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Comment Re: Isn't this why computers are great (Score 1) 219

No they don't have to. It's just better for society if they do.

I wonder how the Founding Fathers managed, since their books, pamphlets, newspapers didn't have comments sections.

I'm still waiting for a single citation of a comments section that has been "good for society". Some bit of evidence that it does something besides play into people's confirmation bias.

Comment Re:Books thesis (Score 1, Troll) 99

Well, having worked in both the non-profit sector and in public health, I think the criticisms of the Gates Foundation's public health efforts are malarkey. It's basically an opportunity cost argument and by that standard virtually every charitable foundation is wanting. Why are you spending money on the ballet when there are kids who can't read? Why are you spending money on literacy education when there are kids who don't have enough to eat etc. The problems of the world are endlessly varied and complex, and you can't ask much more of anyone than that they pick a spot and take a whack.

That said, the idea that spending money on infectious diseases is wasteful is particularly inane. Sure, in some places obesity may result in more premature deaths than malaria, but the fact is nobody really knows how to effectively fight an "obesity epidemic", whereas malaria is clearly eradicable -- and once it's gone, it's gone forever, because P. falciparum has no natural host other than humans. The same goes for communicable diseases for which we have vaccines; we know how to fight those cost effectively, even eradicate them in many cases. The missing piece of the puzzle is money.

Now criticism of the foundation's education efforts is a lot more warranted. Just like everybody thinks they're qualified to design a website because they have opinions about which sites they like and don't like, everyone thinks they're qualified to redesign the educational system because they went to school. The difference is that Gates has the money to make his bad ideas materialize. It may be hacker philanthropy, but most attempts at "hacks" result in kluges.

So overall it's a mixed bag. While you do have to give props to Gates for being "the man in the arena", sometimes, unlike in Teddy Roosevelt's famous speech, the man in the arena's failings don't fall exclusively on himself. So while philanthropy is admirable in itself, where the philanthropist's activities impinge on areas of public policy like education his actions should be held up to scrutiny like anyone else's.

Comment Re: Isn't this why computers are great (Score 1) 219

It has to do with the internet providing a place where people can discuss what was said by journalists.

You mean like this one? In case you haven't noticed, there is an endless number of places where people can discuss what is said by journalists. It doesn't mean the journalists have to provide one.

The papers can do what they like of course but that doesn't mean their newfound intolerance of criticism is a good thing for free society.

And yet, here you are criticizing the fact that there is intolerance of criticism. You don't see the wee flaw in your argument?

Comment Re: Isn't this why computers are great (Score 1) 219

I would never trust a "journalist" that isn't willing to open themselves up to public feedback.

I understand that. But does it mean that it is the obligation of the journalist to provide and maintain a forum for instant feedback at his own expense? And further, to do so with protection of anonymity?

Technology has given us limitless avenues for speech. Anyone can put up a website, submit a story, be a source. You can feed back to your heart's content. A guarantee of free speech is not the same as a guarantee to be heard by everyone. If it were, I'd have my own cable news network (where everyone would have Scottish accents, by the way, because I find them amusing). Instead, I've got fooking nowt, innit?

Comment Re: Isn't this why computers are great (Score 1) 219

So, journalism did exist before there were online comments sections. It just doesn't anymore.

Of course it does. You just have to look for it. And don't expect to see comments sections when you do find it.

If you're looking for journalism in mass media, you're right. It doesn't exist any more.

Comment Re:Putin cares! (Score 1) 57

Your paranoia is extreme, and I already have private data hosted on servers in foreign countries.

I haven't broken the law to do this.

If HMRC want to investigate my tax affairs, they can ask me for all relevant information. Where I personally store that information is not relevant, whether I provide it to them is.

Comment Re:Putin cares! (Score 1) 57

If it's a foreign company then how it it beholden to laws in a jurisdiction in which it doesn't operate? And why should it care?

If they provide the tin but you install the software and add the data, how is it their responsibility irrespective of jurisdiction?

Why do you think you have to rent a server anyway?

Neutrinos have bad breadth.