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CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

wienerschnizzel Re:Really? .. it comes with the job (772 comments)

Torture is useless as an intelligence tool.

There have been instances in the history where torture has proven to be a helpful intelligence tool. The most notorious one has been that of General Jacques Massu using torture to completely uproot the leadership of the National Liberation Front in the Battle of Algiers. Massu has attributed his success to his technique of using torture hand in hand with extensive classic intelligence work.

The problem there was not that torture wouldn't work - it did, but it had some unpleasant side effects. You would inescapably end up torturing innocent people - but even torturing just the 'guilty' destroys your PR. The French ended up alienating the general population of Algiers (even more than before the incidents) and eventually had to leave the country. Meaning that torture helped them to win the battle but it had cost them the war.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

wienerschnizzel Re:Super-capitalism (516 comments)

I lived in Central Finland for a while - population density of 36 people per square mile. No power outages experienced.

I think the problem is the capitalism thing - you can't pretend you'll get this kind of service out of a free market situation. It's a natural monopoly that needs close public oversight unless you enjoy the kind of crappy and overpriced service you are getting right now over there.

about a month ago
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Pianist Asks Washington Post To Remove Review Under "Right To Be Forgotten"

wienerschnizzel Update in the ruling (257 comments)

Hopefully cases like this will spark a discussion about updating the ruling. Like a person trying to invoke the right to be forgotten having to show a thorough effort in removing his person from the internet himself - putting down his own homepage would be a start.

This ruling was created for people in distress that are facing real-life mistreatment, stalking etc they'll be fine with shutting down their facebook profiles (that's the first thing they are going to do anyway). At the same time jokers like this pianist won't get to misuse the ruling.

about a month and a half ago
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"Police Detector" Monitors Emergency Radio Transmissions

wienerschnizzel Re:Kickstarter! (215 comments)

Let's see how US compares to Germany with traffic related death rate:

Germany: 4.9 road fatalities per 1 billion vehicle km

USA: 7.6 road fatalities per 1 billion vehicle km

Maximum speed limit:

Germany: unlimited (on 70% of the Highways)

USA: 120 km/h

about 2 months ago
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DoJ: Law Enforcement Can Impersonate People On Facebook

wienerschnizzel Re:Put cryptography everywhere (191 comments)

Cryptography would have made no difference. She gave them her data willingly (probably as a part of the plea deal) and no facebook encryption would have stopped them from making a new profile.

The interesting part is to determine whether them being allowed to pose as her person was a part of the agreement. It clearly wasn't there explicitly, so the question is whether agreeing "to give them data so they can be used to stop the criminal activity" implicitly allows them to use the data to impersonate her and possibly expose third parties (her relatives) to harm.

I've got no clue about whether there is a precedent for this but my gut feeling is that they are allowed to impersonate her but are not allowed to use photos of people that did not agree to the deal.

about 2 months ago
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One In Three Jobs Will Be Taken By Software Or Robots By 2025, Says Gartner

wienerschnizzel Re:Yes yes yes (405 comments)

I know, but maybe this is the solution to this particular problem. The US workforce now has global competition that's driving the wages down, so why not turn that on the universities as well? If you go to the previously linked Technical University of Munich, your expenses will be about $8000 per year (1200 Eur tuition and course books, 4000 Eur rent, 800 Eur flights) and you'll be getting a degree from the worlds leading authority in materials science and chemistry.

In order to turn the tide of income disparity, regular people need to start taking advantage of the globalization. Unfortunately, this will hardly be possible for the poor folks in the USA (but helps the poor people in places like India on the other hand).

about 2 months ago
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One In Three Jobs Will Be Taken By Software Or Robots By 2025, Says Gartner

wienerschnizzel Re:Yes yes yes (405 comments)

You know where I can get a 1960's quality University of Chicago education and not end up in debt?

Germany, England, France, Switzerland etc.

And I'm not just bragging about our European system here. I mean seriously - go study to Europe, the tuition is a fraction (and I mean a tiny fraction) of what you'd pay in the US, the quality of the top universities is high and a foreign degree will look cool in your CV. A lot of the universities even offer curricula in English.

about 2 months ago
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Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

wienerschnizzel Re:One last thing (517 comments)

So you are arguing against widely distributed small generators on that basis? They provide LOCALIZATION OF PRODUCTION by their very nature

Only if they do it reliably. Your LOCALIZED (to honor your all caps notation) power generators are worthless for this argument if they stop providing power at random times and you have to rely on the distant ones anyway.

Also, you cannot build large and solar farms in any LOCATION. The south-west part of Germany in this case is mountainous but still quite densely populated. Meaning - not particularly windy and not many free places for solar panels. That's why the wind farms are in the north - the land is flat and sparsely populated (though distant).

about 3 months ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

wienerschnizzel Re:In lost the will to live ... (795 comments)

I'm not saying I have no idea. I'm saying it doesn't matter.

Well, most people do think it matters to distinguish the correct hypothesis from the incorrect ones and are not ashamed to call the former ones "true" (though not "True" as in some kind of "Ultimate Truth"). You are just being snobbish by dismissing it.

then instead of examining the evidence for themselves

Like how? Go out and dig out fossils from different strata on different continents by themselves? Buy expensive lab equipment to examine genomes of different species?

Because when it comes across to people that evolution is True because smart people said so

Again that T-ruth! Who ever says that apart from religious people referring to their scripture? Anyway, it's not because "smart people said so" but because the theory has a track record of all scientifically performed (empirical, peer reviewed etc.) experiments supporting it and, more importantly, of all scientific attempts to disprove it failing.

When these people argue with pro-evolution people with no understanding of the evidence, it just makes everybody mad.

Who are these ominous people? Give me an example of an article or something. In TFA the author names Dawkins and Tyson as example but fails to quote them - can you show me just one example of them talking about Truth (instead of truth) or relying simply on the words on a 'smart person' or showing a strong lack of understanding of the evidence?

about 3 months ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

wienerschnizzel Re:In lost the will to live ... (795 comments)

The worst thing I am reading in these comments is basically "I don't understand the summary". If this is you, you are part of the problem

To be fair, the summary is too cryptic. The article itself is surprisingly clear and easy to read though.

Even if we were to talk about something contentious like evolution, "science" does not tell us that evolution is True.

This is what the article (and you) get wrong. For one thing, people like Dawkins and DeGrasse Tyson are not after the capitalized "Truth", that is just a straw-man attack. A simple "truth" is more than enough. For the other, science gives us empirical evidence either supporting hypotheses or disproving hypotheses. If we ask ourselves, is global warming happening or not, we make large amount of empirical tests and determine, that yes, it is happening, what's wrong then with saying that its indeed "true" that global warming is happening?

There seems to be a disconnect in your (and TFA author's) mind between the empirical science and theoretical science even in place where no disconnect should be found. Coming back to your point about evolution. The initial hypothesis (the theory part) is that lifeforms came to be to their current form through gradual change over time brought by processes of natural selection. This predicts a bunch of things - like what kind of lifeforms you should expect when you dig in rocks of different ages, what kind information would be found in the genome etc. When we then empirically find that all the predictions are true, I (and Dawkins and Tyson) would say that the hypothesis itself seems to be true. While you (and TFA author) disconnect the empirical from theoretical part and say that only the predictions seem to hold up.

In effect you are saying - I have no idea whether the evolution hypothesis is true, even though all the 150 years worth of empirical data are supporting it and none of the zillion phenomena that could disprove it showed up during that time. I'm sorry, but that is ludicrous.

about 3 months ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

wienerschnizzel Re:In lost the will to live ... (795 comments)

Religion and science can co-exist if people stopped attributing religious or anti-religious views to science. Science makes no claims about religion and they are not mutually exclusive.

About as much as picking your nose is not mutually exclusive with doing science - it does not make you refuse science, but you still have to choose to do one or the other at any given time.

It's just a question of what's more worthwhile.

about 3 months ago
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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

wienerschnizzel Re:No, it wasn't. (463 comments)

There is another option - the police department may argue that a rare occurrence like this may be outweighed by the countless lives the police officers had saved because they were allowed to text while driving. Not that I would know if that's correct but I suppose that was the rationale behind allowing it in the first place.

about 4 months ago
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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

wienerschnizzel Re:No, it wasn't. (463 comments)

That is not quite correct either. You cannot be 'convicted' of entering the bicycle lane because that is not a criminal offense. You can be charged with manslaughter and there you have to consider the culpability, or the state of mind of the defendant. I think we can disregard the possibility that the cop *intended* to kill the cyclist, so that leaves us with considering recklessness or negligence.

For *recklessness* you would need to prove that the subject knowingly broke the law disregarding the possible risks. This is typically the case where most of the cases of killing people with a car while breaking the law (drunk driving, speeding, etc.) fall in - if you do that and kill someone, you have been driving recklessly and will be prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter. It does not apply to the cop, because he drifted in the bicycle lane unknowingly.

*Negligence* applies to cases where you can argue that "a reasonable person with the same general knowledge and abilities" as the accused would have reacted in that situation differently thus avoiding the disaster. In general, cases where you broke the law unknowingly fall here as well as cases where people fail to exercise more caution - e.g. not slowing down in an extreme rain storm, snow, etc. There you could argue that a typical "reasonable person" would slow down, or that a "reasonable person" would recognize that he/she is breaking the law. In the TFA case you would have to prove that a typical cop either would not have texted while driving or that a typical cop would not have crossed the lane while texting. Both of those would be really hard to prove in a court of law.

about 4 months ago
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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

wienerschnizzel Re:No, it wasn't. (463 comments)

The police is allowed to violate traffic laws in the line of duty. Which is what the prosecution says happened here.

about 4 months ago
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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

wienerschnizzel Re:No, it wasn't. (463 comments)

The law specifies areas where you have to yield to pedestrians. See for instance this explanation given by the Wisconsin authorities. A typical case that will not be prosecuted is when a driver kills a pedestrian that entered the road outside of any crossing or specific designation for pedestrians and without checking for incoming traffic.

about 4 months ago
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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

wienerschnizzel Re:No, it wasn't. (463 comments)

You can't "mow" people down. But if you hit and kill someone unintentionally without breaking any traffic regulations and laws, you won't be prosecuted. In this case, the cop didn't break any laws or regulations. The closest charge you could try to apply would be criminal negligence but even though it is the least strict level of culpability that's applicable by the law it would be impossible to apply it in this situation. You would have to prove that "a reasonable person with the same general knowledge and abilities" (meaning a cop) as the accused would have not done what the cop in question did in that situation.

about 4 months ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

wienerschnizzel Re:Some of us do still assemble, even now (294 comments)

Unless by "native development" he meant "roll your own game engine", in which case he's using the wrong terminology.

Maybe he means that because of outsourcing, more and more applications are being developed in India by the "natives" rather than in the US by H1Bs

about 4 months ago
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Putin Government Moves To Take Control of Russia's largest space company Energia

wienerschnizzel Re:Response to sanctions (252 comments)

It is basically Putin's way of saying: "Look, I am in control of how to get to space."

He's not. I'm pretty sure Chinese, Indians, Americans and Europeans are going to continue to go to space with or without Putin.

US simply does not understand the Russians. Sanctions cannot possibly work against them.

US is not working against 'Russians'. It's just containing a power-hungry dictatorial imperialistic regime. Attacking the wealth of a regime is always a good way to reduce its ability to conquer neighboring nations.

They always one up whatever move you do

Do you seriously think they didn't consider all the options Putin has? Or maybe at least the obvious ones like cutting his exports and imports? It's just a typical reactionary BS

This time it is gonna be played to the utter economic destruction of one of the two nuclear super powers or an all out nuclear war.

Yeah, imagine US losing their 28th business partner by volume of trade . Economic destruction my @ss.

It looked like such a smart move by the US state department to take over the Ukrainian government, too bad they didn't understand that the move would inevitably start a war. Now we will all pay the price.

Typical dictatorship thinking - if I lose control over a government it must be because some other country took it. There's no way people would just elect their own representatives...

about 5 months ago
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How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

wienerschnizzel Re:TLDR Version (183 comments)

The article itself was not very clear about it. It really says the down payment was enough to cover the newly opted 700 shares at $100 per share, but it doesn't say what was the total price for all of the shares. I assumed it was $100 per share, but I don't really know...

about 5 months ago
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How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

wienerschnizzel TLDR Version (183 comments)

TSR, a small company dealing in the fringe hobby of "war gaming" got hugely popular at the beginning of 1980's thanks to an unexpected publicity from a hoax that got propagated by the national media.

The company owners and executives, Gygax and the Bloom brothers were no skilled businessmen and they projected this sudden jump in the company's revenue into the next years, expecting it to grow tenfold in a year. They went on a hiring and acquisition spree accordingly.

As the miraculous growth didn't come, TSR ran into financial problems, running on a $750k deficit by the mid 80's

The Bloom brothers tried to get a big outside investment to get the company out of the red numbers but Gygax opposed - he didn't want non-gamers to control the company. To this effect he executed an ancient option he got when the company was formed, gained a (very narrow) majority of the company's shares and thus the power to strip the Bloom brothers of their executive positions and void the investment by the outsiders.

In response the Blooms wanted to execute the option of selling all their shares back to the company for a large (but not outlandish) sum of some $500K but TSR could not afford it.

Half a year later the Blooms executed the same option Gygax did before to gain a slight majority in the company and sold all of their shares to Lorraine Williams for a third of the price per share, making her the largest and a majority shareholder.

One day later Gygax was stripped of all his executive positions in the company

He fought the decision in court, but really had no case and eventually sold off his shares in order to finance his new business.

How Gygax lost his copyright to D&D and Grayhawk the article does not say

All in all a really boring story

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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22-year makes Hollywood producers scratch their heads.

wienerschnizzel wienerschnizzel writes  |  about 2 years ago

wienerschnizzel writes "From the article:

Despite being the work of a student, R'ha is so good it's already attracted the attention of Hollywood executives. After seeing Lechowski's creation online, Scott Glassgold, of the managing company IAM Sports & Entertainment, was impressed. "His work is not only professional, it's extraordinary," Glassgold wrote

Hollywood producers seem to be paying attention to what individuals can do with today's technology. They already made a move for the student from the article above. Can we expect independent cinema to boom with the access to cheap high quality effects or will Hollywood be able to grab or marginalize such works."
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