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The Software Big Oil's PR Firm Uses To "Convert Average Citizens"

Jiro What? (103 comments)

This is the same thing that every company big enough to do public relations at all does, except it's being described using inflammatory terminology.

about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Non-USB Flash Direct From China Safe?

Jiro Not a security risk, but a fake risk (178 comments)

I would tend to agree with other people: There's really no risk that a SD card is a security problem in the same way that USB is, since it's just storage. However, there is a big risk that any SD card you buy through unusual channels, especially at a ridiculously low rate like 1/5 the price, is just a fake which will start overwriting your data after you get past 1G or 8G or whatever. I absolutely refuse to buy SD cards outside a major physical store chain.

about two weeks ago

The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

Jiro Re:Not invented here syndrome? (246 comments)

First of all, many of the people who worked on Linux had degrees and/or professional experience in directly relevant areas.

Second, Linux was an unusual case because programming requires relatively little in the way of hardware compared to other pursuits--and certainly compared to going to Mars.

Third, computer programs don't need to be as tightly integrated as the output of rocket scientists does. Furthermore, because they are not as tightly integrated, the system can limp along with some missing features for a long time and not be totally halted in its tracks by that feature being missing.

about two weeks ago

25th Anniversary: When the Berlin Wall Fell

Jiro Of all the links you had to use (151 comments)

... you linked to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This is a left-wing organization (most of whose members are not atomic scientists), which opposed anything the US did that was hostile towards the Soviet Union--you know, the country that was responsible for the Berlin Wall to begin with.

This is equivalent to having a post about Bill Gates about how bad monopolies are. Sure, monopolies are bad, but it's a little odd.

about two weeks ago

LAX To London Flight Delayed Over "Al-Quida" Wi-Fi Name

Jiro Re:really (339 comments)

Terrorists are often stupid. Remember the first World Trade Center attack, where the terrorist was arrested when he tried to get his $400 deposit back on the truck he used?

Also, people tend to do stupid things in high-stress situations, and bombing a plane is a high-stress situation. People also joke about high stress situations, and I could easily see an actual terrorist doing this as a joke.

about a month ago

Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

Jiro Re:Coward (993 comments)

Cowardice is often a lot more sensible than being an Internet Tough Guy.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Is There an Ethical Way Facebook Can Experiment With Their Users?

Jiro Re:Prior consent (141 comments)

No, they haven't. That's why we have the concept of "informed consent" instead of just "consent".

about 1 month ago

Fortune.com: Blame Tech Diversity On Culture, Not Pipeline

Jiro Re:Bullshit. (342 comments)

"Low pay which barely covers day care" is misleading, anyway. This doesn't say that the pay is lower than that of men--it just says that the pay is low. Pay being low is a problem that everyone has; the fact that women have different things to spend it on is irrelevant. It's by no means a women's problem. This is like complaining that outsourcing to India is a problem because women whose jobs are outsourced to India have a hard time paying for daycare.

(Indeed, raising women's pay because they spend more on day care than men would be illegal as reverse discrimination anyway).

TFA also has other oddities. For instance, "Literally 28 of the 30 people in our company were white, straight men under 35. I was the only woman. I was one of only two gay people. I was the only person of color other than one guy from Japan." Uh-huh. One Asian person out of 30 in your company. Very typical.

about 2 months ago

Conservative Groups Accuse FCC of Helping Net Neutrality Advocates File Comments

Jiro Warning sign (283 comments)

it turns out American Commitment, an advocacy group with ties to the Republican billionaire Koch brothers, sent out 2.4 million letters to Congress opposing net neutrality but only collected about 814,000 signatures.

Any time something said to criticize the right mentions the Koch Brothers as a menace, it's probably BS.

In this case, the BS consists of:
1) The "is tied to" claim. If it was actually run by the Koch Brothers, they'd say so. If you read the links, you'll find that the "tie" is that the founder previously worked at a group with Koch funding.
2) No comparison to other signature campaigns to say whether other signature campaigns send letters to multiple people as well. And really, what did you expect them to do, have three separate campaigns for "collect signatures to your senator", "collect signatures for your other senator", and "collect signatures for your representative"?

about 2 months ago

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

Jiro Re:Make kids do the work instead (90 comments)

The point is that volunteering for a soup kitchen is something that only rich people get a chance to do. A poor person has other things to do--part time job, for instance, or taking care of the family's children while parents are out (or their own children if a teenage single mother). A poor person who doesn't live close enough also has a hard time getting transportation to get to the soup kitchen; not everyone has parents who can drive them, and bus fare costs money that matters for a poor person.

about 2 months ago

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

Jiro Re:Make kids do the work instead (90 comments)

We have this in the US, in practice; social service volunteering looks good on your college resume, and plenty of teenagers do it solely to get into a better college. It also works horribly because it is richer people who are better able to volunteer, since rich teenagers have more spare time to do social services in, and greater access to transportation to get to the social services.

about 2 months ago

When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

Jiro Re:Compares to a plunger? (175 comments)

On the other hand, if he does try to modify his plunger, it's not a crime under the DMCA. And anyone can make an identical plunger without having to pay someone else money to license the patents,

about 2 months ago

Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

Jiro Double standard (907 comments)

If it was supermarkets refusing to give food to poor people unless the poor people provided the supermarkets with money, you would not see articles implying that the supermarkets are somehow exploiting the poor in doing so. And we certainly wouldn't see complaints that the supermarkets are keeping them from feeding their children, like the complaints that the car companies are keeping them from taking their children to school.

In our world, that's what money is for. Someone who refuses to let you have something if you don't pay is not out of line, even if you are poor and don't have the money. We might believe that the poor should get assistance, but that assistance comes from society in general; it is not done by demanding that supermarkets/car companies give away their products for free. and implying that they are exploiting the poor if they don't.

about 2 months ago

Indian Mars Mission Has Completed 95% of Its Journey Without a Hitch

Jiro This is ridiculous (117 comments)

95% is not a milestone. There's nothing significant about it. They're just sending out press releases at random moments in the trajectory because they want to get publicity additional times without actually doing additional things that deserve publicity.

about 2 months ago

Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Jiro What? (540 comments)

Isn't imposing a large cost on the other country the whole point of an embargo? What's the complaint here? I mean, Cuba obviously doesn't like it, but it's sort of like Russia claiming that the sanctions for invading Ukraine are costing it money, or Al Qaeda claiming that US military intervention is killing terrorists. That's the intent.

Clearly $1.1 trillion isn't enough considering it hasn't worked.

(Also, does this figure count Russian aid during the Cold War against the loss from not trading with Americans?)

about 2 months ago

Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

Jiro Re:No, it wasn't. (463 comments)

Having a law that permits them to use electronic devices just means that using the electronic device isn't automatically a crime. It doesn't (or at least shouldn't) mean that they are excused from all consequences of doing so.

If you want a car analogy (no reason I can't use a car analogy to make a car analogy), a driver's license gives you permission to drive a car, so that you can't be arrested just for unlicensed driving, but you still can be arrested if you run over someone with the car. Likewise, the police have a "use electronic device license", so the use by a policeman is not a crime all by itself, but the negligent use of one still can be.

about 3 months ago

TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

Jiro Re:Is he a senior? (251 comments)

This also explains using names like John Connor. You and I would be able to recognize the source of the name. It's much less likely that a senior citizen would, so it gives them a way to filter out the people least likely to fall for the scam.

about 2 months ago

Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

Jiro Fearmongering summary (and article too) (531 comments)

Reading TFA, even if I take TFA at its word, TFA's headline claims the group is Koch-backed, but TFA itself only says that the head of the organization previously worked at a Koch-backed organization. The idea that there's any Koch connection, financial or otherwise, to his current organization is complete speculation.

TFA further obscures this by containing a link for the phrase "strong ties to the Koch brothers", presented in a way which looks like it should be about the current organization, but which when you follow it, turns out to be about the previous one.

"Koch" has become such a left-wing bugaboo that any reference to it should make the reader automatically skeptical.

Furthermore, TFA quotes the email, although using an image (why, I don't know--to make it harder to search?) The claim that "he thinks net neutrality is Marxist" is a distortion of that email. It claims that

1) It is like things done by China and Russia (astute readers may remember that Russia gave up being Marxist decades ago; summarizing this as "he thinks it's Marxist" is another left-wing scare tactic meant to bring to mind McCarthyism) and

2) a reference saying that one *specific* group led by one specific Marxist individual supports it.

about 2 months ago

Among Gamers, Adult Women Vastly Outnumber Teenage Boys

Jiro Re:They're not gamers. (276 comments)

The way you see it, calling someone who only reads the ingredients list on the back of food packages is like calling someone who plays Candy Crush a gamer.

The way you see it, calling someone who sings the Star Spangled banner at the start of a ball game a music fan is like calling someone who plays Candy Crush a gamer.


"Gamer" does not mean "someone who plays a game" in the same way that "reader" doesn't mean "someone that reads something".

about 3 months ago


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