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Comment: Re:lol, Rand sucking up to the dorks (Score 4, Informative) 206

You are grossly misrepresenting the problem. The fact is that Schwartz was facing 13 federal felony counts in the indictment. That's nothing you can just wave off as a minor inconvenience.

Even if he had pleaded guilty and the prosecutor only sought a two year sentence overall, the sentencing would be at the discretion of the judge - the prosecutor can only recommend things. And judges have proven to a) be prone to displays of political show-offs of being "hard on crime" and b) have a poor understanding of the real severity of technology-related crimes. That means to a judge without tech understanding (which is most of them) a one year sentence pro federal felony served consecutively might seem lenient and 2-5 years pro felony might seem as a "good message to digital criminals"

Aaron Schwartz was facing a threat much more serious than you make it out to be

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 700

As a programmer, how would you write a function that returns a boolean value: "is this church a legitimate non-profit?"

There actually is a simple function - do the recipients of your charitable work have to pay for the charitable things you provide them? If yes, then you are not a non-profit. If your charity is providing shelter for the homeless, but they have to pay 10 bucks per night for the bunk-bed, you are not non-profit. If your mega-church is providing "healing for the sick", but they have to pay $200 to enter, you are not a non-profit. Or in the least - this part of your income should be taxed, even though independent voluntary donations should not. Thinly veiled "voluntary" donations that are actually mandatory should be dealt with as any other tax evasion practices.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 700

* A large national charity with a well-paid CEO who effectively uses their resources to do amazing things: True * A large national charity with a well-paid CEO who isn't very effective, but everyone agrees means well: True? * A large national charity with a well-paid CEO who doesn't effectively uses their resources: Um...

AFAIK, non profits still have to pay employee taxes such as medicare and social security and the CEO himself is subject to income taxes, because you can't be a 'non profit person'. So the amount of pay the CEO is getting should not be an issue.

* A large national charity with a well-paid CEO who doesn't effectively uses their resources: Um...

That would mean that they are paying some third parties too much money for stuff. Such as for overpriced cleaning service. In that case though, the income of the cleaning service is taxed, so it's no issue for the tax payer - just for the people who donate to the charity that does not do enough charitable work with their money.

Comment: Re:Way too many humanities majors (Score 1) 397

by wienerschnizzel (#49386023) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

I don't think you understand what engineers do

Solving equations and applying them to a requirement isn't "critical thinking".

Solving equations and applying them to a requirement? How is that even suppose to work? That's not how scientists or engineers work.

Critical thinking is knowing when and when not to apply those equations where there are no scientific theories to fall back on.

When there are no scientific theories to fall back on? Again, this is not how science or engineering works. It just does not happen that a researcher or a techie would find herself in a scientific-theory-less void with an equation on her hand considering whether to apply it or not. If you find yourself in that position you are not doing STEM.

The study of humanities can provide something called "perspective", which I find lacking in a lot of otherwise intelligent people who happen to be engineers. You can be excellent at engineering and make a product that no one wants to use and have your job shipped off to someone who is equally good at logic and solving equations, but whose education is limited to rote learning of STEM with hilarious results when they are faced with a requirement that necessitates the least bit of critical thinking.

Sorry, but this is just all wrong. First of all - studying humanities will not give you that kind of perspective, as in - understanding what kind of product will be successful. Paul Graham, for instance, studied philosophy and arts before switching to programming and his first big project - online galleries still ended up not being used by anyone.

You see, there are different kind of "perspectives". In humanities, you might learn the "historical", "philosophical", "anthropological", etc. perspective and none of them will help you understand much what products people want to use. That kind of understanding comes with experience in the business.

Second, don't assume people overseas are dumb and incapable of critical thinking. That's really arrogant.

Steve Jobs famously dropped out of college, but dropped in to take things like calligraphy courses. You needed good engineers at Apple to make a product, but you needed good designers and people willing to think... uh... differently about problems to make their product valuable to humans above and beyond their immediate technical capabilities. There are people who will buy an iPhone over a more modern and capable Android device because Apple is actually looking at more than pure engineering in making a device.

So where are all the other tech leaders with humanities degrees giving them the extra advantage? Bill Gates does not have one, nor does Elon Musk. Hewlett and Packard? Page and Brin? Lee Kun-hee? Jeff Bezos? None of them have one. I'm not saying that you can't have a humanities degree in order to be successful, it's just if you care to apply your precious critical thinking on your own statements you'll find that Jobs is kind of an outlier in the top tier of tech innovation.

I like solving problems that have clear answers and applying those answers. However, I derive a whole lot more satisfaction in what I do by being able to put it into the perspective of history and the human condition.

That sounds like hubris. I don't know who you are and what you do in real life but judging by your prose here, you don't seem like a person who needs to have his work put into the perspective of history and the human condition just yet. Don't sweat it - if it's good enough, other people are going to do that for you.

Comment: Re:Consider the alternative question (Score 1) 496

by wienerschnizzel (#49347177) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

Not sure how you can make this conclusion based on the Vermont study. I haven't seen the video but looked at the study itself - here it is.

The study was never designed to determine how much calorie intake is going to result in a fixed amount of weight gain or to determine whether there is a limit to weight gain. It didn't do appropriate controls in order to research that (such as control the anxiety levels, activity etc.). It was designed to study the mechanisms in by which the body stores new weight and also how it gets rid of excess weight (their weight loss was controlled as well.)

Their input was rigorously controlled (being prisoners), and their exercise regimen was pretty easy to monitor and control. Most of them gained weight, but almost none of them nearly as much as the standard "3500 kCal is a pound of fat" Standard Model would predict. Several plateaued on weight gain, and a few lucky (?) prisoners were *never* able gain 10% of their body weight when eating nearly 10,000 Calories a day. Simply couldn't do it.

Wrong! Pretty much all of what you write here:
- all 5 subjects gained weight just fine as expected
- the amount of weight gain per calorie intake was never measured
- nobody "plateaud"

Go read the study for yourself!

Comment: Re:Really? .. it comes with the job (Score 1) 772

by wienerschnizzel (#48570799) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

Torture is useless as an intelligence tool.

There have been instances in the history where torture has proven to be a helpful intelligence tool. The most notorious one has been that of General Jacques Massu using torture to completely uproot the leadership of the National Liberation Front in the Battle of Algiers. Massu has attributed his success to his technique of using torture hand in hand with extensive classic intelligence work.

The problem there was not that torture wouldn't work - it did, but it had some unpleasant side effects. You would inescapably end up torturing innocent people - but even torturing just the 'guilty' destroys your PR. The French ended up alienating the general population of Algiers (even more than before the incidents) and eventually had to leave the country. Meaning that torture helped them to win the battle but it had cost them the war.

Comment: Re:Super-capitalism (Score 1) 516

by wienerschnizzel (#48466001) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

I lived in Central Finland for a while - population density of 36 people per square mile. No power outages experienced.

I think the problem is the capitalism thing - you can't pretend you'll get this kind of service out of a free market situation. It's a natural monopoly that needs close public oversight unless you enjoy the kind of crappy and overpriced service you are getting right now over there.

Comment: Update in the ruling (Score 1) 257

Hopefully cases like this will spark a discussion about updating the ruling. Like a person trying to invoke the right to be forgotten having to show a thorough effort in removing his person from the internet himself - putting down his own homepage would be a start.

This ruling was created for people in distress that are facing real-life mistreatment, stalking etc they'll be fine with shutting down their facebook profiles (that's the first thing they are going to do anyway). At the same time jokers like this pianist won't get to misuse the ruling.

Comment: Re:Put cryptography everywhere (Score 1) 191

by wienerschnizzel (#48089421) Attached to: DoJ: Law Enforcement Can Impersonate People On Facebook

Cryptography would have made no difference. She gave them her data willingly (probably as a part of the plea deal) and no facebook encryption would have stopped them from making a new profile.

The interesting part is to determine whether them being allowed to pose as her person was a part of the agreement. It clearly wasn't there explicitly, so the question is whether agreeing "to give them data so they can be used to stop the criminal activity" implicitly allows them to use the data to impersonate her and possibly expose third parties (her relatives) to harm.

I've got no clue about whether there is a precedent for this but my gut feeling is that they are allowed to impersonate her but are not allowed to use photos of people that did not agree to the deal.

Comment: Re:Yes yes yes (Score 1) 405

I know, but maybe this is the solution to this particular problem. The US workforce now has global competition that's driving the wages down, so why not turn that on the universities as well? If you go to the previously linked Technical University of Munich, your expenses will be about $8000 per year (1200 Eur tuition and course books, 4000 Eur rent, 800 Eur flights) and you'll be getting a degree from the worlds leading authority in materials science and chemistry.

In order to turn the tide of income disparity, regular people need to start taking advantage of the globalization. Unfortunately, this will hardly be possible for the poor folks in the USA (but helps the poor people in places like India on the other hand).

Comment: Re:Yes yes yes (Score 1) 405

You know where I can get a 1960's quality University of Chicago education and not end up in debt?

Germany, England, France, Switzerland etc.

And I'm not just bragging about our European system here. I mean seriously - go study to Europe, the tuition is a fraction (and I mean a tiny fraction) of what you'd pay in the US, the quality of the top universities is high and a foreign degree will look cool in your CV. A lot of the universities even offer curricula in English.

Comment: Re:One last thing (Score 1) 517

by wienerschnizzel (#48017529) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

So you are arguing against widely distributed small generators on that basis? They provide LOCALIZATION OF PRODUCTION by their very nature

Only if they do it reliably. Your LOCALIZED (to honor your all caps notation) power generators are worthless for this argument if they stop providing power at random times and you have to rely on the distant ones anyway.

Also, you cannot build large and solar farms in any LOCATION. The south-west part of Germany in this case is mountainous but still quite densely populated. Meaning - not particularly windy and not many free places for solar panels. That's why the wind farms are in the north - the land is flat and sparsely populated (though distant).

Comment: Re:In lost the will to live ... (Score 1) 795

by wienerschnizzel (#47991885) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

I'm not saying I have no idea. I'm saying it doesn't matter.

Well, most people do think it matters to distinguish the correct hypothesis from the incorrect ones and are not ashamed to call the former ones "true" (though not "True" as in some kind of "Ultimate Truth"). You are just being snobbish by dismissing it.

then instead of examining the evidence for themselves

Like how? Go out and dig out fossils from different strata on different continents by themselves? Buy expensive lab equipment to examine genomes of different species?

Because when it comes across to people that evolution is True because smart people said so

Again that T-ruth! Who ever says that apart from religious people referring to their scripture? Anyway, it's not because "smart people said so" but because the theory has a track record of all scientifically performed (empirical, peer reviewed etc.) experiments supporting it and, more importantly, of all scientific attempts to disprove it failing.

When these people argue with pro-evolution people with no understanding of the evidence, it just makes everybody mad.

Who are these ominous people? Give me an example of an article or something. In TFA the author names Dawkins and Tyson as example but fails to quote them - can you show me just one example of them talking about Truth (instead of truth) or relying simply on the words on a 'smart person' or showing a strong lack of understanding of the evidence?

Comment: Re:In lost the will to live ... (Score 1) 795

by wienerschnizzel (#47984117) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

The worst thing I am reading in these comments is basically "I don't understand the summary". If this is you, you are part of the problem

To be fair, the summary is too cryptic. The article itself is surprisingly clear and easy to read though.

Even if we were to talk about something contentious like evolution, "science" does not tell us that evolution is True.

This is what the article (and you) get wrong. For one thing, people like Dawkins and DeGrasse Tyson are not after the capitalized "Truth", that is just a straw-man attack. A simple "truth" is more than enough. For the other, science gives us empirical evidence either supporting hypotheses or disproving hypotheses. If we ask ourselves, is global warming happening or not, we make large amount of empirical tests and determine, that yes, it is happening, what's wrong then with saying that its indeed "true" that global warming is happening?

There seems to be a disconnect in your (and TFA author's) mind between the empirical science and theoretical science even in place where no disconnect should be found. Coming back to your point about evolution. The initial hypothesis (the theory part) is that lifeforms came to be to their current form through gradual change over time brought by processes of natural selection. This predicts a bunch of things - like what kind of lifeforms you should expect when you dig in rocks of different ages, what kind information would be found in the genome etc. When we then empirically find that all the predictions are true, I (and Dawkins and Tyson) would say that the hypothesis itself seems to be true. While you (and TFA author) disconnect the empirical from theoretical part and say that only the predictions seem to hold up.

In effect you are saying - I have no idea whether the evolution hypothesis is true, even though all the 150 years worth of empirical data are supporting it and none of the zillion phenomena that could disprove it showed up during that time. I'm sorry, but that is ludicrous.

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