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Single Gene Can Boost IQ By Six Points

Conspicuous Coward No, just no... (199 comments)

If this result, just published in Cell Reports, is confirmed, KL-VS will be the most important genetic agent of non-pathological variation in intelligence yet discovered.

IQ != intelligence. If you want to study variations in IQ score, fine. Not saying it can't yeild interesting results. But can we please stop pretending that there is anything approaching a useful scientific definition of intelligence, nevermind one that reduces to a single number. That ways lies the kind of idiocy that will end up with people fucking up their kids genetic structure trying to engineer "intelligence" without even understanding what that is.

about 5 months ago
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GitHub Takes Down Satirical 'C Plus Equality' Language

Conspicuous Coward Re:Given the this community's gender troubles... (575 comments)

Nobody here is mocking women. They are mocking feminists. That kind of argument is exactly why.

Feminism: Noun - "the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes"

Men mocking feminists is by definition pretty close to men mocking women. If you actually read some of the contents of this github project...

among (person p : Unique_person):
if(p.gender==male && p.orentation==het_cis_scum):
yell('RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE!!!!!');
crush(p); //Use the function crush in Dworkin.Xir to discard the oppressor

It's exactly the sort of shallow, adolescant caricature of feminist thought that should offend feminists. Feminism is probably the most important social movement of the 20th century and has a serious body of work behind it. This project may have started as a satire on somebody's blog post, but it clearly isn't merely geeks mocking somebody's attempts to apply social theory to a programing language. Or written by anyone actually familiar with feminist thought beyond parodies they read on the internet.

Ok. That's 4chan. Shallow and adolescant caricature is what they do. But when I come on slashdot and read shit like "feminists have invaded the programming community, and then demanded that the community change its character" I can't help but wince.

Can the techie comminity please lose the ridiculous overblown hostility to any woman who dares to suggest that there are real problems in our society stemming from a history of thousands of years of male domaination of it. It actually just makes us look fucking stupid.

about 10 months ago
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'Gorilla Arm' Will Keep Touch Screens From Taking Over

Conspicuous Coward Re:Mouse over drop downs (610 comments)

The N900 browser used to have a feature where you could swipe your finger over the left edge of the screen and get a mouse cursor that would follow your finger. Not massively convenient, but it actually made it possible to use a lot of sites with the kinds of problems you describe.

I'm surprised no other touchscreen systems have copied this feature

about 2 years ago
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Could Testing Block Psychopaths From Senior Management?

Conspicuous Coward Corporations are psychopathic institutions (422 comments)

The expected behaviour for any corporation is to maximise profits at the expense of nearly anything else. Certainly corporations are not expected to show empathy or compassion (except as PR exercises in the service of greater profit). In a person such complete narcissism and lack of empathy would be indicative of tendendcies towards sociopathic personality disorder.

Is it any wonder then, that psychopaths are drawn to, and probably well suited to, senior positions in corporations, where their natural tendencies towards such behavior are rewarded rather than punished.

It's somehow indicative of our complete lack of self-awareness as a society that we create these psychopathic institutions, and are then suprised and appalled when psycopaths end up running them. The problem isn't individual psycopaths as such, it goes far deeper than that, and testing managers for psychopathic tendencies will change nothing.

about 2 years ago
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Nukes Are "The Only Peacekeeping Weapons the World Has Ever Known," Says Waltz

Conspicuous Coward Nuclear weapons are the definition of insanity (707 comments)

Kenneth Waltz's argument is entirely specious.

Yes, MAD is probably the only reason there hasn't to this point been a world war III. But you need to zoom out and judge this on a slightly longer timescale than 65 odd years

I think it's pretty obvious that the probability of a nuclear armed state entering into a confilct with another in any given year is non zero. In fact, if you look at the cuban missiles crisis, or the able archer incident, it's pretty obvious that that probability can be fairly high.

It's also pretty obvious that any major power nuclear conflict would result in the deaths of most of the worlds population, quite concieveably all of it.

Therefore, the probability of an absolutely catostrophic nuclear incident will asymptotically approach 1 the longer we have nuclear armed states. In my view our annilihation is assured if we keep these weapons around long enough.

Being willing to contemplate the destruction of the entire human race, rather than contemplate the destruction of your particlar political power base/ideology is to my mind the purest expression of human insanity.

more than 2 years ago
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UK Home Office Set To Scrap National ID Cards

Conspicuous Coward As the summary says (334 comments)

A big of the reason for doing this was cost, but not the only one. The Conservatives have been opposed to this scheme since forever. Middle England Tories tend to get very hot under the collar about ID card schemes for some reason, though they don't seem to have any problem with CCTV, repressive "anti-terrorism" legislation, or any of the dozens of other ways in which British civil liberties are being curtailed.

As to the current Con/Dem government doing anything about these wider abuses, I remain very sceptical. Previous Tory governments have been equally as big on repressive legislation as the last Labour government was. And as everybody knows, politicians are generally loathe to give up any powers unless forced to by the population.

more than 4 years ago
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Does Personalized News Lead To Ignorance?

Conspicuous Coward Confusing Cause and Effect (396 comments)

The quality of "serious" journalism has always been terrible and is getting worse. People turn away from this because it is mostly an attempt to actually marginalise them from serious discussion.

Look at it this way, doing serious investigative work into systematic government lies, corporate malfeasance or issues of actual importance to people's lives inevitably pisses off a bunch of very rich and powerful people.
Given the ownership structure of the media these people are quite likely to either directly control your newspaper through ownership, or indirectly through advertising. Pissing them off is very bad for your career.

Therefore serious investigative work and reporting is rarely done. Ninety-Nine percent of the time journalists do little more than echo the words of some "offical" govenment or PR source. And the news media that is supposedly meant to protect us from the powerfull actually ends up being just a mouthpice for them. The thing is, people aren't (quite) as stupid as is commonly assumed, they know that what is presented to them as serious journalism is mostly bullshit. But they are lazy, so rather than work harder, read between the lines and try and find out what's really going on behind the headlines; they tune out the bullshit and end up ignoring the news entirely.

The introduction of entertainment into forms that were formerly reserved for "serious" journalism is an effect of this apathy rather than a primary cause. It's an attempt to win back the viewers that were previously lost. It also has the advantage of continuing to give the appearance of "doing" the news, without the inherent cost and risk associated with serious news gathering.

more than 4 years ago
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3 Strikes — Denying Physics Won't Save the Video Stars

Conspicuous Coward Re:heh. (284 comments)

Just as the war on drugs is only tangentially related to actual drug abuse, the war on copyright infringement will only be tangentially related to piracy.

The "failed" drug policy of the last 50 years only makes sense to me when seen as a war waged against the underprivileged in our societies. Drug use is high in all sections of society but the poor and ethnic minority groups are the ones that end up in prison.

Equally, I think the real reason behind slime-balls like Mandelson signing up to legislation that targets downloaders is to restrict freedom of speech on the internet.

New Labour, and Mandelson in particular, have waged a vicious war on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and habeas corpus in Britain over the last 12 years. This legislation is the first step to widening that war to the internet. It gives unaccountable bureaucrats and corporate officials powers that were previously only available to the judiciary, just as New Labour is doing in other areas of British life. It will lead to (ab)use of these powers to curtail fundamental human rights, just as is happening with those other powers.

As much as our politicians are in the pockets of various corporations, I don't believe that's sufficient explanation for the assault on due process we see here. If there's one thing that terrifies politicians more than falling profits it's democracy. And large scale copyright infringement is just the excuse our politicians need to go after that on the internet with a vengeance.

more than 4 years ago
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California Moving Forward With Big-Screen TV Power Restrictions

Conspicuous Coward Pointless (339 comments)

Banning certain gadgets that are judged by the powers that be to have "unreasonable" energy consumption is as pointless as it is wrong headed.

Firstly, as long as demand for consumer products continues to grow exponentially any efficiency savings will just be eaten up by increased demand.
Secondly, while society has a right to limit the amount of carbon each individual pumps into the atmosphere in an act of collective self-preservation, it has no right to tell individuals how to use their carbon allocation.

What we need is carbon rationing, and a massive program of alternative energy research and construction. This kind of crap is just an attempt to make people feel like the climate crisis is being handled and provide a talking point without doing anything so politically dangerous as actually addressing it.

about 5 years ago
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In 100 Years, Health Care Won't Be An Issue Because ...

Conspicuous Coward Re:Missing option: (804 comments)

The ideal state, the "dictatorship of the proletariat" - which is the final stage of all core communist philosophies that I have read - is preceded - and then superseded - by a stage wherein a leader (generally a military one) takes control of the country....

You clearly haven't actually read Marx then have you? Marx proposed that the Dictatorship of the Proletariat was the way towards true communism, not it's final stage. I'm not a marxist, I think he was wrong, but if you're going to go around beating your chest calling other people idiots you should at least try reading the books you criticise.

about 5 years ago
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$529M Gov't Loan To Develop $89,000 Hybrid Sports Car

Conspicuous Coward Greenwash (293 comments)

The consumerist faux environmentalism backed by mainstream politicians like Gore is little more than fraud intended to enrich them personally.

The last thing a sports car, any sports car, can be is green. Sports cars are toys for the rich that consume massive amounts of energy both in their production and their use. Whether that energy is elecric or fossil fuel is almost secondary at this point. As a species we need to both make massive cuts in our energy use and change the way we generate that energy if we are to have any hope of survival.

If you take environmentalism seriously it means no more cars full stop. At least for the forseeable future. Putting a 50-100kg person inside a ton of steel is simply not an energy efficient method of transportation.

If you think AGW is some kind of fraud, why build electic cars at all? if you take the predictions of climate scientists remotely seriously you need to realise that the infinite growth demanded by consumerism is an insane pipe dream that will desroy us.

about 5 years ago
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Botnets As "eWMDs"

Conspicuous Coward How could we have missed the similarities.... (172 comments)

It's all so clear to me now, because subverting somebody's computer and causing them inconvenience or financial damage is almost uncannily similar to heating their component molecules to thousands of degrees Kelvin and scattering them over a several mile radius. The threat from having a few computers go wrong is on almost exactly the same scale as the threat from thousands of multi-megaton nuclear warheads raining death on our cities from orbit. Thank you so much for clearing that up for us Mr. John J. Kelly, your genius will not be forgotten.

more than 5 years ago
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What the Papers Don't Say About Vaccines

Conspicuous Coward Good Article, shame there arent more like this guy (737 comments)

Ben Goldacre is actually an excellent journalist, a phrase that is increasingly becoming oxymoronic. He's happy exposing the BS of the big pharma companies, the alternative medicine quacks, and most importantly the media themselves.
In a media filled with "science correspondents" who either mindlessly reprint press releases or scaremonger to drive sales this is a breath of fresh air.

I really wish I could attribute the ignorant scaremongering of the media on issues like the MMR vaccine to the fact that most journalists have never even seen the inside of a science textbook. But I think the malaise runs far deeper.

The simple fact is that fear sells papers. Print a headline that strikes fear into the hearts of parents and they're likely to buy the paper to read the article. Printing a headline stating the opposite ( new study finds vaccines reduce asthma deaths ) just doesn't have the same emotional impact.
This extends beyond reporting on science to a wide range of topics. Look at the coverage given to vanishingly rare child abduction/murder cases for example. If you can generate fear you can shift product.

In a wider sense I'd also say that the atmosphere of fear this kind of media coverage generates is tolerated and even encouraged by owners and advertisers because it doesn't threaten their interests, and in many cases aligns with them.
If a paper was to start scaremongering to the same extent(i.e. fearmongering multi-page spreads several times a week) about the (very real) threats to it's readers from global warming, foreign wars or lax regulations, it would be branded as a crazy left wing rag and rapidly ditched by advertisers, assuming the owners didn't fire the journo's responsible first.

more than 5 years ago
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Replacing Metal Detectors With Brain Scans

Conspicuous Coward Mmm... Snake Oil... (327 comments)

Frankly, about the only sinister thing about this is that there are people in officialdom who are so fundamentally brain-dead they actually believe the claims of whatever idiot is trying to sell this.

Even when interrogators have the time and money to hook people up to the most sensitive equipment available there is no technology that can determine to reasonable accuracy whether a person is lying in answer to a given question, nevermind their exact mindset or intentions in the next few hours.
Now we are supposed to believe that some gadget can automagically determine whether or not somebody wants to blow up a plane when they walk past it and are flashed a "subliminal image" of osama bin-laden?

I could go on about the sheer idiocy of assuming that somebody's reaction to a popular hate figure defines their politics or intentions. I could start about how peoples wildly varying mental states and physiologies make such simplistic measurements useless. But frankly it's not even worth deconstructing an idea this stupid in detail. Anybody dumb enough to believe in this fairy story clearly either suffers from paranoid psychosis or is so mentally deficient as to be beyond any form of rational argument.

more than 5 years ago
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Machine Condenses Drinking Water Out of Thin Air

Conspicuous Coward Snake Oil (438 comments)

It really pisses me off that even supposedly "quality" newspapers like the Guardian just reprint some PR's press releases with marginal editing rather than doing even the most basic of reasarch or even, god forbid, any thinking.

TFA answers none of the pertinent questions about this device. But reading between the lines and doing a little thinking it's pretty easy to determine this device is going to be useless as anything but a gimmik.
Firstly, how much power does it use? "Three lightbulbs" says TFA, now as far as I'm aware the lightbulb is not a standard measurement for power consumption. But let's be generous and assume they're taling about standard 60-80W bulbs, that about 200W, give or take.
How much water does it produce? The article doesn't say, their website claims "up to" 12L per day, which I'd imagine is operating under optimium conditions (i.e hot air at close to 100% humidity). That's actually not a lot of water, and i'd imagine operating in any real conditions you could halve or quater that amount.

So adding up the numbers, that's 4.8kWh of electicty to produce about 6L of water. Or 800kwh/m^3. This is a ridiculously, hideously energy intensive way to make water, even desalination, which is seen as ecologically unfreindly, uses about 3kwh/m^3, or is about 250 times more efficient.

TFA also states this device is useless below 30% humidity, which removes the last reason one might consider using it, providing water where no other method is possible.

My point in all this is that doing about 2 minutes thinking, and exactly one google search, I have been able to determine that this thing is anything but ecologically friendly, and anything but economic. The journo writing this article for the Guardian, which for those of you who don't know it prides itself on being a "green" newspaper, couldn't even be bothered to do that and reprinted some PR's words wholesale, giving people the impression that what is in fact a toy for rich consumers who want to feel good about being "green" is some kind of ecological miracle device.
It should be a source of lasting shame to any newspaper to allow their editorial content to be used by some idiot for marketing purposes, sadly it's all too common and nobody even seems to notice the extent to which PR is taking over journalism.

more than 5 years ago
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Canadians Plan Robot Sub Missions To Aid Claim For Arctic

Conspicuous Coward Pure Fucking Insanity (86 comments)

Two articles, 50 posts, and nary a mention of the total gibbering insanity of this move.

Our species is burning oil at such a rate that it's actually causing the polar ice caps to melt. Instead of turning around and thinking about just what the hell we're doing to ourselves we actually use this as an excuse to start a competition for oil rights under the ice that we're about to melt. Just take a step back and think about that for a minute, the lunacy of it just absolutely blows my mind.

This is like a crack addict scraping the dead tissue out of their lungs and putting that shit back into their pipe and smoking it. Doesn't there come a point at which people think our energy consumption might be costing us too fucking much and we need to just cut down a tad? Seriously, if this talk about drilling for oil in the Arctic isn't meant as a joke then satire is dead, and our species is headed the same way.

</rant>

more than 5 years ago
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How China Will Use Cyber Warfare To Leapfrog Foes

Conspicuous Coward It's just the Chinese then is it? (235 comments)

Why does this kind of tendentious fearmongering regularly make the front page at slashdot?

Every week there's some story about evil Chinese hackers or evil Russian hackers stealing others' secrets. The equivalent stories about evil US/UK/French government hackers doing this are mysteriously absent though. That despite the fact that these countries have larger and much longer established electronic intelligence programs than the Chinese could hope to (Echelon anyone?).

I'll go along with the idea that the electronic intelligence gathering programs of major Governments are a worrying development, though calling this "cyber warfare" and pretending it's somehow qualitatively different from traditional spying seems a little silly. But why is there the pretense that other major governments are somehow less keen to exploit electronic intelligence than the Chinese? The American foriegn policy bias on this site is worrying. If this level of paranoia was directed at the US government there'd be a hundred posts complaining of "anti-americanism", yet I see no posts decrying the "anti-chinese" or "anti-russian" bias of these types of articles. Funny that...

more than 5 years ago
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Oil-Immersion Cooled PC Goes To Retail

Conspicuous Coward Pointless waste of money (210 comments)

First off, the summary reads like a press release, as does TFA, is slashdot that desperate for cash these days? Secondly, the PC itself seems like a pretty useless gimmick.

I don't understand who is supposed to be buying this thing at $4k-$11k.
Hardcore overclockers? OK the thing has excellent cooling, but not much better than you could achieve with a decent watercooling rig at a fraction of the price. This group will be put off by the proprietry(and probably overpriced)upgrades and the difficulty of actually opening the thing, not to mention the pricetag.
Gamers? Why would they pay this much over the odds for a system that's at best 10% faster than a commodity system? Again, this group will be put off by the lack of a decent upgrade path.
Silent PC enthusiasts? This group might be interested at first, the one thing an oil filled PC might arguably be useful for is silence. But at $4000+, you've got to be joking, there are already very good solutions at a fraction of that price.

Ultimately I just don't see any need for this kind of cooling system, PC's just don't run hot enough that it's worth dealing with the hassle.

more than 5 years ago

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