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Comment: Re:Specialized Pieces (Score 1) 351

by MobyDisk (#46772913) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

That's what I thought until my son started using those "specialized" pieces to make all kinds of wacky inventions. Most of those "specific" pieces fall into two categories:
- A regular piece with different coloring or embossed printing to match the character.
- A standard mechanical engineering piece that you've just never seen before.

I am a software guy with little mechanical knowledge, but as I read the Lego Technic Builders Guide I now see many of those "specialized" pieces actually look like nicely-finished versions of standard Technic bricks.

Comment: At least he isn't ignoring it! (Score 1) 1463

by MobyDisk (#46768653) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

While I don't want this change, I am glad that someone is actually talking about this. Everyone else either wants to ignore the constitution, or reinterpret it in their favor. No one ever talks about amending it any more. Even when that is clearly what is necessary to proceed.

This problem extends to issues beyond gun control. Politicians are constantly weasel-wording laws to avoid constitutional issues. Instead, if we really want the government to be able to take images of us through our clothes at airports, read our email, detain suspected terrorists indefinitely without charges, grant copyrights that extend nearly forever, allow same-sex couples to marry, establish a national healthcare system, regulate marijuana, etc... then we should amend the constitution to say these things. Instead, we just pass the laws anyway, then spend decades fighting over them.

Comment: Cameras embedded in contact lenses (Score 1) 140

by MobyDisk (#46767267) Attached to: Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding To "Glassholes"

So, if something has been published 1000 times in works of fiction, can I still get a patent on it if I write it up in a thoughtful way and define specific details that are only hinted at in the work of fiction? Ex: Contact lenses with cameras aren't new, but maybe nobody ever described how the camera tracks eye movement to adjust the image or focus. Does including such detail make it patentable?

Comment: Re:Not wiretapping: There was no wire! (Score 1) 777

I tried to visit the link but it didn't work for me. Since the Supreme Court ruled on this last year, and since the article shows that the police didn't actually make any claims of wiretapping (only the principal did), and since the DOJ has repeatedly asserted that this kind of recording is okay, I don't think that statute could really apply. By "electronic or oral" they probably mean "bits of data or sound" but they still meant something that was transmitted.

Comment: Re:Not wiretapping: There was no wire! (Score 2) 777

Actually, I'm reading this article with a critical eye now, and I realize that the police never said anything about wiretapping. Only the principal did:

The defendant testified before Judge McGraw-Desmet that he was forced to play the audio for the group and then delete it.

The "group" is the principal and a police officer. So who forced him to delete it?

Mr. Milburn told me to delete it, and I just felt, like, really pressured to do it.

So the school principal made him delete it. Probably because it embarrassed the school.

The officer said, “He believed he had a wiretapping incident."

So the officer says that the principal is the one who thought he had a wiretapping incident.

Principal Milburn advised her that her son was “facing felony wiretapping charges” because he made a recording in a place with an expectation of privacy, and that Officer Kurta agreed.

The only mention about the officer is the statement that the officer agreed, and it isn't a quote from anyone.

This further indicates that it was the school trying to hide their shame:

...the administrators gave the student a Saturday detention

Probably to pressure him into thinking it was all his fault.

So what legal trouble did he actually get it?

the magistrate pronounced him guilty of disorderly conduct.

No mention as to why that was. But the "magistrate" said nothing about wiretapping.

Now, the doozy:

The officer then admitted he did not hear the audio file in question or do an investigation into the recording, presumably because the student was ordered to erase it prior to his arrival at the school.

So the officer claims he wasn't even there for the recording!

Now it sounds like the principal pressured a student into a cover-up of his own teacher's discipline failures, and destroyed evidence in an investigation! Wow, I would *love* to see the ACLU get involved in this one!

Comment: Not a useful paper (Score 5, Insightful) 188

by MobyDisk (#46760007) Attached to: The Security of Popular Programming Languages

In the wake of Heartbleed, one might think that this would be talking about array bounds checking or buffer overflow mitigation. No. It is talking about web site frameworks.

examined the vulnerability assessment results of the more than 30,000 websites

First of all: this is not measuring the security of the programming language. This is measuring the security of the OS infrastructure and toolchains. Notice C/C++ is not on the list, since it is hardly ever used for creating web sites.

There was no significant difference between languages in examining the highest averages of vulnerabilities per slot.

What the heck is a slot?

Any summary where Perl scores the best must be deeply questioned. I doubt this is an apples-to-apples comparison. Surely these Perl sites are not doing nearly as much as the sites written in other languages.

Comment: Mainstreaming 3D printing (Score 2) 69

by MobyDisk (#46715937) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Bre Pettis About Making Things

How close to mainstream will 3D printers become?

I've talked to makers who predict everyone will have a 3D printer in their home. I've heard other opinions that 3D printing will become a common hobby like building model railroads, astronomy, or programming. Yet others believe it is a fad and it will return to being a tool for professional engineers only. What do you think?

Comment: Re:just keep in mind (Score 1) 408

That is not correct: you have confused herbal medicines with homeopathic medicines.

Zinc is not homeopathic. Things that contain Zinc are not homeopathic. And Zicam doesn't even contain Zinc anymore.

So not all homeopathy is bullshit or contains mostly water or uses snake poison or any of that nonsense. Sometimes it just means they didn't have the budget to get FDA approval.

All homeopathy is bullshit and contains mostly water. If it does not contain mostly water (or some other inert filler) then it isn't homeopathic. That's the definition of homeopathic. And things that don't get FDA approval are called herbal medicines, not homeopathic medicines.

The reason homeopathic medicines are selling well is because people have been led to believe that non-FDA approved herbal medicine = homeopathic. That's not true. There's plenty of herbal supplements that do not claim to cure any disease, that don't need FDA approval, that are not homeopathic.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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