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Illinois Students Suspected of Cyberbullying Must Provide Social Media Passwords

Beerdood Not sure how this is necessary (322 comments)

If the school suspects some form of bullying, then shouldn't the victim be able to log on themselves and simply demonstrate the instances of cyber-bullying? No one needs to disclose passwords to anyone to prove cyber-bullying.

I'm pretty sure this violates the TOS on facebook or any other social media, since they specifically say not to disclose your password to anyone. They have no legal ground to stand on.

about a week ago
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Facebook Will Let You Flag Content As 'False'

Beerdood Re:Subject to the whims of the masses... (224 comments)

I imagine these flags wouldn't apply to the links themselves; we wouldn't see any sort of count based on the total number of false flags for the link or article itself. This would probably be something relative to the context or area where it's being posted. Something posted on someone's wall for instance, would only be flaggable by those that could see the wall post (friends only). A link posted in a FB group would only be flaggable by members of the groups.

To get around shills, they'd probably have to identify the users disagreeing with a link or article (if you think that's false, well then don't be afraid to stand behind your decision!). If some shill keeps flagging opinionated or factual articles as false - then users would get some sort of option to ignore all of their false flags (similar to the way you can ignore game invite requests from specific people). Maybe user accounts that continually flag articles as false would be banned from making flags; this would deal with trolls as well

about a week ago
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What Africa Really Needs To Fight Ebola

Beerdood Title (83 comments)

Cmon mods, let's get the title right at least. Is that supposed to be Why Africa needs to fight ebola? Or is there some missing punctuation? "What Africa really needs to fight - Ebola". Or maybe this was submitted by Norm Macdonald, in which case it might be "What, Africa really needs to fight Ebola?"

about two weeks ago
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Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack

Beerdood Re:"Can't stop the signal Mal" (512 comments)

I mentioned this earlier in this thread too, but I think this is more of a Prisoner's Dilemma scenario than Streisand effect. But with more than 2 participants. You're certainly correct otherwise though;

If the vast majority of papers (> 80%) published the cartoons, then it sends a clear message that terrorism does nothing (or very little) to deter printing blasphemous content. Terrorists will be deterred from bombing or shooting up publishers and cartoonists, since backing up a threat of death *still* didn't deter these papers from publishing, and now they're less inclined to publish in the future.

If none of the papers, or very little (less than 10%) published the cartoons, then it sends a clear message that threats of death work, because most of the papers declined to print potentially offensive material. This reinforces the notion that death threats do work when carried out. But this also puts greater risk on the few places that do publish, because now there's less targets to choose from.

Choosing not to publish the cartoon is the best decision as the individual organization, but the worst decision for the greater good (assuming "greater good" means less terrorism and greater freedom of speech).

about three weeks ago
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Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack

Beerdood Stop calling the publishers cowards (512 comments)

I know it's really easy to just lambast the publishers as cowards for refusing to publish the cartoons (as you post anonymously or semi-anonymously on slashdot, you brave soul), but it's not an easy choice to make. It's been clearly demonstrated that by publishing mohammed cartoons, there's a non-zero chance that some nut-job will break into your building and murder a bunch of your staff. Are you as an editor willing to take that chance? Are you willing to put your staff at risk, even for a minimal chance of violence against your station? It's sooooo easy to criticize them for not publishing offensive cartoon, but I really doubt that the majority of you would post a crude drawing of mohammed on your facebook accounts, or drop off a few thousand copies of an offensive cartoon in your neighborhood mailboxes (with your personal address listed). Because then you're truly willing to take the same upon the same risk that these cartoonists (and their publishers) take.

From a litigation standpoint alone, is it worth publishing an offensive cartoon? Probably not if you're in a litigious friendly nation. If you're the editor, and if some shit goes down, and there's the slightest possibility your organization could be held liable for the deaths of your staff because you totally *knew* this could happen, and could have avoided it by not publishing the offensive article - you bet your ass they'll get sued by the families of the victims. That risk probably isn't worth whatever benefit they get for being more ballsy in the eyes of the viewer. The editors know this and factor this in their decision making.

Whether to publish or not is more of a Prisoner's dilemma than it is Streisand effect as mentioned elsewhere in the comments here, except with more than 2 "prisoners" (publishers - assume not publishing is equivalent to testifying in the analogy). The better move for yourself is to not publish and have no risk. But the better move for the collective is to publish. If all the publishers decided to publish, that would be the greatest overall benefit for freedom of speech, because it demonstrates they're not afraid of terrorism. It also minimizes the risk for each publisher, because terrorists don't have the resources to target all of the publishers in existence. They might even give up completely, realizing there's too many people offending their religion. But if nobody publishes cartoons out of fear, it reinforces the idea that threats of violence work (and the censored SouthPark scene in the "I learned something today" segment is true). If only handful of publishers decide to publish offensive mohammed cartoons, then it still reinforces the idea that threats of violence work (because most publishers aren't doing it, clearly because they're afraid of terrorism), AND it puts these few publishers at a much greater risk of terrorism. It fucking sucks, but the only way this is going to work is if a large majority of publishers decide to print these cartoons as a response.

about three weeks ago
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Breath Test For Pot Being Developed At WSU

Beerdood Re:is it really bad in the first place? (342 comments)

Because alcohol gives you boosted levels of confidence (Of course I can still drive, I'm fine!!). Marijuana certainly does not (if it increases anything, it's paranoia).

IMO, both of these substances will reduce your reaction time and potentially impair driving. But alcohol is far more dangerous because it impairs your driving *and* increases confidence. Marijuana reduces your confidence. The drunk driver is going 20 over the limit, the stoned driver is going 10 under. So it's not necessarily an equal comparison, and perhaps driving under the influence of alcohol should warrant a more severe penalty.

about 2 months ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Beerdood Re:*Spoiler alert* (561 comments)

A little of column A, a little of column B. The Sarkeesian ordeal and backlash there is a good example of showing how much hatred and vitriol was out there for simply having an idea, or having a kick starter heavily exceed expectations. Sure, there's a lot of BS in her videos and either she has no idea what she's talking about - or she's being intellectually dishonest about the topics there. But the amount of hate spewed before that first video was made is a good indicator of how well feminism fits in with hardcore gamers.

But back to gamergate; it's basically one big case of "You're not technically wrong, outraged gamers. You're just assholes." Even if she did sleep with some people for favorable reviews (sorry, previews), then whoop de doo. It was for a game about depression, and it was a text-based game, and it was free. That excludes about 99.999% gamers from any interest right there. And it wasn't even for a review, it was more of an "honorable mention" in a site with a list of a bunch of other free games.

So yeah, it's not so much just "A person cheated at business, and the community around that business called out the cheater". It's that collectively, the gaming community gave way too many shits about the whole thing. Which is why it was so easy to label this as misogyny by the other side, and why they attempted to quell the whole thing. As if gaming journalism was already some holy sacred cow that was now tainted because of the ordeal (Kane and Lynch, anyone?). A great quote from the Colbert-Sarkeesian interview was something like "no... but it's about gaming journalism! This is important! Could you imagine if Hollywood journalism had no ethics?"

about 2 months ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Beerdood Re:LOL ... w00t? (561 comments)

This is remarkably similar to the Lisa Lionheart episode of The Simpsons, specifically the scene where the one female executive is seen heading into the board room full of white dudes (who begin catcalling as she closes the door with her tush). There's even one woman on that corporate list!

about 2 months ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

Beerdood Re:By the same logic (335 comments)

That's a really good point. I see the same sort of argument being used in the discussions around driverless cars - there's some attempt to set up a (rare) hypothetical scenario where a machine would make the wrong decision, but the human could make the correct one. And that's supposed to be some justification for not allowing machines to make decisions in an area humans have previous been in control of. While it's not only doubtful the scenario can be proven, you still don't need the robots to be 100% foolproof - they just need to make significantly better decisions than the humans. If killer robots end up resulting in 1/100th of the civilians casualties in a war when compared with jittery human soldiers, isn't that enough to justify the replacement?

about 2 months ago
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Systems That Can Secretly Track Where Cellphone Users Go Around the Globe

Beerdood Location services (76 comments)

But I'm safe if I disable location services on my iPhone right?

about 5 months ago
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33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

Beerdood Re:The real crime here (465 comments)

Retribution, Rehabilitation, Off the Streets, Deterrence - that's generally the purpose of prison

Retribution - the "fair" part in your argument; I'm not going to comment on whether 33 months is fair, but you spend some time in prison to pay for what you've done. Whether it's 1 month or 10 years is a separate topic. This could arguably be a fine and not necessarily prison time, or some other form of punishment as you may be suggesting
Rehabilitation - this part is supposed to turn criminals back into model citizens. This is mostly a joke in the US prison systems; why would for profit prisons work on ensuring prisoners don't return to prison? That's just lost profit. Maybe this is what you see as pointless. This is in the UK though; I'm not familiar with the state of the prisons there so I can't comment. But even so there's still some benefit for..
Off the Streets. If he's in prison, then he's not still recording bootlegged movies. That's one less camcorder viewer for 33 months. There's your slight "improvement to society in any way" you're looking for. And on top of that there's
Deterrence. The knowledge that recording video footage and then distributing this for profit lands you jail time is probably sufficient to deter some existing people from their recording, or helpful in preventing new criminals from starting up in this business.

Deterrence is probably the most helpful argument for prison time for this. Office Space sums this up well enough; when the 3 protagonists start their scheme up, they're sure that they might just get a slap on the wrist or some minimum security light prison. But after learning that this crime is quite capable of getting them in a pound-me-in-the-ass prison, they're worried all of a sudden! Now if Samir and Michael knew before they started this scheme that there was any possibility of going to pound-me-in-the-ass prison, they probably wouldn't have started the scheme in the first place

about 5 months ago
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Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

Beerdood Re:Time to move into the Century of the fruit bat. (1198 comments)

His argument was not that the death penalty is *only* a deterrent (in fact I don't think he said anything about deterring future crime). The argument was more that some people are so distant from humanity that they basically deserve to be removed from society permanently. You could do that with prison too, but if there's no chance of rehabilitation then perhaps they're better off dead so it's not costing taxpayers money.

Not saying I necessarily agree with these views, but I can see the reasoning behind this. Deterrence isn't the only reason we punish people. By your logic, any existing punishment isn't a deterrent for all people, therefore we shouldn't punish people with prison. "So if life imprisonment of 25 years is not a deterrent, why again does the US have it?"

about 8 months ago
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DarkMarket, the Decentralized Answer To Silk Road, Is About More Than Just Drugs

Beerdood Re:So go ahead - what are the legitimate uses of t (251 comments)

Well you gotta take the good with the bad with the DarkMarket. Sure, maybe a Dallas Buyer's Club scenario might seem more legitimate to the average person (or a market for any legitimate pharmaceutical drugs at lower prices because a huge markup in Europe / North America). But what about all the other nasty, illegal stuff will this be used for? The creators of this can't control the goods and services that are sold any more than the creators of bittorrent can control the files being transferred around.

Sure, maybe some drugs seem harmless and you can argue they're a victimless crime or whatever. What about all the other insidious shit out there that this will be used to peddle? CP, hit-man & assassination services, weapons, slavery, identity theft and stolen credit cards... surely the concept of DarkMarket opens up a new market for all these types of transactions too - you can't expect these services to be somehow excluded. In my utilitarianism-based opinion; this is a far greater harm than good for the world; the benefits of being able to buy some recreational drugs or make purchases anonymously is heavily outweighed by giving the rich the ability to put out a hit some some journalist with a dissenting opinion (with a much lower chance of being caught than without this service), or a new market for CP, etc..

I wish the creators of this project would realize this. Maybe this is just somehow acceptable in the worldview of the anarchist or the libertarian-leaning types. Or maybe it's morally rationalized by some thoughts on the lines of "Hey, I didn't kill those thousands of people! I only sold those guns to that corrupt African warlord" or "I only helped create the software that assist people making illegal transactions, I didn't actually sell or make that CP" and somehow absolve themselves from guilt because they're not the ones making the transaction. I might not agree with the current laws on drugs, but I certainly don't support this project.

about 9 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

Beerdood Re:Sorry about the loss of the magic (469 comments)

I this same sort of parallel with guitars as well; all of my musician friends that play guitar seem to highly value older guitars (made in the 60's and 70's) over those made recently. And they're not just valued for their sentimental value; every decent guitar player I've met seems to have some sort of fascination with vintage guitars and *knows* the sound is considerably better than anything they can buy today. I don't see this parallel with non-string instruments, such as brass, woodwinds, percussion or keyboards (possibly a couple of exceptions for keyboards, i.e. a hammond B Leslie; but certainly not the norm).

Maybe there's some other factor here, but I still have a hard time believing whether older string instruments are actually better sounding. As OP suggested with the Stradivari, they were certainly well crafted in their day. But surely we have the technology and material to surpass that now - especially with the same companies that continue to make guitars, right? Or is there truly some scientific factor that makes the sounder better (such as the wood "maturing" or drying up more over time, or something like that)? I still don't know whether vintage guitars actually sound better, or if everyone's just fooled into thinking they sound better because Hendrix or Page played that exact guitar that one time in the 70's - they don't sound any better than new guitars to me. Perhaps there is something "special" about older string instruments that hasn't been explained well yet?

about 10 months ago
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Gabe Newell Responds: Yes, We're Looking For Cheaters Via DNS

Beerdood Re:Still abusive (511 comments)

Most single player games on valve, or single player versions have achievements (at least 100% of the games I've purchased, around 30 or so). If you're using a cheat on single player and you're able to get those achievements as a result, then they've been devalued. I suppose they could start disabling achievements if a hack is detected, but what would be the benefit to them for implementing such a system? Then it's a constant game of cat and mouse with detectable hacks and cheats in the game.

Maybe you and others don't care about achievements or think them silly or stupid, but plenty of gamers get some sense of accomplishment or satisfaction when they're completed - especially the harder ones. We don't want these tarnished by people with hacks and cheats.

about a year ago
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Is Computer Science Education Racist and Sexist?

Beerdood Missing the point (612 comments)

Still missing the point. The point was we're biologically wired to want different things - male brains and female brains are hardwired differently from birth. Advertising, social differences & behavior, pink vs blue - these aren't causes of the differences we see in boys vs girls or men vs women, they're tailored to what we're biologically included to do. Differences in brain development can already be seen at 26 weeks in the womb.

Even babies react differently depending on the gender. How are you going to pin these differences on nurture instead of nature?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2486497
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19334302
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10692611

about a year ago
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Cybercrime Marketplace Mastermind Faces 18 Years In Prison

Beerdood Re:Where can I contribute to his defence fund? (59 comments)

"Hey I didn't actually sell financial information, I only helped set up a system that allowed criminals to sell stolen credit card details!"
"Hey I didn't actually molest those children, I only created a forum that let people purchase CP from eachother!"
"Hey I don't own any slaves, I only helped some sellers find some and shipped them across to people willing to buy!"
"Hey I didn't kill those thousands of civilians, I just helped facilitate a deal between an arms dealer and a corrupt dictatorship!"

Yeesh. "merely providing a forum to communicate". It's assholes like you that make the world burn - you damn well know the consequences of the actions of a scheme, a forum set up specifically for selling stolen financial information , but somehow rationalize it away in the name of some libertarianish idea of 'all free speech should be allowed' because you're actually facilitating in the crime yourself!

about a year ago
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Musk Lashes Back Over Tesla Fire Controversy

Beerdood 3/20 wtf? (487 comments)

I can't help notice the irony of the GP posting "People are really bad at understanding statistics.", yet you use a random stat (3/20 Tesla Accidents had an auto-fire) to make it sound like the Tesla Model S is "more likely to catch fire". Kind of ignores the ridiculously small sample size, the fact all 3 cars were going extremely high speeds (maybe sports cars in general have higher accident rates?), or that fire-related problems are less likely with a more detailed on board computer etc... And where's this 20 coming from? (honest question, I don't see anything in the links - are there only 20 reported Tesla S accidents to date?) . There were only 3 fires in the Tesla Model S... ever! You can't make a statement with odds that low.

about a year ago
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Bitcoin Hits $400 Ahead of Senate Hearing On Virtual Currency

Beerdood Re:Anonynimity (276 comments)

I don't agree with your assumption that law enforcement can confiscate a bitcoin "because this bitcoin was used in a crime X months ago and Y transactions ago". By that logic, a cop could confiscate paper money because it has trace amounts of cocaine on it (so 90% of your money, or whatever the actual percentage is if that's too high). Why would a bitcoins using during the process of ANY CRIME be subject seizure anyway? I don't see how that would assist in prosecution.

about a year ago

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