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Comment: Re:Legacy Systems. (Score 2) 137

Just think of it as a jobs program/economic stimulus/enrichment of a random company on the public dole. It makes perfect sense if you buy into the economic value of the government scaling big bureaucracies that depend on a competent contractor to help them scale so big being beneficial to the economy. Just think about how much more beneficial it is, then, to have it done three or four times to get it right.

On the other hand, consumers could have spent that money rather than paying the government to pay those extra contractor costs. But then again, consumers tend to over-spend anyway and corrode the economy. Sometimes that's to the point that the government has to choose between bailing out the banks and bailing out the consumers. Then again, the government encourages that, too. And of course rather than bailing out the consumers they bail out the banks so they can create more consumer debt and start all over.

The main difference between big government folks and small government folks, you see, isn't that one thinks the government is well intentioned and the other thinks it is evil and needs to be kept in check. That's certainly a factor, but it's not the main one. The main difference is that big government people have an idealized concept of the government as a doer of good. Small government people are skeptical that anything too big and too detached from the lives of real people can reasonably accomplish good things for the majority of people on a regular basis.


Social Security Administration Joins Other Agencies With $300M "IT Boondoggle" 137

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the should-have-gone-into-government-IT dept.
alphadogg (971356) writes with news that the SSA has joined the long list of federal agencies with giant failed IT projects. From the article: "Six years ago the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims. Nearly $300 million later, the new system is nowhere near ready and agency officials are struggling to salvage a project racked by delays and mismanagement, according to an internal report commissioned by the agency. In 2008, Social Security said the project was about two to three years from completion. Five years later, it was still two to three years from being done, according to the report by McKinsey and Co., a management consulting firm. Today, with the project still in the testing phase, the agency can't say when it will be completed or how much it will cost.
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Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Four

Journal by mcgrew

An alarm woke me up at quarter to seven and for once I didn't mind a bit, and in fact I was glad it woke me up. I was in the middle of a really weird dream. A herd of cows was stampeding towards me, only they were running on their hind legs and somehow carrying big butcher knives in their front hooves, all singing a Chartov song while coming at me. Too many westerns, I guess.
It was engine seventeen, somethin

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Journal: Morgan Freeman on Mars

Journal by mcgrew

As I was going through Google News this morning I ran across an item about actor Morgan Freeman talking to a couple of astronauts on the ISS at a round table discussion at JPL before an audience of what looked like two or three hundred people, all of whom were JPL employees.

He was there with the producer of his show on the Science Channel Through the Wormhole and with its writer, a physicist.

+ - White House petitioned to save those in hot cars 13

Submitted by mr_mischief
mr_mischief (456295) writes "The White House, through the "We the People" petition site, has received a petition to allow civilians to proactively free children, the elderly, and animals stuck in hot cars and then contact authorities, as these situations are time-sensitive. The petition asks for a federal law granting people the right to do this uniformly across the country.

So far it has fewer than 1,000 signatures, but do we really need it to have more? Is there a jurisdiction in the US where breaking a window to save a human life is actually considered a crime by police and the courts? If so, what madness is that? Do Congress and the President really need to state in a statute that saving a life is justifiable grounds for what it basically minor property damage?

Is this a case of overly cautious people, overly litigious civil society, or overzealous enforcement of laws? How does it interact with good samaritan laws? What makes doing the right thing so hard?"
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Journal: Nobots Chapter Thirty Three 2

Journal by mcgrew

An alarm woke me up at quarter after six. What the hell? Fire in P117? I put on a robe, and as I trudged down there Tammy was running into the commons. I wondered what was going on.
I got to Passenger quarters 117 and it was a damned drill, the light wasn't flashing and I didn't smell any smoke. I really didn't expect to, because except for Tammy's quarters none of the rest of the passenger section was occupied and

+ - White House Approves Sonic Cannons For Atlantic Energy Exploration

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The White House on Friday gave final approval to allow the use of sonic cannons in finding energy deposits underneath the ocean floor on the U.S. Atlantic seaboard. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says that finding energy resources off the Atlantic seaboard "could generage thousands of jobs, but has also acknowledged that the process will harm sea creatures." Sonic cannons "fire sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine." Mammals such as whales and dolphins that communicate through sound will most likely be affected, but scientists aren't sure to what extent. They also aren't sure how the cannons will affect fish and other sea creatures or how any physiological effects on them may impact the fishing industries of the U.S. and the other countries who rely on seafood that migrate in and out of the Atlantic Ocean."

Comment: Re:Finally! (Score 2) 472

by mcgrew (#47489035) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

It might cause a few deaths but it also sustains the multi billion dollar prison industry and employs well over 1 million people in the US alone

None of those jobs help the economy. Why should people be employed in occupations that have no benefit to society whatever and are in fact detrimental to society?

The government profits from illegal drugs even more than drug cartels do.

Colorado's pot legalization and the multi-billion dollar alcohol industry shows that governments profit a lot more from legal, regulated drugs than outlawing them.

I've known drug addicts, and the WHO is also right about compulsory addiction treatment; compulsory treatment flat out doesn't work. The addict has to want to stop, and it's very hard even when they want to. Alcoholics and other drug addicts relapse more often than not after treatment.

However, should they ever invent the fictional drug in the novel I'm writing (see my journal, the first crude draft is being posted there) I sure hope it's not legal!

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Journal: July 20, 1969 4

Journal by mcgrew

In 1969 I was a seventeen year old nerd in high school, using my slide rule to cheat in math class. I was probably the only one in the school who even had a clue how a slide rule worked, let alone owned one.

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Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Two

Journal by mcgrew

The CEO's fone buzzed; it was time to look over the papers from engineering staff, then meet them in the engineering department. He pulled them up on his tablet.
Most of the answers to his queries were interesting and original. He noted that every single one of his engineers rated Robertson as the worst engineer in the shop, regardless of their own engineering specialty, and the one they least wanted to be chief.

Comment: Re:The crackpot cosmology "theory" Du Jour (Score 1) 214

by mr_mischief (#47477573) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

In a way it does. They are offering that since the simplest answer was incomplete there's at least one slightly more complicated way things might work. You see, the simplest explanation isn't the thing. The simplest explanation that actually explains things is.

"Confound these ancestors.... They've stolen our best ideas!" - Ben Jonson