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The 2014 Hugo Awards

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Informative winners list (160 comments)

If there's one thing I've learned reading all kinds of award-winning books, is that more often than not, the award is a big warning that the book is shit, or pompous, or written specifically to woo often sophisticated, pedantic jury members into giving the award.

In short, I usually go for stuff that hasn't been awarded certain kinds of awards. The Hugo certainly seems overrated these days, and has been for many years.

yesterday
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Merkel wasn't two-faced about spying on friends (168 comments)

By that logic, Germany is probably not a true friend of the US

Hardly any state is a true friend of the US these days - apart perhaps the UK, and even that is far from certain.

2 days ago
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

Rosco P. Coltrane Merkel wasn't two-faced about spying on friends (168 comments)

'Spying among friends is not at all acceptable,' Merkel said

And I doubt very much Turkey is a true friend of Germany: it's a economical, immigration and to a certain extent, religious threat to Germany - or at least perceived as such by a sizeable part of the German population. It's also a liability, as it's capable of singlehandedly dragging Germany into the huge Iraqi and middle-eastern quagmire if it starts to get involved and calls on NATO members to provide help.

Turkey just happens to be a member of NATO like Germany, is all. That doesn't make the two friends.

2 days ago
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Bottom line... (168 comments)

...nation states are always a bunch of hypocritical jerks.

Oh please, don't be disingenuous. It's been well known by everybody for decades that every state in the world spies on all the other statse, and that to a certain extent, every state spies on every one of its citizens too.

The real problem comes when a certain state is outed, and flat out lies about its domestic and international spying activities to the representants of its own people.

2 days ago
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Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Niggers. (358 comments)

Reference?

None. The librarian is dead...

4 days ago
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Researchers Discover New Plant "Language"

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Preposterous (68 comments)

Well quite: I share plenty of DNA with the missus regularly, but there ain't much conversation involved.

4 days ago
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Apple Begins Storing Chinese User Data On Servers In China

Rosco P. Coltrane Not just China (92 comments)

[...] but given China's track record with censorship and privacy, the explanation rings hollow for some skeptics.[...]

Given the United State's track record, I think the skeptics should worry about data collection at home too.

Why always focus on China when it comes to human rights and privacy issues? Just look at your own navel for a change...

about a week ago
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About Half of Kids' Learning Ability Is In Their DNA

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Standardized Testing Implications? (227 comments)

some students will intrinsically perform better

Perform better at what?

Most people have a natural talent for certain categories of things, and suck at others. That's the problem with all IQ tests, or "performance" tests: they don't take into account that there are many forms of intelligence.

about two weeks ago
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About Half of Kids' Learning Ability Is In Their DNA

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Insightful comment lost! (227 comments)

I was typing something really insightful about this and the stupid page reloaded and it all disappeared.

CTRL-R is a bitch. Can't handle a simple computer keyboard? Perhaps you're one of the "other half".

about two weeks ago
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F-Secure: Xiaomi Smartphones Do Secretly Steal Your Data

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Lately, (164 comments)

Depends: European or African thing?

about two weeks ago
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F-Secure: Xiaomi Smartphones Do Secretly Steal Your Data

Rosco P. Coltrane Why "relatively" private? (164 comments)

I want it totally private. Has the concept of privacy gotten so totally lost that people seem okay to settle for relative privacy?

By the way, the best way to keep your data private is to keep it out of your untrusted phone/computer/whatnot, and use bogus data when you need to enter something.

Exemples: use "Acme inc." as your home phone number's name in your addressbook, and nicknames for your contacts. Don't enter your full address as your home in your satnav's app but someone's address in a street close-by, etc.

about two weeks ago
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Hotel Charges Guests $500 For Bad Online Reviews

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:There are ways of posting bad reviews (183 comments)

Because the subjects of the review (the number of rooms and presence of bed, the owner being a stickler for correct bills) are peripheral to what normal would-be visitors expect to read, and that's usually enough of a clue to tip them off.

It's used all the time: when you want to tell people your business is under an NSA gag order, to clue in a potential employer they should not to hire one of your former employees who's incompetent... without saying so explicitely because you can't.

about two weeks ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:It's not that much (442 comments)

considering Miami Vice was pulling these kinds of numbers in the '80s. Granted, it was only for one actor, but still.

Yes, and if you remember, the other lead actor was paid less well because he was rather less white, and he was rather pissed off about it, understandably.

These star actors cost a lot, yes, but they also brought in a lot of money. So I suppose it was, and still is a sound investment.

about two weeks ago
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Hotel Charges Guests $500 For Bad Online Reviews

Rosco P. Coltrane There are ways of posting bad reviews (183 comments)

without posting anything bad. For instance:

- This hotel definitely has 8 rooms, and all of them have beds.
- The hotel's owner is very dedicated to ensuring your bill is correct when you leave.
- Checkout time is strictly enforced, so you're sure to find your room empty when you arrive.
- Staying at this hotel is much better than camping on a landfill.
- This hotel is much less expensive than the George V, and much more comfortable than a Texas motel.

about two weeks ago
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Planes Can Be Hacked Via Inflight Wi-fi, Says Researcher

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:In other words (151 comments)

Nah, don't worry about it. It's just some "security expert" going all dramatic on some minor vulnerability he found, to plaster his name on the front page. Anything talking of airplanes, hacking, hijacking, plays the terrorism bullshit music score, and is a surefire way of attracting media attention.

No doubt the TSA will very soon jump on the opportunity to invent some new rule to steal - sorry, confiscate - your Wifi-enabled devices at the security checkpoint too...

about two weeks ago
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Ancient Skulls Show Civilization Rose As Testosterone Fell

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Makes sense (387 comments)

I recall watching a documentary on doping in the cycling world - possibly a documentary on Lance Armstrong, I don't remember - in which they described some cyclist who had taken a course of testosterone as becoming quick-tempered and violent as a result, and in a very short time too. I guess it is true

about three weeks ago
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Driverless Buses Ruled Out For London, For Now

Rosco P. Coltrane I'm officially old I guess (84 comments)

When I was younger, I worked on speech recogntion problems - well, expert systems and neural networks in general. It was the toughest nut our team had ever been tasked to crack, and we didn't crack it.

When the man on the street perceives speech recognition to be simple - and coming from a taxi driver, that's more than a little ironic, considering they're essentially human Traveler Salesman Problem solvers - you know technology has overtaken you beyond hope.

Me, I can't stop being complete blown away by what can be achieved today. Driverless cars are almost a reality everybody can buy, yet I still vividly remember MIT experimental self-driving trucks trying to hold a straight line on a closed circuit at 1 mph!

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Create Virtual Reality 'Parties' To Treat Drug Addiction

Rosco P. Coltrane Re:Being a former drug addict, I think (47 comments)

If you think you can still be friends with addicts/users, you are mistaken. If they can't get clean, screw them, they will only pull you down.

I suppose it can work with hard drugs or alcohol - I am not, and never was, a user or either, so I'm no specialist though.

However, I AM a nicotine addict. I say nicotine and not tobacco, because I have switched to vaping as a risk mitigation strategy (and quit smoking for good as a result).

One thing I can tell you as a former smoker is, when you're hooked on tobacco, there's no escaping it. You can't avoid being with other smokers, because the smell of cigarette is everywhere. When I quit smoking, it'd only take some random guy who had just smoked outside, walking past me, reeking of cold cigarette smoke, to send me craving like there was no tomorrow.

Random guys who smell of tobacco are everywhere. You just can't escape the smell. You're constantly bombarded with reminders that, yes, you'd really REALLY want to smoke one just right now.

about three weeks ago
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"ExamSoft" Bar Exam Software Fails Law Grads

Rosco P. Coltrane Victims should sue (100 comments)

Oh wait... they haven't passed the bar yet.

about three weeks ago

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