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Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 1) 1162

What I am claiming is that the difference between fatal and non-fatal injuries in a mass attack comes down to the same lottery luck as the election analogy. The (relative) skill of the attacker and defenders is more critical when determining the total number of victims, and less so when determining the extent of any particular injury.

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 1) 1162

Let me give you a second example.

Rather than taking the effort to tally all the votes cast in an election, let's throw all the ballots into a giant pile, mix them about (maybe in a cement mixer) so they're completely random, and pull one out. Whoever is on that ballot wins the election. If you fully believe that randomness is not bad for public policy, then you must conclude that there is no drawback to this voting system, and the lower work required to determine the winner makes it superior to the systems in use today.

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 1) 1162

What's wrong with your maths?

I could ask the same question of you—because from my perspective, the only difference between victims being injured or killed is a matter of luck. I consider it an error of the highest order to include that sort of randomness in the factors which drive public policy.

Comment Re:What the hell is wrong with people? (Score 1) 1162

A person with issues made what might have been a final plea for help the night before and everyone just blew it off.

"Online" is such a vague description. Was this somewhere like Facebook or G+, where tying your activity to your offline location is simple, or was it on 4chan or Xbox Live where the "identity protections" in place may have prevented properly contacting the police department in the correct local area?

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 1) 1162

...do you think someone can commit mass murder on this scale with knives and baseball bats?

It does not matter what I think, I happen to know it has happened. While typically these events are "less fatal" I don't think a 0-deaths attack should be considered better if victim counts remain high. Personally, I wonder why you prioritize guns, when nearly every previous mass shooting perpetrator has shown poor mental health? (It's still a little early in the reporting cycle for a solid analysis in this latest attack.) Since this is such a universal factor, even past the availability of firearms, I would say improving our treatment of mental health issues should take a higher priority in responding to mass attacks.

Comment Re:as a linux user, i can explain. (Score 2) 165

I have a laptop running Gentoo as its' sole OS. The fact there is a cron service installed at all is because I wanted one. Whether the system boot manager is OpenRC or systemd was my choice, not somebody in charge of the distribution. For any compilation option that can be turned on or off, there is a good chance that it is exposed to the package manager and thus I chose its' state when installing. (If not, portage is the simplest manager I've seen when altering installation scripts, so overriding that choice is very easy.) Most packages don't automatically include their software into a runlevel: you also choose if (and when) they would run.

That control was why I chose Gentoo: not for privacy or a protest against "stealth software" (the Steam client is installed), but because by having to touch each and every part of the system I get a clearer idea of how these parts mesh. I would highly recommend setting up a machine in this fashion: it's a very educational experience.

Comment Re:What bothers me (Score 1) 434

If Hillary survives to the general election without this snowballing into a legal issue, I really want some brave and fearless soul to stand up in the first televised debate and ask her one question:

"Based on your legal expertise as a former member of the House Judiciary's Impeachment Inquiry staff, and the arguments which led to legal action being proposed against President Nixon, how many email messages would it take to equal 17 minutes of audio tape?"

Comment Online Presence (Score 4, Interesting) 111

As visible in your official company FAQ, you had run a ISP as well as other online services (I seem to recall there having been some manner of MOO/MUSH service for running online games), well in advance of most other RPG publishers. Furthermore, you run your own digital store (e23) rather than using through the DriveThruStuff platform used by the rest of the tabletop industry, and made PDF copies of your books available for purchase before the other "major" industry players (Fantasy Flight, Pinnacle, WhiteWolf, and WotC).

How much of this decision was strategic—based on a firm belief this was "The Way of the Future"—and how much was it exploratory / risk-taking? In hindsight, what decisions for your online presence would you have made differently?

Comment Re:"Whether or not you believe there’s a pro (Score 1) 613

I caution attempts at social engineering result in greater injustices than those they seek to fight against.

I would say that the first thing those attempting social engineering should seek is to utilize the solutions they propose. For instance, it's amazing how many of the politicians in the US who seek to raise the minimum wage also make broad use of unpaid interns. If even the crusaders can't manage to pay everybody minimum wage (not the new level of $10, $15, or whatever is being proposed today, but just the current amount), what makes you so certain it's a great idea?

Comment Re:Good (Score 2) 302

I'm not entirely sure you're not trolling, but I'll bite anyway.

The US Constitution states that the purpose of copyright is "to promote the progress of science and useful arts", artists and inventors may be granted a (temporary, limited) exclusive right to their work. Anytime copyright comes up among my group of friends (who include a large number of writers, musicians, and graphical artists, in addition to programmers) copyright is a fairly contentious issue. I tend to like to argue the position that any "common", mass produced work that is unavailable for public purchase for longer than one year has outlived its' salable value and should lose copyright protection. (This is particularly true in the age of digital distribution, where "shelf space" is a non-issue.) Fine art (where only one copy of the item ever gets created) clearly requires a different definition for copyright term, but for the things which usually are referenced in these debates online -- CDs, mass market books, newsclippings, etc. -- a strictly limited term is far more beneficial to keeping works available to the public.

Comment Re:Well guys if you were passed over for a positio (Score 1) 517

I don't think I dare look at your link right now, but your question has been answered. To quote from that Wikipedia article: "The lead plaintiff was Frank Ricci, who had been a firefighter at the New Haven station for 11 years. ... Because he has dyslexia, he paid an acquaintance $1,000 to read his textbooks onto audiotapes." (Emphasis mine.)

Make whatever noises you like: just because a person is part of the privileged class in the two most visible categories of discrimination (race & gender) doesn't exclude them from being a member of any other legally protected class.

Comment Re:Libertarianism, the new face of the GOP? (Score 1) 441

I'm sure you know about Westinghouse and Edison setting up parallel electricity networks in New York, but it was even more extreme for the telegraph. In 1850 there were 75 telegraph companies, ten of which served New York; in 1866 there was only one. ... The government mostly stepped in *after* these natural monopolies formed, to keep them from abusing their power,

False. Since you specifically mentioned New York, here's an article about how that technology developed. Specifically, it states that "To encourage growth in this new electricity infrastructure, New York, like all of the other states, protected the utilities’ investment by granting them an exclusive right to serve customers." (Emphasis mine.) Believe what you want about the importance of monopoly busting, but the sad truth is that for every common example people give of "natural" monopolies, the government had a hand in why the service in question is a monopoly market.

Comment Re:Computers are making everyone's life easier (Score 3, Interesting) 212

The analogy I like to use when discussing the Art vs. Engineering paradigm in programming is architecture (the wood & steel building sort, not hardware chip instructions) design. Every architect, whether building a private home or an office complex, needs to know certain fundamental facts about the materials they use (load bearing capacity, for instance) and the choice of what materials are used is (typically) dictated by the intended purpose of a building. Brick and wood framing is pretty universal, but you don't generally see homes being built out of little more than tin siding and steel frames like factory warehouses, or giant glass walls like skyscrapers.

That part -- mating the materials with the intended purpose -- is the "art" in architecture. The "art" in programming (aside from some limited domains like UX or AI) is less immediately describable except by effect (e.g. "How quickly do new team members get up to speed?") but should be no less important to any project manager. I don't really think that programming has been around long enough for us to have our Frank Lloyd Wright moment, but that is no reason to ignore the "intangibles" and immeasurable aspects to quality code.

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.