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Nightfall: Can Kalgash Exist?

Livius Re:Stability (84 comments)

It didn't have to be in that orbit the whole time life was evolving, just the time it took the culture to adapt to it and maybe some evolutionary adaptation of their psychology.

The archaeological evidence of the cyclic fall of civilization only went back a few tens of thousands of years.

2 days ago
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Nightfall: Can Kalgash Exist?

Livius Stability (84 comments)

Asimov's story only assumes that the suns' and planets' orbits are in that configuration for a few tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of years, not that they are stable for what astronomers would call the long term.

2 days ago
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The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police

Livius Re:Foreshadowing? (124 comments)

If you think freedom is just about insults, you have completely taken it for granted. Which is probably why you haven't noticed now that's gone.

2 days ago
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The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police

Livius I'm shocked! (124 comments)

...that this hasn't come up sooner.

I guess the NSA has given up on trying to be subtle.

2 days ago
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The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police

Livius Re:Foreshadowing? (124 comments)

When it's already started 'foreshadowing' is not the right word any more.

2 days ago
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The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

Livius Re:Speaking of McCarthyism... (242 comments)

the quicker we will have those Congressional Hearings

Unless, of course, you don't.

4 days ago
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World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

Livius Re:Use of drugs (474 comments)

Drug use exists in other countries.

about a week ago
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World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

Livius Use of drugs (474 comments)

The use of drugs is not exactly confined in its impact to the immediate use, which is the theory behind why it was a crime in the first place. But the other bad effects can be made illegal separately. A lot of them already are, in the form of some variation of practising pharmacy without a licence. And if a huge pharmaceutical company creates a drug that has virtually no value other than to create addictions (and deducts all the research and marketing expenses on its taxes), then someone should be going to jail.

You can still say drugs are bad, which they are in many cases, but 'bad' does not necessarily mean something the criminal justice system should address. On top of which, a lot of the time it comes down to tastes in substance abuse. Alcohol is bad for all the same reasons, and compared to some drugs is worse.

about two weeks ago
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Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Livius They're different? (241 comments)

Well, of course maths, programming, and natural languages are different, but all of them involve a symbolic language that models something and expresses that model. Kun seems to be focusing just on the differing degrees of precision these symbolic languages employ.

People tend to think of natural language as only a medium of communication, but it is also the way the human mind models whatever it perceives or imagines, and despite the fact we do that mostly instinctively, it is by far the hardest thing about language.

Programming is not math, it is language - a programming language is a language which defines, describes, and expresses an algorithm. Useful programs are frequently express something mathematical, but that is a function of the application, not programming itself.

Maths is just a whole lot of symbolic language. Learning maths is language learning, but it is also learning to describe things with precision and clarity and algorithmically. Some natural language learning is like that (e.g. advanced Latin grammar) and some is not (e.g. introductory conversational courses).

about two weeks ago
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FTC To Trap Robocallers With Open Source Software

Livius Re:Nuke from orbit. (125 comments)

I suggest beta testing on politicians.

about two weeks ago
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FTC To Trap Robocallers With Open Source Software

Livius Re:Really? (125 comments)

Does 'zap' mean stopping them? Maybe they're actually trying to help Rachel.

about two weeks ago
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The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

Livius Re:Not Quite the Same (63 comments)

Evolution will favour adaptation. In some cases, there may only be one straighforward path to an adaptive solution, but there will sometimes be surprises.

about two weeks ago
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New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

Livius Re:Excitig news or depressing? The latter ... (253 comments)

Type 2 diabetes is 90% (or so) self-inflicted. Do you deny a remedy to the 10% innocent victims because of the weakness of character of the 90%?

about two weeks ago
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Canadian ISP On Disclosing Subscriber Info: Come Back With a Warrant

Livius Give Rogers credit (55 comments)

I have to applaud Rogers for doing the right thing.

This may even be a first for them, seeing as they are one of the most evil corporations ever created.

about two weeks ago
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Biofeedback Games and The Placebo Effect

Livius Re:Or maybe it works the other way arround (57 comments)

It sounds like highly subjective inferences are unreliable and indistinguishable from background randomness.

Which has nothing to do with the placebo effect.

about two weeks ago
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ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women To Open Source

Livius Re:This is sexist (158 comments)

Those aren't "prejudices and preconceptions" any more.

Maybe they're just your prejudices and preconceptions.

about two weeks ago
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ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women To Open Source

Livius Re:This is sexist (158 comments)

When there's a statistically significant imbalance between the sexes, sometimes it's because of discrimination, and sometimes it's because there are actual statistically significant difference physical and psychological difference between men and women,.

They could distinguish between the two, of course, but that would require thinking.

about two weeks ago
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Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

Livius Timing (171 comments)

Well, once the current dark age of bloated web pages with delusions of grandeur masquerading as 'apps' is over, the renaissance can start, and then we'll talk about it ending.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Livius Re:A shift in economic metrics (509 comments)

we have invested in and achieved so much in terms of automation, ai, etc, and yet we refuse to distribute the high efficiency benefits of these things to the very masses who brought them about

The problem is that the 'masses' are not the same as the original investors.

Society needs the 'masses' to get some of the wealth *despite* not having actually directly earned it themselves.

about two weeks ago
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Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

Livius Re:Weird (588 comments)

"A but B" includes "B". They didn't hide the "this is a little weird" part in any way.

about two weeks ago

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