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Comment Service in exchange for a free modem? (Score 4, Interesting) 224

I actually think this could be pretty cool if Comcast would offer customers *something* in exchange for them hosting a public hotspot out of their house.

How about a free modem, instead of charging them $3/mo to rent one?

I own my modem outright, so have negative incentive to upgrade. But if they were to offer me a free basic IP phone line, or a free upgrade to the next speed tier, or free access to this service I'm hosting, or *anything*, I'd certainly consider it.

But otherwise, yeah, it seems like they're forcing everyone to pay for their network electricity as a requirement of getting their own internet, with no added benefit in return.

Comment Revealed FBI attempt to blackmail MLK into suicide (Score 4, Interesting) 108

"Among the grim litany of revelations was a blackmail letter F.B.I. agents had sent anonymously to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., threatening to expose his extramarital affairs if he did not commit suicide."

From the NY Times Article

The corollary to the "you shouldn't worry if you don't have anything to hide" argument apparently is "you'd better not ever have anything to hide or the government will use it against you".

Comment As a driver... (Score 1) 947

God no! Never lose the helmet. Never, ever. When on a bike, at any point, no matter how safe you are, you're about a half-second from smashing your forehead into the pavement. Never forget that.

I love bike commuting, and would love to do it if I didn't have a 30-mile commute over the hills. As a paranoid driver though, I've noticed I have some technical problems with bike lanes.

In Portland, many streets have bike lanes along the right side of the road, between traffic and the sidewalk. All in all, I think this is preferable to forcing cyclists to ride in traffic. However, it puts me in the position of, if I want to make a right turn, effectively having to turn right across a lane of a traffic, which would be otherwise illegal if that were a lane of cars and not a lane of bikes.

If I'm in a car stopped at an intersection next to a bike lane, and want to turn right, I have to do the following:
Look left for oncoming traffic
Look ahead for oncoming traffic turning left (my right)
Look at the far-right corner for pedestrians
Look at the near-right corner for pedestrians
Look to the right of me to see if there are any cyclists also waiting
Look in my right-mirror to see if there are any cyclists approaching from behind
Look over my shoulder to double-check my blind spot

By the time I've done that, enough time has passed that I want to look left again.

There are also places where, in order to turn right, you have to move to a new lane on the other side of the bike lane (which is now marked with dotted lines). This makes me paranoid to no end. It puts me in the position of effectively merging to change across an entire lane of traffic, which again would be otherwise illegal. Bicyclists generally go slower than cars and don't maintain the same spacings, so it is harder to judge at a glance how many cyclists there are and how fast they're going (one may have been passing another) to make sure they're all out of your blind spot before you quickly barrel across their lane.

I don't know if there are better solutions aside from creating entire bike-only roads and bridges, but I think there are technical problems with bike lanes that are likely to result in accidents that are not entirely the fault of either party. I do my best as a driver to be paranoid, and still constantly worry I'm going to not manage to spot a cyclist just that one time.

Comment The Long Now Foundation (Score 3, Informative) 277

If you're not familiar with The Long Now Foundation you should check them out. They have a project to build a clock that will last 10,000 years (about as long again as there's been civilization on earth), and are making progress constructing it in a cave in a mountain in Nevada.

Of course, the next questions are things like "well, who is going to be around to read it?" and "how will they read it?", and "how do we maintain a level of civilization where people can create replacement parts for it?"

Neal Stephenson consulted with them for his book Anathem, which I highly recommend, which is based around these sorts of questions.

Comment 90% of crime rate changes linked to lead exposure (Score 5, Informative) 424

Mother Jones recently published an article America's Real Criminal Element: Lead, detailing the correlation between decrease in environmental lead levels (mostly due to unleaded gasoline laws) and the decrease in crime rates (with a 20-year delay). The numbers are impressive, and they've correlated across areas of the country that enacted lead control laws at different times. The research is thorough and they make bold claims: "Gasoline lead may explain as much as 90 percent of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century." I highly recommend giving it a thorough read.

Comment Re:It's one thing for him to sell access (Score 1) 228

No, this is awesome! I want the feature available so we can all charge people money to send us messages. Then everyone can just put on their business card and e-mail footer how much it costs to talk to them, and then nobody has to ever talk to anyone who isn't willing to pay (or can't afford) to talk to them.

You know, this started out as snark, but then I realized that that's actually how the real world works ($1000/plate political dinners, lobbyists, conventions), and just got depressed.

Comment Re:This makes sense if they're recording *raw* dat (Score 5, Informative) 221

That sounds frighteningly accurate.
From a different Wired article: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/nsa-whistleblower/

NSA can intercept millions of domestic communications and store them in a data center like Bluffdale and still be able to say it has not “intercepted” any domestic communications. This is because of its definition of the word. “Intercept,” in NSA’s lexicon, only takes place when the communications are “processed” “into an intelligible form intended for human inspection,” not as they pass through NSA listening posts and transferred to data warehouses.

So, the short, accurate answer to Wyden's question would be "We're spying on everyone. Literally. It would take too much work to even calculate the number of people we're spying on. Go away."

Comment Re:Sounds completely logical (Score 2) 312

Right. Because historically, the kids buying video games are the ones out there beating up other kids and stealing their lunch money. Why don't we leverage a 1% tax on footballs and jerseys as well, or maybe weight-lifting equipment?

What a great message. "If you buy this video game, someone may come along and kick your ass, so we're going to charge you extra so the government can try to prevent that."

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