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Comment: Re:Bye_bye, Blackberry (Score 1) 303

by Fire_Wraith (#48882099) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps
Furthermore, when there has been monopoly interference, the Government has also stepped in there, albeit in an overly cautious/belated manner (Microsoft and the bundling of IE, for instance). If Apple or Samsung becomes a solid monopoly, for instance, I would expect some kind of action to counteract that. Monopolies are generally bad, and action is required to moderate/mitigate them, but that shouldn't equate to the government also stepping in to protect your crappy failed business that wasn't able to compete in a reasonably fair market.

Comment: Re:And the world flips on its ass (Score 1) 502

by Fire_Wraith (#48882031) Attached to: Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration
In fairness, it's also an immigration issue, so it's not entirely antithetical. If you note, though, he makes the statement about H1-Bs and Green Cards, too, which is somewhat indicative. If anything, that's where I part ways with him, because I think that if someone really is that good, and US companies are that interested in hiring them, and they'll compete on the same salaries and same conditions, on top of all the money the company spends to cover the Green Card, well, hell, I'd rather have them here. The worst abuses of the H1-B system are about the non-transferrable indentured servitude style crap.

That doesn't mean he isn't right that the "shortage" of workers is largely a bunch of crap. It's a "shortage" of people willing to work for third-world pay.

There's no one logical coherent worldview that covers ever possibility, on either side of the aisle (or even outside the building for that matter). I don't know how many cases there are of "Well, in theory we usually support X, but in this case X is associated with Y which the other side favors, so we're against it". Things like Democrats who are for equality and the poor unless we're talking about Wall Street bankers, or Republicans who are for keeping the Government out of your private life unless you're (weed smoker/female/etc), and so on. Certainly this isn't all of them, it's a generalization. It's safe to say that there are some for whom certain priorities in things take precedence. In many cases, I can find a lot of faults for Republicans who scream about border enforcement but turn a blind eye to employers filling shops in their districts with undocumented workers paid peanuts, just as I can for Democrats who talk about the need to reform the current immigration system, while at the same time proposing to expand the completely FUBAR H1-B system.

Comment: Re:Glad were stopping the evil socialists (Score 2) 182

by Fire_Wraith (#48852519) Attached to: Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II
You're making the mistake of taking a Manichean view. "Left leaning" can include a pretty wide spectrum of things. I state it that way because I'm not a member of the Democratic party, and there are issues and candidates that I don't and would not support them on. I would certainly agree that some sort of Marxist utopia is ridiculous, unrealistic; but at the same time, that doesn't mean we have to take the complete opposite approach. Unfettered and unrestricted capitalism is equally unworkable. I'd much prefer a society where people can compete and get ahead, but where failure isn't accompanied by a threat of starvation, homelessness, or anything similarly bad. I would prefer we do away with the Calvinist notions about work and productivity, and instead encourage people to work and create. I think something like Milton Friedman's idea about Basic Income would be a reasonable starting point.

As for Obamacare, I think it's a horrible Frankenstein's Monster of a law, that is a massive giveaway to the insurance companies... but that's what you get when one political party cares more about scoring points in the power game than in actually proposing solutions to the problems at hand, or just flat out denies the problems that most people would like addressed. One party legislation is bad, but the answer isn't just handing things over to the other party - that's just as bad, if not worse. I'd much rather see a sensible system put in, but I'm not holding my breath for anything remotely close at this point. Likewise with the ISP market, I'd rather we had reasonable proposals from both sides for solving the problem, because we'd likely get a better overall ending.

So yes, please, give us proposals for market based solutions! I'd love to hear them. I'd love to hear the Republicans putting forth actual measures to increase broadband ISP competition. That isn't what they've been giving us though - instead they give us steaming turds like the bill TFA describes, where they try and lock in the current anti-competitive situation and bundle it in Orwellian language.

Comment: Re:So the US (Score 1) 181

by Fire_Wraith (#48852367) Attached to: NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack
I'm pretty sure that the US does not consider "hacking" by itself an act of war. The response to allegations of North Korean responsibility by the US Government have been economic sanctions, not any sort of bombs being dropped. The US indicted a bunch of Chinese hackers that were accused of breaking in to stuff, presumably on behalf of the Chinese government or companies, but we haven't bombed China. No, I'm pretty sure the US considers hacking to just be a new method of doing the same stuff, or at least I would hope so. Hacking for espionage purposes is... shockingly, espionage, and should be treated the same way.

Where things may get tricky is when you start hacking to do something kinetic, like some of the crazy movie-plot ideas about shutting down the power grid or stuff. Would that be an act of war? Setting aside all questions about how feasible something like that would be, I think it's safe to say that if you could do something via network exploitation that would be considered an act of war if someone did it the old fashioned way, then it would be if done via hacking, too. That's what really scares me, is when these claims of attribution start carrying repercussions far more severe than cutting off Kim Jong-un's personal supply of margarita salt.

Comment: Re:Glad were stopping the evil socialists (Score 1) 182

by Fire_Wraith (#48847505) Attached to: Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II
He was formerly a Democrat. They kicked him out after the scandal broke (as well they should). He ran as an independent in the special election, and won, because voter turnout in minor state special elections is ridiculously low, and he had two opponents splitting the rest of the vote.

The bottom line is though, you can't blame this on party affiliation any more than you can any other scandal, because the sort of people that are drawn to political power tend to be far more likely to be narcissistic assholes and sociopaths than the average person. This is true regardless of party affiliation.

Incidentally, these exactly are the sorts of people (State Legislators) that the Republicans in Congress think ought to be setting the rules on broadband. Who thinks that's a good idea? Oh, right, the incumbent ISP monopoly/duopolies.

Comment: Re:Glad were stopping the evil socialists (Score 4, Interesting) 182

by Fire_Wraith (#48847461) Attached to: Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II
Speaking as a Virginia resident, and someone who generally votes left-leaning, you're correct - though he's still a dirtbag.

The reason (as I understand) that he got reelected is that it was a special election for a state legislative office. This is the sort of race that doesn't get much attention even when it's a general election. Incumbency, and party identification, carry so much more weight than actual issues, because most people never hear about the issues. Heck, I consider myself reasonably involved and aware, and even I can't remember who my state senator is offhand (it's not this guy).

To bring this full circle, this is part of the exact problem. These races have tons of power, generally fly below the radar of most voters, and also are ridiculously easy to influence with outside money. Notice how so many state legislatures have been pushing agendas doing things like blocking municipalities from offering ISP service, all at the behest of the major incumbent providers (usually who sparked the municipal offering in the first place by refusing to upgrade service in the area to something remotely modern).

Comment: Re:More US workers == offshoring?? (Score 4, Insightful) 481

by Fire_Wraith (#48816029) Attached to: IEEE: New H-1B Bill Will "Help Destroy" US Tech Workforce
These sorts of Shenanigans are what make me think that H1B visas should be replaced with a transferable work visa. Don't tie them to just one job; if they're good enough to compete and there really is a severe shortage, then they will have no problem finding one. Thing is, it's never about actual shortages, and more just not wanting to put up with the salary/benefits/etc demands of actual American workers.

Comment: Re:Just like the Viper Mark VII (Score 1) 52

by Fire_Wraith (#48814079) Attached to: Cyber Attacks Demonstrated On Autonomous Ground Vehicles
Correct - once they fixed the backdoor, the Mk VII Vipers, and all the other newer/digital systems, were all safe to use once again.

Galactica was being retired, and thus wasn't slated to receive the upgrades (and Adama was opposed to network systems anyway). The Battlestar Pegasus had the Command Navigation Program, but it was offline for maintenance since Pegasus was in dock at the time of the attack, and thus Pegasus was unaffected.

The lesson is that patch management and updates are seriously important to keep secure. If you can pwn the patch management system, you can infect pretty much everyone that updates.

Comment: Re:We deserve this guy (Score 1) 496

by Fire_Wraith (#48805909) Attached to: Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs
I'm not advocating anything, merely pointing out the features of the current system in terms of representation by vote. I leave it to others to make their own judgments on that. I would simply prefer that they do so based on accurate information. I do believe the current system is flawed in many ways, though I am uncertain what I would recommend to improve it, for a variety of reasons.

You are correct in that Senators were originally not directly elected by popular vote; they were elected by state legislatures. It is also my understanding, though I do not have the exact numbers in front of me (and thus could be wrong) that the differences in population among the various states in 1787 were nowhere near as great as they are now. I don't personally believe that repealing the 17th amendment and returning to state legislatures electing the Senators, as some propose, is a good idea, because I believe that State Legislatures are far easier to buy than current Senate races. That's just my opinion though, and not necessarily based on any specific numerical data.

Comment: Re:Why tech zillionaires fund life exension resear (Score 1) 272

by Fire_Wraith (#48805155) Attached to: Silicon Valley's Quest To Extend Life 'Well Beyond 120'
Agreed. Brain to Machine (or other medium) transfer of what makes you, you, will require some sort of simultaneous consciousness. That is, to reliably be able to say that you are in the Machine, and not just a copy of all of your memories and thought processes, you'll have to be awake while hooked up to the new body while still 'in' the old wetware, and only then be able to jettison the old like an out of date hard drive. Any sort of interruption of consciousness would introduce the possibility that it's just a copy - even if it "thinks" it's still you.

Of course, none of that even gets into the problems that arise once transfer is possible, because if we can write your memories to a new medium, what stops someone from altering or editing them? What stops the new you from being hacked?

Comment: Re:Thank you (Score 1) 110

by Fire_Wraith (#48804905) Attached to: Ancient Viruses Altered Human Brains
Obligatory HHGTTG:

"The major problem — one of the major problems, for there are several — one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem."

Comment: Re:Geeks don't get it (Score 1) 496

by Fire_Wraith (#48799513) Attached to: Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs
GP was probably referring to Federal discretionary spending. Defense spending was roughly 18% as of FY2013, and non-Defense discretionary spending was roughly 17%. The rest was Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid/Interest and other Mandatory spending.

The point is more that surveys have shown that the public tends to perceive certain things (Foreign aid for instance) as being much, much larger a share of discretionary spending than they really are.

Comment: Re:We deserve this guy (Score 3, Insightful) 496

by Fire_Wraith (#48799379) Attached to: Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs
That would be a reasonable suggestion for candidates for the House of Representatives, but it still wouldn't have changed anything for Cruz, who's a Senator, as those seats are allocated directly based on the state boundaries.

If anything though, Cruz's constituency is overly large, meaning that he represents more people, and therefore likely had more raw votes, than most of his Senate counterparts - Texas's population is somewhere on the order of 25-26 million, easily more than the 10 least populous states. In the 2012 election, he received 4.4 million votes out of about 7.8 million or so

Overall though, the Senate is grossly disproportionate in a lot of ways. Large states like Texas are grossly underrepresented, not only because all those people who voted for him don't have the same influence as a state less than 10% the population of Texas, but also because the number of people who voted for his Democratic opponent alone (3.1 million), nevermind 3rd party candidates, is larger than the full population of something like 20 states, and larger than the average number of Senate votes in many more than that. Those people get absolutely zero representation in the Senate.

To illustrate just how far off it can get, the 26 least populous states have somewhere around 56 million residents (source You could elect a Senate majority with half that, and if we go by the national voter turnout rate from the 2014 election of 36.3%, and not considering how many of those individuals are ineligible to vote (due to citizenship status, age, etc) you'd only need about 10 million votes, in a country of roughly 320 million people to have full control of the Senate.

Now, that's a bit of an extreme example, and it discounts that some of those smaller states lean left (VT, DE, RI) while others lean right (WY, AK, ND/SD), just as the same is true for some of the very populous states (CA, TX), but it serves to illustrate just how skewed and disproportionate the Senate can be in terms of representation.

Comment: Agent Smith was Right (Score 5, Interesting) 110

by Fire_Wraith (#48799163) Attached to: Ancient Viruses Altered Human Brains
Agent Smith: "I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops an equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet; you are a plague and we are the cure."

Comment: Re:hmmm (Score 1) 52

by Fire_Wraith (#48796987) Attached to: FBI Access To NSA Surveillance Data Expands In Recent Years
I think you may be misunderstanding what I'm saying. I'm in full agreement that abuses by the FBI/etc are a serious problem, my point is that it's the abuses that are the issue, not them sharing information. Stop the abuses, and all that's left is the stuff we'd want them to be sharing.

The FBI, the NSA, the CIA and others all have legally established roles and responsibilities that they were created to fulfill. When the FBI arrests an interstate kidnapper, or someone who was spying on the US for Russia/China/etc, they're doing their job. When the CIA spies on Kim Jong-un or the North Korean military, they're doing their job. I've yet to hear anyone, even Edward Snowden, suggest that any of that is inherently unconstitutional.

The problems arise when agencies like that exceed their purview, or use unconstitutional means to achieve their legitimate goals. For instance, if the FBI starts reading everyone's mail in order to find out if someone is spying for Putin, or decides to search someone's house without bothering to get a warrant from a judge to do so. As I said, the problem is not inherently that these agencies are sharing information. If the CIA or NSA learns, through legitimate means, that Country X has a mole in the Department of Redundancy, and tells that to the FBI, so the FBI can start an investigation, then that's perfectly fine.

Why do I make such a big deal about this distinction? Because it doesn't help the argument against the illegitimate activity if we allow the two to be conflated. The entire point of the argument is that they do not need to do any of these things in order to accomplish their goal - that we are no "less safe", or at the very least that the tradeoff is not worth the liberty that we would have to give up.

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer