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Comment: Re:even a broken clock... (Score 1) 523

by GPierce (#46070091) Attached to: RNC Calls For Halt To Unconstitutional Surveillance

You got it exactly, but you left out the part about what it means and how it works. Those bonds that have to be redeemed represent money that Congress borrowed and has already spent. To repay these bonds requires higher takes on the 1% (the only ones with any money) or running the printing presses and printing new dollar bills, or borrowing to repay the bonds in the trust with money from selling conventional T-Bills - increasing the deficit.

The fourth alternative is to welsh on the deal. By reducing the amount paid in social security checks by diddling with the cost of living adjustments, the amount that has to be paid back can be reduced without making it obvious that the "full faith and credit" of the US is in the hands of the best congress money can buy.

Comment: Re:Consequences? (Score 1) 79

by GPierce (#45501479) Attached to: IRS Left Taxpayer Data Vulnerable and Lied About It

At one time, there was a sensible reason for making it difficult to fire a federal employee. In theory, civil servants were not partisan and they were not supposed to be affected by the political ideologues who we appointed to run government agencies.

The ideologues were prevented from firing those who wanted to do a non-ideological job..

It worked for a while, but if you keep someone from being fired for political reasons, eventually they figure out that they can f#ck off on the job without penalty. I guess the powers that be decided that it was still better than a politicized civil service - or else they didn't notice or didn't give a damn..And today, we do have a politicized civil service. (Look and all the 'loyal bushies' in the Justice Department..

Comment: Re:Liberty is the only thing in danger here. (Score 1) 550

by GPierce (#45457127) Attached to: Sen. Chuck Schumer Seeks To Extend Ban On 'Undetectable' 3D-Printed Guns

for what it's worth, I am not a smoker.

It makes no difference at this point in time, but the original EPA report on secondary smoke was a made-up lie. There were 12 or so studies in the US and Europe regarding secondary smoke. As I remember, 9 or them showed no harm, 1 showed moderate harm and one of them showed that secondary smoke was good for you.

There is a statistical technique called a "meta-study" where you evaluate your experiment to see if changes in the data gathered (or the way the data was grouped) might lead to a different result. A meta-study is NOT SUPPOSED TO PROVE ANYTHING, it's supposed to help you design a better experiment.

The EPA declared that their meta-study proved that secondary smoke was bad for you. The honest statisticians were shouted down, and since then, everyone applying for a research grant knows that the results better support the now prevailing wisdom if they ever want another grant.

And by the way, the issue is not whether secondary smoke is annoying or dangerous. It might actually be dangerous. - but they didn't prove it and they lied about it..

Comment: Re:It's time to kill off the boomers. (Score 5, Insightful) 400

by GPierce (#45314149) Attached to: What Went Wrong?

Actually, Social Security is hardly bankrupt. It has about 3.5 trillion dollars invented in special interest drawing T-Bills. Unfortunately, the deadbeats in Congress borrowed the money "invested" by Social Security and spent it on every Congressional wet-dream and war they could come up with.

The "full faith and credit" of the US requires that they pay this money back. This means raise taxes, run the printing press, or weasel their way out of as much of the repayment as they can. Every dollar they actually have to repay is a dollar that can't be spent on future corporate welfare.

Comment: Re:Cookie monster? (Score 2) 51

by GPierce (#45312257) Attached to: 'Morris Worm' Turns 25: Watch How TV Covered It Then

The original "cookie monster" ran on an IBM mainframe back in the early 1970s. It printed "I want a cookie" on the operator console. After being ignored too many times, it would do a number of annoying things such as rewinding mag tapes or sending the printer a command to skip to a channel on the control tape that was hardly ever used - result was paper being ejected at a very high speed until the operator ran over and pushed the off button. The alternative was for the operator to type in the word "cookie" every time the monster woke up.

Comment: Re:Neil deGrasse Tyson (Score 4, Insightful) 520

by GPierce (#43061647) Attached to: Neil deGrasse Tyson On How To Stop a Meteor Hitting the Earth

Actually according to Doug Adams definitive history:

On a planet called Golgafrincham there was an an nouncement that the planet would soon be destroyed in a great catastrophe They planned an evacuation using a group of arcs:.

The passengers of the “A” ark were to be all the brilliant leaders, scientists, great musicians, data analysts, engineers and architects. The passengers of the “B” ark were to be all the “middle men” , marketing executives, telephone sanitizers , sales assistants and telemarketers etc. The passengers of the “C” ark were to be the real workers, construction, manufacturing and other craftsman.

As I remember it, everyone fought for a place on the B Arc which blasted off into space programmed to land on the third planet of an obscure star at the edge of the galaxy. Shortly after its departure, they discovered it was all a mistake and the planet was not going to be destroyed.

Golgafrincham entered into a period of exceptional peace and prosperity.

The planet that was the destination of the B Arc had a different kind of history.

Comment: error protection (Score 1) 176

Back in the bad old days, IBM had a solution for down time in mission critical systems - such as for United Airlines. It was called redundancy - a complete dual system. Or as we described it: when one of the two parallel systems detected an error, it automatically sent a signal to the second system so that it could go down too.

Comment: Re:But the real question is (Score 3, Interesting) 139

by GPierce (#42257335) Attached to: Guatemala Judge Orders McAfee Released

Actually, a detective who had been investigating the OJ case for 30 or so years came to the conclusion that the probable killer was OJ's oldest son Jason - his son from his first marriage. I think the tile of the book was something like "OJ was innocent and I can prove it".

Allegedly, Jason had been treated for mental illness involving violence at least twice. At the time of the murders he was on probation for attacking his former boss with a knife, out of the set of chef's knives he always carried with him. He was also a friend of Nichole and spent a fair amount of time in her company - On the evening of the murders, she was supposed to be a guest at the restaurant where he was a chef.

The book documented all of his theories in detail (about 600 pages worth) and appeared pretty convincing.

The interesting part is that no one tried to rebut the contents of the book. The people you would expect to care simply ignored the book completely.

It's kind of like the original trial where the defense claimed that the LAPD was bigoted and framed people for crimes they were not guilty of. Then we had the Rampart scandal where a member of the LAPD testified that they were bigoted and framed people and planted evidence to convict the not guilty.

And most of America decided screw the evidence, he's guilty.

Comment: Re:Does it or does it not (Score 4, Interesting) 203

by GPierce (#42088383) Attached to: Researchers Find Megaupload Shutdown Hurt Box Office Revenues

In Las Vegas, Circle Park was shut down because some people were feeding the homeless.

(The park had become a place for homeless people to congregate, and there were other problems caused by some of the homeless in the neighborhoods surrounding the park.)

The courts said it was illegal to prevent feeding the homeless so they shut the park down completely.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!