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The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut

RazorSharp Re:This Yeti/Area-51/LochNess story just won't die (200 comments)

Your thought process here is completely backwards. NASA's goal with the space missions was to get people into space and back to earth. This was not easy and required extremely capable individuals to carry out this mission. Had NASA wanted to ensure that both men and women were sent into space in the name of equality they would have had to delay the mission for several decades. This was because of the social conditions in the United States and you can harp on how terrible that was all you want, but that was a reality that had to be dealt with at the time. In the 50s you had a woman here or there who stood out at something or the other, but I sincerely doubt they could have found one who both met all the qualifications required of the program and also wanted to participate. This was only thirty years after women had acquired the right to vote. There weren't many (any) female military trained pilots who were also accomplished engineers and were in near perfect physical condition. Not even Jerrie Cobb. It's not because women lacked the potential, it's because society was not yet structured in such a way that they could realize that potential.

You can call 1950s American society sexist and you'd be right. Of course, no one would care and there's nothing controversial about that statement. Calling NASA sexist for existing in the 1950s is just dumb.

3 days ago
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The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut

RazorSharp Re:All about perception (200 comments)

You're being pedantic. The statement "men can run faster than women" has implicit meanings which you are ignoring -- namely that the best male runners will always outperform the best female runners. This is demonstrated empirically every four years with the summer olympics.

I agree with some of the sentiments of your original post -- there's a huge variation in the human population and we should be careful to be aware of this so we don't presume in favor of the average (lefties know how that feels); but I think we also have a tendency to go in the opposite direction in the name of equality and use outliers to represent the whole when they clearly do not.

3 days ago
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Microsoft Gearing Up To Release a Smartwatch of Its Own

RazorSharp Re:I can already see it (171 comments)

And of course it runs Office using voice-recognition dictation.

3 days ago
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2014 Nobel Prize In Physics Awarded To the Inventors of the Blue LED

RazorSharp Re:"LEDs contribute to saving the Earth's resource (243 comments)

The key part of the phrase which is so often overlooked in "laws/effects/rules" such as this is "tends to." I think that LEDs replacing CFLs is one of those cases that would clearly be an exception to this rule. I'm not going to light up my house like a Christmas tree because LEDs have some efficiency gains over CFLs.

The argument that an increase in lighting efficiency would increase the demand for lighting just doesn't make sense in a society where no one is deprived of lighting because it's outside of their means. The efficiency gains of using LEDs aren't so great that my electric bill is going to significantly drop -- but they are great enough that total electricity consumption throughout the country will (which would mean less coal burned).

From the article you linked:

This argument is usually presented as a reason not to impose environmental policies, or to increase fuel efficiency (e.g. if cars are more efficient, it will simply lead to more driving).[7][8] Several points have been raised against this argument. First, in the context of a mature market such as for oil in developed countries, the direct rebound effect is usually small, and so increased fuel efficiency usually reduces resource use, other conditions remaining constant.[6][9][10] Second, even if increased efficiency does not reduce the total amount of fuel used, there remain other benefits associated with improved efficiency.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

RazorSharp Re:Microsoft can now kill Java (330 comments)

Microsoft was still the second largest developer of software for Mac

I think that statements like this are funny. It's so ambiguous that it's meaningless without more specifics. Do you mean second largest company that develops software for Mac? The company that develops the second most amount of software for Mac? The company that has the second most amount of Mac developers? Or the company that makes the second most amount of money by selling Mac software?

It really puts into perspective how dependent Microsoft is on Office. If they dropped Office for Mac it would probably accelerate the death of Office and destroy one of the key pillars to their business. They don't develop Office for Mac because there's money to be made in that market, as your post implies. As a software company, they could be making software for iOS if that was how they operated. Office for Mac still exists because it's necessary to keep Office alive. It's the same reason that they didn't make Skype exclusive to Windows when they bought it--making Skype a Windows exclusive would kill it.

about a month ago
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L.A. Times National Security Reporter Cleared Stories With CIA Before Publishing

RazorSharp Re:A little scary (188 comments)

The government (when it's law abiding) doesn't get to target people just because they don't like what they are saying.

1) I argued the exact opposite of this. The Tea Party people made themselves targets by what they said, yes, but that's not unreasonable. If you started a group called "The Timothy McVeigh Foundation" it wouldn't be unreasonable for the FBI to investigate this group.

2) Neither the First nor Fourth Amendment rights of the Tea Party organization were violated by the IRS. They scrutinized a group that warranted scrutiny. They didn't kick in any doors or censor anyone.

about a month and a half ago
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AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

RazorSharp Not what their website said (533 comments)

On their websites they tried to encourage users to pay for the higher speed connections by saying they provide the speeds necessary for streaming video, video conferencing, and video games.

Interestingly enough, I checked to make sure I wasn't putting my foot in my mouth and it appears AT&T changed the way they advertise broadband on their site. I guess they were smart enough to change it so they don't look like giant hypocrites but that's clearly the way they had it set up less than a year ago when I was shopping around for an ISP. It now shows all the tiers and how many seconds it takes for "YouTube, MP3, Video" but it previously showed the lower tier and gave examples of what it could do (Facebook, browse basic internet sites), then the middle tier (stream music, YouTube), and the high tier (video chat, video games, stream HD content). It was a load of shit b/c you could do all those high tier things with the middle tier and probably even the low tier, but I find it interesting they've changed their tune.

about a month and a half ago
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L.A. Times National Security Reporter Cleared Stories With CIA Before Publishing

RazorSharp Re:A little scary (188 comments)

I don't think the IRS was looking at it from a partisan point of view and I doubt the president's administration had anything to do with it. When a group vociferously decries taxes and names themselves after an anti-tax insurrection, it only makes sense that the IRS would scrutinize them. It's no different than if the ATF were to scrutinize the NRA. I'm sure the NRA would love it, just as the Tea Party loves the IRS "scandal." It gives them an excuse to play the victim card and make a lot of noise in the press.

about a month and a half ago
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Of the following, I'd rather play ...

RazorSharp Euchre (274 comments)

I'm from the midwest you insensitive clod!

And why's checkers listed? Might as well list tick-tack-toe or Connect Four. Games that result in a stalemate 100% of the time when the players are competent aren't exactly nerd games.

about 2 months ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

RazorSharp Re:let me correct that for you. (619 comments)

I don't think he was trying to ignore the "icky parts." His point was that this whole study/article fails to acknowledge the nuance behind the word "socialism." Calling West Germany capitalist and East Germany socialist is an incorrect simplification that reeks of bias and circular logic (in fact, the study's abstract so obviously demonstrated this I felt no need to read further. . .then did anyway to confirm my assumptions).

There are obvious flaws with the study:

1) The jump associating the results of west Germans/east Germans to capitalists/socialists. They had a couple hundred participants, hardly enough to even be conclusive about just the attitudes of Germans, yet they still make this jump.

2) Considering the small sample size, it's likely that increasing the sample size will regress the results towards the mean. Perhaps that means that east Germans are even more likely to cheat, but that's irrelevant. The point is that the study isn't comprehensive enough to be conclusive.

Using an abstract die-rolling task, we found evidence that East Germans who were exposed to socialism cheat more than West Germans who were exposed to capitalism.

To me this sentence really highlights what shoddy scientists these guys are. Of course, they're sociologists, so I guess that's to be expected. I could probably rip the methodology apart, too, but that'd be a waste of time.

about 3 months ago
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Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

RazorSharp Re:But people forget what MENSA concluded (561 comments)

While I find your comments interesting and I think there's some truth in there, I think it's ridiculous to assert that all intelligent people should be tinkerers, builders, and tech-oriented. I think one of the reasons that we have so many idiots in management and politics is that when a kid is good at math we steer them toward engineering whether it's something they actually enjoy or not. One of the most appealing things about non-engineering fields to a lot of people is that they can side-step intense math courses. For instance, I was appalled to learn that my girlfriend's nursing program required no more than a basic algebra course and bio/chemistry 101. After that pretty much everything was nursing specific like A&P and pharmaceuticals.

Mathematics is a pure logical exercise that has value beyond working with numbers.

if you have an IQ of 150-170 and are not doing your own research or tinkering to come up with something new, you are wasting your brain.

Perhaps this falls under the "something new" category, but Michael Crichton wrote some pretty damn good books and he went to Harvard Medical School. Neil deGrasse Tyson is pretty brilliant and his main occupation is that of a pop figure who teaches and evangelizes science. Nate Silver uses his intelligence to predict the outcomes of sporting events. Okay, maybe that last one wasn't the greatest example.

My point is that it would greatly benefit society if companies were run by people who understood more than ROI, if politicians did more than play a social game with one another, and if educators weren't limited to their speciality. I can understand wagging the finger at those who don't contribute to society, but I interpreted your post as saying that contributing to technology and industry is the only way.

I think IQ is an irrelevant measurement. When it comes to mathematics, I think it's a failure of our education system that we allow students to graduate (both high school and college) without a strong foundation in that subject. The same goes for biology and chemistry. Every day I'm confronted by people who believe the most inane things because they don't have a basic understanding of biology or chemistry. But now I'm just ranting.

about 4 months ago
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Turing Test Passed

RazorSharp Poor Turing (432 comments)

It's a shame this is what he's most remembered for. He was brilliant but his "test" was incorrect. I doubt he would still support it as a standard of true AI if he were alive today, able to see our modern computers and the massive amounts of data they can hurl around. Perhaps it's possible to create a conscious machine but I don't think that Eugene Goostman is one.

Perhaps a better standard would be an intelligence that makes decisions of its own choosing -- basically, one that can defy the constraints of its programming and have an original will. I guess that's a bit harder to unambiguously define. Something like Neuromancer/Wintermute.

about 4 months ago
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HR Chief: Google Sexual, Racial Diversity "Not Where We Want to Be"

RazorSharp Re:Who gives a shit? (593 comments)

Can they do magic, too?

Where do you connect wealth, power, and presence with the ability to draw more women into the IT pool? How would you respond if someone tried to convince you to become a nurse because "there aren't enough men in nursing"? Furthermore, why is it Google's responsibility to get women involved in IT?

about 5 months ago
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Microsoft Office Mix: No-Teacher-Left-Behind Course Authoring

RazorSharp Re:The problem isn't PowerPoint itself (27 comments)

Perhaps I've just never seen these amazingly compelling PowerPoint presentations, but I'm going to have to disagree with you there. At least HyperCard had Myst -- I've yet to see a PowerPoint that comes close to that.

Just to make sure I wasn't sticking my foot in my mouth, I even YouTubed "Amazing PowerPoint Presentations" and I didn't find anything interesting. I find the super-animated artsy PowerPoints to be more annoying than the boring, static, bullet-list crap my boss slaps together. Our customers want to be wowed by numbers, statistics, and a few pictures. They couldn't care less about how artsy the PowerPoint is.

I think that's the flaw in the point you're trying to make, and especially with your Word analogy. When writing a story in Word, the story is the product and it must be polished and ready to be published with minimal changes. PowerPoint presentations are a way to communicate ideas; a super-duper-polished PowerPoint, in most cases, represents a poor use of one's time as it's an inefficient way to communicate ideas.

about 5 months ago
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Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

RazorSharp Re:Toyota is another EV hater! (462 comments)

Toyota believes (foolishly) that the future is hydrogen...

It should be. It's unfortunate that attitudes such as yours and the electric car hype may prevent it from being so.

about 5 months ago
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Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

RazorSharp Re:I blame bad design (462 comments)

I live in the midwest and our electricity primarily comes from coal. Unlike gasoline cars, burning coal emits mercury, which then falls into rivers and lakes, and is then absorbed by aquatic plants that are then consumed by fish, which are then consumed by eagles, bears, and people. Because the mercury stays in the organism until its death/decomposition, the animals higher on the food chain end up with higher and higher amounts of mercury than the organisms they consume. The ecological damage of coal goes beyond the greenhouse gasses.

We don't have smog in most places around here. Plus, we have roads that are real fun to drive on.

See why this idea horrifies me?

This is one of the problems with the utilitarian model. People in the big cities have this or that problem and then the country folk have to suffer because population-wise, we're the minority. Our problems are different and we generally require less regulation rather than more.

I get that there are good intentions behind the regulation, but I don't think this is the way to do it. If California wants to get the ball rolling on green energy and reduce smog then they should invest more into hydrogen fill stations, push bivalent hydrogen cars, and build more trains. I see a future of electric cars as just another problem -- it could massively increase energy costs, possibly cause supply problems (leading to more coal burning) and, hell, they're no fun to drive.

about 5 months ago
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AT&T Hacker 'weev' Demands One Bitcoin For Each Hour He Spent In Jail

RazorSharp Re:Clearly they've broken him and... (449 comments)

Of course if you push for this, there are a ton of right-wing lunatics that will embarrass themselves by calling you "a bleeding-heart liberal." It's hard to reform society when many terrible people vote.

Well, your suggestion is pretty ridiculous and it does sound like a very bleeding-heart liberal thing to say. Personally, I'd probably fail a "psychological compassion test" but I'm still pragmatic enough to realize that our current prison system is a terrible way to deal with criminals and does nothing to reform them. Your solution is very micro and does nothing to change the overall structure of the prison system. It also doesn't do anything to cull the prevalence of sociopaths among prison guards -- a defining characteristic of sociopaths is that they're pretty good liars (lying is easy when you lack a conscience), which makes subverting a "psychological compassion test" pretty easy for them when they realize what they're being tested for.

A macro solution would be removing private industry from the prison system so prisoners aren't merely livestock for a company that lobbies to incarcerate more and more people. Turn prisons into educational facilities rather than controlled housing facilities that sometimes offer bits of education. Reduce prison populations by legalizing marijuana, improving public education, and get rid of prison sentences for most non-violent crimes.

About the only thing psychology is good for is advertising. It's an embarrassment to science.

about 5 months ago
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Cisco Complains To Obama About NSA Adding Spyware To Routers

RazorSharp Re:Why bother with tricks? (297 comments)

It doesn't matter whether it's legal or not legal anymore, it only matters if you have more firepower (legal, political, or otherwise) than they do.

Anymore? This is the way it's always been. The good old Catch-22.

about 5 months ago
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The Fight To Uncover Spyware Exports To Repressive Regimes

RazorSharp Glass Houses (36 comments)

It is supposed to benefit law enforcement in their investigations, but has allegedly been found in various nations with poor human rights records, including Bahrain and Ethiopia.

So is it only a problem when repressive regimes use surveillance software to oppress their population? When first world nations use such software, they're also violating the rights of their citizens. Just because it "benefits law enforcement" doesn't excuse its existence. Parallel construction also benefits law enforcement.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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Wozniak Discusses Technology

RazorSharp RazorSharp writes  |  more than 3 years ago

RazorSharp (1418697) writes "Woz speaks of the digital age and where it may be taking us. CNN tries to throw a distopian spin on his words with a rather sensational headline: Steve Wozniak: "We've lost a lot of control." But this is no Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" as the headline implies; it's just Woz, as usual, speaking his mind on various tech subjects."
Link to Original Source

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