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Comment: Re:homeowner fail (Score 2) 536

The problem is that you can't back out of a home purchase after closing; during escrow, you can, based on any arbitrary rules you put in during the offer (assuming it got accepted). And of course, since you can't technically order the service until you own the house ... that probably won't work as well as you expect it to.

Comment: Re:Fuck those guys (Score 4, Interesting) 569

I'd guess that it's because the US is at the top of the list of "the person whose house you're about to invade is likely to be heavily armed."

I spent two weeks in the UK recently, with their largely-unarmed police force in full showing (mind you, I also walked by Buckingham Palace and Parliament, where I saw very heavily armed cops). They know that the vast majority of their citizenry is similarly unarmed.

Compare that to the US. I'm guessing SWAT officers are rather more trigger-twitchy because of that. I would be.

Comment: Re:Most geeks seem to think (Score 1) 252

by CrankyFool (#48731189) Attached to: US CTO Tries To Wean the White House Off Floppy Disks

I finally got to the (current, temporary) end of the the comment page on this article, and I find this particular comment somewhat ironic, given that it seems like about 80% of the comments about floppies have been pro-floppy, anti-change-for-change-sake, "maybe there's a very good reason to use floppies in this case."

It may be that most geeks seem to think that tech should be bought every six months, but certainly most Slashdot commenters seem to think otherwise (and, in general, are prone to being luddites, in my experience -- manifested as profound distrust in new technology and a dismissal of any new tech that's not ready to be useful today, right now, in its current state).

Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 440

by CrankyFool (#48609733) Attached to: Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

Not to start an argument, but are you sure about the 2nd amendment?

I'm a documented permanent legal alien here (Green Card); I own numerous guns. While as a non-citizen I have to show one extra piece of ID when purchasing a firearm, even in California (known for restrictive gun laws) I have the ability to purchase every firearm that a citizen can. I've never seen any indication of permanent residents being treated differently in terms of the ability to own firearms compared to citizens, and it feels like if the 2nd amendment (which refers to "people," not "citizens") could be construed to not include residents, someone would have already passed a law taking that particular capability out of my hands.

Comment: Re:Raining on the parade (Score 5, Insightful) 172

by CrankyFool (#48509331) Attached to: Study: HIV Becoming Less Deadly, Less Infectious

Over the long term, you're going to die anyway.

If HIV becomes the sort of virus that basically will take decades and decades to kill you (with lots of medicine, it pretty much is already that, except that in a lot of countries you don't get "lots of medicine"), then its relevance to your lifespan decreases.

There's a form of prostate cancer that develops so slowly that if you're old enough when you get it, it's considered quite reasonable to not even treat it, but rather monitor it to make sure it continues to develop slowly.

Comment: Re:Is it true... (Score 1) 355

by CrankyFool (#48506881) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

About a year after I came to the US, at the age of 14, I underwent an IQ test and was asked how many pounds are in a ton.

(This was a bit of a problem for me as having grown up in a metric country I could have easily told you how many kilograms were in a ton, of course, but pounds? I ended up torn between the long ton definition (2240 lbs) and the short ton definition (2000 lbs)

Comment: It's more nuanced than that (Score 1) 139

by CrankyFool (#48502231) Attached to: Want To Work For a Cool Tech Company? Hone Your Social Skills

Meritocracy:
1. government or the holding of power by people selected on the basis of their ability.
2. a ruling or influential class of educated or skilled people.

"skills" or "ability" don't just mean "technical skills," or "technical ability."

Personally, I find that in many tiny companies you actually see the opposite of "social skills" -- they become so deeply, desperately, dependent on the particular technical genius of one or two people that those people can basically do everything and anything they want to do, because the company doesn't think it could survive without them. I've worked in small startups where one of the three principal engineers was allowed to sexually harass an ex-girlfriend; in the same place, another principal engineer was such an asshole people basically routed around him. And the third one? He was a a perfectly pleasant guy I loved working with.

Getting things done, in most environments, includes working with other people. I'm a big fan of the "no brilliant jerks" rule. See "The No Asshole Rule" book for more discussion of this.

Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.

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