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Comment Re:Inevitable escalation of a broken philosophy (Score 1) 609 609

I may have misunderstood you. I thought your original post was saying "Americans are more likely to be shot by their police because the police fear everyone they meet is armed." Are you instead saying that the police shouldn't be armed?

Anyway, we have a weird cultural issue here, where we let these things happen, and then even as half the people take to the streets, the other half cheer on the authorities. How we treat ourselves has become politicized.

Comment Re:Inevitable escalation of a broken philosophy (Score 1) 609 609

Thank you for your thoughtful post.

I believe you are conflating two different issues, police use of excessive force and private ownership of weapons.

I am sure that if one were to carefully analyze the situation, some of the deaths caused by the police are due to the fact that Americans are more likely to be armed. But I do not believe that is the exclusive or even majority cause of so much violence by our police.

We see a lot of news stories about people dying in chokeholds and the like. The police also seem to shoot our dogs. They use a SWAT team when it isn't necessarily called for.

Those things aren't happening because someone might be carrying a gun.

There is a separate issue--how we allow ourselves to be policed. And we're not doing a good job of setting boundaries.

Comment Almost worked there once (Score 3, Funny) 156 156

I worked at an office which specified the objects you could have on your desk. Leave your stapler on your desk, and Lumberg would come by and tell you to put it away and tidy up.

I was told it was part of their arrangement with the interior designer. Talk about form over function!

Comment Re:One small problem (Score 1) 509 509

I have done several ride-alongs and it WAS really eye-opening.

I had a cop tell me about the time they were in a gunfight with someone, firing into a building. Another cop rolled up, the cop jumped out of his car, and he started firing in the general direction of his colleagues. "Guys, what are we shooting at?" he said. The story was recounted as being hilarious, not horrifying.

I had a cop tell me about the way that when he found an asshole, he offered him a beating instead of an arrest. "You'd be surprised how many people take the beatin'," he told me.

I had a cop tell me about the time he visited a house for some kind of domestic complaint, and ended up banging the mom, and shortly after, banged the daughter. "You get more ass than a toilet seat in this job," he told me. "It can destroy some men."

Based on my experience doing ride-alongs I decided not to pursue a career as a cop.

Comment Re:Honestly ... (Score 5, Informative) 342 342

I worked for years in a slot machine company, and the scenario you propose would be difficult to execute. That sort of thing was easier in the old days when machines used socketed ROMs ... but today it's increasingly server managed and cryptographically signed and there is simply no way for the owner of a machine to flip a switch and rig the game.

A game will have several payout selections, like 95.6%, 98%, etc. and you can choose among them, but that is about it.

Slot manufacturers are under the microscope and will not jeopardize their licenses by making it easy for owners to rig games--at least in the US. The industry is HIGHLY regulated and multiple third party labs are involved in certifying the products.

Comment Re:HOWTO (Score 1) 1081 1081

You don't need nitrous oxide. All you need to do is displace oxygen with an inert gas like nitrogen. A scuba rebreather can malfunction in this way, and it leads to painless and unexpected unconsciousness. (That's why they have multiple oxygen sensors, and why you replace them on schedule if you're smart.)

You would not want CO2 in the execution process, as the feeling of asphyxiation is caused by inability to dump CO2, not a lack of O2. If you can keep exhaling the CO2 that you produce into a large volume of an inert gas, you'll pass out without discomfort.

All you need for effective and humane executions is nitrogen. There is no medical mystery about how to do the job. There is no need for drug cocktails and contraptions. There *is* a need for some new legislation, or court rulings. If we're going to keep executing people, we can at least stop torturing them to death.

According to wikipedia, Oklahoma has made inert gas asphyxiation legal, but the ABC news citation link is busted and I can't find a primary source.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I...

Comment Re:Australian Gun Laws are STRICT! (Score 1) 880 880

Thank you for explaining the details of the system.

I am curious, how do they track your participation in events? I understand the goal of the law but it seems like activity tracking could be a huge bureaucracy all by itself.

In the US, if we had a system like that there'd be a per-event and per-shot tax required to build a new block of office buildings full of a thousand Federal workers shuffling papers.

Comment Instead of a crappy blog link, here's the source (Score 1) 38 38

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/n...

Wait, wait!! Let me do this Slashdot style, and find the worst possible source for the material... Here's a Gizmodo link which references the RedOrbit article which links to JPL:

http://gizmodo.com/europa-rema...

Can it get worse? You bet! Let's go deeper into the brown web... a vast sea of crappy auto-generated content.

http://mobilitybeat.com/gizmod...

Comment Re:Flawed, 'cos... (Score 1) 454 454

> *Someone* has to own the rush hour fleet.

A lot of our problems seem to stem from the peak demand problem.

What if there was no rush hour, or a greatly lessened one? Rush hour is in large part an artifact of our requirement to get to an office at a certain time. If we changed the way we worked and eliminated that requirement wherever possible, peak demand would drop and that would help with a lot of transportation problems.

A lot of information workers don't need to be at the office. It's tradition that keeps them there. We can build new traditions that keep them working at home, or close to home. We already have the tools to make it possible.

It isn't a panacea. A lot of people need to be present at their workplace. There are still events that will drive peak demand. But it would have to help.

Comment Re:I've worked at a Fortune 50 for the last 2 year (Score 1) 185 185

> Also, giving you a 10-20% raise is NOTHING to the company.

I see us waste literally millions of dollars a year--just flushed right down the drain--but raises are rare as hen's teeth. Promotions, too. They apologetically explain that there are policies which must be followed.

They can't promote you from a Level X to Level X+1 until you have enough direct reports. It's policy! Oh, your group is small enough that you will never have any direct reports? Unfortunately, you can therefore never be promoted. So sorry... but it's policy.

I assume it is made this way to reap the same benefits of "zero tolerance" policies in schools. When there is a policy, no matter how toxic, you just follow it, and you are protected.

Meanwhile the rules are different for new hires. We must attract top talent! Big titles for everyone new! There are policies in place for this too, and a budgetary structure which explicitly supports this divisive system.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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