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Eyes Over Compton: How Police Spied On a Whole City

Capsaicin Re:Apropos of "ethical dilemmas programmers face". (188 comments)

Make note that all that was seen was in public view.

It was?! I don't know Compton, but I would be surprised if there were no private residences with fenced backyards anywhere within the "10-square-mile municipality." That seems unlikely.

2 days ago
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93 Harvard Faculty Members Call On the University To Divest From Fossil Fuels

Capsaicin Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (214 comments)

Well the consequences were global, true

Not entirely. Here in Australia it was a only a minor perturbance (we rode it out on the back of Chinese demand for coal and iron). But we hate feeling left out, so don't tell anyone here that it was worse elsewhere.

about two weeks ago
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93 Harvard Faculty Members Call On the University To Divest From Fossil Fuels

Capsaicin Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (214 comments)

I wonder how many of them drive a car, or ride in one, or a bus, etc. I wonder how they heat their homes.

Well of of them, but how is that in the least bit relevant to protecting your portfolio from the carbon bubble, not is it entirely pertinent to the question of solving AGW.

I don't own a large enough plot of land to ...

Just as well that it isn't down to you personally to cut 80% of global fossil fuel use, isn't it? Nor is it down to any other individual. Nor does the fact that someone drive a car reflect poorly on any individual who advocates for positive change. Silly argument, this isn't going to be solved by the little decisions individuals make, but by a major shift in energy generation.

Divestment is not entirely motivated by purely ethical concerns, but rather by the very real prospect that the fossil fuel intensive stocks are worth less than half what they currently are trading for and that this will become increasingly apparent. The issue here is that major energy companies are vastly overvalued because their assets are largely sunk: as much as 40-60% (estimated by HSBC) of their market capitalisation is in "unburnable carbon." Dump them while there are still folk out there fool enough to buy them is the ethic at play here.

about two weeks ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

Capsaicin Re:Wait... wha? (1482 comments)

...and economic coercion is harmless? Given the results, I'd disagree.

Not harmless but the exercise of community censure we have just witnessed is to be distinguished from state power. Speech is not harmless, and free speech cuts both ways.

about two weeks ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

Capsaicin Re:Wait... wha? (1482 comments)

Consider this: What makes the guy at OKCupid any different from Sen. Joe McCarthy?

The coercive power of the state for a start. And, of course, the fact pointed out by GP, that OKC is merely making a recommendation, which is, your purple wig example notwithstanding, is a "demand" more easily ignored than a summons from the House. I mean, get real dude!

That being said, to urge a boycott of a company (which has, in light of this controversy, publicly stated support for marriage equality) on the basis of a $1,000 donation made by a CEO appointed some 5 years after said donation (which donation was, in any case, a perfectly legitimate expression of that individual's personal convictions) seems unduly zealous to me. Especially when far more compelling reasons could be given for boycotting nearly each and every substitute product.

Of course if LGBT issues outrank one's other concerns, such zealotry is equally a perfectly legitimate expression of personal conviction. I however, as a truly caring and compassionate human being (and as a sociopath that requires some effort let me tell you!), shall continue to use Firefox.

about three weeks ago
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Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

Capsaicin Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (440 comments)

what exactly does the sentence above add, except to negate the preceding ones?

Given then third sentence negates the previous two, and that it embodies the writer's last stated position, surely it is the first two that are "irrelevant." :)

about three weeks ago
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I prefer my peppers ...

Capsaicin Re:Common Examples (285 comments)

Thanks for that link! Habanero is about my limit, but I had no idea where it fell on the scale.

T'was not too long ago the the Red Savina Habanero fell at the very top of the heat scale (scoring a 10+) or ca. 250,000 SU, with the other Habaneros just behind. [Correction: I note the abovementioned table has the Red Savina at 350K+ (in contradistinction to the caption)]. This was dwarfed when the ghost chillies (your Bhut Jolokia and friends) arrived on the scene and again when your Trinidad Scorpion vars. emerged. I suggest searching 'Trinidad Scorpion pod test' on youtube for some light family viewing. :)

about a month ago
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The Billionaires Privatizing American Science

Capsaicin Re:Good! (279 comments)

You agree then.

about a month ago
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The Billionaires Privatizing American Science

Capsaicin Re:Good! (279 comments)

In my view having a choice in the matter of whether to aid your fellow man and deciding to do it is a more moral act than being compelled to at the point of a gun or a prison cell.

I agree completely. And I would only add that compelling people to act morally at the point of a gun, or via the threat of imprisonment, is more likely to extract the sought after aid than relying on their own sense of morality. ;)

about a month ago
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70% of U.S. Government Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals

Capsaicin Re: Makers and takers (676 comments)

Oh, your position is that they are delusional rather than just whiny?

No. If anything is "delusional" [not my choice of word], it's the idea that workers in a pure capitalist economy can simply "find a new job that pays them what their time is worth." Further, that a preference can only be expressed between available options and that to characterise not choosing a non-existent option as a "revealed preference" is odd.

about a month and a half ago
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70% of U.S. Government Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals

Capsaicin Re: Makers and takers (676 comments)

If people think their time is worth more than their current salary, they should go find a new job that pays them what their time is worth. Most people don't, so we have a revealed preference

No one offered them that new job that pays them what their time is worth (obviously, since no one can afford to pay them what their time is worth). So no, not a revealed preference.

about a month and a half ago
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70% of U.S. Government Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals

Capsaicin Re:Makers and takers (676 comments)

In a free market people don't exchange something of lessor value for something of greater value.

Sure they do, specifically people sell their time for less than they think it is worth (and are often deeply unhappy about it) and necessarily for less than it is worth to their employer. Realistically there's not much choice as to whether we work or not and even if it's an exchange which is formally free. The situation is not symmetrical with our other decisions where our freedom to exchange (or not to) may be more real.

If I hire you do a job, I do so because I value the "work" less [more?] than my money....

Yes and when I hire people for a job (eg. the plumber yesterday) I do so on the same basis. However, this is because my income is not dependent on exploiting the difference in the cost of labour and its value.

If my income were dependent on hiring workers to generate value I could only afford to pay them more than the value they add to my business if my products could fetch a price above their value. However since people making consumption decisions are far freer than people selling their labour I will have to rely on paying my workforce less than the value they add. (Which is mellon's point).

As I keep reminding my teenage kid ... "now son, are you working hard enough? Remember if you are not making more for them than the $20/hr they are paying you, they are not going to be able to keep you on!"

about a month and a half ago
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70% of U.S. Government Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals

Capsaicin Re:Makers and takers (676 comments)

The idea is that you pay more than what the work is worth to the worker

Where, since one is compelled to work, what "the work is worth to the worker" is defined by what you pay them. Quite.

OP's point still stands, you must necessarily pay the worker less than the value the worker adds for you. I'm not sure, however, that the macroeconomic conclusion he draws from this observation is well founded.

about a month and a half ago
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Pro-Vaccination Efforts May Be Scaring Wary Parents From Shots

Capsaicin Re:You would hope (482 comments)

And if I'm not vaccinated because I can't be vaccinated?

Then, somewhat obviously, an exception must be made for you. The same is true for children with a family history of adverse reactions to certain vaccines.

Herd immunity is not overly compromised by the few exceptional cases where vaccines ought not be administered. It is compromised by the viral spread of "popular knowledge."

about a month and a half ago
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Pro-Vaccination Efforts May Be Scaring Wary Parents From Shots

Capsaicin Re:You would hope (482 comments)

If you're vaccinated, it's not going to affect you.

In our valley a daughter of vaccination sceptics (i.e. she was un-vaccinated) contracted Whooping cough. She then passed the disease onto a vaccinated child at school.

Given that vaccines cannot confer immunity in 100% of cases, and given that people are not always in the state of health required for their "immunity" to fight off an infection, herd immunity remains a major factor the effectiveness of vaccination.

When you decide not to vaccinate your child, you are making health decisions (potentially life and death decisions) for other children as well.

about a month and a half ago
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Should programming be a required curriculum in public schools?

Capsaicin Re:Wouldn't work (313 comments)

There should definitely be more programming classes available to those who want them [my emphasis]

You know I hate to be boring and complain about missing poll options ...

about 2 months ago
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Why P-values Cannot Tell You If a Hypothesis Is Correct

Capsaicin Re:Misleading statistics (124 comments)

Oh and btw, I didn't "suggest" to "questions the data rather than the theory" either. I suggested to question the data rather than theory (note the lack of a definite article).

about 2 months ago
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Why P-values Cannot Tell You If a Hypothesis Is Correct

Capsaicin Re:Misleading statistics (124 comments)

No, it actually wasn't. You fell for the industry shill research that didn't hold up to peer review.

Irony, my good man. Irony. (Would have though my re-quoting you made that obvious). And ironic too, in the other sense, that you should have taken everything else that was serious (and factual) in that post as "reversed from fact."

Really, suggesting question the data rather than the theory was too far over the top.

Now that was deadly serious. To quote British astrophysicist Arthur S. Eddington, to the same effect, "No experiment should be believed until it has been confirmed by theory."

Less provocatively, as science commentator Scott Johnson explained on Ars Technica, "Scientists know that every study is imperfect or incomplete in some way and are especially skeptical of results that contradict—rather than build upon—the existing science."

You gave yourself away before even getting to your suggestion that trepanation might have had valid science behind it.

I never suggested that trepanation might have valid science behind it. Stop making things up! Or is this misunderstanding a manifestation of your naive philosophy of science?

You gave yourself away when you used the phrase "the scientific method" by the way. Perhaps you should stop arguing and try instead to understand?

about 2 months ago
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Why P-values Cannot Tell You If a Hypothesis Is Correct

Capsaicin Re:Misleading statistics (124 comments)

The smoking thing was based on actual research and observation, not a guess.

That research was very controversial you know. Before we interfere with people's freedoms, shouldn't we be ironclad certain? I mean evidence based medicine should never make a recommendation based on a guess.

If actually following the scientific method is excessively purist, what do you suggest?

There's no such thing as "the scientific method." That went out with Francis Bacon. Actual science is simply not that purist, that's the point. In science and especially in medicine you must make guesses. Not "wild" guesses, but educated ones, guesses based ultimately on research.

If you read that and yell OMG everyone stop using salt now ...

Who said stop using salt now? And why on earth would anyone pay them the least bit of attention, even if their claims had been backed up by numerous studies with glowing P-values? It wouldn't seem to fit with how we know the body to function (i.e. you kinda need Na and K ...). It is a basic principle of science, is it not, that where the data disagrees with theory, question the data.

Anyway, I thought people whose diets were high in salt were being told to lower their salt intake (not eliminate it), which advice is probably still good.

Trepanation was another such wild guess.

Was it? I would have thought it was evidence based, but I doubt we'll ever know.

Yes, studies can be wrong, but that is quite different from just making wild guesses and extrapolations and acting as if it has anything to do with science.

Obviously. However what I originally wrote, that you objected to was: "[W]e make guesses based on current knowledge ... some turn out to be bad. Folks do some [more] empirical work, stats show the guess was wrong, we move one" [emphasis added]. So that observation is not all that pertinent. And if you re-read my statement you'll see that the discussion of the pros and cons of low salt intake is simply more grist to my mill.

about 2 months ago

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