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Comment: Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (Score 1) 120

It distinguishes a person more closely to the culture they spring from like the difference between saying European or German( although it may be nice to break this subset down to their staadts as well.).

The trend is just the opposite in the EU, though. I've been dealing with a lot of folks from France lately, and they almost universally refer to themselves as "European", or "from Europe".

Comment: Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contract (Score 2) 124

Really think about it is there some filter that puts idiots in to government employment while private industry only get the goods ones while paying a lower wage?

Sort of. It's generally referred to as "job security". Most government agencies have both good and worthless employees. The thing is, in government, the worthless employees are almost impossible to get rid of. So those agencies can never be as efficient as a company that can hire people at-will, and can cut staff that is not contributing. Yes, it's possible to fire government employees, but it's very difficult, and it requires putting resources into all the paperwork required to make it happen and avoid lawsuits. And there are all kinds of things that go on in government that perpetuates that, such as tribute, PC issues, long-term employees with strategic relationships, etc. And so the response when more resources are needed is never to look for the lowest-level contributors, but to simply hire more people to make up for the dead weight.

Of course this issue is not strictly limited to government, it can happen to some degree in any old, large bureaucratic organization. But since most government agencies fall into that category, and exist in perpetuity, and rarely if ever face budget cuts, it's more pervasive in government than in private industry.

Comment: Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contracto (Score 1) 124

It's a regular template among the privatization crowd. Government only had to accomplish X but screwed up here, here, and here. Privatize and that won't happen. Barely hidden assumptions include: private operations never screw up, private operations never cheat.

Making these kinds of generalizations are not very helpful. What is X, what was the screw up, here, here, here, and what's the best way to handle it? Sometimes privatization IS the answer, but jumping to it can lead to crony capitalism, favoritism, secret deals and even worse outcomes than before. Frankly, I always thought the best examples of slow, opaque, inefficient bureaucracy were in federal government agencies - then I had to deal with Northrop Grumman.

One major issue that must be considered when privatizing, is the function that is being privatized. If you have a service provided by government that can wholly be done by private companies and provide better and more efficient service to citizens, it's certainly a candidate to consider. What is often done, though, is outsourcing of internal functions, such as accounting or IT or, as in this case, facility management. The problem is that when these things are privatized, it's done though legislation, the function is handed over to a company, government employees are laid off or transitioned, and now the actually customer, which is the agency still providing services. But now they are stuck with basically a monopoly providing those services. Due to the top-down nature of control from the legislature and administration, the agency itself is unable to control the costs and service levels. I've seen agencies lay off front-line service employees to cover increasing costs from their private IT contractor. They are unable to fire or hold their service company to account - they have to lobby the legislators or legislative oversight committees to do that. And the contractor has their own lobbyists. This is where "privatization" goes horribly wrong.

Comment: Re:One small way I try to help. (Score 1) 333

[citation please]

There are earthworm species that are native to North America (see, for instance, Hendrix's Earthworm Ecology and Biogeography in North America). There are also exotic / invasive species. These species (as well as one or two native species with expanding ranges) are definitely a problem, but that is a different statement from "earthworms are not native to America."

I don't know about earthworms, but I did hear years ago that the native species of lady bug in North America had been entirely supplanted by an Asian variety, and there were no native Lady Bug species left.

Comment: Re:Or, maybe there's no paradox at all. (Score 2) 226

by Curunir_wolf (#47524991) Attached to: Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

The paradox arises when this system falls into a black hole causing the information to devolve into a single state.

Or... maybe it doesn't devolve into a single state at all. We can't actually see what goes on inside of black hole... but if our assumptions about what actually happens appear to create a paradox, then maybe it's our assumptions aren't valid, rather than the original basic concept of what a black hole supposedly is. I believe that the concept that black holes are necessarily singularities may be flawed. Space is so distorted by gravity in their vicinity that straight lines which intersect their event horizon never exit it, but I do not think that means that all of a black hole's mass is necessarily at its center, or even necessarily collapsing inexorably towards its center. Its center is just its center of mass.

And yeah, I know that astrophysicists with a vastly more qualifications than I have came up with these ideas, but in the end, an argument from authority does not make one actually right.

The theory of black holes did not come from any observations of physical phenomenon, it came from studying Einstein's theories. The math suggested the possibility of singularities, but at first no one thought they would actually exist in our universe. Of course now we know that black holes DO exist, so those theories are validated. Now we're just trying to figure out how to reconcile with OTHER theories.

Comment: Re:hire the team, they can scale (Score 4, Insightful) 142

Braidamaged, toxic, idiotic, retard conservative culture (You. You heard me. Did I fucking stutter?) has convinced everyone that nothing can be ever developed in house by a government, ever.

It's known as "crony capitalism", or "Public-private-partnerships (PPP)", and we called it Fascism in the 1930's and 1940's. Leadership on the "progressive" or "liberal" side is at least as guilty of promoting these things as conservative culture, in fact it seems to be conservatives that want to back away from it, while the Democrats are doubling-down. It was the Democrat governor Mark Warner that handed all of Virginia's IT work over to Northrop Grumman many years ago. And, of course, the liberal appointees at Obama's HHS that outsourced the website for millions of dollars more than should have been spent to do it.

Comment: Re:So It's Come to This (Score 1) 75

by Curunir_wolf (#47523405) Attached to: Verizon's Offer: Let Us Track You, Get Free Stuff

Except it isn't Google's business plan. Google sells advertising targeting to ad companies. Verizon is selling your data to data mining companies. Google would never sell your data because it's their core business to be the keepers of that data so they can sell targeted ads. Not that Google is altruistic, just that they are themselves the data miners so they are not going to share.

Google offers free services to compensate. Services people tend to find pretty valuable such as Android, Gmail and Search.

Verizon is going to offer "discounts for shopping, travel and dining" read: coupons (ie more advertising). Verizon is going to "anonymize" your data and sell it to anyone and everyone willing to pay.

I see the exchange of value in one business plan, and not the other.

Verizon is offering more than just the points. Your asymmetrical FIOS connection gets upgraded to symmetrical based on your download speed if you sign up. My 150/65 got upgraded to 150/150 and shows it is actually hitting 152/164 consistently. I'll take it, especially considering they could probably have sold the data with no compensation.

Yes, I took it, too. I read all through their terms-of-service fine print, too, and there is nothing there granting them any access to, or additional rights to use, any data or tracking information about me. That is, there was no change in privacy policy stuff for signing up for the Rewards+ program. So whatever data they are selling, they are not collecting / selling more of it than they were before.

I suspect that what they are selling is eyeballs to advertisers or merchants that want access to Verizon's customers. And you get "points" for actually becoming a patron with one of their partners / advertisers.

Comment: Re:No More Limited Upload Globally (Score 1) 234

by Curunir_wolf (#47502263) Attached to: Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads

I went to Verizon's site to check on this for my account. Here's what I got:

My Rewards+


Great news, you are eligible for an upload speed to equal your current download speed, at no additional cost to you! Simply click here and enroll in our My Rewards+ program - it’s easy and free. Just our way of thanking you for being a loyal Verizon customer. Faster upload speed means better sharing experiences. That’s Powerful! Join Now

Comment: Re:So depressing. (Score 1) 108

by Curunir_wolf (#47501711) Attached to: A Look At NASA's Orion Project

US government foreign policy prefers it this way, because then these other countries are beholden to us if they want to act militarily. It's hegemony.

Plus, military weaponry is just about the only US export still bringing in money. Civil wars or border disputes crop up, and the US companies get to sell to both sides. Of course, I'm sure State Department advisers would NEVER do anything to encourage those conflicts...

Comment: Re:In Verizon's defense (Score 1) 390

by Curunir_wolf (#47484075) Attached to: Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

Actually, they did. Verizon has just yet to deliver. Apparently they don't expect to deliver until the end of the year in any case.

Which this article seems to implies it takes Verizon a year to send a technician to 7 cities to connect up a few cables between routers. (And / or maybe install a couple of cards). Maybe Verizon should stop having their techs travel by horseback, they might get it done faster.

It's not that simple. This isn't adding cards and cables to an existing interconnect, it's installing a whole new one. In fact, Netflix will be co-locating servers with content either within or close to Verizon's data centers. So there is lots of logistics involved.

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