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Comment: Why are you only talking about reducing taxes? (Score 1) 780

by Paradoks (#42272597) Attached to: Schmidt On Why Tax Avoidance is Good, Robot Workers, and Google Fiber

People who don't earn as much can take advantage of various credits and services, and oftentimes don't out of a sense of pride or fairness.

I view your argument as splitting hairs in a way that's entirely irrelevant; anyone can take advantage of government rules, and not everyone does.

Comment: Helmets for all! (Score 1) 1651

by Paradoks (#41524743) Attached to: To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets

You're right; if we can point to 5 instances where a cm of styrofoam would've (or did) make the difference between a light injury and a very severe one, we should encourage people to wear helmets.

I'm glad you're on board with my campaign to make helmets mandatory while in moving motor vehicles.

Oh, and everyone under 18 and over 50 will have to wear one at all times. Those between can take them off before going to bed.

It's the only sane response.

Comment: Brave New World was a utopia (Score 2) 1365

by Paradoks (#40913385) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read?

I know that Brave New World is a dystopian novel, but it's a world where people know what they're really good at, can take happy drugs that don't have side effects, get to keep their youthful abilities and looks for most of their life, and if they really object to the structure of society, they can move to anywhere on the planet that better suits them.

Mind you, I don't know if I'd do all that well in such a society, but I don't know that I'd do all that well in Japanese society, either.

Anyway, since the book focuses on a couple of people who don't like a highly-structured society, and a person who decides that, rather than move to wherever he'd prefer, it's best to whip himself a lot, I can see that it's still a depressing read.

For me, though, 1984 was so much harder to take, as I kept mentally attempting to find ways out for the character and failing.

Comment: Re:Salvation Army (Score 1) 570

by Paradoks (#38416580) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Most Efficient, Worthwhile Charity?

So you're saying that the Red Cross should have a lean, hand-to-mouth budget, then give lots of money to financial institutions in the hopes that said financial institutions will always be there when needed, immediately after a disaster. Then spend money hand-over-fist because of getting lots of money, then return to a lean, hand-to-mouth budget.

And, somehow, this is better than being financially prepared for a disaster, spending only on what they know will be helpful in a given instance, regardless of how much the instance makes the news, and saving any windfall for the next disaster.

Comment: Re:Loss of archives is going to be bad (Score 2) 80

by Paradoks (#37953050) Attached to: AOL To Discontinue LISTSERV

Some people from Archive Team ( are working on it, which means that, most likely, some amount of data will eventually end up on

Still, it'd be nice if AOL would say, "Here's all the data we have. Please save it." and present it to, rather than depend on a group of rogue archivists to not miss anything.

Comment: Re:"they have iphones" and other garbage comments (Score 1) 944

by Paradoks (#37731668) Attached to: Occupy Wall Street Protests Go Global

Of course you can (protest a company while buying the company's product). It makes you a hypocrite though. You don't have to buy an iPhone. You don't have to eat a Big Mac.

In no way does it make you a hypocrite. Saying, "You shouldn't use Apple products", then using Apple products makes you a hypocrite. Saying, "I like Apple and their products but wish they'd stop using slave labor" is logically no different than saying, "I like my wife but I wish she'd stop smoking.".

Comment: Re:Rough Decisions (Score 1) 699

by Paradoks (#37335478) Attached to: TSA Groper Files Suit Against Blogger

My dad is/was a preacher, and one of the things I learned growing up is that funeral home directors tend to have a great sense of humor.

Think about it -- in order to do the job well, the director has to accept death as a part of life, help other people through a trying time, and stay sane despite that.

So, of _course_ the good morticians laugh a lot.

TSA agents, on the other hand, have to serve a giant bureaucracy, do highly questionable things to people who are almost certainly innocent, and justify a job where they almost certainly will never actually save or change lives in a good way.

How can they possibly avoid being insane, power-hungry sociopaths?

Comment: Re:Its like the mob (Score 1) 513

by Paradoks (#35539766) Attached to: AT&T Cracking Down On Unofficial iPhone Tethering

If you don't like the terms of the contract, DO NOT sign the contract. It's really that simple.

If you don't want mandatory arbitration, then don't use that credit card.

If you don't want to pay for ESPN3, then don't use that internet provider.


If the contract were a contract of equals, where the consumer could say, "No, I don't like this portion", cross it out, and negotiate further, then I'd agree with you.

In a world where "contract" means "list of things we may change at any time, and you must abide by, because there's no reasonable alternative", well, even if you're right, it's not "really that simple".

Comment: Re:Recession? (Score 1) 98

by Paradoks (#35424328) Attached to: $39.5 Million Hi-Tech Library Opens In Illinois

only complaint I have about them is the self-checkout

But self-checkout lets you check out in Pirate!

Okay, the necessary disclaimer is that that's my website, and I made the themes.

And, of course, they only work with ITG's machines, and I have no idea which self-check vendor your library uses.

Still, speaking as someone who was originally not sold on the self-checkout machines, especially when the edict from above was, "Make everyone use the self-checkout machines unless there's no other option." Once that got toned down, and I came up with the themes, they became a fun, focal point of the library where people would go because it offered something of value, rather than just making it so the library doesn't have to hire more people.

I suppose my secondary point is that this is another case where technology has scary aspects, but has some nifty possibilities that weren't necessarily foreseen.

Comment: Re:Line between Civil Disobedience. . . (Score 2) 377

by Paradoks (#35127366) Attached to: HBGary Federal Hacked By Anonymous

The myth of 'Civil Disobedience is all about getting caught' is spread by those who don't like the goals of today's civil disobedience, only those of yesterday.

Please, don't make the English language less flexible.

Those who break laws publicly in order to point out the unjustness are practicing civil disobedience.

Those who break laws secretly in order to point out the unjustness, while hoping not to get caught, are practicing vigilantism.

Those who break laws secretly, while hoping not to get caught, are merely law-breakers.

None of those positions are inherently good or bad. If this were about copyright infringement, the civil disobedience group would be the people who admit they pirated stuff, but fight the charges anyway. The vigilante group would be those who go out of their way to pirate, oh, Disney films, and spread them far and wide anonymously. The law-breaker group would range from people singing "Happy Birthday" at public events to those making millions by pirating new movies and selling cheap copies.

Calling a vigilante someone who is practicing civil disobedience reduces the flexibility of the language in an attempt to drape the moral high ground of civil disobedience around the shoulders of the greyer vigilantism.

Comment: Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (Score 1) 671

by Paradoks (#34993374) Attached to: The Rise and Rise of the Cognitive Elite

How many high-school drop-outs have you met?

The thing about a college degree is not that it proves you're smart -- it doesn't. It proves that you had the ability to follow directions well enough to sit through 16+ years of schooling while regurgitating enough answers to keep the teachers happy.

It's a hoop to jump through, and having jumped through it shows you're not a complete screw up. You could still be a narcissistic sociopath, but so could the high-school drop-out.

Illegal immigrants, on the other hand, had to jump through the hoop of finding some way of making it in the country. They likely have to do moderately well at their job, as it's not like they have a safety net. Still, they're also less likely to have a solid grasp of English. They're also riskier to hire. Those problems make them good for low-level jobs, but not especially useful someplace where you want a person to stay for years.

Using TSO is like kicking a dead whale down the beach. -- S.C. Johnson