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Comment: Re: Missing option (Score 1) 225 225

Unfortunately, this whole thing that could have been an interesting case is clouded by the murder attempts. It's also no good that he wasn't just a website admin, he also produced and sold illegal drugs through the site. I voted "got what he deserved" (regardless that it's not what he was charged with) because he tried to have people killed. The interesting test case would be one similar to this, but where the defendant had only made a website that facilitated secure, anonymous, escrowed transactions and maybe conflict resolution services with no concern whatsoever for the type of transaction. No illegal sales undertaken by said administrator, no guides on how best to package illegal drugs for shipment written by the administrator, and absolutely no attempts to have anybody murdered. That I'd like to see tested, and life in prison would be rather sever for an admin of an ecommerce site of that nature. The actual case isn't of much interest to me since it turns out Ross Ulbricht actually did terrible things.

Comment: Why Is It a Crime to Evade Government Scrutiny? (Score 0) 308 308

Over at the Atlantic Monthly Conor Friedersdorf addresses the same issue, the recent criminalization of circumventing government surveillance, in the context of the prosecution of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Notably, he states, "Prosecutors may suspect Dennis Hastert of serious misconduct, but charging him with trying to avoid surveillance risks criminalizing harmless behavior." Harmless behavior which apparently now also includes the clearing of browser data.

So according to the U.S. Department of Justice, withdrawing money from a bank account in small increments or clearing browser data, in and of themselves, are now criminal acts. But it's just fine to delete thousands of government emails which are under congressional subpoena and which were illegally maintained on a private server.

In the U.S., law is not justice. It is a tool used by powerful thugs to threaten and persecute their political enemies while coddling their allies. Also, it is actually possible to renounce U.S. citizenship and I hear the weather is nice in Chile.


Comment: New Era? (Score 3, Insightful) 391 391

Ghost Gunner...may signal a new era in the gun control debate

Presumably he means a "new era" of debate in which gun-rights advocates are not resoundingly winning that debate. This week's news is that the Texas legislature approved campus carry and both houses of the Maine legislature approved constitutional carry. And those immediately followed the Federal Courts rollback of carry restrictions in DC. And last year Illinois legalized concealed carry.

I don't see how Andy Greenburg using a "Ghost Gunner" is going to reverse that trend.


Comment: Cool Old Technology (Score 1) 557 557

What Cool New Tech Would You Put In?

Some of the best new home technology is actually old technology:

- Masonry Heaters, were invented in the Neolithic Era. Unlike wood stoves or fireplaces they burn clean with almost 100% efficiency and require infrequent fueling, only once or twice a day. They also look cool, have a neat ambiance and fuel costs are far lower than any alternative.

- Nickel-Iron Edison batteries were invented over 100 years ago by Waldemar Jungner in 1899 and developed by Thomas Edison in 1901. The nickel iron batteries in Jay Leno's 1909 Baker Electric Coupe are as good as new. Unlike any other home electric backup storage technology they last for basically an infinite number of charge/discharge cycles and have many other desirable characteristics such as immunity to 100% depletion (which destroys lithium and lead-acid batteries) and the are environmentally friendly, non-toxic and 100% recyclable. The only downside is their mass, but unless you will be driving your house around, it's by far the best option. And unlike aluminum batteries, and the Tesla Powerwall, the Nickel Iron batteries are available today.

- Used shipping containers: Build your house out of them. Invented, depending on your point of reference, some time between 1933 (first containerized shipping in Europe) and 1968 (ISO standard published). It's environmentally friendly and your house will be impervious to tornadoes and earthquakes. Container homes have gone from being kind of trailer-park to high-design.

Of course I would want modern options such as photovoltaics and a ground-source heat pump, in addition to the old stuff. So my advice: You will do best to select the best of both the old and new, instead of exclusively one or the other.

Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 1) 514 514

I think that power companies should offer more incentives for people to have these in order to smooth out the electricity demand.


Why is not the optimal consumer incentive which the electric company could offer the price difference between peak and non-peak rates? By "optimal" I mean socially efficient, not the biggest or whatever you happen to want the most.

Comment: Re:Can't wait to get this installed in my house (Score 1) 514 514

...over the ten year warranty period you'll save ~$3000...

That number is way off. You have performed the calculation incorrectly because you omitted the opportunity cost. If you do the calculation correctly, then I estimate (using amateurish cost-accounting methods below) that you end up at around break-even if you buy the battery. Which is extremely interesting, because, assuming rational consumers, as manufacturing costs fall, that would be the consumer price threshold at which these batteries could be marketed and they just started being marketed at that price.

So about the opportunity cost: I have no idea what value is conventional to use as the opportunity cost. But the stock market seems like a reasonable choice. So if you invest the initial $3,500.00 in the stock market instead of buying a battery, and we assume 6.5% returns compounded annually, that works out to to an increase of $3069.98 over ten years. That is the about the same gain., ~$3,000, which estimated in savings on your electric bill after the recouping the battery investment. So you are about $3,000 better off after ten years either if you invest a sum of $3,500.00 in the stock market or if you invest the same sum in a home battery.

Of course there would be more things to consider in making an accurate calculation: differing tax treatments, risk and uncertainty between the choices, what residual worth your battery has after 10 years and its rate of depreciation, the inflation-reduced value of the initial $3,500.00 had you invested it. Also, to do the comparison correctly, assume that the accumulating savings on your electric bill are invested after the battery is paid off. Maybe someone who actually knows how to do cost accounting will chime in here with better estimates. Nonetheless, the claim that you neglected to account for significant opportunity cost stands, even if I failed to calculate that cost conventionally or sufficiently accurately.

Comment: Jenny McCarthyism (Score 1) 256 256

And for those who get their medical advice from Playboy's Playmate of the Year there is Jenny McCarthy, of whom Wikipedia reports:

"McCarthy's public presence and vocal activism on the vaccination-autism controversy, led, in 2008, to her being awarded the James Randi Educational Foundation's Pigasus Award, which is a tongue-in-cheek award granted for contributions to pseudoscience..."

"McCarthy's claims that vaccines cause autism are not supported by any medical evidence, and the original paper by Andrew Wakefield that formed the basis for the claims...

"In January 2011, McCarthy defended Wakefield..."

So in honor of Ms. McCarthy, can we henceforth refer to populist medical quackery practiced by uncredentialed public attention seekers as "Jenny McCarthyism?"

Comment: Re:1 million dollars per family? (Score 1) 540 540

$200 million dollars for 224 low income family homes. I get that there are lots of construction costs other than just the houses, but that still seems like a pretty steep price per home.

Lucas already owns the land so that is purely construction cost, and therefore he must be building luxury housing for the poor. Nothing unusual about that. In fact, government Section 8 housing vouchers are capped at $2,200/month. So a low income apartment could rent for $2,200.00 tax payers contribution + renters contribution.

Lucas will recover some of it back in revenue from rents. At $200 million for 224 homes that is $892,857.00 per home. A low-income person can afford up to $2,200/month in rent. So $892,857.00 per apartment / $2,200 monthly rent / 12months per year = about 34 years. So he would be break-even on construction costs after 34 years. Of course that is a ball-park figure because some costs and some benefits (tax deductions) are excluded in that calculation.

Comment: Straw Man Avoidance (Score 1) 304 304

The late jazz critic Whitney Balliet wrote, "All first-rate criticism first defines what we are confronting."

With that in mind, perhaps the AGW alarmists would be willing to confront popular criticisms of their ideology, as opposed to making the usual straw man arguments.

"Climate Change Is Real. Too Bad Accurate Climate Models Aren’t." would be a good starting place.

Comment: Re: Saudi Arabia, etc. (Score 1) 653 653

You can believe any damned thing you like, but the right to refuse service to a customer is a right NOBODY else has...

Let us test your statement using a thought experiment. Consider the following three hypothetical scenarios:

1. A print shop is owned and operated by a Jewish woman. She holds passionate beliefs about religious freedom both as matter of principle and for reasons more personal: Though her parents escaped the Holocaust her grandparents and other relatives were gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Her father, a brilliant physicist, had been refused academic positions in the united states early in his career because he was Jewish. One day Grand Wizard of the local KKK branch visits her print shop and requests that she print racist material for an upcoming meeting. She refuses. The KKK Wizard informs the local DA that the print shop owner has committed the crime of refusing him service. It is an easy case for the DA to prosecute because the printer admits to her crime, insisting during the trial the she will never print racist literature and that should she should have the freedom to refuse business to any group with which she disagrees. She is given a five year jail sentence and fined $250,000.00. She raises some of the money to pay the fine by selling her business, and she and her husband sell their home. While she is in jail Her husband and children move into a small apartment but they can not afford much because is saving as much as much as he can to pay the remainder of the fine. While the KKK can no longer use the local print shop, it's not a problem. The $250,000.00 which they received in restitution is sufficient to purchase their own equipment. The select Apple computers because they know the Apple CEO welcomes them, having proudly proclaimed that Apple is "Open to everyone."

2. A coffee shop owner. His business is flourishing and he feels well, though things were hard for him in the past. While still dealing with the psychological trauma of having been molested by a Catholic priest as child, he feels that he is over the depression and with help of a therapist has overcome feelings of guilt. One day a customer walks into his coffee shop and orders a bagel and coffee. The owner notices that the man is wearing a pro-NAMBLA shirt and ask if it is a joke. The customer replies that it is not, that he is member and supports the organization. The owner informs the customer that it is private establishment, the customer is not welcome, and asks him to leave. When the customer refuses, the owner calls the police to have him removed. The police arrive and arrest the coffee shop owner for refusing to provide service. During the court proceeding the owner pleads with the judge and jury for leniency and explains his traumatic past. The judge is sympathetic and issues a sentence of three years in jail and a fine of $200,000.00, the legal minimum sentence for the crime of refusing a customer service. The customer is able to make an extra large donation to NAMBLA with part of his restitution funds.

3. A woman and her wife operate a catering service. The local Catholic minister requests that they cater events at the local Catholic church. Being open-minded and anxious to expand their business, they agree. But soon they find that they are uncomfortable in that environment. While many church-goers are aware of their homosexual marriage and are friendly, others are rude. The often feel snubbed. The sermons about the sins of homosexuality, to which they are unwillingly subject, are upsetting to them. They inform the minster that this makes them uncomfortable and can no longer cater events at the Church. The minister informs the police that the women have committed a crime by refusing service and the caterers arrested and subsequently convicted. They do not appeal, feeling that it would by hypocritical to do so after having advocated for the law under which they are convicted, the Religious Freedom Revocation Act of 2018, signed into law by president Hillary Clinton.

..they should shut the fuck up.

People who disagree with you should not express their opinions.

they're no better than the Taliban or ISIL ..

People who disagree with you are terrorists.

Score:4, Interesting

Some moderators agree with you.


Real computer scientists don't program in assembler. They don't write in anything less portable than a number two pencil.