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Comment Re:Do a test to find the psychopaths/sociopaths... (Score 2, Informative) 204

Your "reversible argument" test would work about as well as the "see if they have two eyes and a nose" test. For a test to be useful, you need to ensure:
a) If a person meets the criteria of the test, they are a psychopath.
b) If a person isn't a psychopath, they won't meet the criteria of the test.

Reversible arguments are really common in all humans, not just psychopaths. It's a common belief that when other people do something, it's bad, but when I do the same thing, it's OK. Generally this is justified by the already-established belief that I'm right, and the other people are wrong.

Psychopaths are defined by a lack of empathy and emotional depth, and they are generally really good at faking empathy and emotions. They are extremely hard to test for.

Comment The problem with SLAs (Score 1) 262

This video illustrates the problem with SLAs: (probably safe for work, depending on how long you watch the clip for -- stop watching after the promise to be safe).

Vendors want customers, and will do anything or say anything to get them. Especially vendors will promise something if making the promise will get them what they want, and there is absolutely no disadvantage to breaking the promise. Any customers who believe a promise that cannot possibly be kept are fools.

Comment Wow, this will end useful software! (Score 1) 118

Software developers have barely figured out how to write single threaded algorithms without crashing. Now we are seeing more multithreaded algorithms with race conditions, deadlocks and other data-sharing bugs.

Can you imagine what will happen if every desktop machine has one or two FPGAs available for programs to use as needed?

PHB says "Hey, I've heard that you can make the program faster if you program custom hardware on the motherboard's FPGA. Get the new intern to write some FGPA code for our algorithms, and then re-write the module to use it. We'll ship it next month!"

Multicore processors has made software development an much more difficult, and putting a FPGA there will make it another two orders of magnitude more difficult. And programmers aren't getting smarter nearl as fast as the hardware is getting more complicated to program.

Comment Re:Meh. (Score 1) 217

So? If flying ninja monkies had appeared out of thin air, they could also have defeated the bullies and saved celle.

The other people around didn't believe as you do, didn't want to get involved, or didn't want to get beaten up themselves. Celle lives in the real world, not the one in your imagination.

Comment Re:Duh... (Score 5, Insightful) 312

So what are you proposing as an alternative? That the banks wait until each check has totally cleared(taking weeks or longer in some cases) to totally clear? What about the vast, vast majority of the cases where the check does clear? Should everyone else be forced to wait weeks so morons won't have to suffer the consequences of their own stupidity?

I assume that is exactly what the poster is proposing, and it is a damn good idea. The bank does not have to FORCE everyone to wait, but they should not say "the cheque has cleared", and then later say "sorry, the cheque has un-cleared, we want that money back."

It's OK for the bank to give you access to the money before they have it, but they should be 100% clear about the possibility of they clawing the money back. They should tell you that it is "provisionally clear" when you are allowed to take the money out but there is a chance they will ask for it back, and they should tell you it is "clear" when they are completely confident that they money is there and you can safely spend it. And once they have told you the cheque is "clear", then they have taken the risk.

Banks could do a lot more to prevent fraud, but they don't have really strong financial incentives to, because most of the banking laws are designed to push the risk from them to you. Why should they care when they aren't the ones losing the money?

Comment Re:Dunno about other humans... (Score 1) 132

If the technology were available to everyone, it would cost more than a first-class ticket on an airliner. Yet most people don't buy first-class tickets. Many of the discount airlines don't even have first class, because they know not enough people are willing to pay for it.

There's the old joke that everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Everyone complains about airline comfort, but very few people do anything about it -- and with airlines, you actually can do something about it.

Airlines give people what they pay for. If you pay for the cheapest flight possible, you're going to get the cheapest flight possible.

Comment Re:uhhh (Score 3, Insightful) 545

I purchased a combination lock for my front door three years ago. Today, saw a note on my kitchen table from the locksmith. I said "I noticed that the lock I sold you three years ago still has the default combination on it. That's really insecure, so I changed it to your phone number. No need to thank me."

Did the locksmith do anything wrong by breaking into my house to change the combination on the lock?

Verizon can probably get away with this, because on page 239 of the user agreement he signed it says "Verizon reserves the right to do anything we want to you and your property, forever, because we know you won't read this far into the agreement, you're just going to sign it after skimming the first page. Sucker." But still, even if the poster did agree to this in a user agreement, Verizon should NOT be hacking into and reconfiguring other people's equipment, even if they think it's a good idea.

Comment Re:Let's keep this in context (Score 1) 478

The key word here is thought. Since when did we start prosecuting people for thought crimes?

We've (most countries that I know of) been doing this for quite a while. The justice system really doesn't want to always have to wait until *after* someone is killed, raped, robbed or whatever before they act.

Basically, if all you do is think about it "Hey, I wonder what it would be like to have sex with a 13 year old", there is nothing illegal in that. But if you make plans to have sex with a 13 year old, and you act (even if those specific actions are not illegal) toward executing those plans, that is illegal.

So you're probably wondering what is the difference between "thinking about" something and "planning to do" something. It's not clear. That's why we pay judges the big bucks. They have to make the very difficult distinction between "thinking" (which is legal) and "planning" (which isn't). Sometimes people agree, sometimes people don't agree. That's life. If you don't like it, find some better way to determine guilt or innocence without using human judgment.

And precisely who is the victim here (other than the defendant, and possibly the taxpayer)?

Society. Or more specifically every 13 year old girl that he would have abused in the future, if he had been given a chance. The judge determined that, if he had the chance, he would have had sex with a 13 year old girl. Since he was denied the chance, the victim is only hypothetical

Comment Re:Eh? (Score 5, Insightful) 478

I suspect you're trolling, but I'll give an answer anyway.

The difference is in the power differential. With pedophilia, the relationship is between an adult and a child. The child hasn't the maturity to understand the relationship, to make a decision for him or herself about whether or not the relationship is right or wrong, and to meaningfully disagree with the adult. Because all the power in the relationship is in one side, the relationship cannot be balanced and healthy. When the child is prepubescent, he or she would not have the same physical attraction as an adult, and therefore cannot participate in the relationship at the same level. Pedophilia is equally wrong when the adult is male or female, or the child is male or female.

Homosexuality, on the other hand, is a relationship between two consenting adults who happen to be the same sex. They are both presumed to be mature enough to understand what a sexual relationship means, and to consent to be in one. Although one individual may have a somewhat more forceful personality than the other, both have the ability to influence the relationship, and to leave it if they choose.

So, when a male hockey coach has sex with the 9 year old boys on his team, that is reprehensible because it is pedophilia, not because it is homosexual.

The reason pedophilia is considered reprehensible is because it tends to leave the children emotionally damaged, unable to form proper relationships, and generally messed up for life.

There is one respect where they are similar. Most people are sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex who are similar to them. Mature adults are very different from children, so an adult who is sexually attracted to a child is very unusual, like someone who is sexually attracted to a dog or a toaster. Some research shows that about 1% of the population is primarily attracted to children, and about 10% is attracted to the same sex.

In summary: being attracted to the same sex is somewhat unusual (~10%), whereas being attracted to children is very unusual (~1%). Engaging in a sexual relationship with an adult of the same sex is no worse than (and no better than) a mature relationship between equals of the opposite sex. Engaging in a sexual relationship with a child is a highly uneven relationship which results in severe psychological damage to the child.

That's how they are different.

Comment Re:Manners (Score 2, Funny) 1142

An anecdote from (I'm paraphrasing, since I can't find the exact post):

Tech Support: Hello, this is John. How may I help you?
Caller: John Who? What is your last name?
TS: I'm sorry, ma'am, but we are not supposed to give our full names, for security reasons.
Caller: But I need your full name.
TS: ... I can't tell you.
Caller: For the purposes of this call, I need a last name. Any last name.
TS: OK, Ma'am. I'm John ... Smith.
Caller: Thank you, Mr. Smith. My problem is ...

The tech support person wrote about this because he thought the caller was insane. I assume the caller was simply too polite to refer to him as "John" when she had never met him.

The problem with Mr. Alot's four rules are that rules 1, 2, and (possibly) 3 are region-specific, and rule 4 assumes other people want to be treated the same way you like to be treated, which is very ethnocentric.

I would suggest:
1) Be aware of and sensitive to the needs and expectations of those around you
2) Treat others as they would like to be treated (to the best of your knowledge).
3) Be humble and willing to recognize when you got #2 wrong, and always be willing to go back to #1.

Comment I almost missed some important mail! (Score 5, Funny) 115

"You might want to check your spam folder, as SpamAssassin has a rule ...

Thanks for the heads-up. There was a very important e-mail from the Internet Lottery people telling me my e-mail address had been picked as the winner of the EUR 20,000 prize. All I have to do is send them $200 by Western Union to cover the processing fees. And to think I almost missed it!

It's terrible that SpamAssassin flags such important messages as spam.

Comment Re:This ain't MTV! (Score 2, Insightful) 305

You don't need to be spoon-fed your entertainment. If the people on NASA TV are spending 10 minutes driving out to the recovery site, then you can spend 9 minutes washing some dishes, or reading a few pages of your book, or whittling a solid-rocket booster for the shuttle model you are carving. Then look up at the screen every few minutes to see if you've missed anything.

When they do finally start talking again, you can start paying attention again, because now you know something has happened.

If they go the CNN "round table" route (a bunch of idiots speaking just to fill in the silence), you never know what is worth listening to, and what is just filler.

Comment Re:Frist Post! (Score 1) 162

OK, to put it in Slashdot standard units, look at this picture:

Now imagine this one joining the game:

That's the kind of scale we're talking about.

(Note, the photos were chosen for amusement, not accuracy. They are intended to show "big" and "small", not specific ratios.)

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