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Topics - OakdaleFTL

1
DnD Central / Facebook vs. Apple
c|net has an interesting article titled Facebook vs. Apple: Here's what you need to know about their privacy feud, and it's a fitting topic for us.
Quote
A coming update to Apple's iOS will let you know if an app wants to track you. Facebook isn't a fan.

A privacy change coming to the software that powers Apple's popular iPhone has prompted a war of words in Silicon Valley.

The iPhone maker will in the coming months roll out an update to its iOS 14 operating system that prompts you to give apps permission to track their activity across other apps and the web. That change may seem small. Lots of apps already track our web activity through default settings we accept when we install them.

Facebook, however, has been fuming about the change, which threatens the source of its $86 billion in annual revenue: targeted ads. The social network has waged a months-long campaign against Apple, running full-page ads in national newspapers and testing pop-ups inside the Facebook app to encourage users to accept its tracking. It's also alleged that Apple's changes are designed to help the iPhone maker's own business, rather than protect consumer privacy.

"Apple may say that they're doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track their competitive interests," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in January during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call. Apple CEO Tim Cook says the change is rooted in the company's belief that "users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it's used."

The dispute underscores a fundamental difference between the tech giants: how they make money. Apple sells smartphones and laptops and takes a cut of fees charged to app developers. Facebook sells ads that it can target precisely based on the trove of data it collects on its 2.8 billion monthly users. Those business models inform their approach to privacy.

Here's what you need to know about the fight between Apple and Facebook:

Google has even followed me around, including on my travels out-of-town! I know because they informed me of such, and showed me their lists of where I'd been...

So: Should we take sides?  :faint:
Or just order-in more popcorn? :)
2
"Dismantling the structures that govern our current world and building new ones will not be
easy. We are calling on the decadal committee to engage in that fight, even knowing there will be
resistance. Policy is an essential tool in this struggle, but it will require a wider change in philosophy.
Space exploration, instead of being the "final frontier," can be a catalyst for a transformative change in
how we consider our relationships to other forms of life, to land, and ultimately to each other."

So ends the paper submitted to NASA's Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032 titled Ethical Exploration and the Role of Planetary Protection in Disrupting Colonial Practices... (link to PDF)

I'm reminded of Theodore Dalrymple's expository piece, Bees With Degrees...the crucial part of which was
Quote
Is it not possible that we in our societies have duped tens of millions of young people into believing that the prolongation of their formal education would lead them inexorably into the sunny uplands of power, importance, wealth, and influence, when in fact many a PhD finds himself obliged to do work that he could have done when he was 16? No one likes to think that he has been duped, however (it takes two for fraud to be committed, after all), so he looks around for some other cause of his bitter disappointment. It isn't ignoramuses who are pulling down the statues, but ignoramuses who think that they have been educated.
And I find it disheartening that such pretentious twaddle as EEatRoPPiDCP is encouraged by academe. (The "acronymic" is as enlightening as the expanded title!) Must everyone who thinks he's Napoleon be patronized?
Didn't there used to be institutions where they were humanely (and safely) housed?
3
Frenzie actually prompted this thread and provided its first post: In another thread, he pointed me to Bostock v. Clayton County. I remembered the case vaguely...and of course I'd had something to say before I'd even finished the Syllabus!
Quote from: me
I'd make three points...
Prefatory, the case of so-called "hate crime" is instructive. Motive is not generally an element of an indictable crime. It is seldom -if ever- a proper part of the prosecution's or the defense's brief. It does have a cogent and obvious place in the penalty phase of a trial, after a conviction -- either as mitigation or enhancement of punishment.
(True, both prosecutors and defense consul often use such when making their case to a jury... that's not important: The judge's discretion limits their excesses! Well, that's the expectation...)

Codifying motive as a separable offence smacks of "thought-crime"!

1. The trope of "disparate impact" is defective, in logic and in law. Statistical reasoning -as practiced- is too weak to support a charge on its own, and as such contravenes the ancient right of a defendant to know what precisely the charges are, against him!

(To see how pernicious the rule of "disparate impact"  can be, see Massachusetts v. EPA. It countenances the importation of the Precautionary Principle into American law!)

2. The conflation of sex and gender is uncalled for. "Sex" means physical, biological determinants, not moods or (mis)conceptions, in Title VII... Nor does it subsume "sex acts" or proclivities.

3. The precidential status of dicta, properly called, needn't (I'd say shouldn't...) be elevated by judges to suit their own (or the supposed public's) understanding of changing mores: Writing law is the job of Congress.
Title VII can (and perhaps should) be amended... But not by judges, who then make it the job of Congress to correct misapplication of their laws!

So: Bostock was wrongly decided.
I may have to eat my words, seasoned with your comments and arguments or strewn with the gristle of Gorsuch's textualist pretensions! (Nothing like an ill-aimed insult to a sitting Justice to start this thing off, eh? :) )
4
DnD Central / U.S. military might…
I'm sure Howie and his ilk prefer the U.S. to be weak, except when they're threatened;  then they want us to be strong!

Here's something I read recently:
Quote
What else has to happen -- how close does war, with all its horrors, have to come -- before Congress closes the hatch on sequestration, before it eliminates the caps, whatever political compromises are necessary to eliminate them, and begins, in earnest, to rebuild the tools of power? (source)
The fellow who brought this to my attention is a submariner and a nuclear weapons tech...

Doesn't everyone think the U.S. spends too much on "defense"...?
5
Quote
After more than a century mining the unconscious, psychoanalysis is really showing its age.

Only 15 percent of members in the American Psychoanalytic Association are under 50. And traditional Freudian analysis -- lying on a couch, talking about your childhood, day after day for years -- is widely seen as a musty relic, far too expensive and intensive to fit into modern life.

But analysts aren't ready to give up on Sigmund yet.
(source, and continuation)
I have two questions:
One: Is psychoanalysis science?
And, two: Is it any different from Scientology?

(Those few of you who can't get over it can rail against the result of the recent U.S. presidential election... I may respond.)

What thoughts have you? :)
6
DnD Central / Everything Trump…
Too lazy to create a new thread, after earlier (IIRC) pointing out this thread has expired?
:) Yup!
But of course people need a place to vent their spleen... So, consider this an open-ended receptacle.
7
This should have happened a long time ago. And Democrats are going to go ballistic.

What do you think?
8
DnD Central / "Proportional" reprentation
Recently -in the Good News thread- a conversation ensued. (It happens, sometimes... :) )
Shall we here discuss the issues involved?

The idea of proportional representation requires, at least, a metaphor that is problematical: Is the mixture of urine and water best described as "urine diluted with water" or "water adulterated with urine"? :)
Psychologists have "examined" the disgust factor... (It's fascinating reading!) But no hard-and-fast conclusions have emerged.

Of course, this metaphor requires the belief that there are better and worse political philosophies... And better and worse government, based upon something... If you don't believe that, you might as well stop reading now; and refrain from commenting: Your tribe will either win or lose, and that's all you care about anyway!

It's that "something" mentioned above that I'd like to talk about.

Any takers? :)
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Quote
The election of smaller parties gives rise to the principal objection to PR systems, that they almost always result in coalition governments.

Supporters of PR see coalitions as an advantage, forcing compromise between parties to form a coalition at the centre of the political spectrum, and so leading to continuity and stability. Opponents counter that with many policies compromise is not possible (for example funding a new stealth bomber, or leaving the EU). Neither can many policies be easily positioned on the left-right spectrum (for example, the environment). So policies are horse-traded during coalition formation, with the consequence that voters have no way of knowing which policies will be pursued by the government they elect; voters have less influence on governments. Also, coalitions do not necessarily form at the centre, and small parties can have excessive influence, supplying a coalition with a majority only on condition that a policy or policies favoured by few voters is adopted. Most importantly, the ability of voters to vote a party in disfavour out of power is curtailed.

All these disadvantages, the PR opponents contend, are avoided by two-party plurality systems. Coalitions are rare; the two dominant parties necessarily compete at the centre for votes, so that governments are more reliably moderate; the strong opposition necessary for proper scrutiny of government is assured; and governments remain sensitive to public sentiment because they can be, and are, regularly voted out of power. However, the US experience shows that this is not necessarily so, and that a two-party system can result in a "drift to extremes", hollowing out the centre, or, at least, in one party drifting to an extreme.

Nevertheless, on average, compared to countries using plurality systems, governments elected with PR accord more closely with the median voter and the citizens are more content with democracy.
(source)
9
DnD Central / Biggest hit vs. best song
The one that brings this to my mind is Sammy Davis, Jr.'s "Candy Man," which was boffo!. But surely "In the Shelter of Your Arms" was a better song, and a much better performance.
Your candidates?
(We can skip ABBA's "Dancing Queen" -- unless I'm unaware of a better song from them: That seems to be a darned near perfect pop song!)
10
DnD Central / A blast from the past… :)
Dr. Jerry Pournelle long ago published this (but he recently linked to it...):
Quote
The only significant thing I ever did on ARPA NET was to get GPS funded. Of course that is too strong a statement; actually it was a lot more complicated than that.

What happened was that Francis X. Kane, the silent co-author of Possony and Pournelle THE STRATEGY OF TECHNOLOGY, had invented Global Positioning System while Director of Plans at USAF Systems Command, and had managed to get USAF to request and get funding. Then in the 70's Congress zeroed GPS out of the budget. Kane called me in hopes I had some resources to get it revived. I broadcast a message about that on ARPANET, and Lowell Wood, Livermore physicist and one of Teller's inner circle, saw it, sent me email to get details, got in touch with Kane, and went to Washington where he lobbied among his Congressional contacts to get it restored. It was restored and I think it would not have been done without Wood, who would not have heard about it were it not for ARPANET. GPS turns out to be important, but then we all knew it would be; the trick was convincing Congress.

That done, I had books to write and work to do. Commercial net accounts were coming, Loudon was inventing what became CompuServe after several evolutions and transformations and acquisitions, and BYTE was inventing BIX; I still held a clearance through having been President of Pepperdine Research and I still did some policy briefings for Air Force Plans and Doctrines, and so had all the communications I needed. Stallman, one of my friends from the MIT ARPANET, was done with most of his work there (I was an early beta tester of emacs, and some of my naïve observations found their way into the final product), and I found I spent most of my time on ARPANET playing ZORK, an activity for which I had no time; it was a gift of time to find that account closed. I resented the way it was done, but not enough to speak to anyone in the Pentagon about it. I see that the story still reverberates after twenty years (it all happened in CP/M S-100 days, mostly at 300 baud; 1200 was a godsend). Peace.
(source)
We don't listen to old people any more; which is a problem: Many of them know so much more than youngsters and their college professors... :)
Pournelle has been an influence on me for 30 years or more. (I've always been aware of his non-Science Fiction interests! And he's not been shy about sharing them.)

Do any of you have heroes, mentors or just consistently sensible public figures that you fear losing?
11
DnD Central / Why do we do this?
Most of you know, I'll talk to anyone! :)
The reason I'd give is simple; indeed, simple-minded: I want to know what other people think...
(I may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier! :) But I do more appreciate the light more than the -- Oh, what is that? Another post-colonial racist whatever? Have fun, Jimbro! Surely you know the phrase... Help me out!)
I do reject the opinions of some, as too far out there or too partisan. But, if they provide arguments for their points of view, I'll read and consider them.
[It might be heat and light... But I'm just a conservative! What do I know? :) ]
Of course. if they're black or brown, I'll ignore them?
The left would have us believe that -if they're black or brown skinned- we do so, us pink-skinned. But that's only because they assume I'm white...!

What do we actually argue about?

(I know, I've asked this question before... But I got no serious answers.)

I'll pose an answer: Politics. Who gets to be "in charge" of others. Some of us don't really want to be. Others can't stand that no one is...

So: The question as posed is simple!
Who should be "in charge"?

(We'll get to the why, later... :) )
12
DnD Central / Do we really need…
another topic about "snowflakes?
Trump has been legitimately elected, and some people are really pissed! (Of course, these are the same people who are always pissed...) But the meme that's getting the most play is this:
Quote
While on campus, we noticed something different about the Oldenburg Sculpture.
A safety pin has been added by art student Jeremy Jirsa.
"I thought it would be a good opportunity to use the safety pin as a representation to bring our city together," said Jirsa, Penn student.
(source)

How would "we" enforce "safe spaces"...
Hm.
13
DnD Central / I'm alt-right…
I've recently read too much about the so-called alt-right. (This is an example; read the comments, if you don't have a gag-reflex... I kept getting 10 more comments, until -- I don't know when! Before I was asked to, the next post -the first before this onslaught- said, simply, "Disgusting!" and I wish I'd paid it the attention it deserved.)
But I myself am a constitutionalist; someone who believes in the "separation of powers" doctrine. A proponent of  "power to the people" -- with provisos!
That's the problem: Either there can be no provisos or the Democrats rule...
That's harsh, I know. But recent history has shown that that's what one party wants, and what the "other" party can't stop.

Who would defend the Constitution of the United States?
Democrats? Republicans? Trump? Clinton?
My fellow Americans, we are indeed at a crossroads: If you are unable to see a reasonable path back to our sensible republic, we are -this generation- doomed!
Still, our progeny will (sorry to be the bearer of "bad" news, liberals) outlive us. And they might just out-think us.

Comments?
14
Seriously,the question is simple: What do we need to agree upon -- in order to get along with each other?
15
DnD Central / Censorship…
Am I the only one who's noticed how many YouTube videos of musical performances no longer have audio tracks...? One (at this point...) wonders why? (Two or more may be forthcoming... :) )
(But I'll give them -Google- credit: The ads are muted too!)

For instance this should be readily available, no? :) When I was a kid, she was a star -- even more-so than Whitney Houston!

I find it hard to believe that copyright squabbles keep so much from being streamed... But I could be wrong.
Likewise, if copyright lawyers/owners think they're going to make more money by not playing the music, they're delusional.

What say you? Is this copyright protection...?
16
DnD Central / I'm drunk…
A few of you have suffered my posts for many years... I don't know how you managed to do that :); but, I suspect, some of you were smart enough not to read them!
For the few who read them and sometimes replied, I apologize -- sort-of.
I have opinions; so do you. If we talk...

Nah! That's silly! Nobody believes that people talking to each other gets us closer to -- Okay. Now, I'm going to introduce a topic...

Folks: What's the point of talking?

Governments routinely curtail talking -- and there's no way to stop them from doing so. Even communities do so...

The U.S. has an unusual law: The First Amendment's guarantee of "free speech:... It's problematical, of course. No other nation has anything like it... Can a civil society survive with such a law?
17
DnD Central / Old cars…
And, perhaps, old people! :)

I knew that this '99 Neon was on it's last legs... The housing for the thermostat (the regulator for the engine's "circulatory" system - as far as temperature is concerned) had been replaced; so, I thought everything was good!, even considering that it had fallen half-apart -- one wonders how that happened? Perhaps the fuel line leak, spraying gasoline everywhere under the hood might have had something to do with it?
I'd even given the engine a quart of oil! What more did it want!

But it seems it was not enough... The car "died" at an intersection. I was able to re-start it; it "peeled out" -- which I'd never done before; it burned rubber! Then I approached my usual turn -- But my brakes didn't work! Yikes!
So, I down-shifted as I approached the next intersection; I was in 1st gear when I made my final turn -- and considering (Yes, I'm an idiot: I never considered using the "emergency" brake...) I steered into a parking place, and shut the engine off.
Or put it in reverse gear or park... I honestly don't remember: I just wanted it to stop!

Of course, I tried it often, turning the key to see if it'd start.. It seemed to be quite dead. Two days trying had convinced me, it was indeed dead.
But on the fourth day my first try almost started it! My next try (yeah: I'm that kind of guy...) fired it up like nothing had happened before... (I even drove it to a "convenience" store to buy -- guess?! Yeah: Beer.)
But it worked! (Even the brakes...)

Now, I need to save enough money to have competent people check it out.

(A side-note: I asked my great-nephew, who bought and installed the thermostat and its housing, if he might have put it in backwards... He said No, it was notched so that such couldn't be done! Note: I only asked him after I knew the engine hadn't seized... I'm relieved.
Apparently, I still have a road-worthy vehicle.

Is that a good thing? :)
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Do any of you have stories to tell about supposedly automobiles?
18
DnD Central / The "New" Cold War…
I'm pretty sure the Russian Federation will be the first major country to "release" its UFO files to the public... Soon, they'll have no credibility left, without relying on the lunatic fringe.
But Canada and Great Britain have made steps in this direction. Hm.

How much can we actually blame on extra- terrestrials? (Ya'll can leave the politics out and just talk about ETs... :) )
19
DnD Central / Sing, sing a song…
A British newspaper notes that
Quote
The Rolling Stones have asked presumptive Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump to stop playing their songs at his campaign events.
After effectively sealing the Republican nomination on Tuesday night, Mr Trump played the Stones hit Start Me Up as he left the stage following a victory speech.
However, the British rock band said in a statement on Wednesday: "The Rolling Stones have never given permission to the Trump campaign to use their songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately."

I won't give the url! (Apparently, nobody's heard of Google yet ) I'm hoping to be sued; and I'll make a lot of money, for nothing!

Hey, Mick, Keith (and however many of you dumbshits are still alive...): You wrote, performed, recorded and released to the public some pretty good songs. (I like your earlier stuff... But that's probably just me.) Most public performances of your songs bring you money... Unless you released them via subscription only, that's all you get: You have no further "rights".

I'm reminded of the Crissie Hynde/Rush Limbaugh kerfluffle:
Quote
The opening bass riff from this song "was something that Tony Butler used to play just as a warm-up," said Steve Churchyard, the engineer for the record. It has been used as the opening theme 'bumper' for Rush Limbaugh's popular American talk radio program since 1984, during his days at KFBK in Sacramento, California. He didn't use the lyrics, but Limbaugh said in 2011 that he chose it because of the irony of a conservative using such an anti-conservative song, though he mainly liked its "unmistakable, totally recognizable bass line." In 1999, Rolling Stone magazine reported that, according to Hynde's manager, Limbaugh had neither licensed the song nor asked permission to use it. According to Rolling Stone, EMI took action after Limbaugh told a pair of reporters in 1997 that "it was icing on the cake that it was [written by] an environmentalist, animal rights wacko and was an anti-conservative song. It is anti-development, anti-capitalist and here I am going to take a liberal song and make fun of [liberals] at the same time." EMI issued a cease and desist request that Limbaugh stop using the song, which he did. When Hynde found out during a radio interview, she said that her parents loved and listened to Limbaugh and she did not mind its use. A usage payment was agreed upon which she donated to PETA. She later wrote to the organization saying, "In light of Rush Limbaugh's vocal support of PETA's campaign against the Environmental Protection Agency's foolish plan to test some 3,000 chemicals on animals, I have decided to allow him to keep my song, 'My City Was Gone', as his signature tune..."
What "rights" do you'all think "artists" have? What "rights" should they have?
Should we all become Galambosians? :)
20
DnD Central / Apple vs. the FBI
I assume everybody is aware of this "problem"... (Let me know if you require more background.)

I'm interested to hear the opinions of others. (I've recently finished reading Apple's latest response... And I've formed an opinion. :) )
21
I remember the beginning of Talk Radio: Avi Nelson in Boston. He was acerbic, rude and to the point... There hadn't been anything on the radio like his show, before.
Before him, we had the Larry's Glick and King...
(I liked them both.)

But American politics became more contentious. And contentiousness became more acceptable...

TV and newspapers don't offer many access. Radio, however, did! Call-in shows, live...!

Who -I'd ask y'all- were your local radio hosts? Which ones -and, of course, why- did you habitually listen to?  :) I don't expect a political or philosophical tome.
Just tell me what about their shows caught and kept your attention.
22
DnD Central / You must be joking!
I've just returned from stepping out onto my front porch to smoke a cigarette... There was still a smattering of rain and the sky was overcast. With 50+ oz. of beer on board, I said aloud "What? It's still raining? It's not like we need it..." And, then, realizing that we do, said, "Well, okay: We do. But..."
Mother Nature seems to be a typical mother, always complaining that her kids never call. And her kids repeatedly responding that she never listens...
(I do this sort of thing when sober, too! So, unless you'd make it funny, don't go there.)

What I'd like to talk about is: How many of you create jokes? I mean, do you think of funny things to say on a regular basis -- but, not being a professional, keep them -mostly- to yourself?

As the originator of the epithet "the kamikaze of the entertainment industry" for stand-up comics, I have a personal interest in your replies. Also, I fondly remember both Koestler's musings on the topic and Azimov's short story Jokester...

So: Have you "little" jokes you've made on the spur of the moment that you'd relate here?

Also keep in mind Robert Frost's gem:
"Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me."
23
DnD Central / Is stupidity taught?
I was just "surfing" channels when I found Conan O'Brien's monologue in progress...

His joke was about the recent NASA conjecture of there being flowing water on Mars. He (Conan) said that Rush Limbaugh had commented that a hydrogen atom bringing two oxygen atoms together seemed "somewhat gay"!
I don't know what Rush said. But I do know --pretty well-- that neither Conan nor his writers were aware that H2O is the chemical formula for one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms, which comprise a molecule of water.
He knows his audience well!

But Liberals are presumed to be smart and knowledgeable about science-y stuff! :) (And late-night TV talk show hosts are presumed to be Liberals... :) ) So.
What gives?

Do we need to re-visit what engenders or supports stupidity? :)
24
DnD Central / Foundations…
I should probably have looked Paul Krugman up at Wikipedia a long time ago... So, perhaps this comes a little late.
The article said something I'd not expected:
Quote
According to Krugman, his interest in economics began with Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels, in which the social scientists of the future use a new science of "psychohistory" to attempt to save civilization. Since present-day science fell far short of "psychohistory", Krugman turned to economics as the next best thing.
(source)

The only other self-professed Seldon-wanna-be I'm familiar with is Gavin Schmidt, NASA's chief climate modeller... (Hansen's successor.)

I too was a fan of Seldon... But I was a little more oriented to reality. (That's a scary thought, i'n'it? :) )

I guess reading science fiction isn't the problem. It's stopping reading it too soon...

Is messianic pretensions that common...?
25
DnD Central / War
(I'll make this short: My previous attempt to post this fizzled... :) )

Why do we fight wars?
Sure, sometimes we're attacked and we have little choice -- fight or die.
There are also religious reasons, mostly incomprehensible to even our most devout brethren! :)
But -then- there are philosophical differences between cultures (nations, military powers -- call them what you will).
The U.S. government's masters did not understand Japan. Their philosophy of war was beyond our ken.
Some few of their senior officers (previous to and during WW II) did understand us, but could not escape the dictates of their philosophy.

I've been asked if my nation's nuclear assault on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes... I've said no, and tried to explain a bit to the silly questioners. They not only remained convinced of the justification of their condemnations, they started to re-write history!
(A fairly common European reaction.)

What I'd of you is that you try to discuss here a simple proposition:

To save both the Japanese people and the post-WW II U.S, Emperor Hirohito had to be humiliated!
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I'll let you take it from there. You're bright enough...
Are any of you brave enough? :)