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Comment Re:Irony Of Ironies (Score 0, Flamebait) 387

No thank you Humpty, even if you're calling yourself by another name. You're still just dumping a big pile of shit and saying it's yours so it can't possibly stink, but it does to me. Better you just get over your self and blow it out your ass when you're the only one who has to put up with the stink.

Comment Irony Of Ironies (Score 0, Offtopic) 387

'Sometimes these sites look better than the legitimate sites,' Huntsberry said. 'That's the irony.'

Irony is one of those slippery words that seems to have be given meaning by Humpty Dumpty. Merriam Webster provides the following:

1 : a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other's false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning --called also Socratic irony

2 a : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning b : a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony c : an ironic expression or utterance

3 a (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) : an event or result marked by such incongruity b : incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play --called also dramatic irony, tragic irony

I'd rather just go to Humpty Dumpty in 'Alice Through The Looking Glass':

Humpty appears in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass (1872), where he discusses semantics and pragmatics with Alice.

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,' " Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't--till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!' "
"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master that's all."
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.
"They've a temper, some of them--particularly verbs, they're the proudest--adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs--however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"

Comment Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (Score 4, Insightful) 98

I agree with your post but as an old school photographer I'm no longer sure what staying relevant entails. I came to define photography as the interplay of light and form, but when colour and content are factored in, composition gets overlayed with endless details and syntax. When I shot wildlife and wilderness scenery with a Pentax MX I used a landscape viewfinder and imagined crossed diagonals as a way to frame and compose shots, but when shooting wildlife using a 300 mm manual lens and pulling focus on an animal's eye to eyeball depth of field composition pretty much goes out the window. Now the classical ideas of composition probably aren't studied and the approach is basically a Rambo automatic fire mode which means many neophytes are likely to capture good shots that can be touched up by software. Good on them and I'm glad they have a means to pick up some pocket change in addition to having had the good luck to be in the right place at the right time.

I think pros still have to learn the basics and even go back to the ideas that came out of the Paris exposition that introduced Japanese ideas contained in the works of Hokusai and Hiroshige to artists like Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh and can be seen in works like the Samurai Trilogy and Lady Snowblood. But like I pointed out above, I'm not sure how those classical ideas and works can be integrated with the DSLs and software available today. I'm glad to have started out with a K1000 shooting black and white asa 100 and having to learn the hard way.

just my loose change

Comment Stuffs (Score 1) 218

Intelligence, IIRC, comes from two Latin words, inter and legere(sp?), basically meaning to choose between. Knowledge, for my working purposes, is declarative as regards the naming of things and technical as regards how things work. Wit or invention is knowledge used in an innovative way that captivates, perhaps instructs and, even, furthers knowledge by inventing new, lasting understanding. Declarative knowledge as I see it today is still largely a hold over from the Heroic age. Religions, especially the Mediterranean death cults, are big on declarative knowledge, especially as regards the lengthy recitation of Gospel. Homer's work (Homer was most likely not an historical figure), 'The Odyssey' and the 'Iliad', are examples of declarative knowledge accompanied by intelligence that displays wit or invention. In my world there is Bach then there is music, and, for me, Bach's works are, for me, today the outstanding example of intelligence, knowledge and invention as practised in the last hay days of the Heroic age. Robert Grave's book 'The White Goddess', while historically inaccurate, is an interesting and worthwhile insight into intelligence, knowledge and wit as practised for status and profit in premodern Europe. Lengthy recitations with invention, or witty exploitation of what otherwise might have remained a mistake, are the intellectuals equivalent of feats of strength.

My question would be to what extent we in the modern world need to reinforce, with practice, lengthy recitations of declarative knowledge. It's not unlike considering the need to have physical strength in today's world. One could go further down that path and question whether technology will nullify or so enhance our physical attributes that the old ways will be irrelevant and lost to us. Knowledge, as a choosing, can't but be enhanced by the Internet.

Invention, wit, creativity, plasticity and debates as to nature versus nurture are a different kettle of fish. I don't think we've the knowledge to settle the debate. My own thoughts on the matter are unsupportable. An overview suggests that each of us needs to be plugged in. We're highly social creatures. Our success and failures, to a great degree, rely upon our highly social nature. I rely currently on a metaphor utilizing apoptosis (programmed cell death) to think about plasticity as displayed in invention. Cells carry out a programmed death when they don't receive communications from other cells to go on living. I use this as a metaphor to examine how each of us seek out communications that tell us to go on living. Although this is highly simplified, it's not unapparent in our day to day lives. Stretching the metaphor beyond tolerance permits a view of plasticity that runs somewhat parallel to the developmental programmes we call infancy, puberty and adolescence. In cultures where any one individual can't plug in they'll tend to innovate and invent. Puberty and adolescence are are periods of experimentation and innovation that when ended tend to leave one for the most part fixed as to type. There are, for the purposes of this post, conservative types and liberal types ,and, artistic types. Perhaps here genetic predisposition can be pointed to. Conservative and liberal types find a niche fairly easily, artistic types, high inventive, are often troubled and labeled with syndromes like bipolar and schizophrenic. While there are underlying physiological states for such diseases, and, genetic predispositions, such people tend to thrash about a great deal looking for ways to plug in even though they may be constitutionally incapable of doing so in their culture. Such people can be endless trouble to themselves and others and win Noble prizes too. People, like Bach, tend to exemplify a near Goldilock's solution to the problem of artistic natures, others, less so.

The above is a quick cheap shot at a complex, fascinating something or other.

Comment Tea Parties In Rabbit Holes (Score 1) 63

I read the wiki article. Epistemology, thus neuroscience, is a main area of interest for me. I'm very reticent about jumping on the band wagon for stuff like this just because what we call mind and behaviour is very complex. The American biologist, Gregory Bateson wrote a couple of wonderful, thought provoking books, 'Steps to an Ecology of the Mind', and, 'Mind and Nature'. In 'Mind and Nature' Bateson referenced an idea made famous by A. Korzybski that Bateson put as, "The Map Is Not The Territory, And The Name Is Not The Thing Named". Science, to my mind, is, for the most part, a process of elegant, rigorous, robust mapping. That having been said, I can't see that we're anywhere near being able to celebrate having reliably mapped something like autism, the more so because behaviour is so much a socially derived and defined thing. Just to further my point, there is currently (sorry not enough time to track down the links) an area of research suggesting that during conception sperm and egg can wage chemical warfare. The sperm wages war to ensure a fertilized egg is given the most resources the female has available for the fetus, while the egg can wage chemical warfare to limit the amount of resources a fetus is given because the female may not see the offspring to be "worthy" of her full allocation of resources. The outcome can demonstrate aberrant states like schizophrenia.

This stuff is like anti-psychotic medicines that target the dopamine system in schizophrenics. It can show benefits but only with potentially, highly detrimental side effects, and is nowhere near representing a clear understanding of the disease.

not at all my bailiwick, but just thought I'd throw my two pennies in the pot

Comment Buy Cheap? (Score 1) 343

I've a long standing record as a strong environmentalist and I can't think of any legal remedy too harsh for BP. That aside, is anyone buying BP stock? Does anyone know if it's downside has been discounted enough to warrant buying the stock? The above may seem OT but it's not really because we're all gonna end up paying for this catastrophe. Since, President Obama's declarations aside, tax dollars, and, perhaps, cost at the pumps is going to pass the cost along to all of us, it might be a good idea to recouping some of that cost by buying BP stock. As a matter of course I'm all for a conservative investment strategy that relies on safer saving/investment instruments than stocks provide, but, if you've got your backside covered to handle contingencies for 18 months or so, and, you want to invest, then wouldn't investing in BP (given the stock has been adequately discounted (big given)) be a good hedge? It would, if nothing else, be a classic education in the basics of stock valuation.

just my loose change

Comment Go Figure (Score 1) 506

This is the kind of finding I've the greatest trouble with. 1st, I didn't RTFA (I'm a /.er now; I don't do that). Putting that aside my problems centre on the complex issues that are couched in a few words that are presumed to carry very specific findings in the broad meaning of those words. "alertness", really? Someone has a definition for the word alertness that carries a one to one correspondence with their findings in organic chemistry. What about caffeine as a drug and a genetic predisposition to an uncommon response to caffeine? What about cultural conditioning? What about the complexity of the endocrine system? How to you isolate all the factors impinging upon a broad term like alertness and map it onto a number of cups of coffee or tea? There should be science tabloids, like those pop star, supermarket lineup tabloids, that pander to findings just as these.

The public is asked not only to have the rudimentary knowledge base to understand the article but to be able to critique findings that speak to terms like alertness.

Comment Bait And Switch (Score 2, Interesting) 306

I live in a metropolitan area with one cable provider and a dsl provider. A few years ago, short on cash, I discovered I could sign up for a six month special with the cable provider (1/2 price), then at the end of 6 months opt out before the full price kicked in. The telco offered a similar 1/2 price, 6 month deal with an opt out at the end of the 6 month period. The good part was both providers allowed me to sign up for another 1/2 price deal after I'd been off their service for 6 months. I played one off the other for about 18 months. It's a bit off topic in terms of bandwidth but if you're getting screwed by the big guys (and you are) you might see if you can play one provider off another in a similar fashion. just thought it might help anyone penny pinching.

Comment Re:Upgrading in place from the previous LTS? (Score 1) 164

Last Saturday I was really bored and got around to updating my acer Aspire One N270, netbook running 9.10. I was watching the upgrades when I noticed the Ubuntu 10.04 install button, so, bored, I did what my dad would do and clicked on it. It took 5 hours to complete and so far I've had only the one painful issue. Mauve, really mauvy purple with white shinny highlights. What's next? brightly coloured ponies and unicorns? I run a lot of stuff on my little netbook and so far so good. Maybe Ubuntu has become the, for now, ultimate net OS. just say'n.

Although it wasn't an 8.04 LTS to 10.04 LTS upgrade it went well and runs well. Long may it run.

Comment You inc. (Score 1) 220

This dance has been in full swing for a while now and seems not to be going anywhere but round and round, which is OK as far as dancing goes. There are informed people who have made informed posts from various countries but I keep coming back to two main points. One: if social sites, or, any person or company is profiting from your personal information then that information has value. If your personal information has value and you contract for it's use then it's up to you to limit the use the other contracting party can make of your personal information and the consideration you should receive for giving up your personal information. Capacity (old enough to contract), Consideration (value received) and Agency (legal right to contract for the goods and services) are fundamental. Basic contract law, like basic statistics, is fundamental to negotiating one's way in a modern world. It must be part of any grade school curriculum. Evidently most people are as woefully ignorant of the basics of contract law as they are of statistics and aren't able to competently navigate a modern market place. One option might be for everyone to incorporate and seed their Me corp. with their private information as an asset. I recognize this is in some ways an outlandish proposition but OTOH it may be a good way to instruct individuals from the age of majority in how to conduct their affairs in a market place where contracts have an air of sanctity and much legal weight. Secondly, (just as an aside I don't have a face book account, no myspace, no youtube) the whole social networking scene reminds me of ancient news reels from the 20s and 30s when people sat atop flagpoles and swallowed live goldfish just to get their mugs front and centre on a newsreel and make a splash in the shallow end of the new medium. Don't dismiss the possibility that all they big market cap social networking sites will just die off like personal web sites from the late 90s. As people realize they're being ripped off and as people become versed in technology the reliance on big social sites might fade as fast as they appeared and the content they hosted will be, for the most part, lost and forgotten.

Comment Re:I didn't know Nero AG had time for this (Score 3, Insightful) 247

There are other completely free products that have matched Nero's (former) minimalist approach.

I don't disagree and would add in CDex as another example, but Nero is one of the few for profit companies that seem to have made an effort to put out a good product at a fair price. There's always been a few companies whose PC products are reasonably priced and worth the cost. Norton Utilities was perhaps the most shining example. I almost always get a free light version of Nero software when I buy a high end optical drive or a TV card/ripper. I'll pick up their latest full suite when it pops up on my radar screen at half price because the lite version still measures up well against the free stuff. One of the biggest problems vendors like Nero face is that MS knows it has to keep adding brain candy apps for the point and click crowd and MS will drive niche vendors out of business to keep their OS/Office products afloat. It's just a temporary bother because an OS in 10 years time will come with a full suite of audio video scrapbook apps for mom and pop and the kids to play with.

just my loose change

Comment Re:And how would you do that? (Score 3, Interesting) 365

I've little to no idea of the procedures and parts you wrote of but I think it speaks eloquently to the Scientific American article that points out BP is the only entity with what is seen as viable technology and the know how to implement it. Any forced change over from BP to U.S. government control of the spill catastrophe might interfere with technical management and solution deployment. I would like to see BP made to comply with total transparency and openness as regards all information requirements necessary to fully understand the entire incident.

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