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Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

Frobnicator Re:"Productive" has a pretty clear definition (244 comments)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If women want to take all of the jobs, I'm good with that. I'm looking forward to being a 1950's house wife in 2015 -- you know, with modern kitchen appliances, big-screen tv's, music in every room, and modern cleaning tools. I'll even throw in DIY home renovations if it means that I don't need to deal with commuting, clients, bosses, and, you know, actual work. We won't even discuss spending time with children. Men, it's time to let women work hard and pay for everything. I'm ready to stay home and cook -- I love to cook.

I did the "stay at home Dad" thing for a few years. It is a pretty sweet deal in many respects. Today I do contract development work and am at home as often as I can be.

Many of the parenting tasks were mind numbing and thankless, but that's so different from software development. My wife would sometimes complain that I was putting too much effort into child activities, but I think think the results were awesome. Not only did I get to spend a bunch of time with my kids during their formative years, I got to live many things vicariously (I was a latchkey child and missed a lot), I had frequent trips and annual passes to local zoos and the local aviary, but we also spent a lot of time at learning-oriented parks, museums, libraries, and more. We did lots of tech experiments and science stuff, including playing around with microcontrollers and circuit boards and servos, dabbling in chemistry, making model rockets, and assorted other geek stuff. The kids are all intellectually skilled, great readers, and both talk about and do big things. One of my daughters (now in high school) complained about how petty most of her classmates are, more concerned about friends not immediately returning texts or teachers demanding that they actually turn in homework (gasp!) rather than bigger issues, and I openly commiserate while inwardly praise just how awesome she turned out.

Yes, stay at home if you can. It is worth it. Women who want to work all day can have it! Contract from home in your spare time, software development is a great field for that.

4 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

Frobnicator Re:WTF? (261 comments)

OP might just be getting a lot of legitimate list traffic that they signed up for. That isn't spam, you asked for that and need to hit 'unsubscribe'.

For me personally, I don't use gmail regularly, only to get access to Google's services. I'm careful to NOT opt in to anything with the account on the very rare occasions I need it. On the ultra-rare occasion I need to log in to the gmail account it is always filled with spam --- from Google itself. Whenever I add a Google service it automatically opts in by itself to spam me.

Just checking it now, I've got an enormous list under a tab called "promotions" with ads from Google Play. I've got a similar list under "Social" filled with weekly ads from YouTube. And I've got a weekly notice of how other people are using AdSense. Then I've got a bunch of "circle requests" from a bunch of spammy-looking people.

So gmail's spam filter works for me --- if it ends up in gmail, it is spam.

about a week ago

Where Intel Processors Fail At Math (Again)

Frobnicator Re:What this mean... (238 comments)

You might take a look at the article and at Intel's reply.

The issue is in sine, cosine, and similar trig functions, with an actual error of 4e-21. That error scales, of course.

Intel's documentation change basically says you should scale and reduce your numbers first before running the functions.

Consider what that level of error precision means. If you were measuring with a meter stick, you could be measuring the radius of electron charge radii with several precision bits left over. If you were measuring the distance between the Sun and Proxima Centari, you could do it in millimeters and have accuracy to spare.

Even though I've run HPC simulations most of my career, we've seldom needed more than around six decimal digits of precision; that's akin to variations of human hair width when working at the meter level. It's only a problem when someone throws some strange scale into the mix; we're running physics on the kg-m-s scale, and suddenly someone complains that their usage of microseconds and nanometers breaks the physics engine We answer simply, "Yes. Yes, it does." If you need to operate in both scales, you need a different library that handles it.

Finally, even the actual article admits this is mostly about documentation. "The absolute error in the range I was looking at was fairly constant at about 4e-21, which is quite small. For many purposes this will not matter. ... for the domains where that matters the misleading documentation can easily be a problem." He then points out that a bunch of existing math libraries know about it. He mentions that high precision libraries have different solutions and always have. He mentions that most scientists who need it use better, high precision libraries. And he details that is really just the rough approximations done on the FPU that already plays fast-and-loose by switching between 53-bit and 63-bit floating point values that have been documented as being only good for that kind of approximation since the 1980s. Everybody who works professionally with floating point for any amount of time already knows the entire x86 family (including AMD and Intel) dating back to the original coprocessor are all terrible if you need high precision.

about two weeks ago

Snapchat Says Users Were Victimized By Their Use of Third-Party Apps

Frobnicator Re:I'm disappointed ... (90 comments)

I'm starting to feel abnormal because the second someone hands me a camera I don't feel in the least bit inclined to take a picture of my penis with it.

<troll>Well, with yours you'd need a macro lens or a deep zoom, so your attitude makes sense.</troll>

More seriously, it is only a tiny subset of the modern society who does that.

On the male side, I'm guessing they're the ones who assume that if they show it off others will be attracted to them, or at least admire them somehow. They're the flashers who are confused why the women they flash don't immediately open their legs to them. They hear a woman say "What's your name?" and they reply "Can we have sex?" Or a woman sends a "lets go out to the movies" text and he replies with a picture of his junk, somehow believing that is appropriate. I'm hoping that they represent the tiniest sliver of society, but their actions are so outlandish that they get online notoriety.

On the female side, I'm guessing they're the ones who are desperately craving attention or the ones who give in to pressure. Women who want to show of their bodies can easily find the males looking for it (see above) and wouldn't need to send pics that delete themselves; for these women a permanent picture is unlikely to bother them. But like the males, I think the ones who do it without coercion are a tiny sliver of society, not the norm.

about two weeks ago

Eric Schmidt: Anxiety Over US Spying Will "Break the Internet"

Frobnicator Re:Very easy to solve (179 comments)

Worry over spying may cause people to take more interest in protecting their privacy, which may break Google's business model.

Boo hoo.

The problem isn't really with Google's business model.

It also is not limited to the US government.

Think back to various releases. News stories of the US government intercepting Cisco equipment shipments, installing back doors, and sealing them back in their original boxes with new factory seals. There are many news stories of logs with people communicating over supposedly secure connections and exchanging honeypot URLs, only to have the honeypot link hit several hours later by government-owned IP blocks or sometimes Microsoft or Apple IP blocks when using their 'secure' products.

As a result of those we set up honeypot links of our own, and I've seen reports that a percent of our site-to-site messages with honeypot links really are being visited by IP blocks from several nations. This is not just the US government, multiple governments and probably multiple big businesses have their spying tendrils inside businesses. We're looking for and slowly tightening down on potential leaks, either that or the assorted groups are slowly hitting our honeypots less and less. I used to think some of our security policies were draconian, but seeing how many probably-government groups are watching internal messages, I've become quite paranoid myself.

If someone cannot trust that their encrypted, supposedly secure communications are safe, they will stop using the products. When a government IP address hits a honeypot link shared over Apple's iMessage, does that mean Apple is a willing participant forwarding the messages while telling the public it is secured, or does that mean Apple is a victim too? Either way, iMessage is now one of many banned products in our workplace, sending any type of secure business information over it (or over Lync or Google's services or any but a short list of secure communications programs) has become a fire-able offense.

When the news broke on the Cisco equipment being intercepted this spring, their stock price plummeted and orders slowed. I know in my organization there were several major purchasing announcements, and they only buy HP equipment now (although I'm sure those are intercepted just as readily). Cisco went directly to the POTUS both publicly and privately to tell them to stop harming the company. I would not be surprised if their lawyers are nearly ready to file lawsuits for tortuous interference.

This is about far more than Google's business model. People cannot communicate within their own company infrastructure about business needs without some sort of government espionage or corporate spying. It is completely out of control.

about two weeks ago

GlaxoSmithKline Released 45 Liters of Live Polio Virus

Frobnicator Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (209 comments)

It is very nearly eradicated globally. Good thing too.

The paralysis aspect is horrible. Those who got the disease didn't know if they would be hit by the paralysis. Those who were hit with the paralysis didn't know if it would become permanent.

Some people who had the paralysis hit lungs or heart and didn't make it to the hospital quickly enough were occasionally considered lucky. Some very unfortunate people were condemned to spend the rest of their lives on a ventilator. I knew several people (most are dead today) who had deformed faces, arms, and legs from the virus resulting in permanent paralysis. I knew several older folks with a gravely whispered voice as a result of the paralysis. I heard horror stories about people fighting in lines as the vaccine became available in the 1960s.

Last year the WHO declared a surge in polio as a world health emergency, it had jumped from below 200 globally known cases to over 400.

They track the progress and update it weekly. the web site says there are 209 year to date with a new outbreak in Syria.

It is a horrible, destructive disease. The Gates Foundation has made enormous donations, $1.8B last year. This year the Larry Ellison foundation threw in another $100M. The disease is so incredibly close to global eradication, it just needs that one final little nudge to the finish line.

about two weeks ago

GlaxoSmithKline Released 45 Liters of Live Polio Virus

Frobnicator Re:Imagine the punishment it it killed millions (209 comments)

And those unfortunate enough not to be able to be vaccinated.

Not that much of an issue really in western europe or even europe.

So many responses are like "meh, polio, who cares."

The devastating effects of this virus are obviously forgotten by this generation. It results in paralysis that is fatal when it hits things like lungs and hearts, and results in sometimes temporary, sometimes life-long paralysis in many victims. I knew people who permanently lost their ability to talk, others with one paralyzed leg, others who lost an arm, others with distorted facial muscles and other ugly effects. In the early 1960s when it was released people lined up for the vaccine, they would lie, cheat, and steal to get the vaccine when supplies were still limited.

In you're case, you're basically discounting anyone under age 6? Polio is a 4-dose vaccination where the last dose usually isn't until age 4-6. Google says that is a half million people in Belgium. That's "not much of an issue"?

Anyone who has had a reaction to one of the components and cannot have the series, they also are irrelevant? It's probably a million or so of the population. Again, you're okay with them getting a permanently disabling disease?

The vaccines are not 100% effective, many people who were vaccinated according to schedule are still able to become sick. No idea what the percentage is, but anything other than 0 is too much. Are they really not that important?

What would you think if it was YOU or a loved one in the hospital bed, hooked up to a ventilator because your lungs were paralyzed, hoping that the paralysis is temporary in your case.

Now, if we could limit the infections just to anti-vaxers (not the innocent children of anti-vaxers) that would be something else entirely. Anti-vax for chicken pox or milder diseases are not that bad, but anti-vax for polio and other seriously ravaging diseases is just stupid.

Polio is so close to global eradication. I applaud those like the Gates Foundation that are funding killing off the last few known wild cases.

about two weeks ago

Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

Frobnicator Re:Really? (577 comments)

As a counterpoint to this; I had a reasonable machine for work. Win7 Pro, then IT got hold of it and connected it to the new domain etc; now it is much slower. Booting, shutting down, launching programs...everything is slower then the day before.

Well known problem. Once attached to a domain, Windows attempts to do all kinds of stupid things. One of the most common problems is the open/save file dialog. The OS attempts to display it, then blocks until it contacts the domain servers to look up the user's actual name. Then there are similar delays that happen as it goes out and probes each drive, which is a problem if they are mapped network drives as the display waits until everything is built before the UI appears.

On a machine that is disconnected from the domain, perhaps a laptop away from the office, it gets even worse. Internally there is a 45 second delay on each of the network probes, and between Windows 2000 through Windows 7 they all fired sequentially. So if you had your own friendly name plus three mapped drives, that's three minutes of waiting for network connections to time out. It is somewhat faster under Windows 8, but in bad cases can still take ages.

For these specific issues they will not fix the root problems of the shell blocking until after data is loaded or probing the domain for security settings as it would break many shell plugins. It can be made partially better by disabling some of the features; they include disabling certain group policies on shell extensions, turning off certain domain security and SCAPI settings, and disabling drive mappings whenever possible. When disconnected, removing all VPN lookups and disabling proxy detections can also help. Even with those improvements, attaching a machine to a domain introduces an immediate performance penalty on everything shell-related.

Another similar set of problems is apps that try to probe the MRU file list when files are on the network. Many parts of the OS try to cache things based on prior use, and once you're wired in to the corporate network these probes (which stupidly are often blocking tasks) can take seconds to run while on the network, or minutes to run when they time out when off the corporate network.

about three weeks ago

Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

Frobnicator Re:Update to Godwin's law? (575 comments)

I don't know, we call just about everything a terrorist act these days. Anything high profile they try to announce that it WASN'T called a terrorist attack. Look at the Chicago airport issue last week, many news outlets lead with "In what is not a terrorist attack, a fire in an ATC building..." I've seen news reports that call simple street vandalism and muggings "domestic terrorism".

However, I completely agree with you. Holder's statement basically says personal devices should be inherently insecure, but it is okay for corporations to have a little bit of security. How many companies have BYOD policies? How many companies buy consumer parts?

Is he thinking the government can compel Apple to make "iPhone 7 Unencrypted Consumer Edition", and "iPhone 7 Corporate Secure Edition"? Or similarly force Android, with Google and LG and Samsung and others to split into an insecure consumer version and a more secure corporate version? I don't know, maybe they could. Of course, even the non-technical sheep could be taught to notice and push back.

about three weeks ago

Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

Frobnicator Re:Update to Godwin's law? (575 comments)

Even so, a backdoor on full disk encryption, though I suppose requiring physical access, is a security hole.

Yes, a security hole that will play wonderfully when it hits the news:

HEADLINE: Millions of credit cards stolen in latest data breach, NSA encryption backdoor blamed.

about three weeks ago

New Research Casts Doubt On the "10,000 Hour Rule" of Expertise

Frobnicator Re:More eugenics propaganda? (192 comments)


My interpretation of the article: You can't teach height, but tall untrained basketball players can be beaten by shorter experts. To be the "world's best" you need both.

There is a difference between "expert" and "world's best".

When it comes to expert, guided practice and training is generally enough. Even if you are short I can still teach you to be an expert at basketball. Others can still teach you how to block, how to dribble, how to pass, how to shoot, how to referee, how to coach, and how to be an expert.

When it comes to world's best, sure, there is often a genetic component. Most people, no matter how much you train them, will never become the world's best. They can be expert and still judge and teach and work the field, being expert is not the same as being world's best. Similarly, some people, no matter how much they try to work with numbers, struggle to handle them intuitively. Given enough effort they can be taught all the way through college math and become experts, but that doesn't mean they'll become the world's expert on mathematics. Just because someone is tall doesn't make them a world-class basketball player, training is still needed. Just because someone has a pretty voice doesn't make them an automatic world's best vocalist, just because someone has a more intuitive grasp of spatial representations doesn't make them a world renown mathematician, training is still needed.

You can become expert with guided practice, even without much natural ability. To become world's best you need both guided practice AND a genetic predisposition.

about three weeks ago

Former GM Product Czar: Tesla a "Fringe Brand"

Frobnicator Re:Tesla is worth 60% of GM ! (267 comments)

That's exactly the trouble.

If you buy today and the stock goes down, people like those in TFA will continue to say it was overpriced and you are a bad investor.

If you buy today and the stock keeps going up, then you become praised as an early adopter.

Unfortunately my crystal ball is broken so I cannot tell which direction the investment will go. I'm either making a bad investment or becoming an early adopter, only time will tell which.

about three weeks ago

Piracy Police Chief Calls For State Interference To Stop Internet "Anarchy"

Frobnicator Re:Police?? (302 comments)

You are right that they are operating outside their area, and they ought to be going after things inside their area.

But if they are going to go after infringement, let's have them start going after corporations that are engaged in wholesale copyright violations, not just individuals involved in it.

Sites like Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and other clickbait sites that take images from the little guys, use the images in their clickbaiting business, and profit from the copyright infringement. Just take a moment to search for the assorted sites, " stolen images". Buzzfeed and HuffPo are currently fighting many such lawsuits, yet they continue to use random images found online without permission and without compensation to the photographers.

It would be nice if the City of London police started by black holing those sites, too.

about three weeks ago

Blood For Extra Credit Points Offer Raises Eyebrows In Test-Mad China

Frobnicator Re:4-8 LITERS?! (90 comments)

So those medieval barber-surgeons were right, and blood-letting has health benefits after all?

Simply: Yes.

Regular donations help (causal relationship) with iron balance since you cannot donate if iron is low and it reduces your iron if it is high, can (causally) help slightly with weight loss as you lose a glob of body material without kidney filtering plus it works to replace it, is associated with (correlation) reduced risk of certain cancers, associated with (correlation) reduced risk of heart attacks, and is associated with (correlation) a slightly longer, higher-quality life. There are also short-term benefits for issues like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and other metabolic problems.

about three weeks ago

Blood For Extra Credit Points Offer Raises Eyebrows In Test-Mad China

Frobnicator Re:Future generations of Chinese kids (90 comments)

I can't wait for 'big veins' to become a new ethnic slur.

I'm not fat, I'm just big veined.

about three weeks ago
top Compromised To Serve Malware

Frobnicator Re:They will never learn (103 comments)

My firewall is whitelist-based. This means if a site uses stuff hosted off-site (jquery, googleapis) it probably isn't going to load. The net affect is that while I can browse such storefronts, I have to do work to buy from them. So I buy elsewhere. They might learn, eventually.

They won't notice or care. Why would they? You aren't doing anything to trip any kinds of alarms or alerts with them.

If you want them to do something, call their help desk and act like an incompetent computer user. "My kids set up this newfangled computer and I can't buy from you..." If enough people did that it might make a blip on their stats that "JavaScript All The Things!" menatlity will cost them in support calls and possibly lost business.

about a month ago

Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

Frobnicator Re:Just make it classic, not-beta and you get more (178 comments)

I'm gonna go build my own slashdot, with blackjack and hookers!

... I think the bar should be much higher..

Wait... old slashdot, blackjack, hookers, AND a bar designed for tall people? Shut up and take my money.


On a more serious note, I'm one of many that would be willing to a pay a small amount for an ad-free Facebook experience. Remove the ads and the buzzfeeds, the link-spam, and remove everything with more than 10 'shares' or reposts. Show me only my actual friend updates and comments and photos. In fact, that was in the news last year. Social Fixer is good for a workaround, but the company could make people the customer instead of the product if they wanted.

about 1 month ago

Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

Frobnicator Re:How about (210 comments)

I managed over an hour and a half the other day.

I learned a fun one from a particularly annoying call.

Get them to repeat the messages. They rattle off the instructions, wait ten seconds, then ask them to repeat it. Alternatively, wait until they have rattled of the entire instruction, then slowly repeat the exact words from the beginning "first.. press.. the.. start.. button.. and.. type.. in.. "

Tell them you need to write it down first to make sure you do it correctly. Since you as the 'victim' don't want the infection to be worse you obviously should write it down to make sure you do it exactly right.

Naturally you can use the time for more productive things, like looking up ways to best take up the time of the scammer.

about a month ago

Microsoft Agrees To Contempt Order So It Can Appeal Email Privacy Case

Frobnicator Re:I don't see how MS can comply (123 comments)

It is actually illegal. You can't deliberate engage in activities to make it more expensive or complex for law enforcement to search subpoenaed records. That's contempt of court.

Emphasis in your quote.

As gets mentioned every time this story appears on slashdot, this is a warrant not a subpoena. The two are different tools. Both are used to find things but one is clean and neat, the other broad and aggressive. As a parallel, a subpoena is a scalpel and a warrant is a chainsaw.

A subpoena says 'We know you have this specific information, provide it to us within a time frame'. They get subpoenas of this type all the time. There is no dispute a subpoena would get the document no matter where in the world Microsoft held it.

A warrant says 'We will search for and take anything even remotely related to this, search it ourselves on our own terms.' When they demanded dumps of servers and copies of databases they were told the servers were in another nation and were not subject to a US warrant.

As was discussed in the previous incarnations of this story, the warrants are rather broad demanding they turn over everything related to the email address and user in question even if it isn't related to a criminal investigation. They want it all, everything the user ever touched or potentially touched, everything sent to the user, everything related to the user. While government investigators can usually get that through a broad warrant, they cannot get that with a subpoena. A subpoena would give them the specific emails related to the crime under investigation, but it is quite likely they already have the specific documents they could ask for.

about a month ago

Facebook Blamed For Driving Up Cellphone Bills, But It's Not Alone

Frobnicator Re:Stupid design, appalling (131 comments)

Facebook has provided this. Just hit settings and turn off autoplay videos and you get a lovely little play icon.

This article is another big whine on behalf of users who don't bother to actually hit a settings button or Google a problem.

That's news to me. Thanks for telling me. Default setting adjusted.

Also relevant to your "everybody already knows" attitude, there's an XKCD for that. No, everybody does not know about it.

about a month and a half ago


Frobnicator hasn't submitted any stories.



From an article about the degradation of the Internet

Frobnicator Frobnicator writes  |  more than 11 years ago

You sell a simpler box where security is the primary factor. A lot of grandmas and older people might go for something that only does AOL, mail, web browsing and maybe printing and digital photos.

That might solve part of the problem (consumer side) but not the issue that the article was about. It does not solve the real issue.

Making a grandma-friendly, secure, e-mail and download-only box would not do what the article suggests is happening. It might keep grandma from getting infected with the latest worm, but she will still get progressively less useful bandwidth from her modem. Grandma might have a 256Kbps DSL modem. She might even be fairly lucky and after dropping the malformed packets and garbage already out there, get a 200Kbps rate right now. But next year it might be 150Kbps, then 100Kbps as a few million script-kiddies are scanning for the next generation of BackOrafice trojans. Then she'll go buy a faster connection, because her Internet connection is slower than she wants. Her new connection will give her more visible speed, but would still be dropping a majority of the packets.

I've seen the issue first hand. I'm with a small business, where we have a shared T1 line. Our upstream provider performs some packet filtering, but not much. After we pay for the data through our T1, we filter it. We drop malformed packets, packets from reserved and unassigned addresses, source-routed packets, and so on. We detect and block portscans and other obvious attacks at that point as well. We average a 7-10% packet loss through that filter daily. Next, we run SpamAssassin at a high filter level (15) along with attachment and virus blocking of emails, which collectively drop thousands of e-mail messages daily. Additionally our computers are running ad-filtering programs that save us a lot of bandwidth, but ads still slip through.

If we were to assume that all the ads also got through, that is about 20-25% of our bandwidth wasted in complete junk, and that percentage has been increasing for the past two years that I have been watching it. Next we have a bunch of legitimate, but unwanted, traffic. That includes file sharing and trojan ports, incoming http, mail, telnet, DNS, ftp, rpc, and other assorted ports. We get a few hundred of these each day, and the number is always growing. Some might be people in the company trying to use NetMeeting or something, even though it is against policy. Some may be legitimate errors, while the remaining others are probably probing for systems to attack.

The article says that the problem is this growing collection of junk -- currently about a quarter of our bandwidth -- which will quickly kill the Internet unless there is a change.

Unfortunately, I agree with the author of the article; unless we see some fundamental changes, it will become unusable. There are a number of good ideas already out there as to what that may be.

One idea that I like is to remove the anonymity of end-to-end, while preserving the end-to-end functionality. Every handler of every packet signs the packet, and drops packets from sources they do not trust or with invalid signatures. The sender cannot deny sending the message, each handler signs the packets and cannot deny that they handled it, each handler can state that they directly know who they received it from, and that all end-points can verify the sources. That allows any message not properly signed and not properly addressed to be dropped, and allow for law enforcement or system admins to find out who the attackers are, or exactly which machines have been compromised.

The only significant drawbacks to that system are the resources involved in all the digital signatures and the loss of anonymity. I can only see a few reasons for anonymous speech (whistle-blowers, victims of crime, etc.) but there are other anonymous outlets for them. Online, I think non-repudiation should be built in, so long as you have encryption tools available. Your boss/government/police/mafia could know that you said something, but not know what it was.

Until that level of fundamental infrastructure change spreads across the Internet, making a grandma-friendly Internet console isn't enough. The DDoS attacks on everything from spam blacklists, litigous companies like RIAA and SCO, honest mistakes like U. Wisconson's time servers, and script-kiddie behavior will continue to degrade the Internet. The spammers clogging up mailboxes and usenet will degrade the Internet. Tomorrows worms, along with todays worms on unpached systems, will continue to degrade the Internet. More people with cable-modems downloading movies will degrade Internet performance. In short, continuing our course will be just a little worse until we hit a very-near critical threshold. Then our performance will be like a figher jet slamming into a wall of jello. We need to change course, or face some serious performance losses.



Musings about a Corpus of Truth

Frobnicator Frobnicator writes  |  more than 11 years ago This is just some ramblings based on views.

I've had a problem with the corpus of facts that people are willing to allow in their arguments lately. These in turn lead to stupid arguments, that lead to my compliants. So here are the complaints.

The first is:

Mankind has been wrong about science for all of recorded history, why are some people assuming that the newest theory is the absolute, final, last word?

Science is a progressive refinement of ideas. There was a time when the public believed that that maggots came from rotting meat and that frogs came from mud around lakes and streams or that they came from rain. Given the corpus of facts that they could work with, those were perfect, scientific beliefs.

The corpus of truth, or the accepted facts at that time [through Europe, at least] included only what could be viewed by the naked eye, and what was accepted by the Church. Since the Church probably didn't have much to say about maggots and rotting meat, it was a simple observation that (1) you had rotting meat, (2) maggots appeard, therefore maggots came from rotting meat. Similarly, (1) While at a pond there were no frogs, (2) It started raining, (3) the area got muddy, (4) frogs appeared. Sure, modern science has pretty much cleared up the origin of maggots and frogs, but it doesn't stop there.

Newtonian physics was around for quite some time, and they have been succeeded by similar equations based on Relativity. These are being further refined today. But these refined models will probably be succeeded in a few decades by yet another model that more accurately describes the Universe, and our current views will be considered 'Wrong'. But that won't mean that Newtonian models will suddenly stop working, or that the Einstienien models will stop working, just that there are more accurate models that can be used.

The point is that our current scientific views should never be taken as the absolute fact of the thing, but just as another iteration that is better than what was there before. Each of these 'facts' is added to our corpus of truth, which helps us better understand the things around us.

This leads to my second complaint,

Some people claim "Religion cannot be demonstrated by Science". That is a stupid argument.

This comes back to the corpus of truth. What are you willing to give me in my corpus? If you give me only the things I can observe with my naked eye and bare hands, I'll prove that maggots come from rotting meat and frogs come from either rain or mud. But with only my bare hands and my naked eyes, I cannot prove cellular theory, or astronomy, or even how reproduction works. If you give me only what can be observed with the naked eye and manipulated with bare hands, it becomes difficult to prove religion.

If you take one simple thing from a mathematician's corpus of truth, let's say the definition of equality or the definitions of addition and subtraction, they will lose all ability to operate. Sure, it is possible to prove addition and subtraction with advanced math, but that math cannot be proven without addition and subtraction. Similarly, if I require proof that a number is always equal to itself, but I refuse to allow any definition of equality, I can destroy all of mathematics.

The point here is that all science is based on postulates. Things that cannot be proven for whatever reason but are accepted as fact anyway. For most people, things that can be directly observed are postulates -- you cannot prove that what you saw is actually what happened, or even that you observed it, but you accept that it is what you observed, and that it is correct.

If you give just enough postulates, those can be expanded to a corpus of truth that can demonstrate the existance of a higher power.

Finally, there are the people who never accept into their corpus of truth anything that contradicts their world-view.

These are the people I most feel sorry for. Yes, there are many things out there that I may disagree with, but I am willing to accept as a theory into my corpus of truth. I may not accept it as a fact, but at the least, I will accept that you accept it. But as is the way with science, contradictions in your corpus of truth must be resolved, or at least marked as 'further research required' before being accepted as fact. When enough evidence is collected to resolve the things to fact, Science is content.

So to the people who assert that Aliens are near Earth, that Alien UFO's abduct people and return them after performing whatever experiments they had in mind, I look at the body of observations that counter them. Air traffic controllers around the world would likely detect such a vessel. Millitaries and governments would quite likely have seen them. Their motion would be seen by astronomers of all kinds, those paid for by governments, by corporations, and by schools, the students and private researchers, and arm-chair scientists. Anything trying to cover it up would be improbable (not impossible).

Of course, I DO beleve in UFO's. They are simply that -- unidentified flying objects. Individuals cannot identify them. Governments deny them, and often for good reason. Many people saw classified aircraft and the governments denied their existance until they unveiled them publically. These were UFO's. Many people have been exposed to (in many cases illigal) radition tests or toxicity tests or other experiments that governments have denied, only to admit to decades later. Yet other things are not easily explained by governments, but by bizzare acts of nature. Lakes turn over, and can even explode. Mists of a dense fog, carbon dioxide, can form naturally and flood towns with death.

While these things may not be easily explained, theories can be developed, and they can be enterered into the Corpus of Truth, to be later accepted or denied.

But now I have looked at my watch, and looked at the time. I don't want to accept the consequences that my Corpus of Truth says I will likely face if I spend more time on this article, so I am finished now.



Frobnicator Frobnicator writes  |  more than 12 years ago This is here so I have a journal entry.

For anyone interested, the nick "Frobnicator" is a derivative of "frobnicate", which I haven't heard before. I started using the nick in 2000. I take it to mean 'one who frobnicates'. Here is the definition:


/frob'ni-kayt/ (Possibly from frobnitz, and usually abbreviated to frob, but "frobnicate" is recognised as the official full form). To manipulate or adjust, to tweak. One frequently frobs bits or other 2-state devices. Thus: "Please frob the light switch" (that is, flip it), but also "Stop frobbing that clasp; you'll break it". One also sees the construction "to frob a frob".

Usage: frob, twiddle, and tweak sometimes connote points along a continuum. "Frob" connotes aimless manipulation; "twiddle" connotes gross manipulation, often a coarse search for a proper setting; "tweak" connotes fine-tuning. If someone is turning a knob on an oscilloscope, then if he's carefully adjusting it, he is probably tweaking it; if he is just turning it but looking at the screen, he is probably twiddling it; but if he's just doing it because turning a knob is fun, he's frobbing it. The variant "frobnosticate" has also been reported.

Between '95 and 2000 I used the nick "Ixion" based on the Greek mythological king who did some pretty nasty things, incluing try to bed a god, and was punished.

Before that I went by "Zug", which I got from my older brother, but had to stop when Warcraft II came out and used "Zugzug" as a quote from one of their characters.

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