N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'
North Koeans are required to worship their leaders as gods. There is nothing Atheistic about that.
Book Review: Survival of the Nicest
In his book "The Selfish Gene" Richard Dawkins uses the Prisoner's Dilemma to construct a quasi-mathematical proof that judicious altruism beats greed as an evolutionary strategy. Also, Hamilton's Rule provides quantification to why altruism makes sense for the species.
Imagining the Post-Antibiotic Future
This is where they lost me. How often are scrapes and cuts (or even car accidents) treated with antibiotics? Sure, major lesions will warrant a general antibiotic, but in my first three decades of life i can count on one hand the number of times I took antibiotics, and almost all of them were preventative (meaning even without them, the risk to life was statistically indistinguishable from 0). Trying to rally the public with "if you get a scrape you will die" is pretty much fear mongering. And fear mongers can fuck right off.
You say you " can count on one hand the number of times I took antibiotics, and almost all of them were preventative," meaning you took them to prevent infection, so you don't know how many times you could have actually gotten an infection. I did an informal survey of my friends to find out how many have taken antibiotics to fight an actual infection, and the response was 100%. If those infections were antibiotic-resistant, that means 100% of them would have died. I think you're misunderstanding the risk and your comment actually reinforces the danger of infection.
You ask, "How often are scrapes and cuts (or even car accidents) treated with antibiotics?" The answer is very few, but over the course of a lifetime, we experience many scrapes and cuts, and only need to get infected once with an antibiotic-resistant bacteria to die. That's why it's a problem, and it's not being overstated.
Global Biological Experiment Generates Exciting New Results
"The only problem with capitalism is the capitalists." ~ Herbert Hoover
NC School District Recalls Its Amplify Tablets After 10% Break In Under a Month
Unfortunately, this mirrors my own experience when I bought all the kids on my street laptops on the condition that they spend weeks with me learning how to handle and respect them. One year later, every single laptop was inoperable. Of course, every one of these kids owned an iPod touch... with a broken screen, so there were warning signs.
I think the problem is the portability of these devices. The reason I didn't break my Commodore 64 when I was a kid is because it sat on a desk. If it was portable, I probably would have shattered or lost it at some point too. I don't think we can make these devices rugged enough to survive your average teenager.
Have eBooks Peaked?
Why should I pay $9.99 for an ebook that can be taken away from me anytime Amazon wants, can't be lent out or given away, and can't be resold? When I buy a real book, it's an investment. I can resell it, donate it to my local library, or buy other real books from used book sellers for $0.99. My wife's grandmother just passed away, and her family let me take a wealth of old books from her collection. All the money she spent on those books over her lifetime has transferred to her children and grandchildren. When I die, the hundreds--maybe thousands--of dollars spent on my ebook collection dies with me.
I love my kindle. I love reading ebooks. I love highlighting, clipping, and making notes in them, but there's a very tough tradeoff here. Real books are a material investment, ebooks are ephemeral.
How One Drunk Driver Sent My Company To the Cloud
I was thinking the same thing. I keenly remember Microsoft Azure going down for eight hours, right after we migrated to their cloud service. With our old datacenter, we were alerted immediately and their tech support had a bang list to alert all our customers for us that the system was down. With Microsoft, we got NOTHING. Our customers alerted us to the fact that they couldn't access their applications, and we had to go to twitter to @WindowsAzure to ask when the servers would be back up. Then, a year later, the East Coast datacenter went down and we learned that Cloud service does not include disaster recovery and we were responsible for setting up our own recovery solution on Window's Azure's servers.
Sounds very similar to Sayre's Law, which I suppose is Parkinson's law applied specifically to academia.
The Savvy Tech Strategy Behind Obamacare
This. This. This.
My wife and I had our second child two weeks ago. Despite the fact that we had spent nine months working closely with a clinic that had been monitoring the pregnancy, dispensing the proper medications, and who had midwives and doctors working at the hospital we would be delivering at, when we arrived at the hospital we found that they had NOTHING in their systems regarding my wife and her medical history. We then spent an hour telling the triage nurse everything we knew about the pregnancy from memory, until a doctor from our clinic finally showed up at the hospital with a big folder of printouts that no one had time to look at because my wife delivered a half hour later.
When we asked afterwards why the hospital had no record of us despite the fact that they knew we would be delivering there, they explained their system had no way to transfer electronic records and that they were still relying on printouts that would have to be entered by hand. Amusingly enough, they were launching a new networked electronic system while we were there that would enable the transfer of records.
Of course, the hospital staff freely admitted the new system was a complete headache to learn and that they had resisted it as long as possible, but thanks to "Obamacare" they were now required by law to implement such a system. Let that sink in for a moment. Hospitals are perfectly happy to have absolutely no information on the patients that arrive in their emergency rooms in America because upgrading their information systems is a hassle.
People complain about government regulations, but in this case, I'm perfectly happy to have government give the Medical industry a swift regulatory kick in the ass on this. There is no excuse for endangering human lives like this.
Orson Scott Card Pleads 'Tolerance' For Ender's Game Movie
Thank you for the thoughtful response. I do still feel there is something highly 'accidental' to the genius of Card's Ender's series, but I have read some criticisms that damn the books for being highly manipulative in the way they persuade the audience to forgive Ender's actions:
"Card has spoken in interviews about his tropism for the story of the person who sacrifices himself for the community. This is the story, he tells us, that he has been drawn to tell again and again. For example, in justification of the scenes of violence in his fiction, Card told Publisher’s Weekly in 1990 that, “In every single case, cruelty was a voluntary sacrifice. The person being subjected to the torture was suffering for the sake of the community.” I find this statement astonishingly revealing. By “The person being subjected to the torture,” Card is not referring here to Stilson, Bonzo, or the buggers, who may well be sacrificed, but whose sacrifices are certainly not “voluntary.” Their deaths are not the voluntary sacrifices that draw Card’s concern. No, in these situations, according to Card the person being tortured is Ender, and even though he walks away from every battle, the sacrifice is his. In every situation where Ender wields violence against someone, the focus of the narrative’s sympathy is always and invariably on Ender, not on the objects of Ender’s violence. It is Ender who is offering up the voluntary sacrifice, and that sacrifice is the emotional price he must pay for physically destroying someone else. All the force of such passages is on the price paid by the destroyer, not on the price paid by the destroyed. “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” might well be the slogan of Ender’s Game."
Orson Scott Card Pleads 'Tolerance' For Ender's Game Movie
There is ZERO equivalency. Making the Constitutionally-protected choice to freely associate or not associate with someone because of their political or religious beliefs by simply not buying a movie ticket is in no way the same thing as supporting the government incarcerating people for their private lifestyle. It boggles my mind that you can see these two things as equivalent.
Orson Scott Card Pleads 'Tolerance' For Ender's Game Movie
I loved loved loved "Ender's Game" as a youth, but 10 years ago, when I discovered Orson Scott Card's blog and his perpetual stream of scientifically illiterate bigoted ravings, it really tainted everything with his name on it for me. Suddenly, "Ender's Game," "Speaker for the Dead," and "Xenocide" were no longer deep books about ethical conundrums, but shallow stories where ethical conflicts just happen with depth given to them by the reader--because there's no way Card's shallow, binary mind could possibly comprehend the many ethical dimensions of the events he describes in his stories.
As for tolerance. You are correct, I am completely intolerant of Card's intolerance. I am choosing to not give my patronage to the film adaptation of his book because his personal views and political activism have soiled the whole thing for me; however, I fully support his right to voice those views. By contrast, Card believes that those he disagrees with, homosexuals, should be incarcerated and stripped of their rights. So I find the attempts by many online to draw an equivalency between the intolerance of those participating in the boycott and Card's intolerance extremely weak.
MIT Project Reveals What PRISM Knows About You
I allowed Immersion to review my gmail, and I don't think it really reflects what PRISM is accessing in any way. All it did was go through my emails and build a standard social network map out of my emails based on who was in the address lines. My understanding is that PRISM is actually analyzing the content of my emails. Immersion is neat, but it really seems like the developers are trying to promote their own software by attaching it to the surveillance scandal.
As for Immersion itself. It is a neat application and it's fun to see a chart of everyone you interact with an how they are all networked together. If you're interested in seeing your Facebook and Twitter networks modeled in a similar way, you can use the open-source NodeXL plugin for Excel, which let's you harvest your data from these social networks and build your own visualizations. It's actually much much more robust than Immersion and you don't have to give a third-party access to your accounts since you run it from your local machine yourself.
Silicon Valley In 2013 Resembles Logan's Run In 2274
I've never been to Silicon Valley, but I met a programmer who was happy to get out of there as soon as he could escape. I'll never forget the mental image he painted of the place, "On Friday nights everyone takes their expensive cars out cruising, but there are no women in Silicon Valley, so it's just a bunch of guys trying to impress other guys."
Really sounds like Sartre's description of hell as "other people" to me.
EU Parliament Supports Suspending US Data Sharing
It's a nice act, but isn't it a little on the hypocritical side considering France has just been exposed as having an equally egregious citizen-spying program in place? I'm glad the EU-legislation is doing something, but it sounds like they need to now pass a resolution condemning the program going on inside their own borders. Everyone should be outraged at PRISM, but everyone should also be outraged that France was condemning the United States for running a program they themselves were secretly running as well.
Foxconn's Robot Workforce Now 20,000 Strong
I don't think anyone is saying automation is a zero-sum game, and I don't think anyone is arguing that organizations shouldn't be automating, but what I, Lanier, and many other are arguing is that we can't just pretend that it's some sort of economic law that automation always creates more jobs.
Automation is great and I'm all for it, but the problem I have is that we have to be socially aware of the people, most of them highly-skilled, who are losing their jobs because of it. I'm talking about the professional bank tellers replaced by ATM machines, the professional photographers replaced by digital cameras, the paralegals replaced by search engines, and the doctors who will soon lose their jobs to Watsons.
I personally welcome the replacement of all these professions with more efficient and precise algorithms and machines, but I also think society has to be mindful of the people being put out of work. So many pundits and politicians in America are arguing that the unemployed are responsible for their plight, but if you factor in the rapid acceleration of automation, it's obvious that jobs are being eliminated faster than Capitalism can generate new ones, and Capitalism doesn't care about humans losing their jobs anymore than it cared about horses being replaced with cars. Society has to adjust it's paradigms to account for the fact that high rates of unemployment might be here to stay thanks to the automation revolution.
Strangely enough, it's a Conservative friend of mine who I think came up with the best possible solution to this new social reality: have the government pay everyone a "survival" wage, the bare minimum required to afford a low-rent apartment and food. If you want more, you have to compete in the workplace to afford the luxuries. There are incredible problems with this solution, but at least it's something, and dialog on this issue is better than one side saying "no" to automation and the other asserting that the magical invisible hand will take care of everyone.
Subversion 1.8 Released But Will You Still Use Git?
I started using Git last year for my personal projects. It's a fantastic platform for coding as a social-network. I love that I can grab code I need from other developers around the world, tweak it, and send it back with a few suggestions. I love that I can follow other projects without having to get involved. Git is awesome.
That being said, we still use SVN for our internal development. The WYSIWYG interface of Tortoise is simply really comprehensive. I realize that Git offers more options, but if those options aren't available with a simple right-click, then I don't have the time for them. Tortoise SVN makes everything readily available, while Git makes me run to the command line too often.
Do-It-Yourself Brain Stimulation Has Scientists Worried
I recently ordered one from foc.us. I've been following this technology for awhile. I briefly considered building one myself, but my electrical skill are highly wanting and if you get the voltage too high I've heard you can burn holes in your brain. This device is not FDA approved, but it does meet "CE Safety standard EN60601-2-10: 2001 and EN60601-1: 2006" (and I admit I am a dumbass for not knowing what that means). It's a very small voltage, so I feel safe using it in limited amounts.
I think the thing to keep in mind is that this technology is like Personal Genomics, in the wrong hands it can be a disaster and some people will harm themselves with it, but if you keep up with the continuing research you'll get a clearer and clearer understanding of it. When I get my device in a few months, I plan on following the research that continues to be published on it. I've already read studies that found people who use these devices are trading their ability to learn new material for the ability to focus in the moment. So I probably won't use it for studying, but I will use it for programming sprints.
Vint Cerf: Data That's Here Today May Be Gone Tomorrow
I think this is more than just Microsoft. It's crazy the lengths I have to go to sometimes if I want to resurrect a 10-year-old game on my modern PC. Switching to 64-bit Windows also killed a number of old programs I used to run in x86--even though they should run in x86 mode, they don't. I agree with you that the vast majority of issues are with proprietary software, but discontinued open-source projects regularly suffer the same fate.
Kevin Kelly had a good article on this at the Longnow blog, where he makes the argument that the only way to preserve digital data is to perpetually migrate it to new systems and formats. It seems extreme, but I don't know if I see an alternative; othewise, if not for the work of volunteers we will loose much of our digital history.
Labor Dept. Wanted $1M For E-mail Addresses of Political Appointees
I've personally run into this problem on a couple of occasions when making FOI requests. Once I requested court transcripts from a case that I wanted to provide to the local newspaper as evidence of an incredibly incompetent prosecutor, but the county courthouse wanted thousands of dollars to copy the transcripts and would not allow me to simply come down and copy them myself. I ran into a similar problem with the Department of Transportation when trying to build a database of VIN numbers for a used car sales site 14 years ago. They had no electronic records and only companies with huge pockets could afford to send people down to photocopy the new VINs every month (stack of papers the size of several telephone books) and ship them off to India for data entry. It basically killed our business model. The first example felt like a local court playing CYA, while the second was DOT simply having no incentive to make its data accessible benefiting larger corporations who could throw money at it.
I do feel it's getting better though. Things like data.gov and the Open Data Initiative are things we should be applauding, because there are some incredibly useful datasets that we the taxpayers have funded and now have access to. When things happen like this story of the AP being effectively blocked from FOIA via a bureaucratic maneuver, we should be outraged, but let's not forget the progress we're making and let our cynicism override the truth that we can change the system.
Thoughts on Time's POY 2010 Article on Mark Zuckerberg
"There are other people who can write code as well as Zuckerberg â" not many, but some â""
If the Time profile of Zuckerberg is acurate, then I think even he would be offended by this statement.
"Websites entreat you to log onto them using your Facebook ID â" the New York Times does, and so do Myspace and YouTube."
Hmmm... So does Time. Great job on the full disclosure principle there.
"Right now the Internet is like an empty wasteland: you wander from page to page, and no one is there but you."
Right, because all World Wide Web content is produced by robots.
Facebook wants to populate the wilderness, tame the howling mob and turn the lonely, antisocial world of random chance into a friendly world, a serendipitous world. You'll be working and living inside a network of people, and you'll never have to be alone again. The Internet, and the whole world, will feel more like a family, or a college dorm, or an office where your co-workers are also your best friends.
It'll be a wonderful land of lollypops and puppies and kittens! Privacy concerns? No worries:
"If "liking" an ad the same way you "like" a news article or a photo of your spouse seems creepy to you â" it's more or less the definition of what Marx called commodity fetishism â" you don't have to do it."
If you have privacy concerns, then GO BACK TO YOUR COLD LONELY INTERNET COMMIE!!!
"Zuckerberg has a talent for understanding how people work, but one urge, the urge to conceal, seems to be foreign to him. Sometimes Facebook makes it harder than it should be. It is biased in favor of sharing. That is, after all, what Facebook is for."
Facebook isn't leaking your personal information to make money, they're doing it because they genuinely misunderstand why people need to keep some things private. Why do you have a problem with this? What's wrong with you? Do you have some secret perverse sexual fetish? Are you performing criminal activities? When did you stop beating your wife?
I did like this thoughtful paragraph:
But what makes life complicated in the postmodern technocratic aquarium we're collectively building is that there actually are good reasons to want to hide things. Just because you present a different face to your co-workers and your family doesn't mean you're leading a double life. That's just normal social functioning, psychology as usual. Identity isn't a simple thing; it's complex and dynamic and fluid. It needs to flex a little, the way a skyscraper does in a high wind, and your Facebook profile isn't built to flex.
But then it goes to the other extreme of The Social Network's Gonna make you demented:
An article published earlier this year in European Psychiatry presented the case of a woman who lost her job to a Facebook addiction, and the authors suggested that it could become an actual diagnosable ailment. (The woman in question couldn't even make it through an examination without checking Facebook on her phone.) Facebook is supposed to build empathy, but since 2000, Americans have scored higher and higher on psychological tests designed to detect narcissism, and psychologists have suggested a link to social networking.
I do totally dig this quote, which mirrors my opinion of twitter:
Now Facebook is the bottle, and we're the genie. How small are we willing to make ourselves to fit inside?
What a journalist rollercoaster! The article was all over the place, but it does give me a more favorable opinion of Zuckerberg, a less favorable opinion of Facebook, lots of concerns about adapting myself to the social network instead of it adapting to me, and now, if you'll excuse me, I must go break this comment down into 50+ tweets.