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Comment: Re:Good! (Score 1) 619

by L4m3rthanyou (#47277525) Attached to: 2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

Perhaps a percentage-based tire tax? It covers hybrids/electrics well, Correlates to usage, is less regressive (cheaper cars usually run cheaper tires), and does a better job of addressing the truck/bus issue, without tracking.

I think the base price of gas does enough to encourage efficiency. The tricky thing is that cost per mile of road tires is really low, so the tax would have to be pretty steep. Still might be less unpopular than a gas tax, though.

Comment: Re:Only incompetent teachers need tenure (Score 1) 519

by L4m3rthanyou (#47209609) Attached to: Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

There is zero intersection between the "They" who are being pushed to denounce science to whom you are referring and the "They" who are now easier to fire without tenure. This is a ruling in California. Teachers will probably get fired for petty and political reasons, but I'd think it far more likely that a Californian teacher will get canned for insisting on teaching creationism than for refusing to teach it.

If Oklahoma or some other very red state rules against tenure for public school teachers, then we'll talk. But I'd imagine that those states are already less sympathetic to the teacher's unions, and there are fewer perks to fight over. I also don't think that California has established any precedent outside of California, as the ruling pertains to the state constitution.

And while it is indeed troubling that certain school curricula are increasingly trying to pass off religious hogwash as science, addressing it with that kind of generalization and paranoia really doesn't help the case for purely secular instruction.

Comment: Re:Enlightened Employers... (Score 1) 216

by L4m3rthanyou (#47009607) Attached to: Who controls the HVAC at work?

When I was younger, I had a summer job at a Subway. Obviously, the presence of customers ensured the place was kept at a comfortable temperature. However, one day, our A/C broke down. It was rather unpleasant, especially since we were baking bread continuously through the day.

Customer complains didn't help the issue, obviously. At one point, an African-American co-worker had had enough, and answered one such complaint, "You're telling me?! It's so hot in here it done turned me black!" Good times.

Comment: Re:Rewarding the bullies... (Score 2) 798

And, what if this kid commits a Columbine-esque revenge scenario? They'll blame it on some other bullshit, not their own lack of souls...

They'd blame it on mental illness, and they'd be right. A mass shooting is not a rational response to bullying, even if it's severe.

What happened in this case is deplorable, but no one deserves to be killed over it. The amount of apparent sympathy for perpetrators of "Columbine scenarios" in this thread is a bit frightening. I get that this is Slashdot and most of us were probably tormented to some degree while we were growing up. Many probably even fantasized about doing something similar, but there's a huge gap between fantasizing and actually going through with it.

Bullies are pricks, but that doesn't make them responsible for the actions of victims who happen to be mentally unstable. It's the same thing as the notion of "making someone kill themself". As evil and disgusting as that degree of bullying may be, at the end of the day each individual is responsible for their own actions, not the actions of others.

Also, while the prevention of school shootings is an obvious reason that bullying needs to be dealt with, I find it rather insensitive to refer to this in the context of a specific case. "What if this kid goes Columbine?" sort of insinuates that he's not right in the head, which isn't very nice.

Comment: Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (Score 1) 322

by L4m3rthanyou (#46736187) Attached to: IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

True on both points. However, It doesn't change the fact that software still "ages" in a way, and that software that works acceptably at one point in time may become unsafe to continue using at a later date. GP seems to think that the intangible nature of software means that its utility can't diminish over time.

Comment: Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (Score 5, Informative) 322

by L4m3rthanyou (#46736123) Attached to: IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

All software has defects, it's the nature of the beast. If vendors were liable for every last bug in their software, the commercial software industry would not exist. (I'm sure there are freetards who feel that would be a good thing, but let's not go there.)

It's not like Microsoft deliberately released XP with 2,722 flaws with the intent to fix them gradually over the next ~12.5 years. That's the problem with security vulnerabilities- they need to be discovered. Odds are, there are plenty more in Windows XP that have yet to be found. XP EOL isn't going to make your XP machine explode and kill your family. Before long, though, unpatched XP systems will be rife with exposed vulerabilities. Browser updates will drop support for XP. It will become unsafe to use any XP machine in any capacity that involves internet connectivity. Advising your clients to continue using XP is irresponsible at best.

Really, since you're so convinced that MS is outright evil, I'm surprised you're not trying to push some linux-based XP replacement. Though, for what it's worth, even free operating systems often have an end of support life, absent any profit motive.

Comment: Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (Score 2, Interesting) 322

by L4m3rthanyou (#46735633) Attached to: IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

A better analogy would be for Toyota to stop manufacturing parts for very old cars, and most car manufacturers do just that. Aftermarket is more able to fill the void in that case, but it's the same concept. And let's be real, $200 scaled up to a car would be thousands, not millions. Software doesn't have "mechanical" wear, but it has ongoing discovery of security vulnerabilities that require maintenance from the vendor. Delivering that maintenance costs money.

Even the newest systems that shipped with XP are really old now. Hell, I still use one at work (not by choice), and it's a slow piece of shit by today's standards. It's nice that so many have been able to sit on similar rigs for this long, but it's time to move on. That kind of service life in commodity-level PCs was almost unheard of a decade ago. Upgrades are a part of life in the tech business, and I don't think it's fair to bitch this time just because you got a little extra mileage out of the last round.

The masses of now-unsupported XP users reflects badly on the users, not Microsoft. If you missed the boat on a Windows 7 upgrade, it's your own damn fault. On the upside, the ensuing clusterfucks at various large enterprises should teach yet another hard lesson about the perils of under-funding your IT department.

Nice plug, by the way, though it's amusing that "Futurepower" is so willing to cling to the past.

Comment: Re:loud quiet loud quiet (Score 5, Interesting) 288

by L4m3rthanyou (#45665473) Attached to: A Year After Ban On Loud TV Commercials: Has It Worked?

What I'm noticing lately is that they'll mix the commercial audio "creatively" to increase its effective volume. I'll be watching a show on cable with 5.1 audio (so, mostly dialogue out of the center speaker), then have a commercial come on and pipe all its audio through both front speakers, at the "maximum" volume. The levels are probably about the same, but it still gets that "attention jolt" from the perceived increase in volume.

The other annoying trend is the use of excessive "wub wub" (bass) in ad music. Result is the same, increased distraction without "excessive" volume.

Comment: Re:Sounds like a problem... (Score 1) 507

by L4m3rthanyou (#45276935) Attached to: How Big Data Is Destroying the US Healthcare System
Profit from health care is not unethical. It's profit from health insurance that I find questionable. As I said, it seems like a serious conflict of interest. The insurer receives compensation in exchange for assuming risk. If the insurer is looking for profit, they are then motivated to optimize risk out of their system as much as possible. This can be done ethically (investing in the health of policy holders) or unethically (denying benefits whenever possible and/or leaving all but the lowest-risk clients out in the cold). History seems to indicate that private firms will take the latter approach when permitted to do so.

Health care is essential to the extent that pretty much everyone will need it in some form at some point. Also, as others have mentioned, emergency rooms can't really refuse patients. It doesn't work like conventional goods and services because an individual's needs are not necessarily predictable, and they are susceptible to catastrophic misfortune that could ruin them financially. The same concept applies to car/home/life insurance, fire protection, unemployment, and other risk-based "goods".

All insurance has issues. It's not good for controlling costs. For health care, the specifics about what should be covered are of course up for debate, and there are major questions about personal responsibility for one's lifestyle and the impact it has on health and healthcare needs. However, the private insurance "solution" doesn't seem to address these issues any more than socialized insurance would. Either we collectively cover the "problematic" individuals, or we collectively pay for their eventual ER visits because those same individuals didn't have preventative health care.

Comment: Re:Sounds like a problem... (Score 5, Insightful) 507

by L4m3rthanyou (#45275693) Attached to: How Big Data Is Destroying the US Healthcare System

I'm generally not a "government solutions" kind of person, but I do wonder how private insurance is allowed to exist for essential things like health care. How does the profit motive not create an inherent, unethical conflict of interest?

Also, insurance spreads risk and expense over a pool of policy holders. Pretty much everyone needs health care. Coverage-wise, it would seem like one large, central pool would be the best case. And, if the insurer isn't out to make money, it could instead focus on, say, reducing premiums.

Comment: Re:Are ghettos really that bad? (Score 1) 452

by L4m3rthanyou (#44785511) Attached to: Could Technology Create Modern-Day 'Leper Colonies'?

Laziness and opportunism certainly play a part, but there's also the fact that a better neighborhood will probably have police response times that aren't measured in hours. It's also a bit more difficult for a ghetto criminal to blend in outside the ghetto, which increases the odds that the cops will be called in the first place.

There's got to be more to life than compile-and-go.