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Comment Re:Public Privacy (Score 1) 174

I don't think that this is really a new thing. Once upon a time it was easy to get information about people - your name, address, family members, and person history was widely available when people lived in smaller towns and in tighter communities. I'm very comfortable living like this now - the risk of someone attacking me or trying to crack my bank account is much less important to me than making it easier for people who have a legitimate reason to contact me to do so. So I'm fine with having my contact details on Facebook - the privacy issue is unimportant to me.

This was also an attitude that was prevalent in the early days of the internet - check out some old school home pages and there's a huge amount of personal information there. These people weren't ignorant about privacy, they just had different values.

Comment TFA's generalization isn't scientific (Score 1) 928

Surprisingly, [both] men and women perceive men being smarter across generations. Both sexes believe that their fathers are smarter than their mothers and grandfathers are more intelligent than their grandmothers.

The second sentence doesn't necessarily support the first. There's a lot of things that could be going on here, like valuing male relatives more, for example, or the participants' views could be affected by their belief in familial gender roles. Family is special - you can't just say that since people feel this way about their relatives that they feel this way about all men and women.

It might be true, of course, but this doesn't prove it.

Comment DNA Lounge (Score 2, Informative) 131

The DNA Lounge in San Francisco, run by Mozilla and XEmacs' one-time developer and hacker Jamie Zawinski, has done some similar things. You can check out their code and documentation here:


In short, he's created secure Linux internet kiosks, streaming broadcasts, cameras, and scripts to automate much of it - in short, what you're trying to do but in nightclub form.

Comment Re:Programmer Thinking (Score 0, Redundant) 121

Once again, programmers thinking software will change the world.

Elections are not based on trust of software, it is based on trust of the PROCESS.

This is completely true, but having voting machine software that the public can trust is a part of that. I can't trust the process if the software makes it easy to cheat and hide it, or if there's no way for the public to verify that the voting machines do what they're supposed to.

Wouldn't it be better to have the accountability of paper ballots with all of the benefits of electronic voting (ease, accuracy, instant results, results can be uploaded and publicly accessed, etc.)? We can engineer that, and this is a good first step.

Comment Gamers becoming murderers isn't the point (Score 4, Insightful) 473

TFA says:

Show BioShock to a non-gamer -- someone who hasn't been desensitized to killing virtual people -- and watch their reaction. Show them how you bludgeon people to death with a pipe wrench. If they don't wince and express some form of shock at what's taking place on the screen, they're either seriously disturbed or they're a seasoned gamer.

This is incredibly true, and is exactly the thing that makes me resistant to gamers saying that video game violence is totally normal and acceptable and that people who are opposed to it have something wrong with them.

I recently was exposed to Gears of War for the first time, and the violence and hatred in that game was so horrific to me that I wanted to vomit. I was incredibly, incredibly troubled by it. And it wasn't just the brutality, the incredible realism of the violence, the curbstomping, but also the attitudes of the players online. People were not laughing and sharing something positive over the in-game chat, nor were the players in the house laughing and working together - they were expressing violent, hateful feelings.

Now, whether this is acceptable in the sense of free speech is one thing, and I think it is. But there's another question to me: is this the right thing? Is this healthy? If it's true that to non-gamers that the games being playing induce feeling of sickness, pain, and emotional trauma, which personal experience can attest that they do, then I don't believe it's reasonable to dismiss the concerns of the non-gaming population.

It is like free speech. Exercising your right to say whatever you please is not a good idea, even though it's legal to be constantly hurtful and hate-filled (and should be).

Again - I'm not arguing that gamers will kill people, or that these games should be banned. I'm arguing that there's definitely something to the belief that playing these games is not psychologically healthy.

Flame away, Slashdot.

Comment Re:Dawkins may may a renowned evolutionary biologi (Score 3, Insightful) 692

It's because of Occam's razor. Theism posits that a God or Gods exist(s). However, observable evidence doesn't necessitate that one exist; that is, a God is an 'extra', if you will, there's no phenomena that cannot be explained without the existence of a God. As such, the principle of Occam's razor - do not make theories more complicated than necessary - eliminates the existence of a God, because the world is simpler without one. This leaves atheism as the remaining scientific theory. Another way of thinking about this is that all parts of scientific thought have doubt inherently as a part of them, not just ones surrounding God. So, atheism and agnosticism are essentially equivalent - few atheists would argue that they can prove that there is no God.

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