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Comment Re:What is the surprise exactly? (Score 1) 457

That's not how I parsed his post. It's OK for the CIA to stockpile zero days[1]. It's ok for them to use them against hostile foreign powers. It's not ok for them to use them against reporters or political activists, especially American citizens on American soil. It's not ok for them to spy on everyone who owns a certain exploitable device.

This is an area that demands nuance. Simply saying "durrr, we shouldn't be doing any of these things, against anyone, ever!" is masochism. It's the sort of masochism that often leads to the country drifting towards the right, because centrists are by and large not interested in pursuing an anti-American agenda that demands we self-flagellate and remove ourself as a global power to remove even the *possibility* that said power could be abused.

Fight abuse. Don't fight tools. I'm someone who believes James Clapper should have been not merely fired but imprisoned for perjury, but that doesn't mean I'd support the wholesale destruction of our ability to use tradecraft in targeted ways.


1. This is a somewhat debatable point, but as long as they aren't actively weakening the code base this seems reasonable enough. This about more than merely being able to eavesdrop on Russian spies or destroy Iranian centrifuges; it's also about being able to monitor what other spy agencies are doing or attempt to do and it's about the confidence those spy agencies could have in their ability to do things undetected. If the CIA were required to openly disclose any zero day that it knew about (and if this were actually enforced), that would mean that if their Russian or Chinese counterparts ever stumbled on a new zero day, they would instantly know that the CIA was ignorant of this vulnerability. Thus, such a policy would put us as a significant disadvantage in not just intelligence, but also counterintelligence.

Comment Why do so many geeks like IoT stuff so much? (Score 1) 457

I plugged a laptop into a DVI port on our TV, got a wireless $10 mini-keyboard with integrated touchpad off of eBay, cranked up the icon and font sizes a bit I plugged a laptop into a DVI port on our TV, got a wireless $10 mini-keyboard with integrated touchpad off of eBay, cranked up the icon and font sizes a bit and it's worked out surprisingly well. It's much quicker to use than the 'smart' Bluray player we were previously using, and it can do a lot more... and it's running Qubes OS. Ain't no drive-by hacker getting in there.

For the slightly less tenacious people who just want something approaching regular desktop Linux level security and a simpler interface, there's Myth TV. Which has been out for fifteen years. And there's also Kodi, which even non-technical people have heard of and apparently love.

Addressing just the geeks in the audience: I don't understand the appeal of Roku and smart TVs the like, I really don't. They're slow. The remote-based UI is cumbersome as hell. They're vulnerable. They're un-upgradable. And for the most part they're no cheaper than an old laptop off of Craigslist that has HDMI or DVI out. I sort of suspect that most people simply have a strong psychological need to separate their leisure from their work, and it's primarily for that reason that they prefer a completely different device with a different UI.

Comment Re:Living language (Score 1) 208

Because racism is being made more socially acceptable in certain subgroups

This is true, but only because of what that poster was saying: people are saying "yeah, I guess I'm racist now. Whatever" and thus the taboo is weakened in "certain subgroups", and it's due primarily to the broad over-application of the term. I've termed this phenomenon the ongoing catastrophic failure of Operation Conflation: Progressives trying to fight back against a rise in visible racism by inflating the definition of the term is having the opposite effect as intended by weakening the taboo against real racism, yet the more this tactic backfires the harder they push.

It used to be people would make racist jokes or comments and no one would call it racist because their friends had similar views, and even if they were offended it's extremely awkward to call someone racist to their face.

It used to be that there were terms like "insensitive" or "crude" used to describe people who used words and ideas in blunt, offensive or stereotype-reinforcing ways without their usage actually supporting racism/sexism/antisemitism/etc. This middle ground has mostly disappeared. Nazi and Holocaust jokes, once thought to be merely distasteful, are now called antisemitic even if the evidence strongly indicates otherwise.

Any reference whatsoever to an ethnic custom or stereotype is now deemed racist. I've listened as perfectly intelligent-sounding people tried to explain that the sound of a gong playing when a Chinese character walks on-screen is blatantly racist. Because... what now? What's the implicit logic behind that analysis; what's the implied (and supposedly racist) meaning? That Chinese people have no sense of musicality? That they have an irresistible racial impulse to play gongs? That the peace and quiet of wholesome white neighborhoods is being disrupted by the raucous 3 a.m. gong-playing of inferior barbarians? It's an extremely stupid thing to utterly equate cultural observation/parody and actual racism, but this is not a fringe interpretation of the concept. Give it another decade, and I wouldn't be surprised if people are arguing it's racist to ever show a Mexican eating a taco.

(And not only that: it will be racist cultural appropriation / fetishization to show a non-Latino enjoying a taco.)

The same exact thing is happening with sexism. Jerry Seinfeld's daughter called her mother sexist for suggesting that in a couple years, she'll probably want to hang around boys more often. Not, "you're definitely going to do this" or "I insist that you do this", just that this seemed like a probable course of events. And after Jerry mentioned this in an interview (the context being how the youth of today doesn't understand what actual prejudice is), I saw dozens of progressive-types defending his daughter's characterization of her mother's words. And not a month ago, I had an exchange on Slashdot where I basically said "She [some woman complaining about sexism] sounds like a cunt. Ok, now, *that was a joke* and the *only* reason why I make this joke was to ask whether you think that this self-conscious usage is sexist." And the person said yes, I was sexist for using the word. This is the world we live in now. Four-year-old level tattletale-ing has replaced all reflection and nuance. It doesn't matter at all that I'm a gender egalitarian.

but I think "racist" still means that you believe a race is inferior

We're going to see "(archaic)" next to this definition in the dictionary if things continue as they have been.

Comment Re:its in public (Score 5, Insightful) 125

it's in public. u don't have any expectation of privacy

Historically true, but if we're headed for a world where everything we do and everything we say in public (at least outside and within the city limits) is on file for all time on a server somewhere that's been pre-analyzed and indexed using using facial recognition and voice recognition... we might want to consider revising that rule of thumb a bit.

Comment Re:Race to the bottom (Score 2) 408

I can't help it if the journalists in this country are dead set on proving Trump right. He should be the one person it should be possible to oppose by sticking to talking about normal, sensible truth but when faced with such a jackass the media can't help but lie and blither a stream of irrelevances. It's been very illuminating.

That doesn't mean they lie more than he does (of course not), but they are a much deeper and more durable fixture of American (and world) culture than the shit talking 70 year old buffoon in the White House.

Comment Re:But this isn't sexism. (Score 1) 917

I take it you have never lived with a woman.

To make a men's jacked a woman's jacket, the zipper zips from the left side. To tell a men's shirt from a woman's shirt, the button's are on the left side as opposed to men's shirts have buttons on the right side.

Super wooooooooooooooosh. I even mentioned that *exact* button thing.

Comment Re: Race to the bottom (Score 1) 408

You have it wrong, as nobody wins in a race to the bottom, that's the point of the expression.

The expression is a complicated one with a long and varied history. Describing it as "everyone loses" really missed the point. The expression is more about the process involved more than the end result.

It can be like a game of chicken. Somebody does indeed win if the other one swerves before hitting bottom, or otherwise can't continue the race, or if one party is more bottom-tolerant than the other. In this context, the American right is more tolerant of and proficient with lies and nonsense than the American left. The latter will fall to shambles long before the former does, but that doesn't mean they aren't in a race right now.

A lot of industries had a race to the bottom with Chinese competitors. Guess what? China won, because their "bottom" is lower than that found in first world nations. And it's a real victory we're talking about here; they're raking in the billions.

You lose on such a victory, as it is destructive.

No, you're thinking of pyrrhic victory.

Comment Re: But this isn't sexism. (Score 1) 917

Major sample bias issues if those are only military personnel they're examining. Feel free to dig through it and come up with the % difference in that ratio if you wish, though. (Not the % difference in arm length, but % difference in the arm length / torso lngth ratio.) Also, you need to include the standard deviation for both sexes so we know roughly how many males will be inconvenienced compared to the females, and for that number you might need some sort of joint distribution (which may or may not be possible to construct with the data given.)

Comment Re:But this isn't sexism. (Score 1) 917

More chest room would be my guess.

I think males typically have bigger chest circumferences and longer torsos, so it's not at all clear which way that would swing. Breast size is a huge variable there. She said that they took their measurements, so if the jackets were being custom tailored or at least had more than a one dimensional S/M/L/XL sizing system, this is all moot regardless.

Comment Re:But this isn't sexism. (Score 1) 917

A lot of conjecture here that goes against my anecdotal observations. The waist size difference is a bit silly, this being 2017 (what with the obesity epidemic obliterating causing far greater variation than gender.) Any gendered studies of arm length to torso length ratios? And that's all assuming it's a S/M/L situation; the "taking our measurements" bit implies higher end jackets that were going to be custom tailored, making all of this moot.

No, they weren't offered men's jackets. They were told that they were not getting them at the last minute, after the order had been placed.

Well, that's obviously malevolent bullshit if true.

Comment Race to the bottom (Score 1) 408

This is a race to the bottom the left cannot win. The right is used to and will tolerate an astonishing quantity of lies and bullshit. The left, as we've already seen, will become demoralized when faced with a candidate who is only a blandly, typically-horrible politician.

The Times has already reached "bad enough" in my estimation, along with every other news publication I've ever looked at in any detail. And unlike the millions of evangelicals who watch Fox News and reluctantly voted for Trump, I don't grade on a curve.

The mainstream media needs to aggressively, forcefully hold Trump to account. Given the amount of material they have to work with, this should be an easy task. Unfortunately, they have conclusively demonstrated that they cannot separate out lies from truth, much less the absurdly sensationalist and irrelevant from the reasonable and important. They've fallen prey to the greatest troll[1] the world has ever seen and it will destroy them in the end, once the lurid headlines lose their charm.

And history will record the moment of their downfall, of course, as the moment they tried kill two birds with one stone with their "fake news" non-story[2], too busy drinking their own kool-aid to realize that mainstream news has always been a pretty damn sketchy enterprise, even during its supposed golden eras.


1. Albeit probably one who is operating mostly on a subconscious level.

2. Fabricated news websites and chain emails and conspiracy theories obviously exist, but they've been around for a long time and are more of a symptom than a disease in their own right.

Comment Re:Echo-chamber fake news (Score 2) 408

Yup. And that's just the tip of the clusterfuck iceberg. Anyone who is interested should read Feynman's appendix in its entirity, which he insisted should be added to the Roger's Commission report on threat of having his name removed from the whole thing.

He believed that NASA's delusional bureaucracy was ultimately to blame and it needed to be torn down entirely and rebuilt. The other members of the commission disagreed, which is pretty much why two decades later the crew of the Columbia died. Sadly, a narrative of organizational incompetence is extremely hard to keep alive in the mainstream media, so in the minds of most people they're still just random tragedies... an unavoidable price of space flight.

Two other things worth noting about Feynman's assessment: he was strongly impressed by the software systems of the Shuttle, considering it to be much more robust than the hardware (not the sort of thing one often hears these days), and the coda to his appendix is, of course, a timeless one worth quoting:

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

Comment Re: Professional attention whore strikes again (Score 1) 920

Except my point was that your estimation of "The Producers" lacks much in the way of validity.

If you thought that sucking Hollywood genitalia was a sound way to demonstrate validity of assessment, you thought wrong. Beyond all of the obvious problems attendant with asserting that mainstream tastes are the only "valid" ones, it's worth noting how historical works routinely get a pass for being different or trailblazing instead of being good works that actually stand the test of time. Edit the play out of The Producers (which is what, less than 10 minutes of screen time?), show it to people who've never seen it before and it would get abysmal reviews. It's a one-trick pony movie. It just happens to be a good trick.

It really comes across as irate.

No moreso than usual. Several of Mel Brooks' works are fairly overrated, having a couple hilarious scenes padded out with an hour of filler. And some of his later movies are underrated despite having better pacing and consistency. And I'm sure I'd find plenty to dislike in many of PDP's vids.

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