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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

jma05 Re:"little influence" (778 comments)

This is a fairly common pattern for studies. You have a strong suspicion. Then you do a study, which is to collect and analyze the data systematically. That way, a principled debate may be had and further efforts may refine our understanding. Without basing it on data and method, it will just be a shouting match; your opinion against mine. Politics & ideologies vs. science.

The common understanding of science - that scientists do studies without some an expectation of results at some level, and simply walk into results in complete serendipity, is a myth. The purpose of studies is also to quantify the strength of expected relationship with a probability of error.

So yes, doing studies for things you might consider to be common truths is not silly at all.

2 days ago

Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

jma05 Re:Not even much money (415 comments)

The thing is: this is not *true* capitalism. Adam Smith's core assumption about capitalism working was about people providing services NOT being able to co-ordinate among themselves, price-fix, create non-compete agreements and form monopolies. If anyone is lobbying, buying laws etc. we are no longer talking about capitalism or free market.

What we see now in advanced (or at least, complicated) markets is not pure capitalism at all. The only relevance of the term today is that it is used as an emotional term in political rhetoric... like freedom. Same goes for *true* communism. Neither is feasible or sensible in the world we live.

And it is not a choice between these two extremes either. What we have today is something much more complex, with almost a combination of every economic idea that ever was. We need another ground breaking economist to make sense of this all.

2 days ago

U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

jma05 Re:Another thing (135 comments)

> The Western world decided to shift from a growth system, where women bear and raise children and the able bodied population slowly increases, to a system where the women enter the work force and children are few in number.

I will try to give a greater context than what a reading of actuary tables might give a young insurance agent. The roots of the current condition are far deeper than any single social revolution of any generation.

Yes, women entering the work force had an effect of natural decline in population growth. They were a sort of reserve capacity. Yes, this eventually will have a depressing effect on the economy. We still have some more reserve capacity, namely, expanding the work years of the population in reasonable ways by creating new opportunities for the elderly to be productive and remain engaged in society and be dependent for fewer years. After exhausting that last bit of reserve, we will perhaps truly stagnate.

However, relying on population growth is no longer sustainable. The human population has not slowly increased in the last few centuries, it had *exploded*. UK, for instance, increased its population by 2x in 1500 years (0-1500) and 20x in the 500 years after. While I am not suggesting that it should implode, it must go into a decline for centuries to come if we expect to thrive on this planet, long term. The environmental pressure and resource drainage initiated by your generation, and continued by ours, is spectacular. The difference between the environmental footprint of poor rural nations and the most prosperous nations today is 100-150x.

The western (and especially US) experience of abundance since WWII is also anomalous. It relied on the huge productivity differentials from the rest of the world. Now the world is slowly equalizing as the other populations also tap into their reserve capacities. So once again, to expect beyond the prosperity of your generation, baring another fundamental technology revolution, is not reasonable.

We will stagnate. But in context of what humanity went through, through our history (wars, disease, famine, ignorance), current "stagnation", which may last for centuries, is not that horrible, just mildly annoying. So we won't have even larger houses, trinkets and whatever that we don't really need. Is it really that natural or sustainable for everyone to want vacations on the other side of the planet? We still will lead relatively secure, healthy & engaged lives and that's enough.

The world was stagnant for much of its history. The growth spurt, the adolescence of mankind, from the industrial revolution onward, will have to slow at some point. The economists are simply wrong to target growth to the exclusion or detriment of everything else (in human growth terms - its wishing for Gigantism or taking steroids: ultimately the piper needs to be paid). It is OK for humans to settle down at this standard of living. We can think of growth once again, after it is viable to leave this planet. Now, more than ever, it is important for humanity to understand satisfaction.

3 days ago

Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

jma05 Re:Feet first? (431 comments)

> They are devised by 20-35 year old academics with little teaching experience and a desperate need to get enough publications to be put on tenure track.

Do you have any evidence to back that up?
It is extremely difficult for young academics to get published without data.

Otherwise, I am calling a BS on your post because there are no such things as 20 year old academics. So it appears that you are pulling things from air. And that would be ironical, since you are the one posting data free assertions.

4 days ago

UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

jma05 Re:Singapore (386 comments)

That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. We all read 1984. You don't seem to understand when to apply it. That also goes to the poster with Niemoller quote above.

I suggest you actually read about Singapore. They have the finest schools in the world and have the most well educated and most well informed public – by objective metrics. They have highest levels of Internet access with no political censorship. They don't have a problem of propaganda. Its not even relevant for a small multicultural city state (with heavy international traffic, no less) that Singapore is. I'd say Singaporeans know world history and world affairs a lot better than citizens of any country, including your own. You should leave your cliches at the door while discussing Singapore. You could not have picked a worse target. If I knew how to get a job there, I would move there.

about a week ago

UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

jma05 Re:Singapore (386 comments)

First, they came for... what?

There is no progressive erosion of civil liberties (as you would understand them in US) in Singapore AFAIK. To lose something gradually, you first have to have it. They were always like this and did not get worse.

about a week ago

UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

jma05 Re:Singapore (386 comments)

> 90% of US murders are committed by blacks against blacks

That's not true. I think you are confusing total homicide rate with intra-racial homicide rate.
"93% of black victims murdered by blacks"

The actual figure is 52%.
"According to the US Department of Justice, blacks accounted for 52.5% of homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008, with whites 45.3% and Native Americans and Asians 2.2%"

That said, homicide rate in African-Americans is still very high - "The offending rate for blacks was almost 8 times higher than whites, and the victim rate 6 times higher".

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

about a week ago

UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

jma05 Re:Singapore (386 comments)

> Draconian punishments for even minor offenses will make a place safe, doesn't mean that they are doing it right.

Incarceration rates per 100K

Singapore: 230
US: 716

Capital punishment:
It was true that a couple of decades ago, they did this a lot (ranked 2nd then). Now they seem to be doing it 5 - 10 times less.
4 were executed in 2011. None in 2010.

about a week ago

UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

jma05 Re:rape is *the* lowest category of violent crime (386 comments)

When I was in US, I was very puzzled at the lack of empathy in public discourse towards prison rape. This was especially surprising since US leads the world in incarceration rate (3.5 times the supposedly âoeevery thing is a crimeâ Singapore) - so it is not even as if prison is reserved for the worst of the worst, with non-violent offenders frequently jailed, let alone the argument of punishing as sentenced and nothing more.

However, I don't understand your chain of reasoning. You argued that there is significant amount of rape when prisons are taken in account and then go on to say...

> Rape has the lowest occurrence rate in the US of any violent crimeâ.
> Men are several times more likely to be KILLED.

Clearly not, even with just using numbers you list.

According to Human Rights Watch though

âoe4.5 percent of the state and federal prisoners surveyed reported sexual victimization in the past 12 months. Given a national prison population of 1,570,861, the BJS findings suggest that in one year alone more than 70,000 prisoners were sexually abused.â

According to this somewhat dated stats...

Rape is far, far more common compared to homicide, anywhere in the world.

> You can either listen to the gender issues folks, who make it sound like violence against women is a HUGE CRISIS, or you can read the BJS statistics. Women have been, and continue to be, a protected class in the US.

Yes, it has declined according to BJS. But the starting numbers are so high, that it is still considered a large problem.

about a week ago

Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

jma05 Re:Not going to work... (408 comments)

> How about letting people choose what methods of healing they want to use?

What is at issue is not about preventing people from using whatever snake oil floats their boat. It is about whether countries with socialized medicine should pay for said snake oils... and this report recommends that they don't.

about two weeks ago

Snowden: NSA Spied On Human Rights Workers

jma05 Re:What's the big deal? (230 comments)

> Moral relativism at its finest.

Eh? That's exactly *my* argument. If one is an American and cannot see what is wrong with this mass surveillance of foreign citizens, I suggested that one replace US with China in the narrative. Then it would become clear to anyone with a parochial mindset. *I* am pointing to moral relativism of NSA defenders who argue: it is wrong when China does it, but should be regarded as normal if US does it.

> America is wrong to try to seek advantage for itself by denying others. Moral relativism at its finest.

Your argument seems to be: China does it (mass surveillance of *entire populations* - that's not proven yet with regards to China... or any other country for that matter). So why shouldn't we be able to do it?

Mass surveillance is commie behavior. You define yourselves by NOT doing that. Its not like: They got missiles, we will get more. This is like: Russia yanked Crimea off Ukraine. Why should we deny ourselves off yanking something off Canada?

about two weeks ago

Snowden: NSA Spied On Human Rights Workers

jma05 Re:Outrage fatigue (230 comments)

> Just curious - if they are way off ethically and morally, why would you take that same approach?

Three words: Stanford Prison Experiment.

People, all of us, you and I included, suck at morality, when not given critical feedback from time to time. When tossed into a bubble of stress, where critical peer review is absent, we all try to be efficient towards perceived goals, while losing our moral compasses as peripheral concerns. There is a reason we have Institutional Review Boards for research. Well-meaning intelligent people can lose sight of the big picture of morals, ethics and humanity.

I have wondered myself whether I would act any differently from Gen. Alexander, if I was in his shoes (also, searching where there is light, rather than searching where I should - human intel is hard, but he knows how to do data intel), even though I completely disagree with his solution to the problem.

Spy agencies, secret police etc have always had this problem. They always have had lousy oversight, given the nature of their work. And they always cross the line.... just a matter of when and by how much. The political oversight failed to keep the NSA in order, by being content to be their cheer leaders. This is hardly a problem unique to US. This won't be the last time.

about two weeks ago

Snowden: NSA Spied On Human Rights Workers

jma05 Re: What's the big deal? (230 comments)

You can assume whatever you want. But there is no evidence that any other country has Skynet-grade data centers for mass surveillance. I understand that this may simply be a question on who has the ability to do it... for now, rather than a question of self-imposed ethics.

But now that the question has entered public consciousness, what we need is a charter on what is acceptable and what isn't, just like what we have with war. No country may shoot POWs today and not expect an international backlash. What we need is a Geneva convention of sorts to tackle the question of mass surveillance. Like with the question of how we conduct war, the question of privacy defines the very essence of our humanity. Anything goes is unacceptable – not for trade, not for war and certainly not for Orwellian intrusions.

about two weeks ago

Snowden: NSA Spied On Human Rights Workers

jma05 Re:What's the big deal? (230 comments)

> It's an intelligence agency, it spies on people. The only thing to discuss is whether it is allowed to spy on American citizens. Everyone else is fair game AFAIC

OK. Apply that logic to China spying on US govt, corporations, citizens and the rest of the world as well. No need for POTUS to raise issue at all on unsophisticated Chinese attempts at US. Right? Just a spy agency doing its thing... what its' paid to do and all that. Huawei can be banned in US, and Cisco, MS and the rest of the silicon valley can be banned in the rest of the world. Right? And with attitude such as yours, who would trust their data within US juristriction? And if NSA can tap lines, out of US, without consent of foreign governments, can Chinese intel agencies do it to you too? and you would not protest at all for your rights? Its an intelligence agency, after all.

AFAIK, NSA is quite unique in spying on wholesale foreign populations - all comms, all of the time, just in case - nothing "fair game" about it. Screw other countries, as long as I get my rights - is colonial era thought... quite indefensible in current international discourse.

about two weeks ago

.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

jma05 Re:It produces performance like C++ (217 comments)

All fine options - whether they are compile-time or runtime-time safety checks. The basic principle is - don't rely on humans not to make mistakes, especially as system complexity increases. They will eventually. That's just being human.

Functional programming languages make code less error prone. Certain unmanaged frameworks... VCL/LCL (Delphi/Lazarus), Qt etc. make memory leaks less easy to make, static analyzers warn of common lapses... anything to make code more safe is fine. The whole point of a good programming language/tool is about making the language fit the programmer mind, not the CPU. Its the compiler's headache to make optimized instructions from it.

Calling people stupid, as the GP did, because they occasionally make mistakes (especially when the system adds additional cognitive burdens), whether they are programmers or lay users, is just being naive. It is the duty of system designers to anticipate mistakes and elegantly encapsulate complexity; rather than blaming users for misusing their unintuitive designs.

about two weeks ago

.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

jma05 Re:It produces performance like C++ (217 comments)

> Anticipating the "but ... but ... it doesn't have garbage collection" - correct; it's not for brain dead idiots who can't program with proper technique and have to have something "managing" their code.

C++11 is an improvement. But wanting a GC has nothing to do with "brain dead idiots". It has been established decades ago that manual memory management is simply prone to errors, as program size increases. That includes expert programmers. This is a settled empirical question. If the overhead is acceptable, there is little reason to not want a GC.

But hey, if you want to feel smart, just because you use an unmanaged programming language and be condescending to the rest, I won't stop you.

about two weeks ago

.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

jma05 Re:Ah... (217 comments)

> You should pretend your work will be so popular if you want it to be so popular.

No you should not. This is amateur/hobbyist talk. When you have a billion customers, you will have plenty of money to optimize... or by then, you will be able to afford to keep plenty of "terabytes" online. Writing apps for billions of users when all you are likely to have is a few hundred/thousand users... is plain delusional and is inviting trouble.

Highly optimized, hyper-scalable code does not come for free. You will simply go bankrupt before you even get the users to stress your app, if you keep wasting your limited resources (and they are always limited) on imaginary requirements. Keep the architecture clean and follow the wisdom of established design principles. Later optimization will be relatively easy, *if* that need ever arises.

"Premature optimization is the root of all evil" - Donald Knuth.

about two weeks ago

.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

jma05 Re:It produces performance like C++ (217 comments)

> Why?

He just told you. It is a "*substantially* lower-level than C#".

There is a reason why people use C to write nearly every other language: To bring the programming language semantics closer to the semantics of the solution space. This is programming languages 101 and is covered in any intro to programming languages course.

C is easy to learn (not much to learn), but is tiedious (low-level) and unsafe (unmanaged) to work with because it has fewer abstractions and memory needs to be programmer managed (programmer costs are premium in most projects, not silicon costs). Its a great language when control over memory matters (a minority of projects or sub-projects). Its not a productive language for anything else. Ideally, one writes most of the code in an appropriate high-level programming language, profiles and identifies bottle necks and considers whether tuning them in the more tiedious and unsafe C code is worth while. Nearly all programming languages provide an FFI of some sort for this.

> has vast amounts of libraries to use.

Most of those libraries also tend to be low-level.

about two weeks ago

China Prosecuted Internet Policeman In Paid Deletion Cases

jma05 Re:Incomprehensible Headline (26 comments)

> from reactionary Maoist [democrat]

There is nothing Maoist about Democrats. In fact, no mainstream party in an industrial or post-industrial state can be considered Maoist. The term only refers to peasant socialism/communism in pre-industrial societies. Although there is some socialism for "peasants" (if you can call them that) in US (Agro subsidies), the farmer populations seem to consider themselves anti-socialistic and vote Republican. No?

I am not sure if the dichotomy between socialism and capitalism is that relevant any more, other than provide a decision framework for voters. All states now employ them together, in different configurations, rather than strictly choose between them.

about three weeks ago

GCHQ and NSA Targeted World Leaders, Private German Companies

jma05 Re:Good for the NSA (145 comments)

> Other nations can distrust anything they wish, but they have not other useful alternatives than to deal with us, they are our bitches.

That is true in case of some technologies like chips which are expensive to independently develop for less rich/advanced nations. But a good deal of software stuff is quite replaceable, with minimal pain. There are open source solutions or foreign services that are only slightly behind proprietary or US hosted solutions/services. The current surveillance situation simply incentivizes the alternatives and bridges that gap.

Peru did an open source requirement for government work some time ago and other governments were looking at similar stuff. Microsoft wrote that famous letter, 12 years ago, defending proprietary companies; something which is quite indefensible now.


They simply did not have enough incentives until now. This isn't rocket science; its mainly a policy decision. China is developing its own Linux-based OS and has already replaced western social media services and search engine with its own etc. etc.

There is already that project that this will cost us $180 Billion in the near future.
Let's see if it will bear out.

about three weeks ago



UN votes to protect privacy in digital age

jma05 jma05 writes  |  about 4 months ago

jma05 (897351) writes "The UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a privacy resolution introduced by Brazil and Germany, against unlawful surveillance.

"The resolution affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, including the right to privacy". Under pressure from US lobbying, the clause that mass surveillance constitutes a human rights violation was dropped earlier."

Link to Original Source

SCO Shares Plummet to 40 Cents

jma05 jma05 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jma05 (897351) writes "From the article — "SCO's stock dropped more than 70 percent in the days following the ruling. It traded at US$1.56 Friday and opened at $0.40 Tuesday morning". Is it time for de-listing SCO again? SCOX"


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