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Comment Please put all your google maps complaints here (Score 3, Insightful) 97

Google maps is pretty good, I'll admit. But their driving directions, don't get me started!

Why isn't there an "easy" routing option? Just yesterday maps sent me to an interstate exit going in the opposite direction with an immediate u-turn, instead of the normal, right-hand exit. Maybe the u-turn was a few seconds faster, but it's about 200% more dangerous, it's confusing, and just maddening beyond belief.

Another time, maps took me off a paved road onto a gravel road, over a one-lane bridge almost axle-deep in mud next to a cattle yard, onto a dirt road, and then: back on to the same paved road again, a quarter-mile down the road! The routing algorithm had basically just cut out a bend in the road. It was so outrageous that I imagined Google engineers were actually trying to punk us -- hey, Larry, look, I can't believe that guy actually took the cow path!

OK, don't be evil, I get that. But also, don't make your customers want to throttle your apps with their bare hands.

Comment Re:Uh-oh (Score 1) 148

Facebook corporate does not think of your data as belonging to you, it thinks of it as belonging to them. Your posts. Your photos. Your conversations. Whatever you allow its application to hoover. It is constantly changing and expanding the list of things it knows about you, and constantly changes your controls over how that list is filtered, so you have to be hyper-aware of how it is working, and take proactive steps repeatedly to have what little control over the reuse of your data they allow.

Ultimately, to play in their playground is to give them blanket permission to reuse anything you say or do in that playground. As a corporate practice, they clearly feel no personal obligation to you for your data. They place restrictions on how you and others like you can use your data, but no restrictions on themselves.

That being the case, one should be very sure that the exchange is a good one. Facebook gives you a way to share your online life with others. In exchange, it can reuse the facts of your life in any way it sees fit, including monetizing it. Recording your conversations to feed you better advertisements? Of course. How is that any different from recording your posts? It isn't.

Personally, I don't mind a retailer like Amazon having information related to transactions, but I am careful to not use them to make private transactions. There is no need for them to know that. I do mind a Facebook having all my personal facts, because first, they are ALL private as far as I'm concerned, and second, I already have a wide variety of ways to communicate with my friends. I don't need to give up my life's details to a hugely leaky public corporation who has no care for me as a person.

Comment Painful (Score 1) 72

Hey, "deep learning" is all about pattern-matching, and what is music except a bunch of patterns! Let's have machines repeat back the patterns we use! Look -- it's artificial intelligence!


Yes, music IS just a bunch of patterns: patterns that evoke very specific emotions. You can't just string 'em together like popcorn, they go together for a reason. Listening to this is just painful, like watching a person try to walk on a broken leg with the bone still sticking out.

Comment Re:I just invested heavily in popcorn (Score 2) 153

I don't think right to lifers are shy about talking about religion, where do you get that? The idea of human life being "sacred" -- a religious term, meaning set apart/dedicated to God -- is common in the movement. As to whether or not it is possible to create "synthetic" life, I would point out that it that isn't at all what is being discussed here. What the scientists will be doing is more like "directed" life, using the framework of existing biological systems to manipulate and direct growth. Manipulating growth is something mankind has been doing since the dawn of history, although obviously not so directly at the cellular level. God created everything the scientists are using, including the scientists themselves, so there's not really a religious question that has to be answered.

Comment The Guardian's 8 test comments (Score 1) 303

Which comment would you block? Play the moderator role and take our quiz to see how your decisions compare to those of Guardian moderators

In an opinion piece about what makes one a "feminazi": “Funny how so many journalists are female, and how many are feminists! A disproportionate number pollute journalism. Jusrt shows that men DO tend to do 'harder' jobs than keyboard bashing, while the technology that men designed and built is used to provide these harpies with a medium from which to spout their biased, sexist, hateful misandry.” CENSORED. This comment serves only to derail the conversation, and diminish the (female) writer. In tone and content it adds nothing of value to the conversation. Plus it is sexist, which our guidelines make clear won’t be tolerated.

In a fashion piece: "So blue jeans are 'finally back'? This might be shocking for sheltered London-centric Guardian types but out in the real world, people have been wearing blue jeans quite happily for years." ALLOWED. This is a mild case of dismissive trolling (no, this isn't news: it is a fashion piece, about fashion trends) but it was not blocked because although dismissive, it is more a criticism of the article than the author.

In an article about protests over the death of Eric Garner: “A 12-year-old boy, out at night, waving a BB gun? What sort of parent allows that? What happened is the product of a fucked up society/community/culture/upbringing. I'm sorry to say, but often black people are their own worst enemies.” CENSORED. This was removed for racism (“black people are their own worst enemy”; “fucked up community/culture” etc).

In an opinion piece about antisemitic conspiracy theories "I don’t think that pointing out the disproportional political influence Jews have in most western societies can be called a conspiracy. But branding people that point it out and labelling them anti-Semitic seems to me part of a conspiracy." CENSORED. This was removed for antisemitism: claiming Jewish people have disproportional influence in politics is an antisemitic trope with a long history. The comment also seems to suggest antisemtism doesn't really exist other than as a way to silence people.

In an article about Hillary Clinton and female voters: “THERE IS NO GENDER PAY GAP! Just more feminist crap portraying women as victims and men as perpetrators. Even worse is the lie we live in a rape culture with one in five women raped over a lifetime. Sure if you re-define what constitutes a rape including a drunk girl gives consent but regrets it next day.” CENSORED. This is a classic case of “whataboutery” and – specifically – “What about the men?”. In tone and content it adds nothing of value, and derails the conversation. Plus it is sexist, which our guidelines make clear won’t be tolerated.

In an article about Jose Mourinho and Manchester United: “The Guardian, once a standard bearer of quality journalism now contains football journalists so in love with Mourinho it makes me sad. This is just the latest in an incredible long campaign for the despicable one to join the club of Matt Busby and Jimmy Murphy. I am astonished that the editor of the paper allows this dross to be published. You are a disgrace to the profession.” CENSORED. This was deleted because it is both author abuse and goes beyond reasonable criticism of the piece to smear both the Guardian and the journalist.

In an opinion piece about the Oscars and LGBT people: “Oh dear. Can I award you the Oscar for the clunkiest metaphor in a wrong-headed Oscar-themed click-bait article?” ALLOWED. This is a mild case of author abuse and dismissive trolling. It was not blocked because it is more criticism of the article than the author. “Dismissive trolling” is usually blocked – comments like “Calm down, dear” or “On your hobby horse again, I see” which mock or otherwise dismiss the author or other readers rather than engage with the piece itself.

In an opinion piece about feminism's prominence in the last decade: “stupid ugly woman writes stupid ugly steaming pile of dog-shite” CENSORED. This was removed because it is extremely offensive. In fact, the Guardian blocks all ad hominen attacks – comments like “You are so unintelligent”, “Call yourself a journalist?” or “Do you get paid for writing this?” are blocked because they are facile and add nothing of value to the debate

I disagreed with the Guardians on 6 out of 8 questions. How about you?

Comment Re:That's not hacking an election. (Score 1) 60

That's not even spying, that's just normal attempted media manipulation. I am shocked, shocked that there are bots on social media!

Here's the thing: regular voters aren't swayed by social media or advertisements, and it's regular, reliable voters who get the job done because they show up at the polls on time and properly documented.

Comment Re:Closer to Home (Score 1) 60

Thanks for the article, it was very informative. However, it did not convince me that gerrymandering benefits the Republicans more than the Democrats.

Prior to 2010, the Democrats out-gerrymandered the Republicans 172 districts to 5. After the Republicans started sweeping the state elections, they out-gerrymandered the Democrats 193 districts to 44.

Seems like the Democrats had the better of it when they were in the majority. The problem is that Democrats are losing their majority, not that the Republicans are out-classing them at gerrymandering.

No doubt this, too, shall change. The pendulum swings.

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