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Comment Re:"Playing Nice" is Not Considered a Virtue (Score 1) 736

Really? In the engineering education I've been exposed to (I'm in a Canadian engineering program right now) they heavily play up the importance of eliminating bias and groupthink to find the "best" option. There's an immense stress on the idea that there is no "right" option, and that even the option you choose to be right has to be properly sourced and cited with a fully documented process, so you are accountable for your decisions. In fact, that accountability is an immense part of the "professional" part of the education, and I'd argue that's why engineers wouldn't make good extremists; they'd be looking for the kind of backup that just isn't there with some religious beliefs.

Add that to the fact that hackers and nerds, more so than other groups I've seen, tend to be more questioning of traditional religions than the average person - and it's not just me who notices.


Robot Can Read Human Body Language 114

An anonymous reader writes "European researchers have developed a new approach to artificial intelligence that could allow computers to respond to behavior as well as commands, reacting intelligently to the subtle nuances of human communication. It's no trivial feat – many humans struggle with the challenge on a day-to-day basis."

Comment Re:Nothing to hide... (Score 1) 671

This is a VERY important point, if I had points I'd mod you straight to the top.

This isn't an issue of privacy, or having something to hide or being a criminal; this is about control. This is a private corporation saying they have the authority to take away my right to control what I disclose to people, I'm saying they don't. When you blog about a restaurant you go to, sign up for and let the world know your favourite song is "Jesus, Take the Wheel", or set your Facebook information to "Looking for: Men" when you're male, you are opting in to something; it is your choice to tell people that. Disclosure is, and should always be, opt-in...that's the only thing that makes sense. If this was all verbally disclosed, you'd be opting-in by opening your mouth in the first place. There's no situation in which your mouth would be open and sound coming out by default, with you having the "opt-out" option to close it.

I thought there was a decent chunk of children's literature about how talking behind people's backs is mean, how if you know a secret, something bad about someone, then you shouldn't tell it to everyone because it's wrong. Did Eric Schmidt miss that part of Kindergarten? How is this different?

Comment Re:Google Analytics (Score 1) 387

That's VERY true, I've seen "Waiting for" in the status bar one too many times for Steve Souders, performance guru, to complain about something like this. He keeps flopping back and forth between coming off as genuinely interested in the well-being of the internet, and boosting another Google service...although they're free services, and Google's been excellent about data liberation, so I don't quite know what I'm complaining about.

Modeling the Economy As a Physics Problem 452

University of Utah physicist Tim Garrett has published a study that approaches the economy and its relation to global warming as a physics problem — and comes to some controversial conclusions: that rising carbon dioxide emissions cannot be stabilized unless the world's economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day. The study was panned by economists and was rejected by several journals before its acceptance in the journal Climatic Change. "[Garrett discovered that] Throughout history, a simple physical constant... links global energy use to the world's accumulated economic productivity, adjusted for inflation. So it isn't necessary to consider population growth and standard of living in predicting society's future energy consumption and resulting carbon dioxide emissions. ... 'I'm not an economist, and I am approaching the economy as a physics problem,' Garrett says. 'I end up with a global economic growth model different than they have.' Garrett treats civilization like a 'heat engine' that 'consumes energy and does "work" in the form of economic production, which then spurs it to consume more energy,' he says. That constant is 9.7 (plus or minus 0.3) milliwatts per inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar. So if you look at economic and energy production at any specific time in history, 'each inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar would be supported by 9.7 milliwatts of primary energy consumption,' Garrett says. ... Perhaps the most provocative implication of Garrett's theory is that conserving energy doesn't reduce energy use, but spurs economic growth and more energy use."

Comment Re:In Russia, commie govt gives health care to YOU (Score 2, Funny) 801

The remaining ones are illegal intruders (non-citizens).

That's a very good point, it's a known fact non-citizens and illegal immigrants don't get sick or need help in any way. Those damn cyborg immigrants, not only are they stealing our jobs, parking their cars on their lawns and fucking our wives behind our backs, but they're also immune to pain and disease! It's just unfair.


Genentech Puts Words In the Mouths of Congress Members 229

theodp writes "In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with remarkable similarities. Often, that was no accident. Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech. E-mail obtained by the NY Times shows that lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans. Genentech, a subsidiary of Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points — 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists. ... The statements were not intended to change the bill, which was not open for much amendment during the debate. They were meant to show bipartisan support for certain provisions, even though the vote on passage generally followed party lines. ... Asked about the Congressional statements, a lobbyist close to Genentech said: 'This happens all the time. There was nothing nefarious about it.'"

Comment Re:It's yhy anti-piracy is a BAD thing... (Score 1) 294

The only reason a million times as many people prefer Spears and the like is because of advertising and promotion.

[citation needed]

Honestly, I hate the elitist attitude of people who don't like pop music. Some people really, honestly like Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, whatever overproduced musical group happens to come along. Go to any average club night or party and tell me if you don't see the crowd go absolutely crazy when "Wannabe" comes on. Not (necessarily) because it's been overhyped, but because people actually like it. The attitude that we're in the middle of a paradigm shift and that we're about to enter music's Age of Aquarius is wrong every time. Things will change, but music you don't like won't just go away.

Comment Re:Not government's job (Score 1) 681

I wish there was a new mod category so this could be rated "+5 Zing". Hit it right on the head. I say the same thing to people who think we shouldn't have to pay to support mentally disabled people with special schooling. We made the decision long ago to help each other out, we can't just pick and choose now, unfortunately plenty of people don't understand that.

Comment Wall Posts (Score 5, Interesting) 292

I like the "memorialized" version of the page. How bad do you think it would be for someone to look through pictures of the recently deceased, go back to the profile and see all kinds of "Hey man, haven't seen you in a while...where've you been?" posts... I just hope there's no "Like" option for the change.

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