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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.

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

by wienerschnizzel (#47983381) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Religion and science can co-exist if people stopped attributing religious or anti-religious views to science. Science makes no claims about religion and they are not mutually exclusive.

About as much as picking your nose is not mutually exclusive with doing science - it does not make you refuse science, but you still have to choose to do one or the other at any given time.

It's just a question of what's more worthwhile.

Comment: Re:No, it wasn't. (Score 1) 463

There is another option - the police department may argue that a rare occurrence like this may be outweighed by the countless lives the police officers had saved because they were allowed to text while driving. Not that I would know if that's correct but I suppose that was the rationale behind allowing it in the first place.

Comment: Re:No, it wasn't. (Score 1) 463

That is not quite correct either. You cannot be 'convicted' of entering the bicycle lane because that is not a criminal offense. You can be charged with manslaughter and there you have to consider the culpability, or the state of mind of the defendant. I think we can disregard the possibility that the cop *intended* to kill the cyclist, so that leaves us with considering recklessness or negligence.

For *recklessness* you would need to prove that the subject knowingly broke the law disregarding the possible risks. This is typically the case where most of the cases of killing people with a car while breaking the law (drunk driving, speeding, etc.) fall in - if you do that and kill someone, you have been driving recklessly and will be prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter. It does not apply to the cop, because he drifted in the bicycle lane unknowingly.

*Negligence* applies to cases where you can argue that "a reasonable person with the same general knowledge and abilities" as the accused would have reacted in that situation differently thus avoiding the disaster. In general, cases where you broke the law unknowingly fall here as well as cases where people fail to exercise more caution - e.g. not slowing down in an extreme rain storm, snow, etc. There you could argue that a typical "reasonable person" would slow down, or that a "reasonable person" would recognize that he/she is breaking the law. In the TFA case you would have to prove that a typical cop either would not have texted while driving or that a typical cop would not have crossed the lane while texting. Both of those would be really hard to prove in a court of law.

Comment: Re:No, it wasn't. (Score 1) 463

The law specifies areas where you have to yield to pedestrians. See for instance this explanation given by the Wisconsin authorities. A typical case that will not be prosecuted is when a driver kills a pedestrian that entered the road outside of any crossing or specific designation for pedestrians and without checking for incoming traffic.

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