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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.

Comment: Re:Lol. (Score 1) 698

by wired_parrot (#48370187) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

You could even buy them new books, computers, teacher's salaries, decent heating systems, lunch.

Why the number of things a student could more likely benefit from is just amazing!

Yes, and meanwhile a school in Philadelphia has to make do with a $160 budget, while they're debating blowing $100k per school for this system. Also keep in mind that the costs mentioned cover only the installation costs. Because this system requires a dedicated connection to the police, I assume they'll need to pay for a dedicated line, as well as the yearly maintenance costs and costs associated with false alarms.

+ - HBO developing Asimov's Foundation trilogy as tv series->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "Jonathan Nolan, writer of Interstellar and The Dark Knight, and producer of the "Person of Interest", is teaming up with HBO to bring to screen a new series based on Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of books. This would be the first adaptation of the Hugo award winning series of novels to the screen."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Uh, simple (Score 2) 246

by wired_parrot (#48359789) Attached to: The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

Yep. Being a pioneer is all about finding new and interesting ways to die ... or the old ways in new settings.

In all the examples you cited, the pioneers in question didn't set out on a one-way trip to die - they fully intended to live. The explorers who first went to the South Pole, Everest, and other terrestrial extremes all planned on a return trip. In fact, I'd say it was their will to live that drove them on. Most had family and children, and when faced with adversity did all they could to live and return to their loved ones. Shackleton did not intend to die in the South Pole, and thus he was driven to push his men to extremes to overcome his challenges. It was his will to live to drove him on.

If you send a group of people to Mars who signed up to what is essentially a suicide mission, will they show the same will to live that will drive to overcome the first life-or-death challenge they face, or will they just cross their arms and accept their fate? Someone psychologically ready to die is the last person you want in such a trip, or as your crewmate.

Comment: Legalize it, but regulate it (Score 1) 588

by wired_parrot (#48318889) Attached to: Marijuana Legalized In Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC

I'm all in favour of legalizing marijuana, but I also believe that it needs to be properly regulated while doing so. Smoking weed needs to be controlled in the same way that smoking tobacco currently is. Legal limits for driving under the influence of marijuana needs to be clearly established, and part of the tax revenue from marijuana sales put into safety campaigns against driving while stoned.

This would be of benefit to the marijuana industry as well - establishing proper controls in its use will ensure that it is used in a responsible manner, and avoid a backlash from prohibitionists. All it will take is the image of a toddler killed by a stoned driver to incite the prohibitionists and undo legalization efforts - it would be better for the marijuana industry to seize the initiative now, and establish an image of responsible and controlled adult use.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 720

It may be good for the economy. It may not be so good for the people who can no longer support themselves because they just lost their minimum wage job to a robot. It may not be good for the people who then get mugged by said hungry person either.!

Automating a job reduces the unit cost of producing that particular good, which is good for all workers. The reduce costs of goods means the purchasing power of every worker increases and therefore their real wages rise. The challenge for the workers made redundant is retraining them into a new economic role, but properly retrained there is no reason they should not be able to support themselves. Historically, since the industrial revolution the net effect of efficiency gains and automation has been economic growth and real wage gains.

Comment: Creating a czar only creates problems (Score 1) 384

I've seen this happen at a lot of large bureaucracies, including my own company - problem arises, and CEO feels compelled to appoint a special "czar" to deal with the problem. This only creates additional problems:

- Being appointed directly by the executive, the czar is not responsible to anyone
- The special czar will be appointed without any additional budget, and thus has no power
- Being outside of the conventional hierarchy, no one reports to him, and thus will find difficulty obtaining cooperation from other groups
- Responsibility for the problem will already be clearly defined in the existing hierarchy - appointing a czar will only confuse existing responsibilities and create conflict with the group responsible for the problem.

I foresee the same problems arising here if an "Ebola czar" is created.

+ - Warner Brothers announce slew of DC comics movies->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "After being criticized for being slow to respond to Marvel's string of blockbuster superhero movies, Warner Brothers finally announced their plan for DC comic universe movie franchise. Yesterday at their annual shareholder meeting, WB announced 10 DC comics movies. The studio has unveiled an ambitious schedule that features two Justice League films, plus standalone titles for Wonder Woman, Flash, Shazam (Captain Marvel), Green Lantern, Cyborg and even Aquaman. Also announced were plans for 3 Lego movies and a three-part Harry Potter spinoff."
Link to Original Source

+ - Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon May Hide Subsurface Ocean->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "With its heavily cratered, geologically dead surface, Saturn's moon Mimas was considered to be scientifically boring. But appearances can be deceiving. Using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, new research shows something strange inside Mimas that is causing the moon to sway as it orbits around the ringed gas giant. Computer models point to two possibilities. First is that Mimas, which is about 250 miles in diameter, has an oblong or football-shaped core, a clue that the moon may have formed inside Saturn’s ice rings. The second option is that Mimas has a global ocean located 16 miles to 19 miles beneath its icy crust."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Reasonable (Score 1) 144

by wired_parrot (#48140271) Attached to: Google Rejects 58% of "Right To Be Forgotten" Requests

Before this ruling Google ignored that line and treated everyone to the joy of living forever with the consequences of their actions without ever being able to make good. After this ruling, Google are forced to apply some basis for allowing some people to move on.

The problem is European politicians abdicated their responsibility to set clear guidelines for this ruling and left it up to Google to determine who does or doesn't live with the consequences of their actions. If the courts or legislators had set clear standards for applying this rule - such as specifying a period of time, say 7 years, after which records are to be forgotten, I'd be fine with it. As it is, this enormous power is in the hands of individual search companies, each applying their own differing standards. There's no clear framework for the victim of a crime to appeal against a criminal who wants to be forgotten, for example. These are decisions to be made by the courts and by the people through their legislators, not by a private company.

If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.