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Comment Re: Legal? (Score 2) 276

Surely it is very clearly marked "will release noxious gas if cut" and is therefore not a boobytrap? As far as I'm aware you can, e.g., electrify a fence, you just have to put up appropriate signage. It is cheaper and more effective to deter thieves from trying the lock in the first place than to actually release the gas.

Comment Re:Stupid (Score 1) 1042

That depends on how the simulation is implemented. If it's implemented as an electrical current that requires a constant voltage, then sure, you can flip an off switch and at the speed of light it will blink out of existence. But if you were simulating a town by 3D printing it, that would have persistence, and certainly the little towns people, if they were animated, could walk outside the bounds on their village and continue to exist and interact with things outside the simulation.

Since we have no idea what the governing physics might be of the "next level" there is no reason to suppose one or the other. Honestly, what guarantee do we have that our meat-based calculation organs are even physically capable of contemplating its properties?

Comment Re:"it was used for children's writing exercises" (Score 1) 235

The quantity of self-described religious adherents who don't go to church, don't pray, and don't think much about the afterlife (until the due date visibly approaches) is frankly quite large. Belief != fervor. And, proportionally, there's quite a few places dedicated to bringing atheists together and promulgating their beliefs (tax exempt by the way).

As humans, we seek explanations, stake our identity in our beliefs, and pursue fellowship with those who share them. I know of at least one secular group in my city that explicitly claims to be a church ("The Church of Beethoven"). There are definitely distinctions between believing in historically established religion and believing in some form of modern secularism. But atheists like to phrase it as "We don't have any of the pitfalls of religion because we don't have religion" and it sounds an awful lot like monotheists claiming they don't have any of the pitfalls of being pagan.

Comment Re:Sure they do... wait, no (Score 1) 187

Netflix experienced a golden age where they were the only sensible option for making your content available for streaming and they offered enough additional exposure to make that profitable and desirable. But it's easy enough to cut them out and deliver the content yourself. You can make even more money selling an exclusive licence to Hulu, Prime, etc. Netflix can't offer a wide variety of content if no one is licensing it to them.

Producing original content is actually the solution. If Netflix can say, "Fine, don't license us your show, we'll just make our own in the same genre with a very similar premise" then they have much more negotiating power to avoid losing access.

Comment Re:So many problems... (Score 1) 327

If there was a 0.1% chance of killing yourself on an insulin injection and you were diabetic, that would be a serious issue, because you would take that risk every day. But your chances of going into anaphylactic shock and dying are rather low, even if you have serious allergies (only about ~200 people per year actually do wind up dying), and a 0.1% chance of dying in a 1/100000 scenario puts it in the category of daily hazards most of us regard as non-concerns. So unless those factors you mention are VERY likely to kill you, I would call this a fairly decent option.

Some of those risks are also easy to minimize. E.g., there's absolutely no risk of overdosing if you only carry a supply/syringe at your rated dose.

Comment Personal Experience (Score 3, Interesting) 91

When you're at a lower player level, it's lots of fun. Once you've caught most of the local pokemon it soon turns into simple grinding, however --- catching the same common pokemon to get XP, which you need more and more of to increase your level. You also get hugely shortchanged by not being in a major city. The presence of pokestops (necessary sources of in-game items) and more importantly pokemon are tied to where people aggregate. In a small city you will find a fraction of the quantity and of the variety in a big city.

Personally I don't play many games anymore because of the time commitment. Pokemon Go is actually awesome in that respect because for the most part you can only play it wondering around, no temptation to keep playing once you get home or to the office.

I have kept playing in the hopes that the gameplay would improve. But I'm pretty close to quitting myself. Hopefully they can make it enjoyable again before they hemorrhage all of their community.

Comment Not today, but maybe tomorrow (Score 1) 231

Keep in mind that by sending earth microbes we're giving life there a 3.8 billion year head start. How long is it going to take to have an intelligent species? Probably somewhere between "relatively soon" and "never" with the exact timing left to some genetic rolls of the dice. What if we choose other colonization targets later on? Will we sterilize the discarded planet (presumably difficult and costly) or let it continue evolving? What if a species optimizing for intelligence turns out to be much smarter than we are and covers technological ground in exponentially faster time? Do we want to setup potential competitors directly in our own small corner of the galaxy? Or what about the threat of simple microbes? It's unlikely that if we encounter extraterrestrial microbes that they will be adapted to our bodies in a way that they can infect us, but seems to me earth microbes would stand a much better chance of evolving potentially compatible pathogens.

There may be wisdom in spearheading our colonization efforts, but I think we ought to wait on having the technology to directly monitor and manage it. Trusting that whatever evolution spits out is going to be to our direct benefit seems like an unnecessary gamble.

Comment Ads are not magic money (Score 1) 193

You aren't being denied advertising dollars. There are no advertising dollars. What people pay for is to piggy back off the sense of interest and enjoyment your media creates to sell merchandise. Your documentary highlighting the horrors of dying of trenchfoot in WWI is not going to do that, and in fact an advertisement which doesn't fit the somber mood will probably piss people off. Your video might well be an exception, but it's probably not worth Youtube's time to watch it, interpret it, and decide whether it's actually going to help them sell toilet paper. You might as well complain that other videos are getting 10 million views while yours is only getting 10. If the advertising model doesn't work for the content you're creating you can still make money off of selling it directly. Or you could sell advertisements in your videos yourself, you just won't have the benefit of youtube's analytics to determine clicks.

Comment What will the news orgs pay out? (Score 3, Interesting) 172

Journalism is almost entirely taking "snippets" from other people in the form of quotes and information and compiling them into a story, so I must assume the newspapers will also be paying out royalties on their articles to anyone they interview, mention, or quote (including when they search for comments on twitter and facebook as they like to do now).

Comment Re:Better go arrest Google execs (Score 1) 110

"Intent" is difficult to demonstrate given that it lives in the minds of the accused. The website itself is based on content-agnostic algorithms. I'm sure it's true that it has a higher percentage of illicit use than google does, but that's probably true of Tor and VPN services as well. Would we be comfortable shutting those down on the same justification?

Personally, I find it hard to find any "good intent" behind hosting, e.g., The Anarchists Cookbook. But it's well-established that that doing so is protected speech. Is pointing people to IPs where they can request to receive copyrighted bits of information more insidious than pointing people to how they can make a pipebomb?

I am fine with shutting down criminally entrenched websites and prosecuting the persons involved. But the free speech protections we are promised in the US are quite broad and in almost all cases we refuse to risk weakening that simply to avoid the possibility of mischief. If Google can deliver 10% questionable content under that protection then I think someone who delivers 90% questionable content must be protected as well. I don't see how the fundamental nature of the right could change simply because we get more day-to-day value out of google.

We could enforce the law by, you know, going after the people actually breaking copyright by uploading and downloading copyrighted material.

Comment Re:We're All Dying (Score 2) 515

I represent someone in that demographic from a small engineering school. Among my admittedly non-mainstream group of friends I'd guess at least half know what KDE is. I'm not sure how many actually use it vs. GNOME, but it's common for them to have a Linux or Mac laptop. Laptops have become work devices -- they're what you take to project and study groups. *nix works great for that, and easy to get everyone using the same software (within a college student's budget, no less). I'm sure other places are different, but one anecdote deserves another.

Comment Re:Since neither is getting elected (Score 2) 264

This overlooks that A, B, and C are competitively selected, actively maneuvering to win, and influenced by previous results.

E.g., if B is slated to lose because C is attracting more liberal voters, B is likely to move left in order to capture those voters. Or if B2012 wasn't left enough B2016 may be someone more of that bent. Also, a disliked presidential candidate tends to depress the party's congressional holdings, which makes it more difficult to enact their agenda, and tends to setup a win for the opposing candidate in the next term.

Furthermore, in democracies votes don't merely decide outcomes, they legitimize them. If 100% of the population votes and 90% vote for Hitler because the alternative is Stalin, at that point he basically has a mandate. If only 5% of the population votes and 90% votes for Hitler, I would say an uprising is well within bounds.

Voting your conscience may not net you specific near term outcomes that you desire. But in the long run your vote is a commodity politicians value and they will shape their policies to obtain it. Unless, of course, they can obtain it some other way, such as simply by pointing out their opponent is on the left/right side. If you're going to lock in on that, then you've already spent your opinion as far as they're concerned. The only way to control politicians is to be completely willing to withhold the thing they need and value -- victory. If you let the parties blackmail *you* with outcomes, then they are the ones in control, and that will be obvious by the fact the people are only given choices (Hillary/Trump) that a sound majority of them dislike.

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