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Comments

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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

YttriumOxide Re:The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science (600 comments)

I was with you until:

Per capita, I'll bet you've got more stupid fucks than we do.

I don't think that's something that's particularly easy to measure. I agree that pretty much every country has a large number of stupid people and a large number of intelligent folk. To suggest however that the ratio of intelligent to stupid is better is in the US than everywhere else however is pushing it a bit.

about 3 months ago
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What If the Next Presidential Limo Was a Tesla?

YttriumOxide Re:Don't they have to fly that thing around? (330 comments)

What if the next presidential limo was 3000 mics of LSD, Donald Sutherland reading "The Cat In the Hat" and a disco ball?

Then clearly the world would be a better place.

about 4 months ago
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All Else Being Equal: Disputing Claims of a Gender Pay Gap In Tech

YttriumOxide Re:Yeah, but women want it all (427 comments)

So out of curiosity, how many women have you dated who wanted to go dutch on dates? Didn't expect you to buy them flowers or jewelry? Didn't want you to open doors for them? Didn't expect you to protect them in a fight?

Not the person you're replying to, but I felt I should step in here...

My wife always paid her fair share when we dated. I honestly felt a little uncomfortable about it at first, but she insisted.

She loves it when I buy her flowers and jewellery, but she'll buy me stuff I like too; so that seems even to me.

I'll hold doors open for her, and she is happy that I do. But she'll hold doors open for me too, and I'm happy that she does.

She most certainly would expect me to defend her in a fight; but equally, I'd expect her to defend me in one. (neither of us is particularly physically inclined, but we're also not really the types to get in to fights; so thus far it hasn't been a situation that has arisen)

Basically my point is that just because a woman expects some things from the guy, it doesn't mean she's asking for unequal treatment... she may be willing to do all those same things too.

about 5 months ago
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Google Glass User Fights Speeding Ticket, Saying She's Defending the Future

YttriumOxide Re:Reinforcing the term (464 comments)

Douche isn't a gender specific word?

Men can be whores - in fact some research indicates there are more prostituted men than women.

Women can be assholes too.

Perhaps this was a kind of troll? Very lame if so.

I believe it's cultural/dialectal. In Australian and New Zealand English (at least), men can also be cunts - in fact, in southern New Zealand 15 to 20 years ago (I can't speak for today), it would have sounded very strange to call a woman "cunt" whereas greeting your male friend with, "hey you old cunt, what's up?" wouldn't be unexpected in some social circles.
I'm well aware this doesn't really make much sense, but language often doesn't.

The same almost certainly applies for "douche", "asshole", "whore" and so on. Sometimes male, sometimes female, sometime both.

about 6 months ago
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British Spies To Be Allowed To Break Speed Limit

YttriumOxide Re:What about other people? (278 comments)

I don't think you quite understand government mentality around espionage, 'national security', etc.

Casualties are acceptable, if it gets the job done.

And that mentality isn't necessarily wrong, given that you accept the premises they're working under.

Imagine you know that if you don't make it to a place in the next 5 minutes that a man will gun down a room full of schoolchildren. In order to get there, you have to speed and in doing so greatly increase the risk of killing a single innocent pedestrian. Even if that happens, it is a better outcome than the children being gunned down.

Now, that scenario is dramatically oversimplified. Decisions about national security concerns are however made on the same basis. The belief is that the loss of a small number of lives is worth it in order to prevent the loss of a greater number of lives or extreme suffering to a great number of people (one death is better than a million on the edge of starvation; even if no-one dies directly).

I'm not saying I agree with them - I actually don't, because I don't believe that most things they refer to as 'national security' are in fact validly so - but the logic makes sense given that you accept the premises.

about 6 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:in the context of society.. (382 comments)

Are you suggesting that you, an individual, is a statistically significant sample size?

Certainly not if you're looking for evidence of general action; however if you consider the original statement that there is no safe level of LSD use, then it only requires one 'negative' to disprove it.

Also, beyond simply myself there is plenty of research that shows LSD is an extraordinarily 'safe' substance by pretty much any measure you care to choose (with the exception of legal ramifications, which is a societal issue, not a drug issue).

about 6 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:in the context of society.. (382 comments)

That's not really the point. The question isn't whether X is less harmful than Y, the question is whether X is harmless enough to be legal.

Firstly, if Y is considered harmless enough to be legal and X is less harmful than Y, then surely the question of whether X is harmless enough to be legal is already answered, isn't it?

Secondly, asking the question this way ignores the harm of X being illegal. The war on drugs is a very harmful thing to society - far more so than the drugs themselves.

I fully believe that if all recreational drugs were legalised, there would be new problems in society that we hadn't dealt with before, but the overall amount of harm would be lower.

about 6 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:Alcohol (382 comments)

But that does not indicate the various product *causes* the psychosis. It only shows an underliyng problem earlier.

Psychedelics are also like that.

There was significant research performed in to whether psychedelics can directly cause psychotic episodes (as anecdotally reported on more than one occasion). It was found that in people with a known predisposition for psychiatric issues (or people with existing psychiatric issues) that a psychotic episode brought on by psychedelic use occurs in a fraction of a percent (sorry, I don't have the research in front of me to look up the exact figure). In people with no known predisposition, there was only one case (out of a very large number; again sorry, no exact number right now) where a psychotic episode occurred. This was in a person who happened to be the twin of a schizophrenic; so it is considered likely that they did in fact have a predisposition that simply wasn't noted.

about 6 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:in the context of society.. (382 comments)

There certainly wasn't a "safe use level" of LSD

Being a successful professional, a great husband and father, making inroads to becoming a moderately successful author (see sig), and having used LSD extensively for the past 16 years, I must respectfully disagree vehemently with that statement...

about 6 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:in the context of society.. (382 comments)

(alcohol isn't "addictive" in the same way as cannabis, I assume from a background of absolutely zero knowledge)

Alcohol is significantly more addictive than cannabis. This relatively well-known chart is a good starting point (despite being ugly and imprecise; it covers the general idea).

My theoretical solution for a lot of things is "legalise it, tax it, regulate it" - a solution that cuts out a lot of the problems of illicit SUPPLY (which is the main problem with such things), not illicit, personal substance abuse. But I'm just not sure that approach is worth the gain for something like cannabis.

While I have no personal interest in cannabis (I don't like any drug that messes with my ability to think clearly - cannabis and alcohol both included), I do think this approach is exactly what is needed for a variety of drugs, cannabis included. Take a look at how many people are currently in prison for cannabis related offences around the world (and especially in the US) and think about what it's costing to keep them there. This - in and of itself - is enough of a reason that it'd be worth it.

about 6 months ago
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Australian Teen Reports SQL Injection Vulnerability, Company Calls Police

YttriumOxide Re:Never put your name to it (287 comments)

Wow, I hope you never have a complaint to report to the Complaint Department! Word to the wise: the Complaint Department doesn't exist. You will be arrested.

I'm pretty sure most western countries have a complaints department for law enforcement.

Many years ago in my teenage years in New Zealand, I was chatting to random people on IRC (a pretty new protocol at the time) and there was a guy bragging about bombing a plane - specifically, putting explosives on the landing gear of the plane.

Being young and paranoid, but not yet particularly clever in the ways of the computer security world, I 'anonymously' emailed the police with information about it. My attempts at anonymity were however not good enough and a few days later the police came and took all my computer equipment. The search warrant read "Attempted murder and breach of the telecommunications act" (I still have it, along with the write up I got in the newspaper as a reminder of absurdity). Of course, I was never arrested as I had done nothing illegal.

While that all annoyed me greatly, it didn't annoy me nearly as much as them keeping my stuff for over 3 months before I got it back. When I did finally get it back, the power switch on my main system was physically broken and the HDD was formatted.

I made a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority (a government body) and they ended up writing a letter of apology. So, while complaining certainly didn't do anything useful for me, the point is that there WAS a body for me to complain to.

I'm sure it's a little more complex in countries like the US and Australia since there may be differences by state as well as the federal level to think about, but a quick Google search seems to confirm that complaints departments and/or processes do exist there also.

about 6 months ago
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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?

YttriumOxide Re:Skynet (514 comments)

Oh, how I'd love for you to present said evidence, that "proves" people like my brother are mindless killing machines that do everything the government "programs" them to do...

The irony being, of course, that you just described a robot, rather than a human.

That is a serious strawman and if you think I said anything like that at all, you either lack reading comprehension or are just looking for a fight.

In case it's the former, please note that I also wrote: "Also note that I did say "a large number of soldiers" and not all. There are plenty of cases you can find of soldiers going against orders they believe to be morally reprehensible, but the fact that OTHER soldiers then do it is a testament for the argument and not against it.".

Beyond that, assuming your brother is a front line soldier that has seen combat, ask him about his combat experience. Ask him what was going through his head at the time. I'm willing to bet that he was 'focusing on the job at hand' - the training teaches soldiers to shut out their own concerns and doubts because otherwise they simply wouldn't be effective soldiers.

I get it. You care for your brother. You most likely respect him. You are quite likely proud of him and the job he does. You don't like that I said something bad about soldiers because it besmirches him. I don't know your brother nor anything about him beyond what you've said. But I wasn't talking about your brother - I was talking about soldiers in general. I was talking about what is intended by the training that they go through, and indeed is generally very successful.

It's even entirely possible your brother is one of those who would not blindly follows orders and would think for himself. But if that's the case, then by definition he's not a good soldier from the perspective of his superiors; they failed to do what they wanted as far as his training is concerned; and it might get him in to trouble one day.

about 6 months ago
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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?

YttriumOxide Re:Skynet (514 comments)

because all evidence shows that the weak point always lies with the soldier that has to pull the trigger and decide to kill a fellow human being.

All evidence that I've seen shows that a large number - possibly even the majority - of soldiers have been brainwashed in to following orders unconditionally and will commit the most horrendous crimes against humanity when ordered to do so. And - even when not ordered - that same brainwashing includes training in not thinking of 'the enemy' as human, because that causes you to delay in the critical moment. So they dehumanise the enemy to the point that further atrocities can be committed even when not under orders to do so.

Note that I don't blame the soldiers themselves in a lot of these situations - they are often good people who given time to think and reason it through would not behave that way, but their training has so messed with them that some actions they'll take don't reflect on the person they are.

Also note that I did say "a large number of soldiers" and not all. There are plenty of cases you can find of soldiers going against orders they believe to be morally reprehensible, but the fact that OTHER soldiers then do it is a testament for the argument and not against it.

about 6 months ago
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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?

YttriumOxide Re:Skynet (514 comments)

The key difference seems to be that a human grunt is on the ground and is able to react to the situation in the first person. A robotic grunt's behaviour is determined, entirely, by an algorithm that is of necessity written by someone who is not involved in that specific situation and therefore has to write the code for the general case.

Who says the code has to be written for the general case. It had better be a LOT more intelligent than the equivalent of a bunch of "if/then" statements.

Also, philosophically speaking, I'd say a human's decision making is just a really complex set of algorithms that we don't understand particularly well at this point. What we do know is that humans make significant mistakes with regularity, so the test isn't whether or not these autonomous systems make mistakes in difficult circumstances, but rather the ratio of mistakes compared to human agent.

Not saying I'm in favour of killbots - I'm really not. But I'm not in favour of humans killing each other either. If killing is going to be done (which it is), I'd rather go with whichever system is going to make the least mistakes and have the least side-effects.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Protect Your Passwords From Amnesia?

YttriumOxide Re:Reverse Locker (381 comments)

I'd like to see Google, or Facebook or some other social media style site implement (what I'm calling) a 'Reverse Locker'

The idea is simple. It keeps stuff secret, but *only* if you log in periodically.

As well as solving the problem asked, the uses are more than you might think. For example I'd like to keep some documents safe until my death, at which point I'm happy for them to be made 'public' (such as a Last Will and Testament, or whatever)

I use deathswitch for exactly this. Because of the limitations of the free system, when I fail to log in periodically (it sends email reminders) it will send an email to an address that is then forwarded to multiple trusted people with instructions on how to retrieve my passwords. The passwords themselves aren't in the email, just 'how to figure them out'.

It's not perfect, but it covers enough of the possible scenarios that I'm happy with it. Should any of the unlikely scenarios occur where it falls down, there are probably more pressing concerns than my passwords.

about 6 months ago
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Australian Team Working On Engines Without Piston Rings

YttriumOxide Re:Work (368 comments)

and the idea that we can - in a perfect world - eliminate the need for work allowing people to concentrate on the betterment of themselves and their fellow man.

Has it occurred to you that in many cases work IS a way for people to concentrate on the betterment of themselves? Work is not some horrible thing to be eliminated or feared.

Of course that has occurred to me; but I do see how you could interpret otherwise from what I wrote. I didn't really intend to go so far down on that off-topic side path.

Generally speaking, most people do not enjoy their jobs to the point that if they had the choice of making the same money to do 'whatever they want' they would choose something other than what they're doing. That's the kind of "work" I was referring to the elimination of. The "Star Trek utopia" to use a concept that most geeks should be familiar with.

about 7 months ago
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Australian Team Working On Engines Without Piston Rings

YttriumOxide Re:Nice idea but... (368 comments)

I'm not switching from gasoline until someone makes an engine that will run on distilled suffering of hippies.

Not all 'hippies' are created equal. I tend to consider myself as somewhat hippy-ish. I believe in peace, love, understanding, environmentalism, nuclear power, GMO foods, high-technology, and the idea that we can - in a perfect world - eliminate the need for work allowing people to concentrate on the betterment of themselves and their fellow man.

Note that the vast majority of 'hippies' disagree with me vehemently on nuclear power and GMO foods (and some disagree on the high-tech). From my point of view as a scientifically minded person though, I see these as being the sensible environmental low-impact choices of the present day.

As for your gas-guzzler (and mine) - I look forward to the day they no longer exist.

about 7 months ago
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Researchers Claim Facebook Is 'Dead and Buried' To Many Young Users

YttriumOxide Re:Get Off My Lawn (457 comments)

1. They are reading your stuff on smart phones with a screen so small if you view porn on it, you really will go blind.

...

Not all thoughtful comments have to be long. "Sorry this letter was so long but I didn't have enough time to write a shorter one." [Editing works]

Yes, this can be a problem. But I fail to see how this is my problem. While information density of language can vary (I am always astounded how marketing people in my company can talk for 20 minutes to say something I would've said in 30 seconds), there is a limit. If the information I want to convey requires 300 characters, I'll use 300 characters.

2. Get over yourself. If you want to sell books to a specific market you have to meet them on their terms or write them off.

I don't view twitter or facebook as specific markets. I view them as a way to reach a general audience (specific markets would be things like the advertisement I placed in a medical journal). And by basically giving up on twitter as I did, I did 'write off that market' (if you view it as such), so I don't see how your decision to insult me with a snarky "get over yourself" was particularly productive.

about 7 months ago
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Parents' Campaign Leads To Wi-Fi Ban In New Zealand School

YttriumOxide Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (294 comments)

I think it's a matter of weighing the statement they made vs the action they took. Perhaps it's a cultural difference between us, but as a New Zealander myself, I believe that most other New Zealanders would pay more attention to the fact that they said, "we don't think it's harmful" than the fact that they removed it.

It is fairly clear that they removed it in order to appease the complainers and not out of any perceived harm.

If I thought the risk of false belief was higher (i.e. people paying more attention to the action than the words) then I'd complete agree with you that the action would be too much as it would spread the false belief further, causing additional problems in the future.

about 7 months ago
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Parents' Campaign Leads To Wi-Fi Ban In New Zealand School

YttriumOxide Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (294 comments)

What's sad is the people who occasionally have something worth sharing but are so completely unable to understand the need to be polite that they can't share it effectively.

This, I agree with. But only because of the limitations and requirements of the society we're in. I think it's sad that people are unable to effectively get their point across because it means that a potential for sharing information (and therefore increasing overall human knowledge) is lost.

The fact that it benefits an argument for it to be delivered clearly and politely isn't a bad thing unless you think a society in which such things are valued at all is a desirable outcome.

I'm taking a more abstract view here and imagining a world that we don't have. If no-one took offence at the style of how something is said and instead concentrated only on what was said, I believe that it would be a better world than the one we do have. More information would be shared, people would be happier, and misunderstandings would be fewer.

I fully agree though that we don't live in such a world, and therefore politeness is definitely important.

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Konica Minolta launch Developer Support Program

YttriumOxide YttriumOxide writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Anonymous Coward writes "Konica Minolta have just released their SDK for creating applications that interface directly with most of their standard office MFP range at no cost to almost anyone that signs up for it. The SDK is a package of assemblies for the .NET Platform (including official Mono support), however the interface specifications (with WSDL files) are also available for anyone wishing to use the communication protocol directly and a few Java samples are available for this purpose. Also included are sample applications (mostly in C# but a little VB.NET also) and documentation.
The licensing appears fairly permissive, however is only free as in beer, not free as in speech. There are no direct restrictions preventing use of the assemblies in GPL works however.
Currently, the SDK is only released through Konica Minolta Europe's Developer Support Program, and according to the sign-up page, you shouldn't access it if you live outside of Europe (however, with most non-obvious email addresses, who knows where you are?). Additionally, the registration form requires a company name, so it is expected you at least work somewhere...
The Developer Support Program also includes specification documents for other developer related topics unrelated to this SDK specifically such as PDL and MIB specifications.
The Developer Support Program is free to sign-up, however for direct support from Konica Minolta, a charged subscription is required (there's a moderated discussion forum for non-paying users though)

Ever wanted the Konica Minolta MFP in your office to do exactly what you tell it? Here's your chance!"

Journals

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This is a journal entry...

YttriumOxide YttriumOxide writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I was really getting sick of an empty journal...

Comment if it pleases you.

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