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Comment ecologies are tricky things (Score 1) 2219

I also have a "funny" demotion. I believe I'm on the classicest classic available. I don't even have threaded comments. Just flat. As close to static layout as possible.

The story submissions have been getting worse and worse for shedding more heat than light. I only ever cared about the comments section.

While I appreciate that our evil redesign overlords are apparently listening, the level of communication around this (e.g. lack of clearly esoupsed objectives) screams of an underlying agenda that's incompatible with my long-established pattern of participation. Thus I can't see myself remaining here after classicest classic goes to classic heaven, unless there's more than listening, something which approaches a major change of heart and some serious backtracking on the original plan.

Once the comments go away, another core function will wither. Whether it's submissions, moderation, or just consumption I don't know. Then another function withers and it's game over. Ecologies are tricky things.

Comment Re:Common sense? In MY judiciary? (Score 1) 457

Right now driving is a game. A game with screwed up rules like: It's okay to drive the speed you feel safe. Unless there is a cop trying to enforce some arbitrary limit. Then you must drive the arbitrary limit. You are less likely to see a cop during rush hour because they don't want to slow down traffic. You are more likely to see the cop when the lanes have fewer people and are therefore safer for higher speeds. It's a crazy system we have.

Right now snitching cookies from Mom's cookie jar is a game. You can grab one or two if she's not in the kitchen and the jar is pretty full (but not completely full to the top) and you don't take enough for her to notice or you've got brothers and sisters around who also snitch cookies, so she won't know who to blame.

Right now using four letter words is a game. You can use them on the playground if the adults aren't around, or if it's just your crazy crass uncle pretending to supervise who just sits there and chuckles into his brown paper bag.

It's a crazy system we have.

Right. And the police invented this from whole cloth.

Comment Re:flashblock, ghostry, adblock, noscript, etc (Score 1) 187

I personally do not use noscript as this would kill the web. Without javascript it is not useful and a big fucking pain the in ass UAC style to enable for each site. Enabling it makes you vulnerable all over gain.

No, it doesn't. It's the difference between a toddler who puts everything into his mouth, and an adult who only puts food from the A-list into her mouth.

Granted, one can die from taking contaminated pill from a legitimate bottle of Tylenol. But generally one doesn't die from visiting name brand web sites one chooses to add to the A-list if you're halfway sensible about it (subject to having other 3rd party blocks in place). The biggest risk is that a site on your A-list ceases to operate and some criminal subsequently snatches up the disused domain. I wish my Noscript also checked for continuity of domain ownership.

The other advantage of Noscript and my various default-deny cookie monsters is that when I go to do a simple enable, sometimes a menu with twenty cookies pops up, which is my sign to beat a hasty retreat and find equivalent content elsewhere. Organisms with twenty pairs of beady eyeballs are not to be trusted.

About once a month I land on an outright typo domain, whose Javascript would be running by default were it not for Noscript default deny. I grant you it is kind of a lot of work to think about where that street weiner stand has actually been. So much simpler just to mainline antibiotics and wander unencumbered through Mystery Meat Paradiso.

Man, and about those third-party gate crashers. Mind if I bring a friend? How about a friend of a friend? How about a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend? Don't worry, he won't do drugs, bang some slut on your dad's antique coffee table, vomit all over the bearskin in the den, leave BBQ tools embedded in various walls, lose his balance and crash through the bay window, and then get carted off in an ambulance with lots of flashing lights and sirens that wake the neighbours.

Does anyone who ever attended high school think this is a good security model?

Comment lizard-brain visual heroine (Score 2, Insightful) 361

I do not run an ad blocker, and I am fairly tolerant of adverts alongside my news. I will continue reading a site even if the entire sidebar is flashing animated gifs at me.

That is my payment.

You haven't paid a nickel until your willingness to tolerate the advertising seeps into your psyche in such a way that causes you to behave differently in how you participate in the economy to the advantage of those who generated the advertisement stream.

Ads function on at least four levels. The first is to create direct demand. Suddenly you know something exists and you decide you want it. The second is to make rational people less rational. You already had a perfectly rational plan suited to your economic interests and life goals, but then something changes, so you end up paying more for less (some part of your brain believes those beer girls are hiding inside those beer cans filled with inferior beer). The third level is to cause you to crave those munchies you already have in the pantry. This is a direct boost to consumption level, of a product you already buy. This works extremely well for salty snack foods. It's hard to watch people eat salty snack food on TV all day long and not get a craving. The fourth level is to get people to buy into status glow. When your friend buys three times as much truck as he really needs, it takes a lot of his buddies oohing and awing in suitable hushed and gushing terms, to back-fill the 10 k$ hole in his wallet relative to a different purchase where he would have hardly noticed the downgrade on a daily basis—not even getting into what he could have lived without.

I happen to believe that the engine that really drives the free market is rational decision making. Advertising for the most part reduces the contribution of rational decision making to the free market, to where we end up with a power law (or a law of power): the wealthiest and smartest 20% of the economy (these are not uncorrelated) makes 80% of the rational decisions. The other 80% of the market makes 20% of the rational decisions, in between mouthfuls of Cheetos.

Wired ran a retrospective recently featuring famous commercials of recording artists selling their souls. Take a look at the Pepsi commercial circa 1980 with His Dancing Whiteness. The entire cast look like well nourished Kenyan distance runners. There's exactly one physique I would even describe as burly (you catch a glimpse of half of his back as he provides a backdrop of some guy unloading a candy van). Burly man is not drinking a Pepsi. All the skinny people are drinking Pepsi.

Thirty years later all those Pepsi customers are so fat they need double-wide remote controls just to sink into the couch after school because the mere thought of going outside to dribble a basketball would cause their overworked hearts to explode.

Is that a free market outcome? Really, you think so? What all these rational economic agents wanted deep down was to become fat, unhealthy, and unsexy? It's a good thing God had the foresight to allow humans to copulate in a mutually horizontal orientation.

Bad things come from bad markets. Look around at the outcomes of so many people who willingly welcome these toxic payment streams into their lives stuffed to the gills with lizard-brain visual heroine.

Comment where the money flows, therefore entitlement (Score 1) 412

And that's the big issue. Because guess who pays his prize money? The people watching it on TV!

That's why a major league sports team, at the end of a season where they finish last in the league, refunds all admissions to all fans in acknowledgement that they didn't get what they paid for.

Comment Re:Wrong (Score 1) 287

when you have loaded it up with debt again, you declare it bankrupt and walk away

Walk away from what, exactly? The only parties extending you credit in the final chapter are parties who have already padded their fees to account for the looming insolvency risk.

In your economic model, is it the case that stupid creditors grow on trees?

Corporations have a natural life cycle. So they die ugly? It has to happen, one way or another.

Comment forward reverse forward reverse (Score 1) 304

Would someone knowledgeable about this—someone who can refrain from jumping on one finger-wagging bandwagon or another long enough to compose a sober paragraph—please jump in and sort out whether this is primarily a problem of older hardware not being able to handle newer publications, or of newer hardware becoming unable/unwilling to render older content?

These are totally different things.

This circus of layered tread marks is not shedding much light.

Comment Re:So can I sue my college? (Score 1) 206

By making fun of people who use the word "literally", I am "voting" to keep the old definition and keep the new definition from becoming accepted, and I will do so as long as it is practical.


Abuse of "literally" or "exponentially" pretty much consigns a person to the beer leagues of serious debate, so far as I'm concerned. From the perspective of a thinking mind, neither of these common uses is all that different from making a fist with your thumb inside. Sure, maybe the chump punches above his or her weight class, but first impression is squarely in the "not" quadrant.

Correct application of "fewer" to countable nouns signals an adversary who has properly joined the fight.

Just because some other guy rides his Harley wearing nothing but a Speedo and a chin strap affixed to a burnt piece of toast, doesn't mean you have to endorse the practice yourself. As the old saying goes: Looks good on you!

No matter what the dictionary might say, the taste of others ends at my nose.

Comment faux objectivity FTW (Score 4, Insightful) 197

Ugh... you're missing the plain and simple truth that polygraphs DONT WORK. They are complete horseshit ...

No, you're missing the point.

Imposing the polygraph protocol on the polygraph subject forces the polygraph subject into a highly disadvantaged mode of engagement. If the horseshitness of the polygraph test were to become the subject of public outrage, the powers-that-be would lose a valuable interrogation tactic.

It runs deep. The cloud of uncertainty over being convicted by a fallible machine with no viable recourse or defense adds to the psychological stress of the subject. This effect would be greatly lessened if the damn thing actually worked. Basically the polygraph examiner gets to sit there and decide your fate in an elaborate ritual of faux objectivity.

How could you say that this doesn't work? Faux objectivity practically bats clean-up in the fine-grinding mill of democratic disempowerment.

Do you consent to a polygraph test?

Absolutely, so long as I'm not forced to hang my head and grunt monosyllables.

Are you refusing to take the polygraph test?

No. I'm refusing the invasive, fucked up protocol that you've willingly elaborated around the idiotic, frightening wires. Wire me up, then engage me in normal conversation, eye to eye. Not my fault if your machine has no technical merit once stripped of the demeaning ritual. If that bugs you, work harder. Innovate. Get the captains of industry on the blower. To hear them tell it, they innovate twice a day and thrice on Saturdays. Surely simple eye contact does not exceed your far-reaching dystopian prowess?

Hardly anyone would consent to answering questions within these bizarre strictures without the quasi-religious deference to the cult of the coloured wires. It's such a Milgramesque whitecoat scam, which nevertheless works a treat if your subject complies.

Comment taskmaster tango (Score 1) 822

But you can't not prosecute people who undoubtedly did commit crimes because you agree with their stated motives.

Your ultimate appeal to non-discretion is just another form of deterrence porn modestly clad in a knee-length skirt.

When the rules themselves are a clear and present danger, it's time for collective social judgement to enter the system. Any society that makes rule of law its highest virtue puts itself under a stiff obligation not to enact stupid laws. Rule of law is only as good as the law itself. If the law itself is extraordinarily well conceived, there should hardly ever be a valid exception to the rule of law.

No provision of law beatifies a corrupt taskmaster.

Comment Re:Sorry man, but not everyone agrees with you (Score 1) 1098

There is also the issue that historically GCC architecture is deliberately unclean in order to prevent your previous (and following) suggestions. RMS does not want GCC to play any part in a toolchain/process which might have non-GPL parts, but that can't be controlled with copyright licence because simply reading / producing e.g an intermediate language does not make a derivative work. Hence GCC is locked-down technically so you can't access any of the intermediate steps.

Isn't that called security through obfuscation? Doesn't that create the conditions for a large number of people who are mainly governed by pragmatism to stampede into the arms of your mortal enemy?

Or is he also trying to stamp out pragmatism as part of the bycatch?

Comment not fast enough for this tiger (Score 1, Funny) 338

Besides, my "high speed" Internet from Comcast seemed fast enough, enabling my household to stream HD videos, load web pages quickly, and connect multiple devices as needed, largely without hiccup. I was wrong.

Is there a special Olympics for underestimating one's needy narcissism?

There are first world problems, and then there are 90210 problems, and then there is the unreliable gardener who once over-trimmed the bonsai tree beside the Arowana pond in the sunken garden of your private Luxembourg vacation villa, and then there's this.

I didn't think I needed a seventh naked women with especially plump breasts dropping peeled grapes into my mouth, but I was wrong. — Caligula

I get it. The Concorde is sexy. If I sunk my backside into a Bugatti Veyron the first words out of my mouth would be "I could get used to this real quick."

Need? Not so much.

Comment Re:US paying Europe for emissions... (Score 1) 259

China for the most part isn't even trying. The USA at least tries.

It won't be long now--maybe a generation--before China is working overtime to outsource their dirtiest industries to lower-wage economics in sub-Saharan Africa, at which point their index of "at least they are trying" will bend abruptly upwards like the knee in a tree-ring extrapolated global warming infographic.

Funny how often the people regarded as trying the hardest are usually handy to a lumpy carpet covering a trap door which opens onto a long shaft.

Comment rubber-necker woot-woot (Score 2) 276

They actually only know your email and that your Adobe password was 'Adobe123'. That might indicate that you reuse that password pattern, but you might not.

Trust me, the NSA uses statistics and not fuzzy logic. Trust me, in the general case, it's an entropy leak. As someone with apg-generated unique passwords for every place I visit (as short as 10 characters if I really don't give a shit) I might have one such password in my portfolio, but it would be a joke, a highly self-conscious joke. It's still an entropy leak. I'm sure the NSA has a special folder for people with my sense of humour.

Now to trash on the story summary.

and worse

And worse than "password"? Oh, please. In the most contrived example, you might find a way. But generally, "password" has a death grip on most worstest. Just couldn't resist tacking on the rubber-necker woot-woot, could you?

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Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!