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Comment: Use windows (Score 1) 266

by zmooc (#46608519) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Just use windows. It doesn't really work any better but at least they don't break core functionality a few times a year and then take months to fix it...

Ok maybe I'm exaggerating and this is only an Ubuntu problem; it's been years since I've been annoying-bug-free for more than 3 months with...

Comment: Re:Out of step with reality (Score 1) 149

by zmooc (#46491193) Attached to: Hungarian Law Says Photogs Must Ask Permission To Take Pictures

I agree that street photography is not some kind of unalienable right. However, I do NOT agree there's a reasonable expectation of privacy in the public space, not even in Germany. With the law as it currently is (though not as it is currently enforced), photo-journalism in public spaces becomes quite a hassle. If we'd all live by the law, our era would effectively become a rather dark one in history; for example just about any photograph depicting the demolishing of the Berlin Wall would have been illegal.

Most Western countries have no restrictions on taking photographs in the public space but they do have laws to protect subjects against negative consequences in case such photographs are published. I think that's the right balance, especially if photogs behave responsible (unlike many paparazzi, which are actually legal in Germany...)

Comment: Re:"Corrections" (Score 1) 326

by zmooc (#46366049) Attached to: The Science of Solitary Confinement

3,500 prisoners serving a life sentence... that's rougly about 1 in 100,000. 80,000 is about 1 in 4,000. In the random western country where I live, only 1 in 500,000 are serving a life sentence. I cannot find numbers for the number of those in solitary confinement but with a total of 1 in 2,000 people in jail, about half would have to be in solitary confinement to match the US numbers.

So, no, I don't think those staggering numbers take the edge out of the argument, they
confirm it. The US has been leading the ranks of prisoners per capita for ages and is one of only a handful of western countries in the top 100.

Comment: Re:not that simple (Score 1) 84

by zmooc (#46232191) Attached to: Iconic Predator-Prey Study In Peril

Isle Royale is being preserved today as a wilderness, but it isn't an "untainted" one, and hasn't been for a couple hundred years. It is what it is because of human activities.

As long as those human activities are merely that: human activities, I would still consider the island untainted in a way; there's nothing especially unnatural about most human actions, even if those actions often bear effects that might be described as a plague. This changes, however, when those human activities start involving actively trying to "shape" "nature", as is proposed by the ecologists this article is about. In my opinion this would instantly change the situation on this island from "nature trying to find a new balance after a small infection with humans" to "not nature anymore".

Through some strange feelings of guilt about the way it has affected nature in the past, mankind has somehow developed the idiot idea to try to keep the few occurrences of nature that we have left exactly like they are now. By doing that, we're slowly turning nature into a museum. Instead of doing that, we should have the decency to let nature be nature, even (or especially) when it changes in a way that we don't like.

This may (will..) probably mean die offs and those obviously aren't a good thing. According to humans, that is, mostly because of their somewhat irrational love for big mammals, cool trees and fear of change. But nature doesn't give a fuck, it doesn't consider humans special. The place will look totally different in 10, 100 or a few 1000 years anyway. Just let nature be and it will find a new balance. Maybe not on a timescale meaningful for the average human, but it will. Because that's what nature does.

Comment: No we are not (Score 1) 384

by zmooc (#45795849) Attached to: Internet Commenting Growing Away From Anonymity

Internet Commenting is not growing away from anonymity at all. However, some high profile sites that value traffic over content have determined that boring places tend to attract more people since the vast majority of people simply is extremely boring. Anonymous non-boring commenting will always be around. It's just not compatible with the desires of the bulk of advertisers that pay for the boring parts Internet.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 612

by zmooc (#45762685) Attached to: Is Computer Science Education Racist and Sexist?

While part of that is definitely true, it probably is not the main explanation. In countries that have taken gender equality very far and managed to increase the freedom to choose a job tremendously, what happens is that men and women use that freedom to do typical jobs for their gender.

I think the documentary "The gender paradox" explains that incredibly well.

Comment: Nothing new (Score 2) 926

by zmooc (#45382177) Attached to: Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Where is the U.S. heading?

Nowhere special. The US has been like this for ages. Apart from some details (TSA, leaks, technical possibilities) there has not been any real big change.

The fear has been around for just about always. And when there's nothing left to fear (like communism or alcohol) something new will be made up (like terrorism or drugs). Since the US spends more on its military than on social security, the military has become some kind of social security. It must be kept busy.

Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so. -- Josh Billings