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Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 173

by NicBenjamin (#48896297) Attached to: China Cuts Off Some VPNs

You can't compare anything but murder because the categories are different. I personally have been the victim of two crimes which would be reported as violent crime in England, which I reported to the local cops, but were not included in these statistics. In addition to these two crimes I mentioned, my sister has been mugged three times in DC and NYC.

If you want a anti-gun-control person's takedown of this particular statistic I refer you to:

Comment: There's only one case where this is useful: (Score 1) 161

by NicBenjamin (#48880927) Attached to: Researchers Moot "Teleportation" Via Destructive 3D Printing

Where there's no way to get important data on how the object is put together without destroying it. Which is somewhat believable if you're talking about living material, which would actually have to be reproduced at the molecule-level, including velocity of all molecules, electric forces, create a living copy. It's becoming more believable about electronics. It's hard to see how you could copy something with a 14 nanometre resolution that with a non-destructive external scan.

But even this process wouldn't be moving the damn thing. After all there's no reason you couldn't create two copies of the destroyed object.

Comment: Re:When does the investigation into HP start? (Score 1) 53

by NicBenjamin (#48859723) Attached to: Serious Fraud Office Drop Investigation Into Autonomy Accounting

You have a surprising amount of faith in investor's ability to tell stupid shit from a "high-risk/high-reward acquisition strategy." Particularly when "high-risk/high-reward" is followed by sophisticated business-speak for "it's all that guy's fault," especially in this case, which includes a large subtext of "and it'll be at least three more years before the police decide to call my bluff on this particular line of ridiculous BS."

By the time all the cops have confirmed that it's BS all the relevant people at HP will have moved to other companies (probably mostly at higher-level positions), and this particular disaster will be the rationalization the next CEO uses to cover his ass when he totally fucks up. Hell this has already happened. Whitman wasn't CEO until a month after the acquisition was completed.

Comment: Re:Tony Blair quoting Churchill quoting Verne (Score 1) 75

by NicBenjamin (#48847751) Attached to: Winston Churchill's Scientists

The IRS's is one of the last government departments that a rational person would cut because IRS Agents earn their keep by nailing tax cheats.

Or you'd simplify the tax code, which would make it easier to spot them, and which would lead to less mistakes which means less fraud and less errors. Then you wouldn't need so many tax collectors.

That's virtually impossible to do under our system. It's incredibly complex, with a whole panoply of veto points, and it's specifically designed so that the same individual can never have control of all of those veto points.

Which means if you're taking a tax break away from somebody who uses it, they have a dozen or so places to stop you.

OTOH, why is the Canadian prime Minister Prime Minister? Because he has the Confidence of Parliament. What does that mean we he tells the Chair of some damn finance subcommittee to pass a bill? It means the Chair of the subcommittee has three options: resigning from the subcommittee, new elections, and passing the damn bill.

If your sole objective is freedom-protection you don't create a Federal government.

Wait, what? If your goal is to give states freedom to oppress people, that's true. Otherwise, false.

Don't be silly.

If your sole objective is freedom protection you're an anarchist, and instead of creating a new level of potential oppressors you abolish all levels of potential oppressors.

Even if you weren't full anarchist, the states of the 1790s were a lot easier to dodge then the Feds because you could always move. Moreover state-level elections back then tended to be annual, so they tended to be much closer to the Electorate then the Feds.

Founders were actually trying to do something very, very complex: create a government that restricted freedom enough

The founders were trying to maintain a status quo in which they and their ilk would control society. They suceeded. They were wealthy, racially privileged land owners, just like in Athens. And guess what? Wealthy, racially privileged land owners still run the country, so mission accomplished.

Don't be ridiculous.

Buffet, Soros, and the Koch brothers don't own land. They own stock. What we have today's completely different, and much more Democratic, then a landed aristocracy; because it just is.

Comment: Re:a better question (Score 1) 584

by NicBenjamin (#48847685) Attached to: Why Run Linux On Macs?

You do realize you are literally not comparing Apples to Apples here?

My repairs were out of warranty. They happened because I could physically go talk to someone with the power to fix my machine, and it was easier for him to fix my machine right there on the fucking spot then argue with me. They had no legal, fiduciary, or ethical obligation to do anything nice for me. In fact they could easily have told me to fuck off (in those very terms) and the got the police to show up and escort me from the building. Instead they gave me a free motherboard, and charged me $15 for a repair Dell would need hundreds for out of warranty.

Your repairs are within warranty. Even assuming you aren't painting an overly rosy picture (in particular I'd be stunned if the wait time time to get on the phone with a real Dell Tech was less then 45 minutes, and I've never waited anywhere near that long for a Genius). If you tried my tactic with those guys you'd get nowhere because their computerized system probably won't send a tech support dude to a guy whose warranty with Dell is not current.

Comment: Re:Tony Blair quoting Churchill quoting Verne (Score 4, Insightful) 75

by NicBenjamin (#48844665) Attached to: Winston Churchill's Scientists

The problem with science spending in the current environment is that a) a lot of it has become politicized ( certain strain of budget-cutting Republican is very skeptical of anything that pro-AGW-scientist do), and b) we've been in fire government employees mode since Bush got termed out. Look at it this way: The IRS's is one of the last government departments that a rational person would cut because IRS Agents earn their keep by nailing tax cheats. Even if each agent is only finding $0.50 on the dollar, you have to cut $2 in IRS spending to equal a $1 cut anywhere else. And we're cutting the IRS. Congress is not in a invest-in-the-future mode, it is in a cut-government-spending-so-private-companies-can-magically-appear-and-invest-in-the-future-their-own-damn-selves mode.

A scientist, who is probably so naive that they honestly think the founders sole objective in creating the Federal government was to protect freedom*, asking for money that could a) result in nothing more interesting then proving his line of research is a dead end, or b) revolutionize some obscure field Congressmen cannot spell properly, does not stand a fucking chance.

*If your sole objective is freedom-protection you don't create a Federal government. The Founders were actually trying to do something very, very complex: create a government that restricted freedom enough it could effectively a) resist future British attempts to retake the colonies and b) destroy those goddamn Indians in Ohio once and for all, without c) granting it sufficient anti-freedom powers that it could seriously oppress the people.

Note that their definition of freedom was wonky. If there'd been any chance the Federal government could end slavery, most of them would have considered that "serious oppression," so they specifically designed there Feds so that could only happen under the most dire of circumstances.

Comment: Re:a better question (Score 3, Informative) 584

by NicBenjamin (#48844587) Attached to: Why Run Linux On Macs?

Apparently you don't live near a big American City. There's nothing wrong with that, but one of the trade-offs for doing that is you there are no Apple stores.

I've gotten free repairs on them for parts I admitted I broke simply by going to the Apple Store in-person and being polite. For example, there was one time I spilled Dr. Pepper on the keyboard. Another time the MagSafe board (a daughterboard attached to the motherboard that allows the laptop to connect to the AC Adapter) died. It was out of warranty/ Any company but Apple would have charged me $500, forced me to do the two-week shipping thing you hated so much, and probably fucked it up because the guy reading the work order did the wrong thing. They charged me some ridiculously tiny fee for the part ($10-15) and that was it.

Comment: Re:a better question (Score 1) 584

by NicBenjamin (#48844189) Attached to: Why Run Linux On Macs?

Why run a mac at all if your goal is to use Linux? PCs are a ton cheaper and in most cases just as good.

"most cases" != all the time.

My best guess is you want the advantages of Steve Jobs Walled Garden for hardware, but none of the disadvantages it has for software.

If you want cheap hardware, you wouldn't use a Mac. But let's say you want a high-end laptop, it's 50-50 whether you can beat Apple's prices without going into no-name companies with questionable build quality, and significantly harder to beat their customer service if something goes wrong.

This is particularly true if you're interested in some tech spec that a generic geek building a server/gaming rig/commodity PC for grandma doesn't care about much because it costs a lot of money and doesn't help the machine much. Nobody but Apple has retina-level monitors. There are probably competitors to the MacBook Air (high-end laptop that weighs virtually nothing), but I can't name them. The cost-benefit analysis on features like these says "don't bother," but they're still cool. If your LINUX laptop budget is $1,000-$1,500 and you want a laptop that ways nothing and has a retina display, why the fuck not? It's your money.

Comment: Re:What's wrong with Europe nowdays? (Score 2) 174

Let's look at this logically. You are either right or you are wrong.

Assume you are right: Blaming the US is incredibly dumb tactics because the only people who will care about this are Spaniards who can't vote in US elections. The person you should be blaming is the Prime Minister of Spain, who could fix it tomorrow. You could conceivably blame both, and get increased leverage from associating him with American meddling, but your original post did not even mention the PM's name or party. As is posts like this one are a very good justification for not voting, which allows the Spanish elite to continue to arrest people partly because they use secured electronic devices.

Assume you are wrong: complaining about the US is a waste of time. The government that tolerates this shit can survive any attempt you level that it's doing Obama's bidding because it isn't doing Obama's bidding. The Spanish political elite will continue to oppress you.

Either way, instead of advancing your cause and providing an interesting point-of-view for debate, what you've actually done is allow yourself to be marginalized.

Comment: Re:What's wrong with Europe nowdays? (Score 1, Insightful) 174

This is why Europe is in permanent decline, and is basically turning into Latin America of the 80s.

The US didn't make this Judge say anything. It didn't lobby the Spanish government to actually do anything. It has absolutely nothing to do with the decision. Yet, instead of blaming the people you should blame (i.e.: the politicians the Spanish people chose to elect) you're blaming the US.

You aren't going to fix the problem by blaming it on a country thousands of miles away. That country is actually a) specifically designed to not care what you think (Swedes don't have votes in the Electoral College), and b) couldn't order Spanish Courts to play nice even if it wanted to (in cases where the US really wants the local Judiciary to play nice -- Syria and North Korea spring immediately to mind -- it does not work).

So congratulations, rather then fix the problem you're going to waste your time.

Comment: Re:Just hire a CPA (Score 1) 450

As a low man on the totem pole, I don't really deal with the kind of issues you'd need an IRS Letter to talk about. I mostly do EIC, sometimes a Schedule A or an Education Credit. This year I finally got far enough in my tax classes to deal with the actual Tax Code instead of the Pub 17.

But a quick google showed that at least a couple of the Letter Rulings had been ignored.

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 1) 162

by NicBenjamin (#48807049) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

Who had a better product in 1980, Woz or Osborne?

Probably Osborne.

Who still had a company in 1985?

Woz, because he had Steve Jobs sitting around telling him what a) actual human beings who are not super-genius electrical engineers needed/would pay money for, and b) understanding how to move the units of the current line while still talking about how great the next line would be.

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all alike.