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Comment Re: Isn't this why computers are great (Score 1) 238

Journalism, as originally implemented in this country, and listed in this definition "writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation" no longer exists. The opposite is taught in universities, reinforced through advertising revenues and page hit models, and is all but required by the manages and execs in our media outlets.

So, journalism did exist before there were online comments sections. It just doesn't anymore.

Comment Re: Good! (Score 1) 364

"every bit of tax Apple dodges is a bit more incentive for your government(s) to try to get it out of your skin instead since you are a softer target"

Bullshit. They will tax us as much as they can get away with, corporation and citizen alike. They will use propaganda, intentional obfuscation and lying (ACA for instance), even the threat of force to get the tax money they feel is already owed to them. Even worse, there are members of our government who have stated on record, in financially obscure terms, that every dollar is owed to the government. They just let us keep what they don't tax, however any corporate profit or household income above the debt line they view as "lost revenue." In short, some members of our government feel they own every dollar you earn, they just let you have some of it back to keep you from voting them out.

Comment Re:Apple Music (Score 1) 461

I hadn't hear of witchhouse until your post. I was all excited reading the Wikipedia article intro; solid base in my old goth faves, electronica/industrial mixed in, horror themes....check, check, CHECK! Really excited now! Sounds like someone decided to remake Skinny Puppy or something. Cant wait to get some new music!

I scroll down to the "Bands and artists" section...

Turns out I have already heard all of them. WTF!

Comment Re:Racism v. Bias v. Intelligence (Score 1) 445

I object to your use of the word privilege in this context. The problems in poor schools in the Houston school system are in large caused by elements of their own communities. Politicians representing these poorer communities are notorious for preventing reform (Sheila Jackson Lee for one), or even enacting policies that are counter productive. They, along with the teachers union and community activists and leaders, also make it damn near impossible to fire, suspend, or constructively reassign teachers from underperforming schools in these communities. They seem hell bent on making sure these schools continue to underperform.

In addition, any talk of encouraging competition in education, or providing these communities with additional educational options for their children, are called racist, or a "war on education." So, they wont improve the system they have, they rabidly oppose any alternatives, and they definitely don't want to take responsibility for how their brinkmanship and inflexibility affects their community.

It is one thing to recognize and then try to make adjustments to compensate for perceived societal inequalities. I support this as rational and responsible behavior. Its entirely another thing for political and community leaders to create inequalities in their own communities that are destructive to the educational potential of their constituents, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty, and then blame it on something or someone else.

Comment Re: Funny, that spin... (Score 1) 421

Makes me suspicious. "AI is bad! Keep away!!!" Meanwhile in his super secret underground lair he's got a few slaving away creating his next idea.

Joking aside, I would not be surprised if large companies with money to be made and vast processing power on tap decide that a propaganda campaign against AI is just what they need to incite regulatory bodies into restricting research. And when the government's new AI regulatory body needs staffing with "experts" they will need look no further than the companies whose clarion call started the firestorm. Thusly have all the major sector leaders in the U.S. achieved ascendency, by controlling the regulatory bodies and thereby gaining access to the umbilicus of newly formed companies. Just a little squeeze, here and there, on that regulatory lifeline and all of your future competitors are stillborn.

Comment Re: The Death of Punishment (Score 1) 649

This is the stupidest thing ever attributed to Ghandi. And eye for an eye is a limitation on the scope of punishment for a crime. It states that judicial retribution should be commensurate with the crime committed. You hear about how some person got 20 years in jail for possession of a single joint; "an eye for and eye" is the argument against that. Similarly, when you have some rich kid get probation for murder, "an eye for an eye" supports those that feel justice was not done.

So if Ghandi actually said that he is either a total moron, or he didn't understand the concept.

Comment Re: Affirmative Action (Score 1) 529

I agree with your points regarding police and their misuse of power, the social repercussions of our destructive over-prosecution and incarceration systems, and even that minorities (and especially black people) have suffered from restrictions on housing, access to medical care, and educational opportunities.
However, I differ in opinion to the reasons why.
Let's approach this semi-Socratically and start with a question: why is it even remotely arguable that our country's first black president can be said to have done more for, and tried harder to pander to, illegal residents of this country than he has for our own black citizens?
Another question: why are the republicans fielding presidential candidates that are supporting amnesty for illegal aliens when conventional wisdom paints them all as racist pigs who hate Mexicans?
I believe the answer to these questions is directly related to the reason why black Americans continue to suffer in our country. Namely this, when a group remains flexible in their political approach and support, they will have the advantage of participating in and reaping the benefits of the political policies generated by both the democrats and the republicans. However, when a group remains singlemindedly dedicated to one party, either the democrats or the republicans, and is antagonistic toward the other, their ability to maintain meaningful representation and to effectively influence the political landscape is destroyed.
Just look at Christian religious groups and individuals in the U.S. In the past they had great control over both parties. Now as the faithful lapdog of the republicans, they get to watch while their Armageddon approaches. Gay marriage and rights legislation are passing in state after state, and even some of their republican leaders are beginning to entertain the idea of coming out for gay rights.
Similarly, black Americans have watched as their infrastructure, business opportunities, and educational prospects have dwindled to the point of permanent subclass status, all under the care and feeding of the democrats they elected and that overwhelmingly control the ghettoized landscapes where they are increasingly forced to live. They watch as their children are undereducated and let their leaders prevent any competition in their school systems and make underperfomring teachers impossible to fire. They see businesses retreat from their neighborhoods in droves, and continue to elect candidates who raise taxes on business. They vote in leaders that offer social programs, instead of economic opportunity.
And who can blame either party for taking these people for granted? These black peoples and religious zealots are almost exactly the same. They have proven time and time again that they will sacrifice their personal integrity, compromise their beliefs and ethics, and whore themselves without reservation to their dedicated political party, regardless of the abuse and distain they are treated with, without a care for what those parties do to their closely held beliefs, and without a thought for the future of their progeny.
So, let's contrast the Hispanic voting block with the two sad-sacks I just mentioned. They appear similar to both groups actually. Religious, maybe even overwhelmingly so to some. A minority with a history of abuse and disenfranchisement. No outright slavery in their past, but if you knew how hard undocumented produce workers had to labor for less than minimum wage and with no benefits, well it's hardly above slavery at that point. And yet, here we have two parties competing for their vote. They haven't thrown their hat in one ring and started the aggressively self-enforced indoctrination of their children and peers toward one party, punishing those who dare to be different with ostracism, vituperation, and even violence. Hell no man! They are doin it right, esse! They have both parties eating out of their hand, offering them everything they want. I mean really, our first black president decided to (ostensibly) violate the freaking constitution, defy congress to their face, and singlehandedly stand up for millions of illegal aliens by wielding his presidential power like no one has ever done before. But when asked about the plight of African-Americans that led to the recent riots, he totally cops out with a lame ass excuse, saying it can only be fixed if everyone wants to fix it, and everyone has to work together or nothing will happen; and people fucking accept that shit?
So, as you can see, I feel expressly that these points are all data leading to the conclusion that political devotion Is political suicide. Make both parties vie for your affection and you can have just about anything you want.
  Need more proof? Look up all of the vastly successful companies that donate money to both parties. They get everything they want.

Comment Re:Science requires a certain agnosticism (Score 1) 480

As punishment, lets leave all the "Warp Deniers" on Earth when we travel to Alpha Centauri.

I think you give humans too much credit in your last sentence. Careless, absolute knowledge claims are the default position of the human brain. Fortunately we have developed the scientific method and it works moderately well at counterbalancing that natural human predisposition.

Comment Re: I do not understand (Score 4, Interesting) 538

It works like this:

American politicians have worked for decades to decode the U.S. voter and their habits. They spend millions of dollars annually on "focus groups" and "mock votes" in order to successfully determine the most advantageous avenues to manipulate the electorate into supporting them in their efforts to remove rights from the electorate, disenfranchise the electorate, and more firmly establish the elected as a modern day aristocracy in spite of US law and constitutional impetus. Look up "wedge issue" to see how the party leadership will use specific issues to fracture a voting block and turn them against each other. Watch how each party incites their proscribed demographic to feel threatened by others. Note how politicians play at fighting the other party, but vote as a whole when presented with an opportunity to curtail, circumvent, or remove rights guaranteed to the people by the constitution and/or bill of rights. And pay special attention to the media mouthpieces when they call out their leaders on their faults. It provides a voice for people's recognition of total incongruity on the part of their leaders, but by voicing it the supporters' ire is assuaged and they go merrily and sheepishly back to fighting the opposition and completely forget to hold their leaders accountable.

In America there are two political parties. They are not liberal and conservative. They are not Republican and Democrat. They are simply the elected and the electorate. Anyone who forgets this or fails to see it, at any time, is a pawn, a sheep...and therefore untrustworthy, compromised. They are exactly equal to those religious people that atheists and sceptics so vociferously condemn. They have lost control of their intellect and sacrificed their freedom and judgement in pursuit of an empty purse. They cannot be trusted even with their own self interest, much less the advancement of society as a whole.

So, welcome to America, where Rome is burning and all anyone does is comment on how good it looks in HD. Stay away if you value your sanity, your freedom, and your connection to humanity.

Comment Re:Tired of this shit (Score 1) 448

Yes, being white has huge advantages.

First, you can become as educated as you want without facing racial slurs and attacks from people of your own color.

You can speak in regular English without facing the same ridicule as above.

You can react to other races with courtesy and respect, again without the above negative consequences.

You have the freedom to not violently attack old people, children, anyone caught alone, and females without being thought of by your peers as weak and deserving of physical attack yourself.

You have the freedom of a wide selection of role models from a young age, many of whom are not in any way involved in criminal activity, misogyny, and/or drug use; and who are not advocating for these things.

You have the freedom of selecting a political party without reprisals from your contemporaries. And you have the added benefit of the respect of both political parties. This is mainly due to the fact that you haven't idiotically ignored institutionalized abuse by the party you overwhelmingly vote for, while actively alienating the other party, which has resulted in almost complete political sterilization for your entire racial group.

Yes, you are 100% right when you say that being white is a big benefit. However, the greatest portion of that benefit comes not from being white, but from not being black.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 772

Have any of you even considered that our government is releasing this information now, at this specific time, for a specific reason? I hear a bunch of people talking about how terrible this is/was. What I think is really brutal is a government that willfully decided to perform all of these actions, with the consent and support of relevant members of both political parties, and now uses the "revelation" of these practices as a political tool designed to manipulate the public.

Our politicians didn't give one weak fuck for how this would make our country look to the rest of the world, how this would make people feel at home and abroad, or what people might do in reaction and retaliation for this behavior or the revelation thereof. They simply used it as they would any other thing within their control, to establish greater control over the electorate, and to stamp out any coalition of the people that might challenge the way they want the American pie divided.

So for those of you who are blaming Republicans, or Democrats, or the military, or whoever else....go fuck yourselves. You are the tools of a system of government that doesn't care one whit for any of you and who uses and misleads you intentionally. By your mental attitudes and voiced opinions you attack, condemn, and destroy the only source of redress for government actions like these, namely cooperation and coalition of the people. Specific leaders from both political parties are responsible for this insane miscarriage of justice, and now they are using their monstrous actions to brutalize the American public. They will not bear the brunt of the reprisals for this, we will. When someone is taken hostage and murdered in retaliation, it wont be someone who ordered this, it will be a journalist, or a businessman, but not a politician who was actually involved. And in spite of these facts, played out in ever repeating fashion, there in the midst of this are the imbeciles, shaking their pom-poms for their favorite political party, pointing fingers at others. In all of their glorious idiocy, they are defending the politicians that commanded these hideous acts and attacking people that had nothing to do with them.

I'm really almost done. Don't know how much longer I can stand living in a country peopled by arrogant idiots that will continue to support a government that uses (among other things) torture as a weapon against their enemies as well as their citizens.

Comment Re:Misery loves company (Score 1) 116

Playing aggressively is OK. Being offensive is counterproductive for the team, period. Apparently Riot tracks game outcomes and correlates the win loss percentage with reports of offensive behavior toward teammates. Games that have good team dynamics (no trolling/flaming of teammates, etc.) result in a higher percentage of wins.

And from what Riot is saying, what I think you are calling "playing aggressively" is an anomaly, relegated to infrequent outbursts on a "bad day" potentially by any player. A profile system wouldn't account for this one-off behavior because it is so intermittent and rare. That being said, if you did implement a profile system, would a flamethrower wielding troll with a hair temper want to play with 9 other similarly foul tempered combustonauts? That is an interesting question, and I think the answer is no. I can even imagine the game devolving into a chat room, with everyone so busy insulting each other they hardly even play the game.

I have played LoL for quite a while and the efforts they have made toward improving player conduct have had an undeniably positive effect on the game experience. Are there times I would like to unload with both barrels on a teammate? Sure there are, and I actually have. However, with the reward system, the player-run Tribunal punishment system (I have never been banned or even reprimanded BTW), and Riot's conveyance of the idea that cohesive teams result in better game outcomes, the knee-jerk reaction to flame someone is tempered and delayed enough to permit a different decision tree to be considered.

So instead of the usual flame related decisions ("Hmm which would be better to use? Talk about their mom, insult their sexual prowess or orientation, or go for the nuclear option and blast them with n-bombs?") the thought process is subverted to "Should I encourage them, provide positive constructive criticism, make suggestions on team oriented strategies to prevent the same problem, or just let them and the team know its OK and we will recover." This is good thing.

In some ways, their efforts to use social engineering with a reward and punishment system have made me into a social engineer as well. I look for ways to elicit positive responses from other players that will result in Honor rewards for myself. I also look for opportunities to make bad situations better, make good situations great, and generally help my team with the words I use. Does the team need a leader? Well then I step up and with positive encouragement and proper deference assume that role. Is there a possible conflict developing on the team between players? OK, what can I do to put myself in a position to neutralize that conflict to ensure the health of the team dynamic?

In summary I will say that their in-game controls have resulted in a much better gaming experience for me and many others. I commend them for their efforts and as a direct result of these efforts I will continue to spend my hard earned coin on frivolous skins, buying champions, and other assorted digital trinkets they offer in endless profusion and permutations. Looks like Riot has revealed in this story the step just before 3) PROFIT!

Comment Re:It won't work! (Score 1) 218

I think "c" will be the biggest roadblock. The cell companies make a killing off of the replacement phones and insurance, and possibly other charges.

Here is an example of how T-Mobile tried to make money off of a stolen phone. My stolen phone that is. Unfortunately this was just slightly before the days of iPhones so no remote wipe was possible:

1) Phone is stolen.
2) Thief uses it to call Guatemala and Honduras, runs up a ~$900 bill.
3) I report phone stolen
4) They inform me of the charges.
5) I remind them that when I signed up for their service I said I would only do it if they DEACTIVATED international calling. So how did these calls go through in the first place?
6) "Oh, I see that right here in the notes Mr. Ed. We will give you $50 off as a valued customer. How do you want to pay the remaining $850?"
7) I decline to pay and refer back to #5.
8) Proceed to accuse me of orchestrating the theft myself and charging someone to use the phone.
9) Call my wife a liar and a thief when she talks to them.

I obviously haven't paid them a cent in spite of their repeated efforts to collect this over the years. I bet their are people that do though, presented with the same scenario. Regardless, I wont trust a cell company to act in a rational way when there is a dollar to be made, extorted, or stolen from their clients. If remote bricking cuts into their bottom line it will never happen.

Comment Re:"hacking charisma" (Score 1) 242

The real trick to charisma is to manipulate yourself with falsehoods, to the benefit of others. Well, maybe not falsehoods, but untested and unproven assertions.

Anyways, just try this for a while and see if it doesn't work. Every time you meet someone new, before you have a chance to say something and hopefully before you even make eye contact, try to find at least one thing about them that you like, admire, or want to be more like yourself. Make something up if you have to, but be consistent about it. You might be amazed at the results.

Comment Re:To be fair (Score 1) 282

I think the conversation, and the resulting political tie-in, is more about US franchise law and auto dealers dependence on said laws, than they are about an electric car, conservative ideology, or any particular politician.

Auto dealer groups comprise a powerful lobby with massive dollars to spend on politicians and long standing relationships with our governing bodies. These dealer groups are by and large threatened by Tesla's "direct to customer" model because it cuts them right out of the picture. Their greatest fear is once Tesla has cemented this as a viable and legal distribution method for their cars, what will stop other manufacturers from following suit and putting the franchise auto dealers out of business?

Thus, state and national auto dealer groups have been exerting whatever influence they can to maintain the status quo concerning franchise law, and this means standing in opposition to Tesla's business model. It really has nothing to do with the car, nor does it have anything to do with conservative thinking, or even that the car is electric. It is merely about the fact that lots of people who have been making lots of money for a very long time under current franchise law don't want to see that change. If it does you might begin to see manufacturers buying out their franchise dealers and running their own operations for sales and service in the US.

If all manufacturers go to this distribution model, or have it as an available choice, what does that mean for us?

1) Does that mean some of the prohibitive barriers to successfully producing and marketing a new car make have suddenly disappeared? I think that may be a yes, and that's possibly a good thing. More choice, more avenues for innovation and economic opportunity. On the downside, a lack of required infrastructure, like service facilities, dealerships where they have staff on hand to take care of the customers, etc. can make the ownership experience particularly daunting. I think Tesla has handled this right, however another company coming along after them might not. This is a major point of contention in the franchise law battle. Currently manufacturers are required to have a certain number of service facilities and sales floors.

2) Would widespread adoption of Tesla's business model by other manufacturers adversely affect prices? I think it *could* result in lower prices for cars and related services as you could cut out a middleman. However, imagine if every Ford dealer in your state was owned by the same company. That would reduce or even eliminate competition, and make it very easy to have institutionalized price fixing that would be very difficult to detect and prosecute. Less competition is bad for customers in general, and bad for companies as well as there is no drive to perform better, work harder, give better customer service than the other guy.

3) How will this affect jobs? The economy, etc.?

This really needs a lot of thought put in to it. Its not as simple as just saying, "Hey, its Tesla, its an awesome car, and an awesome idea, lets just let them do it." Its about all of the other manufacturers that are eying this exchange and getting ready to start pushing boundaries themselves. Where that will lead is really uncertain.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.