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Comment Re:No problem here. (Score 2) 211

Then we best start producing a whole lot more quick, because we don't have nearly enough as is unless we can gather everyone together into great big living bulls-eyes. We could probably wipe out all the major military, industrial, and urban areas on the planet (assuming all missiles flew true, and all defense systems were complete failures), and maybe have enough left over to do some damage to farmland as well, but everything else would be basically fine. The survivors of the initial holocaust might suffer a year or two of "nuclear winter" (which would likely mean a lot more deaths) and a century or so of high rates of cancer and birth defects, but nothing terribly debilitating.

Comment Re:wrong (Score 2) 211

How do you figure? Energy-wise a single hurricane can easily dissipate hundreds of thousands of times as much energy as our largest nukes. If every nuke on the planet were detonated the combined dust clouds might cause a year or two without a summer, but a single large volcano eruption is going to be many times worse than a handful of nukes, and even then the consequences are typically very localized (from a global perspective). The real damage from nukes (aside from the radioactive craters) is fallout - and that doesn't really effect weather at all. Even that would have to be pretty extreme to do more than cause greatly increased rates of cancer and birth defects.

Comment Re:Welcome to reality (Score 4, Insightful) 146

Sadly the reality of big organisations is that cutting the slack is needed from time to time and usually this does not happen without brutal surgeon that just cuts and cuts and cuts. If patient is relatively healthy and has some luck the lean company can actually be better than before.

That would be great if they actually cut the slack. From an MBA's perspective R&D and IT are slack. There are no black numbers to directly offset the red numbers therefore it is slack and can be cut. Now the bloated inefficient sales department, they have lots of black numbers so no cutting there. They get bonuses. Sales people continue to to oversell and lie about what can be delivered and then blame IT and R&D for not delivering what they told the sales people couldn't be delivered. Again from an MBA's perspective this is a problem in IT and R&D. The sales were there so the sales department did their job and got huge bonuses. But IT and R&D failed so we cut their salaries and lay them off.

That's how it works when the bean counters are in charge.

Comment Re: Start your own (Score 3, Interesting) 472

The arithmetic mean is certainly what is most commonly meant when referring to "the average" of a group of numbers, but "average" spans the works, including several other types of mean (harmonic, geometric, etc.)

As for an "average Joe" - in pretty much every context I've heard it used it's referring to a concept most analogous to the median - half the people are doing better than him, half are doing worse. Half are more interested in X, half less, etc. Precisely the population midpoint. Certainly if you have drastic things going on in the middle of your distribution it's prone to distortion, but that's rarely the case, and it's pretty much immune to distortions at the extremes, which is where they tend to occur. If you're talking about "most people" the midpoint is far more informative than the lives of the aristocrats or beggars. The arithmetic mean will almost always be skewed upwards in any non-gaussian distribution (such as income), and often quite dramatically. And the mode is rather useless for most layman' purposes, especially since its very heavily dependent on the particular binning limits selected, which speak far more strongly to the biases of the statistician than to the data itself.

Comment Re: Start your own (Score 2) 472

"average" has many meanings, the simple median, mean, and mode among them. In this case, and in most others where you care about position within a distribution the median is the "average" that is actually relevant - the amount made "by the average Joe". The mean will almost always be biased significantly higher due to extreme income inequality.

Comment Re:hackers just wait for some to hijack one (Score 1) 77

See, bureaucrats *are* good for something. You'd never have gotten one of the malathion producers to do such a thing!

Disclaimer - I make no claim that this statement is necessarily true; however, it would hardly be the first breathtakingly stupid grand gesture made by somebody who believed a deceptive PR campaign.

Comment Re:Not this shit again (Score 1) 161

>Astrophysics 101
How do you figure? The sun isn't expected to become a red giant for around 5 billion years, and I hadn't heard of any instabilities in Earth's orbit that would have drastic effects on that timescale. If you have other data I'd love to hear it.

Fair enough, it took what, as much as a billion years to go from nucleated cells tor multi-cellular life the first time? So it's perhaps one of those things that doesn't happen often. And you're absolutely right that it's wild speculation. However the possibility of wiping out multicellular life in the first place is pretty remote as well, so it's not actually terribly relevant to the conversation either.

Comment Re:Allegedly Venezuela By Way of Cuba (Score 1) 536

Objectivists are perfectly happy with the government spying on everyone.

I find it amazing the number of people who make statements declaring ideas like this represent Ayn Rand's philosophy when in reality it is exactly what she was railing against. Here is one quote that shows you are utterly clueless about what objectivism is supposed to represent. Ayn Rand:

Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

Comment Re:Going to Russia for safety from the US. (Score 2) 536

Thats how a Democracy should function.

A Democracy cannot function were the "Democratic" government is wholesale monitoring the people it is supposed to be representing especially when that monitoring is kept secret from the governed.

A Democracy cannot function where the "Democratic" government keeps critical secrets from the governed. It's not possible to make informed decisions in voting when you're intentionally uninformed and misinformed.

A government "elected" based on propaganda and untruths is not a "Democratic" government. This is especially so where exposing the propaganda and untruths can only be done under threat of imprisonment, torture and even death.

One who exposes such actions and secrets is not betraying the Democracy. They are betraying an oppressive undemocratic government. Given the constitution they're suppose to be governing under in the US I dare say they are exposing an illegal government.

Comment Re:but why? (Score 1) 157

Probably -- but it would depend on the cost of allowing a terrorist plot to succeed.

That argument is assuming that Orwellian monitoring of all citizens is the only way to stop a terrorist plot. A strong argument could be made that a more focused operation would be more effective. It would almost certainly be more cost effective. That is of course if the Orwellian monitoring of all citizens was actually for the purpose of stopping terrorism. Although I guess it is if you class any form of dissent or challenge of the powers that be terrorism.

Comment Re:Not this shit again (Score 1) 161

Even assuming Earth is the only living world in our galaxy (which seems to me rather unlikely, but whatever), why do you assume humanity would be the only intelligence to arise spontaneously? The Earth likely has at least a couple billion years more during which it will be hospitable to complex life - whereas two billion years ago our ancestors had only just evolved a cell nucleus. 300 million years ago our ancestors were only just moving on to the land. And a measly 65 million years ago our ancestors were still small shrew-like creatures occupying the fringes of a world dominated by dinosaurs. Given the vast array of other problem-solving-smart animals already on Earth today it seems like evolution would have plenty of fodder from which new intelligent species could arise. Even if we somehow wiped out all multi-cellular life on the planet there would be plenty of time for complex life to evolve all over again. For that matter we may not even be the first - after a few tens of millions of years there wouldn't be much in the way of evidence, entire high-tech civilizations could rise and fall and disappear into the gaps in the fossil record.

Comment Re:but why? (Score 2) 157

I don't mean to defend the program, but what makes you so certain it does not (and cannot) detect terrorist plots?

Have you seen ANY evidence it does? If it was don't you think the government would be trotting out some credible cases (the ones mentioned so far have been pretty easily debunked) in defense of these programs? You're asking us to have faith that it actually does that in the absence of any supporting evidence. You have the guys caught with their hands in the cookie jar preaching to us about how many terrorist attacks this has prevented and how many lives have been saved yet they haven't produced a credible shred of evidence to support that as of yet.

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