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Comment Re:Our culture (Score 3, Interesting) 1029

In all fairness this is one you can't blame on our culture. Blockbuster movies need to be international. International means they can't have as much culture.

Bollocks. Lazy studio thinking. Lazy thinking in general. You're assuming that audiences are uneducated and want neither to think nor to learn, and that because it may be difficult or more challenging than scripting a gunfight, that it is impossible for writers, directors, and actors to communicate a story effectively in a world with slightly different cultural norms and expectations.

Many Hollywood films - indeed, entire genres - are deliberately placed within cultures (and/or against cultural backdrops) that are separated from the expectations and standards and mores of the early twenty-first century USA -- sometimes by a little bit, sometimes by gaping chasms. When well-executed, the audience is immersed in the film's cultural context, and able to follow the plot despite their lack of (initial) familiarity with the setting.

This is the bread and butter of science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, even of the political thriller. One does not need to have flown a starship or know how to cast magic spells to appreciate Star Trek or Harry Potter. One does not need to be indoctrinated into the world of high finance to enjoy Wall Street, nor deeply study geopolitics to grasp the fun of The Hunt for Red October.

And honestly, those international audiences have been consuming the output of the United States' cultural industries for decades. The typical foreign filmgoer is probably almost as familiar with the genre conventions and tropes of American filmmaking as any American.

Comment Easy to answer (Score 4, Interesting) 163

However, the FSO has its roots in the KGB and those were the ones who placed keystroke loggers on the popular IBM Selectric electric typewriter 40 years ago! So how much safer does this make them?


If your adversary has physical access to any piece of hardware, it's impossible to secure. Period. One can install a keystroke logger on a modern computer keyboard as well. Switching to non-networked, 'dumb', electric typewriters doesn't block this avenue for attack.

On the other hand, depending on the typewriter's features, it will be very difficult or impossible to remotely compromise, or to compromise using non-hardware approaches. Entire classes of attacks are rendered irrelevant.

To be fair, this does introduce some new potential avenues for attack--increased physical document handling means additional risks related to moving and securing bits of paper.

Comment Re:Innocent until blogged about (Score 5, Informative) 666

I find every time they go running to the Internet instead of the cops to be suspect frankly, as I can accuse anybody of anything and so can you. .... if he did what she said she should have been on the phone to the cops not 10 minutes later, why wasn't she?

I don't know if you're illiterate, lazy, or just an ass -- but had you read the linked post, you would know that the very first thing she tried to do was contact the police, and she stuck at it for hours until she was able to get them to show up. Turns out, this can be difficult to accomplish late at night, in a foreign country where you don't speak the language, in a former Eastern Bloc country.

She was unable to get an outside line from her hotel room phone. The hotel desk clerk claimed not to understand English well enough to place the call when asked. Her own cell phone had been damaged in the attack; she eventually was able to have a friend contact the U.S. embassy, who were able to - finally - reach the Polish police.

Comment Re:This isn't because he is doing too MORE Science (Score 1) 204

I wouldn't exactly call entering two fairs that were geographically very close to the school gaming the system.

How is getting to have twice as many chances to enter as all the other kids not gaming the system? How does the distance enter into it? How far apart do the two fairs have to be for it to stop being fair?

Comment Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (Score 5, Informative) 311

Second, these things are extremely expensive to install (especially if they're not immediately next to major power lines). We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I'm guessing that you've never had to build a gasoline station. Environmental assessments. Underground excavation. Costly double-walled tanks and plumbing. Inspections. Insurance in case you contaminate the local soil or water with spilled fuel. And it's not like you get a pipeline direct to the station--every gallon you sell has to be trucked in.

Comment We're missing the most interesting results (Score 4, Interesting) 446

First, I'll note in passing that the 'implicit bias' test found a significant bias against thin people in 17% (52 out of 310) students. While that group is smaller than the group significantly biased against the obese (39%, 121/310), it's by no means small. For every two future doctors out to get you for being fat, there's one that hates you for being thin--but for some reason, it's only the obese patients that get the column inches.

Second, and by far most intriguing, is the 33% (101/310) of students who openly acknowledged an explicit personal bias. Given that 39% (121/301) were found to have an actual bias on the implicit test, on the surface this result isn't surprising - but the 101 who think they're biased, and the 121 who actually have an implicit bias, don't overlap very closely. Just 40 students who thought they had a bias actually did. The study authors (and the journalists who have summarized their results) decided to frame this in the form of two-thirds of anti-fat students don't know they're biased! It's much more curious, I think, to note that a healthy majority of students who thought they were biased against the obese - 61% (61/101) - actually aren't.

Indeed, it turns out that there wasn't a significant correlation between believing one was biased and actually having a bias. So why do three out of five students who think they have an anti-fat bias hold that belief mistakenly?

Comment Re:He's crazy but... (Score 1) 625

Gun control in the age of 3d printing is going to be virtually impossible. In the next decade we'll move from plastics to metals and from niche to mainstream for 3d printing, any 15 yr old with an internet connection and a (no doubt cheap) home printer will then only need to buy bullets to arm themselves to the teeth.

Traffic control in the age of private automobile ownership is virtually impossible. In the last century, we moved from hand-built, slow-moving, one-off curiosities to mass-produced, mainstream, consumer death machines. Any 16 year old can legally buy a used car from a "dealer" down the street--a car that can go much faster than the speed limit on any road on the United States, can violate any number of traffic laws, and which can be used to maim or kill. All laws involving automobiles are therefore utterly futile and should be repealed.

While enforcement is easier when the line between "legal" and "illegal" coincides with the line between "technically feasible" and "technically impractical", it is not a strict requirement. Confusing social problems with technical problems generally leads to sloppy thinking and bad policy.

Comment Re:Death of e-ink... (Score 1) 132

You also forget that most places that might use this are ABOVE SEA LEVEL...My numbers are not off. They've been checked and re-checked with quantum meters, light/power meters, and in most places about 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level...

About a third of the human population lives less than 100 metres above sea level. Most live below 200 metres. (The median living altitude for humans on earth is given as 194 metres - 636 feet - in this 1998 paper; if anything, it's likely to have shifted downward in the years since, as the majority of the world's rapidly-growing, largest cities are coastal.) In any event, you weren't quoting 4000-foot numbers; you were quoting figures for outer space. Have you even looked at what you wrote, or the source that you linked to?

First, you forgot to acknowledge that any light source is emitting IR, and thus that factors into power usage and visible-light availability, thus using 445 w of light, even with our most efficient light sources, might only net you overall 110 w in the visible range.........

Dude. Just give it a rest. The original poster explicitly said "At 100% efficiency...". No one said that an ideal visible light source existed; the point was to put a hard floor on the power requirement.

While I admit that I have a certain morbid curiosity about how long you're going to keep trying to contort your comments so that you can be 'right', I figure that you're out of useful things to say now that you're struck your second I'm-a-super-duper-expert-and-can't-be-wrong pose in lieu of evidence. I'm going to go talk to people who are interesting, now.

Comment Re:Death of e-ink... (Score 1) 132

Guys, I work with light and solar irradiance/insolation all day long. You won't win this argument.

When you say "work with", I really hope that you're not getting paid very much. Or that you pay a bit closer attention to your work when it's for money. Or that a grownup is checking your figures for you before you hand in your homework.

The original poster, Emperor Arthur, gave you the correct numbers in his very first comment. Since then you've screwed up twice in an increasingly ineffective campaign to persuade us all that you're smarter than everyone else, instead of thinking about the problem or looking up (confirming) the correct figures. First you forgot to acknowledge that a backlight doesn't need to outshine the infrared component of the solar spectrum. Then you went roaring off in a different direction, forgetting that the majority of ebook readers are used on the Earth's surface, and not above the atmosphere.

Seriously, when you're in a hole, stop digging.

Comment Re:reductio ad absurdum (Score 1) 1111

People keep normal valuables like their wallet, GPS, tablets or laptops in them. The idea is that anything out of sight is out of mind for a crackhead/methuser/dirty cop.

Of course, since you read the article, you already know that that hypothetical scenario is irrelevant to the current case. In this instance, the technician who constructed the trap had been called out to service one of his previous installations; the owner of the vehicle complained that the trap wouldn't open. The technician drilled into the compartment and eventually managed to get it open. He discovered that the reason the trap wouldn't open was that it was stuffed over-full with cash: more than $800,000.

Not only did the technician repair the cash-stuffed trap, he later constructed three additional ones for the same client. Granted, the entire trap business in the U.S. operates under a sort of determined wilful blindness, but once you start drilling into million-dollar bricks of cash you really push the boundaries of plausible deniability.

Comment Re:correlation (Score 2) 1121

Large samples? 1 non-branded and 9 branded articles went missing. That's not a huge number of cases to examine.

Actually, it's plenty. The number of lost parcels should be, roughly speaking, a Poisson distributed statistic. If we assume a fixed rate of parcel loss, the number of parcels lost from any given batch of shipments should come in at that rate, plus or minus some noise. For this type of statistical distribution, the standard deviation from batch to batch is approximately the square root of the expectation value.

For 178 parcels (89 under each condition) the observed losses were 1 parcel (1.1%) for non-atheist packages, and 9 parcels (10%) for atheist packages. If we suppose that the actual loss rate is between those two extremes, we get a loss rate of about 5.5%, and an expected loss of 5 parcels per batch of 89 parcels.

The standard deviation for that batch size is the square root of 5, or about 2.2; the two observations that we have are both about two standard deviations away from the expectation value. The likelihood of pulling a random value this far from the expectation value by chance is about 5%; the likelihood of it happening twice is 5% squared: about 0.03%.

Feel free to twiddle with different expectation values and expected loss rates; you'll find the odds are strongly against these values coming up by chance.

The "3 days longer" statistic seems to be massively skewed by a single non-representative parcel that took 37 days later than its counterpart.

Roughly 80 parcels and roughly 40 days' delay means that the mean was increased by about half a day. Discarding that one outlying datum, the atheist packages still would have averaged 2.5 days longer for delivery. Among the ones that were delivered at all....

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