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Comment Well the other thing (Score 3, Insightful) 814

Is we need to define what we mean when we ask for someone's sex or gender on a form. I think part of the problem is different people identify what it means differently. Some in the transgender community say it is 100% about what you personally choose to identify as. So you could be genetically male, have an XY chromosome set, and biologically male, as in have male genitals and body structure, but identify yourself as female and that's what you should mark down. However other people might disagree. If you went in to the woman's dressing room at a rec center the biological women in there might not be at all comfortable with that since they identify you as male, due to your biology.

So one of the things we need to do is clarify the terms, and perhaps have different terms for identifying someone's genetic structure, biological makeup, and sexual identity.

Like when you are talking to a doctor, the genetic definition matters. Reason is that health issues do NOT affect both genders equally, and it has nothing to do with appearance or identity, it has to do with genetics. So even if you've had a sex change operation and all that, proper identification as genetically male could be relevant to medical providers.

For most people it is more about biology, as in what bits do you have between your legs. We visually identify people as male or female, and most are pretty clearly one or the other. That is one of the reasons it gets asked for lots of forms of ID is to help ensure that the ID is for the person holding it. For that, we might want to use your biological appearance. If you undergo a sex change surgery, then you change that identifier.

In terms of the pronoun you wish people to use to identify your gender, that really is up to you, though you need to understand it can be confusing to people if you appear and sound different than you identify.

So as you say we need to review why the information is collected, and then define terms to say what sort of thing we are talking about. We can't just say "Well let people identify as whatever they want," since reality doesn't work that way. However if you are just collecting it for no real reason, then don't and let people identify how they wish.

Comment Sooo... You know you can get non-wifi bulbs right? (Score 1) 401

You can have nice, efficient, LED bulbs with no WiFi in them. Go to Amazon, Home Depot, pretty much wherever you like. The Philips L-Prize bulb is the one I'd recommend. Very nice spectrum, more efficient than most other LEDs, long life.

Or I suppose you could just whine on Slashdot about a product that isn't on the market yet.

Comment Implement M...F Ranges (GUI on Sliders.) (Score 3, Interesting) 814

There are various diseases, dysmorphia, accidents and disorders that affect how one perceives one's gender and which affect how other's perceive one's gender.

If we want an accurate Object definition for Class>>Gender it has to be implemented to have a pair of small integers as attributes and presented/interacted with as a pair of Sliders.

Comment Re:Political complications (Score 1) 115

Imagine the tantrum North Korea will throw when one of these drifts through its airspace and gives the population unfiltered Internet access.

Pissing off the North Korean government is indeed a nice extra feature... we enjoy pissing them off, they enjoy being pissed off. It's win/win!

Of course it won't help the North Koreans citizens much unless they have a compatible antenna and a computer to attach to it, which seems unlikely for the forseeable future. :^(

Comment Re:In the end? (Score 2) 115

Most will fall in the sea. Then they will get eaten by turtles. Think of the turtles...

Wi-fi enabled turtles, hacking into through the Google backbone and taking over the Internet. You'll long for the good old days when it was only the NSA...

Comment Re:This makes no sense. (Score 1) 401

Why would you put control circuitry that doesn't wear out into the replaceable part that *does* wear out instead of into the fixture that holds it?

One of the advantages of LED bulbs is that they don't wear out for a very long time. It wouldn't surprise me if they outlast the control circuitry.

Comment Re:doesn't help people take games seriously either (Score 2) 737

Exactly: numerous scientific studies have found that people generally like to be around other attractive people, even regardless of sex (e.g., women prefer to be around attractive women rather than ugly women, men prefer to be around attractive men than ugly men, and of course both sexes like to be around attractive members of the opposite sex). So it's to a business's advantage to hire attractive people, of either sex, to interact with customers.

Comment Re:read carefully (Score 3, Informative) 140

doesn't mean that there aren't other mechanisms in place to collect a lot more data without specific requests. For example, the NSA could be collecting data where Facebook's servers connect to the Internet.

Apparently SSL encryption at all of the large internet corps is handled by dedicated front-ends - and the network between the SSL front-ends and the real guts of entities like facebook, google, etc are all in the clear. That makes for a perfect location for the NSA to drop their sniffers in, no need to compromise any SSL certs at all, no forward secrecy, etc, just wide open traffic perfect for raw harvesting.

And, of course, you have to assume that the Utah data center is going to be used to store something, and it ain't gonna be data obtained from just 20000 Facebook-related requests, because those would fit on my hard drive.

I think that bears repeating - the NSA ain't building data silos (there are others, like one in san antonio, texas) that consume as much electricity as a small city for nothing. They are collecting literally tons of data on us, its gotta be coming from somewhere.

Comment Re:I don't understand this (Score 4, Insightful) 140

I simply cannot wrap my head around this. How is it in public's interest to be constantly surveiled in violation of the bill of rights?

That is what happens when the people in power become convinced of their own righteousness. It is not an evil plot, it is simply the natural result of fact that basically no one ever thinks of themselves as the bad guy. So if they are the good guys, then whatever they do must also be good. They convince themselves that any harmful side-effects truly are minimal (easy to do when the side-effects don't impact them directly) and are a necessary cost for the greater good.

Comment End of the "UNIX/Linux guru" (Score 5, Insightful) 39

We're no longer constrained by the need to have deep specialized knowledge in the low-level components to get basic access to this technology.

That's what it is really about. The unit of computational resource is a standardized, empty server. It's not "maintained", it's wiped and reloaded. If something goes wrong with it, its load is sent elsewhere, and eventually the unit will be replaced by someone who unplugs it and plugs in another one. Nobody in the data center really has to have much of an idea of what's going on with the computers. Their concerns are power, cooling, cabling, and physical security.

Most of them will be paid at security-guard levels.

Comment Re:Protecting the arts and artists (Score 1) 442

I like this scheme too. Makes it practical for works that produce little or no income in their early days, or have perhaps 15 or 20 years of profits, but makes it definitely not worthwhile to sit on 'em forever. Under such a scheme, Mickey Mouse would now cost several billion a year (if not more, I didn't bother to do the math) and certainly would not look like an attractive asset to Disney's shareholders.

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