Author Archive

How to defeat “mark as spam” comment bombers

SchrodingersFinch
SchrodingersFinch
Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:23 pm by SchrodingersFinch

As many of you may know, in addition to votebots that rate down videos there are also bots that mark all the comments on a video as spam. Although the comments can still be read when you click the “Show” button, it’s quite annoying and a direct attack against free speech. The problem would be easy to solve by simply clicking the “Not Spam” button above every comment. Unfortunately, as many things on YouTube, the button doesn’t work.

It’s still possible to unmark comments as spam by going through the page source, but that can be rather time consuming. But now there is an easier solution, a program that does this automatically.

There are, however, a few objections to using the program. For one, is it right to use a bot against a bot? Here’s why I don’t think there’s anything wrong about it:

  1. You can only moderate comments on your own videos.
  2. You can do the same manually, it only takes a lot more time.
  3. It would be about as fast to do manually if the “Not Spam” button worked properly.
  4. You are defending free speech and harming no one.

Could the program be used wrong, for example, modified to mark comments as spam in other people’s videos? Here’s what the programmer has to say:

“Only if the user has pretty intimate knowledge of decompiling/editing compiled programs. A malicious programmer could look at the source code as an example of some general principles one might use to create a spam bot, but a programmer with enough knowledge to understand my example would not need it (it’s exceedingly simple).”

What about YouTube’s Terms of Service? Section 4.H. says the following:

“You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without limitation, “robots,” “spiders,” or “offline readers,” that accesses the Website in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser.”

In the program you can set the time period between actions. In my opinion, 1 second is a reasonable period of time for unmarking comments as spam. Of course, you could set a longer time period if you feel like it.

As long as the “Not Spam” button is non-functional I see no problem in using the program. If I was hit by a creationist spambot, I would certainly use it. But this is just my personal opinion, not necessarily the official position of the League of Reason.

You can download the program here. The program should run on Windows Vista and XP. It won’t yet run on Mac OS X, except via VirtualPC. Downloading and using the program is at your own risk. Neither I nor the League of Reason can be held responsible for any possible damage caused by the program.

Even if you have no need for the program please check out joshTheGoods’s channel.  He also has many great videos about evolution, creationism and atheism.

The Electric Universe(?)

SchrodingersFinch
SchrodingersFinch
Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:02 pm by SchrodingersFinch

Recently, I received this PM in response to my video Teach the NEW Controversy.

Have a read

It is only the scientists who fail or refuse to accept we do recieve energy from the outside that fail to understand how things like hurricanes & tornados really work.

http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2009/arch09/090615wind.htm

Would be interestes in your thoughts on this.

My response:

First of all, I’m no expert in astronomy or atmospheric sciences, so I might not be the best person to comment on this. But since you asked, here’s my two cents.

I agree that the Sun’s heat alone can’t explain all the atmospheric phenomena, especially on the outer planets, since they absorb only a few percent of the sunlight that Earth does. You have to take into account several factors, some more important than others. For example: the size of the planet, gravity, rotational velocity, axial tilt, topography, internal heat, atmospheric density and pressure, composition and structure of the atmosphere, etc.

It’s true that we don’t yet know the precise mechanisms by which tornadoes and hurricanes form. However, I’m not exactly convinced by the article.
“Perhaps hurricanes, tornadoes, and even prevailing winds are electrical in nature?”
Perhaps, perhaps not. Rather than just speculating I’d like to see the hypothesis put to the test and read actual scientific papers on the subject.

In my opinion, the current models of the Earth’s atmosphere seem to work just fine. After all, they are constantly being tested by weather forecasts all around the world. If the kinetic model of weather is unsatisfactory to the proponents of the Electric Universe hypothesis, they should develop a new one. Then simply test it, for example, by using computer simulations. If the new model is better at forecasting weather (or better explains and predicts tornadoes and hurricanes) they could make a lot of money and use it to fund further research on the Electric Universe hypothesis.

I’m all for the advancement of science and technology, what are they waiting for?

– SchrodingersFinch

Some further reading if you’re interested:

An article about the winds on Jupiter
http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/Jupiter-s-Massive-Winds-Likely-6624.aspx?RelNum=6624
I believe this is the paper in question:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7065/pdf/nature04208.pdf

Dynamics of Jupiter’s Atmosphere
http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~showman/publications/ingersolletal-2004.pdf

This is the first time I’ve heard of the Electric Universe hypothesis. The only thing I could find on Wikipedia is an article about plasma cosmology which I think is somehow related to it.

AndromedasWake, I would especially like to hear your thoughts on the Electric Universe/plasma cosmology. After all, you are the expert and the person who sent me the PM is your subscriber. Could you maybe comment on it on the BlogTV show?

Introducing SchrodingersFinch

SchrodingersFinch
SchrodingersFinch
Wed May 20, 2009 3:37 pm by SchrodingersFinch

Greetings members of The League,

I’m SchrodingersFinch, but you can just call me Finch.

I come from a world you may not understand, or more specifically, Finland. Finland is the second greatest place on Earth. In Finland women are beautiful, men alcoholics and evolution a fact. Ironically, Finland is one of the most secular countries in the world but we also have a state church. Everyone who reads the Bible, as I’m sure you all do, should know that 21st century Finnish Evangelical Lutheranism is the one true Christian faith (don’t listen to the Swedish spawn of Satan!).

We Finns are a peculiar lot. We’re shy and don’t talk much, but when we do it’s usually something important. I hope this is also the case with blogging (or at least the latter part), but I can’t promise you anything. Writing a blog is something completely new to me, so please bear with me until I get the hang of it.

I feel honoured to be a part of this blog. As you can see, there are some big names and lots of talent involved. I only hope I can match up. When it comes to writing skills I’m definitely not the best since English isn’t even my first language. But I guarantee I will never confuse the word “their” with “they’re” or “your” with “you’re”.

Here are some relevant facts about me. I’m an atheist (gasp!), but more of the moderate kind. I am, however, strongly against creationism and other such nonsense, although I rarely encounter them in real life. I am also a science geek and proud of it! My main interests are physics and biology, but I also enjoy mathematics, chemistry and all the innumerable varieties that exist. As most of you probably know, I’m a moderator on the League of Reason forums and you can also find me on Youtube. Feel free to PM me if you have anything to say or ask. I usually have time to respond to all of them.

Hopefully I’ll have something more interesting to write about soon. If I had a cool catch phrase like all the big Youtubers this would perhaps be a good place to put it.

SchrodingersFinch

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