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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

dcollins Re:Double standard (903 comments)

What you do see are articles complaining when supermarkets that throw out food at the end of the day, and say, shoo away hungry homeless people from taking it. Or a regulation in New York City that prohibits a restaurant from donating day-old bagels or soup to a food pantry like they used to. Or mortgage-wracked homes standing empty for long periods of time when homeless people roam the streets. These complaints do in fact get legitimate traction. And leaving a perfectly good car disabled in your driveway when you need to get to the hospital, or disabled in a bad part of town or cruising down the highway, when clearly no one else can make use of it, smacks of the same Scrooginess and bad-neighborliness.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

dcollins Re:I was there.... (471 comments)

Good lord, just think about what you wrote there.

"For a start, bosses are always intimidated with your superior intellectual brain and over the top communication skills (and don't forget, most bosses will be at your age too). Other aspect is, rest of your co-workers been there or has cut-teeth in corporate politics, so in an event of political power-struggle, quite literally you don't know what to do. Also most firms has no idea what to do with a PhD qualified human resource..."

about a week ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

dcollins Misunderstand Religion (794 comments)

"by definition, religion concerns the ultimate causes of things and, again, by definition, science cannot tell you about them"

That is not the definition of religion. It's a common trope that scientists try to "wall off" religion with some kind of very small, trivial extent, such that they can go about their work without being bothered or engaging in conflict/contention (I tend to refer to this rhetorical move as "Gouldianism"). But neither religious people, nor scholars of religion, agree with that.

"There are numerous definitions of religion and only a few are stated here. The typical dictionary definition of religion refers to a "belief in, or the worship of, a god or gods"[22] or the "service and worship of God or the supernatural".[23] However, writers and scholars have expanded upon the "belief in god" definitions as insufficient to capture the diversity of religious thought and experience... Peter Mandaville and Paul James define religion as "a relatively-bounded system of beliefs, symbols and practices that addresses the nature of existence, and in which communion with others and Otherness is lived as if it both takes in and spiritually transcends socially-grounded ontologies of time, space, embodiment and knowing".[24]... Edward Burnett Tylor defined religion as "the belief in spiritual beings".[25] He argued, back in 1871, that narrowing the definition to mean the belief in a supreme deity or judgment after death or idolatry and so on, would exclude many peoples from the category of religious, and thus "has the fault of identifying religion rather with particular developments than with the deeper motive which underlies them"... The anthropologist Clifford Geertz defined religion as a "system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."[26]..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion#Definitions

Someone who gets wrong something so complicated and far-ranging as that fills be with disbelief that the rest of their argument has any value.

IANRBIHAPD (I am not religious but I have a philosophy degree)

about a week ago
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The Future According To Stanislaw Lem

dcollins Re:Maybe... (196 comments)

In principle, I'm all for this. Practically, however: life always expands to take up all the space/resources available to it. The Star Trek economy needs either infinite resources (impossible) or population controls (distasteful) to be feasible. Otherwise at some point you'll get a virus such as a religious doctrine that says have as many kids as you can and suck up as many public resources as possible, and do nothing else with them, and we'll be right back at the edge of scarcity and collapse.

"Which is the greater danger - nuclear warfare or the population explosion? The latter absolutely! To bring about nuclear war, someone has to DO something; someone has to press a button. To bring about destruction by overcrowding, mass starvation, anarchy, the destruction of our most cherished values-there is no need to do anything. We need only do nothing except what comes naturally - and breed. And how easy it is to do nothing."
-- Isaac Asimov

about two weeks ago
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Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

dcollins Re:Dear God, no (368 comments)

"We all work so that we can pay the bills... go on and do bigger and better things that 2BN dollars can provide."

Will the work on the things post-2BN also be to pay the bills? Seems like a contradiction. I wonder what proportion of people are actually not working to pay the bills.

about three weeks ago
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Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

dcollins Re:Temptation (542 comments)

Geez, what planet did you grow up on?

about a month ago
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Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

dcollins Re:Maybe it would be good if the Ayatollah wins? (542 comments)

If I had a dollar for every "there'd be a revolt in the US!" thing that has come to pass in the last 20 years, with no revolt, I'd be a very wealthy man.

about a month ago
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Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

dcollins Re:...like dash cams. (455 comments)

Skeptical; citation needed. This goes against millions of cases of city payouts for rights violations. Google "payment for false arrest": 4.95 million results.

Here's just one that's on-topic from earlier this month: "Brooklyn man wins $125,000 settlement after claiming he was arrested for recording stop-and-frisk"

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/125g-deal-vid-stop-frisk-article-1.1906965

about a month ago
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Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

dcollins Re:Find a Startup (371 comments)

Slight revision on that: Find a startup with an engineer in charge (or co-in-charge). When that engineer leaves, then the organization will fracture and you should leave.

about a month and a half ago
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Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

dcollins Re:Who signs the checks (371 comments)

This is a great story and thanks for posting it. The best companies are where the engineers are founders, in charge, or co-in-charge (as in your story). When the founding engineers leave, basically, engineers will never again control the direction of the company and it becomes more or less zombie-fied thereafter.

I have a lot of friends who have indie businesses like artists, musicians, one-person fashion design shops, etc. One thing that becomes highly evident is that you have to be a great and dedicated artists, yes, but then you also have to double your effort by spending an equivalent time on the business side (bookkeeping, billing, promotions, sales, etc.) It's hard. But it's kind of telling that most of the posters in this thread are bellyaching about how helpless they are in the face of businesspeople, without talking about the "find or found an engineer-driven company", which is the real solution. To the extent that someone wants to put their head in the sand and avoid business issues (as I did when I was younger), then you're handing over just this power to people whose personality tends towards taking advantage of the vulnerable.

Or engineers could unionize, but we all know they're not willing to fight for themselves in that way.

about a month and a half ago
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Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

dcollins Re:Machismo... (371 comments)

So you're saying you lied and didn't actually get a notice the first time?

about a month and a half ago
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Facebook Tests "Satire" Tag To Avoid Confusion On News Feed

dcollins Re:East end subway (131 comments)

I have/had certain acquaintances who would fall for almost every conspiracy theory and faux-news story that came down the pipe on FB. The first thing I thought about this feature is, "Oh god, now D--- will start railing about the Facebook conspiracy to de-legitimize these critical alternative news stories."

about a month and a half ago
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No, a Huge Asteroid Is Not "Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth In 2880"

dcollins Re:Photon pressure is a joke. (123 comments)

"The Yarkovsky–O'Keefe–Radzievskii–Paddack effect, or YORP effect for short, is a second-order variation on the Yarkovsky effect that changes the rotation rate of a small body (such as an asteroid)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yorp

about a month and a half ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

dcollins Re:This is why I'm leaving academia. (541 comments)

Your assumption/belief that I or others care about your political views is incorrect and not helping any discussion.

about a month and a half ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

dcollins Re:This is why I'm leaving academia. (541 comments)

So you agree that the only true scientific debate here is on the debunk-the-book side. But you're irritated that 100 researchers are motivated to agree with that. And you're also defending Time Cube guy? If someone spent time debunking that, you'd be morally offended? Your point is so murky I seriously can't tell what it is. You must have some convoluted tangle of beliefs that I can't even begin to visualize.

about a month and a half ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

dcollins Re:This is why I'm leaving academia. (541 comments)

"...most science is now funded by governments with an intense need to have AGW true so they can enact policies they really, really want to implement."

Ludicrously insane. Explicate these supposed policies and why they'd supposedly want to implement them sans global warming. Contrast with the political will on the side of energy companies and big oil with enormous wealth, massive lobbying, and an incentive to prevent any type of reform -- the real analog to tobacco company interests. Consider: What policies have been implemented to fight global warming? Ah, that's right: none whatsoever.

about a month and a half ago
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Point-and-Shoot: TrackingPoint's New Linux-Controlled AR-15s

dcollins Re:Question (219 comments)

If you can't bother, then I'll take your lead and not bother either. Defaulting to disbelieving you.

about a month and a half ago
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Writer: Internet Comments Belong On Personal Blogs, Not News Sites

dcollins Vote (299 comments)

Users vote and the higher votes get visibility. Slashdot. Reddit. StackExchange. Usable sites, it's a solved problem.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Facebook Silently Removes Ability to Download Your Posts

dcollins dcollins writes  |  about a year ago

dcollins (135727) writes "Facebook has a "Download Info" capability that I've used regularly since 2010 to archive, backup, and search all the information that I've written and shared there (called "wall posts"). But I've discovered that sometime in the last few months, Facebook silently removed this largest component from the Downloaded Info, locking up all of your posted information internally where it can no longer be exported or digitally searched. Will they reverse course if this is publicized and they're pressured on the matter?"
Link to Original Source
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Udacity Statistics is Awful

dcollins dcollins writes  |  about 2 years ago

dcollins writes "As a college instructor specializing in statistics, I felt compelled to survey one of the massive-enrollment online education courses that are all the rage these days. This summer, it seemed a perfect opportunity when Udacity unveiled Introduction to Statistics by founder Sebastian Thrun (of Google autonomous car fame). Having taken the entire course through to the final exam, my overall assessment is: It's amazingly, shockingly awful. Some nights I got seriously depressed at the notion that this might be standard fare for college lectures encountered by many students during their academic careers. I've tried to pick out the Top 10 problems with the course structure and address them in detail."
Link to Original Source
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Director of IT the #1 Most-Hated Job

dcollins dcollins writes  |  about 3 years ago

dcollins writes "CNBC reports on a CareerBliss.com job-satisfaction survey. The #1 most hated job: Director of Information Technology. From the slideshow:

"... IT directors reported the highest level of dissatisfaction with their jobs, far surpassing that of any waitress, janitor, or bellhop. Of those who responded to the survey, one simple, five-word response summed up the antipathy very well: 'Nepotism, cronyism, disrespect for workers.'""

Link to Original Source
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Germany to End Nuclear Power by 2022

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 3 years ago

dcollins writes ""Germany on Monday announced plans to become the first major industrialised power to shut down all its nuclear plants in the wake of the disaster in Japan, with a phase-out due to be wrapped up by 2022... Germany has 17 nuclear reactors on its territory, eight of which are currently off the electricity grid... Already Friday, the environment ministers from all 16 German regional states had called for the temporary order on the seven plants to be made permanent... Monday's decision is effectively a return to the timetable set by the previous Social Democrat-Green coalition government a decade ago. And it is a humbling U-turn for Merkel, who at the end of 2010 decided to extend the lifetime of Germany's 17 reactors by an average of 12 years, which would have kept them open until the mid-2030s.""
Link to Original Source
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Poll: How should poll numerical increments be set?

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 3 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "(1) Linear (0,10,20,30,40, etc.)
(2) Binary (1,2,4,8,16,32, etc.)
(3) Logarithmic (1,10,100,1000, etc.)
(4) Exponential (1,3,7,20,55,148,etc.)
(5) Preferred numbers (1,2,5,10,20,50, etc.)
(6) Renard numbers (1,1.5,2.5,4,6,10,15, etc.)
(7) Comical (i, e, pi, etc.)"
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Video Games Shown to Hinder Learning in Young Boys

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 4 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "Researchers at Denison University in Ohio show that giving PlayStations to young boys leads to slower progress in reading and writing skills:

"The study is the first controlled trial to look at the effects of playing video games on learning in young boys. That is to say, the findings aren't based on survey data of kids' game habits, but instead on a specific group of children that were randomly assigned to receive a PlayStation or not... Those with PlayStations also spent less time engaged in educational activities after school and showed less advancement in their reading and writing skills over time than the control group, according to tests taken by the kids. While the game-system owners didn't show significant behavioral problems, their teachers did report delays in learning academic skills, including writing and spelling.""

Link to Original Source
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Open Source Computer Literacy Textbook?

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dcollins writes "The college where I work has decided to forego ordering a textbook for the computer class that I teach this fall. Does anyone know of a free, open-source textbook for basic computer literacy concepts (overview of hardware, software, operating systems, and file systems)?"
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Drug Tests for Benefits in Some States

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dcollins writes "From the AP: "Lawmakers in at least eight states want recipients of food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to random drug testing... 'Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs,' said Craig Blair, a Republican in the West Virginia Legislature who has created a Web site — notwithmytaxdollars.com — that bears a bobble-headed likeness of himself advocating this position. 'If so many jobs require random drug tests these days, why not these benefits?'" ( http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090326/ap_on_bi_ge/states_welfare_with_strings ) I don't usually think that "slippery slope"-type arguments are that much of an actual danger, but here we find a lawmaker directly making that proposal as a straight-faced call to action."
Link to Original Source
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No More Open Gaming for D&D

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 6 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "In 2000 the 3rd Edition of D&D came in conjunction with an Open Gaming Licence (OGL), modelled on the GPL with the same business motivations ( http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/md/md20020228e ). Today it was revealed, in a turnabout from comments as recently as last week, that there will be no OGL for the upcoming 4th Edition of D&D. Instead there will be a "Game System License" with many more restrictions on its use — for example, no third-party publishers in 2008 without a $5,000 advance license fee ( http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=218031 )."
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Burn Salt Water with Radio Waves

dcollins dcollins writes  |  about 7 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "From Yahoo News:

An Erie cancer researcher has found a way to burn salt water, a novel invention that is being touted by one chemist as the "most remarkable" water science discovery in a century.

John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn.

The discovery has scientists excited by the prospect of using salt water, the most abundant resource on earth, as a fuel.

http://green.yahoo.com/index.php?q=node/1570"
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Slot Machine with Bad Software: Players To Jail?

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 7 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "Numerous Slashdot threads turn into a debate over who's liable for faulty software: the programmers, the publisher, etc. Here's a new option: perhaps the users are themselves criminally liable. From the AP: ( http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070719/ap_on_fe_st/ge nerous_slot_machine ): "Prosecutors are considering criminal charges against casino gamblers who won big on a slot machine that had been installed with faulty software... A decision on whether to bring criminal charges could come in a couple of weeks, said John Colin, chief deputy prosecutor for Harrison County. He said 'criminal intent' may be involved when people play a machine they know is faulty.""
Link to Original Source

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