.in/news/Sky... This is work that's been done at Microsoft Research for a long time, and we have been continuously improving it (and sharing a lot of the research behind it with the world). Remember this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?... It's exciting for us to be able to see real people use it! (full disclosure: I work at Microsoft Research and am involved with Skype Translator)

Comment: One annoyance... (Score 5, Informative) 71

by vikman (#48629835) Attached to: Ars Reviews Skype Translator
I work on Skype Translator. Given the complexity of the technology in the back-end, the team looked for a client code base that was fast to experiment with, develop and release on - and so the modern windows 8 app seems like a good way to go - no other nefarious reason. Also, users of skype translator can call other Skype clients (Skype Desktop is officially supported, while I have certainly called ios, xbox on other clients successfully).

Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Businesses

As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines 496

Posted by timothy
from the gee-that's-a-lot-of-cash-on-the-table dept.
reifman writes Amazon's hiring so quickly in Seattle that it's on pace to employ 45,000 people or seven percent of the city. But, 75% of these hires are male. While Seattle women earned 86 cents per dollar earned by men in 2012, today, they make only 78 cents per dollar. In "Amageddon: Seattle's Increasingly Obvious Future", I review these and other surprising facts about Amazon's growing impact on the city: we're the fastest growing — now larger than Boston, we have the fastest rising rents, the fourth worst traffic, we're only twelfth in public transit, we're the fifth whitest and getting whiter, we're experiencing record levels of property crime and the amount of office space under construction has nearly doubled to 3.2 million square feet in the past year.
Government

Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games 642

Posted by samzenpus
from the including-everyone dept.
An anonymous reader writes A government-funded agency in Sweden is considering creating special labels for video games based on whether or not the games' portrayals of women are sexist. From the article: "Avoiding sexism and gender stereotypes in video games produced in Sweden will become a key goal for the association, which has been given a 272,000 kronor ($36,672) grant by Sweden's government-funded innovation agency, Vinnova. Inspired by the Bechdel test, which looks at whether fictional films or books feature at least two women talking about a topic other than men, Dataspelsbranchen will work with several game developers to analyze how Swedish video games portray female characters and gender issues.

Comment: Wikipedia the vector (Score 1) 61

by Bruce Perens (#48386659) Attached to: Researchers Forecast the Spread of Diseases Using Wikipedia

Like others I found the headline confusing. I read it as "Researchers are predicting the use of Wikipedia as a vector for the spread of disease". This may mean that:

  • Disinformation and ignorance are diseases.
  • Memes and computer viruses are diseases.
  • Wilipedia contains information that leads to depression.
  • Instructions on Wikipedia lead to substance abuse.
  • This is getting entertaining, fill in your own reason here.
Stats

Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism 350

Posted by timothy
from the believe-the-worst dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: A editorial with 24,000 Facebook shares highlights the differences in public reaction to two nearly identical breastfeeding photos, one showing a black woman and one showing a white woman, each breastfeeding an infant. The editorial decries the outrage provoked by the black woman's photo compared to the mild reaction elicited by the white woman's photo, and attributes the difference to racism. I tried an experiment using Amazon's Mechanical Turk to test that theory. Read on to see the kind of results Bennett found.

Comment: Re:Gendered Bigotry Against Men (Score 1) 834

by LionKimbro (#48362063) Attached to: How To End Online Harassment

I DID read the article. YOU didn't read my valid points. Here is the appropriate bit:

You have been taught that it is normal and acceptable. You have been taught that you are tough, that you don't feel, or that you can "handle their feelings." You have been told that because the bigotry isn't violently expressed, that it doesn't matter, or it can't be labeled and responded to. You have been taught that you are professional, that you are competent, that you can handle yourself. That you are a MAN, so bigotry against you as a man should just roll off your back. You have been taught that OTHER MEN are the problem, and to not take it personally.

So far, all I'm getting is crickets from you, about these "valid points."

One of the myriad ways that our society says, "Them's the shakes, what can you do," is to just get silent and stupid and say, "Yeah... You have a valid point." BUT NOTHING HAPPENS.

Comment: Gendered Bigotry Against Men (Score 1) 834

by LionKimbro (#48360853) Attached to: How To End Online Harassment

The article said this, in large letters:

"Gendered bigotry against women is widely considered to be "in bounds" by Internet commenters (whether they openly acknowledge it or not)."

Why add the phrase "against women?" It's clear from the inclusion of "against women" that the writer doesn't give a shit about gendered bigotry against men.

In my day to day reading of Facebook, I see EVER SINGLE DAY, gendered bigotry against men. I hate it. I hate seeing it. I DEFINITELY don't want boys exposed to this, and I think the only reasonable response for self-respecting men is to hate seeing it as well.

You have been taught that it is normal and acceptable. You have been taught that you are tough, that you don't feel, or that you can "handle their feelings." You have been told that because the bigotry isn't violently expressed, that it doesn't matter, or it can't be labeled and responded to. You have been taught that you are professional, that you are competent, that you can handle yourself. That you are a MAN, so bigotry against you as a man should just roll off your back. You have been taught that OTHER MEN are the problem, and to not take it personally.

Well, FUCK. THAT.

I don't want to be in relationships any longer, where it is considered acceptable to demean men. When one party in a relationship is allowed to constantly criticize and complain about the other party, but not the other way around, in a relationship that was supposed to uphold ideals like equality, respect, and love -- that everything falls apart. I don't want to live in a society that refuses to help men in times of struggle and need, because it holds men in contempt. The entire social apparatus converges in the attack on the character of the other party.

Men, our society gives you FOUR options:
1. You can go ballistic and on the offensive.
2. You can "hold it in," and silently die inside.
3. You can flee.
4. You can turn on other men, and play "Men are evil. But I am not THAT GUY."

Let me tell you about #4: It works great, until YOU are the guy who is breaking down, until YOU are the guy who needs help, from a wife that physically attacks you, until YOU are the guy who is homeless, until YOU are the one who is falsely accused of rape or assault or harassment. And if not YOU, then a friend of yours, or your son.

I want YOU to complain and step up and shove back, when people tell you that you must take shit, just because you're a man, or that men as a group must take shit, just because they are men. When you see gendered bigotry against men, I want you to refuse it, toss it back, say something. Don't just "hold it in," and don't go on the offensive either. Don't run away, and don't deflect onto other men. Rather, stand your ground, and say: NO.

If you see statistics that are lies about men, or insinuating against men -- including pay/wage gap or "1 in 4" that are not true. If you see contempt for men as a class expressed. If you see mothers favored over fathers. If you see violence against men considered "OK." (I'm not talking about video games.) If you see anything implying that it is okay for women to trick a man into paying child support, or tricking a man into being a parent. If you see anything suggesting that paternity fraud is OK. If you see eye rolls expressed about men or the value of mens' feelings. ESPECIALLY the eye rolls, and ESPECIALLY men's feelings. If you see "man up" or "be a gentlemen" used to control men. If you see anything making light of people attacking men physically (non-consensually). When you see ANY OF THESE BEHAVIORS, you tell people that it is UNACCEPTABLE.

"Is it really you, Fuzz, or is it Memorex, or is it radiation sickness?" -- Sonic Disruptors comics

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