Posts by Joe Wylie

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  • Hard News: The Snappers,

    Wow, thanks for that AAMC.

    Wow indeed.
    By way of a little history, I like this one.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: iPad Impressions,

    My God, I'd completely forgotten about that place, and my very first portable computer, the Casio PB100, which I had to save up for 2 months worth of paper deliveries (the Herald! Imagine!) to buy at $100. I wrote lots of lovely programs in BASIC, saved to tapes, then tragically it was stolen while I was playing Gauntlet after school one day. :-(.

    As it happens, that's where I bought my first "real" computer, back in 1983. An Epson HX-20, with a 4-line LCD display, optional minicassette backup and a built-in adding machine type printer. Set me back over $1800.

    Used it to work out animation camera moves. Gave it to a kid two years later when I bought an IBM XT. Paid for itself too, there was money to be made in that racket back then. Will burn in hell for the carbon footprint I'm sure.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: iPad Impressions,

    You could have bought one of those locked-down Texas Instruments graphic calculators. Purchasing one of those really brings out the ire of most geeks, it seems.

    I remember someone trying to buy a biorhythm calculator back in the olden days. Figuring that The Calculator Centre in Lorne Street would have every kind of calculator he tried there, only to be told that they didn't stock such a thing. When he asked why the guy got seriously sniffy and said "I don't think people should be allowed to have them."

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: iPad Impressions,

    And I have no idea what you mean with that "gun" comment.

    Sort of "let us know when you buy a Segway", but less calculated to offend?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: A Whale of a Tale,

    Guilty as charged / I have that honour.
    Appreciate your interest, please check your mail.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: P is for Politics.,

    To be fair, Newbold does actually do a fair amount of academic research. He didn't get his position just for being a source of quotes for the media.
    And some of the things he has been quoted as saying aren't obvious to the "tough on crime" crowd. He's gotten better at deflecting attention from it when quoted, but some of his ideas would be considered quite radical not too long ago.

    I don't doubt the quantity and quality of Newbold's research, and I clearly remember how he appeared to cut through so much of the BS around at the time that he first sprang to prominence. Not in recent memory though. While he's hardly to blame for the often inane and trivial context in which the media seek his opinions, he doesn't seem to be averse to giving them when asked.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: P is for Politics.,

    Can you imagine what jailing Simon Prast for P use would have achieved for society for example? Would he have come out a "better" citizen?

    The way things happen in this country, he'd take over Greg Newbold's regular spot as academic talking head on matters criminal.

    As Newbold's ready media comments in recent years had pretty much ossified into stating the bleeding obvious, one could be forgiven for wondering if it wasn't time that he went back inside for a sabbatical. Instead they've made him a professor.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Clover It,

    Oh FFS Bart, nobody's comparing you to a war criminal just because you happen to be a scientist. Nor was I deliberately setting out to offend you. While I'm happy to admit that my example was somewhat extreme, I still believe that it's a perfectly valid illustration of what can and does happen when 'pure' research is conducted without ethical oversight.

    Anyway, what the hell, they were only cows. No big deal. How very PC of me.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Clover It,

    . . . I understand Einstein and Oppenheimer were both top blokes and were in no way pawns of government or commercial interests.

    While Edward Teller, by most accounts, was a right prick. And Marie Curie, to add a little gender balance, was a living saint. While I don't believe that it's in anyone's interests for scientists to labour under a pettifogging bureaucracy, the kind of special pleading that they're a sainted caste by virtue of their calling is nonsense. As Bart says, they're not inherently corrupt, just human, with the same inherent virtues and fallibilities as the rest of us.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Clover It,

    Real people not theoretical ones. Real scientists doing their best to make real changes that will benefit the world.

    Well I've never Godwined a thread before, but hell why not: As far as anyone can ascertain, Josef Mengele was a brilliant medical scientist who believed that what he did was for the greater good. Not corrupt, just absorbed in his work to the exclusion of any wider moral considerations, thanks to a lack of pesky public oversight. His victims could be said to have received a higher standard of medical treatment than they'd have experienced in the wider hospital system.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

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