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Comment Re: who really cares? (Score 2) 251

I've been to the site. Other than the buildings for the astronomy, there is nothing there other than a bunch of large rocks. Truly nothing. There is no cultural heritage. There is no natural values. It is a huge pile of rocks. There is almost no life there.

I did get to see one of the rarest plants in the world in bloom while I was there. The Mauna Kea Silversword was the only plant I saw anywhere above 10k feet on the mountain. And there were only a couple of them in the wild, due not to astronomers but due to sheep farmers.

The entire area of the astronomy complex is tiny. Much, much smaller than a suburban shopping mall. Of all the things to be getting your panties in a twist about on the islands of Hawaii, a few buildings way away from everyone on top of the mountain is at the bottom of the list. In fact, I wouldn't even bring up the big island. It is mostly empty and fairly rural - for a touristy island.

Comment Re:who really cares? (Score 1) 251

That's kinda myopic, isn't it? Has there ever been a culture or tribe that didn't expand and conquer desirable lands when they were able? Manifest Destiny is just a populist slogan to label the same drive that all cultures exhibit. There's a reason we know who Genghis Khan is, and there's a reason that the english language is a melange of so many different language families - it isn't like all those other cultures just left the British islands to govern themselves over the last couple thousand years.

It isn't like the Polynesian people have never conquered lands held by others. I mean, why do you think they showed up on Hawaii in the first place? It certainly wasn't because a supreme being decreed it so. They were looking for a better place to find their fortune and raise their family.... and they found it in an uninhabited island. But they had no way of knowing what they would find. The Maori don't have a traditional war dance because they want to scare off would-be colonialists from the west.

People are people. For good and for ill. The basic drives are the same.

Comment Re:who really cares? (Score 4, Insightful) 251

Don't click on that link. It is the very real embodiment of the Billy Madison quote:

"Mr. Madison, what you just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response, were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

Think I am being hyperbolic? OK,

Personally, I am against the construction of telescopes anywhere and I have lots of problems with western science. I am careful to emphasize the adjective “western” in western science because Kanaka Maolis often remind me that they’ve always known many of the things western science claims to have discovered. Remember, as Mauna Kea protector Hualalai Keohula has reminded me, that Kanaka Maoli navigated the world’s largest and greatest ocean in canoes built with wood and stone, aided with nothing more powerful than the naked human eye, centuries before the West realized the world was round. This, it should be said, is the right way, the least destructive way, the non-violent way to practice astronomy.

And honestly, that is where he's at his most cogent. He goes on to argue that science is fundamentally evil because:

The culture we live in is based on domination. How else do we account for the fact that one in five women will be raped in her lifetime? One in four girls and one in six boys sexually abused before they turn 18? How else do we account for the fact that 2.6 people are killed by American police every day?

Why, then, would we expect western science – a product of this culture – to be any different?

Comment Re:Bodes Really Well for a Fair Trial (Score 1) 486

The measure of the crime isn't "did he disclose this information". There are legitimate defenses to the charges, including the illegality of the activities he was exposing. There is also the possibility of jury nullification, which is one of the reasons that we have trial by jury in the first place.

Not that it isn't a steep road. He disclosed way more than just the illegal stuff, so he'd have a hard time making that stick as a blanket protection. But there is an argument to be made.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 4, Insightful) 125

The AG is pretty incoherent here. He's saying that it is illegal gambling, but he's also claiming that it is a problem because the top 1% of players win the lion's share of the money. Well, that'd be the case if there was a great deal of skill involved, rather than relying mostly on luck. Which was the entire point of the "it isn't gambling" position.

Schneiderman probably should have edited his remarks better so he wasn't making the argument for the other side. I suppose prosecutorial immunity extends to mouthing off to the press so he isn't liable for slander and libel.

Comment Re:You're doing it wrong (Score 2) 294

Probably not the pols.... but probably directly targeting the bureaucracy and all of the NGO's and lobbyists sucking at the government teat in Washington. A little good will might go a long way. And if that good will happens to work at the department of commerce or the state department, well, so much the better.

There's a reason the USA came up with Voice of America after all. And it wasn't to change the hearts and minds of politicians and dictators around the world.

Comment Re:You're doing it wrong (Score 2) 294

Let me put it an other "another way".

Let's suppose Fire_Wraith really thinks Jeb Bush sucks a donkey. So he wants to let everyone know that a vote for Jeb is one step toward the end of civilization. Under the constitution and federal election laws, Fire_Wraith can go out to the town square and scream at the top of his lungs on the topic all he wants. He can even publish ads in the newspaper and on TV. Or put up a web page. As much of his time and treasure as he'd like to spend on the issue, he can spend.

In this way it is just like any other issue Fire_Wraith cares about. He could be advocating for parental rights for Transgender divorcees, or anything else his heart desires. The FEC only takes note when he's dealing with a federal election in some way - and he can't coordinate his activities with those campaigns without calling it a contribution and being regulated.

Now, here's the other shoe to drop: What if I think Fire_Wraith is the smartest guy ever and I'm totally on his side. I want to join in his efforts. So I offer to pay for half of his advertizing and help write the ad copy. I'm doing the same thing that he was doing before. So is he. Only now we are doing it together.

Pre Citizen's United we suddenly were running afoul of federal law. Just because we were pooling our resources for common cause.

Even today Fire_Wraith and I would run into difficulties because of campaign laws. It happens all the time, all around the country and it has nothing to do with corporate oligarchies. Let's say instead of Bush, Fire_Wraith and I were worried about something happening in our town and we got together with a bunch of people from the neighborhood to do something about it. We put our heads and wallets together and get a bunch of yard signs printed up. Ooops. We just violated campaign finance laws. We are now a PAC and have to get ourselves all legal and regulated and stuff. So even though we were only able to scrape together $382.78 for the yard signs (and coffee and donuts for the meeting), we are required to file complicated paperwork and collect information for the regulators on all of our contributors and all of our expenditures. Even though this would cost way more than we are spending on our actual political activities, and even though we could barely muster the energy to get the yard signs deployed.

This is what campaign finance laws look like in the real world. Often a group like ours would skate under the radar and not be bothered by regulators. Unless, of course, somebody got their undies in a bunch and decided to do something about it. The example above is based on a real story - I think it was Colorado a few years back. Some neighborhood group was opposed to something the city was doing and tried to oppose it by pooling their resources. The powers on the other side used the levers of government to silence them - audits and subpoenas and prosecutors all drowned the group, costing them many, many times what they were planning to spend on stopping their government.

This can reach extremes when your political opponents happen to work for government as prosecutors or regulators. In this case a prosecutor used his power to silence (and bankrupt) someone who was raising money for the opposing party. Someone who ultimately was found to be operating perfectly legally, but was harassed and silenced for 5 years, using campaign finance laws.

There's a lot to worry about here, not just on the "corporations are evil" front.

Comment Re:Let me follow the logic (Score 1) 478

Presumably you also dislike all critics because they seek to change the content of your games/movies by pointing out things that suck about them. All criticism is an attack that is trying to ram ideology down your throat.

Face it, you actually hate freedom of speech when people say things you disagree with.

As a true feminist, let me see if I can point out the difference. Posting a takedown of Star Wars Episode 1 that rips it to shreds and belittles everything about it: legitimate exercise of free speech. Even if you love Jar-Jar and midichlorians. Even if they use obscene language and offensive humor.

Petitioning the government to pass new laws outlawing Star Wars or instituting Sci-fi review boards that will monitor and approve the content of such movies: not a legitimate exercise of free speech. Even if you use the language of academics and intellectuals while doing so. (legitimate in this case being a stand-in for "morally acceptable" or "compatible with freedom of speech", not a synonym for "speech that should be banned by the government")

Comment Re:CS Educators? (Score 1) 152

This is precisely what I have seen. Despite a disproportionate amount of money being spent on technology (iPads, electronic whiteboards, computer stations, etc.), almost no effort is being spent on computer science education in most public schools. The "computer classes" are often even more of a redheaded stepchild than music has become. At least music has a centuries old educational tradition and curriculums to go with it. The curriculum for computer science often focuses on opening an application on one of the Macs and editing a document. Maybe at a high school level they'll learn how to put a =sum(a1:a6) formula into an excel spreadsheet.

I have run into a few folks who are valiantly trying to actually educate their students, and the reason I know about the "valiantly" part is because of the rant they'll give after a cocktail or two about the idiot administrator who designed the "curriculum" they have to follow. Even when they accidentally find a competent and motivated teacher, the "I can use power point real good" person at the district office that they put in charge of the curriculum doesn't know enough to even understand what their underling is talking about when he/she tries to improve the curriculum. It really is a big problem.

Comment Re:Record License Plate Number? (Score 4, Interesting) 328

Both the "rock attack" and the cut seatbelt probably occurred when the police arrived. The reporters probably wouldn't exit the vehicle so the cops broke the window and cut the seat belt to pull the driver out. This is a reasonably common police tactic when someone refuses to exit a vehicle.

The reason I doubt it was the security guards is the reporting from the RGJ. They don't report their employee's version - they ask the Sheriff and say he "can't confirm how that damage occurred". So I'd say the police broke the window, probably not with a rock, and then they cut the seatbelt and pulled the driver from the vehicle. At least that is the most plausible version of events.


Cancer Patient Receives 3D-Printed Titanium Sternum and Ribs 38

An anonymous reader writes: A Spanish cancer patient diagnosed with chest wall sarcoma has received the world's first 3D printed titanium sternum and rib cage. Anatomics, an Australian medical device company, designed and manufactured the metal rib cage. Cnet reports: "Once printed, finished and polished, the implant was couriered to the Salamanca University Hospital, where it was implanted into the patient's chest. It has now been two weeks since the surgery, and the patient has been discharged is recovering well."

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