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Comment Re:With one hand he giveth; with the other he take (Score 1) 176

I'm actually trying to think of the use-case for SMS in Skype. As opposed to using the normal instant messaging feature I mean. You want to SMS someone that doesn't have their phone number linked to Skype, but not using your phone? Am I missing something?

I think you must be missing something :) Loads of people don't use skype at all, or do use it but aren't currently on a skype-active device. But most of them carry an SMS-capable device at all times. While you're at your desk, you want some way to message these people.

Could you use a different messaging service like Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp or whatever? Maybe, if you already know they have that app installed on their phone and it's set up for notifications. But SMS is guaranteed to always work.

Comment Re:p0wned (Score 1) 1321

Accurately pointing out violent, criminal illegal immigrants is not xenophobia.

Accurately pointing out violent, criminal illegal immigrants when you omit the statistical context about violent, criminals who aren't illegal immigrants *IS* xenophobia. Literally. It is fear+distrust aimed specifically at foreigners.

Comment Re:Modern kids are retarded (literally) (Score 1) 403

If I had to guess, I'd assume that UK kids are probably somewhat better off in terms of "book material" than their forebears, though independent assessments of reasoning skills (i.e., non-curricular tests similar to IQ tests), etc. seem to show mild declines.

I thought that IQ tests showed marked improvements in abstract/conceptual reasoning skills, and moderate increase in vocabulary skills (4 point increase in vocab skills amongst schoolchildren from 1953 to 2006).
http://www.apa.org/monitor/201...
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/...

I never trust Malcom Gladwell, but he's quoted in that second article saying the exact opposite of OP: "And, if we go back even farther, the Flynn effect puts the average IQs of the schoolchildren of 1900 at around 70, which is to suggest, bizarrely, that a century ago the United States was populated largely by people who today would be considered mentally retarded."

Comment Re:Fascinating to watch (Score 1) 403

For example, Scott Adams being shadow banned from twitter for having insightful views on the election.

We never actually saw evidence that Scott was shadowbanned. He said that some of his readers had claimed that his stories weren't on their twitter feeds. He issued a challenge to the CEO of Twitter to respond within three days. No response was reported, and Scott didn't explain the resolution. I personally continued to see Scott's tweets on my twitter feed just fine throughout that time.

I think a more likely explanation is that Scott was never shadowbanned, and that some of his followers didn't notice a tweet from him or it got buried under a load of other things. It matched their cognitive bias about twitter following a shadowban agenda against right wing folks, and it matched Scott's cognitive bias about him being important, and so he went ahead and "asked the question" (i.e. "I'm not saying I've been shadowbanned, I'm just asking the question"). And that naturally laid the cognitive bias for it to evolve into a statement of fact.

...shadowbanned for having insightful views on the election.

That's a pretty dishonest misrepresentation. Scott says he was probably shadowbanned because he asked people to tweet him examples of Clinton supporters being violent. (Indeed Scott has had insightful views on the election both before his alleged shadowbanning, and after, so I don't know how anyone could think he was banned because he had those views.)

Comment Re:Unsurprised (Score 1) 403

Our school system is really only designed to enable rote memorization: ... Memorize your multiplication tables.

I don't think that's true. Twenty years ago kids were taught to do long multiplication, long division etc. as a straightforward set of rote instructions that they had to memorize and apply blindly.

More recently as part of "new maths" they're told to solve these problems differently -- with techniques that are no longer the rote application of instructions, but instead require creativity and understanding of what the numbers represent. http://www.nbcwashington.com/n...

I'm in two minds about this. As a computer scientist, I loved that kids were learning ALGORITHMs, and they're missing out on that now. But as someone who cares about maths, I'm happy that they're understanding numbers better. (even if it leaves their less mentally agile parents dismayed, like in the above link).

Comment Re:Modern kids are retarded (literally) (Score 2) 403

In the literal sense, they are retarded compared to children of similar age 40 years ago. Their grammar and word usage is worse, their punctuation is worse. Their grasp of mathematics is worse. Their knowledge of history is worse. Their cognizance of current events is worse.

Citation needed. I think you're wrong. Here are charts of A-level performance (national exams taken in the UK at the end of 12th grade) which have shown steady and significant improvements since the 1960s. (Source = http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/wp..., and a further report of data since 1990 = http://www.bstubbs.co.uk/a-lev...)

http://i.imgur.com/RWdWAjx.png
http://i.imgur.com/gJZ5rbb.png

I picked A-levels because they've been the same kind of exam for a long time (as opposed to say the 10th grade O-levels which were changed out for GCSEs).

On the subject of maths, my understanding is that calculus used to be a college course, but now it's taught to loads of high school students. Here's another graph showing increased earlier uptake of calculus:
http://www.maa.org/the-changin...

Comment Re:Madam Curie (Score 3, Insightful) 266

Madam Curie won two nobel prizes, one in chemistry (1911), one in physics.(1903). She didn't need "women's privilege" to do it. She did it the old fashioned way, she earned it. All women's privilege does in any area is debase it. But if the Dutch wish to debase their science for reasons of gender pandering and political correctness, that is their right. Too bad. They can kiss goodbye to respect for Dutch scientific achievement.

You're doing it wrong. Science is when you respect it for its theories, their significance, their correctness. If your respect is being swayed by anything else then you're doing politics not science.

Comment Re:That's all fine but (Score 1) 667

As far as I am concerned the only thing that is important was were the e-mails faked. If the were not than all said nation state really did was give us a better informed public.

"Heed not the words of the devil even though he speak the truth." (I remember that saying from a book long ago, but haven't been able to find an online source).

If the public gets well systematically over-informed about the bad points of "X", but not so about the good points of "X" nor the bad points of "Y", then they've been left in a worse position to decide between "X" and "Y".

I'm not saying that happened in this case. I think the email leaks from the DNC were fine. I just don't think it's a generally good principle.

Comment Re:Amazing Disconnect (Score 1) 667

You can spend vast amounts of money to sway someone and fail (see: Hillary) which is why real election tampering creates the votes it needs.

You can spend much smaller amounts of money to sway someone and succeed (see: Trump) which is why election tampering can be done much more efficiently than through voter ID avenues.

Comment Re:uhm... (Score 1) 284

I think that when it tries anything other than its primary mandate (being a forum for the world leader... not nations... leaders) to voice their collective opinion on the state of the world's affairs, it does not succeed. UN has never managed to stop a war. UN has never managed to resolve a humanitarian crises.

Wait, what??!? The UN eradicated polio.

Comment Re:uhm... (Score 3, Insightful) 284

UN is a political organization.

The UN is the collective will of the world's nations.

Why should anyone care what a political organization have to say about any particular scientific question?

Most political organizations throughout history have felt it necessary to foster scientific discovery and invention, and to create self-regulating bodies to further the same.

Comment Re:Always a good sign... (Score 1) 111

the only real difference is that espionage tends to run at a loss, while advertising is economically self sustaining.

I'm not sure what calculation that would be. Advertising costs money, is paid for out of revenue, which is paid for by passing the cost to customers. Espionage costs money, is paid for out of government funds, which is paid by passing the cost to tax-payers.

Comment Re:Implementation not protocol (Score 1) 77

Oauth 2.0 isn't all that complicated at all and to be honest it is you that should be going out and learning it not the developer. For most developers Oauth is just a library they have been told to use in order to secure their app, just like if you asked them what a syn/ack is they would also look at you dumbfounded.

Strongly disagree. I think (1) every developer who incorporates networking code (directly or through a library) should always understand exactly what the network protocol is, and (2) it's conceptually impossible to "secure" your app by incorporating something you don't understand.

Yes, I took two days out of my life to understand the OAuth2.0 for my web app. I didn't fully get to grips with the every possible OAuth2.0 flow; just the one that my app was going to use. I asked some security experts about bits that concerned me. I had been going to use a middleware library for it but discovered the only value-add provided by that library was "let you use OAuth2.0 without worrying about how it works" but that, once you understand how it works, the middleware was actually more complicated than it was worth.

Comment Re:Explain to me (Score 1) 138

Why are these infrastructure computers reachable from the Internet?

If I were a city council purchasing a heating system, and one option was 20% cheaper and and could be controlled and configured by offsite engineers even in the middle of an impenetrable blizzard, while the other one couldn't -- then choosing the first (connected to internet) is a no-brainer.

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