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Comment: Re:Media's role (Score 1) 255

by wired_parrot (#49539299) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

When faced with incredible claims of medical cure, the Catholic Church has rigorous processes in place to verify that claim, which includes the testimonial of medical experts and independent confirmation.

When a medieval religious institution can be considered a model of fact-checking and skepticism compared to the media, the state of current journalism is in deep trouble.

Comment: Re:Media's role (Score 1) 255

by wired_parrot (#49537999) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

Medical records are confidential. It is likely that a journalist could not fact-check this.

They wouldn't have needed to go through her medical records to expose her claims. As soon as they called the doctors and hospitals she claimed to have been treated at, and had been told that they had no records of such a patient, that should have been their first obvious clue. Had the media that hyped her story bothered to place a single call her story would've been easily exposed as an obvious sham. This wasn't an elaborate lie - it was full of inconsistencies, contradictions, and the most fundamental facts about it were unsupported by any evidence whatsoever.

+ - Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks writes: Two stories appear today which feature close up photos of young African men surrounded by scrap metal in the city of Accra. The headlines state that this is where our computers go to die (Wired). The Daily Mail puts it in even starker terms, alleging "millions of tons" are dumped in Agbogbloshie.

The stories appear the same day as a press release by investigators who returned this week from 3 weeks at the site. The release claims that Agbogbloshie's depiction as the worlds "largest ewaste dump site" to be a hoax. It is a scrap automobile yard which accounts for nothing more than local scrap from Accra. Three Dagbani language speaking electronics technicians, three reporters, Ghana customs officials and yours truly visited the site, interviewed workers about the origins of the material, and assessed volumes. About 27 young men burn wire, mostly from automobile scrap harnesses. The electronics — 20 to 50 items per day — are collected from Accra businesses and households. The majority of Accra (population 5M) have had televisions since the 1990s, according to World Bank metadata (over 80% by 2003).

The investigation did confirm that most of the scrap was originally imported used, and that work conditions were poor. However, the equipment being recycled had been repaired and maintained, typically for a decade (longer than the original OECD owner). It is a fact that used goods will, one day, eventually become e-waste. Does that support a ban on the trade in used goods to Africa? Or, as the World Bank reports, is the affordable used product essential to establish a critical mass of users so that investment in highways, phone towers, and internet cable can find necessary consumers?

Link to Original Source

Comment: Media's role (Score 3, Insightful) 255

by wired_parrot (#49536705) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

That there are people who are willing to lie, even if their lies cause suffering to others, does not surprise me in the list.

What concerns me is the media's role in all this, who for the most part accepted her story without any questions or fact checking. There were so many inconsistencies in her story that even the most basic background check should have exposed her. I'm shocked that no one tried to even talk to her doctors to follow up on her medical claims, for example. Or a quick phone call to the charities she claimed to be supporting would have also exposed her charitable claims.

Her claims should never have been allowed to stand as long they did.

Comment: Re:Write your Congresscritters (Score 2) 201

by wired_parrot (#49530575) Attached to: McConnell Introduces Bill To Extend NSA Surveillance

Writing a strongly worded email may feel good, but it will just get re-directed to a spam filter and deleted. Plus, mountains of emails are mostly invisible to the national media.

If Americans really believe in this issue and want things to change, you need more than armchair protesting by letter-writing. You need large-scale protests in the street. Get a million people out in the streets of major cities, and those types of crowds won't be able to be ignored by the media or your elected representatives.

Comment: Re:America (Score 2) 120

by wired_parrot (#49511643) Attached to: Pull-Top Can Tabs, At 50, Reach Historic Archaeological Status

It's not about the can tabs per se. The can tabs have changed often enough in design that the can tab design can be used to date sites from recent history. Their historical artifact status also makes them a useful proxy to protect sites like campgrounds or festival sites that otherwise have little in the way of artifacts. Both of these properties make them useful in dealing with recent historical sites from the last 50 years in both North America and Europe.

Comment: Re:It does get more drivers on the road (Score 1, Insightful) 96

by wired_parrot (#49507001) Attached to: How Uber Surge Pricing Really Works

The problem is, as the article noted, is that the surge pricing is fluctuating too much for it to be predictable and for drivers to adapt their habits accordingly. When the surge price is fluctuating from 1x to 2.5x the price and back to 1x in the span of a few minutes, as noted in the article, it's not predictable enough for one to add more cars to the road. The best one can do as a driver is take advantage of those surges by taking the most expensive fares possible - which means those with short routes and inexpensive fares are actually seeing their wait time increase despite an increase in surge pricing.

If Uber tweaked its algorithm so that the surge pricing was based less on instantaneous demand, and more on long term trends - so that for example at rush hour prices reliably rose every week - then you might see more drivers getting to the road at those times to take advantage of it.

Comment: Re:Still works, just not the way people thought (Score 1) 96

by wired_parrot (#49506273) Attached to: How Uber Surge Pricing Really Works

As the article and the summary itself notes:

It moves current drivers from one side of town to the other. It does not put new drivers on the road.

His analysis shows that the surge pricing is not increasing the number of drivers working, it is only shifting drivers from one neighbourhood to another. This means that the unexpected side-effect noted in the article is that in some neighbourhoods the wait time actually increases along with the surge price increase.

I'm not against a market-oriented approach of surge-pricing to solve a supply need, but the way it is implemented by Uber the prices are changing too fast to serve as a meaningful incentive, so without an increase in drivers you're only shifting drivers from one neighbourhood to another and aggravating the problem in certain places.

Comment: Re:Honestly ... (Score 1) 342

by wired_parrot (#49471983) Attached to: Allegation: Lottery Official Hacked RNG To Score Winning Ticket

And if you read about the 1980 Pennsylvania Lottery scandal, you'll see that it failed because for it to be pulled off it required a half-dozen people to be involved in the conspiracy, which made it very likely that someone would be careless and talk. There were multiple security precautions, and overcoming them all involved multiple people and left a very easily traceable chain of evidence back to the perpetrator.

With the computer RNG, there was a single point of failure that could be overcome by a single well connected person, without any physical record except circumstantial evidence. I'd say the 1980 case, if anything proved how difficult it is to tamper with the spinning ball system without getting caught.

Comment: Re:Sensors wrong (Score 1) 460

by wired_parrot (#49422431) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots

To add to this, people seem to forget everything that happened more than a month ago or so. I'd like to see the computer that would have ditched US flight Airways 1549 perfectly into the Hudson River just minutes after the start.

And the main reason flight 1549 landed perfectly in the Hudson river was due to the A320's fly-by-wire system, which allowed the pilot to maintain aircraft nose up and as low a speed as possible for landing without stalling. He had to maintain a fine line between gliding in slow enough to avoid injuries and not stalling, and without the onboard computer this would have been a difficult maneuver for a human pilot to accomplish with his workload.

Comment: Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 2) 385

by wired_parrot (#49357153) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

I think if one is a depressed anything at all they should not be allowed to control the fate of hundreds of people. If a doctor finds any hint of depression then the airline and maybe FAA should be notified. Fuck doctor patient confidentiality when peoples' lives are directly at stake.

The likely reason the co-pilot hid his depression was due to the stigma that mental illness carries. If companies end up instituting a policy that people with signs of mental illness be immediately fired, it will end up stigmatizing them further. Instead of trying to seek treatment for their problems, pilots with depression will just hide their issues. Particularly if you get rid of doctor-patient confidentiality, as it would mean a pilot seeking treatment would be reported by the very person supposed to be helping them and might lose their jobs.

Comment: Re:"to provide support for the cultural sector" (Score 2) 237

As an life-long anglo-Quebec resident, I feel I have to respond this unfair characterization of our province that you and many others outside of here have:

In Quebec they choose to actively suppress English and promote French ... the the extent you can't have English signage unless it's smaller than French, and they've ever tried to get companies like Best Buy and Home Depot to change to French names,

Most of us anglo-Quebecers are actually at ease with the fact that French is the dominant language and we need to adapt ourselves to it. I just consider a matter of common courtesy and politeness to make an effort to communicate with your neighbour. Sure, we will whine about the ridiculousness of the language police at times, but not many people argue with the principle of the language laws in trying to build a common society

Quebec are a bunch of whiny assholes, who increasingly are trying to pass laws which actively discriminate against anybody who isn't white, French, and Catholic -- to the extent that they want to ban religious symbols, unless of course it's a cross, and then it's OK.

We had a democratic debate on the matter, and showing that despite your characterization the overwhelming majority of Quebeckers, 75% of them, voted against the party that proposed to ban religious symbols. Showing that we're more tolerant than most of the US, we're legislators in Indiana made discrimination against minorities legal, or in Europe, where bans against religious headgear are part of the law in France. Quebec, on the other hand, has had an openly gay head of government, has a permissive attitude towards weed where it is openly smoked alongside cops in our parks (come to Montreal's park Mont Royal on a Sunday if you don't believe me), and brothels (aka massage parlors) openly advertise their storefronts downtown.

They think they're preserving their culture ... when their "culture" is bigotry, a ruined version of the language, and a sense of entitlement mixed in with being whiny cunts.

And then you finish your rant with a bigoted racist attack against la belle province. If you really want to find bigotry, look in the mirror.

Comment: Cost (Score 2) 79

by wired_parrot (#49330711) Attached to: Better Disaster Shelters than FEMA Trailers (Video)
How much do these cost compared to FEMA trailers? As maligned as the FEMA trailers are, I suspect the reason they are widely used in disasters is because they are cheap and can therefore be deployed in large quantities. Sure you could do something of higher quality, but if it raises their unit cost it will significantly affect the ability to widely deploy enough shelter in an affected area. Having a low cost solution that can be deployed in large numbers may be more important than quality in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

The flush toilet is the basis of Western civilization. -- Alan Coult