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Comment: Re:Government spending money on anything is terrib (Score 1) 231

by BForrester (#49137265) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

The lost "War on Poverty", which we've been fighting for the last 50 years, has cost us — inflation-adjusted — $22 trillion or, roughly three times more than all actual wars combined since founding of the Republic

Anyone who thinks that the US has spent less than 7 trillion dollars on war, total, and adjusted for inflation, is cherry-picking from a very conservative data set. No wonder the linked article doesn't give a citation for that figure.

Comment: Re:Obviously didn't work so well... (Score 3, Interesting) 103

by BForrester (#48929065) Attached to: Snowden Documents: CSE Tracks Millions of Downloads Daily

Collect everything means that all your intelligence is hidden by piles and piles of cat memes.

If you RTFA, Canada's intelligence agency says in their document that they need to find the needle "terrorist files" in a haystack of downloaded episodes of Glee. They literally make that reference.

Comment: Re:the whole things an editor if you're brave enou (Score 4, Insightful) 114

by BForrester (#48765373) Attached to: Text Editor Created In Minecraft

I agree entirely with the sentiment, but there is a massive psychological difference between virtual problems and real ones.

With virtual problems, the rules are known and consistent, and the only potential barrier to success is the limitations of the user's abilities. If the user can accurately assess their own skill level, they can know if the problem is solvable, and possibly the time frame in which this can be done.

Big, real problems are awash in variables far beyond the control of any one person. They may not be solvable given current restraints. Many of the "best" governments in the world, led by the most educated and intelligent people, and backed with enormous budgets are undercut by the chaos of global economics, damaged by misinformation and false intelligence, aggravated by the stupidity of other actors, and in turn conduct their own activities that damage the prospects of peace, or health and security for all.

I might commit my life to a cure for cancer or world peace, and thus squander the next 60 years away because the world, as a majority, is not ready for those things. The Sudoku puzzle, on the other hand, I can solve before I finish breakfast.

Comment: Re:YAY US (Score 1) 55

Dearest representatives of the corporate interests of the United States of America:

It behooves me to request that, as we collectively drop the rears of our trousers, would you kindly bend down and kiss our asses? Only if you please, eh?

With tender, gentlemanly affection,

Your friendly neighbour,


Comment: Re:another language shoved down your throat (Score 4, Insightful) 415

by BForrester (#47409935) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

java was only "the most popular" because it was force fed to people who didn't want it.

I don't think you understand how schools and their curriculae work. Nobody is holding a gun to the collective and independently-operated heads of CS departments to demand which language they use for beginner courses.

Java was historically chosen because it was a safe option; used widely in industry, decent documentation and tools, it supports good programming practices, and it provides reasonably powerful options while being relatively beginner friendly. Java largely replaced C and C++, which are not beginner friendly.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 4, Informative) 45

by BForrester (#47369285) Attached to: Google Acquires Curated Music Service Songza

What is Songza?

I don't know how popular it is as a browser-based service, but it's a very popular mobile app. Particularly when linked through home media systems, it allows a user to very quickly jump to a playlist based on a desired genre, activity, or mood.

Activities examples:

Breaking Up
Driving in the Left Lane
Getting High
Making Out
Unwinding after work

Comment: Re:In civilized countries... (Score 1) 169

by BForrester (#47256945) Attached to: Starbucks Offers Workers 2 Years of Free College

This, exactly.

The US entry into WWII had just as much to do with incurring minimal damage as it did with ensuring that the allied nations were sufficiently depleted that they would need to lean on the US for their recovery.

The trope that the US won WWII is ridiculous and myopic. They won the entire post-war long game.

Comment: Re:In civilized countries... (Score 1) 169

by BForrester (#47256817) Attached to: Starbucks Offers Workers 2 Years of Free College

Why do people from all over the world keep coming to U.S. universities?

See the parent post: prestige. Attendance at those institutions is one of the shiniest resume items that can be earned/bought/bartered.

When someone tells me that they attended an Ivy League institution, I immediately think, "Wow. You must be really smart and/or rich and/or connected."

Comment: Re:Sweden (Score 1) 1040

by BForrester (#47158267) Attached to: Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

It *should* work both ways, if we want to be honest.

We shouldn't draw conclusions about socialism from the USSR without considering present-day Northern Europe.
Similarly, the recession-inducing, wealth-consolidating potentialities of capitalism do not erase the benefits of incentive and economic mobility.

There are benefits from both systems - proven by history - available as long as there are counterbalances to the unchecked accumulation of wealth and power.

Comment: Re:Sweden (Score 1) 1040

by BForrester (#47157297) Attached to: Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

To be fair, representative democracy is a great first step in terms of avoiding absolute, termless power accumulation. The system just needs additional development.

The problem with capitalism is that it just adds more layers of corporate parasites and concentrates power in the hands of unaccountable plutocrats.

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence. -- Jeremy S. Anderson