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Comment Re: This sort of story should be censored... (Score 1) 95

Gun control is supported by the GOP base? WTF?

You'd be surprised. It depends heavily on which question you ask. Often questions about specific policies get way more support than more abstract questions. Here's an example from a Quinnipiac national poll from a few days ago (N=1610, MoE = +/-2.4%). For the question:

Do you support or oppose stricter gun laws in the United States?

26% of Republicans answered "support", while 69% answered "oppose". But that same poll also asked:

Do you support or oppose requiring background checks for all gun buyers?

For this question, "support" won 90%-9% among Republicans. The poll also asked:

As you may know, individuals on the U.S. government's terrorist watch list are not allowed to fly on planes. Would you support or oppose banning those on the U.S. government's terrorist watch list from purchasing guns?

which was supported 85%-12% by Republicans. Other polls show similar results. These are both measures that have been debated since the Orlando shootings. PollingReport is a good site for finding polls if you want to see more results for yourself.

You can see this sort of behavior in other issues as well. Health care reform was a big one -- the individual provisions were popular, but when asked about "Obamacare" people gave very negative opinions.

I don't consider theists to be anti-science. Evolution and God are not mutually exclusive.

Of course not. Polls on evolution are careful to distinguish between evolution being "guided by God" and evolution as a purely natural process for that reason. But there does seem to be a floor of about 30% for support for Creationism no matter how the questions are asked. More specific polls are rare, but there's a 2005 Harris poll with some dismaying results (N=1000, MoE=+/-3%).

Do you think human beings developed from earlier species or not?

Did 38%
Did not 54%

Do you believe all plants and animals have evolved from other species or not?

Have 49%
Have not 45%

Do you believe apes and man have a common ancestry or not?

Do 46%
Do not 47%

This seems to have had a priming effect on the standard question:

Which of the following do you believe about how human beings came to be? Human beings evolved from earlier species. Human beings were created directly by God. Human beings are so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them.

Evolved from earlier species 22%
Created directly by God 64%
Powerful force/intelligent being 10%

And finally, the most relevant question for this discussion:

Regardless of what you may personally believe, which of these do you believe should be taught in public schools?
Evolution only. [READ IF NECESSARY: Evolution says that human beings evolved from earlier stages of animals.]
Creationism only. [READ IF NECESSARY: Creationism says that human beings were created directly by God.]
Intelligent design only. [READ IF NECESSARY: Intelligent design says that human beings are so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them.]
All three.

Evolution only 12%
Creationism only 23%
Intelligent design only 4%
All three 55%
None+Unsure 6%

I don't think there are necessarily a ton of people who are hard-core anti-science ideologues, but the people who are functionally anti-science (in cases that make them uncomfortable) are not a tiny minority by any stretch.

Comment Re: This sort of story should be censored... (Score 1) 95

Evolution v Intelligent Design - a small subset of Republicans, perhaps 20%. And many Evangelicals don't vote (and some still vote Dem)

Unfortunately, this is quite wrong. The numbers you get depend heavily on how you ask the question, but recent polling suggests that a plurality of Republicans (48%) believe that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time vs. only 27% of Democrats. About a third of *all* adults in the U.S. hold this position. If you ask whether God created humans in their present form, it's closer to 40%, and has been for decades. You can find other polls here showing similar results.

Regardless, overall popular support turns out to be less important than one would hope. What matters more is who's politically involved -- who votes in primaries, who runs in school board elections, who causes trouble when politicians vote the "wrong" way. The Republican party is also much more disciplined than the Democratic party, so you'll regularly see the Republican-controlled House and Senate voting in lockstep against even against ideas that have majority support among their base. (Gun control laws are the most recent example.)

Comment Re:Cue the millenials... (Score 4, Interesting) 391

The parent is obvious flamebait, but I like history, so I'll share some here...

There was an interesting article in Foreign Policy a couple years ago (possibly paywalled link here) which argued that the Soviet declaration of war was what really prompted the surrender. The author bases this on several arguments, among them:

* The atomic bombing of Hiroshima did not particularly stand out in the context of a huge and destructive conventional bombing campaign.
* The Japanese Supreme Council did not discuss the Hiroshima bombing at all, and indeed, did not seem to care much about the destruction of cities.
* Soviet mediation was seen as the last hope for avoiding an unconditional surrender.
* Japanese forces were deployed to defend against a U.S. invasion, not a Soviet invasion from the opposite direction.
* Giving the atomic bomb credit for provoking the surrender was politically convenient for the emperor as well as the United States.

It's worth a read if you can actually get to the article. There's a comment on the AskHistorians Reddit about the article by Restricted Data (Alex Wellerstein), which gives the original source of this argument (Tsuyoshi Hasegawa), and offers some historiographical context:

Hasegawa's book is very well done. He has managed for the first time to really put together a cohesive, persuasive argument about the end-game machinations in Japan, the United States, and Soviet Union. The other historians of the bomb I know are pretty convinced at least to the point that the Soviet invasion was more influential on the Japanese than the bombs. Not all of them think the bomb was of no influence, or that it would have ended without using them, though Hasegawa himself is apparently convinced of this, from what I've read.

(Personally, I am on the fence to the degree that I just don't see how we can disentangle the atomic bombs from the Soviet invasion as fully as would be necessary to say this with authority, but I am convinced that the Soviet invasion mattered at least as much, if not more, than the atomic bombs.)

The same comment also points out an important aspect of the "moral" debate:

Note that the question of whether the bombs "worked" or not is a completely separate one from whether the people who used them were justified in doing so according to what they knew at the time. People tend to think that the former implies a moral argument about the latter, but it is an entirely separate issue regarding motivation and "the decision." (Note that even characterizing the use of the bomb as being the result of some large moral deliberation, or some sort of invasion vs. bombing tradeoff, is kind of anachronistic.)

He also has a related article here.

I don't have much of an opinion on whether the atomic bombing was "justified" or not. Large-scale attacks on civilians were common through the war in both theaters, so focusing solely on the atomic bomb seems rather limited to me.

Comment Re:"Industry desire" is all good and well (Score 4, Informative) 382

I know this is a sarcasm thread, but 24 bits is actually a lot for an ADC. You're talking 0.2uV/LSB with a 3.3V reference. Even getting close to that requires careful attention to noise sources and PCB layout. 16 bits is pretty hardcore in its own right. 8-, 10-, and 12-bit ADCs are far more common.

Comment Re:Trump (Score 2) 707

Isn't Hilary winning? Admittedly details get lost in the reporting over on this side of the Atlantic, but I thought she was likely to win?

Nobody's winning yet; the primaries are still going. The parties have not chosen their candidates, and polls are not very meaningful this far out from the election.

Today is "Super Tuesday", when a bunch of states have their primary elections. Hillary is ahead in polling vs. Sanders for the Democratic nomination, and Trump is ahead of everyone else on the Republican side. But primary polls are notoriously unreliable due to the low turnout. If the polls are correct, Hillary and Trump will win decisive victories today and almost certainly win the nomination.

Comment Re:Enforce login to post (Score 1) 1839

I second this. The value of the comments section is (and always has been) informative commentary from people who know what they're talking about. The folks who want to read trolls can go look at 4chan or YouTube comments. Fears about groupthink are wildly unfounded -- people get modded up for "controversial" opinions all the time without any Microsoft/Apple/Google/Facebook/liberal/feminist/GNU/Linux/Gnome/KDE/Sony/BSD/Minix conspiracy stopping them.

The theory that anonymous commenting will somehow create a utopia of free speech has utterly failed. Pseudonymity is almost always good enough. I'm fine with letting logged-in users have their posts show up anonymously for the special cases.

Comment Re:I can guess one city on the current list (Score 1) 166

I can guess one city on the current list

Mecca, with the Kaaba at 0,0,0. Probably added on 9/12/2001.

Mecca is in Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally. Even in a general nuclear exchange, we're probably not going to attack our own allies. And I hope we wouldn't be stupid enough to try to start a world war with a billion Muslims while already fighting a nuclear war against Russia, China, or whoever.

Comment Re:Let me get this right. (Score 2) 151

I haven't had any problems emulating an SNES with add-on stuff like SuperFX and Mode 7 graphics since, oh.. 450MHz PII-based Celeron using ZSNES. And everything pretty much works exactly as it did on the original system.

Sure. But the difference between "pretty much" and "indistinguishable from the original hardware" is not always a small one, and some people care about it more than others.

Comment Re:Let me get this right. (Score 1) 151

Most DOS or Windows programs could be run directly until the 64-bit versions of Windows.

Lots of games worked, but many didn't. Good luck getting sound from a game that expects an ISA Sound Blaster or Adlib card. Some games used software delays to control the execution speed, which became unusably fast on newer CPUs. Regardless, having to install an old operating system is not what I'd call backwards compatibility.

The thing I miss most in 64-bit Win7 is the ability to enter 80x25 text mode. It really brought back the feeling of playing old Infocom games for the first time.

Comment Re:Let me get this right. (Score 1) 151

As someone who has never had a console, do I understand correctly that people normally have to re-buy games when they upgrade their consoles? i.e. not like a PC where something 20 years old can, sometimes with a bit of hacking, still be played on your current machine. That's... ugh... do you just stack all your consoles in your living room so you can select the appropriate one for the games you have? Are you people made of space and money?

We just keep the old consoles. They're not that big -- maybe a foot across. And (until they got internet connectivity) they were mostly guaranteed to work forever without user intervention.

Backwards compatibility on PCs was not trivial before DOSBox, and I understand that running Windows 3.1 games is still pretty difficult. Keep in mind that consoles don't have a single standard architecture. Different consoles in the same generation are not compatible, and the hardware on consoles changes much more from generation to generation. The NES and SNES used 6502 derivatives, and the PlayStations used custom Sony processors built around a MIPS or PowerPC core. The jump from one generation to the next typically isn't enough for software emulation. (The PS2 had a PS1 built into it, and the early model PS3s had a PS2 processor on the motherboard.) Aside from the CPUs, there are also special graphics and sound chips. The SNES even allowed for coprocessors on the game cartridges themselves! (That's why you need a multi-GHz CPU to properly emulate a ~21 MHz SNES.) The exception to all this is later model PS3s having software emulation for the PS2. I suspect this was possible because of the weird Cell processor, but I don't know for sure.

The Xboxes' hardware has always been closer to PCs, so I don't know what the Xbone's excuse is.

Comment Re:To whom did he really appeal? (Score 1) 309

Yeah, I'm shocked at how naive most Slashdotters seem to be about politics. "What? A single-issue gimmick candidate who didn't actually want to be president (until he got laughed at) got shut out of a major public debate? CONSPIRACY!"

No shit, Sherlock. The DNC isn't a charity; they exist to get people elected. The debates promote the entire party, and they're trying to create a contrast with the Republican clown show. There's little benefit to adding fringe kooks to the debate.

"He's no more of a kook than anyone else who's running!" Yes he is. How was he planning to get any of his campaign finance reform passed? The House of Representatives will most likely remain in Republican hands until 2020. You can't just dictate policy to the opposition party, especially if they're as corrupt as you claim. (That's assuming you can get your own party to go along!) Overturning Citizens United certainly can't be done with an executive order. The idea that a president can swoop in and save the republic through sheer force of will is a fantasy -- a pleasant fantasy, but a fantasy nonetheless.

And now that he actually wants to *stay* president, he's even more of a joke. What experience does he have in domestic and foreign policy aside from a handful of pet issues?

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