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Comment Re:And in "real-life"... (Score 4, Insightful) 198

The fact that socialization is happening with the aid of a computer does not make it inherently more dangerous...

Yes it does. There is far more access to dangerous materials and dangerous people online than there is in person. While there's a slight advantage in a greater pool of potential victims to hide in the crowd of, the danger in the ability of predators of any stripe (not just sexual) to reach your kids from anywhere in the country or even the world. There's not as much ability for kids to tell what a "bad neighborhood" is online as in real life.

There's also less public shame for bad behavior and a greater tendency for people to act in herds of like-minded individuals. (See, e.g. the resurgence of white supremacist groups in the modern day or "thinspiration" sites.) You don't have to encounter people who disagree with you, unless you want to -- even if just to troll them. Witness comments section of any news or politics site.

[W]ithout the Interwebs this girl would still have been harassed, and we should be working to stop the harassment, not to stop the use of computers in harassment.

The harassment would have been completely different in tone and scale. Hiding behind a computer is quite different from doing something where witnesses who might disapprove would be present to act as a check or the much simpler one of being within arms reach. Witness Xbox Live, the domain of bullies who would be the bullied anywhere else.

Tools matter. There's a difference between two hotheaded boys getting in a fist fight and two armed hotheaded boys getting into a fight. The same is true of cyberbullying v. in-person bullying. People act differently in different environments, and online is more (and less) dangerous for certain types of behavior.

Comment Re:Innovation comes from all places but the USA? (Score 1) 123

Define recent years, for one thing.

Pretty much everything internet has been pioneered in America: ecommerce, social media, search engines, online maps, instant messaging, web video, blogs, BitTorrent and most other P2P services, Tor, etc. There may be a few earlier versions of these ideas that you can point to (e.g. Minitel), but the versions the world uses today are all defined by American companies.

There's a lot of other computer innovation in America too. The top CPU & GPU makers are all American companies. So are the top OS manufacturers. So are the top database vendors, the most of top networking hardware companies, and all the top cloud computing services. Behind the scenes, we have many companies that are world leaders in supply-chain automation like Amazon and Wall-mart.

Those are just my areas of knowledge. We also have a successful aerospace and pharmaceutical sector, so I suspect a lot of innovation there too. We've had a lot of innovation in energy too, but that technology is pretty much global at this point.

Comment Re:"Job creating" == broken windows (Score 1) 292

Creating jobs, for expanding services, support, and new product development is going to happen somewhere, with or without Ireland. So Ireland wants it to be in Ireland. Nothing is being destroyed, by either Apple or Ireland.

You're partially right. The jobs will happen somewhere, which is why the notion that tax avoidance "creates jobs" is utter BS. All it does is rob the American people of the revenue to pay for the services that Apple benefits from as an American company. That's the broken window -- higher debt and costs eventually shifted from the investor class to the working class and a more lawless market.

That's not a cost the Irish are paying. In fact, they're reaping the benefits of putting the stick to America, but that cost is being paid somewhere, and rent-seeking behavior weakens the ability of nations to address important causes like labor conditions, a clean environment, and trust in the financial sector by allowing the worst actors to simply demand lower and lower standards in exchange for putting the jobs that are going to happen anyway right there. The end result is a harsher, more dangerous world with greater class divisions, more unrest, and less trustworthy markets.

Comment Re:I know how to get the best out of Facebook (Score 1) 176

Some of my friends don't check their e-mail more than once every few weeks and don't sign in to any instant messenger often, but most of them are on Facebook at least once per day. If something else had quite the communications potential for reaching a long list of friends quickly, I'd be more than interested.

You just listed two technologies that used to do this exact thing before people got tired of them and moved onto the next big thing. Someday, Facebook will be the same for all of you.

Comment Nothing new there. (Score 3, Insightful) 74

You know, if you want to just automatically churn out metal gun parts, you could do it with a CNC mill for a fraction of the cost. It's not like automated metalworking is a new thing. The plastic gun was mostly a stunt -- a dangerous one at that.

Or if you were willing to put in the time and elbow grease yourself, you could mill your own parts by hand for a fraction of that with power tools bought from Home Depot. It's not like there isn't a wealth of material at your fingertips on the internet from a devoted community of paranoid "gotta be able to make this myself once the gubbermint takes mah gun away" people to get you started. As a bonus, many of these people are smart and meticulous (despite my teasing), and it's all legal with the right licenses, so the material's more trustworthy than your average Anarchists's Cookbook nonsense.

And if you really don't care about having a polished, reusable model to show off, zip guns can be made with entirely off the shelf parts found in your local tool store too.

Comment "Job creating" == broken windows (Score 2) 292

Sometimes reading past the title of the post is helpful. The GP answered your question before you asked it.

And then once they move to the next lowest rung on the race to the bottom, what -- are they gonna set up robots there or something?

I tend to find that if the only thing someone can offer in defense of a policy is that it's "job creating," then they damn it with faint praise. Many extremely negative behaviors "create jobs." Pimps create jobs. Drug lords create jobs. People who dump toxic waste create all kinds of jobs in the cleanup. Heck, bureaucratic redtape creates jobs to deal with it all!

Saying something "creates jobs" is nothing more than a prettier version of the broken window fallacy.

Comment Re:Tax Avoidance (Score 2, Informative) 292

[I]f the portions of government we shut down are so nonessential, why the fuck did we spend money on them in the first place?

What do you do for a living? Could your company survive without you doing your job for a few days? How about a week or a month? Be realistic here -- are you the kind of person who can take vacation without someone else having to do your job to keep everything from falling apart? If not, then do you know people like that?

That's what "non-essential" means. It doesn't mean that the work doesn't ever need to be done. It just means that we can go without it for a short time, like skipping a meal to make sure you can pay rent. Which a lot of furloughed workers may be doing right now, considering how little most civil servants are paid compared to equivalent private sector jobs.

Comment Re:Unmanned, yes, manned no (Score 1) 205

Manned spaceflight only makes sense with a huge breakthrough in propulsion. Otherwise, there is no where to go where a human being would be useful enough to make it worthwhile.

There's plenty of interesting science and engineering to do just right in our orbit. At the very least, it serves as an important testbed for building the technology to support human life in space as well as to discover the health risks of being in space that aren't apparent on the ground. (e.g. Space blindness.)

It's like all the people pooh-poohing ITER in the article about it today. ITER isn't going to be a commercial reactor. Neither is DEMO. But PROTO won't be able to be build without ITER and DEMO to do the fundamental research into addressing the problems we know about and to uncover the ones we don't. Manned space travel will never be practical without working our way through impractical manned space travel first. Real life isn't some sort of game where we can just spend enough research points and pop a working technology later. You have to meet problems head on to solve them.


ESA 'Amaze' Project Aims To Take 3D Printing 'Into the Metal Age' 74

dryriver sends this BBC report: "The European Space Agency has unveiled plans to 'take 3D printing into the metal age' by building parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects. The Amaze project brings together 28 institutions to develop new metal components which are lighter, stronger and cheaper than conventional parts. Additive manufacturing (or '3D printing') has already revolutionized the design of plastic products. Printing metal parts for rockets and planes would cut waste and save money. The layered method of assembly also allows intricate designs — geometries which are impossible to achieve with conventional metal casting. Parts for cars and satellites can be optimized to be lighter and — simultaneously — incredibly robust. Tungsten alloy components that can withstand temperatures of 3,000C were unveiled at Amaze's launch on Tuesday at London Science Museum. At such extreme temperatures they can survive inside nuclear fusion reactors and on the nozzles of rockets. 'We want to build the best quality metal products ever made. Objects you can't possibly manufacture any other way,' said David Jarvis, ESA's head of new materials and energy research."

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