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Comment Makes some sense (Score 2) 51

This might possibly make some sense of my general view that I have about lying, which is that it's not quite as simple as "honest people" and "dishonest people". I'm sure there are some people who are truly dishonest, in that they've thought very clearly about what the truth is and are being intentionally deceptive. However, I know a number of people where I'd be more inclined to say that they're just not really thinking about it.

That might sound weird or a little nonsensical, but what I mean is, there's a certain level of mental activity to "be honest". It's not just about the courage to voice your opinion, but also whether you go through a certain kind of thought process. To give a common example, if you ask your coworker, "How are you doing?" there's a decent chance that person will say, "Good" without even thinking about it. They might be miserable, but it's not necessarily an intentional deception. Maybe you're just being polite, or you don't want to share. Or maybe you're just responding because that's the proper conventional response to the question.

To give a slightly more complex example, if I ask what your favorite movie is, you might just say "Pulp Fiction" even though that's not your favorite movie. Maybe it's a movie that came to mind that you liked. Maybe it was a movie that your decided was your favorite movie well over a decade ago, and you've just used that as your answer when people ask, even though there are other movies you like better. Or maybe you said "Pulp Fiction" just because you thought it was a good answer that other people would agree with.

I used to think that it was as simple as "being honest" or "being dishonest", but I've realized over the years that a lot of times, we just end up giving whatever answer is quick and easy, or the safe answer that won't cause trouble. Some people do it more than others, and I've known a few people for whom communication isn't really about conveying information, but more about social maneuvering. And I don't even mean that it's malicious, since it may be as innocent as just saying whatever will get you to like them and make everyone get along. I think it's not even necessarily an intentional deception, but instead it's more like they're not even thinking about the truth content of their answer in the context of "true" or "false", but more like "achieves the desired effect" or "doesn't achieve the desired effect".

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".

Comment Re:of course the do! (Score 0) 35

Netflix knows exactly what people want

Also, they're in a position to care about what the viewers want. The TV networks, meanwhile, are built to care much more about what advertisers and their clients want.

You might expect it's the same thing, since advertisers will want whatever people will watch. However, there are some subtle differences that have big effects. For example, they don't like controversy, so while they're trying to get a big audience, they're also making sure they don't ruffle anyone's feathers. If they're trying to get Walmart or Chick-fil-a advertising money, then there'd better not be anything in the show that could be considered anti-Christian or pro-homosexuality.

There's also a tendency to look for shows that will hit certain demographics who are thought to be likely to buy specific kinds of products. So, for example, a children's show might get cancelled in spite of critical acclaim and high viewership, if it turns out that kids aren't buying the toys and merchandise associated with that show. Two shows with similar budgets and viewerships might have very different fates, depending on whether the viewing demographics are expected to have a lot of disposable income, or to correlate with products that the advertisers want to sell. So networks are going to focus on making teenager shows to market Clearasil, and they need old-man shows to market Viagra. If you're their target demographic that's considered a desirable market, then they're not particularly trying to make shows for you.

There's also another similar problem that that Netflix avoids by having an on-demand viewing model, as opposed to having shows compete for a time slot. On network TV, a show might be making enough money in order to pay for production and make a profit, but it might still be cancelled if a network thinks that another program would make more money in that time slot. This was one of the rumored reasons for the cancellation of both Firefly and Farscape, for example.

All of this is why you see a lot of cheap reality TV that appeals to the lowest common denominator. It doesn't much matter whether the show is good or whether there's a substantial audience on the edge of their seat waiting for the next episode. Networks are just looking for cheap, uncontroversial programs that will make it easy to sell advertising.

Comment Re:Was Obvious from the Start (Score 2) 182

the Apple Watch 2.0 only really offers waterproofing. no real advances that people would dump another $350+ to replace their 1 year old Apple Watch 1.0

I think this really needs to be taken into account in the whole discussion. The big story is that Apple Watch sales are down from last year?

You have to figure that a large percentage of people who wanted Apple Watches bought them last year, when they were first released. Most people don't usually replace their electronics after only a year. Even with cell phones, they wait 2 or 3 years, and that's about as frequent as it gets. Given that smart watches are mostly being used as watches and to display notifications from your cell phone, it seems possible that the smartwatch upgrade cycle will be less frequent.

Also, the "Series 2" model is ultimately a minor upgrade. It has GPS in the watch, which may be important to some people. It's waterproof and the old one isn't officially waterproof, but was still more water resistant than advertised. It's not thinner or lighter, the battery doesn't last longer, and it doesn't even look different. Some people will want to upgrade after only one year, but I wouldn't expect most Series 1 owners to think it's worth buying a Series 2.

Given that, I would assume that there'd be a big spike of sales when the Apple Watch was first released, followed by a few years of diminishing sales. I even had a theory (which so far has worked out) that Apple would avoid making a lot of small incremental changes every year. Given the novelty of the product, some people probably held off buying it the first year because they wanted to see if the following year's model would show substantial improvements. Now that we've seen only minor improvements for Series 2, that may have lead some of those people to go ahead and buy one, which may explain why their sales aren't even worse.

My basic theory is that Apple has a cycle in mind for how often they'll release major updates with major design changes, and it's basically on the same time frame that their marketing experts tell them that people will be willing to buy a new smart watch. I don't know if that's 2 years or 4 years, but it's not going to be 1 year.

Comment Re:What are we forgetting... (Score 1) 201

Big asteroids are a valid concern, and very long-term I do believe humans should work at establishing a human presence on other worlds (starting with the Moon), however asteroid bombardment should *not* be a factor in driving humans to inhabit other worlds.

It would be far, far easier for us to improve our capabilities for detecting large asteroids, and then deflecting them, than to figure out how to live on Mars. Dealing with asteroids is not that hard: first we have to actually invest some resources into looking for the damn things. We do a little of that right now, but not nearly enough, as the strike in Russia a couple years ago proved. This isn't hard; we just need more probes in orbit, or perhaps in Solar orbit closer to the Sun (to spot ones that we can't see from here because the Sun's light drowns them out). Second, we need to develop the capability of deflecting them. With good enough detection, this isn't hard: you just send a big craft up there with some engines (probably ion engines) and a lot of fuel and run them for a long time to push it into a slightly different and safer orbit. If you have enough forewarning, it's not that hard, because a little movement will make a big change in trajectory over a long time. The key here is having enough forewarning; if your detection efforts are so lame that you have very little warning, then you're not going to be able to avert disaster.

Simply put, it'd be a lot easier and cheaper for us to invest in some space-based telescopes optimized for detecting Earth-crossing asteroids than to develop all the technology and infrastructure needed for establishing a colony on Mars. And the end result is better too: instead of some small colony on Mars surviving while the bulk of humanity perishes, along with the most livable planet for humans, we can keep our planet and the entire human race intact.

But if we're too stupid and short-sighted to invest in some telescopes, then maybe we deserve to be wiped out like the dinosaurs.

Comment Re:People ARE what we are sending (Score 1) 201

Not really.

Hawaii is a really nice place for humans to live: the weather is perfect, it's lush and beautiful, there's all kinds of fun things to do like swimming, surfing, scuba diving, exploring rain forests, etc.

If you found yourself magically transported to Hawaii in prehistoric times, perhaps with a small group of intelligent people, you could pretty easily survive there by living off the land. There's wood for making huts and burning, there's extremely fertile land for farming, there's vegetation that can be eaten, there's fish in the ocean nearby that you can fish, you don't have to worry about freezing to death, the air is clean, etc. Or, in modern times, if you can afford it, it's a great place to live too, especially if you can afford a nice house on the beach.

Mars isn't like that at all. You can't go outside, you can't breathe the thin atmosphere, you'll get radiation sickness, you can't easily grow food, there's no liquid water (humans tend to like bodies of water), etc. Maybe if you really like living underground in an artificial habitat, it'll be a nice place for you to live, but if you like being outside, it'll really suck. I suppose if you could make the underground habitats big enough and Earthlike enough (with giant artificial forests and lakes), it wouldn't be so bad, but that'd be quite a project. It'd be a lot easier to just stop messing up this planet so much.

Comment Re:Plant plants (Score 1) 201

Actually, no, it's "boarders" now. The English language is defined by popular usage, and roughly half the American population believes that "boarder" means "a dividing line" (what you think of as "border"). This is seen in every online message board where the topics of "enforcing the boarder", illegal immigration, etc. comes up. When a large enough fraction of the population makes the same mistake, it become the correct usage.

Maybe if we had some decent public education in this country, this wouldn't have happened.

Comment Re:Plant plants (Score 1) 201

That's not that much lower. Here on Earth we have things called "clouds" that reduce our usable sunlight; Mars doesn't have those, nor much of an atmosphere to speak of. We also grow food just fine in cooler months (when there's less sunlight per day), especially when we use greenhouses. This isn't like trying to grow food on Pluto.

At the worst, we could build big greenhouses which have sunlight concentrators on the roof, like giant Fresnel lenses. They wouldn't need to concentrate the light that much, since there's only 50% less sunlight than on Earth, so the area of the roof would only need to be 25-50% larger than the area of the farmland (due to the mitigating factors I mentioned above: no clouds, less atmospheric attenuation, selection of grops that need less sunlight, etc.).

Comment Re:It gives me pleasure to introuce you to the fut (Score 2) 150

Well, what's your alternative? Send more human cops in so they can get shot dead by a terrorist who's heavily armed? Sending in a robot with a bomb was a bit extreme, but under those circumstances, it was warranted. If they had had a flying Taser drone, that would have been preferable (maybe, depending on your POV), as it's less-than-lethal and most likely would have incapacitated the shooter instead of killing him.

For extreme situations, I don't see what the problem is here, and a flying Taser makes perfect sense as something to have for such cases. Police have had special weapons for a long, long time: SWAT teams ("SW" is for "special weapons") have been around since the early 1980s, and they're normally only brought out in extreme cases. The fact that they've been overused in recent years in some localities is a failure of governance, but the answer isn't to take all the guns away from all police because then you'll have really serious criminality problems and no police at all; the answer is to get some better politicians, namely at the local levels where they have direct oversight over police departments.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 455

If women choose not to go into computing fields, why should they be forced (or even encouraged) to do so?... How about letting people pick the field(s) they want to go into without telling them what they "ought" to do based on a pointless metric or percentage?

My brain jumped to a few different places when I read these questions. The first is, in pushing for greater inclusion of women, I think there's an implication or assumption that women would like to get into these fields, but are not able to. It doesn't really seem true to me, but maybe some people have other experiences? My experience has been that most of the places I've worked (admittedly doing support, not programming) would have loved to hire more women, and made efforts to do so, but very few women even sent in resumes. But like I said, it's possible that some women could tell stories where they felt discriminated against.

The second thing that went through my head was, it does seem fair to ask the question, "Why are there so few women in tech?" Even if the answer is that women aren't generally interested, it only raises the question, "Why not?" Some people might not like the idea that there's a innate/genetic reason for it, but it also might have to do with our educational system, or something about how technology managers work. It may be a larger societal message, where we're telling women that they're not going to be good at that kind of job. If we had a clear understanding of why women weren't pursuing those kinds of careers, we would then be in a position to say, "That's fine, and not something we want to try to solve." Not knowing what's going on or why, I don't think we can say that it's not something fix. It may even be that women are seeing a problem in the industry that's harming all the workers, and it's a thing that men are just more willing to tolerate. If so, fixing that problem may benefit everyone.

The last thought I had might begin to answer your questions more directly: When you want to hire people who are good at a job, it's good to attract everyone you can and maintain a large and diverse talent pool. It increases your chances of finding the people you need. I'm not even talking about anything related to social justice, but just the practical matter of trying to hire people. You want a big talent pool. As people are fond to point out, it also potentially drives down the cost of labor, but it also increases the changes of finding someone with the exact qualities and skills you're looking for.

Comment Re:About time. (Score 1) 630

Really? Is there any evidence of this? I have serious doubts that servers and food preparers were any good at this even before the whole GF craze. Just look at how it is for people with severe peanut allergies today: everyone's heard about it now, and knows how dangerous and life-threatening it is for these people to consume them, yet we still have reports of restaurants being sloppy and someone having an attack or even dying because of this. You just can't trust a bunch of underpaid fools in a restaurant kitchen to not cross-contaminate foods, unless that restaurant explicitly specializes in food free of a certain allergen (like a gluten-free bakery for instance). People like that really shouldn't be eating out at all; it's just not safe.

Comment Re: Wikileaks is a toxic organisation. (Score 1) 326

TellarHK said:
And I'm this case the information they were given was hacked and given to them by Russian intelligence. And, they've made absolutely every possible effort to hurt Hillary's campaign by hyping releases, staggering them, and releasing them at time when they're calculated to do the most potential harm. They are in no way acting like a neutral party.

The only way Wikileaks can have credibility is if they release things on a fully non-partisan basis and that has clearly not happened here.

You are correct sir.

The headline jumped out at me and I thought it a good idea to post it here. The original story was posted by Tim Peacock at Peacock Panache. They source the following article on Motherboard by Thomas Rid: All Signs Point to Russia Being Behind the DNC Hack.

I think by now, itâ(TM)s a foregone conclusion that the bad actors that Wikileaks is releasing information from are state-sponsored and are from Russia. Putin has made no secret of his political love for Trumpâ and Republicans have used the occasion to make great hay over the DNC and itâ(TM)s terse relationship with Bernie. . . .not out of true concern for Sanders, of course, but because they have had to embrace a very undesirable candidate as their standard-bearer.

The big takeaway from the Motherboard article is the following:

        The metadata in the leaked documents are perhaps most revealing: one dumped document was modified using Russian language settings, by a user named âoeÐÐÐÐÐÑ ÐÐмÑfнÐоÐÐÑ,â a code name referring to the founder of the Soviet Secret Police, the Cheka, memorialised in a 15-ton iron statue in front of the old KGB headquarters during Soviet times. The original intruders made other errors: one leaked document included hyperlink error messages in Cyrillic, the result of editing the file on a computer with Russian language settings. After this mistake became public, the intruders removed the Cyrillic information from the metadata in the next dump and carefully used made-up user names from different world regions, thereby confirming they had made a mistake in the first round.

        Then there is the language issue. âoeI hate being attributed to Russia,â the Guccifer 2.0 account told Motherboard, probably accurately. The person at the keyboard then claimed in a chat with Motherboardâ(TM)s Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai that Guccifer 2.0 was from Romania, like the original Guccifer, a well-known hacker. But when asked to explain his hack in Romanian, he was unable to respond colloquially and without errors. Guccifer 2.0â(TM)s English initially was also weak, but in subsequent posts the quality improved sharply, albeit only on political subjects, not in technical mattersâ"an indication of a team of operators at work behind the scenes.

Rid went on to add:

        The metadata show that the Russian operators apparently edited some documents, and in some cases created new documents after the intruders were already expunged from the DNC network on June 11. A file called donors.xls, for instance, was created more than a day after the story came out, on June 15, most likely by copy-pasting an existing list into a clean document. Although so far the actual content of the leaked documents appears not to have been tampered with, manipulation would fit an established pattern of operational behaviour in other contexts, such as troll farms or planting fake media stories. Subtle (or not so subtle) manipulation of content may be in the interest of the adversary in the future. Documents that were leaked by or through an intelligence operation should be handled with great care, and journalists should not simply treat them as reliable sources.

(article continues.. follow the link above).

Comment Already thought of two counter measures (Score 1) 279

I just read the heading and I've already thought of two ways to beat this.

Oh wait, two more since i started the heading.

I'm not going to list them but this is pretty trivial to beat.

Meanwhile, you've created a way for any member of the general public to release vomit inducing gas in theaters, restaurants, and any other crowded spaces.

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