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Comments

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New Russian Weapon Hides In Shipping Container

Watson Ladd Re:Taking out capital ships? (618 comments)

Plus splitting up warheads, and radar jamming. This can get fun fast. Also popping up then smashing down on the deck would force the system to aim vertically up, which it can't do.

more than 3 years ago
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Backdoor Malware Targets Apple iPad

Watson Ladd Re:Wrong wrong wrong... (196 comments)

By making it very obvious which end is dangerous. The fact that executables cannot effectively be sandboxed is a major limitation of the Unix based operating system. All the OS does is protect users from each other. We need to move to a model where the user is protected from code he hasn't written.

more than 3 years ago
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PowerPoint of Afghan War Strategy

Watson Ladd Re:I know that slide... (233 comments)

The arrows don't come with information showing what the effect is, or how it is produced. As a result it is an incomprehensible mess. By color-coding and adding titles over regions of the infographic, important stuff is obscured.

more than 3 years ago
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PowerPoint of Afghan War Strategy

Watson Ladd Re:Not bullet-izable (233 comments)

The problem is that Powerpoint encourages a decision making process based entirely on the content of the slides, rather then an examination of the information. Going to a PowerPoint presentation leaves you with enough knowledge to be dangerous.

more than 3 years ago
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Narus Develops Social Media Sleuth

Watson Ladd Re:scare tactics (96 comments)

So what you are saying is that because people realize that they had nothing to do with their intelligence and therefore the benefits that accrue to them from it are in some sense not deserved, they should be reeducated? Or that in a world where half a billion people starved a few years in the midst of record harvests, to say that this is wrong can only come from ignorance? Should the children of ex-Nazis not have felt guilty about living in a society run by the same people as in the 1930's and 1940's? The idea that any kind of feeling for ones fellow man is the result of ignorance, that the highest expression of man's potential is greed and gluttony should strike us as a failure to know what the highest pleasures are and as an acute failure of the moral sense.

more than 4 years ago
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Why the IRS Should Automatically Fill In Returns With What It Knows

Watson Ladd Re:Fair Tax (613 comments)

Because of deadweight loss.

more than 4 years ago
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Why the IRS Should Automatically Fill In Returns With What It Knows

Watson Ladd Re:We've had that for years in Norway (613 comments)

This is a state that got burned badly when the Nazi's came and used the records. Now they have very strict laws on how to handle it. I would not be surprised if the contingency plans include destroying every record when invaded, to make a real mess for the occupying power.

more than 4 years ago
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Did the US Take the Back Seat In Science In 2009?

Watson Ladd Re:In a modern, globalised world (502 comments)

Why wouldn't the US company make the discovery in the US and outsource the actual production to China?

more than 4 years ago
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Cuba Jails US Worker Handing Out Laptops, Cellphones

Watson Ladd Re:We dissent here all the time!! (400 comments)

He was an employee of the United States government. Working for a foreign government in the United States subjects you to a lot of restrictions also.

more than 4 years ago
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Cuba Jails US Worker Handing Out Laptops, Cellphones

Watson Ladd Re:Embargo fails. (400 comments)

Would you rather be a random Chinese citizen or a random Cuban citizen?

more than 4 years ago
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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics

Watson Ladd Re:Brave New World (334 comments)

Except that drugs are not created to treat "problem children". And what do you mean by "problem children"? Are we talking about children who want to go to school but happen to be Afghan girls? Children who, due to lack of regular attention and interest by parents act out to get their attention? Children who are shunted from relative to relative when their parents can't pay the rent or feed all of them, and so suffer from attachment issues? Psychological disorders have causes which are known. The way to control problem children is to avoid making children problems.

more than 4 years ago
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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics

Watson Ladd Re:Confounding Variables (334 comments)

So how on earth would eliminating medicare improve the quality of mental health services given to the poor?

more than 4 years ago
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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics

Watson Ladd Re:Healtscare system.. (334 comments)

No it would not. At least Medicare covers psychotherapy. If the insurer only covers drugs, well, that's what gets used.

more than 4 years ago
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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics

Watson Ladd Re:Information outside of your expertise is danger (334 comments)

So you are saying that if the US healthcare system kicked the poor out onto the streets if they had mental illness, it would be better? Ignoring that this usually happens anyways in the case of schizophrenics...

more than 4 years ago
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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics

Watson Ladd Re:Information outside of your expertise is danger (334 comments)

I'm sorry, but medication does nothing for mental illness. The idea that using a drug like Alprazolam to control the symptoms of a phobia is better then using therapy to permanently eliminate the phobia with no chemical dependency is simply wrong. Xanax has a place: controlling an occasional phobia that probably isn't worth the cost of psychotherapy to eliminate. But use it regularly and you are physically dependent on it. The whole idea of mental disease processes is in many cases also fundamentally questionable, given the way that mental diseases are by definition deviations from accepted behavior. Psychologists should be solving what the patient thinks are problems, not what the people around them are thinking are problems. (within boundaries: clearly a suicidal individual should be helped, and if that takes Prozac to accomplish as a bridge, then that's fine) The difficult case is schizophrenia: easy to find, but the patient doesn't think they have a problem. Solution: deal with the issues that they have, like being unable to work. But then you look at things like bogus diagnoses of bipolar disorder in normal teenagers and wonder who the hell forgot that unless the patient says they have a problem, they probably don't.

more than 4 years ago
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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics

Watson Ladd Re:Perhaps (334 comments)

If everyone had the same environment then all variation would be genetic. I would argue the psychological effects of growing up in a dangerous neighborhood with barely enough food, moving from relative to relative, and being viewed as a failure by the rest of society would have a rather large negative effect.

more than 4 years ago
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The Science Credibility Bubble

Watson Ladd Re:Open source (1747 comments)

Congratulations! You just discovered that the sphere is a PITA to smooth over with data in Lat-Long format.

more than 4 years ago
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The Science Credibility Bubble

Watson Ladd Re:What (1747 comments)

Science will never deliver answers on the meaning of life, how man should live morally, what justice is, etc. But it will tell you how to make machines that can destroy tumors with beams of radiation, reach the moon, determine the composition of the core of the Earth, destroy diseases with literally nothing more then the root cause slightly modified. Mold society? Only because they see a threat which, if left unchecked, could launch a tide of refugees numbering in the millions, destroy the remaining coral reefs. It doesn't matter if deindustrialization, carbon taxes, or cap and trade prevent this from happening. Scientists are indifferent to the details, but want only to see this threat addressed.

more than 4 years ago
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The Science Credibility Bubble

Watson Ladd Re:Ummm. No. (1747 comments)

That's not been true for at least 70 years. Read Lakatos to see that math is an experimental science where the theories are always tautological!

more than 4 years ago
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The Science Credibility Bubble

Watson Ladd Re:Math is now a science? (1747 comments)

The longer you wait, the steeper the maximum decline that is required. Have you filled a bathtub lately?

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Bruce Sterling's The Caryatids

Watson Ladd Watson Ladd writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Watson Ladd (955755) writes "I just got my hands on a copy of Bruce Sterling's latest, The Caryatids. Bruce Sterling is an amazing short story author, but his characterizations and plot fall short of the demands of the novel, making The Caryatids ultimately unsatisfying. The vision of a world run amok is panoramic in scale, but an additional 100 pages would have been well used to tie the plot together.

The titular characters are clones of the wife of a Balkan warlord. Seven were born, but in the chaos of war only four survived, each one picking a different role. They each have enormous hatred for each other, but the origins of this hatred are not explained. Given Sterling's inability to create narrative interest in his characters this is probably a good thing. However, his depictions of this hatred are melodramatic and do not fit with the personalities of the Caryatids.

The book is divided into three chapters, each from the life of one of the four sisters. Each chapter takes place in a different one of the world powers: the Acquis devoted to building a bright new future, the Dispensation devoted to spectacle and manipulated by a shallow ruling class, and China, the last surviving nation state. Each chapter is a portrait of life in the respective society, followed by action advancing the main plot.

Technological marvels are the main draw of any Sterling work, and they are here in spades. From neural interfaces to lightbulbs that make flesh transparent little of this is new, but the social reactions to technological change are equal parts geek and Luddite. Indeed, there is little wrong with Sterling's depiction of the world, modulo the convolutions his characters go through to support the plot.

The main plot is the scheming of a man known as Montalban to bring the Caryatids together. But why this is necessary, or what happens afterward, is never really discussed. The Epilogue offers more questions then answers, and many characters vanish, despite having been promised major roles. The plot introduces so many subplots in need of resolution that the publisher could have titled the book Six Novels in Search of an Author.

Anyone looking for unity of form or a deep novel of ideas should look elsewhere. But for all its flaws The Caryatids is fun to read."
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Watson Ladd Watson Ladd writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Watson Ladd (955755) writes "A bill has been introduced in the house of representatives that would end the warrantless spying on Americans that the NSA has been performing, and make it clear that FISA or the normal warrant process are the sole means through which electronic surveillance may be authorized. The NSA Oversight Act was introduced on January 4, 2007 and is currently stuck in committee."
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Watson Ladd Watson Ladd writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Watson Ladd (955755) writes "Dennis Kucinich has reveled his articles of impeachment for Cheney. They are for lying about Iraq's prewar nuclear abilities, lying about the relationship between Saddam and Osama, and for trying to do the same to Iran. The text of the charges and a ton of supporting material are available here."
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Watson Ladd Watson Ladd writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Watson Ladd (955755) writes "Perl, Python, and many other languages claim string processing, and in particular pattern matching, as an application they were designed for. But this article shows how slow most of the regex engines now used are due to the use of Henry Spencer's regex package as inspiration. How many more performance losses are due to historical accident."
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Watson Ladd Watson Ladd writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Watson Ladd (955755) writes "With all major microprocessor manufactures choosing to go multicore rather then cranking up clock speeds getting performance gains will be a software problem. If applications aren't using multiple threads, they don't get a performance boost. But multithreading is a pain to deal with. So what is your strategy for writing multithreaded code? Is it join calculus, software transactional memory,non-interacting threads,rendezvouses,actors, or the Real Programmers choice of mutex and condition variables? Which do think will be the dominant technique over the next 30+ years?"

Journals

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