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Comment And it might be illegal (Score 4, Interesting) 322

Just because a company CAN sell something does not mean they will.

I think it will be pretty interesting to see what they can actually end up buying.

One thing that got lost in all the wailing and moaning is that protecting privacy is the purview of the FTC, not the FCC.

The law got axed because it was a standout overreach of a specific government agency, only affected a certain segment, and was done badly.

What *should* have happened is the FTC should pass a low saying that *every* corporation has to protect customer privacy.

Everyone got so distracted with "muh rites!" and completely lost track of whether it was a good law or not.

Comment Workers, too (Score 1) 618

UK is losing free access to a market 6x their domestic, and won't be the financial market for Europe. Hard to see how that won't result in a slowed economy and they'll certainly have less political influence as they can no longer affect EU policies.

UK is also losing access to a workforce 6x their domestic, willing to move and work for much less than UK natives.

Wake up! "The economy" has to account for the general welfare of the people, it's more than just the total revenues of the businesses,

Also, if the UK ever needed an emergency tactic to prevent economic collapse, they can let their currency float.

Greece, a member of the EU, was not allowed to do that (even though it would have helped them).

Comment The old fashioned way (Score 4, Insightful) 331

Scientists do science (hypothesis, theory, test, publish repeat). Engineers apply science and business.

That's the old fashioned way.

The new way is:

1) Do a study with lots of measurements
2) Crunch the numbers looking for an interesting trend
3) Create a plausible explanation for the trend
4) Publish!

Comment More options (Score 3, Funny) 360

Your house is on fire. Do you:

A. Call the fire department?
B. Accuse the neighbor of telling you your house is on fire that "Fire is just somebody's religion!"
C. Convene a study to determine if the house really is on fire, and if so, if it was due to spontaneous combustion or if there's a arsonist about?
D. "Blame Liberals!"
E. Post to Facebook or instagram?

F. Call the police to report a drunk/delusional hippie running around the neighbourhood who thinks the houses are on fire?

Comment About 1/3 is directly attributed to mankind (Score 1, Interesting) 360

As the climate is always changing, and Mr. Hockey Stick says it's man doing it. how much is man doing it and how did he prove that?
If climate change is accelerating because of what man is doing, how much acceleration can they account for? In what way did they come up with their numbers?
Rather than telling me all about the end of days, tell me about real science and hard numbers please.

This is an interesting question that a lot of the evangelists don't know. In interviews and debates, it's a good question to ask.

The answer is: about 1/3 of the noted increase in temperature is directly due to humans, about 1/3 is the result of natural variation, and 1/3 is unaccounted for.

Of course this is a statistical measure, sort of like trying to determine whether throwing 4 heads in a row was a fluke or an indication of a trend, but it's the best answer we have with our current understanding and datasets.

It's interesting to point out the differences between science and, for example, religion.

How does religion typically deal with sceptics and dissenters? Usually with scorn, derision, excommunication, and occasionally death. In the bible it says "shall not suffer a witch to live", and so on.

Science is the complete opposite of religion. Scientists would never ostracise, belittle, or spew hatred on sceptics, would never blackball, blackmail, or threaten other scientists, would never cause them to lose income or hold an undergraduates' opinions hostage as a condition for getting a degree.

So when you read that 97% of scientists believe in global warming, you can tell that they come to that opinion honestly, and without coercion from other scientists.

Science is completely unlike religion.

Comment And masterfully so (Score -1, Troll) 546

Trump was adamant that there should be a vote yesterday, presumably because it was the ACA's anniversary.

And few people have noticed that Trump masterfully defeated Ryan, put all the blame for the failed attempt on Ryan and the GOP, and is letting the fuse burn down to the Obamacare implosion.

No matter what happens, it's a win for Trump. He is manipulating the system, just like he did during the campaign.

We're stuck with Obamacare for the next year or two, let's see how well that plays in the 2018 elections.

Comment Believing crazy things (Score 1) 269

Virtually all of the posts critical of global warming are now at -1. These views are being censored, despite raising very credible objections.

See also: creationism. vaccines cause autism. chemtrails. lizards control whitehouse. smoking is good for you.

wake up sheeple!

So your argument is: "because some other people believe crazy things, your position is crazy".

That's your argument against climate change sceptics. Right?

I've read a lot from people who have theories of how the universe works, or how to make a free energy system, or how to make anti gravity.

Occasionally a physicist (or chemist, or whatever) will point out a logical flaw in that person's theory, and ask them to explain the inconsistency.

You can probably imagine what their response is.

I just want to be clear on where you're coming from.

We can point out potential flaws in the measurements, theory, prediction models(*), and political actions, and ask for an explanation.

And your response is "because some other people believe crazy things, your position is crazy".

That's what you're saying. Right?

(*) A good potential flaw: Why is there more than one predictive model for climate? Shouldn't there be only one model that everyone uses?

Comment Very interesting! (Score 2) 91

This is a very interesting development, and use of the bitcoin/blockchain technology.

Hypothetically, it's difficult to collect works of art in media forms that are easy to copy. For example, it'd be hard to have a 500 print "limited edition, collectible" screensaver image.

But an artist could mint their own cryptocoin sell one with each registered copy of their work. The person who "owns" the official copy would keep the bitcoin safe, and be assured that only 500 of the limited edition versions were ever made. (Along with some security from the artist, publishing their crypto signature for provenance verification, and so on).

This wouldn't prevent people from copying or using the screensavers, but it could make certain forms collectible. This would eliminate counterfeiting in those forms.

The trading cards are just one example of this.

Comment Is this fake news? (Score 1) 270


Bitcoin as a financial system is made impractical in the long term by the fact that it is limited in the total number that can be issued. After the last one is issued, the intent is for the value of them to simply go up.

A Bitcoin is the solution to a hashing problem for which the ease in calculating a solution goes up with the size of the search space. In a very large search space it's easy to generate a solution, but as the search space becomes smaller you have to spend more time hunting around for a correct solution.

As more solutions are found, the people behind bitcoin validate that 'coin and then shorten the length in bits needed for a valid solution. They have a fixed number in mind that they want to base the currency on, and as the number of solutions found approach that number, they have been shortening the length so that they will eventually have exactly the number they want, and finding new solutions will take an astronomically long time.

There's nothing preventing them from increasing the valid length of solutions and letting people find more. They have explained countless times that this is how they can have actual inflation in their currency.

Countless times of explaining this to the public, and yet people continue to repeat bullshit they've heard "somewhere on the internet" that matches their woldview.

It's no wonder they're having trouble - they're concentrating on their project, but losing the war against propaganda.

Comment Low priority (Score 3, Interesting) 151

As much as I'm a fan of law and order, clamping down on sex trafficking is way down on my priority list.

By and large - not all cases, certainly, but mostly - it's adults making consensual decisions about their own bodies.

That the article explicitly mentions an "underage girl" is an appeal to emotion by highlighting a specific case. This alone implies that there is *no* scientific evidence that cracking down on sex trafficking is useful or even cost effective. If there was (scientific evidence), the article would lead with it and it would be highly cited. The fact that the article is written with such an appeal implies that the scientific evidence is *against* legal enforcement, saying in effect "we know it's ineffective and harmful, but we want you to support it anyway. Think of the children!"

How unusual is this specific case? Would the law enforcement resources be better spent in education rather than enforcement? Is this effort easily made useless (by photographing against a sheet, for instance)?

We don't actually regulate sex trafficking very well, perhaps not at all. It only serves as a wedge that the police can use against the citizens. In the places where it's been legalized (Nevada), the criminal and health disadvantages have been eliminated - and if that situation would hold across the country, it implies that there is no sociological reason to criminalize that behaviour.

As a country, we waste a lot of time, effort, and money on useless endeavours, trying to regulate sex trafficking is one of these.

I have no interest in helping the police with any of them, especially if it's based on an emotional appeal without strong scientific reasoning.

Comment Quick question (Score 1) 77

Just like Dick Cheney, we'll never be free from assholes like Peter Thiel.

Quick question: what makes Peter Thiel an asshole?

AFAICT, the only controversial thing he's done is come out in favour of Trump.

He's not personally known as an asshole (as Mark Zuckerberg), he doesn't do a lot of sketchy things with his charitable foundation (like Bill and Hillary Clinton), he doesn't finance riots and protests here in the US (like George Soros), and he certainly hasn't led us into war under false pretences or authorized torture like Dick Chaney has.

I'm just wondering... what makes him comparable to Dick Cheney?

It's the Trump thing, isn't it?

You're complaining about his support of Trump, right?

Comment Harrison Bergeron (Score 1, Insightful) 151

"At 12:04:03, every screen in the building strobed for eighteen seconds in a frequency that produced seizures in a susceptible segment of Sense/Net employees."

I think you've got the wrong novel.

In Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron", everyone was required to be "equal" in all ways. People who were smarter than average were required to wear headphones with distracting noises, people who were stronger or faster than average were required to wear extra weights or confining clothing, and so on.

We've just had a case where a couple of deaf people got 20,000 videos taken offline because the videos were not closed captioned for the deaf.

Now we've got a legal precedent which means that no one will be able to send a specially crafted image because it hurt a special-needs person.

Once this legal precedent is extended, can it be extended to other areas of harm? Would the same legal theory apply if:

1) The text content triggers someone into vividly reliving a past assault or rape?
2) The video of a war encounter triggers someone's PTSD?
3) The sudden audio content startles someone into spilling acetone or MEC or coffee in their lap?
4) Some religious person finds the imagery insulting to their religion?

I'm not against people with special needs, but this thing about "everyone must abide by the lowest denominator" is utter crap.

I once knew an epileptic who would get seizures by looking at a checkerboard floor pattern. I was throwing a party, had built some games in the basement, and she asked before coming what type of flooring was used in the games.

Must we to ban checkerboard patterns on the entire internet because of this one person?

Kurt Eichenwald is obviously a person with special needs, and that's fine, but he should deal with his special needs at his end, rather than forcing everyone to conform to his needs. His computer should be set to not flash animated gifs, to require a keypress to go to the next frame. He needs installed software that overlays a neutral diffuse background on online web pages and images.

The deaf people who wanted access to the online courses should also deal with their special needs at their end, by arranging to get captioning(*) for the courses they actually want to take, instead of making the university take down 20,000 course videos.

If this lawsuit has any merit, we're bound to see a serious erosion of the immense value we've built up in this internet thing.

Eventually we'll all be in the "Harrison Bergerac" world.

(*) And how they do that, by government assistance for the handicapped, or automated captioning, or perhaps by requiring the university do it in specific instances on request, is a separate issue. The point is that the changes happen at the special-needs endpoint, and not the entire rest of the internet.

Comment Out of ideas? (Score 4, Interesting) 542

NOW you perceive the film industry has run out of ideas? In 2017?

Well, let's see here.

They started making a movies of video games, such as "Doom", which had very thin plots.

Then they started making movies of video games that had no discernable plot, such as "PacMan".

Then they started making movies of *board* games, such as "Battleship".

(Monopoly (the movie) is apparently in production.)

Battleship? Really?

I'm sure the studios still have a lot of ground to cover. I anxiously look forward to "solitaire, the movie" in the next year or two.

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