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CDC Closes Anthrax, Flu Labs After Potentially Deadly Mix-Ups Come to Light

imidan Re:So will there be criminal charges? (89 comments)

Wouldn't it make more sense to perform an audit to ensure that this hasn't happened unnoticed in the past, and simultaneously to perform a review and revision of the protocols and policies that allowed this to happen? I feel like solving the problem is more important than assigning blame. I mean, I can see firing someone if they had acted from gross incompetence, but I don't think prison is necessary.

about two weeks ago

Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

imidan Re:Troi (512 comments)

I liked those Crusher episodes particularly because they didn't involve Crusher getting space raped, kidnapped, falling in love, or playing the role of generic 'damsel in distress'. So many of the TNG episodes that featured the women characters as the focus did so *because* they were women, and someone needed to have a space rape baby, or someone needed to be emotionally compromised, or do something else stereotypically 'female'. So I really liked the episodes where Crusher or Troi or some of the other less prominent women characters (like Ensign Ro) get the opportunity to play a lead part in a story that could have been played by a man, but wasn't.

about 4 months ago

Federal Student Aid Requirements At For-Profit Colleges Overhauled

imidan Re:degrees vs schools. Art history degree? (295 comments)

Art history is not the typical program of for-profit colleges. They mostly offer professional degree programs in things like IT and other popular applied fields. The issue is not the area of the degree, but the fact that these colleges prey on people who have aspirations and no money. Most of these people do not manage to finish the program, so they wind up taking large, expensive loans that cover a few semesters of college that do not prepare them for any job. The colleges advertise themselves as a way to improve peoples' lives, but their entire business model is based on enrolling rubes who will get student loans and give all of the money to the college. They don't care whether those people graduate, or even get educated.

about 4 months ago

Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong"

imidan Re:Why focus on length of life (334 comments)

I am happy enough that I would like to live a lot longer. I figure I could do another few hundred years. Those sad sacks can go off and die, if they really want to.

about 4 months ago

Amazon's Double-Helix Acquisition Hints At Gaming Console

imidan Re:Beta Sucks (116 comments)

Oh, they've acknowledged the complaints. They say there's been "a lot of griping." Which is, of course, just their way of trivializing the complaints so that they can ignore them and go on with their plan anyway.

Fuck Beta.

about 6 months ago

Is Intel Selling Bay Trail Chips Below Cost?

imidan Re: YUP (156 comments)

It's even easier to post 7 stories a day when 2 of them are dupes!

I kid.

Fuck Beta, though.

about 6 months ago

Final Days For Australia's Analog TV

imidan Re:If you've got good signal, digital is better, b (192 comments)

I live in a small town in the western US. I used to get four channels over the air on a good day with analog. Now, I get one. Not saying you're wrong, but I think people in more rural areas suffer more when the analog signal is cut.

about 8 months ago

Call Yourself a Hacker, Lose Your 4th Amendment Rights

imidan Re:Meh, too alarmist (488 comments)

To refute a point:

1. The guy took a copy of the source code that he created while employed by the plaintiffs, and was getting ready to release the source code.

This is what is alleged by the plaintiffs in the suit; it is not clear that this is what actually happened. What we know is that the guy quit his job and later began offering a product that is similar to the one he participated in creating at his job. It is not clear that he either took a copy of the source code, or that what he is planning to release is that source code.


In simple terms, the suit alleges that Corey stole the code and violated agreements with INL. I have no idea if he stole the code or what he signed while at INL. He probably had the code, but again the idea is hardly novel. He could have started over with a next generation product on his own.

about 9 months ago

Nokia Introduces Windows Tablet

imidan Re:iPad already beaten (112 comments)

This won't beat the Android with the lowest sales, let alone the iPad.

Well, yes. I agree with you. But I was attempting to refute the GPP's assertion that the iPad is the 'looser' tablet.

I own an iPad, which I bought before Android tablets were really a thing. If I were to go out and buy a new tablet, it would likely be an Android (probably Galaxy, but I haven't researched them in a while). I prefer the openness and don't feel the need for the Apple walled garden. The point is, I'm not an Apple fanboy. I'm just using the data that were given to refute a claim that I don't believe they justify.

about 9 months ago

Nokia Introduces Windows Tablet

imidan Re:iPad already beaten (112 comments)

Do you not keep up with current events. the iPad is the looser tablet. Its market share has plummeted from 60% of sales last year to 32%

According to your link, iPad's sales of 32.4% of tablets last quarter represents sales of 1.8 times as many tablets as Samsung, which is the only other company that has double-digit sales. So Apple is outselling the next-best-selling tablet by almost 2 to 1, and the next one after that by more than 7 to 1. The tablet market is fragmenting, and I expect that we will continue to see strong competition from Android tablets, particularly from Samsung, but from these numbers, for now, iPad is still the tablet to beat.

about 9 months ago

California Elementary Schools To Test Anti-Piracy Curriculum

imidan Re:Remind me again why schools are funded by taxes (356 comments)

Well, I guess one of the problems is that in a lot of states, schools are getting a decreasing share of tax dollars. The legislature of the State of Idaho is almost comically opposed to education, K-12 and higher, despite our constitution having included specific language requiring the state to fund public education. The school districts actually had to sue the state, in a case that went all the way to the state supreme court, to force the state to continue to pay for critical maintenance of school buildings (things like making sure the roof doesn't collapse).

I guess what I'm getting at is that if we don't want corporate funding of schools (and the corporate influence on curricula that inevitably comes with), then we should be adequately funding schools with tax dollars. Perhaps by diverting some money from prisons (which is where a lot of the education money has gone in Idaho).

about 10 months ago

California Elementary Schools To Test Anti-Piracy Curriculum

imidan Re:I got an idea... (356 comments)

I think you have a point. With all of the standardized testing and other requirements, we often hear teachers complaining that there isn't enough time in the school year to cover everything they're supposed to cover. Why would we pile on these propaganda "lessons" that seem to offer negative educational benefit, when we don't have enough time to teach the important lessons?

about 10 months ago

California Elementary Schools To Test Anti-Piracy Curriculum

imidan Re:Is this a joke? (356 comments)

I guess my response would be to talk to my kids' teachers, find out if they intend on using this curriculum, keeping my kids out of school on those days when it is covered, and drafting a letter to the teacher, the principal, and the school board. I don't believe that blatant corporate propaganda has any place in education. My kids and I can stay home "sick" on the days when this happens.

about 10 months ago

Charles Carreon Finally Surrenders To the Oatmeal

imidan Re:Impressive... (173 comments)

Yeah, the poor guy. He dedicates considerable text to repeatedly pointing out his "Buddhism" and how enlightened he is. But over the course of the whole year-long experience, he never gives any indication of actually learning anything about either himself or the world around him. He tells an anecdote about getting into a physical fight with some road-rager, and he seems to completely miss the fact that the altercation was utterly pointless, and that his enlightened self should have been able to eventually figure that out.

He seems to spend all of this time trying to come up with justifications for attacking a guy for making a stupid comic featuring his "mom", without it ever occurring to him that this fight is completely pointless--that if he just ignores the thing, it will all go away, and nobody will care about it anymore.

He also bloviates profoundly about Sun Tzu and how his whole revenge-litigation personality is actually based on wise and ancient strategies of war, and how the lyrics to some songs are just like his life, man.

There's nothing wrong with being a lawyer, but if you're going to be an aggressively nasty, sleazy one, just own up to it. This ugly episode was not a poetic trial sent by ancient gods. It was just him being a jerk.

about 10 months ago

It Takes 2.99 Gigajoules To Vaporize a Human Body

imidan Re:Bad science (272 comments)

One thing I've never understood: how do the phaser beam know when to stop vaporizing? I mean, if I'm sitting in a desk chair and get vaporized by a phaser, then the chair usually remains there, completely unharmed and pristine. How does that work? Is it just super-sensitive to boundaries of conductivity? Shouldn't my clothes be left behind, too?

about 10 months ago

Got Malware? Get a Hammer!

imidan Re:Economic Development Administration? (254 comments)

Could you just skip the 'likely what happened here' conjecture and take a look at TFA? If you read the article or the audit report, you'll learn that the contractors did not start this fiasco (the DOC CIRT group did), did not provide the temporary infrastructure (the census bureau did), did not recommend the destruction of the hardware (they advised the EDA to reimage the handful of computers that were infected), and ultimately advised the CIO of EDA that they could not provide the guarantee that no malware could possibly exist anywhere on the EDA network.

The contractor made a lot of money for this work, but the real problem seems to be naive management at EDA who panicked and brought the contractors in in the first place and then persisted in paying the contractors to search for malware infections that the contractors had already told them weren't there. I'm no great fan of indiscriminately replacing government workers with contractors, but I don't think the contractors are the villains in this particular story.

1 year,18 days

Ender's Game Trailer Released

imidan Re:I can't see it. (470 comments)

Really? Did they ruin Postman by missing the point? What would you say the point of The Postman was? I've always kind of thought it was about the guy putting on the outfit to stay warm, and then growing in to the role on account of how people treated him. Plus a whole lot of stuff about government-created supersoldiers.

The book was good, the movie was bad, but how do you think they could have fixed it?

about a year ago

If You're a Foreigner Using GPS In China, You Could Be a Spy

imidan Re:GPS laws are like this all over the place (219 comments)

Okay, so that's a nice, broad, political view of the situation. I appreciate that. Maybe this crackdown is related. It's also true that sometimes, other countries take a harder line on laws they haven't before, in order to exert diplomatic pressure. Maybe it's bullshit to you that China is now enforcing their laws.

In the meantime, take your GPS into Tunisia and let me know how that goes. I won't visit you in Tunisian prison.

US companies expect retaliation for trade disagreements. The mechanics of those consequences will vary. Those multinationals have planned for the consequences, and we shouldn't cry for them. The loss that Coke realizes in all of this is more than you or I will make in years, but less than they make in a day. To them, it's just the cost of doing business.

about a year ago

If You're a Foreigner Using GPS In China, You Could Be a Spy

imidan GPS laws are like this all over the place (219 comments)

If you do a lot of travelling, you will find that GPS laws are different everywhere. Many countries won't even allow you to bring one across the border. Defense against enemies obtaining high quality maps is usually the reasoning. Sometimes, you can bribe a customs guy to let you bring it in. But you shouldn't be flaunting GPS when you're visiting a place like that. I think China should be more free, but I can't get too upset when they enforce their existing laws against visitors who break them, even when the laws are out of date or seem silly.

about a year ago

Humans Evolving Faster Than Ever

imidan Re:It's "Survival of the Fit-enough"... (253 comments)

Nonsense. Survival of the fittest is still occurring, it's just that the fitness criteria have changed. As you say, "babies that would have died lived on" -- but mostly that happens for those parents who have either the money or the health insurance (and the medical facilities) to deal with what would previously have been an "unfit" baby. Natural selection continues through societal means: the costs of birthing and raising viable children are inversely proportional to the health of the baby; children with difficulties are more expensive to raise.

There is still selection pressure, but in developed countries it's coming more from societal sources than from environmental sources. And the societal pressure isn't so worried about things like good eyesight or height, or those sort of physiological characteristics; it's about access to health care (whether that comes from parents with money or states with social safety nets).

And I would argue that even though humans are in charge of the programs and policies that affect these new fitness criteria, they are still fitness criteria because they are being applied to populations, rather than to individuals (except in very special and statistically insignificant cases). So, survival of the fittest is still alive and well, and being implemented inadvertently by human policy.

about a year and a half ago


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