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Comment Re:Trying to figure out how this works... (Score 4, Insightful) 86

I received a $30 credit from Uber when I installed the app. That's free money. However, Uber only lets me spend it on my first Uber ride. So I can't just put that $30 into my bank account. In my case, it was raining one day, and I didn't have an umbrella, so I called an uber and got a short ride home. It came to $8, which used up my $30 credit. I didn't cleverly hatch a scheme with the driver.

If I were in China, I could say, hey, dude, bill me $30, it's coming off my new user credit anyways. Then give me $10. The driver makes $20 instead of $8, and I make $10 instead of $0. The loser would be Uber. Now, if I were to make a criminal enterprise out of it, I could say, hey, why even get a $8 ride? Let's have NO rides, and just keep billing $30 to get that juicy new user credit! We'll get keyboard farms to keep creating new uber accounts and riding and get that sweet $30 snatch!

Now, in the U.S., Uber stops me from creating new accounts on my own to take that $30 repeatedly because it requires a credit card. Now, if I were savvy, I'd use a new credit card with a cousin's billing address on a wiped phone and create a new uber account. If I have 12 credit cards and 12 cousins, I could register 12 new accounts. The only overlap would be my name, but Uber has zero way of telling if two John Smiths with different credit card numbers and different billing addresses could possibly be the same person. They rely on the fact that no one cares so much about $30 to bother with wiping their phone, swapping in a new sim card, using a new card and a cousin's address. And, they're right, in the U.S. In China, people will go through a lot more hardship for less. Clickfarms in China pay something like 10 cents per hour.

Comment Re:Good ruling (Score 1) 144

I think in general it's safer to use language that is clearly non-actionable, like wishing a volcano erupting near someone, or that karma come back and bite them. But when the language is an actionable plan, then even if it's not a plan that's intended to be followed, it can carry significant legal consequences. Listing specific dates, times, and tools to be used, would paint a picture of a realistic plan.

Comment Re:This again? (Score 1) 480

Since the device is a thruster, the question should probably be interpreted as asking whether 2x the electricity means you get to velocity k in 1/2 the time. And, well, since no one really knows how any thrust at all is being generated off virtual particles, it's conjecture that the thrust output scales linearly with electricity, though "locally linear" makes sense, with some likely non-linear relationship at absurdly large scales of electricity.

Comment Re:This guy hasn't done his research. (Score 1) 648

Being able to demonstrate to a class the difference between big and little endian is easy to do with unions in C:
union {
      char str_value[4];
      int32_t int_value;
};

With python, you have to make a call to struct.pack() or struct.unpack() and trust the python gods that those blackbox functions are doing the correct things. This is an issue with any managed memory language where the endianness is hidden from the programmer.

Comment Re:Waste (Score 1) 170

That $70 million didn't disappear. He paid it to whoever had that mansion. If that person who received the $70 million spends it on saving lives, you get what you wanted. The only difference would be the mansion is now Notch's instead of the previous owner's. But, I wouldn't bet on the previous owner going out and giving that $70 million cash to charity. Most likely, it's going into a hedge fund with high-growth investments.

Comment Re:Little Boxes (Score 1) 579

I think the post was trying to say women prefer to work on multiple topics, not that they are incapable of focusing on one. The ADHD example is people who are incapable of focusing. Think of it as the introvert vs autistic comparison. An autistic person may be incapable of socializing. An introvert prefers not to socialize, but is perfectly capable if the situation calls for it. [Note: I'm not agreeing the original post, just saying its not a flawed argument in the way you think it's flawed]

Comment Re:If this is not a bribery then I don't know what (Score 3, Interesting) 133

Donations aren't bribery, because donations aren't payment _for_ anything. A bribe is payment _for_ some political action. It's completely legal to give donations. That's why prostitution is illegal but high-end escorts are legal. The high-end escort asks for a 'donation' and no service is promised. Of course, it's pretty obvious she won't give any service if there's no donation. But she doesn't _promise_ service for a donation. It's just that her reputation as an escort will suffer if she takes the money and runs. If she does turn tricks and the police catch her, she gets off scott free under the story that she independently fell in love and wanted a night of romance wit the John, which had _nothing_ to do with with the "donation". Senators and other politicians are high-end escorts of a different shade.

Comment Re: Unconstitutional (Score 5, Insightful) 511

Let's not forget that the Supreme court for nearly a hundred of years upheld slavery as constitutional. It took an act of congress and the 18th amendment to the constitution to ban it. A modern person reading the constitution might go, gee, doesn't "life, *liberty*, and the pursuit of happiness" constitutionally protect against slavery? But, nope, to the simple minds of those in the 1800s, slaves were property not people, unless the new 13th amendment says otherwise.

Similarly, a person from the future might read the constitution and go, gee, doesn't "unreasonable search and seizure" apply to digital content? But, nope, to the simple minds of those today we need a new amendment saying digital privacy is a form of privacy just as it took the 18th amendment to say a differently pigmented person is still a person. Just because a computer is used to generate nudie pics of you a the airport doesn't suddenly make it "not a strip search" by the TSA. Just because a computer is used to communicate with someone else doesn't make it "not mail". We have all these laws already passed protecting us against strip searches and folks opening our mail, but NONE of it applies if a computer is involved. That's why patents can be so easily passed by adding "with a computer" to take an old idea and suddenly qualify as a new idea worthy of patent protections. Only congress can pass new laws -- yes, that congress, the one with an 18% approval rating that is slowly bankrupting us and threatens to default and shutdown the government twice a year; they are our only hope for sanity, not the courts; and, yes, we're screwed.

Comment Re:This this not evolution (Score 2) 253

define "better". Cochroaches are equally evolved as we are, since we both co-habitat with neither of us able to wipe out the other. However, we wipe ourselves out in a holocaust, then cochroaches are better adept at surviving, and therefore more evolved. If, instead, we colonize multiple planets and Earth is wiped out by an asteroid, then humans are better adept at surviving, and therefore more evolved. We cannot define "better" other than the ability to survive.

Comment Re: 10 ... : GOTO 10 is a loop (Score 4, Interesting) 438

it's not a maze, it's a pattern of random forward and backward slashes, "/" and "\". There's no guarantee that a path exists anywhere near the top to anywhere near the bottom. In fact, because it's random, you'd be blocked off at some point.

Comment Re:We broke the NPT with India (Score 4, Insightful) 336

Well, the NPT itself is a carte blanche to US, USSR, UK, France, and China. The NPT gives carte blanche to all nuclear powers prior to 1969 and India tested in 1974 and many /signed/ the NPT in 1992, like China and France. That said, like any legal document the NPT has loopholes, or at least ambiguous wording, and just like the wealthiest lawyer wins, the wealthiest country wins. The U.S. decided to re-interpret the NPT from "not collaborating with nations outside the NPT on nuclear matters" with "not collaborating with nations outside the NPT on /military/ nuclear matters" and gave a green-light for selling nuclear fuel and technology to the civilian sector in India (which consequently frees up India's domestic nuclear resources for military use if they can import nuclear fuel and tech for civilian use). And once the U.S. gave that interpretation, Russia, France, and soon Canada and Australia will also adopt that interpretation and begin exporting nuclear fuel and tech to India for civilian use. Australia and Canada are big since together they have 80% of the world's uranium deposits.

In the end, it's all big chess game. What was the point of the NPT? Choices like "world peace" and such are nice for elementary school kids, but the reality is that the NPT like everything else is done to win, and in this case to maintain status quo for the major powers so they remain major powers. Then why be flexible and allow India? Because rigid structures are more prone to break than flexible structures. India became the 3rd largest economy ahead of Japan this year on purchasing power and by 2050 both the economies of China and India will independently surpass the U.S., and combined surpass the U.S plus Europe. Moreover, the U.S. doesn't see any long-term conflict with India, and in fact sees India as an ally which has a democracy, a liberal society, and a focus on business and economy rather than military. While India has nuclear and missile programs, its military budget is tiny, at only 2.7% of GDP, compared with 2.6% for England, 3.9% for Russia, 4.7% for the U.S. and 10.4% for Saudi Arabia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Military_expenditure_by_GDP_2008.png

All that said, it makes sense to slowly induct India into the status quo than risk a change in the global order. Every exclusive club has to occasionally induct new members to keep from turning irrelevant. That said, while a country club may accept a rich black man with the changing of the times, it's not a free-for-all where it accepts a homeless man. So the nuclear status quo will

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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