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Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

quantaman Re:Most is a Lame Argument (406 comments)

"Most X Support Y" is such a lame argument for doing anything.

Most people here would like to kick your ass but that doesn't mean we should.

Most drivers on the freeway would like to speed but that doesn't mean the should.

Most kids support not brushing their teeth but that doesn't mean they should skip it.

Most people would like a double-wopper-hopper burger with extra fries but that doesn't mean they should eat it never mind every day.

Most people supporting something is a lame argument for anything.

Stop rationalizing and get rational.

Most people wanting to speed means most people think getting somewhere faster is a good thing.

Most people wanting a burger means most people think burgers are tasty.

And most people supporting government action on climate change means most people think climate change is a real problem.

So despite your dismissal this poll (if accurate) is important.

It shifts the question from "Is Climate Change a problem?" to "What is the appropriate response to this problem?"

Now you can still argue that "nothing" is the appropriate response to the problem, but you've lost the argument claiming the problem doesn't exist.


Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

quantaman Re:Shame on them (177 comments)

Nonsense, they're just following the most basic of mathmatical formulas:

Money > Ethics

Put another way:
Ethics = Brain(Money)

There are rational arguments in favour of the NSA's spying, it's in the Mathematicians' interest to adopt those arguments.

Given the choice between a) giving up a ton of money and feeling morally sound, b) accepting a ton of money and feeling morally compromised, or c) accepting a ton of money and feeling morally sound, most people want to choose c, and since it's a lot easier to change ethics than sources of money the morality is the part that's going to adapt.

Hell, I'm from Alberta, oil sands central. A massive portion of our economy comes from oil. Even though I believe in global warming and my work only has a secondary connection to oil & gas there's still a part of me looking for reasons to justify our continued extraction. I have no doubt Mathematicians are playing with similar rationalizations.


Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

quantaman Re:And all this without Jobs (521 comments)

It just goes to prove no one is irreplaceable; not even Jobs.

Not necessarily.

Jobs' brilliance wasn't in his management, it was in his design sense, personal charisma, and knowing when to throw his company behind developing and pushing a new product (OS X, iPod, iTunes, Tablets).

Tim Cook doesn't have the same epic level of charisma but that could change, and he clearly hasn't screwed up the management part, but we've yet to see his signature on the design and product fronts. I think you can call Apple Pay and the iWatch products of the Tim Cook era so their success will be the first real test of whether he can keep the Apple innovation machine turning.

3 days ago

Serious Network Function Vulnerability Found In Glibc

quantaman Re:Accidental bugs? (211 comments)

I have yet to have one such buffer overflow bug in my code.

That you know of. Besides, I'm sure you've had many that you've caught during the standard code -> compile -> run -> segfault -> debug cycle, but the more subtle ones are harder to trigger.

It's the most basic rule to check for buffer boundaries that even beginner programmer learns it quickly.

Depending on what the code is doing and what kind of legacy cruft you're dealing with it's not always trivial.

There must be agencies seeding these projects, commercial and open source, with toxic contributors injected there to deliberately contaminate the code with such bugs. The further fact that one never sees responsible persons identified, removed and blacklisted suggests that contamination is top down.

More likely the other devs feel like it's bad form to drag the names of past contributors through the mud in public. Particularly when the reviewers missed the bug as well.

4 days ago

"Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

quantaman Re:jessh (397 comments)

According to your logic, officials should shut the city down if there is even a tiny chance of a snowstorm.

I'm pretty sure it was implied that P(snowstorm) is high enough to make the cost/benefit rational.

Unless of course you think his comment would be better off at 4 times the length, detailing all of the obvious common sense assumptions he made.

4 days ago

Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

quantaman Re:Just for fun (351 comments)

Traditional breeding yields crops with numerous unwanted and unidentified genes while genetic engineering only brings in the targeted genes.
Genetic engineering does however allow for the genes to come from extremely dissimilar sources though the designs prefer to avoid such extreme options when they can. As to viruses, all bets are off since we already know that viruses shuffle genes from all kinds of species whenever they damn well want to because they are viruses and don't give a damn. It's amazing how much horizontal gene transfer they are finding in nature.
By the way, in case you weren't aware, they've found a lot of dna in humans that they believe was put there by viruses.

I was aware but as the old saying goes:
To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.

The same applies to traditional breeding vs GMOs. Genetic modification is a much more powerful tool than the various sources of random mutation. As such we're going to create new classes of risks that we don't understand yet. We don't exactly have the healthiest environment right now and farms aren't sealed labs, before we inject massive numbers of plants with several novel and powerful traits into an ecosystem we need to understand what the effects of those actions are.

about a week ago

Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

quantaman Re:Just for fun (351 comments)

Viruses are natural vectors for genes to cross species. Are you more comfortable with this happening at random in the wild or when it's watched and monitored in a lab?

It's ridiculous to assume that the mechanisms of selective breeding, where the changes originate in random mutations -- often accelerated by the use of mutagens -- plus random viral- and bacterial-vectored transgenic splicing, is somehow safer than deliberately-engineered splicing. It's like expecting that a bridge created by a fallen tree is more trustworthy than a manmade construct.

The tone sounds like you're disagreeing him but it sounds like you're actually agreeing with him and debating my point.

Whatever the source of "natural" evolution (selective breeding, random mutation, horizontal gene transfer) we've been dealing with it for thousands of years and understand the risks. To use your example it's pretty easy to evaluate the safety of a fallen tree bridge. But with manmade bridges it took a while before we learned to avoid things like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

about a week ago

Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

quantaman Re:Just for fun (351 comments)

I googled for "GMO Hazards"


and out of the top 10 sites not one had actual problems that were caused by GMO foods

Lot of might and could be, but no actually. No "Killer corn ate my baby "

So How bout labeling foods that are produced from selective breeding genetically engineered as well ?

I think the labelling thing is nonsense since I don't think health risks are a big concern but I am a bit more cautious about the long term environmental effects as I suspect we're underestimating the probability of black swan events.

I think of selective breeding vs GMOs is a bit like traditional medicine vs modern medicine. Traditional medicine generally ranges from slightly beneficial to mildly harmful, you're not going to do yourself much harm, but you're not going to help much either. By contrast modern medicine is devastatingly effective in good ways and bad.

Right now you'd be a fool to choose traditional medicine over modern medicine, especially if you have a serious health issue, the benefits are too strong and we know how to manage the nasty side effects.

But at the dawn of modern medicine? You're probably better off dealing with the traditional stuff, a lot of people died because modern medicine was an incredibly powerful tool and people didn't know enough about that tool to use it safely.

I worry we're at that stage with GMOs and the environment. We don't really understand what it does to the ecosystem when we introduce new traits at that speed and effectiveness. We really can't know until we've done it a while. I'm sure GMO crops are the answer for the future, but I'm worried our capabilities are outstripping our knowledge.

about a week ago

Linus Fixes Kernel Regression Breaking Witcher 2

quantaman Re:sounds complicated (126 comments)

Wouldn't it be easier to run Windows 8 in a virtual machine like VM Ware on a Linux computer? Why go through WINE and possible incompatibility issues? Or buy a gaming laptop for gaming on windows? I'm sure you geeks make $30 an hour and can afford two computers.

I do a fairly limited amount of gaming but if I do any I'll do it on my the Linux desktop I built myself.

I have no interest in buying a copy of Windows just for gaming so install on a VM, it's not even a question of principal, I just can't be bothered to go through that much effort for a crappy solution.

about a week ago

What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

quantaman Re:Size (324 comments)

Your making this into a binary situation when it's more subtle than that.

Should it be illegal? No.

Does it make people uncomfortable? Yes.

Why does it make them uncomfortable? Because the added possibility of a surreptitious recording makes them a little more cautious than they would have been otherwise (even in public). It's not about appropriate vs inappropriate, I know I wouldn't feel comfortable having a connected conversation about my feelings with a potentially global audience. You've never passively eavesdropped on a couple's conversation? What about the people who think that conversation is so interesting they'll start recording and post it to facebook saying "check out this fascinating conversation I overheard".

I'm still not saying ban it, but there are social consequences we need to consider.

about a week ago

Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

quantaman Re:Good news (420 comments)

Sorry, but while TOS did do a lot of exploring philosophy and some groundbreaking stuff, it was full of glorious almost campy action throughout. That's because Roddenberry actually hadn't forgotten what audiences wanted to see on TV.

TNG was preachy at the beginning and then they fixed it. TNG was never horrible, but the first season was sort of blah and I think it only really made it because "ZOMG HOLY SHIT WE HAVE TREK BACK AND PATRICK STEWART AND THE ENTERPRISE-D, FUCK YEAH!"

The thing that comes closest to a philosophical masterpiece of Trek is probably the snoozefest that is TMP. Trek's answer to 2001, only not really.

Kirk punched people out and had sex with green slave girls. The only thing that the new Trek got wrong about all that is that their portrayal of sex was presented stylistically as fan service, and they made Kirk into a frat boy instead of a red-blooded macho hero-type.

I'm not saying Star Trek should be a plodding intellectual discussion, the action and adventure is an essential part, but without the philosophy the films have no heart.

Look at Wrath of Khan, you open up with Kobayashi Maru, a discussion about dealing with hopeless situations, and then transition to a discussion about growing old.

Khan isn't just a random villain, he has a somewhat legitimate grudge against Kirk who exiled him and his crew on a planet and then never checked up on them and thus never realized the world was dying.

In the new Star Trek Kirk is basically a kid with a spaceship, there's very little underlying philosophy guiding his actions and to the extent it does come up emotion is driving his philosophy rather than the other way around.

Even the first TNG movies remembered this and have a bit of lasting power, the new Trek movies are just very forgettable.

about a week ago

Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

quantaman Re:Good news (420 comments)

But then you have to just remember how awful JJ's Star Trek movies were.

Really? The first one was terrible because nothing can live up to the expectations of angry nerds.

It was also terrible because it was terrible.

Well not quite terrible but completely forgettable in the way that generic sci-fi action flicks are.

Then you have Khan. Perfectly good movie. And you had nerds raging because herpaderpawhiteguynamedKhanNoonienSingh.

I didn't hear that, though in retrospect it would have been cool to have a non-standard ethnicity in the role.

Either way I just re-watched the new Khan movie a few days ago, it was better, but still a fairly generic and forgettable action flick.

Abrams will do fine. He probably won't do Empire-level excellence, but I have no doubt it won't be the complete clusterfuck that was sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and IT GETS EVERYWHERE. DO NOT WANT.

He'll do fine in the sense that it will be another generic and forgettable action flick.

I don't really understand why Abrams is getting all these franchises, he did some good TV series but I haven't found his film work to be particularly exceptional.

That being said I think he's a far better choice for Star Wars than he was for Star Trek. Star Trek was always about exploring the philosophy, something Abrams has never really shown any particular talent for.

Star Wars on the other hand is more about the myth, which is really the strong point of his best work. Maybe he will make something great with this one.

about a week ago

What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

quantaman Re:Size (324 comments)

You can stand on the street in front of my house if you wish but my door is on my property.
What you do not get is that are creeped out because they MIGHT be recording you. Not that they are recording you. So do you demand that no one takes out a cell phone in public? They MIGHT be recording you... Horrors.
Get a grip... You are probably really not that interesting.

You've never seen a viral video of an ordinary person doing something really stupid? I can think of many.

Someone wearing Google Glass (and constantly recording) catches you saying or doing something that sounds incredibly funny/offensive/strange, they post it online, it goes viral, and suddenly your life is different.

Sure it's unlikely but the threat is there. I'm not going to be nearly as comfortable having a conversation in a restaurant when I know people are recording because there's an extra filter all my words have to pass through.

about two weeks ago

Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

quantaman Re:His ties to the KKK? (420 comments)

That's stretching it a bit. While touring New Orleans to speak about his opposition the Stelly tax plan, he spoke once to a small EURO contingent, hours before the actual convention, not at the actual convention, one stop among many. Guilty by brief association?


The snopes article doesn't quite back you up. It's possible that he spoke to a related gathering a few hours before the convention, not knowing it was EURO related nor that there were a few white supremacists in attendance. But it's also possible that he did address the EURO convention with full knowledge of who they were, either because he wanted their support (or non-opposition) and/or he was sympathetic to their beliefs.

The truth is there's insufficient information to know what really happened.

about two weeks ago

Simon Pegg On Board To Co-Write Next Star Trek Film

quantaman Re:I suppose this means there's still hope (138 comments)

Star trek is not and has never been anything about speculative fiction any more than star wars is. The have technospeak. They are deliberately not even trying.

You're confusing hard science fiction with speculative fiction.

Star Trek is not hard science fiction and I don't think anyone ever claimed it to be, the technology presented is not only scientifically unrealistic but internally inconsistent.

But it's definitely speculative fiction. Regular moral quandaries over the Prime Directive, questions about the actions and motivations of all-powerful beings, when to resort to military force, conflicts between respecting individual rights and respecting other cultures, etc. There's a lot of serious issues they tackled head-on.

Star wars by contrast is essentially a fantasy adventure, it's fun as hell (when done right), but never really strays from the basic good vs evil narrative.

about two weeks ago

Simon Pegg On Board To Co-Write Next Star Trek Film

quantaman Re:I suppose this means there's still hope (138 comments)

The first movie in the reboot series was passable. The second was flat-out some of the laziest writing I've ever seen; I'm still raging about the "cold fusion" bomb.

Hopefully this means the writing will improve somewhat. Granted, it's not exactly a tall order but I'll take what I can get.

Will it really fix things though?

I'm sure it will improve the humour, but that wasn't really why the movies sucked.

Star Trek at its best was speculative fiction with a bit of action thrown in.

The new movies are action films with a bit of speculative fiction thrown in.

The focus of the TV series and even the first movies were philosophically interesting problems. The focus of the new movies are big FX action sequences.

You've almost got to completely re-reinvent the franchise again, even if it were possible with the current cast I'm not sure Pegg, as a writer, would really have authority to do that.

about two weeks ago

US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

quantaman Re:Are they voting on whether Pi = 22/7 also? (666 comments)

Saying whether or not climate change is real, is not real, or is unknown is not a statement for non-subject-matter experts to make until/unless there is enough evidence that it is clearly real or clearly not real to the layman. If either one were the case, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

In other words, every Senator who isn't either a subject-matter expert or an arrogant person and who doesn't want people to think he is in one of those two groups must abstain if this comes to a vote.

Can you explain why E=mc^2 is clearly real?

I can see the principal in saying that politicians shouldn't hold votes affirming some scientific theory, but if you are going to allow votes of that matter than somewhere where there is a clear scientific consensus, such as climate change, are valid.

about two weeks ago

What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

quantaman Re:Size (324 comments)

You still keep using that word without knowing what it means.
Private restaurant? Privately owned maybe and the owner could request people not wear glass in the restaurant but it is still in public. You have NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY.
Here is a good way to determine if it is a public vs private space. Can you exclude other members of the public from entering legally?
If the answer is no then it is not a private space.

You seem to be conflating the law and morality.

I have a proposal to make, I stand outside your door with a video camera, I film you the entire day while you're in a public space, and then I post the video online for everyone to see. Ignoring the stalking, if this prospect makes you uncomfortable than you must acknowledge that it's not as simple as you imply.

There is such thing as privacy in public places, we've just lacked the technology to seriously violate that privacy outside of some narrow cases like stalking. As such it was simply to simply declare that there legally was no expectation of privacy.

But Google glass is a new technology, it changes that equation. It's entirely appropriate to question both the morality and whether laws should be rewritten.

about two weeks ago

Facebook Will Let You Flag Content As 'False'

quantaman Re:Cool (224 comments)

Instead you'll get atheist or "the wrong religion(tm)" posts being flagged as false. Plus, not all political messages are such that "false will probably do". Which of the following political statements should be marked false?

"The economy was hit hard by the housing crisis"

"Unchecked human industry is negatively impacting the environment"

"Medical expenses are the number 1 cause of bankruptcy in America"

"The US constitution prohibits establishment of religion by congress"

I think all of them are true, but not everyone will agree.

They can take that into account.

I'll mark them true which means we probably agree on a lot of things, so if I mark other things false you'll probably agree they're false and FB shouldn't give them much weight.

But if someone else thinks they're false you probably disagree on a lot, so if that other person flags other things false it shouldn't carry much weight as to whether it's shown to you.

I don't know if that's the plan but it would be a nice way to create an information bubble.

about two weeks ago

Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

quantaman Re:Data about where and how people drive? (238 comments)

Their cars aren't on the market yet. They have no data on my driving.

Google Maps — on every Android phone, and on many iPhones as well. If you use it — and many people dohere is, what Google knows about where you've been.

So the average person spends most of their day walking around with a GPS recording their every movement, I have to imagine this is already having a pretty big effect on the criminal court system. Sure most people committing a premeditated crime would be smart enough to leave their phone at home (or give it to a fake alibi), but this seems to greatly simplify the standard TV question of "where were you between the times of X and Y last night?"

about two weeks ago



Ogg/Linux Friendly Portable Music Players

quantaman quantaman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

quantaman (517394) writes "I'm looking for a good portable music player to use for runs to/from work. There are two absolute requirements 1) it will work under Linux, and 2) it can play ogg, also since it's for running I suspect a flash based player is highly advisable. I was wondering what has worked for other people with similar requirements?

For Linux I've heard that specific support isn't really necessary beyond it showing up as a USB drive, however the Linux category on the wikipedia comparison page must be referring to something. I've also heard advice like getting an iPod + Rockbox, however there are possible downsides with putting on a 3rd party OS (ie warranty issues, a UI not quite made for the hardware), as well I'd much rather support a company who supports ogg and Linux out of the box. One popular choice for ogg/Linux seems to be iRiver, however I don't know if this is the only choice and this page seems to suggest it's Linux and ogg support isn't that great after all.

As well there's also the criteria of durability, sound quality (do the different players have differences that people besides audiophiles would care about?), size, and cost.

I know slashdot has covered this subject in the past but I'm sure things have changed since 2002."


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