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Comment: Re:basically how the UAE works (Score 1) 227

by wired_parrot (#49190439) Attached to: Facebook Rant Lands US Man In UAE Jail
Slander laws exist in almost every country, including the United States. And what the contractor said went beyond a simple rant - he implored other contractors not to work with the firm in question (thereby causing commercial harm to the company) and used racist language in his diatribe. If I went on a similar rant against an American company that resulted in a substantial loss of revenue for that company because of my allegations, I would very likely also be sued. The difference is that US courts have a higher standard to meet in a defamation suit, but given the loss of revenue and the racist diatribe even under US standards this contractor would be in hot water.

+ - Man charged for not giving up phone password at border->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "Canadian customs official charged a 38-year old man with obstruction of justice after he refused to give up his Blackberry phone password while crossing the US-Canada border. As this a question that has not yet been litigated in Canadian courts, it may establish a legal precedent for future cases."
Link to Original Source

+ - Ubisoft's newest video game requires a prescription->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "Ubisoft, in partnership with McGill university, has developed a game designed to treat lazy eye. The game works as a treatment by training both eyes using different levels of contrast of red and blue that the patient sees through stereoscopic glasses. It is hopeful that the new treatment will bring a more effective way of addressing a condition that affects 1-5% of the population."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I have a hard time accepting the argument made. (Score 4, Insightful) 144

by wired_parrot (#49181291) Attached to: Technology's Legacy: the 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All

You're misconstruing the argument in the article. They're not saying that we should try to whitewash people who have done bad things, and a person's bad reputation may often be well deserved. They're warning against falling into the trap of, once someone happens into bad circumstances, of creating a narrative for that person that tries to assign their circumstances as a predestined result of fate. The most insidious example I see of this is when someone contracts a serious disease such as cancer. Often the first questions asked by medical staff are regarding their lifestyle choices, which builds into the narrative that they're sick because of the way they lived.

During the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, for example, the first questions asked to those diagnosed were often whether they lived a promiscuous lifestyle, took drugs, or engaged in gay sex. All activities which were frowned upon, and fed into the dominant societal narrative at the time that the people who were contracting AIDS were losers who contracted the disease because of their loser lifestyle. I'd argue in that case the loser edit was applied to a whole category of people, and held back progress in addressing a serious health issue.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 1) 648

by wired_parrot (#49175699) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

If he can get a guarantee that the trial will be an public and open trial, and not done through a closed and secret military court, I think it can actually be a brilliant tactic. An open trial would force the government to air its eavesdropping activities out in the open. It could perhaps bring some judicial accountability by forcing them to defend the constitutionality of their activities.

However, that's all a big if, and I'm doubtful the government would agree to have Snowden tried in public court outside of a military court.

Comment: Laser metal sintering (Score 1) 58

by wired_parrot (#49148219) Attached to: Researchers Create World's First 3D-Printed Jet Engines
Isn't the process used laser metal sintering? There's no need to use trendy buzzwords ("3-d printing") that give the false impression that this is a new technique that a hobbyist could do in his basement, when really this is just a variation of a well established industrial process, that requires large industrial tooling.

Comment: A decade behind the rest (Score 2, Insightful) 77

by wired_parrot (#49073171) Attached to: OpenStreetMap.org Gets Routing
So OpenStreetMaps is only now adding a basic mapping feature that's been available in other sites for over 10 years now, and somehow we're supposed to get excited about it? To me this is only highlighting how far behind a lot of the open source software is compared to commercially available applications.

Comment: Re:In the name of Allah ! (Score 1) 1350

by wired_parrot (#48756755) Attached to: Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

You be real. One religion in recent history has been responsible for the vast vast majority of religious inspired violence

While this may be true for events of the last 15 years, this hasn't always been the case for even very recent history

During the 90s, most suicide bombings worldwide were being carried out by a primarily Hindu group (Tamil Tigers) and christian-on-christian religious violence in Northern Ireland would go on to kill more people than died in the 9/11 attacks

During the 70s, terrorism was mostly politically motivated, with far-right and far-left groups carrying out hundreds of bombings. Italy suffered through the Years of Lead, with several thousand people dying in bombings. In Germany, far-left groups like the Red Army Faction and the Revolutionary Cells carried out more than 300 bombings alone.

During the 50s, it was primarily nationalist and anti-colonial in nature. Guerrila groups resisting colonialism in Asia and Africa were the primary instigators then.

And go back to the 1920s, and you see radical Anarchists as the main culprits (e.g. see the 1919 Anarchist bombings in the US)

Saying that muslims are responsible for a majority of terrorism is a myopic view of contemporary history - the nature of terrorism has varied greatly with each generation. In another generation we'll likely be looking at another ideology or group to lay blame on.

Comment: Doesn't replace digging (Score 1) 166

by wired_parrot (#48745717) Attached to: Finding Genghis Khan's Tomb From Space

Using satellite and radar images to identify archaeological sites from space isn't new. But while this method may help in identifying sites of interest, actually identifying Genghis Khan's tomb would require archaeologists to dig at each of those sites. And until an archaeologist is on the ground, the images may just be a peculiarly shaped hill mound.

So if the concerns is identify Genghi's tomb while respecting Mongolian reverence for burial sites, I don't see how this does that, as you'd still need archaeological digging to get useful science from the field.

Comment: Will be completely ignored (Score 1) 134

by wired_parrot (#48580845) Attached to: Facebook Offers Solution To End Drunken Posts

they'll be using photo analysis algorithms to detect how intoxicated you were in the photo and suggest that you not post it

... Except that most of the time the people taking those photos are posting them while they are intoxicated, and therefore the suggestion not to post won't have any effect

My impression is the regret in taking these drunken pictures happens years after the fact, when the drunken college scene has been left behind, and the poster now has a family and a 9-to-5 job and they want to distance themselves from that past. Trying to tell college students that they shouldn't be posting inappropriate pictures of themselves drinking is futile, the warning will be completely ignored.

Comment: Re: Stop this stupid First past the Post system (Score 1) 413

by wired_parrot (#48479881) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

I'd say we had minority governments in Canada where third parties played a significant role, so their impact can't be neglected.

The other advantage of first-past-the-post system is that every voter within an electoral district has a clearly defined representative to represent and defend the interests of that constituency. A representative is elected to represent a particular district, and not just the voters who voted for him or her. In a proportional system, there is no guarantee of representation. If one votes for a third party that does not manage to elect any members, one is left without representation. And even if members of your party are elected, they may not elect members from your area. This lack of representation is the biggest flaw in the proportional representation system, in my opinion.

Comment: Re:Stop this stupid First past the Post system (Score 1) 413

by wired_parrot (#48478903) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Start using a democratic system where every vote is equal, it's called Proportional Representation and works very well.

It would also be the end of the two party systems.

We have first past the post system here in Canada and we still manage to elect strong third parties. In fact we have 6 federal parties with elected members. In the last 20 years, we've also gone through 6 official opposition parties at the federal level. At the provincial level, the story is similar. Other countries with a first past the post system, such as the UK, also have strong third parties, so that's not the issue.

I'd also gerrymandering is a more of a symptom of a democratic deficit in US politics than a cause. The idea behind gerrymandering is to create "safe" electoral districts. Safe electoral districts are not usually stable here in Canada because it creates an easy opening for third party candidates. Voters in a strongly liberal district can vote for a liberal alternative without risk of a conservative candidate winning - likewise for a strongly conservative district. One should never have districts where one side wins with over 90% of the votes, as happens in numerous republican and democratic districts alike in the US, as that speaks to the lack of a democratic alternative at a local level in those districts.

Comment: Search expanding oceanographic knowledge (Score 4, Insightful) 154

by wired_parrot (#48473727) Attached to: Australia Elaborates On a New Drift Model To Find MH370

While they may never find what happened to MH370, the search for it is leading to detailed mapping of an area of the ocean floor that was little explored. And now we're getting better mathematical models of the ocean currents. So while I know there's been a lot of criticism of continuing what seems like a fruitless search, the money isn't being wasted.

We may never find what happened to that aircraft, but we will have expanded our oceanographic knowledge of that area immensely.

Comment: Cynical of promises.... (Score 3, Insightful) 69

I'm skeptical of anyone who thinks they can fund a complex lunar exploration mission as a kickstarter project.

All that I foresee coming out of this is a multi-year "consulting study", using the dreams and hopes of space enthusiasts to pay for it. In another words, one space consultant gets a paid multi-year sabatical, with a short assignment report on the Moon at the end as the only result.

But maybe I'm just a cynic when it comes to kickstarter projects and their promises....

Comment: Re:Buyer Beware (Score 1) 473

by wired_parrot (#48410409) Attached to: Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

Kickstarter is best described as a donation.

Kickstarter is best described as panhandling. In a donation, there is still an explicit agreement that the donated funds will go to a certain use. Kickstarter startups are more like a beggar on the street corner - you may give money with the intention for the beggar to buy food, but if he goes off to the liquor store to buy a bottle of booze instead, one shouldn't be surprised.

Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.

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