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Comment Re:What bothers me more (Score 1) 196

How many people take "getting their news" seriously period?

I still get the printed local newspaper and the NY Times on the weekend. I get up early and usually see the delivery person drop off papers on our street. 10 years ago they stopped at most houses on my block, now it seems like they deliver to only a handful of houses.

Obviously this process started years ago with TV news as the alternate source, but with "news" available so easily online many people don't get the paper at all, and of them I would bet few are serious readers going through the whole web site to get the equivalent of paging through an entire newspaper and discovering stories and reading them (one reason I get the paper is I often find stories I missed online).

But nowadays, so many people are plugged into Facebook that they don't even have a pretense of reading the news, they just kind of click through links on major stories.

IMHO, I doubt these same people are factually less ignorant than they would have been 20 years ago (they may not have been newspaper readers then, either). What's really bad about is the echo chamber effect. Your "friends" on Facebook all have a similar world view, so you just end up getting hammered with the same reinforcing information.

What I think is curious in this election cycle are the number of "anti-Trump" posts by people I'm pretty sure don't have a single Trump supporter in their friend list. Why are they (repetitively) posting information on how horrible Trump is to an audience that already agrees nearly completely with them? I'm starting to think this isn't about being in favor of or against Trump per se, but some other kind of social reinforcement behavior designed to demonstrate to their friends how much they share a common world view.

It almost takes on a quality like a religious piety, like a testifying their religious faith in front of other believers. They're not trying to convince their friends to change their views, they're trying to convince their friends how *strong* their religious beliefs are.

Comment Re:Randomly selected policy positions (Score 1) 105

The list of positions a party takes can be seen as its ideology; it doesn't necessarily have to mirror a specific defined ideology (socialism, etc). Party ideology is inherently flexible in a democratic polity but generally remains stable over the medium time even if some elements of party ideals change or shift.

Democrats, for example, have generally supported social welfare, minority rights, gun control, abortion as a right, even if some of these views have shifted (ie, Bill Clinton's support for ending "welfare as we know it").

Comment Re:Makes some sense (Score 1) 138

I think there are some areas where there is only opinion and not truth -- is Pulp Fiction a great movie? There's no objective measurement of its quality, so in many ways the truth of that statement can be defined by a group and stating its your favorite isn't necessarily a falsehood if its collectively agreed to be a great movie.

I also think people in general don't have a lot of deep reflection skills, so even they don't know how they're feeling. They don't even know the answer or they're not really able to evaluate it quickly enough to provide a complete answer.

I also think there's a difference between cognitive bias and purposeful lying. You may know facts X and Y and extend this knowledge to similar idea Z and reason a conclusion about it and assume it's true and report it to others. You're not purposefully aiming to deceive, but you aren't really relating the truth because you don't know enough facts about Z. But because you know X and Y are true you think Z must be true as well.

So I'm rambling a little, but I wonder if the amygdala has a role in the evaluation of truth content. If my general thought is correct, it'd be reasonable to think that there's some part of the brain with is being under-used in people who "end up giving whatever answer is quick and easy".

It reminds me of the bicameral mind theory. It's complex, but it argues that consciousness is a small part of our cognitive life, that mostly we do things without thinking about them actively. It may be that some people have a "quieter voice" in their heads and simply have a lower level of conscious experience than others, and hence have less actual knowledge about their mental state of being.

Comment Re:UI chases fads (Score 1) 292

I had a VT320 and it had a poor CRT. Which is kind of surprising, because the VT100 I used in high school had a really good display, smooth yet sharp, and I would have expected the 320, with newer parts, would have been better. But the 100 was probably a more premium product when new than the 320 was. And the 100 I used was brand new, bought for a friends dad to telecommute, and my 320 came off EBay in 1997.

Comment Re:Good news for the founders, I liked the site (Score 1) 37

They sure weren't objective in the Sanders/Clinton primary race. The cheerleading for Clinton was palpable.

I think a columnist somewhere should have taken up the Trump mantle and said "Ok, he's incoherent, but this is what he's trying to advocate if you get past the insults and bravado", with the idea that he was attracting support because people were more or less decoding what he had to say, and that somewhere there were some ideas.

What I wonder, though, is if someone more reasonable acting could have run with the same kind of right wing populism of Trump and gotten as far, or if it actually took a nut job to make it happen.

Comment Re:Randomly selected policy positions (Score 1) 105

A political party is typically an organization whose members share a common political view, or ideology.

I think you're looking at "being political" as meaning some kind of malleability or flexibility on issues, like a politician who reads polls and takes the more popular stand on the issue vs. the one that aligns with their party.

Comment Re:Randomly selected policy positions (Score 3, Insightful) 105

I think there's more than chance at work.

I think Trump's populism and Sanders' populism differ by the solutions they advocate, not by the problems they diagnose.

In many ways, Trump seems to have the kind of everyman "common sense" mindset shared by ordinary people who don't really know and/or care about high-level ideological alignment and coherence. I think this is what frustrates a lot of people when it comes to politics and why so many Americans identify as "independent" -- in their minds, solutions should be practical and effective first. They're not bothered by the fact that $solution_1 and $solution_2 are ideologically inconsistent.

More than many Democrats, Sanders seemed to be more pragmatic focused, or at least he seemed that way by focusing closely on more everyday economic concerns.

The more "political" a politician or voter is, the more they seem to demand ideological consistency, purity and cohesion.

Comment Re:Halfway There (Score 1) 419

It's not "gun controllers bringing it up", it's manufacturers working on them. What do you have against manufacturers developing new products?

I have absolutely nothing against manufacturers developing new gun safety products and offering them on the market. The concern with these "smart" guns is that they'll be mandated by law. This has already happened in New Jersey. The 2002 Childproof Handgun Law says that three years after "smart" guns are available for sale in the US, all guns for sale in New Jersey must be "smart". The law doesn't require that the guns be in any way reliable or have obtained any significant market share, just that they've been available for sale. So if these actually make it to market people in NJ who want reliable guns are screwed. And if any other states, or Congress, passes a similar law, then all of us are screwed.

Actually, I'd have no problem with smart guns if they were really reliable. And there's a really simple reliability screening test we can use: offer them to military and law enforcement personnel. Cops in particular should see a lot of value in smart guns because cops occasionally get shot with their own guns. However, they also need their guns to be extremely reliable, and big departments and the FBI have the institutional resources and motivation to seriously test them. So, once the technology reaches a level where police are not only willing to use smart guns but actively want them then it's fine to mandate them for civilians.

Of course, thanks to the NJ law, civilians are going to fight like hell to keep these things off the shelves, which means that the years of refinement needed to make them reliable is never going to happen. Not in the US, anyway.

Comment Re:And what about Wi-Fi (Score 2) 232

My money is on wifi not working right.

Wifi is a crapshoot in crowds that size, especially when you consider that > 90% of the fans in the stands have smartphones, all of which at least have wifi on and most of which probably have some setting that automatically connects them to open networks. At a minimum there's a bunch of RF noise from this alone.

It's worse if you consider the number of stadiums that install wifi -- I've never been to one where it worked well and in many it doesn't work at all. And stadiums themselves are often a clusterfuck of management, "operated" by the team in terms of cash revenue but managed by some stadium commission as a physical facility so that the local taxpayer can pick up the tab for annoying facility costs that aren't related to making the team owner richer.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if older stadiums retrofitted with wifi were done so on the local sports facility commission/taxpayer's dime and had all the usual corners cut as one might expect with such a project. The expectation (and effort) was probably decent coverage in luxury boxes, locker rooms and press areas. Fan seating areas get "covered" with a visible 2+ bar SSID, but nobody was willing to pay for RF engineering a workable solution for 70,000 people to actually use it.

So at best they're operating in RF soup with proper APs nearby, hoping that between signal proximity and operating on the 5 Ghz band they will get useful coverage. At worst they're working in RF soup off a crap solution.

Ideally, their software would be designed to be as network-independent as possible so that as much useful work as possible could be done without any network signal. But what do you bet it's a bunch of BS cloud based bullshit, dependent on appy Azure apps that Microsoft is hoping NFL teams and their corporate leaders will buy into even further.

Comment Re:Exhibit A (Score 1) 62

Because the only worthwhile thing to accomplish is to build intergalactic nuclear bombardment facilities to nuke anything that fails to build intergalactic nuclear bombardment faciliities. Or was that neurotoxin plants. What were we talking about again? Your name wouldn't happen to be G.L.A.D.O.S. or Ripley, would it?

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