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Comment Re: "Not Reproduclibe" (Score 3, Insightful) 618

Deducing gravity by noticing what has fallen and how fast is "a bunch of data points and an opinion". It's also falsifiable: you predict what the data will be for other, related circumstances you haven't measured yet. A lot of astronomy, chemistry, biology, and social sciences are done this way because strictly controlled experiments are very difficult.

The ability to make precise predictions, or to give accurate and verifiable _ranges_ for results, seems to be a very good basis for both engineering and science.

Comment Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (Score 2) 618

It's a fascinating case. It has _nothing_ do with navigable waters, it has to do with wetlands, which are federally protected in various ways, and the Clean Waters Act, which involves protecting water supplies. If you're going to cite an example of bureaucratic abuse because of "navigable waters" that only exist for a day, cite one they're actually guilty of, please. Please don't cite cases that have no direct relevance to your claim of abuse.

Comment Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (Score 1) 618

And I call it "straw man argument" when someone cites bureaucratic foibles with what are demonstrably nonexistent examples.

Kindly cite the cases of "navigable waters" including "any puddle that lasts more than 24 hours". The Supreme Court guidelines are fascinating, and seem to be extensible to include waterways large enough to handle a canoe, depending on whether it's connected to another waterway. But they're workable, and discharging the waste into a creek that _feeds into_ a lake or ocean could certainly make such discharges relevant to public safety.

Comment Re:actually, it's pretty much "there" (Score 1) 108

In the US, the separation of different doctor office and health insurance systems helps isolate the data from centralized universal access. Continuing to protect and isolate patient data is large concern for doctors who treat terminal cancer, mental health patients, STD's, or pregnancy in juveniles. It's led to some fascinating conflicts between HIPAA, which is supposed to ease sharing and reliability of medical records in the age of digital records, and doctor/patient confidentiality practices that may be in favor of patient confidentiality than HIPAA allows.

HIPAA also has guidelines to _protect_ patient data, but make no mistake about its results. It's being used to make patient data more consistently and easily accessible among all interested personnel, and its protections against government snooping are effectively non-existent.

Comment Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (Score 4, Insightful) 618

It could be abused, to force the EPA to include "meta-analyses" of scientific results and use them to discredit reliable results compared to large sets of industry published, fraudulent results. Let's not forget the tobacco industry scientific fraud, for decades, about the poisonous effects of cigarette smoke on humans.

It's also theoretically possible that this kind of law could be used to expose the "industry analyses" to review. That's what I'd hope for, right now: too many analyses are published under extensive non-disclosure agreements that prevent the EPA from being able to publish them. I've certainly seen that kind of restraint of publication about groundwater and soil toxicity analyses for new construction. The project leaders wanted even the existence of the analysis kept secret unless it was favorable to construction.

Comment Re:Beta violates ADA guidelines (Score 1) 77

Perhaps it was "SANTA" ?

        http://www.porcupine.org/satan...

I still remember the SATAN network scanning tool, which had a little script called "repent" to change the name and gifs to "SANTA"

Could there possibly be such a tool in place to "repent" the Slashdot Beta to something usable? We can only hope.

Comment Re:Beta violates ADA guidelines (Score 1) 77

I never mentioned the ADA in my post. So you obviously know that the relevant law is the American with Disabilities Act, since you inferred its mention without my having written it.

May I assume that such a mis-aimed, ill-founded troll was written by someone whose paycheck relies on the slashdot beta? The presence of irrelevant and distracting matierial based on a need that was invented out of misunderstood references and now leads to confused publication by someone who has failed to address any genuinely relevant issue does sound like the Slashdot Beta.

Comment Beta violates ADA guidelines (Score 5, Insightful) 77

The unnecessarily complex and excessively indented layout interferes with text->speech tools, and actually reduces legibility for people who heavily expand their screens due to visual problems. The current clean, well ordered, linear layout is easy to use, intuitive, and doesn't insert painful, confusing, or unnecessary complexity. The slashdot readers, and contributors, are here for the stories, not for the exciting newness of the GUI.

Does anyone know who actually _wrote_, or demanded, the Slashddot Beta? I'd like their names so we can warn our clients and colleagues _against_ their work.

Comment Re:And this is why (Score 4, Insightful) 206

> Mandatory expiration dates for legislation fall into the large category of "ideas that cause more problems than they solve".

By raw numbers, perhaps. But the problems that they solve are so large and pervasive that they're worth considering. The sheer bulk of existing legal codes, dating back to the Constitution itself, makes sensible analysis of existing law infeasible for even a reasonable legal researcher.

Comment Re:Free for their definition of free, not yours (Score 1) 52

Even a "Public Domain" copyrighted work has rules embedded in copyright law, which apply whether you agree or not. Games played entierly without rules get very strange, very quickly, and inevitably wind up with rules evolved very quickly and not necessarily well.

Having the rules spelled out, in writing, is very helpful to let both sides know what _is_ allowed. This is often far better than the very confusing and potentially dangerous lawsuits involving what is _not_ allowed. Whether these agreements are reasonable is a different question: they do seem pretty aggressive, and restrict the document use far more than even "fair use" restricts it.

Comment Demystifying procedures (Score 1) 387

I'd welcome more general instruction in programming, to give a better understanding of _procedure_ and of ordered sets. The idea that complex sets of tasks can be broken down to practical modules, to relatively small sets of less complex decisions, is one that is often lost in modern math and science and even history or language lessons. With that kind of grounding, later lessons in interrupt handling, prioritization, resource management, and error handling all have a foundation that can explain and demystify very complex problems in household planning, economics, and even political debate.

It's very powerful material, and at the core of modern technology. It deserves early attention in education.

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