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Comment: But policy is NOT science (Score 1) 497

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48887185) Attached to: Science By Democracy Doesn't Work
While no one has ever suggested that science is subject to voting, it is naive to claim that opinion does not guide publication. If I wanted to argue data that showed the speed of light in vacuum was much different from the current estimate, my evidence has to be much better than if I were simply confirming a widely held number. AND, it is perfectly reasonable for a political body to declare that pi is 3.1416 for all calculations used in contracts and surveying. Not so reasonable is to hold that planning commissions cannot use the best science when planning for long terms (which they do, by their nature). See North Carolina's actions, which blocked use of the science.

But, in my opinion the best hedge we have is banks and insurance companies. As long as they are permitted to do the math, we will be safe (unless they are prevented from using their best estimates by social engineering in the "democratic" body politic). For example, in New Orleans I bet rational assessment of long term risk would hurt the poor the most, making for irrational attempts to legislate away risk by blocking its use in assessing mortgages, etc. Think of the whole real estate bubble and the good intentions but bad ideas that made home ownership a right, not to be denied just because the owner could not afford it.

Comment: Re:So they are doing what? (Score 1) 509

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48792829) Attached to: Anonymous Declares War Over Charlie Hebdo Attack
The ability to think meta is important. Some once pointed out that the US Constitution is not a suicide pact, even though without meta-thinking it appears to be so. This is a variation on the idea that the only thing we must not tolerate is intolerance. Do not be afraid to embrace this conflict.

Comment: I call BS (Score 1) 303

The ACLU says

Stingrays, also known as "cell site simulators" or "IMSI catchers," are invasive cell phone surveillance devices that mimic cell phone towers and send out signals to trick cell phones in the area into transmitting their locations and identifying information. When used to track a suspect's cell phone, they also gather information about the phones of countless bystanders who happen to be nearby.

So, I think the Stingray is used to track who and where, very similar to having a beat cop standing on the corner who recognizes you and notes that you just walked by. All the discussion here about wiretapping is just FUD.

Comment: Re:Starivore? (Score 1) 300

Amazingly, this is the premise for my next SciFi novella - "StarEaters of Erdition", about a species of non-sentient astrophages. I think I'll use a plucky 70yo trans-species cyborg who's sentient self (hence, "who's") detects their existence and maps their trajectory from peta-peta-bytes of old Hubble data. Throw in a bit of a Cassandra complex (no one believes its (gender neutral pronoun) pronouncements). I think I'll cast Brent Spiner ("Data") as the carbon-based-component of the cyborg and George Takai ("Mr. Sulu") for the voice of the (nominally) silicone-based-component of the cyborg).

Comment: Not capitalism (Score 1) 463

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48745355) Attached to: Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked
The article notes that Wisniewski says this is part of

"a very mature, well-oiled capitalist machine"

which is inaccurate and only feeds the populist anti-capitalist sentiment that is too often conflated with anti free-market rhetoric. It would be far more accurate to call this a "protection racket" akin to the crime bosses in New York who send thugs into shops, said thugs' opening line then being something like "this is a nice little shop you got here, it would be a real shame if something were to happen to it, like maybe a fire".

Comment: NSA is the new NASA (Score 1) 234

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48717603) Attached to: NSA Says They Have VPNs In a 'Vulcan Death Grip'
A poster wondered if anyone else has the Intelligence gathering budget that the US does. I wonder if NSA is the new NASA, in that it provides jobs for geeks the way the space program did. And by geeks I mean those gifted individuals who would be bored trying to help K-Tar-Mart better ship and sell diapers and bottled water. Give them a mission (save the world from terror, get to the moon) and make them feel special. Keep them busy so they don't just hack apart your world.

Comment: Midwest too (Score 1) 330

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48626975) Attached to: 11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought
Now that we finally are looking at the whole system (aquifers too) rather than just surface water, we will be seeing pending droughts in a lot more places than we might think. I am on two planning commissions in Minnesota and we are very aware of the water supplies under ground, the entire state is concerned, and we are the land of 10,000 lakes (or, during flood season, one really big lake"). A new emphasis on sustainability and the ability to estimate water supplies better, coupled with a full "total cost of ownership" for new developments, gives local planners an opportunity to say no to new developments in a way that we did not see during the big boom of the 70's and 80's. Of course, the unintended consequence of careful planning is that we start to see "economic refugees", by which I mean people who move in despite local attempts to remain sustainable.

Comment: Nuanced Republican View (Score 1) 435

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#48626903) Attached to: In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations
I posted this on an MPR website discussing one Republican's response to this news. (Rep Bachman, one of my LEAST favorite Congresspeople)

Two comments. First, I expect better of the MPR audience than a bunch of personal attacks on the politicians involved ("crazy", "nut job", etc.). Where is the dialog in that? [They were discussing Rep Bachman]

Second, this Republican agrees that the [Cuban] embargo was a success, but not in the sense that it kept Cuba from profiting from its low wage workers (a form of serfdom?), but rather in the sense that Cuba was able to attempt to build a socialist paradise absent the machinations of the free world and its powerful interests. Did they succeed? If you think that universal health care at the 1950's level is success, with life expectancies comparable to US, and with a thriving black market in access to medical care for those with money (similar to ours, except that our high-payer patients subsidize the entire health industry rather than just the people they bribe), perhaps they did. If you think that a two-level economy is success (the have-nots and the tourists), perhaps they did. If you think a population with low expectations of their government and a high level of self sufficiency, perhaps they did succeed. Certainly their model of socialism is much more benign than, for example, North Korea's alleged communist system (I say alleged because NK is communist only in its choice of friends, not in its actual economic system, which is more a large slave plantation, as near as I can tell). So while I can understand a certain amount of hostility towards Cuba for their oppression of their people's freedoms, I must also acknowledge that, for a Luddite nation, they are doing much better than their Russian handlers did.

Comment: Prostitutes v Co-eds (Score 1) 295

Prostitutes:coeds as taxis:uber brbr One tries to be sustainable, the other lives outside the economically sustainable boundary by not keeping itself fully accountable for the total cost of operations. The establishment lament is "how can we make a living when the tyros are giving it away below cost"? The tyros retort? Your place or mine?

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)