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Scientists Discover Common Ancestor of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans

Garse Janacek Re:creationism/evolution (391 comments)

As there is only one truth, there can be only one meaning.

Bzzzt! You fail Lit 101. More so, since there are whole chunks of the Bible that are basically poetry and / or parables, which are forms that are practically designed to have multiple layers of meaning.

I agree with a lot of what you say, though. GP is making the silly leap from "With no study of culture, context or historical understandings, I can't think of any interpretation of this 5000-year-old near-eastern manuscript except a claim about the scientific origins of homo sapiens" to "therefore, other interpretations either don't exist / are illegitimate / cannot be discussed rationally based on historical data."

I completely understand why people get impatient / belligerent about young-earth creationists. Or religious people in general when their religion leads them to ignore or deny actual real-world data. But when a religious person is behaving sanely and making the excellent decision to view their chosen holy texts as being about life's purpose rather than a scientific textbook... I don't understand why some people then get belligerent and try to force the issue with "No! Clearly you don't understand your own holy texts, because they are a science textbook! And a very bad one, at that!"...

more than 5 years ago
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Forensics Tool Finds Headerless Encrypted Files

Garse Janacek Re:Patterns? (374 comments)

If you take another copy of the original file and encrypt it, it will become encrypted and look like nonsense... but still be identical to the first encrypted file.

Actually, with many (most?) encryption schemes used in practice, this isn't the case. Google "known plaintext attack."

more than 5 years ago
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Forensics Tool Finds Headerless Encrypted Files

Garse Janacek Re:Don't worry (374 comments)

You can't prove a string of a million 1's wasn't randomly generated.

Remind me not to hire you as a QA tester for my random number generator.....

more than 5 years ago
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Nintendo and the Decline of Hardcore Gaming

Garse Janacek Re:WOW certainly isn't just casual game play (438 comments)

Eh... not really. It's only fairly recently that you could reliably walk into a store or surf to amazon and just buy one. And that's only possible because of the biggest console production runs in history. On average, the Wii is selling slightly less than the 360 and PS3 combined, though that varies from week to week with the game release schedule. That's a weird way to put it, though, "stores have more than they can sell," when all you mean is "stores are able to keep it in stock"...

(source for stats)

more than 5 years ago
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Kindle 2 Tear-Down Reveals Price of Components

Garse Janacek Re:How is this news? (169 comments)

Is it a surprise to any one that the manufacturing costs are not as much as retail?

Actually it's even worse than you're saying -- the analysis isn't about "manufacturing costs", it's about component costs (which is correctly described in the headline, and then incorrectly described immediately after in the summary). So, if you buy all the components, you've already spent half the cost before you start assembling them, testing them, shipping them, setting them up, packaging them, and shipping them again.

The confusion is somewhat understandable since even the article itself says different things in different places. But reporters love to take the otherwise interesting reports from iSuppli and sensationalize them by implying that popular electronics devices are 50% profit or more (they've done the same thing for iPods and such)... but ultimately it's just lazy reporting.

more than 5 years ago
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Antarctic Ice Is Growing, Not Melting Away, At Davis Station

Garse Janacek Re:As a "peer reviewer" myself (633 comments)

I feel obliged to tell you that you far overstress the "peer review" process as a way of assuring scientific accuracy. ... Peer review serves to ensure that the community believes the subject of the publication is considered novel enough and important enough in its eyes, and to prevent publication of obvious non-academic garbage.

And yet, global warming deniers still don't publish in peer-reviewed journals. I wonder which of those filtering constraints they fail to satisfy...

(I know, I know, it's TEH CONSPIRACY)...

more than 5 years ago
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Antarctic Ice Is Growing, Not Melting Away, At Davis Station

Garse Janacek Re:Temperature (633 comments)

If you can point me to anything suggesting that anyone, let alone Al Gore, is actually advocating "zero gross carbon output" rather than "zero net carbon output", I will be very surprised. I'm sure you can find some quote where someone, speaking loosely, omitted the "net" qualifier, even though that's far from implying that they must have meant "gross" instead. My impulse would be to say that concluding they meant it the way you're saying, without more explicit evidence, suggests that you're deliberately misinterpreting them. But your most recent reply seems so fervent and sincere in the assurance that that counterintuitive interpretation is the only possible one that you may sincerely think that other people are that stupid. In retrospect, I think I regret feeding the troll.

more than 5 years ago
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Why Republicans Won't Retake Silicon Valley

Garse Janacek Re:Troll? Really? (445 comments)

Actually I called them "the most far-out authoritarian strains of liberalism". I don't consider Berkeley people to be "to the left" of me in a meaningful sense, and I didn't say they were -- political leanings are not a single right vs. left dimension. What bothers me about Berkeley culture is its authoritarianism, not its "liberal" politics, such as they are. I didn't use "liberal" with negative connotations anywhere in my post. Someone who considers themselves very conservative might similarly identify as far- right and yet still refer to "an extreme example of the most insane, Randian strains of conservatism" without implying either that conservatism was bad per se or that Ayn Rand was truly representative of a "conservative" philosophy.

more than 5 years ago
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Antarctic Ice Is Growing, Not Melting Away, At Davis Station

Garse Janacek Re:Temperature (633 comments)

If you think I'm misrepresenting the meaning of "net carbon output", by all means elaborate. As it is, you seem to be trying to claim victory by fiat. Do you really think that when people talk about someone's net carbon output, they include carbon exhaled when breathing, but don't include carbon intake from eating? And that everyone somehow overlooked this massive absurdity, until you finally pointed out in a web forum that the emperor has no clothes?

more than 5 years ago
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Antarctic Ice Is Growing, Not Melting Away, At Davis Station

Garse Janacek Re:Temperature (633 comments)

He suggested that you reduce your carbon output to zero. Since this means no breathing or decaying, it calls for you to take a trip to a permanently frozen location with a plastic bag to suffocate yourself with.

A bunch of fish lived in a tank. There was a faucet just above the tank, and some of the fish liked to leave it on. Scientist fish warned that if this continued, eventually the tank would overflow. Skeptical fish mocked the scientists: "You want us to stop adding water to the tank? Well, I guess you just want us to stop peeing!" Everyone had a good laugh, and the faucet was left on.

No matter how much a fish pees, it will not fill up the fish tank. That only happens when outside water is added to the system. No matter how much you breathe or decay, it will not add carbon to the atmosphere. (Unless you've been drinking fossil fuels.) That only happens when outside carbon is added to the system, such as the carbon that is present in most of our energy sources.

Pretending to misunderstand the concept of carbon output so you can make fun of the other side is not a good way to resolve this argument. Actually misunderstanding the concept of carbon output means you should think carefully about why you're so confident that you understand the situation better than climatologists. You can decide which of those two you were doing in your comment.

more than 5 years ago
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Why Republicans Won't Retake Silicon Valley

Garse Janacek Re:Troll? Really? (445 comments)

No, Berkeley is not "one example of how liberal universities typically are", it's an extreme example of the most far-out authoritarian strains of liberalism. I identify as far left, and those people scare the crap out of me. You don't get to just point at Berkeley and say that proves everywhere else is even worse.

GGP was basically wrong. Most of the top schools are majority liberal, true. But there's far from a direct correlation between "more wealthy students" and "more liberal", and one of the cited examples, Harvard, seems very suspicious to me. Harvard undergrads are still majority liberal I'm sure, but there are very strong republican and libertarian subcultures there, more so than at a lot of top schools...

more than 5 years ago
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The End of Tax-Free Internet Shopping?

Garse Janacek Re:It means the end of mom'n'pop e-commerce (784 comments)

This sounds sketchy to me. A lot of the mom-and-pop online stores I've seen already use some big fancy payment handler like Paypal or some other backend. This kind of change would most likely just mean more business for those kind of financial backend companies. Not that I'm a huge fan of Paypal et al, but I'm skeptical that a small operation that really wants to be in full compliance will have trouble finding somebody to help them do that, just like they do now. (And really, I doubt the bulk of the enforcement will be against small-time shops anyway.)

more than 5 years ago
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The End of Tax-Free Internet Shopping?

Garse Janacek Re:RIAA definition of "loss". (784 comments)

This reminds me of the RIAA's definition of "lost revenue".

A spotty analogy at best. The RIAA's argument is "you downloaded that song for free when it should have been $1 -- we just lost $1." The sales tax argument is "You bought a $100 item, incurring $5 in sales tax which you never paid -- we just lost $5." The difference is that assuming that someone would have bought a $1 song if they had not downloaded it for free is silly, whereas it's much more likely that someone who bought a $100 item would still have bought it if it also included $5 of sales tax.

When you create a law where the only possibility of any compliance at all is people's innate honesty...

But that's not the only possibility for any compliance. That's the whole point of TFA. You can oppose this change if you want, but it doesn't make any sense to say "This law is unenforceable! Stop enforcing it!"

more than 5 years ago
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Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

Garse Janacek Re:Unfortunately I'm a Bit Skeptical (415 comments)

Indeed. One of my pet peeves in economic game theory is when subjects in behavioral "paradoxes" who fail to act in their selfish self interest are described as "irrational". In every example I've ever heard of, the behavior is not the best for the individual in the short term, but is better either for the individual or the community in the long term, and thus makes perfect rational sense if you incorporate "long term survival of the species" into the individual's utility function (experimenters often pretend that subjects' utility function "should" incorporate only the explicit rewards in the experiment itself).

Many of these paradoxes are still interesting and worthy of study, and you can call them "paradoxes" if you want, but they aren't at all irrational.

more than 5 years ago
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Quantum Setback For Warp Drives

Garse Janacek Re:improbability drive (627 comments)

Also, just to be pedantic: Mathematicians are usually really particular about "really, really close to zero" still being different than zero. It's engineers (and physicists, and... well basically anybody that has to work in reality) that treat them the same :-)

more than 5 years ago
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Quantum Setback For Warp Drives

Garse Janacek Re:improbability drive (627 comments)

Doing so dogmatically leads you to absurd results like "zero probability events happen all the time".

If I'm choosing a uniformly random real number between zero and one, then zero probability events will happen all the time. I can't simulate that process in the real world, but then, that's true of much (most?) of mathematics as well... but in any case, "probability zero" only means "impossible" over certain spaces.

Admittedly, those spaces may include the physical world, though it's hard to really be sure. If the universe is infinite after all, then every moment of existence is arguably another zero-probability event.

more than 5 years ago
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Quantum Setback For Warp Drives

Garse Janacek Re:improbability drive (627 comments)

True, but I said an uncountable number of outcomes, whereas the axioms you list only hold up to a countable number of sets. For example, if you're choosing a random integer, then yes, I agree, an integer with a probability of zero will never occur.

On the other hand, if you're choosing, say, a random (real) number between zero and one, with uniform probability, then every possible outcome has zero probability -- but there's still a 1/10 chance that I will choose a number in the range [0.15, 0.25]. In that case, only masses of events have probability, so saying an event has probability zero is not the same as saying it's impossible.

more than 5 years ago
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Quantum Setback For Warp Drives

Garse Janacek Re:improbability drive (627 comments)

Also, 0 is not "nigh impossible" - it is the definition of impossible.

Not necessarily. It may be that there are an uncountable number of possible outcomes, and each individual outcome has a zero probability, but large sets of them collectively still have positive probability. At least, models exist where this makes sense...

more than 5 years ago
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Angry Villagers Run Google Out of Town

Garse Janacek Re:Glad to see.. (1188 comments)

Because a few vacation photos, over a hundred tourists, equates to the same thing.

A few vacation photos, over a hundred tourists, scattered across the internet, equates to "a for profit geo-tagged database?"

Because you already have several non-viloent ways of actually politely requesting they don't.

1. The article doesn't seem to imply that violence was used. 2. Under the circumstances, what procedure should they have used to "politely request" that Google leave them alone?

Because I'd like to see where I'm going when I plan my tourist trip. ... Because the world really isn't about you. Or me.

Your second point ought to nullify your first one. Also, who is it about, if you're contending that it "isn't about" the actual people most directly affected? It's just about Google and their profits, then, or what?

I'm not especially opposed to Google's behavior on this issue, but I also don't understand why everyone is jumping all over these people and calling them idiots just because they don't want to participate.

more than 5 years ago
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Mixed Outcome of Texas Textbook Vote

Garse Janacek Re:Sorry, but they're absolutely right (646 comments)

It has been tested and proven itself quite well.

Theory of Evolution was proven? I clearly need to get out more. I didn't know that it is Theorem of Evolution now.

And if someone recommended a job candidate to you, saying "Over a thirty-year career he has proven himself countless times," would you interpret that as meaning "There is a theorem published in a mathematical journal stating that he is correct an uncountable number of times"?

more than 5 years ago

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