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Comment: Re:Technology can NOT eliminate work. (Score 1) 389

by Accordion Noir (#49078173) Attached to: What To Do After Robots Take Your Job

Just off the top of my head, I'd guess that rather than specific spending items, a lot of "corporate welfare" consists of tax-free benefits or breaks that real people pay for but corporations get as "incentives." (Insert debate on taxing individual people vs. taxing corporation people here.)

Not in any way non-partisan, but the old-school peace group the War Resister's League (founded back in post-war 1923) likes to point out a variety of expenses that stem from military adventures: They include past military expenses like servicing payments on the portion of the national debt racked up by borrowing to pay for wars, or medical expenses of veterans (those people we said we supported but often seem to forget about as they need care for the next forty years or so).

If you set aside Social Security, which is supposed to be a savings plan not a tax-funded social program, then the military portion of the discretionary budget is substantial. It should be added that the War Resistors go on to suggest that people simply stop paying for wars. Simple? Maybe not so much.

Comment: Re:I love you man (Score 1) 305

by Accordion Noir (#49034759) Attached to: Alcohol's Evaporating Health Benefits

If they're shilling for a pharmaceutical company, why are they pushing aspirin, which went out of patent in 1917?

Had to look that up – interesting stuff; German-spy conspiracies and everything! Who knew Edison's record factories competed for raw-materials with pain-releaver production?

Comment: Re:Why not put a new twist on old tech? (Score 1) 278

I remember talk about the laser record players. They found it much harder to achieve (warped records, etc) than they expected.

And I believe there were two video disk technologies. Laserdisks, which were like giant CD's with digital video on, and Video Disks, which were about the same 12" size, but came in a hard shell-case sort of like old floppy disk, and they were in fact an analog video medium in a grooved disk. You put the case in the machine and then removed it, leaving the disk inside (you never saw the actual disk). That technology still blows me away.

The two disk formats went at it for a while in the 80s, and then failed, with VHS tapes winning most of the American market until DVD's came along.

Comment: Re:Move to a gated community (Score 1) 611

by Accordion Noir (#48605103) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

I'm sure different people use it in different ways based on their experience, but "blockbusting" was a tactic created and used by real-estate businesses, not "black people." It was neither invented nor particularly helpful for most black home-buyers. Real estate folks made a crap-load of money though off of convincing people to sell low in fear of new neighbours, and then jacking the price to others moving in.

Comment: Mary Shelly, failed writer of speculative fiction (Score 1) 368

by Accordion Noir (#48545133) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

My favourite example of missing future changes is Mary Shelly's other book, The Last Man (1826).

It's not great, but interesting for a number of reasons. For one, it inspired dozens of "apocalype-plague" movies like The Omega Man and such. The other grim element is that everyone in book dies of plague (spoiler, except the Last Man), but all the characters are based on people in Shelly's real life who had actually died and left her alone – her husband, her children, friends etc. Yikes.

One of the most interesting things about the book though is that it is set in a Europe 400 years in the future. And Shelly, writing in 1820, totally missed the coming Industrial Revolution. So in her 2100 the only new technology is a few hot air balloons. One result of this lack of technology is that without germ-theory the plague of the book is a totally uncontrollable force with no hope of controlling with any medical science.

Of course forward-looking writers miss things. We can't foresee the future. And preoccupation with the events of today (like everybody you know dying) are a reasonable excuse for focusing on the story instead.

Comment: Re:And this is how perverted our system has gotten (Score 1) 436

by Accordion Noir (#48495533) Attached to: Supreme Court To Decide Whether Rap Lyric Threats Are Free Speech

A difference here is that you seem to be proposing that others' rights should be restricted to prevent you from committing a crime. i.e. Clothes (or lack of clothes) might make you want to rape people.

The case in question (way up above all the curious "stop talking about free speech" spam) seems to be one where a person was threatening to break the law by hurting people himself, not provoking some crime in others.

I'm no constitutional lawyer, but I do see a difference between concern about this person's threats and your concern about your susceptibility to raping people.

I'd suggest perhaps closing your eyes all the time and imagining people dressed in calming clothes. This might be a less restrictive solution for everyone. You won't commit a crime based on your lack of self control, and the rest of us can get on with life.

Will there be more spam now?

Comment: Re:Time to become a better shopper (Score 4, Insightful) 211

by Accordion Noir (#47116445) Attached to: Amazon Confirms Hachette Spat Is To "Get a Better Deal"

I'd say that WalMart is getting close to a monopoly in towns I've visited where a few years before there were hardware stores, grocery stores, fabric stores etc, and a somewhat functional downtown, and now there is ... Walmart. It's not the only place you can buy things in the country, but it has pretty much driven some whole towns out of business.

There's anecdotal evidence for you.

+ - Even more Wikipedia donors caught editing their own Wikipedia articles-> 2

Submitted by powersynth102
powersynth102 (3582869) writes "The first installment of Wikipediocracy's expose of major cash donors editing their own Wikipedia articles was greeted with yawns. Well, the second entry has appeared, and this one lists several major donors — all of whom heavily abused Wikipedia COI rules, and edited their own articles without notification. One turns out to be the John Templeton Fund, a notorious supporter of right-wing religious causes. Another is the Qatar Foundation, a nonprofit run by Qatar's royal family and a former customer of banned-for-eternity PR firm Bell Pottinger. The Qatar Foundation simply hired another PR firm, who kept editing. Increasingly, it appears that an organization can edit, and bias, its own Wikipedia content with impunity......provided money is given to the Wikimedia Foundation."
Link to Original Source

+ - Fighting radiological terrorism with changes to medical procedures & technol->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes ""This article lays out changes in medical technology that should be discussed at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit (March 24-25). Although 'High-risk radiological sources like cobalt 60 and cesium 137 serve valuable purposes in industry and research, particularly in medicine...'these sources are usually located in publicly accessible spaces, like hospitals or universities...' The article details alternative technologies that could be used instead of technology that relies on radioactive sources. One such change could come in the area of blood irradiation: '...a gradual phase-out of cesium chloride use in pre-transfusion blood irradiation on a global scale—a domain in which non-isotopic alternatives are considered to be the most viable in the short-term.' I'm glad someone is thinking about these things.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Church Committee Members Say New Group Needed to Watch NSA

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "In a letter sent to President Obama and members of Congress, former members and staff of the Church Committee on intelligence said that the revelations of the NSA activities have caused “a crisis of public confidence” and encouraged the formation of a new committee to undertake “significant and public reexamination of intelligence community practices”.

In the letter sent Monday to Obama and Congress, several former advisers to and members of the Church committee, including the former chief counsel, said that the current situation involving the NSA bears striking resemblances to the one in 1975 and that the scope of what the NSA is doing today is orders of magnitude larger than what was happening nearly 40 years ago.

“The need for another thorough, independent, and public congressional investigation of intelligence activity practices that affect the rights of Americans is apparent. There is a crisis of public confidence. Misleading statements by agency officials to Congress, the courts, and the public have undermined public trust in the intelligence community and in the capacity for the branches of government to provide meaningful oversight,” the letter says."

Comment: Re:Fly me to Mars or even to the Moon. (Score 1) 401

Interesting question. What use would this study be for Nasa? Why would they pay for it?

Nasa is one of the concrete government programs that has programs that are designed to run for decades. Space does not have an election cycle or quarterly reports. They build real things that have to be shepherded for years to get to the point where they can get results. That long-term vision might make a study like this useful.

If the economy collapses, engineers aren't going to be making much use of Hubble any more. So a few bucks to look at this, even as simply a potential future funding barrier seems ok by me. And yeah, like this costs as much as making a nice CGI video of the next Mars probe.

The simple solution to all concerns raised here is... huge taxation of the elite, and spend it all on cool Nasa stuff! They left that part out of the report.

Even bytes get lonely for a little bit.