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Comment Re:What an idiot (Score 1) 180

Not according to the summary, but let's go with your interpretation of events. He wanted $200,000 in consulting fees for what? Spending literally one minute filling in a web form changing the admin's email address on an account. Still stupid: he should have demanded $2 million, because that's a never-get-hired-again dick move.

Comment Re:What an idiot (Score 2) 180

Actually it's worse... or rather stupider. He offered to fix it (which really is just involves filling out and submitting a web form) if school settled a lawsuit for $200,000.

Now let's assume this guy is totally in the right as far as the claims in his lawsuit are concerned. That doesn't give him the right to hold his employers' systems hostage until he gets what he wants. Those systems still belong to them.

What was he thinking? Of course the courts are going to order him to hand over the metaphorical keys to the system. And the judge isn't likely to be sympathetic after this. On top fo that any future prospective employer is going to find out about this the instant they google "Triano Williams".

Based on the levels of stupidity and assholery displayed here, I'd be amazed if he weren't in the wrong.

Comment Re:Politically driven pseudo-science garbage (Score 1) 214

Solar output in fact has decreased since the early 60s.

Also according to the Milankovitch cycles we should be in the middle of a cooling period, although the actual effect is quite complex (e.g. it makes a difference whether perihelion occurs in the austral or boreal summer). So it is also possible that we might be in for slight warming over the next twenty thousand years. But even if we were in for dramatic warming due to orbital resonance, that would be on the order of 0.1C/century, much lower than the changes we've observed.

You left out volcanoes, which are a natural source of CO2 (as well as cooling particulates).

If you add up all the known sources of natural climate variation you end up with no warming trend since 1900 (source).

Comment Re:How much for a phone without Google's services? (Score 1) 89

I meant Android phones in general. Google is the OS maker and forces phone makers to install a lot of Google apps in Android phones. I'd like a Samsung or LG made phone with a "stripped down" Android

Okay, that's not what you wrote. Your question should be directed to Samsung or LG, then, not Google.

I'd also point out that the Nexus 5X is an LG-made phone. Personally, I'd prefer the Huawei-made 6P, or one of the HTC-made Pixels.

Comment Re:Where are the error bars? (Score 3, Informative) 214

What Geoffrey said. It's easy enough to pull the instrumental record global average data into a spreadsheet and plot it; I've done it several times myself.

Also be aware of what error bars can and cannot tell you. You can't tell about the statistical significance of trends just by comparing adjacent years with error bars. It's the wrong statistical test to talk about decades-long tends. You might never ever see a year which is statistically significantly warmer than a prior year at some level of confidence, yet have a trend which over a decade or more hits that confidence level.

Comment Re:How much for a phone without Google's services? (Score 1) 89

Hey Google? How much would you charge for a phone without your services? They can be installed on purchase as long as I'm able to uninstall them.

All devices Google sells come with an unlockable bootloader, so you can unlock and flash a different system that doesn't have the Google stuff. Be sure you re-lock after flashing, otherwise your device can be reflashed with malicious software by anyone who gets hold of it.

So, the price is the cost of buying the device from the Play store, plus a few minutes to unlock and reflash.

Comment People have a crude form of telepathy. (Score 1) 127

Not actual radio-like telepathy like in sci-fi stories, but an inbuilt capacity to actually experience what our brains think other people are experiencing.

One of the classic experiments like this is to get a subject wearing goggles to identify with a mannequin. Of course this is artificially induced; we didn't evolve in a world with 3D goggles and cameras. But there is a condition called "mirror-touch synesthesia" in which this occurs naturally, in which people spontaneously experience what someone else is experiencing.

The parallel element I see is the brain somehow generates a sensation without an appropriate physical input, and the phenomenon of mirror touch synesthesia suggests to me this isn't just a curious bug in our brain architecture. The 1.6% of people who report spontaneous mirror synesthesia also score higher than the general population on measures of empathy. I suspect it may also be linked in some way to our ability to learn by copying what others do.

This is a really exciting time in neuroscience, and synesthesia seems like an interesting target for DIY brain hackers. Mirror-type synesthesia particularly so because it's easy to induce. The rubber hand illusion is probably the easiest dramatic effect to produce at home.

Comment Re:Varied opinions (Score 1) 765

First, I feel that Snowden should actually have his day in court and present his case before anything related to a pardon or commutation is discussed. The American people need to see and hear both his and the government's position and evidence in a more balanced, less sensational environment than the MSM gives us.

The only question that would be debated at trial, or on which any evidence could be presented, is whether or not Snowden stole secrets. The government has overwhelming evidence that he did, including his own repeated admission, to many people, in many forums, many of them recorded and nearly all of them perfectly admissible. There would be no arguments presented as to whether his decision was justified because it was in the public interest, because that has absolutely no bearing on his guilt under the Espionage Act. The only place that would be argued is in his lawyers' appellate pleadings.

So, a trial would do nothing to enable the public to hear the sides. The trial would consist of the government submitting into evidence many pieces of proof of Snowden's act, and Snowden's complete inability to disprove any of it. It's more likely he'd just plead guilty to avoid wasting a court's time -- and making a judge who has to sentence him angry.

Comment Re:Not sure what to think.... (Score 5, Informative) 765

IWould prefer a trial where he would be allowed to make his case. Manning wasn't afforded that opportunity either.

Huh? Manning was convicted - hence there was a trial. What use would another trial be?

Well for one it would be a trial against Snowden, not against Manning. And the request was for "a trial where [the defendant] would be allowed to make his case", not a secret trial by a Mickey Mouse court with a pre-determined outcome.

Under the offense Snowden has been charged with, they could have a fully public and perfectly fair trial but the outcome would be completely known in advance. The Espionage Act includes no provision for justification as a defense, so the only question to be tried is whether or not Snowden stole secrets, and there's absolutely no question that he did. Snowden's only hopes if he were to be tried are (a) that the trial judge would hand down a very light sentence, (b) to have his conviction appealed to the Supreme Court who might find that the Espionage Act's lack of a public interest defense constitutes an unacceptable infringement of freedom of speech or (c) a presidential pardon. (a) is unlikely because you can be sure the government would pick a "good" judge, and (b) is a crapshoot, and one that would leave him rotting in jail for years until SCOTUS ruled, assuming they ruled in his favor.

Snowden's best move is exactly what he's doing, staying away until some president decides to pre-emptively do (c). His current status likely also positions him better to generate ongoing publicity in opposition to government spying since it makes him a more controversial and/or tragic figure.

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