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Comment: Re:I found this article to be more informative (Score 1) 162

by ultranova (#47429977) Attached to: After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

The Gestapo actually wasn't that good at spying. The German people were, however, quite good at turning their neighbors in to the Gestapo.

Which means Gestapo was good at spying. The indicator is whether you get results, after all, not whether you get them because you're smart or scary.

There's a lot of myth concerning the Nazi police force. It's unfortunate that even today people repeat it without thinking.

"He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you."

Tyrants stay in power, not because they're stronger than their very source of power, but because they're good at building myths. A nation, company or any other organization is nothing more than a myth shared by its members. And the myth of the Third Reich is so strong it still persists, long after its embodiment is gone, as a kind of ghost nation. Time will tell whether Hitler will take up permanent residence in our collective pantheon along the Caesar's and Napoleon.

Comment: Double edge sword. (Score 1) 27

by TapeCutter (#47429957) Attached to: Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"
A patent cartel is a double edged sword that can smite trolls, competitors, or both. All depends of who's holding the blunt end.

Software patents are absurd and a form of double dipping since software is already protected by copyright they should indeed be scrapped. However just because patents are currently too powerful and have spread into areas where they don't belong does not mean the concept is fundamentally flawed.

The fundamental flaw is greed, the fact that 1000 individuals have obtained an income that is more than 3X that of 1,000,000,000 individuals combined is simply too much of a temptation to all but the strongest moral compass. OTOH, if everyone gets the same income who in their right mind would not just sit back and let "somebody else" worry about silly things such as a job?

The sweet spot lays somewhere in between, most economists put the ideal income ratio between richest and poorest at 10:1 and point to Norway's position at the top of almost every economic and social metric known to man as prima-facie evidence. Norway was smart enough to realise the North Sea oil boom would come to an end one day so they taxed the hell out of oil companies during the boom and invested it in both industrial and social infrastructure. Many economists now argue it is the social infrastructure that has seen the highest ROI.

Here in Australia we have done the opposite with our mining boom, there were some good reforms and we built lots of roads and railways that lead to giant holes in the middle of nowhere but mostly we squandered it on tax cuts and corporate welfare. In the meantime China has been buying our coal and iron ore and for quite some time has been building up their infrastructure at a phenomenal rate. Ironically they now have one of the highest inequity ratings of any nation. This is because of the discrepancy between the rural areas and the "economic zones". China is now in the process of building up the infrastructure in these rural areas but the pace has slowed because of the financial mess in the US and EU. They are now officially in deflation meaning production has overshot demand. Consequently our 25yr mining boom has come to a sudden halt and we have two fifths of fuck all to show for it. Sure our economy is still in much better shape than the EU and US, but I'm old enough to remember when life was good in both Norway and Argentina.

Disclaimer: I plead guilty to OT ranting, but I put it to the reader that a spliff and an end of the working week rant is far more humane than kicking the cat.

Comment: Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (Score 1) 73

by TapeCutter (#47429443) Attached to: Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

we could increase the penalties for those caught cheating

No thanks, keep the lawyers out of it unless a genuine crime has been commited, the last thing we want is politicians regulating peer-review. There is no system that is totally incorruptable, the fact that these frauds were exposed means the system is working in this case. The fact that the scientific and academic communities will ostrasize the fauds for the rest of their lives is natural justice, anything more crosses the line between natural justice and revenge

Comment: Re:Dimmable LEDs (Score 1) 169

by icebike (#47429351) Attached to: My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

Dimmable LED bulbs used to be more expensive. These days pretty much all the LED bulbs you see around are dimmable, even the low cost ones.

You often have to have to get newer dimmers for LEDs. Reading the fine print you find that comes with most bulbs.
Here is what Cree says (pdf).:
'Cree® LED bulbs are designed to be dimmed with standard incandescent type dimmers. They are also compatible with most Magnetic Low Voltage (MLV) and Electronic Low Voltage (ELV) dimmers. This list was generated from lab testing of samples and your results could vary."

The kicker is that "Standard" has a lot of different meanings, and many of the older dimmers re load dependent, and the LEDs draw so little power that older dimmers don't make much of a difference. My luck with dimming LEDs with old dimmer technology has not been good. Even new lamps, with supposedly modern dimmer tech seems to make little difference.

Comment: Re:Aaaaahahaha ... gotta love it: (Score 1) 122

by MightyMartian (#47428549) Attached to: Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

At the time, the closest the DOS world had to multitasking was TSRs. Beside my first PC was my CoCo 3 with OS/9 level 2 with 512k of RAM with a true preemptive multitasking kernel running on an 8 but 6809 CPU. Microsoft's dominance at the time meant in many ways the most common 16 bit opposing system in the world was only marginally better than a CPM machine from 1980.

Comment: Re:So (Score 2) 243

I have no sympathy for idiots who poke the bear and then whine about the obvious consequences. A court of law will sort out if the charges are valid or not. These people deliberately broke the FAA ceiling in full view of a police chopper. They are not oppressed heros, they are wankers who bring the hobby into disrepute and fuck it up for everyone else.

Comment: Re:Moron Judge (Score 1) 118

by ultranova (#47427225) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Fortunately we have laws that define those pieces of paper as legal tender, which differentiates them from little bits of hash solutions and things that people define in internet forums.

"Legal tender" where? I don't have to accept your funny paper. Not that you could send it to me anyway, since only fools tell their Real Life adress over the Internet, and even if I did, it would take days - and neither of us would have proof that the transaction actually happened. And of course, it's not like I'm obligated to give you credit in the first place, especially not in an Internet forum.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin isn't money but it's still a financial (Score 1) 118

by ultranova (#47427085) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Silk Road used it is to launder money.

Silk Road didn't use Bitcoin to launder money, Silk Road used Bitcoin to transfer money and a tumbler - a series of transactions meant to disguise the "border" transactions between Silk Road and the rest of Bitcoin economy by blending into the crowd - to launder it.

Except it was not really even proper money laundering, since it didn't invent a legal source for the Bitcoins being withdrawn from the system. That would had required a cover firm, a suspiciously succesful gambling site or something.

Power corrupts. And atomic power corrupts atomically.

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