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Comment Proposal: Sensitivity Hats (Score 4, Interesting) 759

There seem to be two groups of people here:

The first group of people is not offended by jokes, including jokes influenced by sexuality.

The second group of people is offended by jokes, especially jokes influenced by sexuality. A subset of this group is offended by such jokes when spoken by members of a certain gender. Of course, this is discriminatory so we will ignore that aspect and categorize them as offended in general.

I think there is a desire to be respectful of the second group while avoiding strict censorship of the [majority] first group.

I suggest a clearly visible sign that someone is offended by jokes influenced by sexuality (or, perhaps broadening this to include all jokes?). Perhaps a yellow hat or something like that. People within earshot of such people should refrain from telling such jokes. People wearing the sensitivity marker who hear things offensive to them can raise the issue to convention staff who will attempt to deal with the issue. People wearing the "sensitivity" marker who make such jokes will permanently lose the right to wear them.

People not wearing the sensitivity marker who hear something offensive to them should either (A) indicate to the offensive person directly that their conduct is perhaps inappropriate, or (B) move away from the offensive person so that they are no longer offended. If (A) is ineffective and (B) is ineffective or impossible the convention staff can be notified and they may or may not choose to act; anyone not wearing a sensitivity marker who is upset is free to go put on a sensitivity marker.

People may wish to have activities which may include things that people find offensive, they are free to ban sensitivity markers. Additionally, "sensitivity-marker free zones" or "automatic sensitivity marker" zones could be created. Or even entire conventions where no sensitivity markers are allowed -- one would expect a crude joke convention to probably not cater to overly sensitive people.

Of course, in an ideal world, everyone would be adult enough to know to watch their language a little bit, and to not overreact a lot. But given that certain people are especially sensitive for various reasons, we should find a way to allow them to coexist with the rest of society.

Comment Interesting intersection of Patent and Copyright (Score 4, Interesting) 225

It's usually hard to copyright a "thing". If you make a thing -- a new type of shelving or gun or glass or pen or chair or whatever -- you can't get a copyright on it, you can maybe get a patent on it.

So for a CAD file of a gun, the CAD file could be copyrighted... but it would be copyrighted by the author, not by the manufacturer of the gun it was a clone of (unless they were the author, of course). Now, printing out the gun might be manufacturing something covered by patents... but copying the file wouldn't be creating the gun.

3D printing will sure be interesting from a legal standpoint, it potentially brings copyright and patent law together for just about everything. I would hope that we could establish that CAD files for 3D printers are equal to recipes for the purposes of copyright: a series of steps to create something. But that's certainly not what happened for source code.

Comment Re:Original AC here (Score 1) 416

The opportunity for "wrong" is that you can be biased to choose one expert or priest over another. You're likely to make this choice based on, to some extent, what the guy next to you thinks.

I choose the concesus. I never choose "one" expert unless I'm sure that expert is representing the concensus opinion of many scientists. If there's large segments with varying opinions, usually indicating a lack of data to explain which is more correct, then I remain agnostic. If there's one expert who disagrees with everyone else, I am leery of that expert's opinion, even if it's exactly what I want to hear.

If that expert turns out to be right, then that will eventually be reflected by the rest of the scientific community as the evidence becomes more and more convincing. As has happened over and over again.

Could this still mean I pick the wrong group of experts? Yeah.

Is that anything like a priesthood? No. That comparison is just stupid.

Comment Re:Clear bias against the oil industry (Score 1) 416

There are probably literally a handfull of people who actually have opinions formed on science. They're sitting in universities looking at models run on supercomputers. Everybody else is using these people as priests, even if they didn't ask to be priests.

And for those of us who want to form our opinions based on science, but aren't climatologists, looking to the people who are and actually do study and understand climate science and asking them is wrong... how exactly?

For any other non-controversial field of science, this wouldn't be controversial either. Nobody says we're treating particle physicists like "priests" when we go with their best working picture of the microscopic universe with the understanding that this picture may change. How is that like a priest?

And for the record, while I do take what the climatologists say as a provisional truth, I would be delighted if they came out one day and said they were wrong all this time and it turns out there's nothing to worry about. So far, so bad.

Comment Re:Mega and YouTube (Score 1) 127

I can't answer that, but I know YouTube never intended itself to be, didn't want to be, and took pro-active steps to deal with that situation.

Well, minus the one Youtube founder who was deliberately posting copyrighted material without permission to drive traffic early on.

Though the others did take pro-active steps by making him stop so on the whole, your statement is true.

Comment Re:the wtc was taken out with box cutters (Score 1) 727

Of course you stopped reading. Just like you stopped looking at reality as soon as it stopped conforming to your pre-conceived ideology. And of course you call trumping reality with ideology "intelligence". Even though this viewpoint has been tried and found woefully lacking. But that was only in reality!

I wish I was perceptive enough to see that reality is wrong when it contradicts what's in your head.

Comment Re:the wtc was taken out with box cutters (Score 1) 727

the truth is, you can't talk about what is stupid/ rational when you are talking about a regime that starves it's people while it builds nukes. rationality and intelligence are not part of the equation.

Of course they are part of the equation! Their behavior is extremely rational. Just not moral. Their goals are not what you think they should be. It's not to work for the betterment of their people. It's to maintain their hold on power over their people. This doesn't make them irrational. It does mean that as long as you equate rationality and morality and therefore assume that they are irrational that you will never understand them. And because you will never understand them (deliberately!) you will never deal with them effectively.

But failing before you even begin because of a conscious decision to replace reality with ideology is old hat for you, isn't it Mr. Iraq War Cheerleader? Is this you re-polishing your rhetoric in support of another war?

Comment Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (Score 1) 164

Fair enough, a cable was involved. They didn't lower it to the ground on a cable. They didn't lower it while in powered flight hovering above the ground. They did it to separate the rover housing from the descent stage so it would have room to deploy the airbags. Compare to the Curiosity EDL and the operation is quite different.

Comment Re:A hard time keeping on the forefront? (Score 1) 605

Alpha designers worked on Alpha at HP -- they produced several variants of the EV7 there. And the servers based on those chips performed better than HP's Itanium offerings, which was rather awkward for them.

Dirk Meyer went to AMD long before that. It was still DEC when he left. Dirk was the lead architect of the K7 (that success being a big part of how he ended up in a position to become CEO) which came out while Compaq was still making new Alphas.

But you're right that a great many jumped ship from Compaq.

Comment Re:A hard time keeping on the forefront? (Score 1) 605

You're being completely revisionist.

No, just uninformed about the extent of the embedded use of these chips. By the time I heard of them (e.g. Playstation/N64, and much more recent uses of SPARC) their heydey was over. I had no idea there was a SPARC-based camera in the mid 90s. Obviously I was much more in tune with their traditional business side.

Comment Re:A hard time keeping on the forefront? (Score 1) 605

Some of these ISAs found new life, but MIPS and SPARC were for SGI boxes running Ultrix and Sun boxes running SunOS/Solaris respectively for many years. It's only once the original business models collapsed that they became otherwise.

NT on Alpha was contemporary with the ISA's hey-dey, though all it really did was demonstrate that you shouldn't count on Microsoft for the success of your non-x86 server platform. I did know someone who used such a box though. Four processors, baby!

Oh and yeah, the 68k is awesome. It was used in so much stuff besides machines running Unix, though, that "Unix processor" isn't an accurate historical metaphor.

Comment Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (Score 1) 164

Yeah, even some of the new parts weren't that new, though doing aerodynamic flight in Mars atmosphere counts as fairly new if not unprecedented.

The Viking's last stage of descent was done entirely with retrorockets on the lander itself. The MER rovers used a rocket powered descent stage that then dropped the rovers in their airbag-lined shells only the last 10s of meters. MSL was closer to the MER rovers in this sense, however the Sky Crane part was still completely new.

Comment Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (Score 1) 164

Spirit and Opportunity were dropped from their "sky cranes" (yes, they had them too, but they weren't called sky cranes at the time) from several storeys up,

They had a rocket-powered descent stage, but it wasn't a "sky crane" because it didn't lower them on a cable, ala a crane, thus why it wasn't called one.

Yes. If anything, Curiosity had it easy. It was placed ever so gently on the surface.

Easier on the rover by design/necessity, though more complicated for the EDL team. Not ridiculously so like everyone thought, but definitely a source of complication and stress.

I didn't realize it when I was watching the EDL stream live, but later learned that they had agreed that, largely due to the public watching, they had to be careful how they called out the steps of the landing. Specifically they said "TD nominal" when telemetry said the wheels were on the ground rather than "Touch Down" because they didn't want to get the public excited when the next thing telemetry told them could have been that Curiosity was being dragged across the surface of Mars by the descent stage after a failure to release the cables. They waited until they were sure Curiosity wasn't moving before declaring "Touch Down Confirmed."

Oh man, still gets me a little thinking about those words. Hehe.

Comment Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (Score 1) 164

Heh. What I like about the MSL pessimism is that most people didn't realize that literally the only new parts of the landing procedure were the sky crane at the end, and aerodynamic flight before parachute deploy.

It's like they think Spirit and Opportunity were just dropping onto Mars from orbit and some measely air bags absorbed all that energy.

But that's how Mission to Mars showed it, so I guess that's legit!

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