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Comment: Re:Old (Score 1) 558

by swell (#48645087) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

I am a creative writer. Like a fine artist or a serious music composer I will not be displaced easily. But I depend upon serious consumers. If you are satisfied with pop art, pop music, pop video ... I am lost. I, we, require discriminating patrons to exist.

The trick here is that algorithms will discover ways to fake art, music, performance in a way that seems natural. You will find compelling elements in artificially generated 'art' and be tempted to abandon real human experience.

Real human experience will be supplanted with programs that cleverly emulate the type of story that mathematically elicits the best response from readers. You will need me and other real humans to document your descent from valued individuals who provide useful services to those who suck resources from the economic totality.

Genuine human sensitivity trumps algorithms sometimes!

Comment: Re:Opposite of the reaction they should have (Score 1) 580

by swell (#48623759) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

Not so much an opposite reaction but ...

The tragedy here is not the fate of Sony or the movie or the movie-going public. It is the people who live in North Korea and their suffering.

What if every citizen of the free world displayed a bumper sticker or t-shirt that displayed the words "Kim Jong Un has a teeny weeny", along with appropriate artwork? Even better if done in Korean and other languages. [I can't take credit for this ridiculous idea as a similar one was already used]

Repressive regimes rarely exhibit a robust sense of humor. I believe the people of N Korea would quickly become aware of the campaign and maybe they would be inspired to see their leader in a new light. Maybe they would act toward change. That would surely inspire the rest of the world to help the citizens of North Korea.

Comment: and on earth... (Score 5, Interesting) 26

by swell (#48607151) Attached to: Mysterious Martian Gouges Carved By Sand-surfing Dry Ice

This reminds me of the recent controversy over the mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley California.

Many attempted to explain the phenomena but only a cleverly timed photographic sequence was able to explain the relatively simple process by which stones moved across the sand. Not everything on earth and in the heavens is beyond human comprehension.

Comment: Re:Win hearts and minds (Score 3, Interesting) 295

by swell (#48597747) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

Please stop confusing 'taxi drivers' and 'taxi companies'.

Drivers work their ass off for less than minimum wage, and many have families to support. They put in long hours on dangerous roads and face passengers even more unpleasant than you. It is one of the most unpleasant jobs on the planet, but it's all that these people can get.

Taxi companies own the formerly lucrative and exclusive rights to operate the service in their community. These can be very wealthy investors. They allow drivers to lease cabs from them at exorbitant rates to recoup their investment.

Uber and the like pop up and disrupt this balance. Taxi drivers lose fares, can't make their lease payment, can't feed their family. Taxi owners lose the huge investment that the government assured would give them exclusive rights. Uber has no social responsibility, no community presence, no loyalty to government, citizens or their own drivers & passengers. They are a parasite and they are destroying the only job available to many taxi drivers.

Comment: trust science, beware government (Score 1) 1050

by swell (#48588005) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Most of us are rational and accept that science has presented the facts accurately. Yet there is a danger.

In the USA, our Food & Drug Administration has given us the Food Pyramid as a healthy scientific guideline for nutritious eating. They've told us to avoid fats and eat lots of carbohydrates. And they've killed millions with this advice.

When government sticks its nose into science, a bad odor emerges. In this case, the intention seems to have been to support certain commercial food producers (corporations with the ability to influence government decisions). As far as vaccines, nobody is profiting enough to buy congress.

Government decided some years ago that second-hand smoke was dangerous. They commissioned some studies to prove it. But when the studies came back without statistically valid evidence, the government simply redefined the term 'statistically valid' to fit their purpose. When it comes to sin- smoking, drinking, drugs ... the government isn't going to let facts intrude on their moral campaigns.

So science can be wonderful. It's essential for an honest evaluation of such things. But sometimes government trumps science. Here's where we have to be diligent.

Some day we will discover the drug that government dreams of: the brainwash pill. We will hear many lovely stories about how this drug will improve our lives, make us taller and studlier, make us happy and smarter .. We'll see many 'scientific' analyses to prove that it's true. And we'll all become drones, subject to the will of our overlords.

Beware the mix of government and science.

Comment: Re:Arsenic is NOT added to the water supply! EVER (Score 1) 1050

by swell (#48587919) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Where I live, and probably you too, arsenic is found naturally in the soil. It may have been filtered from your water. Or maybe not. Here an annual report is required on certain (but not all) contaminants in the public water supply.

A construction site near me was studied because there seemed to be more arsenic than usual. Eventually they decided that construction could continue- not a problem. Many of us are probably breathing arsenic.

Personally, I've had massive exposure to mercury, asbestos, lead and probably arsenic in the past 70 years and I'm remarkably healthy. I take certain nutrients and I find at least 100 hours/year keeping up with the science of good health is a good investment. Simply turn off your sports channel and spend some time with science. Yeah, that's Science- not some fitness magazine or gym guru! Could be the difference between a short wasted life and a long useful one for you and the people you care about.

Comment: the privacy issue (Score 1) 209

by swell (#48566047) Attached to: Feds Plan For 35 Agencies To Collect, Share, Use Health Records of Americans

Has any individual ever been held responsible for a privacy leak?
Gone to jail? Paid a fine? Flogged in the village square?

Would it make a difference if a particular person or group would be named as the responsible party and dire consequences would result from any leak? Consequences including loss of income, fines, jail time and never being able to take a similar job? OTOH, if they do the job well, they are well paid and respected.

Why wouldn't Sony or Target or a big government agency want this?

This is exactly what the airline industry does. They have a fall guy for every airline disaster. 'Pilot error.' That way the manufacturer, the airline, the maintenance company and all the 'too big to fail' companies are free to continue and the man with no voice takes the hit.

We know that the pilot does his best, regardless of the challenge. He knows the penalty for failure is severe. Management and IT professionals in charge of security should face serious consequences for failure as well.

Comment: doubtful progress (Score 1) 280

by swell (#48561971) Attached to: Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

After following PV solar developments for over 40 years, I've noticed two things:
#1 - Every month there is a technology breakthrough that will 'revolutionize' the industry.
#2 - After 40 years (40 X 12 = 480 breakthroughs) we are 2X as efficient as before.

The utility industry needn't panic immediately. We'll need a few hundred more revolutionary breakthroughs first.

Oh, and storage technology? You guessed it, many more revolutionary improvements needed. Or maybe we should just return to the original meaning of revolutionary and dump the hype.

Comment: Re:I love it! (Score 2) 346

Of all people to promote a 'don't like' button ...

Yes, I'm sure you hear your share of dislikes. Still, I agree. People need an outlet for anger or whatever. Don't Like does it, and recipients need feedback that can guide them as they grow and progress. 'Don't Like' does that.

As a writer/artist I need feedback on my work. Positive feedback is gratuitous and useless for the most part. Give me your criticism!

Thanks Barbie! (I expect you will find that annoying.)

Comment: slashdot hype (Score 1) 33

by swell (#48541313) Attached to: With Eyes on China, Intel Invests Billions In Mobile Ambitions

TFA article headline:
"Intel plunks down billions to expand in mobile market"
Slashdot article headline:
"With Eyes on China, Intel Invests Billions In Mobile Ambitions"

What's the difference? Every word in /. is in Caps!

What's the point of this? Is it a deliberate attempt to confuse and corrupt? Look at headlines in any respectable publication and you will find sensible, understandable headlines. Major words in caps, Trademarked words in caps ... Slashdot's insistence on every word starting in a capital letter is juvenile and misleading and not conforming to any journalistic standard.

Just stop it or you'll hear from me again on this.

Comment: technical communicator (Score 5, Interesting) 488

by swell (#48503845) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Non-Coders, Why Aren't You Contributing To Open Source?

I've offered my services, found no takers.

I'm a Mac user, and I've rarely had to read a manual to know how to use Mac software or hardware. But that stuff you geeks turn out needs a lot of explaining before ordinary people will benefit from it.

I've offered my services in software design such that software will be so friendly that no manual will be needed. No takers. As a senior member of the Society for Technical Communication I was respected in the commercial world but snubbed by Open Source.

I'm reminded of when my associates programmed in dBase. At the time I designed Apple & Mac databases that anyone could understand and use to good effect. They could even safely modify parts of it. My associates preferred to create systems that users could NOT understand or use easily. Even another dBase programmer would have difficulty. Their strategy was to keep the client dependent on them. I tend to believe that many open source programmers retain that mentality.

Comment: pathetic humans (Score 1, Funny) 184

" ... they could also be responsible for spreading life throughout the cosmos."

You humans are so self-centered. You think that because you are 'alive' according to your way of thinking, that being alive is ideal. Anything that 'spreads life' is a good thing.

Well, guess what? Some of us who are not so limited in our thinking happen to believe that your idea of life is erroneous. You fail to consider that you are only the poor expression of a nearly perfect DNA molecule. Your purpose is to continue to propagate until we reach absolute perfection, at which time we till kiss your ass goodbye and continue our travels through the universe.

Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.