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A Corporate War Against a Scientist, and How He Fought Back

Viceroy Potatohead Atrazine (253 comments)

I used to farm... A bit of information that's kind of interesting about atrazine. Locally, at least, it was only ever used on corn, and would pretty much wipe anything else out. It's residual effects are pretty striking, and if we sprayed it on a field of corn, then corn would be the only thing that would grow on the field the next year as well. Anecdotally, I've known some farmers who could only grow corn for *five years* on land that had been sprayed too heavily. It pretty much made the ground sterile for anything else.

I'm off to boycott... FUCK BETA

about a year ago

Leonard Nimoy: Smoking Is Illogical

Viceroy Potatohead Re: Seriously - GTFO (401 comments)

What gets my eyes rolling the most is this sort of thing:

To those still smoking and in the grips of marketing induced denial...

It really indicates how stupid the writer thinks everyone else is, that despite an endless barrage of information about the deleterious effects of smoking from family, friends, doctors, news programs, newspapers, magazines, sitcoms, movies, cartoons, graffiti, puppet shows, and government literature that somehow the little indirect marketing (tenuously through movies and TV) somehow overrides our ability to make an actual informed decision.

"Denial" is used as a weaselly way to undermine any volitional behaviour which a writer personally disagrees with, and is then used as a justification for maintaining their belief regardless of claims to the contrary.

Personally, I quit and am happy as hell that I did. That doesn't mean I was unaware of the effects, or romanticized smoking, or didn't enjoy it. I did enjoy it, and immediate gratification seemed a fair trade off for the inevitable future outcome. It was a personal/philosophical value decision, and it was no worse than the position I hold now, it's just not the position I happen to hold any more.


about a year ago

Iran Tests Naval Cruise Missile During War Games

Viceroy Potatohead Re:The US navy is a floating death trap (547 comments)

Turn an asset on and lose it. Leave it off and lose it anyway as it is picked out by satellites and surveillance air. We will have all of the battlefield intelligence, all of the command and control, huge technological advantages, and overwhelming military force. Week's three and four will be the ground war, which may not conclude by week four but which will have defeated Iran's army in detail by week four. Mopping up may take another two to four weeks

(I know I'm late to this conversation, but FFS.) I see you've been to Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq? Sarcasm aside, you've spent billions of dollars bullying and then killing people who are just saying "we'll push back" for your own juvenile sensibilities. Tell you what. That works in a lot of countries. Hell, I suspect you could take N. Korea that way. Considerably easier. Not Iran. Iran might be dipshit radically anti-Israel, but it's a country that could probably take (individually) both Afghanistan and Vietnam (unlike you), and make it work in both cases. If you're a 10 tech wise, Iran is a 2, Iraq doesn't even rate. If You're a 6 friend wise, Iran is an 8. Capital, tech, and materiel would flow into Iran, from India, China, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, every Middle East country, several European countries. You are talking about fucking up a country as respected and advanced as India. Sure, they have shitty leadership, but most nations do. Yours does. Mine does. They would be harder to control than Vietnam.

As long as we don't try to occupy a defeated Iran and fight the war into the hills, we could eliminate their military and get out in no time, and leave their internal political structure in shambles if not destroyed.

That is exactly the problem. You HAVE TO DO THAT. If not, you have well funded, technologically competent rogue actors at a level Al-Qaida never had. You still face the same problem. Cheap attack vessels capable of fucking p the Strait, but now without central actors. Now coming from Oman, Yemen, UAE, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan.... etc....

On the other hand -- everybody else wants this war. I mean everybody. Count the number of people who gain advantage -- and I mean $100B and up advantage -- from this war. Pretty big list, right? In the NYT today, there it is, congress seeking to cut a half trillion to a trillion from the pentagon budget over ten years. How long would another war stretch that out? Indefinitely? How much money is that a year? Oooo, a lot. Then there is Israel (really wants the war and may use espionage and subterfuge to provoke it). The apocalyptic Christians (no armageddon without rivers of blood, Jesus can't come back until we start up something big involving Israel). Obama (can he really leave Iran and Korea as unfinished business going into this election? And nobody wants to tackle Korea, as they have real missiles and NUKES). Oil companies. Democrats (want to raise taxes). Republicans (want to protect their military-industrial buddies). CNN. The generals (out of Iraq and Afghanistan, about to be made irrelevant again). Our Sunni allies hate and fear the Shia, especially Shia armed with nukes.

A) you just argued against the Geneva conventions. B) if by everybody, you mean American and Israeli profiteers, cheers, but that ain't everybody. C) you callous fuck. There are people that could use that "ooooo" half a trillion to keep from having their hard work of generations get fucked up by insane market profiteers, ghettos that would no longer be ghettos, a good chunk of universal health care and universal post secondary education. That's fucked up. Fix your own backward country up first, before trying to fix theirs, yours is in worse shape. Iran doesn't want you parking warships off it's SOVEREIGN coast, especially backed by a government that refuses diplomatic ties, refers to it as the enemy, and promotes a cultural and media dialogue that they're the enemy. I don't blame them. Which ship will be the Maddox this time, I wonder?
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about 3 years ago

Netflix CEO Hesitant To Fight Cable

Viceroy Potatohead Re:"Just sue 'em" is not a useful answer (366 comments)

Lawsuits take years to accomplish and it's not uncommon for the injured party to go bankrupt before a verdict can be rendered.

Yeah, just look at SCO! [ducks]

more than 3 years ago

23,000 File Sharers Targeted In Latest Lawsuit

Viceroy Potatohead Re:Not identifying the downloader is irrellevant (386 comments)

That doesn't quite work either. It's more like my kid singing "Happy Birthday" at a party, and me facing criminal charges because I was the one who probably taught him how to sing it. The absurdity of copyright laws are stunning.

more than 3 years ago

NYTimes On Dealings With Assange

Viceroy Potatohead Ahh, character assassination (221 comments)

That was what we were taught - the lower classes smell. And here, obviously, you are at an impassable barrier. For no feeling of like or dislike is quite so fundamentalas a physical feeling. Race hatred, religious hatred, differences of education, of temperament, of intellect, even differences of moral code, can be got over; but physical repulsion cannot.

Orwell, in The Road to Wigan Pier

more than 3 years ago

Your Face Will Soon Be In Facebook Ads

Viceroy Potatohead Bah! (344 comments)

I'm not too worried about this. They can only do it once, then all my friends will de-friend me because they think I like Starbucks.

more than 3 years ago

The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too

Viceroy Potatohead Re:Hypothetical Article (250 comments)

Is it good enough to use my pseudonym? I completely agree with him. LSD is a wonderful and extremely useful drug, and I'm glad to have used it in the past. IRL I have no problem telling people that I've tripped on LSD, either. Since you can't attack the message, you attack the messenger.

about 4 years ago

White House Pressuring Registrars To Block Sites

Viceroy Potatohead Re:Change we can believe in (569 comments)

I don't think fascism fits exactly, either. It's the furthest thing from socialism, though. The Soviets were state capitalists, at least after Stalin came in, and likely before then. That leads a lot of Americans raised in the Cold War zeitgeist to view government control as socialism. Socialism definitionally means that the workers are in control, not capital and its holders, and not government. Socialism is an orthogonal concept to government, just as capitalism is. The closest political concept to socialism would be democracy. Oligarchal Collectivism is a better term for both the Nazis, the corporatist politics of the US, and to a lesser extent, the USSR. In a way, it's feudalism mixed with absurd levels of demagoguery. Orwell chose a good name when he called Goldstein's book "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchal Collectivism".

If in practice, you only have two virtually identical parties to vote for, or in practice only one in ten million people can come from a position of no capital to having their individual say affect policy, you don't have democracy, you have some form of oligarchy.

more than 4 years ago

Oxford Dictionary Considers Going Online Only

Viceroy Potatohead Re:Resist the urge! (153 comments)

but you're trying to tell me the math majors lust after a dictionary?

Maybe, or maybe he's trying to say that the maths majors lust after them. I'll have to check my dictionary.

more than 4 years ago

First Superbugs, Now Superweeds

Viceroy Potatohead Re:Thoughts from a real farmer (435 comments)

I'm also a farmer...went back to it after trying programming and hvac controls for a few years. Used to be considered a large farm, but now probably mid-sized (7000 acres at the high point when I was farming with family). I completely agree with all your points. There is a lot of naivete around this issue which looks quite ignorant from those of us who work in the field (pun intended). The hate-on for Monsanto is largely misplaced, IMO. The way farming was done before roundup became so prevalent was much worse. The environmental costs of the fuel and wear and tear on machinery cultivating out (for instance) quack grass, the economic costs of summer fallowing, the use of chemicals which were far, far, far more noxious than Roundup could ever be made for both less environmental and less economically valuable farming. There are many problems with Monsanto, BASF, and basically any of the seed suppliers or chemical companies, such as the IP issues or breeders rights. Roundup resistant weeds is not an issue. There are other chemicals to deal with that if needed. Roundup resistant broadleafs? Just use 2-4D or MCPA. They've been around forever. They're more toxic than Roundup, but they're not particularly bad. Roundup has drastically reduced the amount of toxic chemicals we spray on our land, and GMO strains of seed tend to make for more efficient, less energy consuming, and less chemically toxic farming. I've been drenched (and swallowed) more Roundup in a day than any thousand people will come in contact with in their lives. Sure we could go back to a mythological, pastoral past, but I don't see that happening. And I know I wouldn't want it, nor would anybody who actually understands the crushing labour it entails. If someone wants me to become an organic farmer, sure, I'll do it. But I'm not carrying the cost. Give me a few hundred thousand a year to offset the (inevitable) loss of profits from organic farming, and I'll be all over it. The sky is not falling over Roundup resistant weeds, and it seems silly to me how some people think it is.

more than 4 years ago

Appeals Court Rules On Internet Obscenity Standards

Viceroy Potatohead Which community... (697 comments)

...is the strictest, though?

I've read radical feminists who would view pretty much any diamond, alcohol, or shampoo commercial I've ever seen as obscenity. Hell, there's an article online (ICBATG) about the Firefly episode "Mrs. Reynolds" by some wingnut (Allecto, IIRC), which talks about it portraying homoeroticism, advocating misogyny, and showing sexual slavery positively/jokingly. I'm quite sure she'd find Firefly obscene.

The problem (well one of them) is that the 'strictest community' is inevitably going to be radical to some degree, and not representative of the larger community. That's pretty much tautological. They'll be a group more interested in changing the mores of society than in actually addressing the individual instance of a crime.

For the fun of it:
One of my favourite Bradbury lines: in Usher II from the Martian Chronicles

more than 4 years ago

Court of Appeals Rejects FCC's Cable Subscriber Cap

Viceroy Potatohead Re:Ambigious Emotions (87 comments)

If you're uncertain, maybe it was both?

Seriously though, the only time cable hasn't had "undue control on the programming pipeline" in my area was when it only offered about eight channels, and the rabbit ear option picked up five. We're thirty years past that point, though. I suppose satellite TV is cheap enough now, but it's not ubiquitous enough to say cable has lost that control, IMO.

more than 5 years ago

My sense of direction is ...

Viceroy Potatohead Re:Lake Wobegon Effect (520 comments)

So while I agree that many may be overestimating their abilities, /. probably does have a crowd with a higher overall (or at least technical/logical) skill set. How many laborers or unskilled factory workers do you think read /.?

I think it's more likely to work the other way, actually. Manipulating material and tools all day would probably hone one's spatial reasoning far more than dealing with abstract or logical problems. I just got back from a 600 mile solo kayak trip in NW Manitoba a couple of weeks ago, and I only looked at my compass 6 times, twice to set magnetic north, and four times to double check what I already knew. I think growing up on a farm fixing engines, welding broken machinery, or inventing machinery modifications probably did a lot more for my sense of direction and spatial reasoning than calculus, PERL programming, or any other strictly rational activity.

more than 5 years ago

Parents Baffled By Science Questions

Viceroy Potatohead Re:People definitely neglect science... (656 comments)

Honestly... I think people who know a lot of science are probably the biggest problem with science education.

I can't remember the exact quote, but in "Down and Out..." Orwell says something like:

"Socialists, like Christians, are generally the worst advertisements for their beliefs"

It's probably true for most people who primarily identify themselves by a shared group belief, really.

more than 5 years ago

Who is your favorite fictional doctor?

Viceroy Potatohead I like this poll. (860 comments)

The poll left out my favourite doctor, though: Granny Weatherwax. I occasionally ask people whom I meet who their favourite fictional character is, and often find out interesting things about them that way. I think it's a better question to ask, compatibility-wise and conversationally, than favourite music or movie type questions. It lets you know more about what personal traits they like or are interested in.

more than 5 years ago

Pixar's Next Three Films Will Be Sequels

Viceroy Potatohead Sheesh. (379 comments)

No, you shouldn't be worried.

Just as the Ubuntocalypse (which occurs after the Zealous Zebra release) is a constant worry for us all, there are only about four unused Toy Story names, which would mean Debian will run out of names in 2138. A third Toy Story movie should give us about five hundred more years of Debian release names.

By that time, the "Toy Story" branch of releases will enter "Testing", and "The Incredibles" branch of releases (based on dozens of movie sequels) will become the "Experimental" branch. This should last until the heat death of the universe, at which point all Debian releases will be classified as "Stable".

more than 5 years ago

Small Nuclear Power Plants To Dot the Arctic Circle

Viceroy Potatohead This is a great idea. (255 comments)

I don't care what anyone says, this is a great idea. Hopefully, in the near future, a radioactive snowflake will come dive-bombing from the sky and bite me. I always wanted to be ICEMAN!!!

That would be cool.

more than 5 years ago

Chinese Subvert Censorship With a Popular Pun

Viceroy Potatohead Re:More proof of lack of Chinese innovation (272 comments)

Yeah, but unfortunately her best album "Arr!... I Did It Again" never made it to the top twenty. Her second album: "...Lubber One More Time" was even less successful. Sad but true.

more than 5 years ago

3-Man Team Begins Ice-Survey Trek To the North Pole

Viceroy Potatohead Re:7.777777777 miles per day (137 comments)

That's probably not a bad average speed for travel on foot, really. I go on extended canoe and kayak trips, and although I've had days where I've covered over fifty miles, most days of travel are only about 25 miles. The average is only about 15-18 miles/day, though. Occasional rest days, bad wind/water days, fishing days, "too much rain" days etc usually make up about 25% of total days. My longest so far is only 40 days, and I think I'd be purposely slowing myself even more so I wouldn't get fatigued for a 90 day trip.

Wind, whiteout, gear repair, and rest days would have to be assumed for their terrain, I think. 7.8 miles a day average seems totally reasonable. Considering it's a 90 day average, maybe even slightly optimistic. It's nearly 1/3 of a marathon/day over ice and snow (pulling hundreds of pounds), every day, for 90 days.

more than 5 years ago


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