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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

fyngyrz Re:Past time for AV recording of police actions (1022 comments)

Did you know that police work isn't even in the top ten jobs with the most risk of death? Check it out, starting with most dangerous and ending with the least:

  1. Construction workers
  2. Farmers and ranchers
  3. Drivers, truck drivers
  4. Electrical power line workers
  5. Sanitation workers - trash collectors
  6. Steel workers
  7. Roofers
  8. Pilots and flight engineers
  9. Fishermen
  10. Loggers

Furthermore, most police officer deaths occur in traffic accidents. Not in conflict with an aggressor.

(Source: National census of fatal occupational injuries, 2012)

Personally, I see no reason for a beat/patrolcar cop to carry a weapon at all. Particularly as the evidence shows they're far too willing to use them in non-life threatening situations -- just like this one.

Furthermore, with tasers readily available, many situations that might call for submission of a more powerful (or skilled) individual are still controllable without resorting to the extremes of discharging a firearm.

There's also something to be said for the idea of criminals knowing the cop isn't going to kill them, so it isn't nearly as attractive to kill the cop to prevent that. The fact is, if you think the cop is going to kill you, there's absolutely no downside to killing them first. It is a situation set up in the way most likely to fail.

It's going to get worse, too, as the trend is to more heavily arm the cops -- don't think for a moment that the response won't be more heavily armed criminals. It's as inevitable as the next sunrise.

But you're right. The odds of anything changing are very low. The American Couch Potato League likes armed cops, and they like it when cops do whatever they like -- they absolutely lap up movies and television shows where cops step outside the boundaries of the law, as well as vigilante scenarios. Until, of course, they are the victims. But by that time, they're embroiled with the system, and it's far too late. No one pays known criminals any mind. They're subhuman, after all. And they must have done something to deserve it, even if they "get off" or "plead out."

8 hours ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

fyngyrz Past time for AV recording of police actions (1022 comments)

There is a grand jury who disagrees with the version of events that you have imagined.

The grand jury is just as likely to be corrupt, and/or incompetent, and/or prejudiced, as the rest of the people involved with, and directed by, the systemically flawed justice system we have today. In addition, even assuming 100% competence on their part, the data that reached them can be (and often is) washed to provide a particular desired outcome.

The only takeaway I get from all this noise is that we'd be somewhat better off if police officers wore tamper-resistant AV recording gear when on duty (and in any jurisdiction that assigns them 24/7 authority, on duty or not, they should be wearing those cameras 24/7 as well. Personally, I think 24/7 authority is also a Very Bad Idea.)

There is no question that some individual police officers, and some groups of police, are corrupt. Given the seriousness of the authority and responsibility assigned to them, and their ability to ruin lives and families in a heartbeat, letting them run loose without any independent oversight seems like a very serious mistake to me, particularly now that monitoring their activities is well within the bounds of technical feasibility.

A bad cop is a horrible thing. It's also long past time for the blue wall of silence to creep its slimy ass into the black hole of history to join with some of humanity's other bottom-feeder behaviors.

yesterday
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The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built an OS To Talk To God

fyngyrz Oh, please (392 comments)

Many good men are [racist]

No, they aren't. If you're racist, it's more than a "sin", it's an abject failure of humanity. Just the kind of thing that gets people hurt badly, often in large numbers. Your sin here is failing to recognize evil when it's right in your face.

Others are liars, or thieves, or adulterers.

There's no worthy point in this. None of these actions can serve to exonerate racism, or racists. The only cure for racism is to abandon it as a failed mode of thought. Every thinking being is an individual. When someone loses (or never gains) sight of that and lumps them into classes, regardless of what you call the process, it's a very, very bad thing.

All men have their sins.

No, they don't. Some people are intrinsically good; and some issues are not sins, for many varied reasons, not the least of which is an overly simplistic viewpoint of the person making the judgment. The idea that all are born with/into sin is a superstitious notion with absolutely no root in reality.

Yours is self-righteousness.

Pot, meet kettle.

yesterday
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The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built an OS To Talk To God

fyngyrz Re:Hmmm ... (392 comments)

why have we started covering the crazy end of the tech spectrum?

What do you mean? We've always covered the GPL.

yesterday
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

fyngyrz Agency isn't constrained to the physical (433 comments)

Hawking can't lift a finger without external, artificial assistance. Does that make him an idiot?

If I were able to cut your head from your body, but keep it running, so to speak, now that you can't speak to us (no lungs) and we see no interesting activity on your part, would that make you an idiot?

If I drug you so you are fully conscious, but cannot move, are you then an idiot?

Intelligence is not bound to the ability to do anything material. Intelligence is about manipulating information. Induction, association, that sort of thing. Agency with regard to conceptual matters. Consciousness... well, I have ideas about that, but they're just ideas at the moment.

2 days ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

fyngyrz Philosophy -- graveyard of fact (433 comments)

We evolved from single celled organisms, but we are not those now.

Science evolved from ignorance by determining the uselessness of, and then discarding, philosophical nonsense and replacing it with a very specific, non-soft, objective, rule-based behavior called "the scientific method." Which -- unlike the vast majority of philosophy -- produces useful results.

The claims philosophy have to science can be best likened to a leaky condom. We managed to get the scientific method in spite of it. Not because of it.

2 days ago
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It's Not Developers Slowing Things Down, It's the Process

fyngyrz Proposal: (185 comments)

For these groups: middle management, "UX" design, human resources, and everyone at or above executive level...

They get their own building, with its own network. We''ll call it location "E." The network is in no way connected to the outside world. There is no mailroom, and no delivery access to the building. All vehicles in the parking lot are to be classic Pintos. The parking lot shall be liberally equipped with speed bumps.

Developers, Manufacturing and Shipping work in another building or complex. We'll call it location "D."

Location D requires its own badges. You can't get past the lobby security installations if you don't have one. If you try, you get dumped in an unmaintained pond over-populated with carnivorous ducks carefully selected for unusually unsanitary and highly aggressive natures. To protect these wonders of evolution, the pond shall be patrolled by duck enthusiasts with fully automatic weapons.

Location D has its own network, which is firewalled at every possible level against anything, in or out, from location E, as a prophylactic measure, should location E somehow arrange for a WAN connection.

At location D, the janitorial staff shall work hand-in-hand with the mailroom to heat the building by incinerating any mail or package that isn't (a) a paycheck, or (b) items that are on a list of things previously ordered by the occupants of location D.

Location D shall have its own high quality NY pizza shop, a Dunkin Donuts, and an Orange Julius. The mailroom shall be responsible for delivery of products from these to the developer's desks, and for running out to fetch non-local take out orders. Mailroom salaries to be commensurate with consistency of their on-time, still-fresh delivery records, which shall be kept in consummate detail.

At location D, female developers shall have hot male sexataries with pole- and stripping-experience. Male developers shall have hot female sexataries with pole- and stripping-experience. Poles shall be conveniently located in and/or near all developer offices. The sexatarial pool shall have both a shallow and a deep end, a selection of diving boards at varying heights, and a suitably awesome sound system and snack bar, and it shall be located adjacent to a well-equipped workout center. Fridays shall be devoted to data collection by careful developer examination of active poles.

Location D shall have a rooftop laser tag facility with long-range light-arms. Location E shall situate all offices such that they have windows facing location D, and all location E personnel shall be required to wear lasertag suits that (with one exception) simultaneously initiate a period of physical incapacitation (locked limbs) and a significant shock. The single exception to this rule is that at location E, the vests worn by UX designers shall be equipped to deliver fatal shocks, whereas the incapacitation feature is to remain uninstalled in order to save the company money.

At location D, any occupant of an office that wishes the title "rock star" to be affixed to, or adjacent to, his or her door must demonstrate the ability to actually perform rock and roll using an actual musical instrument to a panel of rock and roll enthusiasts suitably selected from the ranks of the developers. Air guitar does not qualify. Singing ability may qualify, at the discretion of the panel. Developers so qualified shall be additionally eligible for multiple sexatarial personnel/services, a small but well-equipped stage, and their own snack counter.

All developers shall receive 1 (one) exotic car of their choice leased for them for the duration of their employment, funding for which shall be achieved by garnishing executive salaries as needed. The location D parking lot shall provide direct access to both high speed oval and full scale Nürburgring-configuration tracks. There shall be no speed bumps in the location D parking lot, however, the west extent of the lot shall be configured as a 1/4 mile track with a 1/2 mile rollout at the end.

At location D, there shall be a Lego parts acquisition department, which shall be expanded as developer needs require. All offices shall have a lego assembly and display area.

4 days ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

fyngyrz Re:False axioms (437 comments)

...but you all still vote Republican.

No. We don't. I have not voted republican since well into the last century. Basically since I developed the perception that republicans don't give the south end of a northbound rat for the health of the nation as a whole - economically, biologically, ecologically. I find their "me first and the rest of you can DIAF" attitude to be as utterly reprehensible as it is dependable.

I vote Democrat and will continue to vote Democrat as long as the hint of humanity they exhibit exceeds that demonstrated by the republicans. Right now, the republicans are at an epic low in this regard, consequently them getting my vote is basically an outright impossibility.

I do not consider optimum agency (personal liberty) and comprehensive safety nets to be at worthy odds in a wealthy society. Which we are. That's me. The broad outcry against the ACA has taught me a great deal about how others think. I used to think I was too pessimistic, that everyone had a core of generally extendable compassion within them, no matter what it looked like.

Nope. Then there are the "little" lessons...

Some unmentionable person(s) ran over a kitten in the middle of the wide-open parking lot at the grocery store here six weeks ago. When Deb and I rolled up, all we could see was a little head sticking up from the crushed body, frantically swiveling around like it would do it some good to see the next filthy scumbag coming. The little wretch was in plain view of at least a hundred people, and somehow, not a one of them could seem to see it. Whereas it was the only thing we could see. Crushed pelvis, completely broken front leg, broken tail, abrasions... broke my heart -- and at the same time, it's really fortunate for me that I didn't see it happen, or I'd probably be in jail right now.

Instead, we saved the kitten... cast comes off this Friday, and although the pelvis will never be right, she can walk again. But I will never, ever, forget the lesson.

about a week ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

fyngyrz Re:Facile nonsense (437 comments)

I think you need to take a breath and realize that there are people trying to enable corporate power, and there are people trying to enable responsible agency for intelligent beings, and that they are not the same people, but they both find themselves under the libertarian banner. Small l. Because that's the closest fit. Just like gun nuzzlers go republican because of the gun plank in the party (some of them would be very happy to have race-based governments.)

Sigh. Maybe we -- or I, at least -- just need a new 'ism.

about a week ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

fyngyrz Re:I think (327 comments)

In that case, the robot didn't make the decision. So, no.

about a week ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

fyngyrz Something else you should know (437 comments)

The funny thing is that congress has set a huge precedent of roundly ignoring the constitution. Ex post facto laws, innumerable tramplings of the bill of rights, effective inversion of the commerce clause, boatloads of laws that are in no way specified or even implied in their enumerated powers... so if the President wants to say "Hey, you, know, you guys simply aren't doing your job, and so [insert action here]" there really isn't much of a reasonable leg to stand on to pose an objection.

And if the country likes what he does, it'll stick, too.

about a week ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

fyngyrz So, so bright... (437 comments)

Those shades are really helping you with your feelings about the future, eh?

about a week ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

fyngyrz Expires? LIke a zombie, keeps coming back (437 comments)

Well, let's just see if they actually let it expire. So far, their record of keeping intrusive, unconstitutional surveillance in place is pretty consistent. For the children, you know. And terrorists! And OMG immigrants!

But yeah, it'd be awesome if some of this utter crap just went away into the (a) sunset (clause.)

about a week ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

fyngyrz It's the congress. Congress. CONGRESS! (437 comments)

one of only four Republicans in favor of taking away Obama's surveillance state.

If you want to characterize the surveillance state as "Obama's", just remember, it was Bush's first -- it took a huge leap with the PATRIOT act which was instantiated (inflicted, more like) on his watch, and if the Republicans manage to put an electable candidate up next time around, it'll be theirs. None of which actually solves the problem, because it isn't a presidential issue.

The honest way to characterize it is as Congress's surveillance state since they're the ones who defined it, passed it into law, have not ameliorated it, and will continue it as long as the American Couch Potato Collective keeps leaving them in office.

about a week ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

fyngyrz False axioms (437 comments)

Corporations are private individuals.

No. They aren't. Neither individual, or private. Other than as completely batshit legal fictions which no one with an honest interest in individual agency would support for a moment. Corporations, frankly, are imaginary constructs and as such deserve very little legal status, if any (I can't think of any they deserve, actually.)

People are inherently private individuals. Corporations are artificial constructs than have no fundamental initial merit of their own, and at most, they are/become what we make them. If we make more of them than they should be, then we've screwed up. Which is an excellent description of the present situation.

In fact, libertarians, much like conservatives, praise powerful corporations

Wrong. I'm a libertarian, and I don't praise corporations at all. Powerful or otherwise. I praise right action and properly allocated responsibility, things that have been excised from almost all corporate behavior by the error path created by the constant need to grow to satisfy shareholder interest, and in no way constrained by the libertarian idea that the corporation's ability to act, along with any person's ability to act in the corporation's stead, should be absolutely firewalled where it causes non-consenting individuals any direct harm, be it physical or in the pocketbook. Or severely punished if it breaches that firewall.

You want to be very careful when you start thinking you know what others consider fundamental based on just a label or two.

about a week ago
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Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

fyngyrz Facile nonsense (437 comments)

The nicest thing you can say about libertarian philosophies is that they aren't as ignorant and poorly thought out as modern conservative ones.

That is just hand-wavy nonsense.

Take libertarian issues honestly one by one, and some are demonstrably quite reasonable, while others are about as screwed up as anything in the Democratic or Republican plank collection. And vice-versa.

For instance, on the Libertarian side, take agency. Let's see you reasonably defend policy that takes agency away from a person when the act at hand is personal (or consensual) and properly informed. Libertarians don't think you can do it (and so far, they've been right... there isn't a reasonable defense for this that's ever been penned to date.)

And in case that's too wordy, here: "You, competent-and-suppposedly-free-adult-person, you want a pizza? No, sorry, we've decided (though in many instances it's perfectly clear we're just lying) it's bad for you. Absolutely no pizza. Furthermore, if you do have one, or make one, or sell one, you're going to jail. For years." Defend that position.

On the Democratic side, the argument is that a healthy nation is a better nation, and it is worth a very significant cost to achieve that. Argue that it isn't.

On the Republican side, one plank states "We oppose the creation of any new race-based governments within the United States." Make an argument for a race-based government. Go ahead, try.

about a week ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

fyngyrz I think (327 comments)

I'm just going to reformulate the problem by considering idiots who use unrealistic, not-supported-by-evidence premises to make general statements as one that calls for sending killer robots after said idiots.

about a week ago
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The New-ish Technologies That Will Alter Your Career

fyngyrz Re:Bambi clams up (66 comments)

lol... now that's straight-up punitive moderation. :)

about a week ago

Submissions

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If you're connected, Apple collects your data. No matter what.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a month ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "It would seem that no matter how you configure Yosemite, Apple is listening. Keeping in mind that this is only what's been discovered so far, and given what's known to be going on, it's not unthinkable that more is as well. Should users just sit back and accept this as the new normal? It will be interesting to see if these discoveries result in an outcry, or not."
Link to Original Source
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RRAM poses challenge to FLASH memory market

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "RRAM, a long-awaited alternative to other memory technologies that can retain data while powered down, has finally reached manufacturing. With higher data density, 3D stacking on chip (not chip-on-chip, but layer-on layer), lower power, more longevity, RRAM seems poised to drive electronic storage considerably forward. If initial designs use the current interfaces, we could see some immediate performance gains (RRAM is quite a bit faster than flash) as well as increased data capacities. Of course, no one needs more than... oh, never mind."
Link to Original Source
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Samsung releases source code for NX300 and NX2000 mirrorless cameras

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year and a half ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "There are already powerful third-party software mods for cameras such as magic lantern, but as far as I know, they're all reverse-engineering efforts, and have been somewhat hamstrung because of that. Samsung, in offering the source code to these two cameras, may have tapped a golden vein. I'm a Canon user, but upon learning this, I immediately began to consider Samsung as a 2nd camera."
Link to Original Source
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Twitter sells two years of user data, tweets

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Thought those tweets had settled back into anonymity, or that they weren't being kept for long? Ooops. Turns out that Twitter has sold a huge database of several years tweets to a marketing company, which in turn has quite a list of customers ready to data-mine the trove of remarks about, well, everything."
Link to Original Source
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FAA Bill Authorizes Surveillance Drones over US

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Congress passed a bill this week that makes it easier for the government to fly unmanned spy planes in U.S. airspace. One wonders if those gentle souls who find it so entertaining to shoot road signs will enjoy this intriguing new opportunity."
Link to Original Source
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Time Travel in our lifetimes?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 3 years ago

fyngyrz writes "If space travel is the final frontier, then what is time travel?

Einstein showed that mass and energy are the same thing. The time machine we’ve designed uses light in the form of circulating lasers to warp or loop time.

In Einstein’s theory it turns out that not only matter such as the Earth can create gravity but also light. It is the energy of light that creates gravity. Consequently, since time is affected by gravity and light can create gravity due to its energy then light can also affect time."

Link to Original Source
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Legal Tender? Maybe not.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 3 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Lousiana has passed a bill that says people may no longer use cash for second hand transactions. The idea being to make all transactions traceable, thus foiling copper theft, etc. This move has profound implications that range from constitutional rights to bitcoin, Craigslist and so forth; I wonder if there are any slashdotters at all that support such a move."
Link to Original Source
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Costdom of Speech

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "Philadelphia decides that bloggers must pay $300 for a "license." Again, government, this time at a city level, interprets "shall make no law" as "hey, boys, let's make a law!" The first — and the fourteenth — amendment specifically say this is not allowable government behavior."
Link to Original Source
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In THIS house... FTL fields and currents. Really!

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "So you think of electrons like dominoes in a wire. Push on the one in the end, the others react one after another. Pretty vanilla physics. Further, because the electrons are moving, you get magnetic effects, radio, etc. Good stuff. So. What if you move all the "dominos" at once? Put your virtual hand on all of them, and push them over. They're not moving sequentially any longer. They move together. At any speed you can make them go. Well, that's what these researchers are doing — "pushing" all along a conductor at once, able to make a signal go — ready? — FTL. Fascinating stuff. And it may explain pulsars."
Link to Original Source
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Copyright sure... but what about "feel"?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "After securing copyright permission to use the Romantic's song "What I Like About You", the publisher of the game "Guitar Hero" is being sued by the band because "the company has infringed the group's right to its own image and likeness" because the cover song is so similar to the original version.

They're seeking an injunction against the game, which could do some real sales damage during the holiday season if granted.

Now, speaking as a musician, I'm right with the program when people say copyright is flawed, but... has this band fallen off the edge here?"

Link to Original Source
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Climate change science; taking a closer look.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Climate change, global warming. Done deal, right? Not so fast:

A study has been submitted for publication in the journal Energy and Environment which actually looks at the level of support in the scientific community. From the results: "Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis." It is very interesting to see how neutral (and properly so!) the scientific community actually remains when it comes to anthropocentric global warming.

Are we seeing the pendulum swing back to a rational position?"

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fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming."
Link to Original Source
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fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Looks like Mars is warming just as fast as we are. Unfortunately, it's a little more difficult to whip the public into a frenzy of guilt over emissions when even the most daft rank and file citizen will figure out that our CO2 excess doesn't make it to Mars under any circumstances, and so the discovery doesn't bode well for the CO2 alarmists.

Looks like we might be back to terrorists, panicking over each others morals, and legislating personal choices for the entertainment of the day."

Journals

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Why no recent journal entries?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Because I have a blog at http://fyngyrz.com/.

It kind of makes the whole journal thing redundant. If you really want to see what I have to say about random things, by all means, you're invited to the blog. If not, well, it seems you're in substantial company, if nothing else. :)

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One of those poignant losses

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

18th October, 2007, we lost a dear old friend, a (mostly) Siamese cat yclept "Gwai-loh." Gwai was quite vocal, as are many Siamese; he also had some strange characteristics, for instance you could hold him upside-down on the ceiling and he would walk around - inverted - for as long as you were willing to hold him up there. For years, we kept him around the office, and he had a habit of coming up for affection when whoever he was approaching was on the phone. So he'd come up to you, get right up to your face (and the phone) and let loose with a really loud meow. Which you would then have to explain to the customer. One time I was on the phone with a rather famous Hollywood special effects dude when Gwai let loose with this, we had a good laugh over it. Eventually, we put up a web page on our site with a .wav of Gwai's signature meow, and a picture of him staring at a screensaver on a ginormous (for the time) monitor. A surprising amount of the code in WinImages was written with Gwai warm and settled either in my lap or across my arms.

Well, eventually, the old boy's liver failed, and I put out a rather startling amount of money to see if we could get around that, and amazingly enough, it worked. We got two more years of Gwai, all of it of quite high quality, before he finally laid down for the last time. His last couple of days were spent purring and head bumping while all the while refusing to eat or drink... finally, he just didn't wake up.

I miss him terribly. Sometimes it hits me right between the eyes and I can't even think straight. I can't dig over a decade and a half of unconditional love and affection out of my system with any amount of rationalization or any other flavor of self-bullshittery. Here's to my grizzled old friend. I only hope he knew how much I loved him in return.

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Mouseovers - as bad as popups?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Is anyone else as annoyed as I am by words and phrases in web articles that pop up boxes because my mouse pointer happened to cross them, temporarily hiding the content I was reading in the first place? I didn't click on anything, and consequently, I don't want a context change. I find these annoying to the point of noting what the site is and not going back. Anyone else feel the same? Anyone have a defense of the practice?

I went to this article today to read it in response to a slashdot posting, and managed to accidentally activate the wireless mouseover / popup as I was reading. Bam. Content hidden, thought stream interrupted. Isn't this essentially popups, revisited?

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Cold War, Version II

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

So I wake up this morning, and Putin has dissolved his government.

Then, same morning, Russia announces a bomb with nuclear-level destructive capability. But they say they're not escalating.

Then, later the same day, the US announces they have a matter-antimatter (proton/positron) annihilation laser, which, they say, is to normal lasers as nuclear weapons are to normal bombs.

At the same time, Bush, old "We'll never pull 'em out", is about to announce a troop pullback in Iraq.

Oil's hovering around $80 a barrel. The dollar is in the outhouse, and we've basically had many of our civil rights eliminated or made irrelevant.

Did I miss something here?

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More on Global Temperature Change

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article (vile email registration required) from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming.

But wait; there's more. This months Discover Magazine (print version also) has a lengthy article about this same mechanism, that is, cloud formation driving the climate and the sun driving cloud formation by way of modulating the effect cosmic rays have, by Henrik Svensmark, the 49-year-old director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen.

Svensmark says that we are in a warming trend, so his conclusions are at odds with those of Patterson; but they both agree that CO2 isn't nearly the looming threat that it has been made out to be with regard to climate change.

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Montana surprises us again, this time on Eminent Domain

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Recently, Montana legislators made news when they passed legislation outlawing Real-ID, calling it a threat to privacy and liberty. Now, legislation making the taking of property by eminent domain for the purposes of increasing tax revenues illegal has been passed and signed into law by Montana's governor. For more on why this is a serious issue, check out the Supreme Court's "Kelo" decision, named after a Connecticut woman who (unsuccessfully) fought to keep her home from city plans to arbitrarily take it and subsequently turn it over to private developers with the objective of collecting higher tax revenues from the property.

Montana has a 2% unemployment rate at present, and maintains a balanced budget, something the feds might want to give some consideration to. I have to say that although I am typically very cynical about government, and although Montana has made some very serious mis-steps in terms of liberties in the last few decades, the state seems more interested in doing the right thing than the wrong thing at this point in time, and I am feeling very pleased with my representatives right now as a long-time resident.

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Has Apple made a costly miss-step?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

With the recent news about cellphone activity allegedly being the underlying cause for the sudden loss of large numbers of bees, an insect that forges an absolutely critical and irreplaceable part of the food chain, is Apple's iPhone doomed to enter the market just as cell phones face severe clampdowns, or even wholesale replacement?

Cell phones operate at microwave frequencies for a pretty good reason; basically, microwaves enable small equipment. They also do a decent job of penetrating many types of structures, if not through the walls, then at least through the windows. However, there are other frequencies available, lower frequencies that have been busy for many decades without any significant observed effect on bees or other life. People already understand how useful cell phones are, and there are manufacturers with significant experience in VHF radio, to name one technically possible replacement band — so an interesting market shake-up is certainly feasible. Excellent VHF transceivers are marketed by amateur radio manufacturers, for example.

Normally, we would assume that an established, profitable market similar to the cellphone market would be stable and have a long, healthy life expectancy based on the functionality offered to the market. However, if the bees go, we will too - and that, ladies and gentleman, is an outcome that not even Steve Job's legendary reality distortion field can deal with.

Perhaps Apple should get back to working on OSX, and forget the iPhone. I have this nagging feeling that the iPhone is going to be this year's "politically incorrect" device. I know I've stopped using my cellphone for anything but emergency calls; how about you? Seen any bees lately?

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My Mac finally crashed.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I bought my daily-driver Mac, a mini, pretty much when the PowerPC mini was released. I was tempted beyond belief by that form factor, and the price. I loaded it; a gig of ram, bluetooth, wifi, modem, big drive (for the day), the superdrive, and so forth. I bought every option because the more that was jammed into the box, the more I liked the form factor. I know it's a little weird, but there you have it.

Since then, I've used the little box daily, for just about everything. It's been powered up since I bought it (thanks to a UPS.) This year, a couple of months ago, I bought a Mac laptop - a top of the line 17" Mac Pro - but I still use the mini every day. I've rebooted the mini many times, almost always in response to an Apple upgrade or security modification, once when I went from 10.3 to 10.4, never as an attempt to fix a problem. I've never had any problems of that kind, frankly.

Today, without any particular warning, my Mac dimmed the screen, locked my mouse and keyboard, popped a black rectangle up which informed me in no uncertain terms that I needed to reboot. Now. I lost a long post I had been writing for Kuro5hin.org, and I failed to even reach the level of being annoyed about that because it was just so astonishing to me that the mini had actually - gulp - crashed.

I just want to say that I hadn't even realized that my expectations had been silently and sneakily leveraged to be so astonishingly high. After years of being screwed with, and over, by Microsoft operating systems, I no longer expect that an OS should, or will, crash. Massive kudos to Apple.

...and my little PPC mini came right back up, and yes, I'm using it right now, and I still don't expect it to crash. :) I was using a beta version of a web browser and my guess is it was just a little too beta.

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Best slashdot comment ever encountered

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 9 years ago Best slashdot comment, ever:

Russia's Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered

Posted by timothy on Monday July 25, @11:48AM
from the but-what's-the-motive-detective-columbo? dept.
Karellen !-P writes "Vardan Kushnir, a notorious russian spammer who headed the English learning centers, the Center for American English, the New York English Centre and the Centre for Spoken English, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head."
----------------------------------------
Should have opted out. (Score:5, Funny)
by Tackhead (54550) on Monday July 25, @11:54AM
(#13157866)
> He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.
From a hidden microphone at the scene of the murder:

"You are receiving *WHAM* this blow to the head *WHAM* because you are part of a *WHAM* specially-selected list of *WHAM* people who agreed to receive *WHAM* blows to the head *WHAM*.

To stop *WHAM* receiving these *WHAM* blows to the head, please *WHAM* email us at no-more-please@optout.blowtothehead. com and *WHAM* we will remove you from our list of *WHAM* blow-to-the-head-club members *WHAM* (heh, we said "club"!) *WHAM* within 24 to 48 hours.

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Slashdot needs some fixes

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 10 years ago Slashdot is fun and useful and all, but there are some pretty annoying problems with the site. They constantly come up in an "off topic" manner, and consequently get (sort-of) appropriately modded down - this journal submission is intended to give them a legitimate home. I submitted it as a story, but - of course - it was rejected.

These are the things that seem most obvious to me, but I am sure there are others, given how annoying the issues I have in mind are to me. Please feel free to add your thoughts to all this, shoot my ideas down, whatever.

Moderation is anonymous

I say this is a Very Bad Thing. You can compare this to Kuro5hin, where you can easily see who did what to whom. Moderation with accountability allows anyone to see when a vendetta is being pursued, or when someone is systematically modding a subject down because they disagree, rather than because the issue is actually off-topic, a flame and so forth. I cannot begin to count the number of comments I have seen that have been modded down because they were contraversial, as opposed to offtopic, flamebait, or whatever else the down-mod claimed they were. The site's editors are also anonymous and that provides a hidden power structure which isn't a particularly good thing in any venue. I have read multiple claims that this poster or that poster cannot get mod points "because they modded something [a slashdot luminary] posted some time ago." If this is an illusion, exposing who did what to whom will in turn expose the illusion. If it is not an illusion, then exposing what happened should reduce the problem, because such action would rightfully be condemned by readers if it is inappropriate. I find the idea that the site's editors might be sneaking around and quietly muzzling moderators in a punitive manner more than a little disturbing.

So my first suggestion here is simply to lose moderation anonymity. My second is that if and when mod capability is removed from a user, the date of, and reason for, that action be posted right in their user page.

Many - perhaps even most - down mods are punitive or inappropriate

I suggest that the meta-moderation process be adjusted to include the ability to flag down-mods as obviously inappropriate, and to remove moderation privileges from those who commit such down-mods, as well as the down-mods themselves.

Up-mods don't need metamoderation

I suggest the outright removal of metamoderation of up-mods; if someone considers something interesting (or whatever) positive characteristic, who are we to say that this isn't so? That's the moderator's take on the comment, and up-moderation is a (very limited) opportunity for a moderator to "uplift" the story to the rest of us based on that perception. Upmods aren't harmful the way down-mods are - quite the contrary - and it seems to me to be a complete waste of time to metamoderate upmods for that very reason.

With mod points so scarce (and I agree they should be) we are forced to pick the things we really appreciate to up-mod. I rarely see an honest need to down-mod (obvious "first post" and gay/nigger trolls excepted), but I simply do not see a need to counter an up-mod. Someone thinks this, that or the other thing is insightful or interesting or sexy or whatever? Ok, that's at least notable - and that is exactly what an up-moderated and hence higher point comment does, it becomes more notable - not more interesting, not more insightful, but more notable. It might not actually seem that the applied moderation is accurate to us on reading the modded comment, but it is interesting that so-and-so (or at least "someone", if moderator anonymity remains preserved) thought it was worthy of a mod point. Comments can argue the issue if a poster is so motivated, and that seems like plenty of recourse to me. We see this all the time anyway; why not simply make it the official means of argument with an upmod?

Metamoderation is a scarce resource - put it where it does the most good

The removal of up-mod metamoderation could allow multiple meta-moderation of down-mods so that a reasonable, multi-user consensus that a down-mod is innapropriate can be reached. It seems to me that it should not be a light thing to say that someone is abusing the moderation system; you want to be reasonably certain. A meta objection to a down mod should cause that down-mod to immediately rear its ugly little head in a bunch of other meta-moderation queues so that consensus can be reached - and then corrective action taken if the mod is widely deemed inappropriate. This last point is important: It is a real shame that reasonable posts are permanently lost to the default view because some moderator was being a twit.

Fix the comment point system

There are several things wrong with this area of the site. The first is simply exposure, like authorship of moderation. Anyone who looks at the summary of points in a profile and tries to figure out what happened to a heavily moderated comment in a story is doomed to failure. It's Byzantine at best, and opaque and threatening at worst. Expose it.

Next, The math behind up/down mods is bizarre, to say the least. At a minimum, fix it so it is linear; or if not, then at least expose each and every mod point and show what it did to the story (along with the inflicting member - again, see Kuro5hin for a nice example of how this should be done.) Of course, if only this is done, an outcry will probably arise to fix the math, for the obvious reasons. :)

Expand the moderation choices

I have also seen lots of very good suggestions for additional moderation reasons. I'd like to see the readership discuss that here and perhaps a poll be subsequently created to see which new moderations should actually be added.

Story submission is entirely in italics

How is one expected to visually check the HTML of a story if the story preview enforces italics for the entire body? Why not use dark blue on white, and let italics flow according to the story tags so we can actually see what we're writing? You know, that radical new concept, "WYSIWYG"?

Sign the Polls

Stories are signed so we know who to thank (or blame) for the story. Sign the polls too. As I write this, there is a poll up for "favorite writing instrument" and the poll fails to include "keyboard" as an option. Somebody should have some digital egg on their face for that one. Maybe accountability will result in better quality polls. One can hope, anyway!

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