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Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 3, Interesting) 419

by Mr. Slippery (#48895471) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Are there any valuable functions mapped to a middle button anyway, that make it so important?

Yes. For people who use real computers, middle button = "paste selected text".

Who puts three fingers on the surface of a mouse?

People who use real computers but have not yet found the one true pointing device, the 4-button Logitech Marble Mouse Trackball.

Comment: Re:Popcorn time! (Score 0) 368

by Mr. Slippery (#48892573) Attached to: Behind the MOOC Harassment Charges That Stunned MIT

I've heard claims that one in four women will be raped at some point in their lives, and have yet to hear any sort of data-based rebuttal.

Really? You heard such an extraordinary claim, but apparently made zero effort to look into its validity?

Here you go. And here. And here.

Essentially, that inflated number is based on questionable surveys which often fail to distinguish between a regrettable drunken hookup and rape, and is not just about rape but about behavior ranging from grabbing a woman's butt on up through attempted rape and actual rape. (Yes, grabbing someone's butt is bad. It's assault. It's unacceptable. It is not, however, rape.)

Is rape much more common than most people think? Yes. The data is murky but I would be surprised if the lifetime victimization rate for women was less than 5%, 1 in 20. Is it 25%, "eeny-meeny-miney-RAPE!" common? No.

And a teacher sending a student sexy messages over the internet is certainly a breach of professional conduct...but it's not rape.

Comment: Re:It's about time. (Score 5, Interesting) 136

by Mr. Slippery (#48875195) Attached to: Simon Pegg On Board To Co-Write Next Star Trek Film

Star Trek now has freedom to have any future the writers can come up with

No, they're stuck with the universe Abrams left them. A universe which makes no sense, where starships are irrelevant because transporters can move people over interstellar distances (from Earth to the Klingon homeworld), and where a cure for death has been found in Khan's blood. Not to mention the absurd political situation, with a corrupt Starfleet operating accord to some bizarre system of personal prerogative of individual commanders rather than any rational chain of command.

Comment: SOX, HIPAA, SEC & other regs (Score 2) 382

by prgrmr (#48859077) Attached to: FBI Seeks To Legally Hack You If You're Connected To TOR Or a VPN
There are a host of federal regulations regarding maintaining the privacy of data that necessitate the use of corporate VPNs. Were the FBI to hack a corporate VPN and expose regulated data to the internet or the public via documents in an open hearing, the circus that would ensue as the Attorney General would try to explain how the FBI is exempt from all of those regs would be both entertaining and horrific.

Comment: Re:selling your vote versus the secret ballot (Score 2) 480

by Mr. Slippery (#48796097) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

The open ballot worked fine in the US for 100 years.

Are you seriously referring to the era of American history when slavery and Native American genocide were at their peak, when women and those of the wrong skin color were deprived of the vote, when worker revolts were regularly put down by armed force, when violence at the polls was a regular occurrence, as a time when voting "worked fine"?

Here's how we used to vote. Any claim that this system "worked fine" is disconnected from reality.

The ahistoricalism of American political discourse never ceases to amaze me. Nor does the desire for technical fixes to social problems: to get voters to vote, we don't need on-line voting, we need better candidates, a reform of ballot access and campaign finance laws. (And a preference ballot and ad binding "none-of-the-above" option.)

Comment: Re:PICK Basic Variants (Score 1) 242

by prgrmr (#48750013) Attached to: Little-Known Programming Languages That Actually Pay
I used to be a Pick programmer, but was fortunate enough to switch over to system administration just in time to survive the dotcom bust and remain employed, while some of my former coworkers who had jumped ship to various start-ups were now out looking for work. Then I discovered Python, which, unlike perl, java, or php, has gotten me to consider jumping back into being a full-time programmer again.

Comment: taxes, revenue, and budget (Score 1) 78

by prgrmr (#48746207) Attached to: Space Policy Guru John Logsdon Has Good News and Bad News On NASA Funding
There is plenty of money to be had for NASA, Congress simply needs to do its job better to get it. Stop monkeying with the tax code and make corporations actually pay income tax and there will be plenty of revenue. Stop giving already profitable industries tax credits. Big Oil is going to get 20 billion in tax credits, deductions, and actual subsidized dollars handed to them. Take 15% of that and hand it back to NASA and they can fund, for example, any of the several proposed follow-on missions for Cassini and send an airship to Titan to do further and more detailed exploration of one of the more earth-like bodies in our solar system, and make use of the single window of opportunity we will have prior to 2050 to get there. Or create a corporate version of the alternative minimum tax so that no Fortune 5000 company gets to skate tax-free and then use those funds to begin a program of not just Lunar exploration, but the establishment of a permanent base on the moon. But most importantly, if we don't better fund the Near-Earth Object search, none of the other things will matter at all.

Comment: Re:Knuth is right. (Score 3, Insightful) 149

Discreet mathematique are the basis for computing

Not at the semiconductor junction level.

You are confusing computing with computers. Indeed, a "computer" used to be a human being implementing algorithms with a mechanical adding machine, and then were tube-based electrical systems, and in the future may use something wholely other than semiconductors; computing, however, remains the same. A bubble sort is still a bubbble sort.

Comment: Re:Going for cop's gun drastically escalates situa (Score 1) 368

by Mr. Slippery (#48667159) Attached to: Study: Police Body-Cams Reduce Unacceptable Use of Force

Brown was shot because he escalated the situation to a "high risk arrest" by going for the cop's gun. Period.

We have no evidence that Brown was trying to take Wilson's gun, only the word of a cop who's been caught lying before. Cops know that "he was going for my gun" are magic words to justify themselves when they commit murders.

And of course it's irrevelvant whether Brown tried to get control of Wilson's gun earlier in the confrontation. Brown was not trying to do so when he was murdered, he was (according to the majority of witness testimony) attempting to surender.

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.

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