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Comment Re:Dinos (Score 1) 298

While this may largely be true for the 'Sciences', it's not at ALL true for Engineering or other technical fields.

old fractured system.

You mean the one invented two centuries ago that's commonly applied with at least two fundamentally different sets of units, never consistently, and with continual unit abuse?

Next time some datasheet says the bolt takes 5N of torque, or my pressure gage is reading off in kg/cm^2, I'll throw it at you, mkay? ;)

Comment Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

This is where I disagree. Other countries also see the exact same profit motive but it doesn't result in an arms race

I don't think police officers carrying handguns similar to the ones they've been carrying for a century (with essentially only convenience upgrades as technology progresses) qualifies as an arms race. I don't think criminal organizations using fewer full-auto weapons than 50 years ago counts as an arms race.

What arms race? There's absolutely no escalation!

It's about the fact that in America the gun has become the default option when it should be the last resort.

This is so far from true. It's hard to get solid country-wide stats on officer gun usage, but NYC publicizes their Firearm Discharge rates. Last year, their officers fired 105 shots. Of those, 21 were accidents, and 24 were aimed at attacking animals. So, there were 60 officer shots fired in a city of 8.4 million. That's a damn sight closer to a 'last resort' than a 'default option'

...get past your immense paranoia that makes you believe having a gun somehow makes you safer.

Is it still paranoia when most academic research agrees with you? I mean, it's like saying that people are 'paranoid' about anthropogenic climate change. There's an international correlation between gun ownership rates and violence. A negative correlation. Check out actual statistics and research before you blame America's violence problem on gun ownership. There's a great journal article from the Harvard Journal of Law on this:

In reality, violence in America isn't driven by gun ownership, any more than violence in Russia is driven by their lack of gun ownership. Violence is driven by socioeconomic factors. People aren't violent because they have guns. People have always been violent, when operating in certain cultures and situations. Guns are a force multiplier for both victims and violent people, and don't end up having a huge impact on violence rates.

Comment Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

This is typical on a lot of US highways. The main highways through Chicago (94, etc.) have a 55 speedlimit, but average speed is 65-70. With quite a handful of 80+ drivers.

Crowd sourced cop-avoidance (like Waze) is part of the reason, but part of it is that that road is really a 65-70 mph road from an engineering perspective, and so cops don't really WANT to fix it.

Comment Re:Nooooooo! Just shut up and buy a dinosaur saddl (Score 1) 278

Not if they've been able to find my oil. Earth Science matters to them; not to me. If I have a zillion misconceptions in everything from geology to archaeology it won't objectively influence my life. I don't work in a field influenced by them.

That's not to say I won't be bothered when I find out I was so wrong. It simply means that it doesn't affect my competence in anything I do.

Comment Re:Nooooooo! Just shut up and buy a dinosaur saddl (Score 1) 278

I didn't say that. I was wrong recently when I said here that the PSP had hardware PSX emulation. But that's hardly a consequential fact, unlike basic facts of paleontology. It's possible to have a coherent model of the world where PSX emulation is implemented in hardware. But finding man tracks next to dinosaur tracks would upend entire disciplines of earth science.

And 'entire discliplines of earth science' are important exactly why? Really, the group of people whose lives would be noticeably impacted by an error in ancient history is on the same order of magnitude as the folks impacted by hardware/software emulation on a PSP. A small handful. Everyone else has no real reason to care.

A lot of technical folks, myself included, make a fetish out of factual accuracy in field we find fascinating. A lot of us have very broad interests, so that fetish may well extend into history, philosophy, materials science, rocket engineering, etc. (Actually, that's the first fields that come to mind for my obsession.) But we should try to keep some perspective as well, and admit that we like this accuracy simply because we do. Maybe it's a taste of OCD; maybe it's something else. But no rational argument can justify the amount of time I spend poring over dull tomes of nearly useless data. I just like filling my mind with it, so I do it.

If someone else doesn't care about it, I should probably respect their superior objective function, as it doesn't make them waste time studying the details of minor branches of Austrian economics. Maybe they spend more time on truly useful info.

Comment Re:A true and accurate and transparent lie detecto (Score 1) 456

And this poll right here is another testimony of American society as a whole being utterly mentally ill. (As has been shown by that study that compared worldwide societies, and found that all our social science studies are wrong, because they used Americans, and those are not only the exception, but the extreme exception of the exception.)

And we all know exceptionalism is a form of illness.

Comment Re:Obama in other times would be Reagan (Score 1) 409

By the sounds of things, idea generation.

This was after being a joke, as the OP was claiming BO was using Republican ideas...

In reality, they're there to help the rich get richer. Their appeal to "different cultures" is just a matter of exploiting anyone whose knees they can make jerk, so that they'll vote against their own best interests.

Nonsense. A good many Republican economic policies can also be found in the works of eminent economists like Milton Freedman and von Mises, as being the best choices for helping the lower classes. You may disagree with those economists; there are experts in the field who do. But when a good chunk of the experts in ecominics actually recommend limited regulation and low government intervention as tending more to uplifting the poor, it's a bit malicious to claim advocates of those positions are in it to hurt the poor. Much more likely, they actually believe (some of) classic liberal economics, and are trying to implement its prescriptions.

It's this sort of ridiculous emotional dismissal which makes public discourse on politics so divisive in the US. 90% of Republicans aren't rich and likely will never be. They obviously support the party for some reason. I think the reasons of 90% of the members for the party's existence trump the other 10%!

It's almost universally better to assume your opponent is arguing in good faith. He may be (very) wrong, but just assume he really means what he says. It's both more likely to be true, and permits a more persuasive argument from you. Even if he isn't, your argument will be heard by others who may be persuaded.

Comment Re:Assumptions (Score 1) 348

And would have completely failed at their intent; a robust 'insurance' policy.

I don't see any real security difference between broadcasting my data where only a few hundred arbitrary people can get it, and publishing it online. If it can be broken, and there's a significant payout in breaking it, it's fairly trivial to intercept all such banking communication through a server. If my bank's security won't protect me against anyone trying to exploit it enmass, I don't care if they publish it or not. If it will protect me from people with a significant profit motive to break it, then I don't care whether they would have to intercept it or not.

At best you have a bit more security by obscurity, which is really poor security in any event, particularly for inherently valuable information.

So far as releasing the key, they were pretty responsible. Not epicly so, but you've got to admit that standard news organizations should have policies in place to deal with encryption, etc.

What the guy at the Guardian did was ridiculous. What wikileaks did was less-than-optimal, but should have been fine if a handful of trusted clients had proved trustworthy.

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