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Comment Re:Airstrikes on population centers (Score 4, Interesting) 335

This is the most complete and factual analysis I have seen on Slashdot so far. What concerns me and would stop me from embracing the strategy we have chosen were I sitting in the oval office is, that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" does not hold up after the original enemy is gone.

Al Qaeda and its offshoots and subgroups in particular are propaganda machines. When Daesh is defeated if it ever is, we will again be the Great Satin and just like before I suspect we find ourselves faced with the training and likely weapons we have provided turned on us. Its how these leaders hold on to power. Personally I think out best bet would be to just disengage form the middle east. let Southern Europe, Russia, China, Israel and the more stable elements in North Africa contain it if they can. While politically sacrificing Iraq and Afghanistan at this point is a tough pill to swallow, in the most mercenary sense the potential payback from stabilizing those places in no way approaches the costs.

Daesh could be very useful to us in that if we left it unchecked it will likely put a great deal of strain on Iran, Russia, and eventually China will be drawn in. These are our economic rivals, its hard to imagine we don't gain from them being in a multi-trillion dollar quagmire we have been stuck in for fifteen years now. A few decades of not seeing American's dropping bombs over there might cause a refocus of some of the extra-regional terrorism objectives as well.

Personally I think our best move is to pack up and go home. No foreign aide to the region. State department imposed travel bans for Americans. Lets just watch from the satellites and see how it pans out.

Comment Re:Patreon still hacked (Score 1) 75

I support a couple artists on Patreon because I like the stuff they do. I enjoy viewing it and I think it is interesting enough to patronize. Both of them post their stuff to their regular free youtube channels the same day. Its essentially the internet equivalent of being busker. They going to perform their art and if you want to help them out by throwing a few bucks in their virtual violin case they appreciate it.

There is no problem there. I don't think artists are under any illusions about how the system works or that most of their viewers probably don't contribute directly.

Comment Re:And what, pray tell, is a "digital agenda"? (Score 1) 109

For example, NYC has a population density higher than Tokyo, yet has data speeds than are a fraction of Tokyo's. Why is that? Its not for want of faster speeds, or technical capability.


The same reason we because an industrial power house to rival Europe in the 19th century. We industrialized a little later then they did. We learned the lesson the tech was evolving quickly and investing in more 'disposable' cheaper machines was better. We grew more quickly for that because did not have the over hang of to much investment in obsolete tech.

We built a telecom network before Tokyo, with the technology we had at the time. Now we live with it because the cost to fork lift it out and replace it with new before it reaches the end of its serviceable life does not justify the pay back. Would we like faster speeds, and lower latency sure but what do we gain?

If you're an HFT trader it makes sense build out the telecom you need to do that. The rest of us I am not so sure it matters much. Doing IT work could we gain some small productivity increases not wait for patches to download or images to transfer yes. Is that worth the costs? Are there other goods and services we can't produce efficiently because of lack of network resources? Asia has faster networks is not a justification for building faster networks, by itself. Once someone comes up with a killer app for more speed I am sure more speed will readily appear.

As it stands now, I am sure we'd get more economic value in making sure the truly under served parts of the this country can get on the right side of the digital divide. Keeping our smaller towns from drying up is important. The are important resource for rural residents who grow our food produce our chemicals etc. Getting those places from 800Kbps to 25Mbps is probably of more value than taking NYC residents from 75Mbps to 1000Mbps.

Comment Re:duh (Score 1) 225

The free market hasn't be allowed to operate in a long time. The free market does not provide bailouts to big banks, or auto makers.

The definition of middle class has been sneakily altered as well. Most of the people who think they are middle class are really working poor. Middle class used to mean you were a merchant or artisan or something. You were a free person with some wealth who go where you liked. if your liabilities exceed your assets, you are poor does not matte what your income is. If you don't have enough assets that you are 'free' to quit working move to another city and find a job you like better without risk of starving becoming homeless etc, you are poor, it makes no difference how many square feet your current home is.

Let me make this even simpler, unless you can pay off all your debts today and have a sufficiently portable source of income to relocate at least within the country you are a serf, you are not middle class and would do well to let go of that illusion.

Had we not bailed out the banks the poor would have gotten crushed for sure, and the wealthy would have lost a great deal of their wealth. The middle class would have profited handsomely. It would have been the middle class with actual savings that got to snap up all kinds of assets at fire sale prices.

Comment Trouble is what happens to those who stay (Score 3, Interesting) 572

As unfair as it might be I think the response to the crisis is wrong. We should NOT welcome the refugees and asylum seekers. By and large these people are the educated people of quality with some wealth in that region that are leaving. If anything it might be self serving to allow them to come to the US or enter the EU.

If Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan etc are ever to be anything other than squalid hell holes its the very people who are leaving that would otherwise have the cause (families) and capability (education + money) to make those places better. While denying them entry in Europe and the US might be sentencing them to a life time of struggle or death letting immigrate dooms the places they come from to being dominated by the Islamic extremist loonies.

If we ever want to see those places settle down, and see it be possible for people to have a normal life there the only approach might be to make getting out more hopeless than taking back their countries from the crazies.

Comment Re:He better hope they don't catch him (Score 1) 206

Snowden traded the US for Russia. This is what made comparisons between the two countries and the practices of their intelligence agencies valid and on-topic.

How exactly did he do that? Is a Russian citizen now? Is he advocating or espousing the Russian political system? I don't see how the fact that he is sleeping there indicates he 'traded' anything.

the primary danger to our freedoms is the increasingly common belief, that it is acceptable â" and even noble â" to vote other people's monies to the "less fortunate" including, as so often happens, the voter himself.

Whoa! You complain about my objection to the idea that Russia has anything to do with the NSA and the legality and morality of its action, but you want to bring in a discussion of personal property as it relates to liberties and suggest that is on topic?

I would readily agree with that strong protections of personal property, including the freedom from most forms of taxation are a cornerstone of liberty. I don't see what that has to do with anything here, unless you don't believe our other Constitutional protections are also important to liberty. I see the 4th amendment right to be secure in my effects as closely related the personal property cornerstone. While it might be more important the government can't take my things or money its also import they can't rifle through them at will either; at least it is to me. You seem to suggest the NSA's data will one day be used to confiscate wealth. Its already happening they tip off the DEA and FBI regularly. So there is my point if you don't let the government see your stuff they don't know where there is to try and take from you. So thank you Snowden for bringing to light the domestic spying!

Maybe the NSA's domestic spying isn't the 'greatest' threat to liberty but it clearly is a A threat. I for one think we should resist all threats to personal freedoms not just the biggest ones. Walk and chew bubble gum man.

Comment Re:Putin's tool (Score 1) 206

Oh yeah? What happened to âoeLet every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.â? We defend Taiwan from China, South Korea from the North. Israel â" from its mad neighbors. We kept USSR at bay throughout the Cold War â" why is Ukraine less worthy of American help today than France or Germany was in 1970-ies?

Team America World Police is a stupid policy that is bankrupting our nation and endangering our citizens. We a large scale global threat emerges with the potential to harm us, yes we should deal with it. Otherwise we should stay in relative safety between two great oceans and let the rest of the world solve its own problems.

To understand is to forgive" â" you, obviously do like Putin's behavior better, than you like that of American governments.

Sure the same way I forgive gravity for causing things to fall down. I am simply stating what a large number of people familiar with US Russian politics will echo. Putin actions are predictable responses to our own. Either the surprise and astonishment that comes from the administration is feigned for political effect or they are dangerously naive and inept.

There is one stark and undeniable difference remaining, though â" when the US invades, it is never to steal land â" our last acquisition was Hawaii. We had multiple opportunities since (such as Philippines, but didn't use them). Putin's invasion into Crimea â" ostensibly to "defend Russian-speakers" against the imaginary threat of the imaginary "nazist junta" â" was nothing but a land-grab.

Right because we know total control and administration of a territory is difficult and expensive work. Just ask Paul Bremer about Iraq. With some exceptions our policy could be summed up as "That's a nice country you have there it would be shame if something happened to it." I don't see the great justice. We install a leadership that is either unpopular with its own people or incapable of survival given its neighbors without our continued support, we then make sure they 'play ball' with the threat of leaving them to twist if they don't. We do leave them to twist when they don't, ask Hamid Karzai or Nouri al-Maliki. This is a nice way of not stealing anything, but the results are not so different.

I really am not defending Russia, or Putin. I don't like him. He is a global menace. I am saying "People in glass houses should not throw stones." Geopolitical events are complicated and you can always make excuses and justifications about how you have some kind of moral authority. In the end though you are either melding in the affairs of others or you are not; you killing and maiming people who don't threaten you or you are not. I think ultimately it really is that simple or needs to be thought about in that way. I think that because in reality its two complicated to even know what the ends are when we go melding and looking back on pretty much every post WWII conflict its damn hard to say the ends justified the means.

Comment Re:He better hope they don't catch him (Score 4, Insightful) 206

I don't understand this argument. It sounds a lot like the bullshit that flows from the mouths of John Kerry about it. No matter what Russia does or does not do to its people, that in no way makes the NSA's behavior lessor or more virtuous. We have a Constitution, we have a body of Legal precedent that establishes protections and we have a common largely shared understanding among the public of what those protections mean and are; the NSA just ignores them and does what it wants anyway.

We are loosing our government by and FOR the people in drips and drabs and the NSA's behavior is a drop in that bucket. Snowden could have done nothing, he could have done his 'job' and added to the problem, or he could do what he did even though it amounts to trying to empty the bucket with a tea spoon. He chose to start bailing at great personal cost to himself. I can only wish I had the balls to do that.

Snowden will very likely never by able to go home again. He will never be truly free again, comfortable maybe but greatly constrained in what he can say and do. He needs the protection of Putin who is purely mercenary. Snowden will always be more constrained than he would have been had he done nothing to shelter us from the infringements that were silently taking place against our liberties.

AND THAT ISN"T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU! No he hast to be martyr as well for some reason. He does not have a lot of choices, there are not many places or people he can go to with the ability to protect him, let alone the desire or will. Putin is the best of bad choices probably. Will I be disappointed if Snowden starts telling us what a standup guy Vladimir is and how Russia is a shining example of freedom and democracy; yes I would. I will however accept his silence on the matter, as hypercritical. He needs a place to stay, you don't insult the master of the manor when you are guest. Russia's problems are not Snowden's fight, that is fight for the citizens of Russia. Snowden fought for freedom in his country, my country, likely your country. I think 'we' owe him gratitude!

Comment Re:Putin's tool (Score 1) 206

Putin is a far worse threat to the world peace, than Obama or Bush before him.

Putin is no peace neck for sure, he isn't a good guy by any stretch and probably isn't doing what is in the best interest of the nation he leads but to suggest he is a bigger threat to world peace than Obama is silly.

Putin's invasions of foreign nations have all been of neighboring or nearly so territories with for the most part pretty clear economic or militarily strategic reason for Russian interest. Georgia being his most naked land grab.

The other instances like Ukraine happened after potentially hostile western entities (like us) started meddling in affairs there. Was the government of Ukraine a good one, no, but we had no business backing the revolutionaries and we had no business supporting the ouster of the sitting president for which there was no legal process of impeachment. We helped depose a lawfully elected leader who was friendly to Putin and replace him with an unlawfully elected leader who favored the EU.

While Bush and Obama invade nations that never really posed any threat to us. Libya was helping us with the 'war on terror' Obama turned a more or less orderly if less than 'free' nation into another hell hole for no reason at all. We fucked Pakistan up more than it already was shortly before that. Bush while at least going about it legally with an congressional authorization went looking for any excuse to stir up IRAQ and went in on thin evidence....

How do think Obama would react if Russia backed a coup in Mexico and replaced the government with one openly hostile to the US? Do you think we would just sit by and allow that?

I am not saying I like Putin's behavior but I am saying its quite understandable, and seems entirely rational to me. He isn't crazy, and I don't think he is exactly the provocateur in many cases either. He certainly is taking advantage of certain situations perhaps in way that exceeds a balanced response but these are doors opened for him by Obama behavior and policy more so than anyone else. Syria is the same call would we allow Russia to undermine our foot hold in the Middle East by deposing governments friendly to us. What if the Russian's tried to bring down the Saudi Royal family? You think we would just do nothing? I doubt it. Why do expect the Russians to not try and prop up Assad? Oh and spare me the but Assad uses barrel bombs on his own people, the Saudi's to plenty of terrible things to their citizens too, and we look the other way.

What exactly do think the effect of all the aide to the Arab spring rebels is, the humanitarian aide to Syria, or the Palestinians, the cease fire negotiations is exactly? I'll tell you it keeps these conflicts alive when hunger and disease would have decisively ended them decades ago without all our interventions. Why because the Military Industrial Complex profits from endless waring. Putin is bad guy and Russia has a bad foreign policy too if you want to see peace, but it is post cold war American foreign policy that is responsible for the state the world is in today for the most part. Some administrations have been worse than others. Certainly Obama is among the more dangerous, GWB and Clinton not far behind him, GHB and Regan a little better the last three but not by much either.

Comment Activity or productivity (Score 5, Insightful) 165

statistical analysis of large data sets makes it increasingly easy to evaluate individual productivity, even if the employer has a fairly noisy data set about what is going on in the workplace.

This is only true if you know what to measure. Otherwise you are measuring activity. For example one programmer may type out lots of quick lines to empirically discover the format of a string a library returns for a given inputs, another might go directly to the documentation. One will press more keys, but which is more productive? I don't think you can always expect the correct answer if the statistic you use is average key presses per hour.

If someones job is to paint unpainted widgets in bin A and paint them and put them in bin B, that we can pretty accurately measure their productivity by determine how many widgets are in bin B each day and comparing them with others who do the same work, or can we? What about the defect rate? Measuring is hard, knowing what to measure is harder.

How do measure the productivity of a corporate staff attorney? What about route / switch admin? Is one who puts in more change requests more productive or does that just mean (s)he fails to plan ahead?

Be careful what you measure you will probably get favorable results, but its the side effects that will hurt you.

Comment Re:Let's be clear here ... (Score 2) 86

I don't disagree with you. If we are being intellectually honest then your argument is perfectly correct. If we care to do the right thing then your argument is perfectly correct, IMHO.

The problem is you had better be prepared for disappointment. The Feds abhor intellectual honesty "The law says we can't give aide to a country after a coup but it does not say we have to make the determination if a coup occurred." -- This is how they think. Any normal person I would consider having any sort of relationship other than strictly adversarial would recognize that as total bullshit, and that obviously laws or any sort of agreement do not need to contain a disclaimer that specifically states "you are not entitled to be willfully ignorant on matters relating or to ignore reality"

The defense of parallel construction will be that they don't lie about, but rather evade the question.

Defense Attorney: "How did you come to learn my client was in possession of $controlledSubstance"
DEA Agent: "Well we might have discovered it during a traffic stop."

They are going to argue that its not 'fruit of poison' as long as they reasonably could found it thru normal means.

Comment Re:Let's face it... (Score 1) 260

"God created the heavens and the Earth"

I don't see why the fundamentalists even need to deny it. They already believe God created Mars, the earth and basically everything, what doctrinal notion is violated by the idea their creator also put some bacteria on Mars? Intelligently designed of course.

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.