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Comment: Re: Rent a Tesla for $1 (Score 1) 334

by Martin Blank (#48016011) Attached to: State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives

Franchise opportunities have to be open to anyone (with geographical restrictions in some states), and it's my understanding that auto manufacturers may not have an interest (or at least a controlling interest) in any entity that owns a dealership that sells their vehicles.

Comment: Re:kill -1 (Score 1) 469

by Martin Blank (#47965343) Attached to: Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

Really? You don't reboot after a kernel security update?

I do believe that the comment also include "and in scheduled windows".

I see too many Linux systems with uptimes well in excess of a year and even three years, in the belief that it's Linux so they don't have to worry about it, and no one codes exploits for Linux kernels, ignoring whatever may be on ExploitDB. In many cases, "scheduled downtime" is for when the service is restarted after patching, not for rebooting. It's far more common than it should be, even among people who have been using Linux for many years and should know better.

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 1) 392

Obamacare seems to have only helped a little under 3% of the people who did not have coverage previously.

The NBC News article says that 5 million people had insurance who did not have it before. If that's only 3% of the people who didn't have insurance, it would require that approximately 166 million people--half of the country--not have insurance before.

What happened was there was a drop in the uninsured rate of about 3% from around 15% to around 12%. That's about 20% of the people who did not have insurance before now having it. As the penalties go up, the uninsured rate is expected to go down even further.

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 2) 392

ERs generally cannot turn away emergency patients or deny them care under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Even if it appears that they have shown up in a non-emergency state, they still have to be assessed, and they are sometimes turned away for minor things, or at least given prescriptions that they have to pay for and which the hospital is not required to provide. The goal was to combat patient dumping that hospitals were doing for patients that couldn't pay even though they had been severely wounded or were in the midst of labor.

The issue the AC was talking about it a bit different, though. People with insurance (or some other means to pay) can generally go to a doctor when symptoms start to arise instead of only going to the ER when it becomes an emergency situation. This isn't someone who has a sore throat for a few days, but people who have cancer or other illnesses, and by the time the ER becomes a viable option, they're often too far along to treat, and can't pay for the emergency care they do get to stabilize them, which can require ICU or CCU. That cost then gets absorbed by the hospital and passed on to everyone else instead of a much lower cost being covered earlier on when early access might have saved the patient at lower cost.

Comment: Re:I hate to be this guy... (Score 1) 188

Corruption as part of the culture is an enormous part of it, especially in Africa and Asia and to a lesser extent in South America. That's a problem that you can't really throw money at because it tends to just add to the issue.

There are economic complications, too. Simply delivering food and water outside of a disaster situation undermines the local food economies: why buy food from the local farm if someone else is giving it away for free? Farms go under, leaving more people reliant on handouts.

War is another major issue. We hear about a million refugees in Gaza, but they're largely just a few kilometers from their homes, so delivery isn't that difficult. There are other cases where refugees in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan end up hundreds of kilometers from home, and these present bigger challenges. But in Africa, there are millions of people who have been moving over thousands of kilometers through war zones that have been akin to the areas controlled by the Islamic State for decades. No one really notices because no one reports on it. Even the Rwandan Genocide took weeks for most people in the West to notice despite on-scene reporters providing detailed reports.

There's a great deal of research going into what works. Solving economic issues is a big start. Reducing infant and childhood mortality rates by directly (i.e., not through the local government) fighting malaria with sterile releases and mosquito bed nets has helped dramatically in some locations. Teaching farmers how to more efficiently tend their crops, and opening them up to international markets has also helped.

The space program helped, too, mapping climate changes that provide hints on where to help, when to change to different crops, and how to handle desertification.

There will be no time that all earthly problems are solved so that we can concentrate on space. Trying to divert all of the money spent on it would be devastating to industry anyway, and no other nation will join in because, like it or not, we now all rely on space.

Comment: Re:news for nerds? (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47847751) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

You've missed my point. Even if 50%+1 of the voting-age population (we'll leave out those not eligible to vote due to lack of citizenship, felony conviction, dishonorable discharge, etc.) voted for him, it still wouldn't be a majority of all Americans. There were about 313 million people in the US in 2012; half of that would be more people than voted, and would require 77% of the voting-age population. No president is known to have gotten that vote level, let alone overall preference. Washington might have, but no popular vote totals are available before 1824, and women were blocked from voting, as were most blacks, so rendering a majority support virtually impossible anyway even if every person legally allowed to vote did so.

Comment: Re:Stop making sense. (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845755) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

I find that it's not so much ideology as a desire to boil down the situation to the simplest form in an effort to win the argument. Sometimes this works when certain nuances aren't significant, but it's easy to go too far. The most common one I see is treating all Syrian rebels as if they're part of the IS, when it's a patchwork of groups with many goals.

Comment: Re:Eurasia vs. oceania (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845743) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

I'm not talking about those supporting US military action. That's a separate list. I'm talking about those who have participated in some form of engagement. The only one that is perhaps in doubt is Russia, but they are providing intelligence support, if only relaying information between the US and Syria since neither of those countries wants to admit cooperating with each other.

Those entities above known to be actively fighting the IS:
- Iraq
- Syria
- Hezbollah
- Free Syria Army
- United States
- Iran
- al-Qaeda (via al-Nusra Front)

Those entities providing military and/or financial aid to those fighting the IS:
- United States
- Britain
- Iran
- Saudi Arabia

Those entities providing intelligence support:
- Syria
- Jordan
- Free Syria Army
- United States
- Britain
- Iran
- Saudi Arabia
- Russia

Comment: Re:Send Them Back To Hell (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845453) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

That's why there is a significant effort to bring the Sunni emirs back to Baghdad's side, starting with the new Prime Minister. The IS itself doesn't have much in the way of forces (ranging somewhere around 10,000, maybe a bit more), but instead relies on allied emirs to provide fighters.

And the army has stepped up. While Shi'ite militias have certainly helped, the Iraqi Army has retaken most of Tikrit and broken the siege at Amerli. It's slow progress, but it is weeding out many of those who just joined for a paycheck. Some Sunni militias have also turned against the IS and are creating problems for it within its controlled territory.

Comment: Re:Eurasia vs. oceania (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845405) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

Saddam Hussein funded terrorists where he found it appropriate (mostly in other countries) and fought terrorists where he found it appropriate (mostly in Iraq).

Corruption in the government isn't the problem, at least not as we usually think of it. The attempt by previous Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to sideline the Sunnis and Kurds as second-class citizens is the problem. The man basically tried to become a dictator, and it wasn't until the rise of the Islamic State that Iran finally stopped backing him. Maybe the new PM, Haider al-Abadi, a man who Sunni politicians found acceptable, can repair some of the damage. Already, some of the Sunni emirs have switched sides and ordered their militias to fight the IS.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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