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The New 501(c)(3) and the Future of Open Source In the US

Znork Re:Commercial Services (228 comments)

For-profit ecosystems spring up around many charities; everything from environmentalism to religions spawn such commercial activities around them.

The issue that should be at the heart of the matter is whether some person or company specifically and exclusively stands to profit from the charities work. As long as anyone who wants to can engage in commercial activities related to the work, such as commercial sales of religious texts and figures, sell eco friendly products, use charity relations in branding and marketing, use the open source software etc, I don't think the reasoning is valid.

about a month ago
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CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

Znork Re:So....far more than guns (454 comments)

It's not particularly hard anyway, it's just that the other high efficiency methods like trains, jumps and correctly done automotive suicide tend to cause more collateral damage. Guns are simply the considerate and responsible way to expedite a rescheduled exit. Hardly something to complain about.

about a month ago
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The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

Znork Re:Tuning it out? (254 comments)

Yes, there are of course a few appropriate ways to use it. Anything you could do the equivalent of unobtrusively positioning at that bar table, such as brand display would work as well as anywhere else. A few other things that are also appropriate would have some success rate; social calendar style things like events related to preferences, etc.

It's not completely pointless, it's just much more limited and less efficient for most marketing than many already available methods. And I really despise the attempts to sell person profiling as a magic marketing bullet when it's inherently worse than content profiling.

about a month ago
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The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

Znork Re:Tuning it out? (254 comments)

Social media advertisement is the sales guy sitting down at your table in the bar and trying to sell you a new refrigerator when you're hanging with friends because he saw you looking at refrigerators two weeks ago in a shop.

Search or content related advertising is the sales guy trying to sell you a new refrigerator when you're looking at refrigerators.

One of those has a chance to make a sale and might even be appreciated. The other is just irrelevant.

For sales, it's pointless to know what a customer is interested in if you don't know when they're interested in it, which means you're always better off targeting content over people because content has both temporal targeting as well as interest targeting implicitly right, while person profiling and social media presentation only gets a generic long term interest profile and implicitly targets people doing something other than being interested in products.

about a month ago
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4K Monitors: Not Now, But Soon

Znork Re:Occulus Rift (186 comments)

Then you need better eyes. Unless you can actually get cybernetic implants you're stuck with the choice of fine detail or large quantities of information at the same time.

Even the GP is overestimating the capabilities, because the 20/20 resolution itself is limited to a very narrow field of view; the human eyes capability of even resolving text at all is pretty much nonexistent outside a 6 degree arc.

Now, if we could get monitors where you'd have to look away from an image of the sun because it's too bright, that would actually be something I'd be interested in. Because with contrast we're nowhere near the physical capabilities of perception and that would make some difference.

about a month and a half ago
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Facebook Lets Users Opt Out of Targeted Ads

Znork Re:Will they hide the "X" icons again? (97 comments)

The whole personalized ads gimmick is a worthless exercise for exactly the reasons you mention. From a marketing view, knowing that someone is interested in something is irrelevant compared to knowing when someone is interested in something. That is why it's much better to target contents rather than viewers, when someone is browsing a content then they're actually interested in related things at that point in time.

Facebook is the creepy salesguy sitting down at your table and trying to sell you something when your chatting with friends in a pub. Compared that with the guy coming up to you're browsing hi-fi stuff in a mall and suggesting you look at this amplifier, etc. Temporal targeting; without it you're just wasting time and money.

about a month and a half ago
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Study Finds Porn Exposure Associated With Smaller Brain Region

Znork Re:everyone's a brain scientist now (211 comments)

I don't quite get how what he says would go against what is known about depression? Apart from a short time of excessive popularity for the serotonin theory of depression, most of the time multiple neuro transmittors and brain regions have been implicated, with frustratingly difficult to trace causes and effects. Failures in the reward system could easily feed back into lower motivation leading into failures leading into depression, just as the other way around would lead to similar effects.

On the topic of smoking, tobacco contains harmala alkaloids which have reversible MAOI effects. They would be a strong contender for the anti-depressant effect. And yes, did the quit-smoking, spiral into depression and burnout thing.

about 2 months ago
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Study Finds Porn Exposure Associated With Smaller Brain Region

Znork Striatum (211 comments)

The striatum is implicated in ADHD and several studies have indicated reduced grey matter volume in that region for ADHD sufferers. Failure in the dopamine pathways will generally cause engagement in dopamine releasing activities, as a method of self medication.

So it's not like finding a correlation between dopamine seeking and striatum deficiencies is unexpected. And the most likely direction of causation is that the deficient reward region causes the increased porn watching.

Frankly I find the gleeful reporting on the issue to be somewhat offensive. Insinuating that what is probably an inherent handicap is something the handicapped did to themselves by being 'immoral' is quite disgusting.

about 2 months ago
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Pirate Bay Co-Founder Peter Sunde Arrested In Sweden

Znork Re:That's not true and you know it. (221 comments)

Maths are just an abstract concept so a finite universe has no bearing on the existence of infinite number series. Apart from the ability to actually write them down on paper in their full glory.

However, there's nothing preventing the extraction of specific subsets and playing that subset in a music player.

about 2 months ago
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Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

Znork Re:forever actually (1198 comments)

Except that the vast majority of people do not think what you think they do. They do not think having sex with passed out people is ok. They do not consider dress code consent. They do not think she's playing 'hard to get'. Most people would and do call those examples rape.

You're extrapolating the justifications of a minor fraction of the population, the rapists, and trying to somehow apply that as a 'culture' to the rest.

In fact, the only time I can even recall seeing someone justify having sex with a seriously drunk and reluctant woman it was another woman

about 2 months ago
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Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

Znork Re:forever actually (1198 comments)

Yes. If she can reasonably assume that your judgement is significantly impaired due to alcohol consumption, in a lot of places you can claim rape. That's one of the reasons why 'rape' statistics are rapidly equalizing between the sexes. The shift in classifications and the fact that women apparently engage in sex with partners under as dubious circumstances as some men do, but with even less restraint or legal risk means they are quickly catching up.

I expect actual charges filed will start rising quickly as well, as more men realize it actually goes both ways and taking advantage of someone just because they're inebriated isn't ok whatever sex the partner is.

about 2 months ago
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Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

Znork Re:What the f*$# is wrong with us? (1198 comments)

Yeah, I'm quite sure the vast majority of men I know are nothing like the deluded fantasies this guy spews out of his mouth.

I am, however, beginning to suspect that this guy and others like him are projecting some quite nasty things they're getting from themselves on to others. If he actually believes that 'we need to get that', then (unlike most men) he certainly does need to get that. And help. Because unlike most men, he actually is a fucking creep.

about 2 months ago
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Botched Executions Put Lethal Injections Under New Scrutiny

Znork Re:Human's a very good at not dying (483 comments)

Most countries have legislation providing for permanent incarceration of anyone deemed mentally unstable enough to be of significant danger to others. They don't even need to be sentanced.

While I'm sure that Bundy, Dahmer and Mengele would agree with you that it's not wrong to kill people you think are subhuman, most of the human race has grown beyond the point where we think we have the right to decide who is human or not. It's not an excuse used by people you should want to be associated with.

about 2 months ago
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OpenStack: the Open Source Cloud That Vendors Love and Users Are Ignoring

Znork Re:More virtualisation than cloud (99 comments)

If you're using OpenStack for general virtualisation I'd say you're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The OpenStack feature set shines when you actually need things like on-demand scaling, completely API driven infrastructure, instantiation of servers with lifetimes of minutes to hours, etc. To be used in the way it's designed for it pretty much requires applications written to function that way.

If you're just virtualizing traditional workloads you're better off with using RHEV or VmWare or some other ordinary virtualization platform and automating it with added orchestration.

about 2 months ago
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Cisco Complains To Obama About NSA Adding Spyware To Routers

Znork Re:Hey Obama (297 comments)

Yes, apples and oranges in that personal taxation is really beside the point here, the main point is corporate taxation.

But no, the US isn't that unique in taxing non-residents, most countries seem to. I have several friends working in various European countries, and they have to file taxes both in their country of citizenship and in their country of residence. Due to the tax treaties they do not have to pay taxes on the income earned but they do have to report it, and the exemptions from taxation seems to apply only to wages.

I'll agree that the US rules certainly seem more complex than the other examples I've seen, but it is in no way unique in taxing citizens wherever they are.

about 2 months ago
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Cisco Complains To Obama About NSA Adding Spyware To Routers

Znork Re:Hey Obama (297 comments)

The default for pretty much all states is to tax extraterritorial incomes. Some countries have treaties specifically for personal income that exempts workers employed in a different country from double taxation. I have never heard of any non-tax shelter country allowing repatriation of tax-evaded profits once they're finished with the picking and choosing where to claim the profit 'happened'.

And no, the accountant and the janitor at the Caymans office does not count as significant amounts of 'jobs pushed overseas'. Nor will lowering corporate tax rates increase collection as the tax rate achievable through these arrangements is zero which means that any non-zero tax rate still will not result in profits being taken anywhere but in the tax shelter.

At least the double Irish may be getting fixed, but frankly, barring legislation that creates a significant risk for accountants, CFOs and CEOs of actually landing in jail permanently for tax evasion, it will probably be followed by some new structure followed by whining about untaxed profits being stuck in some other place they decided to put them in.

about 2 months ago
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Volvo Testing Autonomous Cars On Public Roads

Znork Re:No way I could trust a self-driving car (98 comments)

You're right, of course, the assistive technology will be handicapped by driver expectations. Personally I expect the full blown automation to be less subject to that as it reverses the pattern of interference. The reluctance to interfere with a driver unless you're certain he's missing something goes both ways, and 'passengers' in a fully automated vehicle won't be more prone to back seat driving than anyone usually is in a taxi or a bus or other vehicle they're not themselves in control of.

about 3 months ago
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Volvo Testing Autonomous Cars On Public Roads

Znork Re:No way I could trust a self-driving car (98 comments)

A self-driving car doesn't have to anticipate stupid drivers, it can keep appropriate distance and planning needed regardless of the inferred skill of the drivers. For example, why is anyone not exiting the freeway even in the lane that you know will get 30% bad mergers 500 meters ahead?

And frankly, yes, it's not hard to spot the stupid drivers and you could probably have algorithms for that. But the obvious stupid drivers aren't the danger, it's the good ones missing something as you won't be expecting them to do something idiotic. It's the biker you see slowing down and classifying as 'smart' who then rams straight ahead when you're looking in the other direction. It's the merger who perfectly accelerates up to the right speed, starts blinking, and then just doesn't see you. It's the guy who's stopped at the same red light a thousand times, but who's brain played a trick on him the 1001's time and had him think the green light for going ahead was the one that applied, not the red one for the left turn he just blew straight through.

A smart car will assume that everyone is stupid and that it, itself, has to be capable to counter any physically possible action. We should, as well, but the fact is that we're constantly hampered by our intelligence, assuming things that fit the general rules, anticipating based on experience, projecting states and emotions onto everything else. We shorten distances as we know that will make the driver ahead of us remember that he's forgotten to get out of the passing lane (or get uncomfortable enough to move out of the way). We maintain speeds that are usually ok, even in rain, when its dark, and our visibility is half of our stopping distance. If there's a stupid pedestrian about to pass we'll notice on the bump-bump. When we're the fourth car about to merge in to the freeway, do we stop and wait for the three idiots doing the bumper-to-bumper merge to get onto the freeway? No, most of us will at best give them a slightly wider berth, but most likely we'll see if we increase distance a bit and plan a higher acceleration and cut two lanes and get past them as fast as possible.

A well programmed smart car should know better than to get into a situation where an accident is inevitable, and it would at least theoretically be better at that. And the fact is, when the choice comes and it is inevitable I'd rather trust the car, because frankly, I've never, _ever_ been in that situation and I have absolutely no idea what I'd actually do or any time to think about it. The car, at least, might have knowledge of the statistics, its own capabilities and the physics of the situation.

about 3 months ago
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Australian Law Enforcement Pushes Against Encryption, Advocates Data Retention

Znork Re:Reason to use end-to-end encryption (88 comments)

Isn't google dumping XMPP completely in less than a month?

about 3 months ago
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GitHub Founder Resigns Following Harassment Investigation

Znork Re:wife at the office (182 comments)

As far as I can tell, she objected to github claiming to be a meritocracy because other feminists would bully her and other females at github about it and wouldn't let them be in their clubs. Which seems fairly on par for that specific social context. We all have our cultural norms to conform to.

And the problem with meritocracy isn't that it isn't a meritocracy, the problem is that people who have fewer advantages have less opportunity to prove their merit or to reach their capacity (even besides all forms of subjective qualities that tend to influence anything but the absolutely most objective dispassionate standards). Which means that meritocracy isn't necessarily a tool to promote equality and certainly not a reason to claim that a workforce composition looks the way it does specifically due to the specific inherent merit of its membership. Which, depending on your philosophy, ideals and political priorities may or may not be its purpose anyway.

about 3 months ago

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