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Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

Millennium Re:First amendment only applies to our friends (824 comments)

No one is threatening to fire him, but very few people have the power to actually do that. By calling him unfit to lead, they're essentially doing the equivalent.

about three weeks ago
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Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

Millennium Tarzan need antecedent (824 comments)

What do you mean by "that"? Whose comments are you talking about?

about three weeks ago
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Xbox One Reputation System Penalizes Gamers Who Behave Badly

Millennium Re:Bullying (183 comments)

I don't actually know if I'd go that far. Your heuristic will pick out a single bully in a class of victims, but it will also pick out a single victim in a class of bullies, and I'd argue that the latter is by far the more common case.

about three weeks ago
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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

Millennium Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

They are not "nothing", but the psychological mechanism is what does the work. The trigger is in fact "nothing", in that it plays no part in the medical effect.

about three weeks ago
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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

Millennium Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

The tree-bark studies you use are more along the lines of herbalism than holistic medicine or homeopathy. The yew extracts commonly used in chemotherapy should also be considered here.

This is not just a matter of the fact that they use herbs. They fail homeopathy by not relying on the "memory of water" effect that homeopathy claims to rely on: indeed, homeopaths would be horrified at the doses used. Likewise, holistic medicine is generally quite keen on not introducing foreign substances into the body, which these clearly do.

These aren't the only herbs to be shown effective, either. And when they are shown effective, medicine incorporates them. But a great many herbs have been shown to have no effect at all, or even to cause harm, and science has rejected these, as it should. The resulting dosage tables from these tests bear little resemblance to herbalism as the herbalists tend to think of it.

Essentially, herbalists stumbled onto a couple of patterns, and thought this meant they knew everything. When we put it to the test, we found a few accidental discoveries: it's not unlike the way that alchemists accidentally discovered gunpowder. But the methods the herbalists used were bunk, and a lot of the resulting knowledge was bunk, and even when it wasn't, they turned out to know far less than they thought they did.

about three weeks ago
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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

Millennium Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

But if the medicine relies on the placebo effect to work, then it's a sham. You could do just as well (and a lot more cheaply) with a sugar pill.

about three weeks ago
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Turing Award Goes To Distributed Computing Wrangler Leslie Lamport

Millennium Re:Does that mean Microsoft Network is better ? (40 comments)

This depends on a number of factors. Did Microsoft use the designs he came up with when he did this work? Was Linux not allowed to use these designs? Did he (or someone else) find a way to improve upon that work, and were these improvements incorporated into Windows (or Linux)?

Even a rockstar can be hobbled by bad management, and we all know that the quality of Microsoft's management has, at times, been questionable. It's entirely possible that this could have happened here. Or maybe it didn't. We can't be sure from the Microsoft side.

about a month ago
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Turing Award Goes To Distributed Computing Wrangler Leslie Lamport

Millennium Re:Heh heh (40 comments)

Leslie Nielsen would like to have a word with you.

about a month ago
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XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Has Already Become a Best-Seller

Millennium Re:More questions (129 comments)

That's not science: it's uncontrolled historical data. Not xkcd's thing.

about a month ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

Millennium Re:This is more than a little bit naive. (712 comments)

Nothing, so long as it's driven by well-thought-out goals and done at a reasonable pace. This, by contrast is an aesthetics-driven attempt at sudden and radical change: not remotely the same thing.

about a month ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

Millennium Re:This is more than a little bit naive. (712 comments)

There is a difference between sensible environmental policy and a War on Coal. I don't think Obama is attempting to wage a War on Coal.

But it's tough to deny that some people are, in fact, trying to do this. It's that precise mentality that drives the people who want to buy it all up and shut it all down.

about a month ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

Millennium Re:This is more than a little bit naive. (712 comments)

Yes, but that's not War On Coal thinking. The WOC folks are attempting to use force to ensure that we funnel all our money into their pet technologies Right Quick (tm), and that this will quickly get us back up and running. And if it doesn't, then we'll just have to Conserve (tm).

about a month ago
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New Mozilla Encoder Improves JPEG Compression

Millennium Re:Why aren't we using PNG? (155 comments)

PNG is great for everything but actual photos, and should be used for just that: everything but photos. But photos really do need the extra boost from lossy compression.

about a month and a half ago
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Routers Pose Biggest Security Threat To Home Networks

Millennium OpenWrt? (264 comments)

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wasn't OpenWrt based on this same firmware? Or is this bug with the VxWorks-based firmware that Linksys later switched to?

about 2 months ago
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Linksys Routers Exploited By "TheMoon"

Millennium Not quite the case... (134 comments)

Even if we limit our scope to routers-as-initially-purchased, there's still one stock model that runs Linux out of the box: the WRT54GL. It was made after Linksys otherwise switched to vxWorks, in an attempt to keep a hand in the Linux market.

I've got one. I flashed it with Tomato, but it definitely came with Linux on it.

about 2 months ago
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ICANN's Cozy Relationship With the US Must End, Says EU

Millennium Re:US stewardship sucks less (193 comments)

I think you are underestimating the level of distrust there is for the US at the moment.

I don't think I am, actually. I have bent over backwards to make conciliatory gestures to the more extreme camps, pointing out at every turn that the current situation is not a good one even as I demonstrate how it remains preferable to the currently-known alternatives. I realize there is nothing I can do to satisfy the outright irrational elements out there, but where I see the possibility for reasoned discussion, I take it.

I can't really think of any entity I would trust less in the "can I trust them not to abuse this power in every way they can think of"-way (in the competence-sense, certainly).

Are you telling me that BRIC (Brazil/Russia/India/China) doesn't rush immediately to mind? Brazil and India might not be too problematic, but they're collaborating with a pair of outright dystopian regimes. The US has fallen far, but it still has a very long way to go before it would even belong in the same league as these.

As you stated, it is not like this is not deserved.

Actually, I would argue that this level isn't deserved. Like I said, there are degrees, and I pointed out why the alternatives are even less worthy of trust. When all options are bad, you go for the least terrible and fight to change it. In this case, that means the US.

about 2 months ago
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ICANN's Cozy Relationship With the US Must End, Says EU

Millennium US stewardship sucks less (193 comments)

The stewardship the US has exercised has been far from perfect, and recent years have shown it to be even worse than previously believed. But for all that, even within the context of recent revelations, it has still proven considerably less-intolerable of a steward than any other proposal yet put forward.

For all the EU's talk of Internet freedom, most nations have moved to curtail it within their own borders, and their efforts have achieved considerably more support within their borders than the corresponding efforts of the US: not a good sign. The UN-based proposals, meanwhile, are almost universally fronted by foxes seeking employment as henhouse guards, and not only does the UN lack any provisions to exclude them from this kind of power, it considers this a feature, not a bug. Allowing a body like that control over communication simply is not sane: too many foxes will hold too much of the power too much of the time. And then there is the move by the BRIC nations to set up "their own Internet," which suffers the same problems as the UN proposal, only with the the foxes enshrined permanently at the top of the heap.

With these options, what's left? The US has shown that it cannot be trusted, but there are degrees of untrustworthiness, and while the publicly-known actions of the US are inexcusable, every other nation or group that has put forth a bid to succeed it openly intends to do far worse. The US is simply the best of a bad lot, and with no other lots coming down the pipeline, I see no other solution for now.

about 2 months ago
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Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science

Millennium Re:Mixup (625 comments)

This. I'm forced to wonder: did astronomy also appear on this survey, and if it did, how many people answered that both were "sort of" scientific? I suspect that a lot of answers of this kind were a misguided attempt at compromise by people who didn't know which was which.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

Millennium Language, Not Text (876 comments)

Visual programming environments will never succeed, as long as the goal is to be "better than text". In the current attempts, one writes code with shapes and connecting lines instead of with letters and punctuation, but the linguistic concepts behind the code are still recognizable and readable. The catch is that this turns out to be a far less efficient way to encode language than text is: it's harder to write, and it's harder to read, so people inevitably gravitate back toward text, and the visual aspect is forgotten.

Does this mean visual programming is doomed? Not necessarily, but it needs to refocus its goal on something much more radical than attempts to date have really done. Current attempts try to be "better than text," and even the article here seems to advocate this approach. Instead, they need to focus on being better than language. This is where visual programming really has potential: rather than trying to replicate what text can do, it needs to focus on what text can't do.

How would something like this work? I haven't the faintest idea. I literally cannot imagine what it would be like to code without language. But a lot of concepts have emerged, even just during my own lifetime, that I could not have imagined before seeing them. Perhaps this is the same.

So there's my challenge to the "visual programming" folks. Express to me the nature of (and a possible solution to) some moderately complex problem, without using language of any sort. Manage this, and your task is largely finished: all that remains is to come up with a visual editor for encoding information in your chosen method. Do this, and you will have your revolution.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: It's 2014 -- Which New Technologies Should I Learn?

Millennium CSS/JavaScript (387 comments)

If you thought you knew CSS and JavaScript three years ago, but you haven't done much since then, relearn them. They're rapidly becoming very different beasts from what they once were.

about 3 months ago

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