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kurmit

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hubskier for: 2896 days

recent comments, posts, and shares:
kurmit  ·  2870 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Minimalist Design - What Microsoft Could've Been

Ignore how shoddy my comparison is - I made it quickly in Keynote - but, I'm noticing some similarities here. Presenting the product on the box with a simple image and a mix of bold/standard text in the name. Short sentences, designed to feel weighty and meaningful ("Mankind's most advanced phone." <=> "Performance and Design. Taken right to the edge".) I like the slate, though - I think it's one of the things that separates this scheme from Apple.

kurmit  ·  2871 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 'Zero Dark Thirty' Is Osama bin Laden's Last Victory Over America

    The only way we were ever going to win the War on Terror was to win a long, slow, political battle, in which we proved bin Laden wrong, where we allowed people in the Middle East to assess us as a nation and decide we didn't deserve to be mass-murdered. To use another cliché, we needed to win hearts and minds. We had to make lunatics like bin Laden pariahs among their own people, which in turn would make genuine terrorists easier to catch with the aid of genuinely sympathetic local populations.

I think this is an interesting perspective, and one that I'm initially inclined to agree with. But then I get to thinking: what if it's simply wrong? It's an optimistic perspective, where if we simply act rationally and correctly enough, eventually people "come around" and decide that the West is OK. What if they would have hated us either way? What if they never "came around"?

kurmit  ·  2871 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Last Question By Isaac Asimov

I may have used the wrong word. I didn't mean ambiguity in the interpretation so much as I meant in the execution of the ending. Asimov doesn't delve into wild explanations as to how entropy ends up being reversed, or how any of these complicated things come about; that's not the important part. I like how he does it, with simple statements:

    And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy.
kurmit  ·  2872 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Last Question By Isaac Asimov

I've always loved the simplicity, and interestingly enough, the ambiguity towards the end of the story. I think it's so key to making the story as powerful and timeless as it is. Any more detail would be frivolous; it would detract from the story rather than add to it.

kurmit  ·  2872 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Fist day of class, my professor gives everyone one of these:

You know, I'm jealous of you. If I could, I would finish my engi degree and go right into biology & neuroscience. I'm fascinated by it! Good for you, though - good luck!

kurmit  ·  2872 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Say goodbye to "naked image" body scanners

Fine. You're smarter than the rest of the world, the intelligence community is useless at stopping terror attacks, and American foreign policy is evil. The TSA is useless, and they enjoy strip-searching people. Somehow, it's fun for underpaid government workers with low morale to be constantly accused of being perverted and trampling on the rights of others. You're making this way too simple, and saying things way too matter-of-factly for us to have an interesting discussion.

FYI, accusing me of "not wanting to understand any deeper" is completely uncalled for (beyond the fact that it's not true.)

kurmit  ·  2872 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Say goodbye to "naked image" body scanners

Yeah, I fly all the time (I just got in from an international flight on the 11th, actually). The security theater argument is totally valid - it's probably why Israeli security methods are so much more effective - and I'm all for getting rid of scanners if they're not effective. But you can't just dismiss the idea of searching people by shouting "security theater!" and fighting about privacy. It changes the argument from "look; this method is ineffective and I dislike it on a personal level" to "fuck you, you're invading my privacy no matter what you do". They're checking to see if you have weapons. It's not for the sake of invading your privacy, it's for the sake of keeping passengers on airplanes safe. If they didn't do security screenings, I think it would be very easy for people to get weapons onto airplanes.

(As an aside: Israel has famously strong airport security. Do they respect anyone's rights? Not in the slightest. They profile people, they force you to log into your email account in front of them, they even have lie detector tests.)

I've been on planes countless times. It's a simple task to get through American security: Place bag on conveyor. Walk through the metal detector. If they ask to pat you down, let them pat you down. If they ask to look through your bag, let them look through. Walk to your gate. Done. The most frustrating part of security is the line, honestly. Now, I'm not of Arab descent, so I might be getting it easier than some. But in all my flying experience, people have gotten through security sans-issue and moved on with their lives.

I still submit to you this: what should scare you way more than someone seeing you naked (or copping a feel of your inner thigh for .5 seconds) is being locked in a metal tube with 60 other people for a number of hours. That's the part I don't like.

kurmit  ·  2872 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Say goodbye to "naked image" body scanners

I just can't possibly imagine ever caring if someone (especially some random GS-5 government employee behind a wall) were to see a greyscale image of my kind-of-nude body. Why on earth do we care? Sure, we're entitled to privacy in our daily lives, in our homes, but there's definitely a case to be made that you have to give up some of that when you board a pressurized metal missile with 60 other people you don't know for extended periods of time.

kurmit  ·  2872 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Say goodbye to "naked image" body scanners

I think that's a fair position to take. There are probably a lot of safeguards in place to make sure you don't get massive doses of radiation, but it's very true - your average TSA agent is no genius and probably would have no idea if anything was awry. I think we could do a lot better than the TSA, in terms of security oversight; it'd be nice to have people who are more professional. TSA agents tend to be all over the place.

kurmit  ·  2873 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Say goodbye to "naked image" body scanners

You know, I've kinda always been a contrarian when it comes to these. I don't see it as an invasion of my privacy. Now if they've been shown to be ineffective, or less effective than metal detectors, I can see not using them. If the radiation dose is large, I can also see them being an issue (but I'm pretty sure it's not that bad.) Those reasons I understand - but the privacy one, not so much...

kurmit  ·  2875 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: TNG Podcast: Space -put to Video

Oh, how I love questions like these :). Great stuff, by the way!

Hard to put to words all of the emotions that space & space travel conjure up. But actually, I think I can pick my favorite part: the feeling I get when I think about the massive, beautiful, and dangerous frontier we have in front of us, waiting to be explored. Everything we're used to is scaled up exponentially in space; distances between things, their sizes, dangers, everything is just so much more immense. I love it.

kurmit  ·  2875 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: More Young People Are Moving Away From Religion, But Why?

We're a cynical, sarcastic generation! Religion is the opposite - an exercise in sincerity. Also, we live in a time where it's very hard to "live in your own little world"; information from every corner of the world reaches every other corner of the world. Nonstop. We're constantly berated by a medley of facts, half-truths, white lies, big lies, opinions, and perspectives that cause us to constantly question what spiritual "place" we may have come to on our own.

Religion or not, inner peace can be hard to find with an open mind - that's for sure.

kurmit  ·  2876 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do you do for a living? What would you like to do?

Well, I had already done a semester of (unpaid) work for the lab at my school, and the professor I had worked with offered to get me on payroll. Now I log my hours and get a little compensation! Woo.

kurmit  ·  2876 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do you do for a living? What would you like to do?

I'm a full time student at a University near DC, but I'm paid to do research, so you might say that helps sustain me. Ideally, I'd like to work with a company like SpaceX on a big time mission - Elon Musk has made some semi-serious statements about sending humans to Mars. More likely scenario, however, is that I'll be working for NASA Goddard on either propulsion or navigation & mission design. Still cool with me. I just hope I get a big project to work on at least once in my career.

kurmit  ·  2877 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A Redditor confidently explains why Hubski will fail

Fair enough. The power user issue I understand; I was a little worried that Hubski would promote demagoguery at first, because the whole scheme of having followers seems like the road to a positive feedback loop ending with very few "elite" users being followed by a huge mass of average users.

but

...that's still my naive assumption. I, like the commenter, have certainly not considered everything there is to consider in the complicated equation governing how info is, and will eventually be after substantial growth, disseminated on hubski. Reddit, on the other hand, is an experiment that has essentially already played out. It's degenerated; any merit Reddit gets for discouraging power users from getting "too much of a voice" is drowned out by the fact that the alternative presented is orders of magnitude worse!

I think there could be an interesting argument made that the Reddit hivemind is more dangerous than power users having too much influence. It's vastly more subtle because the golden comment is made by a different person each time, but the net effect is the same as getting too much content from a power user: a seemingly single minded analysis of every topic.

kurmit  ·  2878 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Smoking prejudice. Do you practice it?

Be realistic. It's not a calculated "I need the benefits of nicotine now!" thought that enters your head. It's "time for a break". You can put things on pause, step outside, and have something to do for a few minutes while you sort yourself out. As an added bonus, there is a certain pleasure to the physical act of having a cigarette - beyond the nicotine rush. A quality that isn't immediately obvious to a non-smoker. But it's there.

kurmit  ·  2878 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A Redditor confidently explains why Hubski will fail

    Only, they soon realized that they couldn't cheat the system or get 'followers' to promote their crap content. Reddit simply didn't allow for it.

Let's take a moment and think about the notion that "Reddit doesn't allow for the promotion of crap content." What a joke! Even Reddit recognizes this (how many circlejerk-style parody subreddits exist?) Another exercise: take a glance at r/politics, and then take a look at some recent #politics Hubski posts. There's a big difference in both the variety of the posts (e.g. not everything is from DailyKos and ThinkProgress) and the follow up discussions (the same, bland, recycled opinion is not the top comment every time.)

kurmit  ·  2881 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: An Anarchist Critique of Democracy

    Anarchists distinguish themselves by asserting a direct and unobstructed link between thought and action, between desires and their free fulfillment.

I look at this as a form of selfishness. "I want, therefore I should be allowed to seek and have, regardless of ... anything".

kurmit  ·  2881 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: ALPHA MALE/FEMALE CONTROVERSY

I'm not an anthropologist, but my two cents: it's probably better not to take an extreme position on an issue unless you are also extremely well read on the subject (e.g. an anthropologist). Having not studied social groups or social theory (like your student), I'd be arrogant to make sweeping claims on this topic that involve the word "always" and leave no room for exception. So, your perspective is correct for two reasons: it is based on your own experience (the "collaborative sensibility" you point out) and the fact that yours is the more moderate, and therefore the more unassuming, of the two positions.