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Mozilla Rolls Out Sponsored Tiles To Firefox Nightly's New Tab Page

Joe Gillian Re:This seems like something MS would do. (150 comments)

Not the browser - the sponsored new tab page. A majority of Firefox users have automatic updates enabled, so when Firefox updates to add the Sponsored New Tab page, a majority of Firefox users will also have it because it's turned on by default.

yesterday
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PHP 5.6.0 Released

Joe Gillian Re:It's powerful, but.. (101 comments)

Nope! I don't code at all, but I had friends who coded pretty heavily in PHP and tried to learn it once. I spent a few hours one day looking at the list of functions included with PHP, and sure enough those two are in the official PHP documentation. To this day, I have no idea why they needed two built-in functions to determine when Easter was, or who it was they were expecting would use them... or why Easter, of all days.

yesterday
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PHP 5.6.0 Released

Joe Gillian It's powerful, but.. (101 comments)

Have they come up with another way to calculate the number of days between any given day and Easter yet? I've been waiting for years for a third function to be added to easter_days and easter_date.. a sort of holy trinity, if you will.

yesterday
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Mozilla Rolls Out Sponsored Tiles To Firefox Nightly's New Tab Page

Joe Gillian This seems like something MS would do. (150 comments)

Don't mistake me for a zealot, because I'm not. However, this move seems a lot like something the Microsoft of the early 2000s - when IE had near-100% marketshare and Firefox was still called Firebird - would do, and the kind of thing Mozilla should be fighting against.

IE got where it was at that time because of how it was forced upon everyone who bought a copy of Windows, and there was no easy way to opt-out. It won a monopoly by default, and this was one of the reasons that the Mozilla Foundation came along and developed Firefox. One of the senior Firefox devs said a year or so ago to one of his critics (it was on here somewhere) that what was important to him and to Mozilla was not that you use Firefox or that Firefox even be the dominant browser. What was important to him is that you have a choice of browsers so that another situation in which IE (or any other browser) gains near-100% market share never happens again.

This sounds like the same sort of thing. It's on by default, is obscure to disable (I personally can never remember the command to turn the new tab window off and have to look it up every time) and isn't something people are going to want. It's going to gain a monopoly by default, just like IE did. Using IE's tactics is not a good thing, and we can see why from IE itself. I might not hate it as much if there was a simple button in the preferences menu that reads "Turn off the New Tab Page" or "Disable Sponsored Links on the New Tab Page".. but there isn't. If anything, this should be opt-in "Would you like to support Firefox and the Mozilla Foundation by turning on sponsored links on the New Tab page?" instead of opt-out.

yesterday
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Joe Gillian Re:Slashdot comments indicative of the problem (1042 comments)

I don't think you got my point, they were telling people NOT to do that. By Five Guys, I mean the burger chain. In Zoe's case, it actually IS important that she supposedly slept with 5 guys, because all of them were members of the games industry. Like I said, no one cares about her or who she slept with - what's important is the jobs the people she was sleeping with held.

yesterday
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Joe Gillian Re:Slashdot comments indicative of the problem (1042 comments)

I do know that this article is poorly written. They mention Zoe Quinn being harassed, but in reality, that harassment was people trying to discover the truth about whether or not a games journo was promoting her game at the same time that he was having an intimate relationship with her. Zoe Quinn is a despicable human being - and it's not because she's a woman. Let me give you an example from the long line of proof of what she's done.

There's a group called The Fine Young Capitalists that were trying to host a game jam specifically directed at female developers - the entire point was to promote women in gaming. TFYC were getting funding for it, and then Zoe Quinn stepped in and had them shut down, implying that they were being misogynists. In reality, she wanted them shut down because she was hosting her own game jam, which had become a bloated, fund-sucking monstrosity that still has no concrete details as to when or where it's taking place. All of this is proven fact. By the way, TFYC did get their game jam funded.. by 4chan.. and it's pulling in plenty of female developers.

There's also the part where she's declaring harassment because people are trying to find out the truth about whether or not she unethically used an intimate relationship with a games journalist to promote Depression Quest. The fact that she had an intimate relationship with Nathan Grayson is a big deal, especially considering that they officially started dating less than a week after Grayson's article was published, and there is evidence that the relationship may have existed before that but was kept away from public view.

Everyone, even 4chan, have admitted that the sex scandal is about the game journo (and the sites he worked for), not about Zoe Quinn. Every single thread on the issue is filled with people specifically telling everyone NOT to harass her, or to wear Five Guys t-shirts (according to her ex, she cheated on him with five different guys during their relationship, one of whom was Nathan Grayson) to cons where she would be present. I think everyone but the media recognizes at this point that the Quinn scandal is about corruption in journalism - the only reason anyone even cares about Zoe Quinn's sex life is because it highlights the possibility for corruption on Nathan Grayson's part.

Now, I'm not saying that Zoe Quinn ISN'T being harassed outside of the investigation into the facts of the Grayson case - in fact, I'm sure some idiots, including some idiots from 4chan, are doing that. However, the article's author makes it seem like the Grayson affair is being investigated so closely simply to harass Zoe Quinn, which could not be further from the truth.

yesterday
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Death Valley's Sailing Stones Caught In the Act

Joe Gillian Re:I might've heard of these guys (47 comments)

They used to be a rock band back in the 70s, but lost their magnum opus - "Come Sail Away" - in a scandal involving the theft of their lyric sheets by Styx during their joint "Can't Break my Bones" tour. Their lead singer decided that rock and roll was too corporate and went solo, last I heard he does some kinda crazy Burning Man shit where he gets naked in a mud field and records the sound the wind makes in different places. The rest of them made a comeback tour in the 90s, but had their comeback hit, song called "Can't Stop the Rock" stolen by some asshole. Nowadays, I think they're still cranking out indie albums under their own label because they're sick of all the posers stealing their music.

yesterday
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Indiana University Researchers Get $1 Million Grant To Study Memes

Joe Gillian Re:Let me help them (123 comments)

Plenty of them from 4chan:

Cockmongler
Happy Negro
Reidick ("She is cute, that is why she is called Rei-chan!")
Nigra Cell (before it was sanitized and turned into "SHOOP DA WOOP")
Bix Nood
Milhouse is not a meme (is a meme)
Longcat (again, before Reddit got their filthy hands on it)
Divided by Zero
SAFETY CAR
Hoodpins
Pool's Closed, AIDS, etc.
Dio Brando (and his cry of "WRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY")
DUWANG
PROMOTIONS
W.T. Snacks (Around Snacks, CP was lax)
Ondore ("Don't believe Ondore's lies! I'm Captain Basch fon Ronsenburg of Dalmasca!")
Has anyone ever gone so far
Hanyuu (really the entirety of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)
PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF CAKE (and really, the entirety of Umineko no Naku Koro ni)
I'm going to post this every day until you like it ("How does a polar bear know what apples is?")
That fucking cat

I'm sure I forgot some.

yesterday
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Eye Problems From Space Affect At Least 21 NASA Astronauts

Joe Gillian What can be done about this? (106 comments)

I know there are all kinds of chronic health problems that can emerge from extended stays in space - heart problems being the big one, since the heart doesn't like going from microgravity to Earth gravity abruptly. Yet, it doesn't seem like there's a whole lot to be done about it unless we find a way to generate gravity in space. Has any research been done on mitigating the effects of space?

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Joe Gillian Re:As predicted by Kenneth Miller, in 2006! (511 comments)

I, for one, welcome the day I can get a degree in alchemy. That way, when I attempt to convert basic chemicals (acetone, pseudoephedrine, etc) into gold using methamphetamine as an intermediary, I can tell the cops I'm doing my doctoral thesis and everything will be perfectly legitimate. Whoever said you can't convert base chemicals into gold was wrong - they just weren't doing it right.

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Joe Gillian Now ICP can finally achieve their teaching dreams (511 comments)

If they're going to be teaching creationism in schools, they can hire ICP to teach. I can see the classes now, where they teach the children that everything from quantum mechanics to tectonic plate shifts are caused by miracles, regardless of what anyone else says. Magnets? They're like, double miracles man. Miracles on top of miracles.

2 days ago
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Joe Gillian Simple English Wikipedia will come in handy (472 comments)

From the article:

The UN panel since September has published three separate reports into the physical science of global warming, its impacts, and ways to fight it. The study leaked yesterday, called the “Synthesis Report” intends to pick out the most important findings and present them in a way that lawmakers can easily understand. (Emphasis mine)

Why do I have a feeling the report to the politicians will have to read a lot like the Simple English Wikipedia, to the point where it might not be a bad idea to get the writers for that on it.

"Global warming is a bad thing that causes lots of problems. Burning stuff causes global warming. If you keep burning stuff, you will have a bad problem."

2 days ago
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Time Warner Cable Experiences Nationwide Internet Outage

Joe Gillian Chicago was hit by this. (133 comments)

Now I'm inclined to believe the typical explanation of "A wizard did it". God dammit, Dresden, I thought we told you to stay away from the datacenters.

2 days ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

Joe Gillian The worrisome part (233 comments)

From the article:

Police can also use the tool, but only under the conditions of the existing section 7908 of the California Public Utilities Code. That gives police the ability to cut off phone service in certain situations and typically requires a court order, except in an emergency that poses “immediate danger of death or great bodily injury.”

2 days ago
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Robo Brain Project Wants To Turn the Internet Into a Robotic Hivemind

Joe Gillian But will it have problems selecting good sources? (108 comments)

I have this image in my head of someone buying a robot to do something simple like prepare food, having it browse YouTube for any mention of food and finding one of those ASMR videos of some random girl whispering into the microphone while she does simple household tasks, determining that this is in fact the correct way to prepare food, and then dragging the owner into the kitchen so it can whisper in their ears.

3 days ago
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Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

Joe Gillian Re:There is no public benefit (300 comments)

First off, I think we should put PSAs over Bennett's stories. It might give people a reason to click them, especially if Dice donated some small amount of money to whatever charity group has the PSA out.

That said, "snuff" videos do educate people. One of the most famous (which was circulating as "Faces of Death: Senator Suicide" on Kazaa back when I was in middle school and was the talk of all of the kids on the bus) is Budd Dwyer's suicide by self-inflicted gunshot, which was recorded by a bunch of TV news crews who had come expecting him to resign from his position as a state senator after he was charged with corruption. Instead, they watched as this guy read a statement and then pulled a gun out of a manila envelope. If you watch the tapes - the unedited ones - you can hear people in the background pleading with him to drop the gun, because at the time they thought he was going to shoot at them. Then, he turns the gun on himself, while TV cameras are capturing the entire event.

The professor of one of my first college classes (I was a journalism major and don't regret it even though I can't find a job) started his class off with that video - and I think I was the only person in the room other than him who knew what was going to happen. The footage is horrifying, but it proves a point in that you can never go into a story expecting anything, and what happens if something like this occurs. Many of the media outlets that recorded Dwyer's suicide refused to show any of the footage at all, even before he pulled the gun out. Others showed it right up until the gun came out - I think one went so far as to show the manila envelope that had the gun in it but not the gun itself.

I learned two valuable things that day - the first that you can never take a story for granted. No one who was there that day thought it was going to be anything more than a minor politician reading off a prepared statement, and were only there to get perhaps 5 seconds of footage - Dwyer saying that he would be stepping down as a state senator. Instead, they wound up with a national-level story on their hands and one of the most well-known ethical dilemmas of journalism. The second was never to trust a manila envelope. Those things are nothing but trouble.

3 days ago
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New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

Joe Gillian Is this really necessary as a mass-market product? (581 comments)

I thought that Rohypnol had been regulated so heavily that very few people can get their hands on it, and that those who can are also capable of getting something stronger and harder to detect. To me, this sounds like giving people an easy way to test for polonium poisoning in their food - sure, it might help if you're someone who has pissed off a foreign intelligence service (or the Russian government) but it's a non-issue for the vast majority of people... that and if they really want you dead, they have other methods.

3 days ago
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13-Year-Old Finds Fungus Deadly To AIDS Patients Growing On Trees

Joe Gillian Re:The Tools of Science (134 comments)

As great as that sounds, it's actually not the case here. The article states that the girl's father is an infectious disease researcher at UCLA and she was sending the samples to a lab at Duke to be DNA-sequenced. It seems like most of what she did was collect samples of the fungus for her father - an interesting summer project, but not exactly hard science.

3 days ago
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Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

Joe Gillian Re:Public cynicism about fusion (147 comments)

Don't worry, I'm sure they could get a few million dollars if they built an office with a window that overlooks the NSTX machine and an oversized mahogany desk and rented it out to all of those rich Bond villains out there. I hear Dick Cheney is in the market for a new lair of evil.

3 days ago
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Lizard Squad Bomb Threat Diverts Sony Exec's Plane To Phoenix

Joe Gillian What's the point of a hack like this? (131 comments)

I just don't get why someone would be willing to commit criminal activity like they did just to annoy some people. It's not exactly a show of skill - PSN has been a low-hanging fruit for DDoS attacks since forever - and it's clearly not making them any money. I'm sure there's also ways they could've annoyed people more without having DHS coming after them for calling in a bomb threat. If I had a DDoS-capable botnet I'd at least do something fun with it, like spam mobile email addresses with fake CNN updates purporting that Christ has risen and he's declared the Year of the Linux Desktop.

3 days ago

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