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Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

JesseMcDonald Re:Does HFCS count? (294 comments)

Fructose is a natural sugar, and HFCS in its pure laboratory form is only a highly concentrated fructose derived from corn.

It's only "highly concentrated" compared to plain corn syrup. Despite the name, HFCS isn't pure fructose; it's about 55% fructose and 45% glucose, whereas sucrose is closer to 50/50. And the fact that HFCS tastes sweeter means that you can use less of it for the same result.

4 days ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

JesseMcDonald Re:Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (920 comments)

The thing is, the doctor did give you evidence. He's an expert in the field of medicine, you know of no reason why he would lie to you, and he said that you have cancer. There is also the fact that he is placing his reputation and livelihood at stake—a false cancer diagnosis would probably be ruinous. Even if he declines to explain his reasoning, you can infer that it is most likely based on his extensive medical training. Whether that's enough really depends on how you plan to use the information, and the risk you're taking if it happens to be wrong. If a hypothesis won't affect your actions either way then it doesn't really matter whether you believe it or not. On the other hand, if you're considering radiation or chemo for your hypothetical lung cancer, it might be a good idea to get a second opinion before undergoing treatment.

about a week ago
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Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

JesseMcDonald Re:So-to-speak legal (418 comments)

What's a "server?" A piece of software with a local display and keyboard connecting to the net is called a client if that piece of software is named "web browser" and a server if it is named "X windows." "Server" is an entirely arbitrary distinction.

It's not arbitrary at all. A piece of software is a server if it listens for incoming connections, and a client if it establishes outgoing connections. If it does both then it's a peer or node in a peer-to-peer network. A web browser is a client because it establishes connections to web servers. X is a server because it listens for incoming connections from apps (the X clients).

The client/server distinction has nothing to do with which side is closer to a keyboard or local display.

That said, if your "ISP" has a TOS which specifies "no servers", then IMHO you're not really receiving Internet service. The ability to accept incoming connections, and thus to run servers, is an essential part of being connected to the Internet.

about a week ago
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Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

JesseMcDonald Re:So-to-speak legal (418 comments)

With government, you can complain on Constitutional grounds if they infringe your rights. With Comcast, you're shit out of luck!

Let's think about that one for a minute. With the government, you can complain to the government if they infringe your rights—and they may say that the Constitution gives them permission to do so. With Comcast or any other private corporation or individual, you can complain to any suitable arbiter (even the government if you so choose), and the private entity has no excuse. They don't have a Constitution supposedly granting them permission to infringe your rights under any circumstances. In terms of rights, you're on even ground, and if it comes down to force it's far easier to stand up to a corporation like Comcast than a massive entity which has its own military, recognizes the authority of no higher court or arbiter, and is falsely attributed a veneer of legitimacy by far too many of your complacent fellow-citizens who will assume that you're in the wrong simply for resisting authority, regardless of the situation.

about a week ago
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Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

JesseMcDonald Re:Maybe (264 comments)

There's no legal basis for requiring an ankle bracelet for an armed robber and not for a drug dealer.

True, but that only goes to show that the law lacks any moral authority—and that enforcing it would be immoral. You may not see a problem with implementing disproportionate punishments so long as they're "legal", but I do.

about two weeks ago
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Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

JesseMcDonald Re:Maybe (264 comments)

They're on parole.... As long as the measures are temporary, I don't see the problem; nor do I see how "Liberty" is lost.

I agree, provided that they're on parole for committing a legitimate (i.e. non-victimless) crime for which the restrictions of their parole are a proportionate response. Unfortunately, that isn't something you can take for granted these days.

about two weeks ago
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Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

JesseMcDonald Re:Can someone clarify the state of BitCoin? (134 comments)

In deflationary currency returns a risk free rate, which will drive out any investment not returning more.

Which is good, because that would have been a poor investment anyway. For the investor, and for society; any money poured into a venture paying less than the "risk-free" rate of deflation would take real resources away from other investments with higher returns. We're all better off if that money is "hoarded" instead until a better rate of return comes along.

about two weeks ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

JesseMcDonald Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (363 comments)

Look at all the companies that pay minimum wage; they do not like to pay a bit more so those less well off can have it better.

That's far too simplistic. It's not like they can just raise wages with no consequences. There is a trade-off between the amount they pay and the number they can afford to hire. Raising pay at the expense of the number of workers would have the effect of concentrating income, not spreading it around.

Assuming you don't want to cut down on jobs, where do you think the funds for the extra pay would come from? Perhaps you don't think the investors (read: ordinary people with 401ks or IRAs, saving for retirement) deserve a share for supplying the productivity-multiplying capital goods which allows those jobs to exist in the first place?

I think that when you talk about "most capitalists" you have a very select group of people in mind: the fabled "one-percenters". Even within that group I don't think you're giving enough credit—poverty in first-world countries pales in comparison to less developed areas, and that can be attributed largely to the 1% everyone loves to disparage—but in any case the 1% isn't "most capitalists". Anyone with investments is a capitalist. If you have a 401k or IRA, you are in effect playing the part of a capitalist whatever your political views. While that isn't everyone, it is a very large chunk of the population. And most of those capitalists are perfectly happy to donate to charities and help out their neighbors.

In my opinion there are two basic aspects to systematic poverty (not counting temporary conditions). One relates to the individuals themselves, whether it's a matter of priorities, habits, or plain mental illness. Mere habits can be changed, if the motivation exists, but if someone chooses their current lifestyle over getting out of poverty, or lacks the capacity for making the choice in the first place, there is little anyone can do short of an unjustifiable infringement of their right to self-determination. The other aspect comes down to people deliberately tearing down the very capital structures needed to avoid poverty in the name of making everyone equal—equally poor, that is.

about two weeks ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

JesseMcDonald Re:This is why piracy is just and will flourish (363 comments)

Of course it's information. A description of a work, to any level of detail, is information about the work. It's also censorship and deprivation of free speech--the courts in the U.S. even explicitly recognized it as such. That's the reason we have "fair use"—in the end the court bowed to industry pressure and chose to compromise and overlook the blatant violation of the 1st Amendment, but in exchange insisted on a few token exceptions with minimal commercial impact to save face. The correct and honest ruling would have been that copyright is incompatible with freedom of speech and the 1st Amendment, and thus unconstitutional.

about two weeks ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

JesseMcDonald Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (363 comments)

I gladly pay a bit more so those less well off can have it better.

Oddly enough, so do most capitalists. The difference between socialism and capitalism (politically) lies not in whether you personally choose to "spread the wealth around", but in whether you advocate forcing others to do so.

about two weeks ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

JesseMcDonald Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (363 comments)

Tax some (UK population) and give benefits to others (rest of the world) is not socialism, generally the rule is everybody pays and everybody gets.

If everyone receives value in proportion to what they pay, then there is no point to the system. You might as well just leave everyone alone. If not, then you are taxing some to give benefits to others.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

JesseMcDonald Re:Assignement in Python (729 comments)

Observe that one needs two operators, memory copy, and "point to".
What is wrong is to use only one symbol for the two, and change the meaning according to operator content.

No, the problem is in how you're thinking of the data. There is only one operation: "point to". When you execute "a = 2", you're making the variable "point to" the number two (which you can think of as an immutable object). Storing small, immutable objects directly inside pointers instead of allocating memory for each instance is an implementation detail, nothing more. So long as the data is immutable, it doesn't matter whether you're making a copy or a reference.

Note that larger integers (like 2**80) are actually allocated as regular objects on demand rather than stored inside the pointers. Python breaks referential transparency a bit here through the "is" keyword, since the program can observe that equal numbers are actually separate objects in memory ("2**8 is 2**8 ==> True"; "2**80 is 2**80 ==> False"). If it kept a cache and reused the objects the program wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

about two weeks ago
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The Apache Software Foundation Now Accepting BitCoin For Donations

JesseMcDonald Re:For fuck's sake (67 comments)

In English, currencies are not normally capitalized. You don't capitalize "dollar", "euro", or "rupee", so you shouldn't capitalize "bitcoin" either.

You're correct when referring to the currency ("one bitcoin"). However, when referring to the software ("Bitcoin Core"), the network, or the protocol, the name is a proper noun and as such should be capitalized. The capitalization in the summary is thus correct; in the title, the word "bitcoin" refers to the currency but should be capitalized anyway, simply because it's part of a title.

about three weeks ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

JesseMcDonald Re:1. Read 2. Argue (528 comments)

focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes

The "knowledge" is just a mass of facts, disconnected from how they were obtained. Some grounding in basic scientific knowledge is indeed essential, but that isn't the real point of a science class. The actual science—the main thing a science class is intended to teach—is the "scientific processes" by which those facts are theorized and either verified or disproved, which is precisely what this bill says not to focus on. It takes classes which are meant to give students the tools they need to investigate and understand the universe and replaces them with rote memorization backed by an appeal to authority.

about a month ago
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Early Bitcoin User Interviewed By Federal Officers

JesseMcDonald Re:Never talk to US law enforcement (92 comments)

One presumes that while they may not be willing to commit outright perjury, they would have little problem with taking your words out of context. Subtle shifts in emphasis can make a huge difference sometimes, and there is nothing obligating them to write down the parts of your account which do not help their case. As unjust as it is, their notes from the meeting will be taken as fact, while your account would be considered mere hearsay.

There really should be a requirement to fully document (with audio & video) every single encounter between public officials and potential suspects or witnesses, or have it considered hearsay. Until then, don't give them any extra ammunition to use against you.

about a month ago
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33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

JesseMcDonald Re:The real crime here (465 comments)

I don't think anyone here disagrees that what he did was wrong and he should be punished...

For what this person is accused of (distributing information contrary to censorship laws), even fines and community service would be disproportionately severe. Social responses are fine, up to and including complete ostracism—people have the right to do that anyway without any special justification. He can be barred from the theater, or even all theaters, if they so choose; if he agreed to a deposit or performance bond in exchange for his ticket then that would obviously be forfeit. However, as he has infringed on no one else's legitimate property rights, his own remain inviolate.

The proportional response for a deliberate violation of anothers' rights is that you lose any claim to those specific rights. The murderer forfeits his own right to life; the thief cannot complain when others take "his" property. The proportionate response to copyright infringement is merely that the offender can no longer claim copyright. But unlike self-ownership, and to a lesser extent property rights, copyright is asymmetric, favoring some and harming others. For most, giving up any claim to it is a reasonable price for not being subject to others' claims.

about 1 month ago
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Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

JesseMcDonald Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (239 comments)

I happen to think a notability test is a good idea, but not after one or more contributors have put significant effort into the page. The test should come when the page is first created; whoever thinks the page is notable should justify it (with references) subject to a general review. Once a topic has been accepted as notable, the contents and history of the page should remain online and open to the public indefinitely.

about 1 month ago
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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

JesseMcDonald Re:That's it? (611 comments)

While I agree that it's technically possible to prevent ad-blocking, it's not at all practical. With a few very rare exceptions, all the site stands to save by going to such lengths is the trivial cost of the network traffic. DRM isn't going to convert a significant number of ad-blocking casual visitors to paying customers, and the cost of implementing the system, not to mention loss of otherwise paying customers inconvenienced by the DRM, and even free word-of-mouth advertising from non-paying visitors, would be well in excess of any potential benefit.

Moreover, the users who block ads aren't really the ones you want to advertise to anyway. They're certainly not going to click on the ads and are less likely to be favorably influenced. I, for one, tend to keep track of the more obnoxious advertisers just so that I can be sure to avoid their products, so getting through the blocks will tend to hurt a brand more than it helps. Even if there was a foolproof way of ensuring that visitors see your ads, I suspect that over the long term it would only dilute the value of each ad rather than bringing in extra net income.

Going back to the article, they measured the cost of advertising by businesses in the U.K., but did they happen to check how much of that advertising was actually directed at U.K. residents?

about a month ago
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Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

JesseMcDonald Re:That is the law... (475 comments)

The point of that section is that you sometimes need to drive slower than the posted speed limit. There is no exception in the law for going faster to keep up with traffic. In any case, the Driver's Handbook is not authoritative; it's merely a guide, not the law itself. The law says that drivers shall not exceed the speed limits:

22348. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 22351, a person shall not drive a vehicle upon a highway with a speed limit established pursuant to Section 22349 or 22356 at a speed greater than that speed limit.

about a month ago
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Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

JesseMcDonald Re:Who pays the ticket? (475 comments)

The driver's handbook in California explicitly states that you should at all times keep up with traffic, even if it means exceeding the speed limit a little bit, so that all cars are driving at roughly the same speed.

Got a citation for that? I just checked the California driver's handbook, and it said no such thing. (The relevant sections are Speed Limits and Traffic Speeds.) The handbook did warn against driving slower than other traffic, but that doesn't imply that there is an exception. The handbook only recommends keeping to the right-hand lane to allow faster traffic to pass, not exceeding the posted speed limit.

Note that the Driver's Handbook is not authoritative. The actual laws relating to speed limits can be found here. Again, no exceptions for keeping up with traffic:

22348. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 22351, a person shall not drive a vehicle upon a highway with a speed limit established pursuant to Section 22349 or 22356 at a speed greater than that speed limit.

about a month ago

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