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Comment Re: Is it marketable? (Score 1) 198

To be fair, the cost of a computer was a lot different years ago as well. Today, if I didn't have a bunch of gear for no reason, I'm plunk down $80 on New Egg for a Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of RAM and Windows 10. Another $75 for a 22" widescreen monitor and I've got a rig that I can pay bills, create resumes, read the news, go on Facebook, and stream netflix. If they both die after three years, I've rented a computer for $50 a year. Hardware repair at that price? Hell no, throw it away and buy a new one. I've I'm a lay man and I get a massive virus infestation....I can either pay to get it cleaned at a computer store for $150 or buy a new one.

Computers are suuuuper cheap.

Comment Re:Guilty (Score 1) 356

You are right, it was the right thing to do. She immediately went to the bosses with that information. She did ask me if I was okay with that and I told her that I was. I'm thinking that she was going to go anyway. She got a pay bump....not quite to my level but within $1.00 per hour of what I made. I got a slight talking to from the CIO but I told him that she was worth the extra money. She stayed there another 3 years and was a really solid employee the entire time...which actually benefited me because I got to work with someone competent. Without that pay raise she would have been gone within a year.

Fast forward 16 or so years and she is one of my best friends and is now a little bit higher up the salary ladder than I am. She likes to remind me of that. (It's by a small margin, I'm nowhere near starving, and she is very generous with her money, so it isn't in a malicious way). I should have suggested she get in the kitchen whilst remaining barefooted and pregnant. ;)

Comment Re:Dress for success (Score 1) 169

I used to go to work daily in the finest of homeless chic. I took pride in not giving a shit how I looked.

I developed a pretty hardcore drug problem, and my appearance began to get even WORSE. My work suffered during that time too, as well as my personal life.

When I cleaned up, I decided to try something a big different. I started wearing shirts and ties instead of ripped jeans and hoodies. Honestly, people began to take me a bit more seriously but that had little to do with it. It helped me separate my past from my future and generally made me feel better about myself. You might consider it to be dreck, but these days I'm more comfortable with a nice Italian silk tie and decent analog watch. And yes, I'm better at my job now than I was a few years ago.

Comment Re:Guilty (Score 1) 356

As a very naive young adult, I took a position something along the lines of Level 2 Desktop support. There was a young woman in the same position who had started two months before me. On paper, she was slightly more qualified than me. I really enjoyed those early years of my career and one day I said something to the effect of "I can't believe they actually pay us $35k a year to play with computers all day." She instantly turned sour and said "They are paying you $35k per year?" At that moment I learned two lessons. "There might be something to this gender wage gap" and "Never divulge salary to coworkers." I had even underestimated my pay by about $7000 per year. Turns out I was getting about $14,000 more to do the exact same job. That was quite eye opening.

Comment Re:I believe it (Score 5, Interesting) 618

Because i'm a little bit insane myself, I've taken in four homeless people in the last three years. I give them a place to stay and make sure they are fed. In exchange they clean up around the house and help me prepare meals. I also give them each a (barely functioning) laptop of their own so they could look for jobs. One oft hem took quickly to repairing computers and did side jobs (Mostly virus cleanup/backup and wipe type stuff. It took 4 to 7 months for the first three to get on their feet and get a job and get their own place. Not everyone has friends and family that have it within their means to help them out.....the people i took in came from poor families. I took in women and the common thread was that they did have places to stay....at the cost of being taken advantage of sexually. It is amazing how much easier it is to get your shit together when you don't have to worry about finding your next meal. It's amazing how much fewer drugs you need to abuse to get yourself to sleep on a futon in a warm house than on cold rock under a bridge. its' amazing how much trust, friendship, and loyalty (and an occasional bit of advice.....where to get help for depression....how to make a resume) mean just as much as financial help. My latest one took a bit longer....it's been 9 months and she is working part time and got enough some financial aid/grants to get into school. Shes' going to stay here a few more months and pay me a very modest rent. Her goali s to get her own place by the end of the year. They have turned out to be good, well adjusted people i am proud to call my friends. It cost me some money (and some sleepless nights), but damn it feels good to truly help someone out and see the results. i think my days of altruism to this extreme are over for awhile though!

Comment Re:Is SONY breaking the law with this "defense"? (Score 5, Insightful) 190

If there are any legitmate files hosted on those servers Sony's hired guns are DOSing, a "second amendment analogy" means Sony just fired back at both their opponents and some innocent bystanders. How about that, posters defending Sony's right to use such tactics - does that right include unlimited collateral damage to random bystanders? If sony isn't breaking the law, then does that make the law right even if innocents get caught in the 'crossfire'?

Comment Re:Please (Score 2) 416

I'm far from sure this is just about protecting the public image of MIT or saving face. It's hardly outside the realm of possibility that MIT gets some economic benefits from having those videos on Youtube and has a contract with the professor that passes some of them on to him. For example, the videos are probably calculated in MITs taxes each year as an IP asset, and that makes some of the costs of producing them part of research credits and such that affect MITs filings for years after they are made.Actions such as giving things to the community create real good will, and something called goodwill for taxes, and while both will be reduced if some people find the misbehavior disturbing enough to offset the normal good feelings towards MIT this produces, the impact on the tax version is a real economic consequence.
      I think we are looking at a borderline case, particularly if this is just a single incident of online harrassment. Like where two 16 year olds send naughty photos of themsleves to each other and then a prosecutor says it's technically distribution of pedophilic images and we should immediately try both participants as adults. This situation at least technically counts as triggering a lot of consequences, now should it trigger all of them without any descression.as to whether it's really serious enough for that whole automatic process to be just? Or is that what we mean by zero tolerance - borderline cases all trigger maximum consequences.

Comment Re:Watson is a scientist (Score 1) 235

Actually, I think there are some good, sound, scientific reasons that intelligence differences along racial lines are not genetic (at least in major part). Simplest among these is that there is as much evolutionary pressure from problems such as tropical diseases as there is from survival during an ice age, or similar factors that are invoked to "scientifially "explain these differences.
          In general, Science frequently uses Occam's Razor in one of its classic forms "It is vain to explain with more what can be explained with fewer". Explanations that somehow give special weight to the selection pressures that supposedly improved European or Asian migrants and treat the human evolutionary period like Africa was some sort of peaceful paradise where people had no reason not to stay jolly, dumb and lazy, are perfect examples of needless and counter-scientific complexity.
        These are usually offered with pseudo-scientific claims that somehow attacks by diseases or parasites or large predators on the African proto-human population, are not sustained at the right frequency, or in some exact way that was needed, and only survival against one particular stressor caused evolutionary pressure. Sometimes these get very elaborate, with claims that only one thing, such as glaciers, produced the precise combination of stressors needed to trigger evolution - wars, for example, didn't count as an evolutionary driver, unless they were wars against a distinct species offshoot such as the Neandertals, or diseases didn't count because they didn't happen on a yearly cycle like glacial advances, etc. That's special pleading, not science.

With that said Watson did something very good for many people. I'll respect that even where I think he's wrong about something, and even where I might dismiss all somebody's other opinions otherwise.

Comment Re:Of course and duuuuuhhh. . . (Score 1) 417

That's one of Iain M. Banks' "The Culture" novels. Understandable though, it's very easy to get Iain M. Banks and Iain Banks confused, since they even lived in the same city at the time of their unfortunate deaths from similar diseases.

Still, how can The Player of Games be the greatest when one of its sequels is The Hydrogen Sonata?

Comment Re:programming (Score 1) 417

People are probably going to claim that the AI can be programmed to avoid jeopardizing the economic interests of its owner to take care of such things. The problem with that is, such AI puts humans at risk, not because the AI itself will act against them, but the persons owning the AI will become more inclined to harm their fellow humans if those humans don't come with the useful feature of putting their owner's interests above self preservation. Having smart slaves with no sense of self may be possible some day, and even desirable for some applications, but what will it enable sociopaths to do?
          In some ways, AI without self identity is like a gun that automatically sends out press releases saying the target had a history of thuggish behavior and was charging at the gun owner. The things that could replace self identity are often things society has other problems with, such as fanatical devotion to a cause.

Comment Re:How about a straight answer? (Score 0) 329

Maybe, but there are reasons not to just go by the first thing you find on Wikipedia, and you've found a great example.

First, what's pretty definite about the Permian Extinction is that a really big meteor hit near Chicxulub, in the gullf of Mexico, at the right time to contribute to it. What's called the K-Pg boundry Iridium layer supports this.
Second, there's real doubt the big rock from space was enough to cause the known extinctions all by itself, so something else, such as Methane Clathrate release happening about the same time might be needed to explain some of it. That's two mights - we might need to consider more factors, and methane might be one. You're adding a third might, that the Methane might be a key factor, which I take to mean you think it's bigger than most, but not necessarily all of the suggested other factors.. There's lots of other possible factors, such as which continents were recently reconnected by land bridges after aeons of isolation at the time, or what did the evolution of flowering plants contribute, if anything. If you're right, Methane release is more significant than most such possibilities, but that's a long chain of mights, only as strong as its weakest might. .

I'll give you a countervailing wiki entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
The part about the Deccan Traps gives an alternative source for tremendous amounts of Carbon with a source which could change isotope ratios. Also, while I don't think the meteor itself could have had enough Carbon in its composition to make much difference, it is a known fact that stuff from elsewhere in the solar system can have different isotopic ratios. In fact that's one of the things the recent cometary probe lander was supposed to measure, so I supposes somebody ought to do a few back of the envelope calculations to really rule that possibility out.

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