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Comment: Re:This is frightening (Score 1) 81

I want all of my digital stuff to be destroyed when I die. I really don't want my family combing through all my personal shit when I'm dead.

Unless you take strong measures on your own, there's zero chance that any of your "digital stuff" will be destroyed when you die.

Your choices, if any really exist, are having your family comb through it, setting up a dead-man switch, or having a corporation use it for their own profit. Because once they're sure you're dead, the zaibatsus would sell your toes to foot fetishists if they could get away with it. Their sole purpose for existence is to maximize profit within the law. And some of them interpret that last bit to mean "anything I can get away with is effectively legal".

Comment: Re:Will they ban this ? (Score 1) 627

by Medievalist (#47703209) Attached to: News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

"They tied the hands of one woman to the back of a car and her legs to another car and they split her into two," he said beside makeshift tents as women cried

Would Fark ban the above news, from Reuters ?

If the article (which I did not read) explicitly approves or promotes the activity described in your quote, then yes.

If not, then no.

Usually it's easy to tell the difference between reporting an atrocity and cheerleading for the perpetrators. Usually.

Comment: Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (Score 1) 237

by Medievalist (#47698675) Attached to: The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

If you actually do the research, nuclear makes pollution too. Lots of it. Only coal is really significantly worse (and coal is way worse).

And although solar panels are pretty dirty to manufacture (because most of them are made in China using electricity from coal plants under a lax environmental regime) their long service life makes up for it - you'll note that the brownwash jobs that the anti-solar people push out every month always significantly misstate service life and always use China's data, ignoring the clean European producers. Don't buy that meme, either! The real problem with solar's the same as with nuclear, it's simply not economically viable. (Although it might be in the future, if we end up subsidizing solar R & D the way we've subsidized the oil industry over the last 100 years).

Take a look at the real data instead of the memes. Only socialist and totalitarian states can have terrestrial nuclear fission plants, for exactly the reason you gave - in essence, you have to force people to pay costs they don't want in order to provide fission plants they don't need.

Your point about externalizing costs is certainly valid, though. Everybody's misrepresenting the true costs of all forms of power production at this point!

Comment: Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (Score 0) 237

by Medievalist (#47698371) Attached to: The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

Ah, Rush Limbaugh's famous "Greenies made nuclear power unsafe" meme. A darling here on slashdot, despite so many annoying facts that tend to discredit it.

In the Real World ®, American Greens are the most ineffective political movement since the vegetarians. They have accomplished pretty much nothing since Nixon signed the Clean Air Act. The real actors are the majority of hard-headed average Americans (who are hardly "green", but who are sensible enough to know they don't want or need nuclear power) and the simple realities of market economics.

The cold hard truth is that no private entity has ever made an economically viable terrestrial nuclear fission power plant. Ever. Only socialist and totalitarian regimes can do it, because they can effectively ignore insurance costs, which the USA shouldn't (and although the Price-Andersen subsidies do exactly that, US plants still aren't cost-effective). In a truly free and fair market it would cost far more money for construction, insurance, and decommissioning than an operator could ever possibly recoup. Even the ultra-right wing Cato Institute admits this!

But terrestrial fission power plants are a masturbatory fantasy akin to Steampunkery, only with less whimsical charm. A fever dream of a world that never was, full of steam engines and glowing rocks. They are an obsolete and unnecessary technology fetishized by aficionados, who often seem to be quite willing to give up any form of representative government or free market if only they can have their beloved nuke plants. No tax burden is too high! Because it's not a reasoned argument for them, it's an obsession. So blaming the failings of their fellow travelers on their opposition fits their mindset perfectly - it couldn't possibly be the fault of the nuclear operators that they purposely built the cheapest, least safe designs allowed by law! It must have been those devil-greens! It's their fault!

Comment: Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (Score 1) 139

by fermion (#47686279) Attached to: Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry
So the solution to this is to build nuclear plants where we can get minimum regulations and avoid lawsuits. These location should be where no one really wants to live, so that people are not going to effected and need to file lawsuits to protect themselves. I have often thought that the states from Washington to Minnesota, which taken together from a significant net drain on the national budget, should be asked to secede and form a country that exemplify conservative values such as an aggressive free market, very limited regulations, and the like. In such a place nuclear power plants could be built in, say, North Dakota, without any of the pesky useless safety issues that now make nuclear power an unreasonable solution.

Comment: Re:Ticket ToS (Score 1) 226

by fermion (#47681413) Attached to: Posting Soccer Goals On Vine Is Illegal, Say England's Premier League
In many venues there are limits to the recording devices you may take in and use. These are largely in place to limit the quality of the fan images to protect the market for the professional images, which generate a great deal of money. These rules are enforced by bag checks, metal detectors, even pat downs. In addition, the primary function of the ushers seem to be monitoring the fans for use of prohibited devices.

That said, the result of violation of these limits is not generally criminal. If I take a picture of cirque du soleil, for example, I will be asked to stop or be ejected if I do not. Likewise, if I am recording a soccer match, and that is the only way to catch a goal, the rules might be that I delete the recording or be ejected, and if I am always doing this the league has the freedom not to sell me or ticket or let me in if I get a ticket.

So under the terms of service, the solution is to ban these people who post goals from attending the game. Claiming the activity itself is illegal is silly. The best the league can hope for is that a person who has been banned might get arrested for trespassing if they ignore the ban and it can be proven they were aware they were banned.

Comment: Re:The problem of Microsoft (Score 1) 337

by fermion (#47646415) Attached to: Microsoft Surface Drowning?
The problem with MS is that they have never been in the business of supported or selling to end users, and they are entering this market at the expense of the desktop business market.. The cost of their software products, at the consumer level, has always been very high end. They have lower priced products, but those tend to be so incomplete as to require a lot of time to make work. Remember, the product is only cheap if your time is worth nothing.

So MS Surface is a good product, but it is expensive for what it is. To make it look cheap they compare it to a 13" Macbook, but the reality is that if is priced evenly between a 11" and 13" Macbook, so is not aggressively priced.

For better or worse, the reason that consumers buy MS Windows based PCs is because they are aggressively priced. A laptop can be had for 1/2 the price of a Mac because the laptop can have lower specs because MS Windows can run well on lower spec machines. I am not going to run on an I5, but there are many who that is fine and they can get a cheaper laptop than Apple provides, and get service from a third party that caters to end users.

It is going to be a while before the culture shifts to MS being a seller of premium consumer product. This will happen, if MS is serious about being such a firm, but that opens up the business market. Already MS is talking about only supported one version of IE, which means that business is going to have the headache of rolling out frequent updates. Apple is teaming with IBM to get point of use applications on iPad, which will significantly reduce the cost of supplying business rule applications to worker bees. Firms can already create custom apps on Android devices to serve the same purpose. MS Surface should be a way to counter these losses on the desktop. Instead they are produces commercials to make the MS Surface seem fun, and charging extra for a keyboard.

Comment: Re:No, school should not be year-round. (Score 1) 421

by fermion (#47640445) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?
Summer breaks are useful for parents of means who can put their kids into other activities or parents with commercial activities with which the kids can help. For most everyone else it is beneficial to have year round 8-5 school, not because kids get more educated but because it is highly effective babysitting.

A case can be made for a trimester year round school situation in which students are required to attend two per year. Two in a row can be missed with permission, and missing three is equivalent to dropping out of school. This could be beneficial in many ways, but would be complex.

A big problem with the proposal is simply costs. Right now there is a lot of stuff that happens in the summer. Some of it is paid by school budgets, some of it is paid by external grants, some of it is paid by the teacher. The fantasy is that we can increase the school year with no significant costs. This is not true. Over the past 20 years teacher pay has gone up considerable, and a lot of that cost has to do with simple additional time the teacher is required to work. This is the same in any situation. If you are paid hourly, i.e. required to be at work at 7 and work until 3, if they ask to work until 4 every day then that should come with additional pay. This is what has happened with teacher, the additional few weeks and time per day has increased pay about 15%. If we go year round the pay will increase another 20% at least.

There will be other costs. Training will not happen during the off time, so staff will have to hired to cover classes. The argument cannot be made that personal business can be handled during breaks, so teacher will have to take days off during the year, a practice that many teachers now try to avoid. This again will require additional staff hire. To give you an idea of this additional cost, say a school has 60 teachers, which is a small school. Two weeks of training and two weeks of personal time is 20 days. For all teachers that is 1200 person-days, let round it up to 10,000 person-hours. At minimum wage, rounding up again, is $80,000 per school in class coverage costs. Not all of this is new costs, but it is significant. Add a half million for additional pay, weekend costs to maintain the school that is now down over break, and one is looking at a cost per student going from around $7,000 to around $8,000.

Comment: Re:And yet here I am (Score 2) 97

by fermion (#47638415) Attached to: For Fast Internet in the US, Virginia Tops the Charts
Like so many of these studies the centers of the data are of little use for someone trying to quantify speeds. Even if we had a range for the center, say a standard deviation, that would still leave out variables like size, population, geography and variables in population density. It is unreasonable to publish a single number for a states as meaningful. It does back to the idea that one can make a bunch of junk numbers seem more valid by putting them on a pretty map.

Comment: Re:Just refuse the new gear (Score 1) 224

by fermion (#47627393) Attached to: The Hidden Cost of Your New Xfinity Router
The equipment supplied by Comcast or ATT or Verizon or whoever has traditionally been notoriously wasteful in terms of energy. I myself but a router and DVR. The router pays for itself in a year, and both probably have a return on investment of two years in terms of electricity and rental savings.

Comment: Don't have to go back 100 years (Score 5, Insightful) 315

by fermion (#47627329) Attached to: Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science
25 years ago there was desktop cold fusion. A lot of people wanted it, there were conferences on it, probably at least a hundred million was invested in it over a year or two. but it was bogus. The hypothesis was sound, it was no completely unreasonable, but the experiments showing a positive results on the hypothesis were flawed. It is not that cold fusion does not exist as something that might happen, it is that we have not shown it happens. I don't want to muddle the situation, but there is a clear line between what can happen and does happen in the lab. Theoretical people have told me that their models are necessarily not connected with reality. They are math, and the math sometimes tells us what is going on, sometimes fools us, and sometimes is just bonkers. What differentiates all this is good experimental science, which is really hard to do. I mean really hard, and for the most part does not lead to a theory, but only data that can be collected by math. This is why even though Galileo did a lot of good research, it was 100 years before the math caught up and we were able to do what we now classify as as science.It is why electromagnetic, the speed of light, quantum mechanics, and what is to follow is going to drop out the math. Which is to say we have a very complex interactions. Virtual particles drop out the math. The math says that they must exist, but inherently can't do anything useful. This is in the same way that photons can be coupled so they may seem to act faster than the speed of light(maybe, until we get distances longer than the earth-moon system we cannot really know) but no one expects information to be communicated faster than the speed of light. The end result is that if you have an experiment that violates the math, you have to be very sure it is a good experiment, and the consensus is quickly building that this is not. There is a certain responsibility to being an experimentalist. One can't just willy nilly say there are 40 dimensions of energy is created from the aether. On can be sloppy with conclusions, as Einstein was with the photoelectric effect, or Milikin in his oil drop experiment, but one does have a responsibility to do ones best to control systematic errors, and not jump to conclusions when one does not fully understand those errors. Unless, of course, like the two cited authors you are lucky enough to be accidentally correct.

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 1) 172

by fermion (#47593537) Attached to: Psychology's Replication Battle
We also have to look at how repeatability works. One reads a paper, does one best to follow the work, perhaps calls one of the researchers to get clarification, combine this with known methods, and at the end of the day maybe get a similar result. If, as in the case of cold fusion, the result is not similar, then there is at least some carelessness if not fraud in the original result. Which is fine because it is just one result, and no one should thinks one result is conclusive.

In social sciences reproducibility is possible. For instance in epidemiology databases are crunched using well known statistical methods to determine correlations, then further science is applied to determine is these correlations might be causative. If a second party cannot do an equal statistical analysis and get similar results then the results are not valid. If a second party can go through the process of collecting the data and find systematic errors, then the results is not valid. This is in fact a big problem with education research. When subject to the process of real science, much if not most of the research has been shown to not meet those standards.

So social science research can be scientific, but there is a second issue. We expect research to be predictive. It is said that field such as astronomy are as unscientific as social science. But in astronomy there is an element of application. The results are used to predict other finding which then can be confirmed. This is the element that makes fields such as physiology less scientific.

Comment: Re:Real world equivalent (Score 1) 171

by fermion (#47591499) Attached to: Critics To FTC: Why Do You Hate In-App Purchasing Freedom?
I thought of it another way. You go to the store and everything the kids touches goes on your credit card. Remember, most of what occurs in the apps has no real world equivalent. You can't go and return it, or even complain it was faulty or did not meet expectation. At least a theme park if there is bug in the ice cream you might get another one.

In any case,Apple is absolutely wrong here. If this were a convenience feature it would be easy to add in a setting like they do with so many other features. For instance cellular data roaming can be turned off. To make sure that Apps still have an opportunity to waste bandwidth there is an annoying reminder to turn the cellular data back on when accidentally using the App. If Apple wanted go, it could allow users to set the time interval anywhere from zero to 15, or more, and then allow the App to be as annoying as it wanted to get you to turn back to 15. As it is, the protocol is clearly meant to maximize unintentional in App purchases.

Comment: Re:The Free Market has the Technology Now (Score 1) 218

by fermion (#47589109) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval
Information implies past data and perfect information implies absolute security and verification. This is more possible through the medalian system as carry a large cost and can be removed if people are very unreliable or dangerous. Of course the system is not perfect, but utilizes the time tested method of excessive punishment for certain acts, as well as background checks. Look at it like cleaning staff in a hotel. They have oppotunity to steal, but there is likely no due process if an accusation arises so there is less incentive to steal.

In the current system, information may be collected, and may be reliable, but it is not verified or acted upon. One can imagine where a driver gets a bad review, then creates a new account with a friends credentials. One can imagine a case where cars are not well maintained and cause an accident.

In fact the solution to this is very simple and should not raise the prices much if the profits of the service are moderated. Require each driver to carry commercial insurance and have a commercial drivers license. My father had one, so I know they are not difficult to get. The service could contract with an insurance company to provide a customized package. I think it is important for each driver to contract with an insurance company, not the service, because the insurance company will have additional checks and verifications. The policy can then be linked to the profile to insure that a driver is more likely to be who he or she says it is.

Right now these services are simply trading security for costs. For some this is a good tradeoff. But if the system of regulated cabs is dismantled without something equally secure we will simply see a period where people have no choice but to be insecure and then an expensive process where regulation, probably worse regulations, are implemented.

Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.