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Hackers Compromise ICANN, Access Zone File Data System

Arterion The bad puns... (99 comments)

I know this it totally off-topic and may hurt my karma, but ICANN not resist the temptation. I just don't have the resolve. I'm phishing for puns. What's your best ICANN pun?

13 hours ago
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CERN May Not Have Discovered Higgs Boson After All

Arterion Journalism Rant (137 comments)

This article really makes me think that journalism need to be laid to rest. In the case of physics specifically, there are some brilliant communicators. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, I'll even throw in Bill Nye (though he's a Mechanical Engineer) are all great examples of people who actually (this is the kicker) UNDERSTAND THE TOPIC they're talking about. I think if a "journalist" wants to report on something they aren't personally an expert on, or at least understand well, the whole article should be framed as in interview. An article like this just compromises the integrity of the journalist and journalism at large.

*editing note* The section below is me going off on a tangential rant. Thank you amphetamines.

I somewhat blame how writing is taught in schools and universities. It's nearly an essential requirement that you integrate quotations into your writing as if they were naturally part of your sentences. A question/response formation is forbidden, and while there is a special rule for including a block quotation, I've very rarely seen it used in practice. I understand a English 102 research paper is quite different from news piece like this, but that it is deeply ingrained not only into writers, but also readers (since we mostly did papers at least in high school) to expect that kind of quotation, mostly to the detriment of communication.

I think it's because there is an academic obsession with attribution, where you are given scary warning about PLAGIARISM and being banished from the university, should you fail to properly attribute! Yeah, if you pull a paper off the internet and present it as your own, that's clearly cheating. The academics are so obsessed, I suppose, because being published is some required right of passage. So then students spent half again the cost of tuition on textbooks every year, and then hardly use them. Why isn't Elizabeth Warren posing hard questions to the wealthy textbook barons and the academics who support their industry? I suspect that a non-trivial amount of student loan debt was acquired buying textbooks. Yes is complicated, but at the end of the day, we're collectively paying to prop up this system, and the end result is crappy journalism like this. (editing note: surprised I managed to bring that full circle.)

about a month ago
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Robot Makes People Feel Like a Ghost Is Nearby

Arterion Ad absurdum. (140 comments)

Correlation is not causation.

How can we be sure that Blanke's original electrical stimulation discovery in 2006 and the later the robot poking experiments didn't actually summon malevolent entities that then caused the spooky sensation (at a distance?) the participants experienced?

On a more serious note, I'd like to see some follow-up interviews with the participants to rate how they felt after the experiment. Subjectively, did they feel like they had more "creepy" experiences following the experiment? I'd like to know if the people felt "creeped out" more than usual after the experiment. Of course you'd need a control group who always had the pokes in sync and never "sensed" the "ghost".

about a month and a half ago
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Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

Arterion Re:Discover life? (221 comments)

I want to split a hair here. Say we mastered biological science completely. And we could manufacture some means to alter our DNA arbitrarily, and then "adapt" ourselves however we saw fit without the need to grow a new self. Would we perhaps consider each successive alteration a "generation"? Or perhaps the more familiar theme of growing a new body in a lab, then transferring consciousness into it (either by brain transplant, computers, or some kind of fully organic nervous system interface, idk.)

Of course it sounds entirely like science fiction, but it seems like being able to intelligently alter ones own genetic composition as needed would be an incredible boon for survival. I guess it really makes me wonder if technological development isn't somehow the endgame for evolutionary processes. Of course you go far enough with technology and you can then do whatever you want with it.

about a month and a half ago
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Windows 10 Gets a Package Manager For the Command Line

Arterion Re: We can do that thing you like (230 comments)

Are you seriously complaining because they aren't implementing a new proprietary package management system? Holy smokes, Microsoft just can't catch a break!

There's always msiexec if you want a Microsoft way to do command line package management. While it may seem arcane, it's totally functional. You can do a lot with group policies and logon scripts. There's even a way to add a repository of sorts for desktops using active directory. And to be clear on this, you can literally download a ".msi" file and it's not wildly different from a rpm or deb package. Most exe installers just are just wrappers for an msi anyway.

And then there's there's the app store in Windows 8, too.

about a month and a half ago
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The Problem With Positive Thinking

Arterion Re: As has been posted before (158 comments)

Silly AC, they don't have jobs. They live off investment gains. They have capital, they don't need to labour.

about 2 months ago
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BitTorrent Performance Test: Sync Is Faster Than Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox

Arterion Re: Am I missing the point? (124 comments)

You think that would be a standard feature, but apparently it bears special mention.

I miss the older Foldershare then Live Mesh for that very reason. I think it might have been before "cloud" was a buzzword, and folks still thought about networks and file storage in a traditional way.

Skydive came out and I was fine with the giveth, but then was the taketh away. I remember being excited about the Live Framework developer API. The ideas presented don't seem especially innovative at the end of 2014, but they were at the time.

Still, implementation of those ideas is lacking. I can't use my phone apps on my computer, and my tablet and my phone can have the same app, but individual copies of local data. It's rather inconvenient and at times humorous.

about 2 months ago
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BitTorrent Performance Test: Sync Is Faster Than Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox

Arterion Am I missing the point? (124 comments)

They copied some data across a local network. Then they compared it how long it took to transfer the same data to remote servers across their internet connection? 1.36 GB in 41 seconds is 33 MB/s, which is either extremely underwhelming for local network performance (I suspect a magnetic hard drive bottleneck), or extremely impressive for a fat internet pipe, neither having to do with the software in question.

about 2 months ago
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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

Arterion Re:Research Paper Link (422 comments)

I had the same thought. Cue the correlation is not causation chorus. I would readily accept that people who drink 100% fruit juice are more health conscious than those who drink sugary sodas. Diet soda drinkers are probably more of a mixed bag.

about a month ago
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Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

Arterion Re: I don't follow (370 comments)

You gotta watch those sans guys. Sometimes you can't tell the difference between l, I, and 1. It's a bit of an issue sometimes in computing, where sans is more frequent that serif. Makes sense. Yep.

about a month ago
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Obamacare Could Help Fuel a Tech Start-Up Boom

Arterion Re:yep (671 comments)

The idea of your employer being in any way connected to your health care is just vile. I am sorry to hear about your personal situation, most of the analysis I've done shows that the exchanges are competitive with employer-provided health care, and in many cases cheaper with subsidies. If it turns out at the end of the year your employer insurance over-charged, I believe they have to refund you some of your premiums. They can't just pocket the difference and call it a day anymore. This is totally new. How well it will work remains to be seen. There is also the somewhat shady option of just paying the penalty for no insurance, and if something major happens, sign up then since you can't be denied for pre-existing conditions now...

As for the poor, the law was written so that anyone making 138% FPL or less would get Medicaid. From there up to 400% would get subsidies. But half the states aren't doing the Medicaid expansion. This is a pretty big wrench in the cogs, and it remains to be see how it plays out. The idea was to get people with no insurance out of the ER and into preventative medicine, which is much cheaper to provide. Plus the moral arguments about helping the poor and sick, etc.

I've been saying the same thing about the Republicans. If Obamacare is so awful, why not just sit back with a smug grin and let it fail for two years, then rake up in 2016? I have this suspicion they're afraid it might actually work. If all the poor, white people that voted for them suddenly can do see a doctor and get medicine and take care of nagging ailments under the auspices of "Obamacare", that's gonna devastate them at the polls with that demographic.

As it stands for my family, there is myself, my brother, and my nephew who I know off the top of my head could get in on the Medicaid expansion. We currently have no health insurance. My brother actually has diabetes, so he needs it pretty badly. As it stands here in Tennessee, Obama is still evil and those damn liberals, etc., since we STILL won't have coverage in 2014. But if the expansion had went in, the three of us would have Obamacare, and it would be a hard argument for any of us (or my parents) to say Obamacare is bad when we're suddenly getting medical treatment we've needed for a while.

about a year ago
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Study Shows Professors With Tenure Are Worse Teachers

Arterion Re:Hard work is the best teacher (273 comments)

Here again, this is a problem the administration has forced onto the students. My university implemented two policies just recently that really made me ill. The first: you are limited to 4 drops your whole undergraduate career. Why? Cause too many students were dropping classes, they thought. Why were these students dropping? Oh, we don't know, but we are going to call it "class sampling". Did you offer these students a syllabus before registration, so they could see what they were registering for? Oh of course not, there's not possible way we could get professors to do that!

The second issue also had to do with registration. Since the advent of online registration, there has been this thing called a "waitlist" where you put your name down to get into a class should a seat become available. Just what you might expect from something called a waitlist. In times past, you could waitlist for multiple sections of a course. This was smart, because as soon as you got into one, your spot on the other lists was cleared for the next student waiting. You really weren't causing any inconvenience by doing this. However they have banned multiple section waitlists. But the worst thing is that before, should you register for one section (say, with a professor you don't know or perhaps have had before and know you don't like), you can no longer waitlist a different section with a professor you know is good.

The administration wants to act like a seat in a class is a commodity and they are all equal. They definitely are not. The professor makes a huge difference, and most students know that. We found ways to use their system to get the professors we wanted, and we have now been punished for it. This isn't that say it's always a case of good vs. bad professors, I have found I like professors that many others didn't like, and vice versa. It's really a learning style issue. I like classes with a minimum of interaction, optional lecture attendance, rigorous tests, and that's mostly it. Some students like a lot of interaction, attendance grades, online homework assignments, etc.

Though let me add, all of the lectures with optional attendance, I have made every possible effort to show up for. Every lecture with required attendance, I have wanted to kill myself the whole time. Why? Because just like the administration's efforts, if you find yourself in the position of having to force students to do something they ought to be doing of their their free-will, you have a bigger problem you need to fix.

about a year ago
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Pastafarian Wins Battle To Wear Colander In License Photo

Arterion Re:Blind Faith (535 comments)

Yes! I remember being in a religious studies class I had to take because "liberal arts education". And one of the first things was putting Science on one board and Religion on the other, then listing qualities of each. Well, the instructor's point was to try and illustrate that any qualities of one could apply to the other. He took some liberties I didn't agree with in his reasoning on some of the items students wrote, but nothing egregious.

Except for the one item I had quietly asked to be listed under the "science" side, which was falsifiability. He ended up marking off everything except that, and circled it. I hoped he would address it specifically, but he just glossed over it. Obviously it threw a wrench into the idea he was trying to push on us, but I at least felt a little bit proud of myself.

To be a little bit more philosophical about it, there IS something you could call "faith" that I accept I have, even as an atheist. What it comes down to is I expect that reality will be consistent over time. If we observe there are natural laws, and that they have functioned without fail as far back as we can reckon, then we expect they will continue to function into the foreseeable future. But I really can't know that. I can't be sure that I won't fall off the Earth one day, or that three lefts will make another left instead of a right, or that tomorrow will come before yesterday, that I will exist in two places at once, or that water will stop being wet. But it's never happened as far as I know, so I don't expect it ever will happen, but I don't necessarily preclude the possibility. I don't know why the natural laws work, so I can't really be sure they will never stop working. I just don't think it's very likely.

about a year ago
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Belief In God Correlates With Better Mental Health Treatment Outcomes

Arterion Re:Beliefs (931 comments)

Err, according to the Bible, that's totally wrong. Of COURSE Adam and Eve believed in god -- they walked with him in Eden. They saw him face-to-face, real life, in a tangible way. If I could see god like that, I would believe in him, too.

No, all death and suffering came into this world because they ate an apple they weren't supposed to. That's pretty evil, if you ask me. To punish generations and generations of people with some of the worst human suffering imaginable just because some guy ate your special apple a long time ago.

And then the only solution to forgive them is to let your only son be heinously murdered? You couldn't just say, "Hey guys, that was a long time ago. Ya know what, let's just call it even."

And no, "most" bad things do NOT happen because people make bad choices. As far as bad things go, at the top of the list is disease, famine, and death. Those two things are just a quality of being human. 99% of the time, they happen cause life sucks sometimes, not because people made bad choices. It's nice to blame the victim so that your flimsy belief system doesn't seem so foolish, but tell that to the starving kids that Jesus supposedly loves, or all the people terminally ill, or coping with chronic pain and suffering because of some inherited disorder. Don't tell me they made "bad choices" to end up there. If your god is real, then he's a total jerk.

about a year and a half ago
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Most UK GPs Have Prescribed Placebos

Arterion Re:Antibiotic Placebo? (240 comments)

Most pharmacies now have a "cheap drug list", and amoxicillin is definitely on it, as are most of the older antibiotics. At some pharmacies (Kroger here), it's totally free. Sadly, due to resistances and such, you need newer antibiotics a lot of the time. Or the newer antibiotics are taken fewer times per day, or for fewer days... and they may actually be more effective. In the long run, the newer ones might contribute less to resistances, as you have more patient compliance with taking the full course, and you wipe out more of the infection leading to less spreading of leftover resistant bacteria to others.

I've personally ordered drugs from the internet before. It was a drug that was still on-patent here, so it was very expensive. It came in blister-sealed packs from and Indian pharmaceutical company (Dr. Reddys) that is licensed to sells generic drugs here at legal pharmacies.

I wouldn't ever self-prescribe for conditions where I needed to determine a clear pathology, such as most infections, but if I am just treating symptoms it makes sense to skip the hassle and expense of the doctor sometimes. Especially if the worst case for the drug is that it's simply ineffective. In my case I was buying generic propecia. I would go the same route if I wanted latisse, or tretinoin cream, a topic antibiotic, bile acid sequestrants (for IBS), prescription antacids, ketoconazole shampoo, or anything along those lines.

At least that was the case until very recently. Now I can see a doctor for free through my university's health center, which actually has very nice facilities and I really like the doctors. I also managed to get really crappy prescription coverage from Tennessee, and so far that's covered a few things. The situation isn't nearly as bad as it used to be, where people I've known would go down to the Tractor Supply Company and pick up veterinary antibiotics because they were cheap and regulated to be pharmaceutical grade (even if not by the FDA, it's better than a shot in the dark online).

A lot of people around here hate Obama, and "Obamacare", but I know for me, when it goes into effect, I will be able to get full TennCare Medicaid, as I'm a poor university student. I'm pretty much counting down the days. I end up spending quite a bit on medication for a few conditions I have, and there are some things I have to just manage as best I can because I simply can't afford the proper treatments. Even if I'd gotten on my university's health insurance, everything I mentioned would have been denied coverage as "pre-existing", not to mention the limited coverage amounts and deductibles. Turns out it's cheaper to just pay out-of-pocket and try to whittle down my costs by using free or discounts services wherever I can beg my way into them. (Using the school doctors, using the county health center, free samples, prescription assistance programs from pharma companies, etc.)

While things aren't as fair as they should be, I'm just glad I have access to care at all. I think if something *really* bad happened, that was completely debilitating or maybe life-or-death, someone would come through to help, whether it was charity or Uncle Sam (disability medicare). It's the smaller quality-of-life stuff that really bites you. Where you fight a sinus infection for two weeks rather than getting past symptoms in four of five days with recent antibiotics. While I don't mind doing that in a perfect world, it definitely makes it hard to go to work, class, or do whatever else that I have to do. Sometimes the powers-that-be are understanding and sympathetic, sometimes they aren't.

about a year and a half ago
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Most UK GPs Have Prescribed Placebos

Arterion Re:Antibiotic Placebo? (240 comments)

Antibiotics and most medications are not controlled substances. It is not illegal to purchase or possess them. What is controlled, however, is the SALE of antibiotics for human medical use. So this means you can import them from some jurisdiction where you can purchase them (the internet, or across the Mexican border), or possibly get the same medication from a agricultural supply company intended for veterinary use.

This is quite different from "controlled substances" such as amphetamines, narcotics, benzodiazepines, and of course, illegal street drugs (cocaine, heroine, marijuana, etc.)

about a year and a half ago
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Internet Sales Tax Vote This Week In US Senate

Arterion Re:Regressive (434 comments)

Totally this. I think democrats should be opposing any sales tax, for this very reason.

about a year and a half ago
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Tuition Should Be Lower For Science Majors, Says Florida Task Force

Arterion Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (457 comments)

I absolutely agree. However, it's the other end of things to consider: Top schools want top professors which demand top salaries, and thus the tuition must be higher to cover these extra costs. There is also a certain "luxury" component to some schools with more resources -- better facilities, more extra-curricular activities, more academic support outside of class, nicer campus, etc. These are things rich kids want. They don't want to move from the lap of luxury to some grimy state university, and they have the money to pay for it.

So yes, for quality of graduates, and quality of education, absolutely, lowering tuition would have no negative effect, and possibly a positive effect.

There is also an issue that in some fields, workers are in such demand that more mediocre graduates from mediocre schools is better, overall, than fewer graduates of higher quality.

I am all for lower tuition, but there are a lot of reasons why it isn't happening, and I'm not sure how to overcome some of them.

more than 2 years ago
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Tuition Should Be Lower For Science Majors, Says Florida Task Force

Arterion Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (457 comments)

In no other situation do we accept that someone else's death is acceptable as a solution for anything other than self-defense, including severe economic or mental distress.

Except useless wars and capital punishment. Just saying. Pro-life across the board or go home. I've heard that the GOP Right to Life starts at conception and ends at birth.

more than 2 years ago
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Nonpartisan Tax Report Removed After Republican Protest

Arterion Re:Post-truth politics (555 comments)

I thought that until recently. I had a conversation with my conservative christian mother about why she opposed "Obamacare", even while my dad depends on medicare, her sister has serious health problems and no health insurance, as does my brother. Her answer was that it would be "good" to offer health care to everyone "if it could work", but that she was afraid it would "break the whole system." I pointed out that was a very selfish way to look at it. You can't have it cause it might take away from what I have!

This is a woman who is constantly praying for this thing or the other thing, and "trusts god" to make doing the right thing work out. So I asked her, "Why don't we just give everyone healthcare, cause it's the right thing to do, and trust god to make it work out financially?" She had no answer.

These people don't really trust in prayer or god. They are just brainwashed to think if they don't do whatever the religious leaders tell them to do, they are going to burn in hell. It doesn't make sense, it's not consistent, and as much as they claim it to be the most important thing, it's not really based on the bible. In many cases, what they're told is blatantly opposed to what was taught in the gospels, and often, the policies they want to see in government are contrary to their own self-interests. But that's okay, because they have a mansion waiting for them up in heaven.

more than 2 years ago

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