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Science By Democracy Doesn't Work

scamper_22 Re:So what was the result?? (466 comments)

We're actually not that far off.

It's very interesting actually going through the questions from the most agreeable to the contentious. I like how you stated it, but I will expand.

Is climate change real and not a hoax? (few disagree)
Do humans contribute to it (probably 90/10)
Do humans contribute significantly to it (probably 50/50)
Should we take action to counter it (probably 40/60)
Should we take significant action to counter it? (???)
Should we impose a carbon tax? (???)
Should we prepare for raising water levels (???) ...

All these are separate questions. The problem is just how linked they are in politics.

For some, the link is direct.
Do you believe climate change is real? If yes.... then carbon tax!
Disagree with a carbon tax,then you must not believe in climate change.

On science, a lot of people don't actually disagree. it's actually become the linking of policies to scientific reality that infects and distorts science.

5 days ago

Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

scamper_22 Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (307 comments)

Just an FYI. I'm not advocating any particular position. I am simply stating the dynamics of the discussion.

Those on either side of what is a 'right,' speak in common ways.
Obviously you view negative rights as rights as the positive rights requires forced labor or ...

On the flip side, many would say negative rights mean many people are still 'forced' to work for a living and be a wage slave. So they have to work anyways and that is forced labor.

We should probably have different words for things like rights and freedoms, but in the end we don't and so that is where the interesting discussions is.

Even if you call net neutrality an entitlement, which I don't really care about, I really don't like dictionary battles, what changes about the discussion? John Chen's point is still relevant and all the issues it raises are still relevant.

This is the same with any argument over rights. Fight the word battle if you wish, but I'd much rather discuss what it actually means in practice.

5 days ago

Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

scamper_22 Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (307 comments)

He's not an idiot and it is pretty consistent with everyone's talk of rights as we normally do in out political discussions.

He is choosing to view net-neutrality as a positive right. You know, like how people view education and healthcare and housing. These things require other people to actively do things for you (time, resources, money).

The other net-neutrality is just a negative right, preventing the ISP from blocking, discriminating between content...Like freedom of speech, freedom of contract...

It's an interesting discussion that mirrors many political ones in its own way. Living constitution, access, rights, monopoly...

No, I don't think the CEO is actually arguing from such philosophical points. He is just trying to save his company... but it is interesting nonetheless.

5 days ago

Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

scamper_22 Re:Yeah (562 comments)

I don't know. I understand the libertarian end of privacy. What I don't understand are people who generally love government then complaining about the government invading your privacy.

I'm as confused as anyone on what the better way is (libertarianism, socialism, capitalism...) I don't bloody well know.

It just seems strange to have this dichotomy.

It just seems a little strange.
Want the power to send me to jail for smoking weed? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.
Want the power to confiscate half my money and decide how to spend it? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.
Want the power to be in charge of my kids education and what they learn and the values they have for most of the day? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.
Want the power to be in charge of the healthcare system, spending huge portions of tax money and controlling/restricting labor? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.

Want the power to be in charge of a huge powerful military costing a huge portion of tax money and capable of killing millions upon millions and intervening in other countries? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.

Want the power to scan my emails in the hopes of catching terrorists? AAAAAAAAAAAAH, invasion of privacy, slippery slope, my rights are infringed....

about two weeks ago

Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

scamper_22 Re:Families (218 comments)

This is true, but also misses a key point.
What you say would make perfect sense in some kind of libertarian paradise.

But let's consider something.
Most of the world has labor laws of some kind. But let's talk about the western world which has more labor laws. Everything for overtime pay, 40 hour work week, vacation, sick pay...

We have these to ensure a 'decent' life and the net result is we actually PREVENT people from competing in these areas. I'm not here to debate the effectiveness of these policies, but these laws exist now.

If the minimum wage is set to $10/hour, it prevents someone who wants a job from getting a job and willing to do it for $9/hour. Similarly, with free trade. We actually prevent Western workers from competing with lower wage workers in India/China.
Similarly, taking less vacation, working unpaid overtime, violating safety/environment...

In any case, within a western country, we setup a minimum standards of work and then let western workers compete without giving up those.

Now here's a thought, what if we brought it labor laws that made tech fields more appealing for those who wish to raise a family? And I'm not talking about freezing your eggs, but about the number of hours worked, stress, flex time, backups...

Then women would not need to choose between working at Google and taking care of their family?

I see nothing wrong with this as long as it is treated as the law for both men and women. Why should tech viewed as this super stressful work like a dog field? Why should it be less family friendly than being a teacher or any other 'female field'.

Now I know the reason... its business, speed to market...
But again, this is not any different from any of the other labor laws we've brought in. We bring them it to prevent people from competing on things we don't want (lower wages, more work hours...)

Sounds reasonable to me.

about two weeks ago

Do We Need Regular IT Security Fire Drills?

scamper_22 Re:That's a different skill-set (124 comments)

lol. Yeop.

I work at a large org that still has a history of what might have been professional IT.

Today, it results in project managers running around asking who can fill out this disaster recovery document? Anyone? Anyone?

And it gets filled in somehow but no one really knows anything.

about two weeks ago

Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

scamper_22 Re:It depends on where you are in life (249 comments)


Honestly, I reread my post and realize it can be taken in different ways than I meant.

Oddly, the point I was trying to make was that public school should be geared for the 90% or 65%. My point is that it is NOT done that way today.

But I'm looking at it at a neighborhood or local level. If I am at a school and 65% of the kids need grit/self-control/curiosity more than advanced academics, then the local school should deal with that reality. This is NOT done today as we have standard for states/provinces/or even nations.

I guess it depends on how your view homogenous education. If you view it from the nation/state/province level, then I guess what we have today makes sense.

I suppose as a teacher, I view it from the local school level, and I say we don't have it. In a school where 70% of the kids don't have the basics, but we are forced to teach the state/province curriculum and focus on academics, this is not serving the needs of the majority.

about two weeks ago

Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

scamper_22 Re:It depends on where you are in life (249 comments)

Im really not advocating much.

I'm aware of budget realities and that we cant have 1 teacher per student with a custom environment and learning style for each student.

What I'd say, is let us say a school where 65% of the kids lack grit/self-control/curiosity and are not benefitting from the academic curriculum. I would suggest that that specific school would be better off focussing on that.

I don't think it is asking too much, but it is when people think that the grade X curriculum should be the same for all kids and the same behavior and other standard should also be the same.

about two weeks ago

Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

scamper_22 Re:It depends on where you are in life (249 comments)

It depends. I should have a disclaimer saying I no longer teach, although I am still qualified. I'm also in Ontario, Canada for some context.

I'd actually say most of the older teachers agreed with me, but ultimately take a... this is what the board says we have to do kind of mentality.

I tend to find more of the younger teachers a little more ideological on these issues; perhaps due to more education in these aspects.

about two weeks ago

Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

scamper_22 Re:It depends on where you are in life (249 comments)

I agree with you, but here's the issue.

I'm also a child of immigrant parents. We were poor and we made it quite well.

As you say, maybe your parents taught you grit, self-control, curiosity. Mine did as well. Good for us. We are truly fortunate in that sense. More fortunate than some rich kid whose parents didn't and is now on high-end drugs.

You can sit there and say parents should do this and that. But they're NOT. I reread my post and I hope it doesn't come across as saying all poor kids should just get basic education and all rich kids should get advanced education. I can see how it can be read that way.

It is more that public education should be geared to the needs of most of the children in the neighborhood.

If the parents aren't doing the job. Great, do whatever you can to fix that. But until you do fix it and have all these kids raised by decent parents, schools have to deal with the reality of the students as is. It just so happens that if parents aren't teaching their kids grit-self-control-curiousity... then I would say schools should be allowed to focus on that and focus less on 'academics'. Right now, this is impossible with standard curriculum.

Would this deny opportunities? That's an odd question. In either case, you're denying kids opportunities if that's the language you choose to use.

If you have a class of 20 and 15 of then would benefit more from grit/self-control/curiosity and 5 would benefit from advanced academics... no matter how you focus your school you're denying some kids the opportunity. You're be holding back 15 kids from a decent job and future in favour of the 5 kids if you just blindly go on focusing on academics. Of course if you focus on the 15 kids, you might hold back the 5 kids.

Ideally, you offer different policies for all kids. But assuming you some standards in each school, I'd rather tailor the school to the 15 to get them decent jobs and life.
Kids who already have grit/self-control/curiosity can pursue their own academic pursuits especially in this day and age of the internet.
I was programming long before I even took such a course in school. That is what you can do when you already have those basic values.
Also advanced classes can be used to separate thing or after school programs...
It is much easier to provide advanced classes to kids who already have grit/self-control/curiosity.

As I said, this is why my preference would be to focus on the 15 instead of the 5. The social costs of kids not getting advanced academics is a lot less than the social costs of the 15 kids not getting a decent job and learning basic life skills. Like I said, I went to a 'ghetto' school and no doubt, I lacked a lot of things (and this is in Canada). I lacked a good computer club, good network of academic kids, connections with industry... but whatever, in the end, I'm pretty okay. Most of the academic ones from my high school are. It's the rest you have to be concerned about.

about two weeks ago

Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

scamper_22 It depends on where you are in life (249 comments)

One of the greatest tragedies in our times is the idea that all children should get the same education. It is the oddest thing. We all admit that children actually start off at different levels.

But rather than do what is best for each child, we pretend there is some sort of universal curriculum that all children should follow. It's just not the case.

Grit, self-control, curiousity are probably very important if your main goal is to get a job and provide for your family.

I was a teacher for a while, and this was the most frustrating things. Having to teach kids in a 'non-academic neighborhood' for lack of a better term, as I taught in both inner-city type schools as well as rural 'trashy' schools. I'm up there teaching math these kids couldn't care about and is going to be of little use to any of them in their future. Yet, that is the curriculum, because it is standardized and they happen to be in grade 10.

To these kids, teaching them some grit, self-control, curiosity would probably benefit them 1000x more and improve their life and the next generation.

Yet, somehow it is considered unfair if we did that because then we'd be admitting they are not as advanced as other kids. Yes, they're not. That is why people would classify them as a trouble neighborhood or whatever.

Then of course you have other kids who might not suffer the same problem and maybe for them you need to focus more on intelligence and academics.

Ultimately, I'd rather have the school system deal with the reality of children by using different methods on different groupings of children as opposed to pretending everyone is the same when they're not.

And no, I'm not saying there aren't any brilliant kids in a ghetto school. They do exist. One might say, I was one of them. I'm saying it is pretty easy to keep us happy. Just having academic streams in high school or give us other classes. Maybe school wasn't optimized for me, but in the end, I have a decent job and make decent money. Let's face it, how many children from ghetto neighborhoods are working at Google?

But as far as social issues go, our biggest problems are not optimizing intelligence for advanced R&D here. It's the basics for most of the population and it is there that grit, self-control, curiosity are really much better.

And yes, maybe that formalizes the reality that if you're in a ghetto school, you would be more educated to just get a job. And if you are in a rich area, you are more educated to do advanced academic work.

Yes, maybe it formalizes it. But it's not like without that formalization, it isn't true today.

But I guess, that's political correctness. Better to have poor people suffer, than formalize that they're different in this time and place.

about two weeks ago

Aircraft Responsible For 2.5% of Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions

scamper_22 Re:Don't mess with my jetset lifestyle (232 comments)

It really depends.

The cost of transportation must be weighed against how production is done locally.

I grew up in the developing world. We used a coal stove to cook. Now I was a kid back then, but I imagine it didn't have any kind of filters or anything.
A lot of factories and other local industries were equally as bad.

If that is how things are produced locally, it's not exactly 'better' than globalization. Maybe the global supply chain filled with airlines, freight, trucks, walmart... is ultimately more efficient? I have no idea, but produced locally in much of the world cannot simply be said to be a good thing as a matter of fact. It's a crazy calculation that is probably unique to each product and community that I have no ability to compute.

Sure, theoretically, we all have efficient German economies with great environmental standards and we can all produce everything efficiently locally, but that's just not the world.

about three weeks ago

2015 Means EU Tax Increase On Cloud Storage, E-books and Smartphone Applications

scamper_22 The government should provide do the calculation (164 comments)

Most of the complaints here are in regard to complexity.

Wouldn't it be reasonable for the EU to then provide a webservice for such a calculation.

They take in an address/other info and tell you how much to add to the bill. How much info would be up to the EU. It's their citizenry. They can then vote on how much is too much. Heck, if they can force their own citizens to provide a government issued national ID and retina scan for every purchase for all I care.

They can provide healthcare and education. They should be able to build a webservice :P

about three weeks ago

The Coming Decline of 'Made In China'

scamper_22 Re:Automated manufacturing (327 comments)

This is partially.

People do create jobs. And yes, as jobs are automated, people can create other jobs.

It is also true that demand is important.
Yes, people want everything. I want a Lamborghini. I want to vacation. Plenty of demand there.

But there is also a disconnect. How much are we willing to work for our demand? Most of us really don't value a Lamborghini or vacationing or wine that much.

We spend it as disposable income just for the sake of it. This is in sharp contrast to the industrial age where most of what was produced really improved your life. That is why people migrated from rural areas or worked 16 hour days in factories. Things like running water, electricity, supermarkets... significantly improve your life.

Few are willing to work that hard for status items or discretionary spending. They will gladly take it as a side benefit. And a status symbol is almost by definition exclusive. Everyone can't have it or it becomes worthless. Just like your wine example, if we all started doing wine jobs, wine would end up like Mcdonalds and would carry no social value... and thus wouldn't serve itself.

Now, I'm not saying it is impossible to create an economy like this. Typically they would call it a service economy. I'm just saying, it is much harder to do it 'naturally'.

You could have a huge public sector of teachers, nurses, doctors... transit... and then a huge service industry of wines, restaurants, entertainment, space travel....whatever. Maybe you could make all those high quality good jobs.

If you live in a bubble, this can even seem plausible today. By bubble, I mean a downtown yuppy with a good job or a techy living in silicon valley. Yet always remember the rest of the world and the 6-7 billion people in it, much less the poorer folks just a suburb away.

The problem is that most people are satisfied with what we have done and could have had. Decent home, basic food... almost everyone would rather have free time and not work.

Maybe worksharing, guaranteed income... to provide the basis, or maybe they can actually control the economy by public sector demand and service sector. I have no idea, but it is definitely complex.

about a month ago

Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

scamper_22 Re:Best of 2009? May be, but we live in 2014. Righ (132 comments)

It's sad, but BB is doing a lot of things to make up for its lost years.

BES 10 didn't support older BB 5,7 devices. That was one of hte biggest blunders. They are fixing that now in BES12.

Back in 2009, there was nothing really wrong with BB phones per se. They just needed a new OS with better app/dev support. you can't go back in time and there were issues with adopting Android, but that is basically what they are doing now with Android app support...

Yes, years late, but a lot of enterprises still have BB7 devices and the old BES. This is their upgrade path that should have been there in 2009.

It is probably their best play as far as plays goes.
Continued and enhanced android support will basically let them make a corporate/secure/managed version of android.

Consumers could latch onto it as well if they like the keyboard and build/branding.

about a month ago

Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

scamper_22 Re:Does the job still get done? (688 comments)

The problem is always going from here to there. As you say, there are plenty of dystopian possibilities as well.

I haven't met too many people who don't see this as our future. Heck, they were probably writing it back in the 70s on how we would have all this free time and leisure because computers would do everything.

Here's where empirical evidence as in what actually happens is important.

If the theory is that computers makes labor more efficient so that we can have more free time, has that been the case in the past 30-40 years?

The answer is basically no.
We have invented and mandated work. I'm not saying this work is not useful. I'm simply saying efficiencies and using it to free up people's time, government/business have instead used it to keep people working.

You'll often hear the term service economy or something like that. What it has resulted in is the government employing people (currently massively in healthcare/education), and then having a service economy around that (entertainment, food, real estate...).

We have simply not chosen some kind of egalitarian free-time society.

When the housing bubble popped, did we as a society take that to mean, we should transition to a different economic model? Or did we take it to mean, we must go all-in and pump in billions and trillions to keep the current system going and make sure home prices keep going up...

I can honestly say, living in Canada for the past 20 years, I haven't seen piece of public/economic policy that has been implemented that would make it appear that public leaders would rather give us freetime than keep us hardworking.

Everything is about work. Oddly enough even feminism comes about at a time of supposed decreasing need of labor due to computing, and suddenly it is government policy to ensure this half of the population is working full time jobs?

I'm not sayng it won't happen. There are places with better welfare and attitudes towards work where this transition might occur. But the powers that be... I'm not seeing it.

about a month ago

Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

scamper_22 They will still make their money (delivery charges (280 comments)

I'm in Ontario, Canada.
Electricity as everywhere else is not some total free market system. It is some quasi semi regulated monopoly. It's public/private nature depends on the region.

This is my sample utility bill:

Electricity use:
on peak = $15
mid peak = $17
off peak = $30


Regulatory Charges:

Debt Retirement Charge:
The actual electric cost is less than half my bill.

The same is true of water. We had a big campaign years back to use less water. Whooops, they realized they were not taking in as much money. So they upped the 'delivery' aspect for water.

The utilities themselves will be okay as long as people/governments expect to be connected.

And then the big generators themselves will be okay because everyone wants a stable grid, so government will pay them some fixed rate to keep it all profitable.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

scamper_22 Re:Please don't get an MBA (317 comments)

True, but most fields have some kind of common methodology behind the,

You can disagree to your hearts content how MBAs are trained to run a business. But that is how most businesses are founded and run. You want to have influence, you have to speak their language and run things in their methodology. If they want a project cost, you have to do it their way.

You can definitely do something different and there are plenty of businesses who do different things, but that means they have to start their own thing. Eventually some of these practices might make their way into 'standard business' and into MBA folks.

So yes, if this guy works for a firm headed by finance folks who basically run things in a standard business MBA way, then he can and should get an MBA to get things done.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Convincing My Company To Stop Using Passwords?

scamper_22 Why STOP using password? Add the others. (247 comments)

I've yet to understand this mentality of stopping the use of passwords.

I understand all the flaws, but here's the question.

If improving security is the goal, why not ADD to the security process.

Add a token generator (like the RSA keys most work places have for VPN)
Add fingerprint/iris scan (for convenience)

People are already used to passwords. As long as the second authentication method is easy and convenient, they will accept it.

about 2 months ago


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