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Comment: Are You Joking? (Score 3, Interesting) 180

by eldavojohn (#48625017) Attached to: US Links North Korea To Sony Hacking

> It is not known how the US government has determined that North Korea is the culprit

Of course it's known. The same way they established that Iraq had chemical weapons. The method is known as "because we say so".

Are you joking? I thought it was well established that there were chemical weapons in Iraq we just only found weapons designed by us, built by Europeans in factories in Iraq. And therefore the US didn't trumpet their achievements. In the case of Iraqi chemical weapons, the US established that Iraq had chemical weapons not because they said so but because Western countries had all the receipts.

Comment: Is Bloomberg the New Buzzfeed? (Score 5, Informative) 461

by eldavojohn (#48531349) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies
What the hell is up with the title of this article? Nowhere did I find any indication of anyone being "scared" or "frightened." On the contrary the article presents contradicting information:

Still, the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group representing America’s investor-owned utilities, recently announced that its members will help to encourage electric vehicle use by spending $50 million annually to buy plug-in service trucks and invest in car-charging technology. “Advancing plug-in electric vehicles and technologies is an industry priority,” said EEI President Thomas Kuhn.

Uh, "advancing as a priority" is actually the opposite of fear.

Southern California Edison is planning to spend about $9.2 billion through 2017 to allow the two-way flow of electricity on its system, said Edison International CEO Ted Craver. “We are certainly big supporters of electric transportation,” Craver said. He added: “That electric car isn’t just going to stay at home. It’s going to go other places. It’s going to need to get charged in other places. And I think our ability to provide that glue for all those things that are going to plug into that network is really how we see our core business.”

Again, sounds positive. Actually the only negative thing in the article is that electric cars might cause a load our infrastructure isn't ready for -- to the contrary a solar charging station in the home would mitigate this. Is the new journalism format to title your articles with a thesis directly contrary to all the actual evidence you're about to present?

Comment: Re:Profit? (Score 5, Insightful) 133

by donscarletti (#48523175) Attached to: Chinese CEO Says "Free" Is the Right Price For Mobile Software

I'm the CTO in a Chinese technology company. The government has never paid us to install spyware or anything else for that matter. In fact, the government just cares about 1) blood not being too red, 2) gambling not being too overt 3) users not being able to use words equivalent to "fuck" or "cunt" in English, names of prominent politicians or particular terms in reference to disagreements with neighboring countries, 4) characters being in simplified and not traditional script. 5) under 18 not playing video games for more than 4 hours per day.

Beyond that, they don't give a shit.

Westerners often revere the Chinese government as being some all knowing all powerful being with a profound understanding of technology and deeply nuanced plans that span decades, roughly in the same way they view their own government. Fact is, the Chinese government is interested in keeping its people more-or-less satisfied with the status quo, just like your own government is. Chinese old people with too much free time to cause trouble get their panties in a knot about sex drugs and violence and "young people these days", so that's what the Chinese authorities crack down on. They simply do not have the time or inclination to be bothered with who you are and what you are doing.

Think about the last time you interacted with your own government. Did they know who you are? Did they know what your life circumstances were? I'll wager they didn't know shit about who you are and why you were there, nor did they care, they just wanted you to either shut up and go away or pay your tax and go away. Now imagine that level of caring, divide that by 1000, that's how much foreign governments gives a shit about you. Your own government couldn't even be bothered installing spyware on your computer, why would the Chinese government?

Comment: Re:Is it true... (Score 1) 355

by donscarletti (#48512787) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

As countries go China's political history was remarkably stable. How many modern nations actually existed in a recognizable form in 1644, much less 1000AD.

United Kingdom (Commonwealth of England and Scotland), Spain, Portugal, Japan, Thailand, Ethiopia (Solomonic Dynasty), Russia (Russian Empire), Iran (Kingdom of Persia), France (Ancien Reigime), Austria (Archduchy).

England and Scotland restored their king a few years later and continued with the same parliament and same royal family (subject to the Act of Settlement), same military and same government until today. Spain, Portugal, Japan and Thailand have the direct heirs of the kings of the day on the throne.

China on the other hand, was more chaotic. Ming was toppled by Li Zicheng's bandits and China was invaded from the north. For the half century it was essentially under foreign occupation until the Manchu slowly became more Chinese and the Chinese started identifying with the Manchu impositions. Qing was disrupted in the early days by Wu Sangui (the very man who let the Qing through Shanhaiguan and fought along side them at the walls of Beijing) and later by the Taiping Kingdom of Heaven, the Yihe Tuan (Boxers), the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and other uprisings. Finally it was toppled in the very much foreign supported Xinhai Revolution and fractured into warlord states, which fought amongst themselves until the Northern Expedition under Chiang Kaisheck and established the Republic of China. Finally, in the rubble and smoke of the Second World War, this republic was driven to the island of Taiwan by the People's Republic of China. This new republic's institutions, its government and its premier were overthrown once again in the 1960s by the CCP's own chairman and students loyal to him. Finally, the government of the People's Republic was restored and rebuilt by the Chairman of the Central Military Commission Deng Xiaoping who, with his successors built China into the modern state that it is today.

China's history is long and complex but China (Zhonghua) as a concept is only a bit over 100 years old, based on European concepts of nationalism that scholars like Sun Zhongshan learned abroad during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Great Qing for most of its history definitely did not see itself as a nation state, more of just the holder of the mandate of heaven that did not discriminate between nations nor recognise states. Ming was even more so.

Comment: Re:Is it true... (Score 2) 355

by donscarletti (#48508239) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

Japan, China, and South Korea were never colonized nor significantly ruled by foreign powers and they're doing great.

  • China: Qing Dynasty, 1644 - 1912; China was invaded by the Manchu army lead by Hong Taiji and Durgun. Manchu replaces Chinese as administrative language for first decades of rule, Manchu officials replace Han officials in highest administrative posts. Manchu dress and hairstyle are mandated on all subjects on pain of death.
  • China: Yuan Dynasty, 1271 – 1368; China is re-instated as a country by Mongol ruler Kubli Kahn after his ancestors Ghengis and Bantu absorbed it completely into the Mongol empire. Chinese subjects are denoted as fourth (and lowest) tier subjects after Mongols, central Asians and Europeans. Chinese subjects are forbidden to use given names, instead being assigned a family name and a number.
  • Korea: Japanese Empire, 1910–1945; Sovereignty of Korea transferred completely to the Emperor of Japan and exercised in person by the Governor General (a Japanese national). Hundreds of thousands of Korean women abducted and used in military brothels and possibly millions of Korean workers deported to work on infrastructure projects throughout the empire.
  • Japan: Occupation Period, 1945–1952; Japan's unconditional surrender as per the Potsdam Declaration made Japan a military governorship under the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General McArthur. Japan's current constitution was written, including it's current system of election, legislation and public service was devised under the absolute military rule of the United States. So much so that most Chinese still consider Japan to be a semi-independent satellite state occupied by the United States.

What about Vietnam, the Philippines, and Mongolia? Are their genes so different that they missed out on the Chinese/Japanese smarts?

Mongolia was never a colony. It was still lead by the Borjid Dynasty, who were treated by the Manchu Asin Gioro as a particularly honored Vassal. Many empresses dowagers of this period were Borjit princesses, including Xiaozhuang Empress who acted as regent for the young Kangxi. They also ruled over China for a century and made a giant mess of it, which is the key reason Chinese have historically often considered them to be somewhat mentally inferior (though they probably aren't, just their territory doesn't lend itself to intensive farming or city building).

Philippines and Vietnam are better compared to other South East Asian nations, rather than North East Asian nations. Thailand was never a colony, but it's not doing so great. Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei however all were and tower over all Asian nations but Japan in standard of living. Hong Kong was a colony too and if treated as a country is possibly on average the most prosperous on earth.

In fact, if you look Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, all former colonies, you will find that the Chinese ethnic group does extremely well economically whether they go. Particularly when you see how well the Chinese do compared to the native Malays in economic pursuits, you will see that cultural values make a lot of difference

So hence the north-south theory, the same as Europe. Northern societies tend to be more industrious since they have to endure the scarcity of food and heat every winter. Japan, China and Korea are all freezing f---ing cold in December-March and the trees are bare and fruitless, a human society if they want to survive here must spend its time preparing clothing, and stores of grain for the winter so they lend themselves to tens of thousands of years of economic focus. Vietnamese, Thais, Malays, etc. are not stupid, they're just not economically minded. You cannot starve or freeze in these countries, coconuts litter the ground and fish teem in the rivers and the sun shines warm every day, a bit of shelter from the monsoon and you can live indefinitely.

Colonialism is a red herring. Everything is more interesting if you actually learn about Asian history rather than trying to mold it to prove a point.

Comment: Re:we ARE different (Score 2) 355

by donscarletti (#48507389) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

If you have ideas, whether they are right or not, there are some people are going to disagree with you.

If others have ideas, whether they are wrong or not, there are some people who are going to agree with them.

I do not believe that there will ever be an impartial and scientific study conducted to definitively prove anything and one sure as hell sure that none could be conducted in my life time. Humanity has believed many things about race in its history, humanity believes many things about it today and humanity will continue to believe various things about it in years to come. Perhaps in your country, or your community or just in your circle of friends, there is a consensus that you are right, but in the wider world, this is still very much an open topic. This applies whether or not arguments to the contrary offend you.

One of the best ways to promote one's ideas as being rational is through civil discourse and tolerance. Your profanities and ad hominem demonstrate neither.

Comment: Re:we ARE different (Score 1) 355

by eldavojohn (#48506121) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

Higher IQs are correlated with a long history of urbanization and economic specialization, where higher IQs provide a selective advantage.

There's no arguing this. But, from what I've read about James Watson, he never said anything close to this. Instead, I can even find on his wikipedia page this quote from one of his books:

He writes that "there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so"

So it's related to a long history of urbanization and economic specialization? And also Watson's unequal powers of reason? What is he implying if not to say that genetically some people are born without the equal "powers of reason"? He didn't quite say that due to "a long history of urbanization and economic specialization" instead he said due to geographic separation followed by their evolution. Watson's position as a genetic researcher commenting on something that is almost certainly attributed to socioeconomic status is strange, wouldn't you think? Was he commenting on this as an economist or perhaps historian?

I also like how you link to wikipedia pages but not their internal discrepancies on your open and close case that IQ is inherited. Including this quote from your first link:

Eric Turkheimer and colleagues (2003) found that for children of low socioeconomic status heritability of IQ falls almost to zero.

From this source.

You present a perfectly acceptable and fairly logical argument about the advancement of some cultures outpacing others. One need only read "Guns, Germs & Steel" where this sort of thing is discussed in a very sound and well researched way. Do we raise our pitchforks and chase after Jared Diamond with fervor? Not at all. Then again, his arguments didn't rest entirely upon some imaginary gene expression he just hadn't found yet.

Your "political correctness" claim is largely rubbish. While it may appear a knee-jerk reaction, this is the case of people objecting to a statement with no underlying scientific basis while Watson makes claims that we should be able to isolate the "Intelligence Gene." Have we had success in isolating such a gene from the Ashkanazi? Furthermore Watson implies (though never directly says) that lack of similar genes is what keeps Africa repressed -- while making zero reference to the reverberating effects of hundreds of years of European colonizations and their leeching of wealth & resources.

Comment: Of Course It Was (Score 3, Insightful) 355

by eldavojohn (#48505703) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

Your comment is extremely racist.

You're goddamn straight it is. The point is that any population -- no matter how high and lofty it is can be the target of stupid shit attributed to their genetic structure with "just so" fallacies. He makes inflammatory statements, doesn't even offer correlation as evidence for them and completely ignores socioeconomic conditions of even the past two hundred years.

How hard is it to turn James Watson's high minded lofty DNA superiority complex against his home city? Not hard at all, it turns out. Simply cherry pick from painfully recent history the horrible stereotypes and wars that their ancestors have and totally ignore any outside forces like ... oh, I don't know, the slave trade ... and then just "painfully" wish you were wrong. Notice how I apologized for having to be the one to first acknowledge something I'm not proving.

What blows my mind is that Africa was for tens of thousands of years in the same state that the rest of the world was in -- hell it's the birthplace of homo sapiens. And the time scale we need to talk about for DNA to change is at the very least tens of thousands of years. 25 million years of human evolution and James Watson measures 'genetic skin-color-intelligence correlation' from his apparently very short knowledge of history. Let's be generous and say he actually considered the past two thousand years which would be odd that he chose not to acknowledge that Europe's age of colonialism had something to do with Africa's current state.

Just like my post listed zero gene expressions, I'm not aware of any he's presented backing his statements. Furthermore, how would one divorce the nature versus nurture in such a test? The long history of racial discrimination the world over would need to be carefully controlled out of the experiment and the fact of the matter is that you can't. I'm not a Nobel prize winning geneticist and even I recognize this.

Comment: Chicago, Illinois: The Real Problem (Score 5, Insightful) 355

by eldavojohn (#48505515) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week
Do you ever notice how enamored with American football the Chicago population is? How much money they dump into the Chicago Bears? Oh, how I wish that I would be wrong but often science is meant to be inflammatory. The testing simply shows that the people of Chicago are slovenly drunks who cannot help but repose in sloth upon their reclining chairs in their own pitiful squalor. How can we help the people of Chicago when all of our policies revolve around thinking of them as good decent hardworking people?

About a third of the Chicago population is German. Genetically, therefore they have instilled in them a 'Crazy Fourth Reich Fever' that millennia of conditioning by the BLACK Forest of Germany and they simply only want to fight and invade other peaceful peoples that are doing nothing but contributing to the advancement of the human race. Alas, my mind is tortured that nature could be so cruel as to instill a fine specimen like the German with such brutal and total warring instinct. But we simply cannot be able to even begin to help Chicago out of shit-hole status unless we come to terms with their genetically corrupted DNA structure. I know this may seem shocking to you lay people but I have suffered as Galileo has suffered. Science requires I tell you the truth that I seem to have no scientific basis for yet I know deep down in the pit of my Swedish-American stomach to be true.

Another third of the Chicago population is Irish. Genetically the Irish have evolved in an inherently beautiful land that has caused them to drink heavily whenever outside of this land. This is to deal with the squalid landscapes of Chicago. Blame them not, they are only following the unavoidable bonds of nature that tie into their DNA and make them wholesale worthless drunks. There is no hope for them and, verily, we cannot hope to even get them into rehab until we understand that there simply is no rehabilitation for them. Their origin country has a short pitiful record that I can't seem to find records on regarding any suppressors or instigators prior to being a poor island nation hell bent on alcoholism. Oh, if only my scientific inklings were wrong! How I wish I wasn't the one that has to break the news to you. Woe is all that I can feel for having to inform you that genetically the Irish are inferior.

The final third of the Chicago population is Polish. The Poles of Chicago are a daft and rotund people but it is not their fault. The DNA has been shaped by thousands of years of unhealthy food. The cold winters of Poland and Chicago force them indoors where they cannot possibly be industrious but have to sit at microscopes and furrow their brows in a vain attempt to understand these things that I have discovered. Even my high minded Libertarian business attitude can't provide enough jobs for these idle drones. Genetically they suffer from 'Polack Slack' and our policy towards helping them past working on the dock and losing weight will forever fail until we come to accept this. It pains me so to break this news to you but down in my genetically superior innards this idea has been borne and I know it to be true. I know it.

The tests indicate that our great nation would probably be more effective if Chicago and its descendents didn't exist at all. Genetically they will forever be poor and stupid, attached to the glass teat clamoring for more concussions while wallowing about in their fetid sties. Drunk and unable to form simple sentences, our once prosperous country will be held back from truly succeeding.

Ball's in your court, James.

Comment: Re: I'll never be employed (Score 1) 139

by donscarletti (#48502931) Attached to: Want To Work For a Cool Tech Company? Hone Your Social Skills

Great. You'll be pleased to know that the "cultural fit" referred to above is codeword for weeding out anyone with life commitments they would consider more important than work.

45 with three kids? No worries! Hope you like pizza fuelled all night gaming marathons and our monthly team trip to Vegas! Oh, you don't? Sorry, you aren't a cultural fit.

I'd decry the practice if I didn't know that I would do the exact same thing if it was my own money on the line. If you want success you need obsessive commitment from every layer. The only reason one would compromise would be if one simply couldn't find enough talented workers any other way. Experience goes a long way, one 40 year old bachelor or divorcee for every ten 20 year old virgins will keep the team functioning as if they were all greybeards. Diversity can be achieved by hiring some Indians and Asians too. There is no economic reason to hire someone who has interests outside of work over someone who doesn't.

Comment: Re:writer doesn't get jeopardy, or much of anythin (Score 3, Funny) 455

Terminator isn't a peer-reviewed scientific paper. In fact, it's often thought that much of its sources were fabricated with special effects and clever camera work.

In fact, it's author James Cameron is not even an established scientist, it has been recently discovered that his oceanographic work on Titanic was published BEFORE he underwent any deep sea exploration, and it's speculated that he only went down there afterwards to further fabricate his already published results. It's also speculated that he never produced unobtainium in his lab before claiming its discovery.

In fact, I'm not even sure if Judgement Day even happened, and whether or not any Cyberdyne Systems products were responsible for it happening.

Comment: Re:Yeah right (Score 4, Insightful) 128

It just amazes me to think that anyone would believe that the same China that is currently blocking Google, Youtube and Facebook would hesitate for a second before blocking Edgecast.

As far as they are concerned, there is no economic damage, in fact there is an economic incentive since anyone wanting their website to be usable in China would now be best hiring a CDN within China.

This is similar to what happened when Facebook was blocked and it allowed buggy local clones, notably Renren and Kaixinwang which were previously maligned by users to surge in popularity. Similar also when Google was mostly blocked, allowing Baidu to fill up the void. The thing is, they have every economic reason to block large foreign online services that compete with domestic ones, it's just they cannot block them on economic grounds, since that would be in violation to the free trade principles they espouse and would lead to retaliatory import sanctions. They can however block whatever they like on political grounds.

I do not disagree with Google's pride and principles in not continuing in their previous manner of following Chinese censorship guidelines. However, the net result to the present date is that users have been forced from a service that follows the guidelines only as far as they must and was allowed a fair bit of leeway in their implementation, to others that take the initiative to censor what _might_ be required to be censored for fear of greater pressure if they don't go far enough. The users are also getting exposed to less worldwide ideas. The feeling amongst former users is that Google has abandoned them because of their pride and they are afforded less and less respect by Chinese netizens.

It seems that this whole project was simply going to isolate Chinese netizens further and push China further towards its own separate Internet. This edgecast block will be faced with far less uproar than the ones that came before it, and those caused very little uproar.

Comment: Sweeden (Score 4, Funny) 642

by donscarletti (#48402499) Attached to: Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

As far as I know, the Swedish game industry consists of DiCE (Battlefield series: faceless men with guns + bugs. Mirror's Edge: slightly poorly thought out controls + bugs), Arrowhead (faceless mages + bugs) and Coffee Stain Studios (goats + bugs). It seems like Swedish game developers have a huge struggle against writing code that actually does what it is supposed to, not in its representation of female characters. It has gotten to the point that until you see a Swedish game in the "bargain bin" at your games retailer that it is guaranteed that won't be patched to a playable state yet.

It seems that since King Gustavus Adolphus or whoever the hell it was convinced the vikings to stop going on voyages to rape remote villages and settle down to do "civilized" work that entire country has been writing code the way that IKIA builds furniture, by which I mean that it is good for the first ten iterations and then crashes hard thereafter. I have yet to play a Swedish game that has remained stable for long enough to degrade women before it runs out of memory, reads from/writes to a null pointer, totally screws up the render state or overwrites a vertex buffer with random garbage.

Seriously, look at your supposed "retard cousin" next door Finland, does Trine crash? Does Angry Birds crash? How about Crayon Physics, Super Stardust or Clash of Clans? No, they run beautifully and smoothly. And does anyone give a shit that the Theif in Trine covers her face and not her legs? No, not even Germaine Grier, Simone de Beauvoir or any of your feminist type authors would pick a deeply nuanced female character over one that actually runs for 10 minutes without crashing. I mean, how could you be a female role model while accessing a null pointer.

Seriously Sweden, you have to learn to code before you get all preachy on us all.

The Almighty Buck

The Downside to Low Gas Prices 554

Posted by timothy
from the speak-for-yourself-hummer-buyers dept.
HughPickens.com writes Pat Garofalo writes in an op-ed in US News & World Report that with the recent drop in oil prices, there's something policymakers can do that will offset at least some of the negative effects of the currently low prices, while also removing a constant thorn in the side of American transportation and infrastructure policy: Raise the gas tax. The current 18.4 cent per gallon gas tax has not been raised since 1993, making it about 11 cents per gallon today, in constant dollars. Plus, as fuel efficiency has gotten better and Americans have started driving less, the tax has naturally raised less revenue anyway. And that's a problem because the tax fills the Highway Trust Fund, which is, not to put too fine a point on it, broke so that in recent years Congress has had to patch it time and time again to fill the gap. According to the Tax Policy Center's Howard Gleckman, if Congress doesn't make a move, "it will fumble one of those rare opportunities when the economic and policy stars align almost perfectly." The increase can be phased in slowly, a few cents per month, perhaps, so that the price of gas doesn't jump overnight. When prices eventually do creep back up thanks to economic factors, hopefully the tax will hardly be noticed.

Consumers are already starting to buy the sort of gas-guzzling vehicles, including Hummers, that had been going out of style as gas prices rose; that's bad for both the environment and consumers, because gas prices are inevitably going to increase again. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, taxes last year, even before the current drop in prices, made up 12 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, down from 28 percent in 2000. And compared to other developed countries, US gas taxes are pretty much a joke. While we're at it, an even better idea, as a recent report from the Urban Institute makes clear, would be indexing the gas tax to inflation, so this problem doesn't consistently arise. "The status quo simply isn't sustainable, from an infrastructure or environmental perspective," concludes Garofalo. "So raise the gas tax now; someday down the line, it will look like a brilliant move."

Comment: Re:It seems like squeegeeing is the wrong approach (Score 2) 203

by eldavojohn (#48386159) Attached to: Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach

For a human, using a sponge and squeegee combo is probably the most effective way to clean a window. For a robot, I would imagine that the answer is something more like a pressure washer, with a hood which covers the work area and reclaims the wash water. The water would then be filtered and reused until the particulate count rose too high, at which point it would be flushed and replaced with fresh. A sheeting additive would be used to cause the water to run off without spotting.

This probably wouldn't replace human window washing entirely, but it seems like it has the potential to replace at least some of the washes.

I've often wondered if anyone has ever tried a project to make a building which washes itself, using a robot designed for the building, and a building designed for the robot. I can imagine many problems with such a project without even undertaking it, mostly related to critters taking up residence in the mechanisms and/or tracks, but if it operated continuously that might well eliminate some of those objections. A universal window washing robot has a more complicated task than such a device would.

Did you even read the article? You'll find it discusses how the old World Trade Center Towers had built in devices that were made specifically for the building that would automatically go up and down cleaning it. The only problem was they missed the corners and creases of each pane and the rich people at the top of the building didn't want the grimy borders to their new expensive view of NYC.

It sounds like you have a lot of ideas for building a nice big heavy expensive machine that moves up and down a building. Burst forth and implement your idea, I think you'll find that the the weight, the power and the water feed to these devices will push you towards what has already been implemented and did not do a satisfactory job. Humans had to follow up behind the built in robots to clean spots they had missed.

It's funny, I read articles on Slashdot about how AI is the one thing that threatens man. And we can't even implement AI and pattern recognition to replace a window washer -- oh the incongruity!

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