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Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

jandersen Re:Land of the free (424 comments)

I think, if you actually read what the GP wrote, you'll see that he is expressing the same opinion. But let me tell you about how it is in my home country, Denmark:

- Nobody carries fire arms, except some criminals. In fact, most police officers aren't armed either.
- Gun shots are being fired so rarely that it makes the headlines when it happens. I don't actually recall last time that happened.
- School massacres? What is that?

In fact, one can argue that since nobody carries firearms, even the criminals don't feel they have to; they are not likely to be shot when they are 'at work'. You know, it isn't because Danes are particularly good-natured, or because we are a homogenous society; it's just that no firearms means less risk of gun related violence. It may be that you prefer to pay the price for everybody having high-powered guns, but if you argue that it somehow makes your country safer, you'll just end up looking silly. Again, you may prefer looking silly to the truth, but hey, that's your call.

5 hours ago
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Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

jandersen Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (169 comments)

Ah, yes, this is obvious to us in Europe, who have lived privatisation of public services. Here's an anecdote to illustrate how these things go:

I used to live on a small country lane outside London. The roads, water pipes etc are supposed to be maintained by the local council. In the past, the work was carried out by people who were employed by the council, but then, along came privatisation with the golden promise of cost savings. Now the work is all carried out by private companies. Strangely, though, the water mains seem to burst at least 3 - 4 times a year now, where it was almost unheard of before. Why can that be? My theory is that since the council always give the job to the same company, and they profit every time they carry out this work, they deliberately do it poorly, so they can come back and do it again. Thus, the council may save some 10% for the work each time it is carried out, but they pay 4 times as often. How much did the tax-payer save on that, then?

It no doubt works the same way with health care, which is why I think we would be better off with public health care, as well as state owned medical companies.

11 hours ago
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11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

jandersen Re:Dont worry, they will just take it from somewhe (315 comments)

You are probably right, in many ways. As far as I can see, it all comes down to the particular, bone-headed attitude and complete disconnect from reality that somehow seem so iconic of America. If I remember correctly, there was once a saying - 'The rain will follow the plough' - that illustrates it well; I mean, how can anybody even get that idea?

And then there are things like placing a large city in the middle of the Nevada Desert, and the farming, that you mention. You see it so often in The States, it's like everything has to be so perversely over the top. I once stayed in a hotel very near to Oracle's tin-foil silos in Redwood City; the area is what one would describe as semi-arid, I suppose, but Oracle in particular was surrounded by a 10 inch thick lawn, carefully manicured and soaking wet from constant irrigation - it just struck me as blind idiocy. Or take the hotel room I was installed in - all alone: a huge, triple size bed, an enormous fridge with two doors and room for a sperm whale, two TVs, etc (not paid for by myself, I haste to say). Or the lunch restaurant I was taken out to - I just ordered a modest sandwich, which turned out to be a huge slab of bread with 2 inches of stuff of and gravy poured over, served on a manhole cover.

The point of this tedious rant is - why? What is the matter with America and Americans? It's like the whole nation is obsessed with wilful, stupid, obscene over-consumption on every level.

yesterday
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

jandersen Not Islamic State, though (868 comments)

Much as I despise the so-called Islamic State, I think in the interest of truthfulness, it bears mentioning, that this incident is almost certainly not organised by them. By all accounts - including the official statements from the police - this is a mentally disturbed individual acting alone. Make no mistake - I would happily vote in favour of capturing the IS fighters, flaying them alive and rolling them in stale manure, but we only play into their hands if we refuse to know the facts.

2 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

jandersen Re:Australia reaps what it sows (868 comments)

Well, to be honest, what you describe here is what we used to do not long ago - us Europeans, when we were playing more openly at imperialism. As you will note, Islam was not a dominant religion in Europe at the time. What I'm trying to say is, let's not get carried away by how evil the opposition is; chances are that they learned a good deal about it from us.

2 days ago
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Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future

jandersen Re:Unless it has support for Bitcoin... (153 comments)

Unlike the US, banks in other parts of the world aren't in the dark ages. Sending and receiving money via your bank account can be done instantly...

All banks can do this, of course. However, when the money leaves an account, there is an interval when the interest on it can be harvested, legally, until it enters the target account. Given enough bank transfers every day, that adds up to enough profit to give a bank manager an erection (ie. more than $1), and that is why they keep pretending it has to take a whole day or whatever. It used to be the same in Europe, but the evil communists in government forced the banks to give it up.

3 days ago
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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

jandersen Re:So basically.. (295 comments)

The taxi drivers are arguing that if they can't be the ONLY ones to drive people to their destination, then NOBODY can

I think it may be a little more subtle than that. Taxi companies and their drivers have to be licenced in most countries - certainly in Europe and China, and I suspect it applies in the US too - and it costs a lot more than just the fee for getting a licence from the police station: insurance, driver training, criminal records checks, taxi meters (which are inexplicably expensive for what they are), etc.

Uber, on the other hand, sidestep all of these expenses by pushing it out to the individual drivers, is my guess. In many ways, they are similar to an organisation of rogue hire cars; if you get into one, it is up to chance whether the driver is an honest bloke trying to make a living, a rapist or simply a stupid lowlife without an insurance driving a car that is not road worthy. It is quite possible that taxi fares are too high, but fair competition would imply that Uber should be required to follow the same rules as other, legal hire care companies. Otherwise, what we do is penalising taxi companies for following the law.

3 days ago
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Blade Runner 2 Script Done, Harrison Ford Says "the Best Ever"

jandersen Best ever? (294 comments)

...rest assured. Harrison Ford apparently thinks the script is "the best thing (he's) ever read."

On the other hand, he also starred in 'The Crystal Skull', one of the most appaling disappointments I've seen, after enjoying the first Indiana Jones movies. Harrison Ford had a wonderful self-irony in the first movies, but in the last one he seems to take himself so serious that it's impossible to enjoy the action.

4 days ago
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The Shale Boom Won't Stop Climate Change; It Could Make It Worse

jandersen Re:THERE HAS NEVER BEEN CLIMATE STASIS! (382 comments)

The left is about central control

So, you're implying that large corporations, like Oracle, IBM, Microsoft (or Redhat for that matter), are basically a bunch of commies? And the different churches, they are of course too? I think, maybe you have a different way of navigating through space from the rest of us.

Out here, in the real world, words like '(political) left', 'communism' and 'socialism', are about the idea that we might all be better off if we shared more of the burdens of life; that in order to protect essential freedoms, such as freedom of speech and self-determination, we need to agree on the rules, and because there are selfish bullies in the world, we also need to be able to enforce the rules. And the words '(political) right', 'capitalism' and 'free market' are about the idea that it is best to allow the individual to seek their own fortune in the way they believe is right.

We have had ample demonstration over the last century or so, that taken to the extreme, both of these ideas produce monsters, which ironically end up looking very alike, as fascism. An insightful person will realize that society, in order to be stable and functional, needs both of those ingredients to some extent.It is also not hard to see that the balance is not right in the US at the moment, which is why you are becoming more and more unstable.

4 days ago
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The Shale Boom Won't Stop Climate Change; It Could Make It Worse

jandersen Re:"Could", (382 comments)

On the basis of a could, we are supposed to drop everything and choose the most expensive options. No, thanks.

Yes, yes, whatever. I'm not going to go into a futile exercise of trying to convince you or others who argue like this. You see, from the scientific viewpoint, words like 'discussion' and 'arguments' imply that you have reviewed the available data, formed an opinion based on this and whichever logical means you possess, and then you exchange views with an open mind, since you realize that your insight might not be perfect. I see no evidence of an open mind from the side you are on - you have decided, a priori, that you don't like what the science is saying, so now you are just trying to discredit in any way, and to hell with honesty, decency and logic.

I don't know if you have noticed, but the rest of us have left the subject long ago and moved on. The issue is settled, mankind does in fact cause global warming, and we are now considering how we best handle the situation we have brought upon ourselves. You may opt out of the discussion and you may try to disrupt any constructive dialog, but the fact is that you have been sidelined.

4 days ago
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CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

jandersen Re:Really? (768 comments)

A two-year-old toddler can do the same

Oh stop being so condescending - toddlers repeat because they are in the process of learning, and so are doing far better than that.

about a week ago
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Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Millions of Tons of Methane

jandersen Re:How about a straight answer? (329 comments)

I don't think you are going to get a simple, straight answer from anybody. One side, the scientists, are scientists and therefore always qualify their statements, for the simple reason that they want to give correct answers to some very complex questions, and the other side is not interested in the truth or correctness of what they say, they just want to make it impossible for the lay person to understand things enough to realise that we need to take action.

Try to step a little bit back from what you read in the papers and hear on TV and look at how the two sides present things.

The scientists present their data, they present their methods, and they tell you why they reached their conclusions. They also tell you which things they are not sure of and they quantify the uncertainty of their results, which is why you never hear simply that humans caused this, but instead hear that it is '95% certain' or something like that. The reason for doing it this way is that it then allows others to check the validity of your data, methods and conclusions - in principle everybody can do this, but of course, most people won't be able to; but as a layperson, you can still observe this process, and you can get an idea about the validity of the science simply from whether there is are other scientists that refute or support it. Another thing that tends to indicate sound science is that scientists don't keep repeating the same old mistakes over and over - they move on, they admit their mistakes, they correct their methods etc - which is why you hear that actually the historical data were wrong in such and such ways, or the models didn't take this or that into account.

The climate-deniers, on the other hand, keep bringing up claims that have already been adequately refuted, as if they either don't understand or simply don't care; after a while, as a scientist, one gets utterly weary of having to address the same falsehoods and simply start ignoring them - after all, reality goes on regardless of what anybody says.

about a week ago
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NetHack: Still One of the Greatest Games Ever Written

jandersen Re:One of the few games with incredible imaginatio (186 comments)

Pity it hasn't been updated meaningfully for over a decade - perhaps it just hit perfection?

Well, there is one game that has a lot of that:

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

It is graphical enough to support your game play, but still has some of the feel of a character based game like Nethack, and perhaps an even more elaborate system of magic, faith and skills - plus an enormous set of maps.

about a week ago
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Civil Rights Groups Divided On Net Neutrality

jandersen Re:Fuck all these people (127 comments)

Look, I don't want to be smug about it, and I do feel your pain, I really do, but this is the kind crap you get when you live under the ideology of the 'free' market and 'small state'. I know, your state is broken and corrupt, but it doesn't really have to be like that - it's broken because it is owned by large corporations that have no interest in real democracy or taking care of the interests of ordinary people. Call it communism if you must, but then bear in mind that what you think you know about communism has been fed to you by those self-same corporations, who are terrified that people might think that more common ownership could be worth trying.

I'm not arguing that the state should own everything and that private ownership should be abolished, but there are things that are best cared for by society as a whole - the state is only one of several possible candidates to represent society's interests. Infrastructure, including telecommunication, is definitely one of those areas that should be owned wholly by society, regulated by legislation and possibly paid for through taxes. As I said, it doesn't have to be through the state, but it should definitely not be owned by large, for-profit corporations like it is now.

about two weeks ago
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Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

jandersen Re:you're doing it wrong (367 comments)

The real problem is that he doesn't recognize the various purposes of story-telling.

Not sure I agree - it is all very well, making wise about somebody else's opinions, but it doesn't really address his concerns, which are very valid IMO.

It has for a long time annoyed me that so much science fiction is so uninspired - aliens are simply assumed to be a kind of humans with a funny hairdo/skin color/whatever. Stephen Baxter and Iain Banks are two that seem to reach a bit beyond that mindset, but even they seem to stay within the idea of basic, human psychology. What I'd really like to see is science fiction that is highly speculative, but scienfically plausible - for example, describing life evolving in the quark-gluon plasma in the first moments after the big bang would be interesting. On the other hand, confabulating about 'viruses' that are somehow, magically able to take over the body and mind of more or less any creature from whichever biological background and then grow uncontrollably beyond anything allowed by a simple matter/energy consideration, is simply no more than magic; I'd rather read Harry Potter, then.

I don't think it is unreasonable to criticise SF for being too unambitious and unimaginative - or lacking in real, scientific insight.

about two weeks ago
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The Ancestor of Humans Was an "Artist" 500,000 Years Ago

jandersen Re:Neat (59 comments)

They may well do so, but they would, as always, be missing the point, which is that somebody, half a million years ago, did this deliberately; the surface of a shell is hard, so it is not likely that it happened by accident, and it does not seem likely that this pattern could have had an obvious utility for the shell's use as a tool. So, somebody deliberately did this for no practical reason - perhaps just for the joy of doing it? It also seems like a very well controlled scratch - I haven't tried myself (yet), but I guess that it requires more skill and effort than what you would expect from something unimportant. Calling it 'art' may be stretching the concept, but it is very reasonable to think that it is the result of abstract thought about something not tied to the specifics of day to day survival.

about two weeks ago
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Australian Target Stores Ban GTA V For Depictions of Violence Against Women

jandersen Re:Removed after Initial sales spike (310 comments)

You've probably nailed it, I'd say. Is GTA really controversial any more? It's violent, stupid, anti-social and a lot of other things, but it is also old news by now, and I think it is a bit pathetic, the way the 'controversy' gets milked with every new release.

about two weeks ago
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Pizza Hut Tests New "Subconscious Menu" That Reads Your Mind

jandersen Re:Dumb idea (186 comments)

Hmm, I just ordered a deep pan base with stuffed crust, anchovies, tabasco, softice, cheesecake, olives and chicken wings. Mmmm

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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10 TB cloud storage for free

jandersen jandersen writes  |  1 year,29 days

jandersen (462034) writes "Chinese Tencent are going to launch a free, 10TB cloud storage service:

http://pandodaily.com/2013/11/18/tencent-to-launch-international-version-of-free-10tb-storage-service-new-photo-sharing-app-coming-soon-to-us/

10TB is some 5000 times more than Dropbox, and 666 times more than what you get with Google (Yes, I know, that number keeps cropping up, doesn't it?)

What will no doubt worry people is that it is a Chinese company, although they are planning to store the data outside of China. I guess, with the NSA scandal unfolding, it is just a question of choosing your poison."
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Arctic thaw may be first in cascade of tipping points

jandersen jandersen writes  |  about 2 years ago

jandersen writes "Here's an article from New Scientist that's guaranteed to arouse yet another controversy (from http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21729064.500-arctic-thaw-may-be-first-in-cascade-of-tipping-points.html):

ONE climate domino has fallen, and it may start toppling others. A recent study outlined an interconnected web of climate tipping points, some of which make the next ones more likely. Now, an analysis of data from the last 23 years suggests we passed the first of these tipping points in 2007, when Arctic sea ice flipped into a new, less stable state. That may speed the world towards the next tipping point – the thaw of a vast expanse of Siberian permafrost.

New Scientist is sometimes criticised for being sensationalist, but this article seems sober to me: it is well referenced, and they try to include opposing viewpoints to balance it. If what they say is true, we may be in for a series of increasingly dramatic changes, and sooner rather than later."
Link to Original Source

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EU to spend 1 billion euro on graphene and brain research

jandersen jandersen writes  |  about 2 years ago

jandersen (462034) writes "The EU is going to spend 100 million per year over the next 10 years to boost research and interdisciplinary cooperation by launching two flagship projects in March:

- The Human Brain Project: Aims "to develop a large-scale ICT infrastructure for the specific purpose of understanding the brain and its diseases, and of translating this knowledge into new computing technology." Basically, they want to build a working computer model of a human brain. (http://www.humanbrainproject.eu/in_brief.html)

- The Graphene Flagship: Aims "to take graphene and related layered materials from academic laboratories to society, revolutionize multiple industries and create economic growth and new jobs in Europe." (http://www.graphene-flagship.eu/GF/index.php)

How cool is that? For more info, see http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/programme/fet/flagship/home_en.html — but be warned: this is EU, and understanding the whole setup is fiendishly complicated."
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Ask Slashdot: Server room toolbox?

jandersen jandersen writes  |  about 2 years ago

jandersen writes "I am the system manager in charge of a smallish server room (~50 servers, most in racks), and I am going to buy a set of tools; but first I want to hear what other people think would be a good idea.

Certainly a range of good quality screwdrivers — slotted, Phillips, Pozidriv, Torx (here for the whole range of strange screwdriver standards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_screw_drives). But what else? Tape measure? Spirit level (for aligning the racks)? Any meters or cable testers? A wood lathe? I can probably get away with a budget of a few hundred GBP, but there ought to be some mileage in that."
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The revolution is coming

jandersen jandersen writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jandersen writes "According to Peter Turchin, University of Connecticut, we may be heading towards serious, social unrest within a decade (article on New Scientist — registration (free) required: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528781.800-calculated-violence-numbers-that-predict-revolutions.html?full=true):

The mathematics underpinning the rise and fall of empires suggest that the US faces imminent and bloody unrest. How worried should we be?

Is he on to something? Note, this is not a head-in-the-clouds-prophet speaking, but a real scientist, who proposes a real theory: a falsifiable hypothesis; and as he says ""It is easier to predict timing than the height of the peak. My feeling is that it's going to be worse than we expect. Hopefully I'm wrong — I have to live through this."."
Link to Original Source

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A sad tale: US gov online visa app

jandersen jandersen writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jandersen (462034) writes "It was recently my fortune to have to assist in applying for a US visa for a Chinese citizen living in London. This turned out to be a very painful journey, not least because of the online application form — give it a whirl yourselves:

https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

- and here is the video that introduces it:

http://www.youtube.com/user/USEmbassyLondon#p/u/1/LSd6gYr-aSs

Don't worry, it isn't dangerous, and the effects can mostly be fixed with counselling, eventually.

On top of the horrors of this supremely inept piece of code, you get to be treated with a mixture of hostility and indifference at the embassy plus constant demands for further documents about trivial nonsense — like "You state that you went to primary school x until such and such date, but didn't enter secondary school until 6 months later; what did you do in that time?"; presumably they have words like "training camp" rolling around the vast empty spaces in their heads (makes you wonder what they would think of an American teenager who has been to "boot camp" — now there's damning evidence if ever there was)

And what do they expect to hear when they ask "Are you coming over to commit terrorist offences?" — "Oh dear, it's a fair cop, they've caught me now, right enough. And there was I, wondering if terrorism would require a work permit.""
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What Open Source Forum SW is best

jandersen jandersen writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jandersen writes "I want to do something about improving morale and team-spirit in the company where I am the UNIX manager; and I thought it might be good to run some sort of social forum where people can engage in intellectual discussions on a high level, just like on Slashdot. People will, of course, waste time there — at least if you ask management — but I don't think of it as wasted. After all, people tend to "waste time" talking about sport and solving the great problems of the world any way, so why not put it on a server? And the thing is — this is a global company, and we don't really know our colleagues in India, China, Europe and so on. But which software should I choose? There seems to be a lot of for forum/BSS software around; what I want is something similar to /. — I like the concept of users being able to mod each others up and down — and it has to be open source, rather not Java, and run on Linux. Other than that, I am open to suggestions. What does the people think?"
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Non-violent, cooperative games?

jandersen jandersen writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jandersen writes "While I generally don't really play computer games, I do occasionally play games like Crossfire or The Mana World, because they have more of a story line and allow you to go at your own pace; they require a little bit more intellect and less testosterone, perhaps. What I don't care much about, though, is that they are still basically about killing monsters and amassing wealth, and it gets very tedious after a while.

Are there really no games where the goal isn't so much about increasing your own power and defeating others, but where you instead grow by doing things that benefit others, where enemies shouldn't be killed out of hand, but befriended, where learning, teaching, research and social skills are more important than killing and conquering? Would people be interested in a game of that nature?"

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