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Comment: America's subjugated population (Score 1) 462

by John Bayko (#47890967) Attached to: CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

An armed populace practically can't be subjugated by any outright oppressor, be it foreign of domestic. If you have to have a gunfight with, and kill most of the populace, then you didn't really 'win' as an oppressor. You can't kill them all.

First, subjugation has many forms. Can you buy a non-low flush toilet in the U.S (federally mandated by George Bush (first) since 1997) no matter how many guns you own? Can you deposit over $10,000 without being reported to the federal government? Can your land be forcably purchased to build a shopping centre?

Second, "force" can be coersive, not just physical. So you have guns. Do you have money? Not any more you don't. Do you have electricity, water, internet, phone service? Nice while they lasted. Can you leave home and go anywhere to get food, gas, or other supplies? Those were the days. No matter how many guns you might have, a seige will eventually end - and not worth it for most people.

Third, both George W Bush's war in Iraq, and Putin's actions against Ukraine shows that even in a modern internet-connected world, the vast majority of a country's population can be completely convinced of something that is demonstrably not true (Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, Ukrain wasn't overthrown by Nazis putting Russians into concentration camps). When Iraq invaded Kuwait, the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S testified to Congress that she was actually a nurse in Kuwait who watched Iraqi soldiers dump babies out of incubators to die on the floor (no such event was ever confirmed) - nobody asked even the very first question that would have exposed this lie. Opponents of the U.S government can be adequately demonized, then taken down with overwhelming public support.

Fourth, acting against the entire population might be impractical, but it's much easier to target specific groups one at a time. A large percentage of the U.S population already has nearly no rights already, as a result of nickle-and-diming laws that build up. For example, some states charge court fees to the accused, even when they are found innocent (i.e you used the court to prove your innocense, you must pay for that service), even for a minor crime like tresspassing. The poor often cannot pay, and can be imprisoned for that. There are prison fees, and failing to pay those can extend the term or result in reincarceration on release. There has built up a population of "un-people" who are otherwise law-abiding, but must avoid arrest, relying on a growing underground society of family, friends, and criminals to get illegal work, handle finances, find places to live, and so on. When sick they can't go to the hostpial or be turned in (they have back room "clinics"), when a victim of crime they can't go to the police. They can't use banks (so need cash, which the police can take as mentioned in the posted story). For other people, many are denied voting rights due to technicalities like lack of a drivers license or permanent residence. People caught urinating in public are put on a sex offenders list, which has such impossible restrictions on where to live and limits to work these days that many need to go into hiding just to survive. Minorities are stopped and searched on New York streets for no reason other than being black or hispanic.

Those are things that are already done. Those laws and actions are supported because the victims are "criminals" and in a black-and-white viewpoint, a "technical criminal" is as much a criminal as a murderer, and deserves no rights (and to be accused is to be a criminal).

All put together, this means even if the entire free population of the U.S were armed and trained, they could still be subjugated completely by a government that wanted to. Keep in mind that the repressed population of Iraq (pre-2003 overthrow) was also heavily armed (rifles mostly), but that didn't help them against Saddam Hussein's well organized repression.

Comment: Choke point (Score 1) 275

by John Bayko (#45900255) Attached to: End of Moore's Law Forcing Radical Innovation

The problem with software efficiency has always been this: There are millions of applications, programs, libraries, etc. created, often redundant and amateur. They all run on one of a handful of CPU core designs. Spending the effort to optimise a CPU speeds everything that runs on it. Spending the effort to optimise a program speeds up one program (most libraries, maybe a handful, and only sometimes).

There are still possibilities for CPU improvement. Transfer triggered architectures, dataflow, counterflow, asynchronous, content addressable memory, smart memory - many ideas had promise, but Moore's Law (and incompatability) meant that established techniques improved CPU speeds faster than the new ones could be commercialised (you might remember RISC as the only one that made it, barely). Without Moore's Law, there will be opportunty to work on the alternatives.

Comment: Things get cheap, then possible (Score 1) 45

by John Bayko (#44952513) Attached to: Interview: Contiki OS Creator On Building the Internet of Things

[...] I don't see a point to remotely control a washer or toaster over the internet.

There's a sort of blindness that people have when they see what exists and can't imagine it being different. The creator of Babylon 5 once described seeing an old SF movie (Flash Gordon maybe?) where the crew had to abandon a space ship. They grabbed their laser blasters (handheld), anti-gravity belts (little box ona belt), and the portable radio, a giant box that needed two people to carry it. Because nobody knew what laser guns or anti-gravity belts look like, they could imagine science making them arbitrarily small, but everyone knew what a radio looked like (tubes and all) and couldn't conceive of the science that could shrink it into, say, a $5 item that you can lose in a purse.

Phones are a good example of how they can change so much, it won't be long before "phones" of the past won't even qualify as what anyone understands a phone is (it's already happened once - even if you think of a phone as something with buttons or a dial you use to connect a voice circuit to someone, older "phones" that did nothing but ring an operator who you talked to used to be the standard for decards, but wouldn't qualify if you went to buy one).

As for washers, toasters, fridges, etc., don't think of them as they are now. Think of a future where displays cost about what a laminated decal does. You could look up washing instructions on the washer lid. For that matter, the washer could look up washing instructions for clothes based on microscopic RFID tags (like how those "Tassimo" coffee makers read bar codes from coffee packets now). The fridge could display a recipe - yours or one you looked up - in an app with checkboxes you tap when you've taken an ingredient out, used it, or need it (links to a shopping list on your phone). The toaster? Same recipe - if displays are nearly free and you have a dozen, why not use them all? Heck, put displays on your coffee cups, for no other reason than you can tap it and tell your coffee maker to start a new cup before you walk over to it - and display someone's picture on the mug meanwhile.

Every day I see things that are awful that people accept as normal. Mostly device controls and interfaces, but other things. Like a digital monitor. It has it's own display memory, so why does the computer send the same image to it 30 times a second? Worse, the same image! Evenin a laptop! Something's fundimentally wrong about that very concept.

There's no end to things that need improvement. And as technology gets cheaper, I sure hope that'll finally happen.

Comment: China vs. Japan (Score 1) 352

by John Bayko (#44690033) Attached to: The World Fair of 2014 According To Asimov (From 1964)

China has nukes, Japan doesn't. Unless you count the damage from leaking nuclear reactors.

Also, China has a large military and a young population, Japans population is aging with fewer service-aged citizens.

Both countries have all-volunteer militaries (conscripts tend to do a lot worse). But to be fair, Japan's military is much better trained (thanks to the U.S), and China's military tends to be politicized - it's similar to the U.S.S.R in WW II, in which Stalin kept interfering until Germany had taken half of Russia. At that point, he kept his hands off and let the professional fight the war, which pushed Germany back to Berlin.

Then again you'd have to consider the alliances of the area - even excluding the U.S. First Taiwan, despite disputes over ownership of the Senkaku (Tiaoyutai) islands, would side with Japan. And though Koreans tend to hate Japanese for former war atrocities (and Japan's censorship of its own guilt), Korea in general would probably ally with Japan (ironically, North Korea would provide the essential buffer keeping Korea safe from immediate retaliation from China). So between the three of them, much of China would be cut off from ocean-going world trade - including fuel and supplies.

After that it gets a bit fuzzy to predict. I think most countries would try to remain neutral initially, but woud be drawn in - particularly India, which has border disputes with China, and Russia, which distrusts China but kind of needs it to keep buying oil and resources, but also needs Europe, and is the greatest country in the world except for all its problems all caused by the United States and not corruption etc.. Add Australia, the U.S, Pakistan, etc., and you can keep yourself entertained for days predicting utterly improbably things.

But original point stands - Japan can't nuke China, despite many Japanese politicians advocating that they should be able to.

Comment: Re:Study Finds CRA 'Clearly' Lead To Risky Lending (Score 2) 251

by John Bayko (#42835111) Attached to: Email Trails Show Bankers Behaving Badly

At the same time, the actual loans covered by the CRA were not a problem. Many sources back this up, including this:

[director of the Federal Reserve’s consumer and community affairs division Sandra Braunstein] cited a Federal Reserve Board analysis which found that, in 2006, CRA-covered banks operating in CRA-targeted neighborhoods accounted for just six percent of the risky, high-cost loans largely responsible for the housing crisis.

So what you're saying is, the CRA made loans not covered by the CRA to default. Does that make any sense? I don't think it does. It sounds more like the "wishful blaming" that those responsible began doing once their expensive lies were exposed.

Comment: Torque wrenches (Score 1) 419

by John Bayko (#42834203) Attached to: China's Radical New Space Drive

- mechanics --- a Phillips driver will ``cam out'' when it hits bottom, making triggering the retraction of the tool easy, a Robertson requires a more sophisticated system to measure the torque, stop applying force, then pull out

Torque wrenches for bolts just have a firm spring between the driver and the handle - past the torque limit, the spring twists. I can't think of anything simpler. Maybe that's was just an excuse?

Comment: Robertson screws and hex bolts (Score 1) 419

by John Bayko (#42834175) Attached to: China's Radical New Space Drive

As well, there was an advantage in production that Phillips heads had over Robertson, in that the driver bit pops out of the screw head when the screw tightens up. In old production environments before the advent of accurate torque-limiting drivers for all stations, it was a handy way to determine proper screw torque.

I've heard that, but how did they deal with hex (or square) nuts and bolts which would have the same problem? Sounds to me like it was just an excuse made up to justify an economic or political decision on nonexistant technical grounds - as often happens.

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