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MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?

smoothnorman lame ducks produce some of the best legislation (97 comments)

Just one catch: he's a lame duck, and will be out of office in January.

i don't understand why that's a "catch". these dark days of oligarchy, this may be the main way we get any honest political effort.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

smoothnorman be there, done that, barely survived... (448 comments)

If your boss has any basic science education try to sell them on the "a monoculture is at more risk to attack" approach. that's not entirely false, but mostly it sounds good and pointy-hairs tend to swallow it.

Then choose some version of Ubuntu or Red-Hat, but be ready to suffer all the horrors of dealing with the document, spreadsheet, calendar exchange formats. Those issues, more than any other, will spell failure. (just one middle-level moron who can't open your LibreOffice 'power-point' stack and you're toast) So, far more important than distribution is to be ready (practice!) your corporate compatibility two-step. (once saved my bacon by showing that my 'beamer' stack made everyone's powerpoint stack look like crap)

Beware of the vindictive IT staff who don't want to learn one more thing beyond their 'microsoft certification' merit badge. They will make your life a living hell. good luck!

5 days ago
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Interview: Ask Bruce Perens What You Will

smoothnorman Re:Question (129 comments)

I'd like to know if there's any real hope for technocrat.net ..? it re-started, i've followed it fairly frequently, and now it already seems rather moribund

about two weeks ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

smoothnorman Re:Resurrecting Technocrat.net (2219 comments)

i think if you were to do this i'd visit it often in-lieu of that slashdot seems hell-bent upon doing to itself. consider yourself encouraged by the vast faceless horde.

about 2 months ago
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New Object Recognition Algorithm Learns On the Fly

smoothnorman Re:Evolution at BYU (100 comments)

that reply is of the "but Einstein believed in God" sort. whereas i stated that religion is based on faith and faith is inconsistent with science. i did not state that someone who currently is willing to believe that a god is possible (even probable) cannot do good science; just that they cannot hold this belief in the face of contrary evidence, which is to say faith. faith accepts no evidence and cannot be placed aside for evidence. so "real science" (as you introduce the term) is entirely inconsistent with "real faith" (as you introduce the term). they are philosophically orthogonal concepts.

about 3 months ago
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New Object Recognition Algorithm Learns On the Fly

smoothnorman Re:Evolution at BYU (100 comments)

"testimonies"? ...is that some specialized mormon terminology like being 'sealed' rather than married? i've read endless screeds about how one can make religion and science happily co-exist. but in the final analysis, it can't happen; at least not with standard faith-based religions. science essentially demands that nothing can be taken on faith; and religion essentially demands that anything important (the root of one's philosophical tree, if you will) must be taken on faith. if you're a faithful you cannot be a clear-minded scientist. i know this will be tediously countered, but faith is anti-science, and faith is the basis of religion.

about 3 months ago
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CES 2014: 3-D Scanners are a Logical Next Step After 3-D Printers

smoothnorman shape at the end of the recursive series (87 comments)

so if one scanned what was printed, printed that, scanned that and printed for N cycles (optionally including a grind-it-up for media source for the next generation) then the series convergence no matter if one started with the venus-de-milo or a sierpinski-tetrahedron would be a sphere?

about 3 months ago
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How Reactive Programming Differs From Procedural Programming

smoothnorman should've tried Twisted (186 comments)

what it takes to implement business logic using Reactive Programming versus two different conventional procedural Programming models: Java with Hibernate and MySQL triggers,'

...Twisted/python is perhaps a more sensible established comparison for event-driven, or not. besides... "business logic"?

about 3 months ago
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How Good Are Charter Schools For the Public School System?

smoothnorman matryoshka dolls (715 comments)

"now even the charter schools are broken! we need to create a safe learning environment that takes a step away from the current entrenched system!" this is paraphrased, but that exact sentiment was shouted at a recent county meeting in my area. in short: we need to charter school the charter schools. so what was begun as an external effort to break the teachers' union (which may, or may not have got a bit too powerful; but i'll tell-ya, their salaries sure doesn't reflect that) is now a enfeebling case of: if i don't like something about the system, lets fork it -- each child in their own school system! one superintendent per student! this is hyperbole of course, but i'd council fixing the system at large rather than running from it to create a new system to screw up.

about 3 months ago
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Anti-GMO Activists Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

smoothnorman Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (510 comments)

that wouldn't be a category error (as it's typically defined) and no one here are assuming that not "killing outright" is a sign of harmlessness. sometimes all that requires is a persistent form of ignorance. ("..the boy as Ignorance and the girl as Want. The spirit warns Scrooge, "Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased")

about 3 months ago
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Anti-GMO Activists Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

smoothnorman Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (510 comments)

you have that backwards. cross-breeding is more "shot-gun" than selectively inserting genes (which many here would equate with GMO'ing). when Lord Snagglebottom wanted to cross-breed his sheep to get a longer coat, he didn't let any of the offspring breed that didn't have the desired trait. and he had to do a helluva lot of that until -and *if*- he ever got something like he wanted. whereas if he could isolate the gene for long coat he'd get a much more immediate and direct result *if* it's possible (with a single gene product).

in terms of cross-breeding the most direct approach was to -wait- until nature fortuitously produced the variant and then breed that "true". like the Dachshund dog or the "Golden delicious" apple. but you see, we humans, we don't like to wait, and that's why we're on top of the "gene pool". technology is neither good or evil, but impatience is part of its motivator.

about 3 months ago
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Anti-GMO Activists Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

smoothnorman Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (510 comments)

how about cows bearing the genetic material of a snake? pretty scifi, eh? almost certainly the product of an eeevil mad scientist? nope: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/01/how-a-quarter-of-the-cow-genome-came-from-snakes/ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-03/snake-genes-27hitchhike27-into-cow-dna/4451308

the first category error in this whole imbroglio is presuming that the word "natural" has any clear meaning.

about 3 months ago
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Anti-GMO Activists Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

smoothnorman Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (510 comments)

i wasn't conflating hybridization with genetic modification. that tomato strain was genetically modified, by plasmid insertion, -then- cross-pollinated with most other major strains. or... are you willing to say generation 1 of GMO is GMO whereas generation 3 isn't? what if the wind blows a GMO crop's pollen to a non-GMO? (as has been provably happened) does everywhere the GMO crop touches become GMO... and forever-after in all germ lines? it's complicated. there is no single definition of GMO, legal (as opposed to scientifically based), or otherwise, even in Europe where most folks think the matter is somehow perfectly resolved. as for "unchecked fashion" you're already too late, you're alive in a sea of GMO and you'll never be able to point to where it is and where it isn't. and it's by *nature* an expanding influence - such is evolution.

about 3 months ago
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Anti-GMO Activists Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

smoothnorman Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (510 comments)

Every last thing you eat could be credibly labeled as GMO. even that tomato you grew yourself in your yard has been genetically modified (there was a genetically modified fugal resistant strain produced in the late 1980s which has been cross-pollinated to most others, so most seed stock carries the advantage) Therefore, please, slap a GMO label on everything you eat, before you eat it. but it would be far more informative, for example, to stick an "M" for Monsanto on just their products.

about 3 months ago
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Anti-GMO Activists Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

smoothnorman going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (510 comments)

screwdrivers can/will be used to make hideous things (bombs, kill-droids, ...) but since everyone can understand screwdrivers no one would think to ban, or even restrict, them. GMO is complicated, really requiring an advanced to degree to appreciate. GMO can be used like screwdrivers to do evil (typically in the hands of some eeevil profit driven corporation (e.g. Monsanto in concert with Roundup) or it can be used to work towards really noble goals like improving the nutrition and disease resistance of crops in developing countries (e.g. search for "Golden rice").

in other words, going after GMO-the-technique is anti-progressive. one should instead go for (federal) regulation of GMO products. even indiscriminate labeling campaigns just naively suppress the technique, both good and bad usages.

ok, (having spoken my peace); on with the pitchforks and burning-brands!

about 3 months ago
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Bionic Eye Implant Available In US Next Month

smoothnorman what determines Slashdot article initial expansion (102 comments)

(for example) "Bionic Eye Implant Available In US Next Month" starts out closed/shuttered/compressed/whatever yet several even more esoteric Slashdot articles are initially presented with a full accompanying paragraph to read without an initial click to open them out. i'm just curious what determines this state(?) clearly it isn't number of comments.

about 5 months ago
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Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

smoothnorman Re:Can the connection to amazon be turned off? (88 comments)

Thank you! that's exactly the information that i was seeking, (and not finding via any of the 'official' specs). huzzah for devices that can, at least, have the fenced-garden fenced off.

about 7 months ago
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Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

smoothnorman Can the connection to amazon be turned off? (88 comments)

I've got an ~series2 Kindle that i use for pdf etc viewing; but the catch is that I often have review articles on it that must not be accessible by anyone but me for the time that I've got them (or else the lawyers start to parachute from black helicopters). A Kindle with the wifi off is an great solution for me and my colleagues for this purpose; but color would be *sweet*... so my question: if one buys one of the new Kindle Fire models can one be tolerably be sure of turning off all external access? Is there still a wifi *off* option? ...doesn't really sound like it.

about 7 months ago
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Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

smoothnorman Re:For Christ's sake (400 comments)

They have very little water. They have a sack of rice donated to them. Why do you think there's even a problem if it's just a matter of "go grow carrots!"? You're not suggesting that these malnourished people are stupid, are you?

about 7 months ago
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Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

smoothnorman GMO is just a tool... (400 comments)

...it's what you do with that tool that decides if the result is a positive or negative thing. The knee-jerk fear of (and efforts to eliminate/label/vilify) all GMO is generally part of a sad, and often justified, anti-government, anti-big-business, and lately, (unjustified) anti-science, social psychology. GMO is typically not distinguishable from all the cross-breeding done by dog-breeders, rose fanciers, and agriculture for hundreds of years. It's only when combined with other nasty procedures, for instance being coupled with the use of herbicides ("RoundUp"), that it becomes the screw-driver in the hand of a villain.

about 7 months ago

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