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Comment: Re:Of course you can take things too far... (Score 1) 79

by Idarubicin (#48752059) Attached to: The Downside of Connected Healthcare: Cyberchondria

but I've always thought it was strange that people will spend days learning about, debugging, and fixing their car or computer...

Who are these "people"? Sure, there are some who will do this - and this being Slashdot, we've probably got a population enriched in them - but if you take a random person with a car or computer problem, they will just ask (respectively) their local mechanic or teenager--in exactly the same way that many people approach their doctors.

Yes, there exist people who will try to troubleshoot their cars, computers, or their own bodies. And there exist subsets within those groups who can are capable of doing so in a way that makes things better rather than worse. Most people aren't comfortable going beyond the most basic diagnostic steps in any of those three spheres, however. Putting gas in the car is their limit; checking the oil and topping up the washer fluid is something that happens at the dealership, and borrowing an OBD-II reader to interpret a Check Engine light is in the realm of black magic.

Worse, there are also people who spend good money on magic grounding straps for their cars, insist on clicking on VIRUS WARNING links in spam emails, and who actually believe stuff that homeopathic practitioners tell them.

Comment: Re:Are emails copyrighted ? (Score 2) 138

by Idarubicin (#48711009) Attached to: Sony Sends DMCA Notices Against Users Spreading Leaked Emails

No that is not true. If I create some software I can license it or effectively give it away...

The fact that you - automatically - hold the copyright for the works you create doesn't prevent you from doing either of those things. Indeed, copyright is necessary for you to be able to license the work.

Comment: Not "ballistic" weapons (Score 1) 290

by Idarubicin (#48704619) Attached to: War Tech the US, Russia, China and India All Want: Hypersonic Weapons

Hypersonic weapons — or ballistic weapons that can hit a target flying many times faster than the speed of sound...

The summary is flat wrong in its terminology. A key point about hypersonic weapons, from a tactical and strategic standpoint, is that they aren't ballistic. They're potentially faster and sneakier.

Aside from acceleration during boost and (generally limited) manoeuvering during descent, ballistic weapons are - by definition - coasting unpowered for most of their flight time. Ballistic missiles put their warheads into an elliptical orbit that happens to intersect the surface of the earth (typically somewhere around Moscow) and let gravity do most of the work.

Hypersonic weapons, in stark contrast, are in powered flight for most or all of their journey. Instead of being lobbed up and coming back down, they can go straight to their target (modulo the curvature of the earth). They can travel a path and a velocity that is limited by their own engineering rather than by orbital mechanics. From a strategic standpoint, they would allow delivery of warheads (particularly nuclear warheads) in shorter times by less-detectable and less-interceptable courses, with all the attendant consequences for the calculus of nuclear war, first strikes, and mutually assured destruction.

Comment: Re:What the fuck is this pretentious bullshit? (Score 5, Funny) 190

by Idarubicin (#48684227) Attached to: Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

Mechanical switches are just like analog vinyl. Because the action is analog it isn't just on or off but has a slight curve between the states.

This. Exactly this. Inexperienced typists just don't get it.

To convey proper nuance in text, I don't always want exactly 1 letter "A" when I press the "A" key. Using uniform whole letters can seem jarring and mechanical, particularly when writing personal email. Sometimes a message composer only wants, say, 0.95 "A", just to soften the letter out. Other times, it's nice to smooth the letter out a bit, letting it fade out genty across the length of the word instead of being uncomfortably square.

These mechanical keyboards are usually tuned to be "warmer", as well--when you press that "A" key, it has overtones and harmonics from other vowels. A little bit of "E" goes a long way, but true "golden fingers" agree that plenty of "O" adds mellowness and roundness.

The adoption of these digital, non-mechanical keyboards is also one of the major reasons why emotion and subtext - especially related to humor - are so often lost in text-based messaging.

Comment: Re:Move to a gated community (Score 1) 611

by Idarubicin (#48606945) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

...all of these can be achieved by adding enough lanes to your freeways. Enough many be quite high number, butt hat's fine: building robust infrastructure to make life better is what my taxes are for.

"Robust infrastructure" is good. "Adding lanes to freeways" isn't the only way to reach that goal--and it isn't necessarily the most cost-effective use of those tax dollars. Just laying down roadbed and asphalt isn't terribly costly; call it $10 million or so per mile of 4-lane interstate. Building wider bridges, digging supplementary tunnels, constructing complex interchanges, realigning adjacent utility conduits and ramps--well, that costs quite a bit more. Expropriating massive amounts of land adjacent to existing interstates in dense urban areas - or adding parallel routes, or building stacked or buried lanes - is extraordinarily, sometimes ruinously, costly. (Boston's Big Dig cost something like $200 million per lane-mile.)

And each lane gets you about 2,000 cars per hour, at best. If you have a million people in the suburbs who want to get to work between 8 and 9am, and they're all driving their own vehicles, your system grinds to a halt unless there are 500 live Interstate lanes into the city. Worse, each additional car you add to the city means more traffic on the roads in town, and demand for parking, and production of local air pollution, and so forth. "Build more lanes" is a solution that ultimately just doesn't scale.

In contrast, bus rapid transit systems can achieve at least 10,000 passengers per hour and sometimes as high as 30,000 per hour depending on configuration. Light rail achieves similar passenger numbers. Metro (subway) systems typically top out north of 30,000 passengers per hour, per line; Hong Kong's metro system clears 80,000 per hour on its highest-traffic lines. (For those keeping score, that's enough to offset 40 Interstate lanes.)

Comment: Re:Sensors can't monitor climate change (Score 5, Insightful) 116

by Idarubicin (#48539637) Attached to: NSF Accused of Misuse of Funds In Giant Ecological Project

Sensors can monitor only weather. They can monitor neither climate nor change. Both must be calculated from series of data points.

That's sort of like saying you can't measure the area of a room using a tape measure,. After all, you have to perform a calculation based on the measurements you collect; the tape measure doesn't have an "area" reading. By one sufficiently pedantic, narrow, arrogant, obnoxious measure, you could argue that you were correct--and you probably would get punched by a lot of tradespeople who recognized you were just being an insufferable prick instead of making a useful contribution.

The sensors - or the tape measure - are necessary tools for the process, even though they don't directly output the final processed result.

Comment: Re:Only 25% positive? (Score 2) 342

by Idarubicin (#48495089) Attached to: Breath Test For Pot Being Developed At WSU

So the cops blood tested all of these people with what I assume is probably cause and only 25% were actually under the influence? Or do they just randomly blood test everyone and 25% of all Washington drivers are high?

Could be neither. In many jurisdictions, the roadside breath test (or field sobriety test) merely provides probable cause for law enforcement to obtain a warrant, with which they can compel a blood sample. I wouldn't be surprised if they are allowed to test for a range of intoxicating substances - including THC - and not just ethanol with these tests.

Note, as well, that "25% tested positive" is not the same as "25% were 'high' or intoxicated". Detectable amounts of THC or metabolites don't mean, necessarily, dangerous or intoxicating quantities. (Depending on exactly what was being tested, and the sensitivity of their instruments, they could have been seeing very low levels associated with marijuana use days or even weeks previously, or even with secondhand exposure.)

Comment: Another /. story that doesn't link to the paper (Score 2) 112

by Idarubicin (#48458375) Attached to: "Advanced Life Support" Ambulances May Lead To More Deaths

Sigh. Another Slashdot story about a new article published in a scientific journal, another Slashdot story that fails to link to the original published paper. I just noticed that the "News for nerds. Stuff that matters" tagline no longer appears on the Slashdot front page; this sort of omission is probably one of the reasons why.

For people who are interested in the actual data:

Sanghavi, P. et al. "Outcomes After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Treated by Basic vs Advanced Life Support." JAMA Intern Med Published online November 24, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.5420.

And here's the JAMA press release.

Comment: Re:Link to PNAS article (Score 1) 114

Because the "actual papers" are behind paywalls...

1. Not always the case. Some journals (or articles) are open access.

2. Many Slashdot readers have access to paywalled journal articles through our schools or employers.

3. Abstracts are virtually always free to access, and often still provide better information than news coverage.

4. Links are cheap, and there's no reason to avoid providing links to both the lay summary and the actual paper.

Comment: Link to PNAS article (Score 5, Informative) 114

Direct link to PNAS abstract.

Why, why, why is it that Slashdot always reports on new scientific discoveries with a link to a lay press summary or a press release, and never gives us the useful link to the actual papers with the real words by actual scientists? Aaaargh.

Comment: Re:So? (Score 1) 271

by Idarubicin (#48340717) Attached to: Dealer-Installed GPS Tracker Leads To Kidnapper's Arrest in Maryland

Scary thing you said one: The video should no bearing on the issuance of a warrant. As a rule, warrants should be issued on how reasonable a search it is, and likely to turn up evidence. Not, how horrifying the crime is.

Oh, I don't know. The seriousness of the potential crime -- for which the police have genuine probable cause to suspect has occurred -- probably should have some bearing on the warrant that is issued. There is a balancing of interests here, which you actually have buried in your own comment. "How reasonable", in your words, likely includes "how horrifying" as one of its elements--you just saw an opportunity to try to score a cheap rhetorical point.

Unless, of course, you believe that a judge should award a warrant with the same breadth and alacrity whether the video shows a kidnapping or the theft of a candy bar.

Comment: Re:I hate these "get out the vote campaigns (Score 5, Insightful) 468

by Idarubicin (#48285063) Attached to: Boo! The House Majority PAC Is Watching You

As well as those "register to vote the day of the election" deals. If you can't be bothered to pre-register to vote, or need to be pestered to vote, then you probably get 100% of your info on candidate's and issues from the mailers and TV/radio commercials.

I voted in a municipal election in Toronto, Canada earlier this week. Not on the voter's list? No problem--you can register at one of the city clerk's offices. There's five of them, serving a population of 2.6 million people. Oh, and they're open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. So that should be a snap to get to, as long as you don't have a full-time job, or a child to care for, or mobility issues. (You don't mind choosing between a couple of extra bus fares and eating lunch, do you?)

I followed the campaign closely, I was aware of the major issues of the day (as well as the minor issues that didn't get nearly enough coverage), I had strongly-held opinions based in thorough, extended research--and I registered to vote on the day of the election.

The notion that all people who didn't register in advance are somehow lazy, unworthy, and incompetent is canard that punishes the working poor, the single parents, the handicapped. Looking in from the outside, it's apparent that it's one piece of a larger Republican campaign to disenfranchise as many Democratic-leaning voters as possible. It's a story that is propagated by Fox News, the viewers of which are exemplars of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Comment: Re:Prison time (Score 4, Interesting) 275

by Idarubicin (#48230205) Attached to: CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

How the fuck is this modded insightful? Even at 0? This is the type of shit that gives SJW ammunition in claiming that IT culture is hostile to women. I like to believe the words that come out of my mouth when I argue that point.

You know, I just put together now that "SJW" is intended to be an acronym for "Social Justice Warrior" (which is in turn intended to be a derogatory phrase meaning, as far as I can tell, "uppity feminist"). For some weeks now, I have been pondering what the internet has against straight (or single) Jewish women. Now it makes a lot more sense.

That the "reasonable" faction of the male IT world - that the parent poster would like to think he represents - seems to believe that the SJW caricature represents a non-trivial force that is conspiring against him is troubling. That the acronym SJW exists and is presumably widely understood in his circles is rather more revealing about (his part of) "IT culture" than he probably thinks.

Don't get me wrong, the parent poster is better than the grandparent asshole who believes all rapes are imaginary--but just being better than the anonymous trolling asshole isn't setting a high bar.

Comment: Re:In Japan (Score 1) 331

by Idarubicin (#48196623) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

One beer? You're an idiot. Who'd want to live in a society where job loss and de facto permanent unemployment occurs at the slightest infraction?

When it's an infraction that is easy to avoid? Yeah, sign me up. (And what's this "permanent unemployment" nonsense?)

No one accidentally has a beer, and no one accidentally gets behind the wheel of a car. If there were a way to ensure that selfish assholes only put their own lives at risk, that would be one thing--but this situation isn't that. Incidentally, I feel the same way about the people who think they're still good drivers when they're on their cell phones. (To be clear, that's everyone who is driving while using a portable electronic device. No, you aren't special.)

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer