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Why the New Guy Can't Code

Internalist Re:Experienced only? (948 comments)

How do you get your SO to leave you alone for long enough to get stuff like this done? I'm not even being rhetorical...do you not have an arm's-length list of domestic tasks that needs addressing whenever you're not actually at work?

more than 3 years ago

'Canadian DMCA' Copyright Bill Dead Again

Internalist Re:Voting is a waste of effort (307 comments)

I composed a lengthy reply and then decided that it wasn't worth my while. So I'll settle for pointing this out:

I was here for the G20, it went perfectly.
I didn't die in the g20, I don't think anyone did, but that big of an event can't ever go perfectly.

and saying that your post makes clear that you're a fairly egocentric person who doesn't care for the welfare of his or her fellow Canadian.

more than 3 years ago

'Canadian DMCA' Copyright Bill Dead Again

Internalist Re:Voting is a waste of effort (307 comments)

In the end, at the end of the year, my taxes sumto roughly the same amount plus or minus 5%, the roads have roughly the same number of holes, there's about the same amount of construction, public transit still begs for money that I don't think it should have, the same number of hookers are on the same corners, and the same rocket-powered homeless person manages to get from the theatre performance to the stadium faster than I can.

Hm. Non-voter; significant complainer...Somebody call the WAH-mbulance.

(would you vote if a party came along that promised something significantly worse?)

more than 3 years ago

How Machine Learning Will Change Augmented Reality

Internalist Re:Insect Brains (101 comments)

I believe what you're looking for are The Fly Papers; research by Bill Bialek and various co-authors which date back almost a decade. For a great overview, check his book, Spikes.

more than 3 years ago

Are 10-11 Hour Programming Days Feasible?

Internalist Re:Bye-bye! (997 comments)

On the third(?!) hand [...]

I believe it's called The Gripping Hand.

about 4 years ago

The Right's War On Net Neutrality

Internalist Re:But will they listen? (945 comments)

Not quite true. If I don't like the way "big business" is regulating the Internet, I'm free to start my own business to compete with "big business," one which is less expensive and provides more features to customers. This is still possible even in today's heavily regulated free market economy.

On the other hand, I am not free to start a competing government and remain an American citizen. This is the fundamental flaw in most government regulatory arguments: bad companies tend to go away, but bad government regulations tend to stick around for a LONG LONG time.

Huh!? I'm not seeing the analogy you're trying to make here...you ARE perfectly free to start up a new (state or federal) political party, one which "provides more features" to its clients. In fact, it's probably EASIER to do that than it would be to start up a new telco and try to gain any traction.

more than 4 years ago

TIME Names Mark Zuckerberg Person of Year

Internalist Re:Julian Assange (317 comments)

I think that

I don't think that Assange would have the high ground in this hypothetical case [...] Clearly, it can't just be that transparency is always a morally superior end state [...]

is conjectural, and probably unproveable. I may well be that transparency always gives one the moral high ground. Of course, that's more or less orthogonal to the degree of umbrage taken (is umbrage taken in degrees?) by John Q. Public. Nobody likes their laundry aired by other people, regardless of how clean it is...even as people put more and more of their lives online for all to see, I suspect that we all want to be the people who control the flow on our personal information pipes.

I wonder whether there isn't a threshold to be (admittedly, somewhat arbitrarily) drawn in terms of "degree of influence". What an average member of the public chooses to divulge or keep secret affects a (comparatively) small group of people. Conversely, the machinery of international diplomacy, or the military, or corporate greed/corruption, etc. are---rightly or wrongly---perceived to affect a much wider group of people...potentially spanning multiple nations. It seems to me that this is the yardstick by which we (implicitly) judge the rightness/wrongness of divulging information. The greater the number of people affected, the more we want transparency (subject to my earlier caveat that agents seek to retain control over their information pipes, where e.g. the military, or Mega-Company Inc. can plausibly be construed as agents).

Hmm. That reads a bit ranty and disorganized. Just fired this off without much thought...

more than 4 years ago

Medical Researcher Rediscovers Integration

Internalist Re:Physicists rediscover medicine: (473 comments)

Method for dissipation of influenza symptoms through prolong dietary restriction versus current methods of hypercaloric intake treatment of cold virus carriers.

Best. Starve-a-fever-feed-a-cold. Evar.

I'm totally stealing this...

more than 4 years ago

Moscow Has Eyes On WikiLeaks, Too

Internalist Re:Tom Flanagan, Hilarious Idiot (579 comments)

I'm skeptical of the notion that he no longer has Harper's ear, given his role in the Conservatives' rise to power. Moreover, I suspect a goodly chunk of the Canadian voting public (mostly West of Ontario) don't think what he says is really that outrageous.

Given the often controversial/incendiary nature of some of Flanagan's comments (not to mention the content of some of his books), I'd bet the truth is closer to formley publicly aknowledged advisor...


more than 4 years ago

Moscow Has Eyes On WikiLeaks, Too

Internalist Re:Tom Flanagan, Hilarious Idiot (579 comments)

I would like to think that he recanted because enough Canadians, like me, e-mailed him directly to express outrage and make clear that he---as a [former?] close advisor to PM Harper---made it clear just how out of alignment the Conservative Party is with the Canadian moral compass.

Of course, given the following:


I recognize that that's pretty much a fantasy on my part, and that parent is closer to the truth.

*sigh* I'm not super-proud of being a Canuck lately...

more than 4 years ago

Facebook's 'Like This' Button Is Tracking You

Internalist Re:Help for Those That Need It (273 comments)

Funniest thing I've read on Slashdot in a while...thanks!

more than 4 years ago

Supreme Court Refuses P2P 'Innocent Sharing' Case

Internalist Re:This is how I see it (351 comments)

If this becomes the norm we might as well start actually stealing from stores, since the penalty is so much smaller.

THIS. I recently moved to the US from Canada...the law is much clearer here about what kinds of penalties await. I won't be downloading anymore...but I may just turn to petty theft.

(j/k DHS...I'll be a good J-1, I promise!)

more than 4 years ago

Pirate Parties Plan To Shoot Site Into Orbit

Internalist Re:Cost (301 comments)

any potential buyer is essentially spending an assloadde of money for a fairy tale.


more than 4 years ago

Proving 0.999... Is Equal To 1

Internalist Re:Cat and Mouse (1260 comments)

Thank you, Zeno.

Q: why do people who either never took, or failed, Cal I get modded Insightful?

more than 4 years ago

Simple Virus For Teaching?

Internalist Re:Fake it. (366 comments)

This probably should have been modded higher; it's an astute observation. You can, indeed, say "a water", but pretty much only in the context you've highlighted here, you're actually using some kind of elliptical form to say "a [vessel filled with] water", i.e. you're effectively saying something other than what we're discussing above.

more than 4 years ago

Simple Virus For Teaching?

Internalist Re:Fake it. (366 comments)


more than 4 years ago

Simple Virus For Teaching?

Internalist Re:Fake it. (366 comments)

+5, Informative?...REALLY?!?...

OK, let's start with a handily recent post on the Language Log about Latin plurals (the post is about "syllabus", but "virus/viruses/*viri/**virii" show up in the comments).

Now, onward...

Well, if you want to get all prissy about the Latin, then it's incorrect to use the word to describe a single unit of the substance, in the way it's not correct to call a single water molecule "a water".

Actually (and ignoring the somewhat startling categorisation of computer virus as "substance"), not in the same way at all. You can't call a single molecule of water "a water" because "water" is a mass noun in English, and those don't (i) take indefinite articles, and (ii) don't pluralize nicely (inter alia). It's possible that this portion of your argument comes from here, which points out that in Latin, "virus" ("poison") was a mass noun. Of course, in English, "virus" is very clearly a count noun in English, since it can be (and overwhelmingly is) used with an indefinite article.

Id est, since a viral program is itself a cell in the viral infection of many computers, there's no term for it other than "viral program" and no term for several of them other than "viral programs".

You appear in the preceding to be claiming that the word "virus" doesn't exist in English (or perhaps simply that is has no referent) a claim some information security researchers (and doctors!) might take issue with (cue lambasting for the stranded preposition in 3...2..1).

That being said, this raises an interesting point about...something. Maybe the type/token distinction? When someone says "I wrote a virus", we take him (or her, I suppose) to be making a claim about an implementation of some specific algorithm in some specific language, but not to any particular token of it.

The "virus" would be some arbitrarily bounded subset of the population of said viral programs infecting machines, [...]

I don't understand the grounds on which you're making this claim.

[...] which could devolve to a single program infecting a single machine, but would still not be the correct term for that program or, indeed, for the viral infection being suffered by that machine. It could correctly refer to the running program and its data (which in most computers includes its instructions) and the progress of its states,

OK, so the "running program, and its data" counts pretty much as a "single token of the substance" at hand, in my book. So now it sounds like you're contradicting your opening claim.

but I'm pretty sure nobody much thinks of it that clearly when using the word "virus".

As I just mentioned, you seem to be contradicting yourself (although I may just be misreading you), so you'll forgive if I take claims of clear thinking only quasi-seriously.

Nor is it correct to use "a virus" to refer to a type of virus (exempli gratia Stuxnet, Sasser, Hopper, et cetera) [...]

Why is this 'incorrect'? "I wrote a virus. I'm calling it Johnny5." Seems like a perfectly good use of "a virus" to me.

[...] but only to an instance of that type of virus as it is spreading, [...]

Again, isn't this in contradiction to how you started this comment?

or, again, some arbitrary subset thereof, wherein it has its physical expression and aggregate, fluid form.

Aside from the impossibility of "some arbitrary subset" of an instance (I'll assume that was just a typo/thinko), now you're just engaged in verbal wankery. I mean, I suppose you might choose to model the spread of contagion in a network of computers as the flow of a kind of fluid, but it's not clear if that's what you mean. And a population of tokens of a virus has no relevant physical expression (pace Wheeler & friends)...it's just a bunch of electrons.

As for whether it annoys you for people to use a latinate word that is both convenient and apt despite its not being precisely Latin, well, tough titty, [...]

Here, remarkably, I agree with you. "Viri" is a perfectly legitimate neologised plural, especially in the sociolinguistic context of places like Slashdot (although I confess that "virii", by some awful analogy with "radius~radii" hurts my eyes a wee bit). People can say whatever they want (but not without expecting to sometimes ruffle feathers), and use whatever linguistic constructs suit them best.

[...] because apparently the Latin version of it is a mispronunciation of the Proto-Indo-European word for the same gooey mess, [...]

I don't know what you mean by "the same gooey mess". The reconstructed PIE root "*weis-" (attn: the *-operator is being overloaded here) apparently means "to melt away" or "to flow". Also, to characterise it as a "mispronunciation" reflects a lack of understanding of how sound change works, and ignores the fact that Vulgar Latin was spoken millennia after PIE. Simply put there was no PIE to be "mispronounced" when there were Latin speakers.

[...] so insisting on going only as far back as Latin for the value of correctness of form is false cognitive closure, and that gives everyone else cause to be annoyed at you.

I get the point you're making, but I'm not sure it holds. The English word "virus" does come to us ultimately from PIE, but it does so via Latin where it was also "virus", and so it's not entirely arbitrary to stop there in search of a "correct" pluralisation (although the answer we get from Latin is ultimately unhelpful with respect to modern English). In particular, it's unclear whether earlier written forms exist, and earlier forms were in all likelihood different from the Latin (and, probably from the PIE, as well).

Anyway...that was a massive waste of time, during which I should have been coding. Damn you.

more than 4 years ago

Many More Android Apps Leaking User Data

Internalist Re:15 of the 30... (299 comments)

Not if you take into account anyone who's got line-of-sight to you, or is within earshot of you...

more than 4 years ago

Police Publish 'An Introduction To PEDO BEAR'

Internalist Re:Again paranoia rules the roost (324 comments)

You've got a fair point that underage sexual activity is largely irrelevant to the topic of pedophilia.

Or, y'know, completely irrelevant, since pedophilia is adult attraction to children.

But [bluefoxlucid's] point, as I understood it, is that there's a distinction between underage sex and sexual abuse - and that it's not the act of underage sex that's harmful, but the scenario of being raped.

Rape is perhaps a more direct, physical form of harm, that evokes a visceral reaction because of its associated violence, but the basic premise w.r.t. underage sex (and I believe it's largely correct), is that children/tweens are incapable of giving informed consent. Even ignoring the complicated power dynamics that come with large age differences and focusing on two underage (but beyond the age of "playing doctor") kids having sex, the chains of reasoning and long-term thinking that are a prerequisite of informed consent simply elude most kids.

[...] when I use the word "rape" I refer specifically and exclusively to cases where the sexual activity is non-consensual.

See above. Children's "consent" is not the same as your consent.

Let me ask you this very simple question: Would you want somebody who can say these things teaching *your* 12 year old daughter about sex?

This seems like a ridiculous and somewhat vague question.

No, it seems pretty clear what the question means, but I can concretize it a bit more for you: would you want bluelucidfox teaching your 12-year-old daughter about sex?

No, I wouldn't want my daughter to have sex when she's 12, at all. I expect I'd do my best to prevent that. But if she chose to do so, I don't think it would then be right to say the other party had committed "rape".

I said this in reply to one of bluelucidfox's points; your (hypothetical?) 12-year-old's choice isn't free and informed the same way yours or mine is. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that you were convinced that you had successfully explained to her why you didn't want her to have sex. Then she comes home one day and the following (exaggerated-to-make-a-point) dialogue takes place:

Her: "I had sex with that 18-year-old, Tommy, who lives next door."
You: "Dang, I asked you not to do that, and explained what the long-term consequences are. Why'd you do it?"
Her: "Well, it felt pretty good. Plus he gave me an iPod."

Would you not feel like Tommy had somehow "taken advantage of" your daughter? Well, "taking advantage of" is tantamount to coercion, which is tantamount to rape. Coerced (whether by carrot or stick) consent, is not consent.

Whatever the law says, I think 12 is old enough that a child should be able to take a certain level of personal responsibility for their decisions.

Sure, if you're talking about "too many snacks before dinner", or "shoplift", or "skip class". Not, crucially, in the cases under discussion.

If my daughter makes a decision and then finds she regrets it, is it right then to use the law to ruin someone else's life for it? I don't think that's something to be taken lightly.

No, not lightly, but the issues warrant deeper thinking, and a willingness to "ruin someone else's life" if we feel it's warranted.

But there's how I view the issue in principle, and how I'd actually react when this is no longer an abstract question, and there's decisions I might be obligated to make based on other facets of the law. I honestly don't know what I would do in that situation. I hope I'll never have to find out. :)

Amen to that.

more than 4 years ago



Watchmen is greenlit

Internalist Internalist writes  |  about 6 years ago

Internalist writes "According to The Beeb, the Watchmen movie is set to be released on March 6th, as originally planned. Now that Warner and Fox have settled, everything is good to go, and the studios have released a joint statement to the effect that 'Warner Bros. and Fox, like all Watchmen fans, look forward with great anticipation to this film's 6 March release in theatres.'"
Link to Original Source

Legal victory for open source licensing

Internalist Internalist writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Internalist writes "Advocates of open source software have hailed a court ruling protecting its use even though it is given away free. The US federal appeals court "determined that the terms of the Artistic License are enforceable copyright conditions", overturned a lower court decision which claimed that authors whose works violate the Artistic License could only be sued for breach of contract, rather than copyright infringement. Said Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig, "In non-technical terms, the Court has held that free licences set conditions on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the licence disappears, meaning you're simply a copyright infringer." BBC story here."


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