* Posts by h4rm0ny

4617 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)


Re: As I remember it one or two rent-

>>"Sadly not. The good news is it's readily available through Abe Books for $US7 or so post paid from UKLand so I will be purchasing a "new" second-hand copy.."

People who burn books...


Re: As I remember it one or two rent-

>>"Rather foolishly I lent my copy to a warmist who subsequently burnt it. [sigh]"

I seriously hope that's a joke.


Re: Rate of change

>>"I suspect you are still not getting it. You don't calculate rate of change - which is what we were talking about - just by picking two end points and differencing them."

How do you calculate rates of change, then? I thought it actually was finding the difference between the start point and the end point and dividing by time. If it's not, can you clarify how you do?


Re: Rate of change

>>"Exactly. You would think that readers of this site might be a bit more scientifically literate than average and this stuff isn't all *that* difficult to understand. Yet at time of writing Pompous Git has 4 up votes and no down (though soon it will be 1)."

PompousGit has been posting citations, facts and reasoned argument. Who knows - maybe that appeals to the scientifically literate. You however, are simply downvoting them because you dislike their point of view. Which do you honestly think appeals more to readers?


Re: @Douglas Lowe It's true!

>>"So, as I said, it's a clever trick to ask for something that you know can't be done and make it sound reasonable. Not bad for someone living under a bridge."

Actually, it can be done. You just watch over time and see if the predictions of the model bare out. Until that is done, you can say that the model is unproven. And that's what they're stating. You say that people compare previous models with how it turned out and adjust them so they fit - but there's no logical way to distinguish between whether you're making your model better, or introducing other wrong things that make it fit the known conclusion:

Suppose my model said the temperature rise was going to be 0.4C but it was 0.6C. I shall say that latent heat in the oceans contributed 0.2C. Now my model is right. That's the process you're talking about, but is it right? Maybe it wasn't latent heat in the oceans but something else. Maybe it was but it contributed 0.3C and the other parts of your model were wrong for some reason. You don't know. And there is no way to know if you've improved your model or just made it wrong in a different way. Creating a model to fit a known conclusion cannot prove the model. Only prediction can. So you're wrong to dispute with the OP about asking for proof that a model is right. Yes, you are indeed unable to give that proof to them. But the implication of that is that you can't verify the model, not that they are wrong to ask for proof before they'll believe.


Re: It's true!

>>"What has happened with the last purge"

Has there been some sort of official action that I missed? I've seen a couple of references to this and I notice Lewis and Worstall don't seem to be writing (though thankfully Orlowski is presumably still around?).

Did El Reg. fall under new management or something?


Re: So it's not



Re: So what are we supposed to think?

>>"In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. Question: Where are they hiding and why?"

A lot of the unrest in Syria that has resulted in many people fleeing the country was in part precipitated by drought in that country.


Re: It's true!

The thing I dislike most from your quote is the characterizations of AGW skeptics as "anti-greens" (closely followed by the pejorative 'deniers', what am I, a pair of tights?). I, and I'm confident in speaking for others as well, care a great deal about the environment and I have long been an active campaigner on environmental issues as well as considerable financial support to conservation of species, local environments as well as general animal welfare as a related area.

The fact that I am unconvinced of AGW currently does not make me "anti-green". Yet I repeatedly see my voice and support co-opted by AGW-proponents for their own gain - whether that be egotistical or simply financial. Money that could be going to forest conservation or protection of endangered species of bird or mammal, gets squandered on subsidies for wind farms when a single nuclear power station would do the job of hundreds. Airtime that could be used to highlight the fact that over-fishing has brought our marine ecology to the brink of catastrophic collapse is endlessly swallowed up by people attempting to say how this weeks weather is the result of AGW. Realistic methods of dealing with changes in the climate and adaptation are side-lined by near religious obsession with CO2 and ill-founded ideas for eliminating it with little real idea about whether or not they'll work. Research grants are vacuumed up by academics who know that if you want to get published, what you have to do is put "Climate Change" in your abstract somewhere.

And people shout down debate with pre-decided positions like the person you quote who looks at two debating groups on the forum she runs and deplores the fact that 'those who are wrong have the better arguments'; with no indication she is aware this indicates bias on her part.

Being AGW-skeptical does not mean you are an anti-green. If we turn out to be correct, we'll have been some of the most green people on the planet.


Re: Good Riddance to Lewis Page

I liked his articles. They provided very interesting analysis and a dissenting voice to the party line.


Re: Back in the 70's...

>>How is relying on nuclear power NOT "a reliance on stuff pulled from the earth and burnt"?

Because inside a nuclear powerstation you wont find a big bonfire of uranium producing heat.

Nuclear Fission =/= Combustion.


Re: Back in the 70's...

>>"The vast majority of climate papers in the 1970s predicted warming".

Whilst I wasn't in the habit of reading academic papers as a child, I do recall the general idea being that we were heading for another Ice Age and this being the popular theory. Skeptical Science may offer a handy Go To list of counter-arguments for when you encounter a (ironically) skeptic of AGW, but what they claim is at odds with my recollection.

Also, is it worth pointing out that the article has a disconnect in it? It gives evidence that the Earth is warming (this is generally accepted) and then adds an assertion "this is down to greenhouse gasses". It is the latter that AGW skeptics are generally questioning. Arguing as if it's the former is a common error. If it is an error.


Re: @Dave 126

>>"These people could care less"

I spot an American.

GCHQ spies quashed this phone encryption because it was too good against snoopers


Re: So GCHQ wants to help the terrorists and Russians?

Not so. A false sense of security can be more dangerous than knowing you're vulnerable.

And anyway, we're not comparing things only to how they are, but how they could be if we had an Intelligence agency that wasn't determined to sabotage our security for its own gain. You only pick the worst possible scenario for your point of comparison if you're trying to justify something. If you're trying to improve things, then you pick an achievable other point of comparison that is better.

Kent Council cheerily flings about £100m at managed services bods


Re: Figures

>>"I think the theory - much like the large Highways Maintenance PFI deals which I have direct working knowledge of - is that while the services cost the same amount of money to provide, there is a saving to be made by outsourcing to the likes of Capita et al because some of the overhead costs, such as HR, (internal) IT support, pensions etc. etc. are shared across all the Capita outsourced jobs, rather than being duplicated by each Council (or whatever.)"

Similar to justifications I heard when I worked for the NHS and they were outsourcing IT support services - the 'savings of scale'. I pointed out then and I'll point out now, that this principle doesn't apply universally to all things. Building cars? Certainly - massive savings building them all in a factory over people making their own at home. Computer support? Not so much - if you need Y people to support X computers, that doesn't change because they all work for the same company. So do you expect this massive saving in cost of scale to occur in the fringe support infrastructure around them? "Well, we still need five hundred IT support people, and they still need the same amount of office space, phones and computers, but all their payroll is done by one company now so that'll save ten million!"

Not sure exactly what the details are in this outsourcing, but I am as yet unconvinced it will be any different. The main motivation in such operations in my experience is having paper work to show poor performance is someone else's fault. Or, as the first poster observed, an extra wad of cash in the back pocket.

Boeing just about gives up on the 747


@Vinyl-Junkie & heenow

Thanks both of you - both great answers. In retrospect, I'm mildly embarrassed I hadn't thought of all that, but then I wouldn't have learned the real details if I had.

Pint to both of you (and raised for the 747 ;)


EDIT: Also Jos who ninja'd my reply. :)

Paris Hilton

Re: Twins are the most powerful.

I'm going to ask a really stupid question here, but how can a two-engine plane fly with only one engine? Wouldn't it go around in circles? Or do they just raise the little wing-rudders on the opposite side to counter-act any spin? Would that even work?

Microsoft legal eagle explains why the Irish Warrant Fight covers your back


Re: @doctor syntax

>>"using the MLAT was 'too slow and cumbersome'."

Due process is always slow and cumbersome compared to just doing whatever the Hell you want without consent.


Re: Why don't they make an actual step forward...

Because the majority of Outlook users would scream blue murder the first time they went to a new PC / laptop / phone and found that all their emails were lost to them.

Don't get me wrong - I'm very in favour of encrypted emails being the default if we can figure out how to make it error-proof. But Outlook already supports encrypted emails out of the box. You can also get a GPG plug-in for it. Talking about turning it on by default though, is a whole other can of worms. It's fine if you're Enterprise and you have an IT team taking care of certificate management for you. But in this case, they can already configure it to on. If you're suddenly throwing it at home users - there are difficult issues to solve with that.

Microsoft: We’ve taken down the botnets. Europol: Would Sir like a kill switch, too?


Re: Freedom!

I'd like to thank everyone here talking about anti-lock breaks for illustrating once again, how argument by analogy is bad.


Re: Not invisible

It depends on the criteria they use for killing access. From the article they suggest using it if they detect an infection or a crime. I don't mind about the infection part as almost by definition that will be doing something I don't want. But a crime might be something I choose to do in which case I don't want my computer colluding against me with the authorities.

And there's also the question of the degree of infection. MS include Defender with all their OS's now and it's adequate. But what happens when something does get past it? Would you be helplessly booted off the Internet? Do they kick you off at the slightest sign of infection or only if you're wreaking absolute havoc? Who makes that decision? There's a lot to unpack in the details here.

New open-source ad-blocking web browser emerges from brain of ex-Mozilla boss Eich


Re: Adjust your /etc/hosts

Doesn't work well. Block Google Analytics for example, and about a third of the Web becomes unusable because each page is loaded with Javascript that waits for Google to respond to it before proceeding. After about three minutes your page will eventually load having timed out waiting for the reply, only to put you through it a moment later when you click on the next link on the page.


Re: Admirable...but

>>Anyone remember "Do no evil."

Not Google, that's for sure!


Re: Sounds interesting

Agreed. Whether or not this is a good solution (am still thinking it over), they at least understand the problem. It's not Ads that bother me (unless they're they start autoplaying video and sound in which case it's an instant page close), it's the tracking.

I'm happy for the staff of El Reg. to get paid! What I'm not happy with is Google having a detailed profile of me which is easily linked to who I am.

GCHQ summer schools to pay teenage hackers £250 a week


Re: Facepalm

>>"what would be the point of tying up the vetting process with a bunch of teenagers who will have access to absolutely fAll in terms of sensitive data?"

Presumably to avoid GCHQ teaching a bunch of hacking skills or whatever to the latest subversive / terrorist / activist / whatever, I would presume.

If they're not vetting them, then what they're teaching can't be that awesome. Or if it is, they should be vetted. No?


Re: Summer school?

Ah yes, you'll be earning less than any of your mates, or alternately not having fun going away with your friends over the Summer... But you forget - GCHQ can "compete on the value of our Mission".

Which, if you want to spy on your fellow Brits, genuflect before a painting of Teresa May in the lobby every morning and read Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas' emails to each other, is going to be your dream job.

(N.b. They don't actually have a painting of Theresa May in the lobby. I think.)

AMD to nibble the ankles of Nvidia this summer with 14nm FinFET GPUs


Re: power consumption

>>"It seems you're refusing to see, that saving 100W of power from being converted to heat in your computer system is going to make for a less noisy, less annoying computer system."

I'm not "refusing" to see anything. The poster I replied to talked about cost savings. That was the argument I was addressing.

>>Also, your calculation is flawed, because you're assuming everybody keeps their GPU for only one Year"

No I'm not. My post explicitly referred to a two year lifespan and explicitly stated that the sort of person who buys a top of the line GPU is typically looking for the next latest greatest within two years. Someone interested in long-term value nearly always goes for mid-range where the depreciation is far, far less in absolute terms.

>>"If the power savings mean nothing to you, portability and noise does mean something to me."

Then you'll presumably love AMDs new 14nm chips which are going to be available a long way in advance of NVIDIA's and already look to be far in advance of NVIDIA when it comes to like for like power saving.

UK Home Sec stumbles while trying to justify blanket cyber-snooping



There's an old expression: "We have met the enemy, and they are us."

Actually, turns out it's Theresa May.

Bloke sues dad who shot down his drone – and why it may decide who owns the skies


Re: @h4rm0ny - What is the sky?

>>"Hmm, in the video it looks like it drops ~270 feet in about 4 seconds. Seems a little fast to me?

Slightly too fast but within margin of error. Distance dropped starting at zero velocity and ignoring drag would be 257 feet. I would expect drag to reduce it further though not necessarily by much. However, the offset could easily be made up for by the drone already having a downward velocity or flipping over when it and accelerating downward faster than gravitational acceleration would explain.

That said, the log is trivially faked and if it were at 270 feet, that's a Hell of a shot to pull off with a shotgun.


Re: @h4rm0ny - What is the sky?

>>"Hang on, what? Are you saying that blowing something out of the sky with a shotgun isn't violent? And turning up to a house occupied by someone who has just done this, unarmed, is somehow the more violent action?"

I am saying that blowing something out of the sky with a shotgun isn't inherently violent, yes. It could be - i.e. it's a plane with people on it. But equally it could be a small remote control toy in which case there is no violence directed towards people which is my relevant criteria. Similarly, gathering your mates and going round the house of someone you have a beef with, is confrontational (which was my actual wording) and more likely to lead to a violent situation.

So certainly, barring some loose wording on your part, you have indeed got what I said correct.

>>"To me, being told "if you enter my property I'm going to shoot you" is the most violent action of this whole sordid tale, but that seems to pass as normal behaviour in the US."

I wasn't there. I can't comment with certainty. My point is that one certainly can't support an abstract statement that Meredith shot down the drone and then went on to threaten it's owner with a gun as not pretty misleading when the actual circumstances were four people advancing on his property and him saying that he'd defend himself if they came onto it.

>>"In short your assignation of guilt to the one party isn't backed up by the facts quoted in this story or your comments on it."

I haven't assigned absolute guilt either way. I've just pointed out the facts favour Meredith and there's been some demonstrably loaded reporting on the subject mainly, it seems, based on people's a priori politics and feelings about people with guns.


Re: Missed it?

>>"Yes, quite how Worstall's services were no longer required while presumably still forking out for the wrong-headed bilge Potty trots out every month is beyond me."

Yeah, Worstall wrote stuff I'd disagree with very strongly sometimes, but he can at least support his arguments and has an interesting take on things. Potts has previously tried to find out the real identity of posters who's posts he didn't like and has expressed more than clearly how if he met me in real life the only thing stopping him from assaulting me would be if there was a risk of legal consequence. And he took the time to emphasize this wasn't just Internet trash talk but that he'd genuinely like to give me a kicking. Worse, I find his articles tiresome.


Re: @h4rm0ny - What is the sky?

>>"I think what's really clear is that *both* of them are playing PR games."

Actually, I don't see the same sort of tactics from Meredith. True, he could just be amazingly convincing in playing the role of an average Kentucky townsfolk and him having his face plastered across our media in a prison photograph is just some clever double-bluff game, but he seems fairly blunt and sincere to me.

>>"but you (and your upvoters) didn't seem to have done any looking to see if there *was* an "on the other hand" version which may contradict it, hence the downvote."

You don't know what I'm familiar with. You'll find comments on me about this on El Reg's coverage going back to their first stories on it. It's something I've been following in depth for sometime. I don't suppose there's any reason to suppose upvoters of my post are ignorant either. Assuming that you know more than other people and downvoting them on the assumption that they simply don't know as much as you or their opinions would be different, is flawed, imo.

>>"As for the gun stuff, personally I don't live in a country where there are people who think that "go for your gun" is the apparent default method of resolving an issue"

Nor do I. I live in the UK and am as English as they come.

>>"(If Meredith was so concerned about the drone, why didn't *he* call the Police...?)"

That's a counter to my proposing that a better response to property destruction would be to call the police rather than gather your mates and go round there as you suggested. It doesn't take away in any manner from my point. Should he have called the police? Maybe. It likely would have been gone by the time they got their and proving ownership would be very difficult. But sure, calling the police is what I would have done. However, my point was to add some context to what was presented in this article which was Meredith following up shooting down the drone by going and threatening the drone owner. You want to argue that calling the police on the drone would be a better response than shooting it down, be my guest. But don't try and counter my point by saying 'yeah, well why didn't he call the police, then?' There's a large difference between an obviously confrontational situation of gathering your mates and going round someone's house and the immediate response of whether or not to damage a mechanical device that is on your property and you consider to be actively infringing on your life. One is potentially violent and by definition pre-meditated. The other is neither.

Thumb Up

Re: "250 grams (1 pound)"

>>"Unusually, I agree with Dan Paul. Base 10 is an awful way to run a measurement system. Base 12..."

Finally! Other people who get this! The happenstance of evolution leaving most of us with ten fingers / ten toes is no basis for a system of mathematics. We were doing alright with this and then the bad at arithmetic mob ganged up and got decimalisation foisted upon us.

1,000B = 1GB is the other one that drives me nuts. People to whom it made no difference at all what a 40GB drive meant so long as they could still say it was more GB for their £'s compared to a different HD they were considering, got whipped up by marketing departments to try and change definitions that didn't confuse a single soul who actually needed to work with these numbers and meant endless conversions whenever we did. Raise it and you get dogmatic waving of SI prefixes. Consistency - a tool to smart people and a crutch to stupid ones.


Re: Interesting....

>>"He had increased height to 278 feet when it was shot down"

Correction. He claims he had increased height to 278 feet. Whether or not he did is another matter, but it contradicts statements by neighbours and family. And whilst I'm not an expert, shooting down a drone with shot (police records show the ammo is #6 shot) at 92 yards straight upwards, seems something of a feet to me.

He did produce a map on his iPad he says is the path, but I shouldn't have to explain on a tech news site the ease of editing a text file (which is typically how drone telemetry is stored) and showing it to people a few months later.

Stephen Hawking reckons he's cracked the black hole paradox


Re: Would you like another dimension with that, sir!

>>>>"Right or wrong, their theories are steps towards understanding the workings of our universe."

>>or another hurdle to overcome before we set off in a more considered direction.

What's the difference between your "hurdle" and my step? You can't know if your direction is wrong until you go some way down the path. A lot of Science is about crossing off what's false and arriving at what's left. The point is this is productive scientific work and no less so if it finds something isn't true than if it is.

>>"Having stuff disappear off into another dimension is only a problem for those who cannot let go of some tenets of physics, that are similarly stifling debate and alternative reasoning"

See, it's phrases like "stuff disappears off into another dimension" that fail to convince me you have a better line of enquiry than plugging holes in some of our existing theories - which this work does.

>>"So what if an asteroid spinning wildly out of the Crab nebula cannot point back at the miscreant that nudged it, as it no longer exists in our concept of universe?"

Then our concept of the Universe is not our end concept. Hence work like this to move that concept forward.

>>"For all practical purpose our physics hits the mark, for strange events involving transitions into another dimension they don't, but why should they."

You talk from a position of belief that what you say is true. Science isn't about belief, it's about making predictive models. It's pointless to make a statement like "our Physics can't model the way things move into another dimension". If it can't, then you don't know that such a thing is happening. You need to build a model that does and then test it.

>>"It would be like demanding all vehicles had to be fitted with an altimeter, because some vehicles fly."

That analogy is atrocious.


Re: Would you like another dimension with that, sir!

>>"Don't we already have that tho? We have no idea where these particle pairs come from in the first place - they just seem to spontaneously spring into existence. We don't know why radioactive substances decay when they do either."

Well some of that is above my degree-grade so I don't know whether we know that or not (as a species, I mean). However, these are both examples of us not knowing something. That is different to a theory requiring something to happen without a cause. Or rather for mathematics to only make sense in one direction.

I've thought of another way to put it. Suppose we say a+b = 4. Now we don't know the values of a or b. That's like your example. Now suppose we say that a + 2 = 4, but then go on to say that 4 - a might not equal 2. How can that be? We have lost information about a. It was there and now it's not. This is more like the examples we're talking about. If you can run mathematics forwards, but not backwards, then you're violating determinism. For reasons that E2 is putting better than I am elsewhere... :)


Re: "The escaping particle steals a tiny bit of the black hole's mass with it"

>>"And in fact given that anti-matter responds to gravity the normal way, wouldn't the number of particles and anti-particles falling into the BH be equal and therefore its net energy increases?"

A sensible question but the answer is 'no' because Hawking Radiation only occurs at the event horizon itself. Particles further away annihilate each other immediately afterwards - no big deal. Particles closer to the event horizon... well there's no such thing. But at the exact edge, you get one particle getting sucked in and the other having enough momentum to get away. That's why the Black Hole bleeds energy - it's an infinitely thin line drawn down the middle of all these particle/anti-particle events that prevents them reaching their usual conclusion.

Well, I say infinitely thin. Planck might disagree. We need a proper Physicist at this point.


Re: Would you like another dimension with that, sir!

>>You've said it twice, but you haven't explained why.

Well, that's not a fair comment. I did try and explain it in the post you replied to. However, I think E2's explanation is best below: link. But I'll take another stab at it as you replied to me.

You have to understand what Information is in this context. It is distinct from "things we know". Nobody is saying that some real person can no longer find something out. That's true, but it's not an accurate description because there are lots of other reasons why we might not know something - for example, not having the tools to measure something. What it means in this context is that the Information actually is lost - entirely. Determinism follows from being able to model interactions. Particle X with mass blah at velocity yada collides with particle Y which has... Etc. Imagine a blackboard with lots of such equations written on it. Then you wipe away parts of it. Now you have particle Y flying off in a random direction with no reason. The information about Particle X was lost. Now to get this, I have to re-emphasize the key point. I'm NOT talking about us the humans not knowing something. I'm talking about the information being lost. Until one understands that these are different things, one cannot understand the problem with a theory in which information is lost. A theory in which information is lost is a theory in which things happen without a definable cause.

And I'm afraid that's probably my best effort at this as I'm not a theoretical physicist. If it doesn't explain it (which it may well not), then I'm out. Personally, I'd stick with E2's explanation below which is better than mine.


Re: "The escaping particle steals a tiny bit of the black hole's mass with it"

>>"Anti particle's have opposite charge, but not negative mass:"

That's correct but I'm not sure it's the answer to the question. Because one would expect there to be an equal distribution of positive and negative matter falling into the Black Hole. I think the actual reason is that via this process, the Black Hole actually loses energy, but because Energy converts to matter, the Black Hole effectively loses mass.


Re: Evaporating black holes

>>"In the limit, a tiny black hole would evaporate in a small fraction of a second, in a ridiculously large explosion."

I heard a proposal to try and make these at CERN, yes?


Re: Would you like another dimension with that, sir!

>>"Isn't it enough to just hold your hands up and say, "we haven't got a clue", but we have some ideas on what to do about it."

And isn't it the case that papers like this are exactly us having some ideas on what to do about it? And who says "we haven't got a clue"? You? Ever since Newton we've been making great strides in studying the universe and building models that we hope will simulate it and then finding ways to test those models. We're trying to observe Hawking Radiation right now and might even be able to measure it at CERN some day. So just because YOU think "we haven't got a clue" and will one day look back and laugh at scientists like Stephen Hawking, doesn't mean we will. Right or wrong, their theories are steps towards understanding the workings of our universe.

>>"So, information is "lost" in a black hole, like water is lost when it goes down the sink. It's all relative to the onlooker, the water still exists, even though I can't see it."

This is a misunderstanding. The point is that information shouldn't be lost from the Universe. If Information is lost then you can throw out determinism. You'd have effect without cause because the cause (information) no longer existed. We're not talking about something not being known to a specific observer - that happens all the time. We're talking about something not being known to the universe. Which is a rather more alarming prospect because then you have a universe that is operating based on things that didn't happen. Do you see what is meant by information in this context? The spin of a particle, the momentum it has. These are the things that determine what happens when it bumps into another particle. If information is lost then there's no determinism. It's not "water down a sink" where we simply can't see it anymore. We (people) are not the "we" in that sentence.

BlackBerry baffled by Dutch cops' phone encryption cracked brag


>>"I'll go with 'no'. What on Earth do you think they can sue for?"

Damages. If I wrote software and you started selling hacks for that software, that would damage my business.

Paris Hilton

So given all of the above and IF the Dutch police or the company supplying them have actually managed to pull this off, here is an interesting question: Could Blackberry sue?


Government vs. Business

Usually it's business + government vs. us the customers / people. This and the Microsoft Dublin case and recent submissions from big business to US and UK governments explaining exactly why mandatory backdoors are stupid... It's kind of nice to see. A company wants money. It doesn't care about right or wrong for the most part - just selling product. It's a testament to how wrong much government policy / action has been that opposing it has become a selling point for corporations.

I actually have a fair bit of respect for Blackberry. They've turned down some very lucrative opportunities for the sake of serving their core market. It's a smart company that is able to compare mutually exclusive options and recognize that they are. Most big companies greed gets the better of strategy and they end up sacrificing existing customer trust for the sake of some other market they think they can bag.

Wikimedia Foundation bins community-elected trustee


Re: Wait a minute...

Apparently so. To be clear, I don't think there's anything wrong with some salaries being paid for full-time administrators. But when $2.5m covers operational costs like hosting and they're bringing in $250m, that's a pretty alarming ratio for an organization that makes its money off the backs of unpaid volunteers.


>>"After the business with David Slater, they'll never get a penny off me. There's no need to feel guilty about it - just do your best to avoid using Wikipedia if at all possible."

Yes. I used to give Wikipedia fairly generous donations during their fund-raising drives. I stopped with the David Slater / Monkie Selfie debacle. I once unwisely read their faux-neutral self-congratulatory page on the case where they affect objectivity. You can practically see the dewy beads of self-righteousness squeezing through your monitor by osmosis.

I felt better about stopping contributing when I learned that they meet their hosting costs with just a small fraction of the donations and that most of it is going on salaries and pet projects.


>>"and they intend replacing the one that's going with another community-elected member."

I read it more as "and they intend replacing the one that caused trouble."

Also, I'm a little confused as to the set up here as it reads as though the appointees who voted him off, were actually just members of the same board he was elected to. If this is so, then they're really set up so that the majority can vote out the members that they object to, then something is seriously wrong. It would be like the Tories getting a majority and deciding to vote Labour and the Lib Dems out of Parliament.

And it seems a majority of the board are appointees who get in there by selection rather than voting. If this is the case, then the community elected representatives don't actually have any possibility of pushing through any decisions regardless of the mandate given them by the community, because the community representatives are a minority on the board? Essentially, the community is allowed to pick representatives to be sent (although this one has been sent back as unacceptable), but they don't actually have real power. Can someone confirm my reading of this is correct, please?

Lovelace at 200: Celebrating the High Priestess to Babbage's machines


Re: Sexist shite

>>"Many people want to believe that men and women are equal not only in potential but also ability. They argue that even if there are small differences they should not be explored or explained because of the divisive effect that it has on both sexes."

Let me explain simply to you, what sexism is. Sexism is when you judge someone by their sex rather than all of their qualities as an individual. That includes pre-judging (or prejudice without the hyphen).

There are minor differences between male and female brains as I understand it. Though the differences are small enough and in fact are not even consistent across different individuals of different sexes (i.e. correlation, not causation), that any resultant impact in, for example, mathematical ability has so far been unproven.

As a result, IF there is a difference in mathematical potential between males and females, we know three things about it: One - it is small enough that it is hard to prove; two - it defines only potential (obviously) and barely anyone actually reaches their maximum potential in mathematics; three - it is vastly outweighed by social and cultural factors as evidenced by comparisons of education between different societies - both modern day nations and modern day with the past.

Given these three clear and well-supported statements about any difference in mathematical ability IF one should exist, we can with some very basic probability conclude that it is flawed to make assumptions about any given woman's mathematical ability compared to any given man's. In layspeak, if you were making some decision about someone based on if they were good at maths, and there were even a 2% difference in maximum mathematical potential between males and females which would be quite high, you would have to be an idiot to base it on their sex rather than on who they were.

To justify sexism, there would have to be staggering differences in mathematical ability between men and women - the point there could be no debate. As there is no such staggering difference, then statistically speaking being sexist only leads to unfair discrimination and an inefficient society that doesn't make best use of its resources. And, you know, is grossly offensive and stupid.

There are a number of key figures in the fields of mathematics and science that are female. And that is increasing. Where might we be if we (as a society) hadn't had so many centuries of sexism? How many Emmy Noethers never managed to overcome all the prejudice they faced?

The point of this post isn't to state that you're wrong because you're sexist, it is to show the basic flaws in being sexist. Just a little thought about how great any difference in ability would have to be to make pre-judging people based on sex a sensible thing to do, will tell you it is never a sensible thing to do and never has been.

Wanted man sends selfie to replace 'terrible' police mug shot



He gets a better photo of himself and the police get a more accurate one for people to recognize him from.

To anyone who thinks a photo can't be inaccurate I present... the left and right photos in this story above.

David Bowie: Musician, actor... tech admirer


Re: Ground Control to Major Tomb

The entire Black Star video is online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kszLwBaC4Sw. If anyone thinks the start isn't strange enough for them, I suggest they wait until the second half when it gets truly bizarre. And bizarre in a way that other artists that have to try to be different just don't come close to.

He must have known he had only months to live when he put this video and song together. I have complete respect for someone who at such a point can dedicate themselves to making a final artistic statement. And the lyrics in retrospect are deeply moving considering how very personal they must have been: "And on the day he died / His spirit rose a metre, stepped aside / And someone else took his place and bravely cried...". I think that's a call that that someone will take his place and a recognition of the bravery of such a person. If that is what it means, then saying someone will take on what you do and replace you, and being glad of that, shows a remarkable soul.

I watched The Man Who Fell To Earth as a child. David Bowie can only really be described as "David Bowie".

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