9,442 reputation
23978
bio website knowing.net
location Kailua Kona, HI
age 51
visits member for 4 years, 4 months
seen 3 hours ago

Reference Documentation Lead at Xamarin

Contributing Editor and Columnist, SD Times. Editor of now-defunct magazines including Software Development, Computer Language, AI Expert, and Game Developer.

On Twitter at @lobrien

Not a bad coder.


Sep
23
comment Is the “I before E” English spelling rule not very useful?
One needn't be omniscient to see that the rule is inefficient. Science is sufficient for proficient and conscientious fanciers to see that the rule is deficient in our society.
Sep
23
comment Were native Americans given blankets intentionally contaminated with smallpox?
The link in the question relates to a different accusation: that the US Army deliberately infected the Mandans in 1837. The Ft. Pitt event was in 1763. (The Ft. Pitt event establishes that the answer to the question is "yes," though.)
Sep
19
comment What is the use of the questions on the US Visa Waiver form?
Friend of a Friend accidentally checked "Yes" on one of these several years ago and is still questioned every time he comes to America. My favorite question is "as a government official, been responsible for...particularly severe violations of religious freedom?" "Particularly severe? No, not particularly severe."
Sep
14
comment Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
Voting to close since, as I've discussed in comments, I think the question, as it stands, constitutes cherry-picking that reduces it to a non-notable claim.
Sep
14
comment Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
A less potentially-inflammatory analogy would be the difference between the questions "Did Lance Armstrong deny using PEDs?" (IMO not notable) and "Did Lance Armstrong consistently deny using PEDs?" (IMO potentially notable)
Sep
14
comment Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
What I'm saying is that the question/claim posted on Skeptics is supposed to be notable. IMO, "Did X ever say Y?" is rarely a notable claim unless coupled with "...and never the opposite" or "...and denied having said that Y," or somesuch. Otherwise, it feels like cherry-picking. (And just to reiterate, I posted the answer when "...and consistently" was part of the question and commented that I think the question should be reverted to that. Otherwise I would apply my just-stated reasoning and vote to close.)
Sep
14
comment Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
@Sklivvz As I commented on the post itself, it seems to me the OP quote does not constitute a significant claim absent the original wording that Bin Laden "consistently" denied involvement. I think it's highly misleading to cherry pick an exculpatory claim. The site has clearly evolved from scientific skepticism to broad fact-checking, but at least it has maintained some discipline with "significant claim."
Sep
13
comment Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
I would suggest that his initial statements are not the notable claim. The notable claim relates to whether his statements, in totality, support or undermine his involvement.
Sep
13
comment Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
The source video uses this quote to promote the concept that 9/11 was a false flag conspiracy. It is absolutely relevant that Bin Laden was not consistent after his initial denial and in 2004 took responsibility. I suggest that the question be restored to its original form.
Sep
13
revised Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
added 72 characters in body
Sep
13
revised Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
added 72 characters in body
Sep
13
comment Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
To my reading, "we decided to attack the towers" and "...this came to my mind" are clear and direct statements of his involvement. If your point is that he denied involvement initially, that's true, but these quotes show that (one way or the other) he was not "consistent" in what he said.
Sep
13
answered Did Osama Bin Laden immediately deny involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
Sep
13
comment Is it technically possible to terraform Mars in as little as 480 years?
It might be worth pointing out that the last steps involve unproven technologies such as "laser-propelled spaceships" and "building cities on Mars." And the previous step puts a price of $300B on totally speculative "synthetic microbes" and "genetically engineered seeds." I don't know how you could claim to know such costs hundreds of years in advance. The Facebook page returns a 404. I would be very skeptical that this is associated with NASA or Nat Geo (and doubtful if even Discovery Channel).
Sep
5
revised Is it very difficult to kill a whale at sea humanely?
Removed statement "Humane is hard to define"
Sep
5
revised Is it very difficult to kill a whale at sea humanely?
added 1023 characters in body
Sep
5
answered Is it very difficult to kill a whale at sea humanely?
Sep
5
comment Is it very difficult to kill a whale at sea humanely?
Whales come in many sizes. Are you interested in knowing if it's true for any whale (e.g., 6m pilot whale), all whales (30m blue whale), or, perhaps, commercially exploitable whales? Also, are you interested in what could be done or how commercial whaling works (i.e., electrified harpoons, not rifles)?
Sep
5
comment iOS app listening to my calls, or giant coincidence?
FWIW, there is no public API that allows either monitoring a phone call or audio recording while the device is locked. HOWEVER, the operating system does now have some sort of always-on audio monitor ("Hey Siri..."), so it's conceivable that could be a route forward (although Apple scans for the use of private APIs during App Store submission). And the NSA leaks confirmed that iPhones can be pwned by powerful-enough agencies with physical access. But I'd suggest much more likely are data-mining analytics (location, social media posts, etc.)
Aug
29
answered Is inhaling helium dangerous?