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Culberson As Chair of NASA Fundng Subcommittee Makes Europa Mission More Likely

guanxi The Republicans refuse to fund anything (57 comments)

The Republican Party, especially in the House, refuses to fund anything. They sometimes fail to pay government workers and barely avoided defaulting on our debt. The military and CDC can't get funding; It's very hard to imagine this will.

4 days ago
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NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

guanxi Re:Proper risk management (372 comments)

How is suspending flights to Liberia a "high opportunity cost"?

Is the economy going to turn down because somebody cannot get to Monrovia?

My understanding is that it wouldn't protect us, so it would be a needless distraction, a waste of limited leadership attention, and false comfort.

Instead of making decisions from fear and sensationalist news broadcasts, let's study what really works and do that. This field has been studied very carefully for a long time, so let's see what the people who study it have to say.

about a month ago
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NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

guanxi Re:Proper risk management (372 comments)

Since at least August the CDC has been spouting the line "We know how to control Ebola" yet months later we were caught with our CDC protocols around our ankles. So far that mistake appears not to have snowballed in the US.

The evidence says it is not a risk in the US and that the protocols, while not perfect, worked. The 3 people in the US infected no others (except a health care worker). Consider that the health care worker worked in a hospital, closely interacting with all their co-workers, and was out in public, etc. -- and nobody else got infected.

You are starting with a predetermined conclusion, that Ebola is a great threat to the country, and calling all the evidence and expertise wrong.

In the world of public health, people unfortunately die. We don't provide enough resources to treat all preventable deaths. Is it better to spend $1 million preventing 1 death from Ebola than to spend it preventing 10 from heart disease (or probably even more from Malaria or TB)?

Let's save as many people as possible, and not let more needlessly die because we are too afraid to think straight.

about a month ago
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NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

guanxi Proper risk management (372 comments)

1) What is the likelihood of harm?
2) If harm occurs, what is the cost?
3) What is the cost of preventing harm, including the opportunity cost?

And allocate resources accordingly. In this case:

1) Extremely low. Approx. 3 people in the US have Ebola; all were in West Africa or treated someone already very ill. Nobody else in the US has been infected by these people (again, except someone providing health care to one of them). You are at much greater risk of heart disease, cancer, traffic accidents, hospital error, crime, and probably even lightening strikes and bee stings.

2) The cost is very high, including a substantial risk of death.

3) The cost is easily affordable for the US, but the opportunity cost is higher: The United States and the world have limited health care resources. For example, there's a good chance that many of the resources (doctors and money) would save many more lives and better protect US citizens by addressing heart disease (via prevention, treatment, or research) or controlling the outbreak in W. Africa than by responding to public panic.

I think you'll find that many experts in these fields will say that the panic is the greatest risk, greater than the disease.

about a month ago
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China Starts Outsourcing From ... the US

guanxi Re:This could be political too (274 comments)

That's just one example, and they do make their mistakes (as does everyone). Here are some successes:

  * Bloomberg and other news organizations openly refuse to publish reports critical of the Chinese government.
  * Major US universities sacrifice academic freedom in order to get funding for Confucius Institutes
  * Hollywood films that you may have watched last night are written and edited to appease Chinese censors.
  * Norway's government refused to meet the Dalai Lama, to appease China.
  * Taiwan has diplomatic relations with few countries, because they don't want to anger China.

about 5 months ago
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China Starts Outsourcing From ... the US

guanxi This could be political too (274 comments)

The Chinese government is very strategic about creating 'soft power' (political, cultural, economic, and diplomatic influence; as opposed to 'hard power', which is typically military force or economic sanctions). Look up Confucius Institutes and the Three Warfares, for example. China also uses its market power to get what it wants politically; look up how Hollywood studios allow Chinese censors to edit their movies (and not just for Chinese distribution).

It's not a new idea to use jobs to create influence. Government contractors locate jobs in the districts of key members of Congress in order to get votes; when Japan's auto industry was viewed as a threat, the built factories in the U.S.

In the locations where Chinese companies are placing jobs, how likely is it that the people or their representatives will support sanctions, force, or any actions detrimental to China?

(China isn't the only country to do such things, of course, but they have a lot of money, an aggressive outlook, and their government has a lot of involvement with and influence over their businesses.)

about 5 months ago
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Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

guanxi Re:Boring and repetitive? (394 comments)

He's apparently super paranoid (worried about the government eavesdropping on your cell phone calls and tracking you? Wishing for a pager so that you could perfectly control how much tracking information you give when you answer your phone? Jesus christ, get over yourself!)

I'm not sure there is broad consensus that it is "super-paranoid" to not want to be tracked, or to have end-user control of your data. You may disagree, but many people think that it should be the norm.

Is the government interested in RMS (and did he mention the government? Maybe he meant businesses, who certainly want to track him and everyone else?) I have no idea. Periodically it comes out -- in serious publications, not conspiracy websites -- that one government agency or another tracks seemingly harmless groups and people, especially those oriented toward human rights or some sort of radicalism, so it certainly is not paranoid to think it is possible.

about 7 months ago
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Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

guanxi Re:do they have a progressive view? (336 comments)

It may seem to fit that partisan narrative, but you don't really know Detroit politics. The Big Three run Detroit, in any meaningful sense. The economy of the city is completely dependent on them, and as auto company jobs have declined since the 1950s, so has Detroit. GM just went bankrupt and Chrysler nearly did; it's hard to blame that on local Detroit politics.

Race problems have been huge. Much of the city's talent was effectively barred from eduction, productive employment, or decent housing for a long time. The riots in 1967 did not come from a vacuum, but from decades of oppression by the white population. You probably haven't read about the riots that would happen when a black person dared to move into a white neighborhood. George Wallace (former Alabama governor and ardent segregationist) won the 1968 Democratic primary in the city!

If you really want to understand Detroit and urban politics, and the role of race, read this history (which won the Bancroft Prize, among others):

The Origins of the Urban Crisis by Thomas Sugrue

about 7 months ago
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How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash

guanxi Re:Depends on if it is in aggregate. (93 comments)

Will they care? It all depends on the data being shared is in aggregate. I don't care if people know that the average person in my city walks a thousand steps a day, and that still has a lot of value for health care companies, and I'm happy to contribute to that. I *DO* care if they know the details about me *individually*. There is a big difference.

That data is worth a lot more than you think, and they can learn a lot more about you as an individual. Also, knowing the value of that data, why give it away?

about 7 months ago
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How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash

guanxi Everyone who can spy on you, will (93 comments)

Isn't it obvious at this point that everyone who can spy on you, will? There is no legal regulation, or simple pragmatic or moral restraint.

Remember Obama saying about the NSA, 'maybe just because we can gather some data doesn't mean we should' (paraphrased). It doesn't seem like others are even thinking about it, except Mozilla.

about 7 months ago
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Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

guanxi The spoils are for the elite (581 comments)

I don't know about Bloomberg in particular, but it now seems almost common wisdom among the elite that college isn't for everyone and now skills like programming aren't either.

While those words are true, what they mean in practice is that 'not for everyone' means 'not for the poor and working class' (poverty is a strong predictor of college eduction). I bet Bloomberg's kids go to college and he wouldn't doubt his non-technical buddies' ability to learn to code based on their job descriptions

What happened to the American Dream? Where is the land of opportunity, where anyone can succeed if they work hard enough? Apparently, Bloomberg et al believe that only the elite live in that land and that we should abandon that dream for the working class and poor. Why don't they just accept their places?

about 7 months ago
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London's Public Bike Data Can Tell Everyone Where You've Been

guanxi Is it any surprise at this point? (41 comments)

Is it any surprise they are tracking you at this point? Wouldn't you be more surprised if they were not?

Why shouldn't they? There are no consequences.

about 7 months ago
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Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

guanxi Re:I think this is bullshit (1746 comments)

glamorizing Che Guevara is deemed perfectly acceptable

IME, of those supporting gay marriage, a very small number support or glamorize Che Guevara. I would guess only a minority knows who he was.

I suspect many with the poster/shirt just think it looks cool.

about 8 months ago
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Canonical's Troubles With the Free Software Community

guanxi Re:Infighting: Linux's biggest weakness (155 comments)

NOTHING on linux even close to a real business accounting package

Try Moneydance, which is close to QuickBooks for a small business, depending on your needs:
http://moneydance.com/

In my limited experience it's well-designed, well-supported, and geek-friendly (extensible with Python, open API, etc.). It appears to be multi-user but I've never tried that feature.

about 8 months ago
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Mozilla Scraps Firefox For Windows 8, Citing Low Adoption of Metro

guanxi Does Firefox still run on Win8 desktop UI? (200 comments)

I assume it still runs on the Win8 desktop UI? Or are Win8 users unable to use Firefox outside a VM?

about 8 months ago
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Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

guanxi Re:Well it IS the BBC (431 comments)

As you demonstrate, ignorant, hateful people can be found everywhere. One way to spot them is that they depict the world as one group vs. another (Jews vs. Muslims), and talk about a group of people as if they are a single-minded whole (Jews do this, Muslims do that) rather than as millions or billions of individuals.

My reading of history is that the hateful people are the ones that cause the most trouble, independently of what other group they belong to.

about 9 months ago
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Bill Gates curses at Windows 8.1

guanxi Source is satire? (1 comments)

The Borowitz Report is, or at least used to be, satire -- kind of like the Onion.

about 10 months ago
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How Voter Shortsightedness Skews Elections

guanxi Are you earning more since Reagan was elected? (269 comments)

Ironically, income for most Americans has not increased since Reagan became President.

It is surprising that cutting taxes and reducing regulations for corporations and the wealthy, while undermining unions and cutting government services to everyone else, results in the wealthy getting wealthier and the rest standing still. Who could have imagined such an outcome?

When will the " trickle down" that Reagan promised start happening? I feel like it could be any day now.

about 10 months ago
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Linus Torvalds Gives 'Thumbs Up' To Nvidia For Nouveau Contributions

guanxi Why do Free/Open Source gurus use Google+? (169 comments)

Aren't there plenty of other, and Free, ways to publish? It's not the end of the world but when someone like Linus Torvalds does it I think it sends a message that undermines the value placed on FOSS systems. If end-user control isn't important for Torvalds' personal communication, when is it?

And yes, I'm aware I'm publishing this on Slashdot, but they say "Comments owned by the poster" and in this case, there's not a functional alternative for participating on this discussion.

about 10 months ago
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EU Secretly Plans To Put a Back Door In Every Car By 2020

guanxi If it's legitimate, why is it secret? (364 comments)

People like to argue that these kinds of surveillance and control are legitimate and nobody cares about them; if so, then why are they done in secret?

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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(Ex-)CIA analyst writes insider study of Counterterrorism Center

guanxi guanxi writes  |  about a year ago

guanxi (216397) writes "(Spoiler: It turns our their jobs are even more bureaucratic as most of ours; in fact, some ask if the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) is too large to function efffectively.) CIA analyst and sociology Ph.D. candidate Bridget Nolan suggested to her superiors that she write her dissertation on her workplace. They said no; she said yes; Bridget won. She had to quit the CIA, but now her study is in the public domain. Imagine a workplace where "ordinary conversations ... involve a kind of competitive one-upsmanship, "in which intelligence officers ‘out-correct’ and ‘out-logic’ each other in the course of routine conversation to the point where any increased accuracy in what has been said no longer seems meaningful." Maybe that doesn't take much imagination."
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The National Surveillance State, founded 1917

guanxi guanxi writes  |  about a year and a half ago

guanxi (216397) writes "The NSA programs may be new, but in the United States government surveillance of its citizens is not. The Surveillance State's origins are in 1917, as Woodrow Wilson looked to rally support (and suppress dissent) for World War I: "Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson read mail and revoked publications’ mailable status that was then used by prosecutors as proof that those publishers were seditious in court cases. ... Soldiers went undercover, such as one who broke into the National Civil Liberties Bureau’s offices ... Prosecutors convicted Eugene V. Debs for seditious speech when he offered praise to three socialists recently convicted under the Espionage Act. ... some 20,000 civilian volunteers of the vigilante American Protective League ... detained about 60,000 men for possible draft dodging, even though they had no legal authority to do so. This same organization investigated their fellow Americans for most of the major intelligence agencies, barging into peoples’ homes and offices. ..." With modern networks, data collection and analysis, we won't need as many vigilantes or to physically break into offices and homes."
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Is your antivirus made by the Chinese gov't?

guanxi guanxi writes  |  more than 3 years ago

guanxi (216397) writes "Huawei, a large Chinese telecom and IT company with close ties to the Chinese military has faced obstacles doing business in other countries, because governments are concerned about giving Huawei access to critical infrastructure. That hasn't stopped them completely, though. Huawei Symantec is a joint venture with one of the world's largest IT security companies which sells security products in the U.S. And the Chinese government is not alone. Would the Chinese or other governments take the opportunity to create back doors into western IT networks? Wouldn't they be crazy not to?"
Link to Original Source
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Congress scandalized over personal privacy!

guanxi guanxi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

guanxi (216397) writes "You know those privacy issues that lawmakers have completely disregarded, leading to widespread government abuses and identity theft? Suddenly privacy is a priority among Congressional staffers — meetings are being held, action is being demanded, and fear for the personal security of Americans is rampant. No, no, not you Americans who are reading these words, they're worried about themselves. You see, LegiStorm has posted the staffers' financial disclosure forms. It's an outrage! The Hill quotes one staffer as saying, "I've researched identity theft and how much of a goldmine this information is for people who deal in that world" and says the House and Senate could have a "liability problem". Others "are livid House Administration has not at least threatened legal action against LegiStorm". I truly sympathize 100%, but do you think it has crossed their minds to find a solution for the 300 million Americans who don't work in the Capitol? Legistorm so far is holding the line."
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Thane Heinz (electric motor) for Ask Slashdot

guanxi guanxi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

guanxi (216397) writes "Just a suggestion — invite Thane Heinz, maker of the inexplicably efficient electric motor featured in this Slashdot post to Ask Slashdot. Many Slashdotters have ideas and would love to know more about the motor (see the discussion), Thane seems reasonable (he's very hesitant to call it 'perpetual motion'), and Prof. Zahn from MIT thinks it's worth investigating (per the article). Thane might like the publicity and/or a more sophisticated forum than what journalists discuss. (I have no connection to Thane Heinz. This is a suggestion, not an offer.)"
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guanxi guanxi writes  |  more than 7 years ago

guanxi (216397) writes "In an NPR interview NASA chief Michael Griffin, a rocket scientist, put the reputation of his famous research organization (not to mention the United States) behind this statement: "I have no doubt that ... a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with." I was going to add commentary, but there's little you can add to statements like this one: "To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change. First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings." To most people, of course, the words of the head of NASA are authoritative."
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guanxi guanxi writes  |  more than 7 years ago

guanxi (216397) writes "PayPerPost is a site any Slashdotter *might* appreciate: It helps businesses with a marketing need find for bloggers (and I suppose Slashdot posters) who need a little cash — and are willing to blog whatever is necessary to earn it. That's right, they bid for shills. It's even spawned some competition, like ReviewMe and LoudLaunch. Now that powers-that-be recognize blogs as a way to influence the public, how can you decide which ones to trust?"
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guanxi guanxi writes  |  more than 7 years ago

guanxi (216397) writes "One of the fastest growing markets for news has no interest in sex, celebrity gossip, or partisan hackery — it's computers. Financial traders looking for an edge no longer want to wait for people to read, analyze, and communicate the latest events; they want the news fed right into their computers so they can process trades immediately. The turnaround time from a "PS3 sales slow" story to dumping the stock is milliseconds. Reuters met this demand with NewsScope Real-Time, which outputs machine-readable news, and reportedly Thomson Financial (which already sells computer-generated news) and Bloomberg offer similar products. Would you trust your money to an unskeptical computer reading the news? Can bloggers compete? Will Jon Stewart have a feed?"
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guanxi guanxi writes  |  more than 7 years ago

guanxi (216397) writes ""As simple as possible, and no simpler", you might have heard a few times; or KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). No more! The new hot trend is complexity: "[I]f you think simplicity means ... "does one thing and does it well," then I applaud your integrity but you can't go that far" says Joel Spolsky. "Why are Yahoo! and MSN such complex-looking places? Because their systems are easier to use [than Google]" explains Donald Norman, who also also tells us that Simplicity Is Highly Overrated. Are they trying to make a subtler point, are they just consultants making a splash, or complexity the Next Big Thing in design?"
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guanxi guanxi writes  |  about 8 years ago

guanxi (216397) writes "Gannett, one of the largest newspaper publishers in the U.S., plans to change its newsrooms to utilize Crowdsourcing, a new term for something Slashdot readers have been familiar with for years: From the article, they will "use crowdsourcing methods to put readers to work as watchdogs, whistle-blowers and researchers in large, investigative features." Last summer, the The News-Press in Fort Myers, Florida asked readers to help investigate a local scandal. The response was overwhelming: "Readers spontaneously organized their own investigations: Retired engineers analyzed blueprints, accountants pored over balance sheets, and an inside whistle-blower leaked documents showing evidence of bid-rigging." Public service isn't their only concern, of course: "We've learned that no one wants to read a 400-column-inch investigative feature online. But when you make them a part of the process they get incredibly engaged." Is this the beginning of a revolution at major media organizations? Can they successfully duplicate what online communities have been doing for years?"
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guanxi guanxi writes  |  more than 8 years ago

guanxi writes "Two members of NASA's Advisory Council have been "asked to leave" and one resigned, according to Forbes. All opposed cuts to NASA's science programs. With the current budgetary constraints, we can't have it all. NASA already cut earth science from it's mission statement, so we'd better decide fast before the decision is made for us: What is more important? Science or manned spaceflight?"

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