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Comment no thanks (Score 5, Interesting) 182

As a resident of a prosperous northern-European country with working infrastructure, a working healthcare system, relatively low poverty and homelessness levels, and generally a decent civil society that we all pay our share towards, I'll take the universal welfare state over some kind of ridiculous experiment in anarcho-capitalism. That's about as likely to work as any other anarchist experiment has worked. I guess America can have fun with it, though.

Comment Re:[citation needed] doesn't help (Score 2) 219

One way to minimise their PR efforts is to create significant Streisand effects on their work. But some PR companies are so desperate that they would probably even be delighted with that.

Part of the reason there isn't much of a Streisand effect here usually is that in the common case, honestly nobody cares about these articles. A PR company writes an obvious fluff piece about some obscure internet portal or logistics company or for-profit university. If someone on Wikipedia catches it, they might try to tone it down or even delete it. But most of the time: 1) nobody even sees these articles; and 2) it's barely really worth the effort.

If a PR company tries to fluff up a politician's article who's engaged in a high-profile race, or some energy-industry PR people edit an article relating to climate change, or the Turkish government hires a PR firm to edit the page on the Armenian genocide, then people will notice and care. But nobody reads the thousands of articles on obscure companies. The minus side is that they're usually crap articles, but the plus side is that they are relatively uninfluential crap: all they tell you is that some small company exists and thinks it's great, and they get a handful of views from Google. Usually they are not even really linked from other parts of Wikipedia: when the PR companies try to insert spammy links from other articles that people do read, that's when these fluff articles are caught.

Comment Re:Dial-a-ride (Score 1) 123

One thing that may help Helsinki is that it's considerably more compact than Silicon Valley. The region covered by this system is about a 5 mi x 5 mi rectangle, which in Helsinki is actually considered a large area, covering most of the city, and about 750,000 people. Silicon Valley, by contrast, has distances frequently in the 20-30 mile range (say, Mountain View to SFO), and there is no 5x5 mi area that has a population as high as 750,000. It's just too sprawling.

Comment Re:The bar meetings (Score 1) 96

I could be imagining things, but I think there's actually a slight decrease in ability to carry on these kinds of discussions than there was a half-generation ago. You could assume that most computer scientists in the '80s and '90s had basic ability to use a listserv and carry on a conversation suited to the medium. I think that is less true now: many computer scientists in 2013 have absolutely no idea how to carry on a productive text-based discussion.

Comment Re:Not surprised (Score 4, Insightful) 96

If you're trying to recreate a physical meeting, I agree. But it's quite possible to have productive virtual meetings if people adapt to working in a manner suited to the medium. I have a regular group of collaborators who I sometimes meet with in person, and sometimes meet with on IRC. The two kinds of meetings are both productive, real meetings, but with different strengths and weaknesses. However it works because we're all familiar with IRC and how to use it productively, rather than trying to shoehorn some other communication style into it.

Comment Re:Kids don't like vaccination?! (Score 1) 699

Generally true, though the tricky part is that in disagreements between divorced parents, courts sometimes try to take the kids' wishes into account in ways that wouldn't have legal standing outside the divorce context. That's because the court is supposed to do many things in the "interest of the children", and when divorced parents disagree over what that is, they might try to discern from the children what that is (with varying degrees of success).

Here the court seems to have taken the children's wishes into account, but ultimately decided that, when mom and dad disagreed over what was in the interests of the children, medical science was a better tie-breaker.

Comment Re:It's a long walk! (Score 1) 257

Man, you people must work in some weird-ass buildings. When I want to see someone above or below me, I just take the nearest stairs up. Sure, there is only one central elevator bank, but there are 5 flights of stairs (one in each corner of the building and one in the middle, near the elevators). Takes not even two minutes.

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