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Comment: Cracked up when I saw this photo (Score 5, Funny) 272

by Pollux (#48186173) Attached to: The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

Did anyone else think that, when they saw the second photo on the Wired.com article that some awkward conversation took place prior to the photo that went something like this:

Photographer: "Tell your worker there to look busy. I need photos for the article."
Manager: "What do you want him to do?"
Photographer: "I don't know! What does that machine do over there?"
Manager: "That's our automated steel blaster."
Photographer: "That sounds important. Have your guy go over there and operate it."
Manager: "But it's fully automated. Everything's set the way it needs to be."
Photographer: "But I need -something-! Just have him stand next to it and look like he's reconfiguring it."
          Manager to Technician: "Technician, go over to the panel and look busy."
          Technician: "Sir, I don't work on this machine. And there are signs all over it saying 'Do Not Touch!'"
          Manager: "I don't care! This American fool needs a photo!"
          Technician: "How foolish! The entire system is automated! Did you tell him this?"
          Manager: "Of course I did! He didn't listen."
          Technician: "What am I supposed to do then?"
          Manager: "I don't know! Just go over there and look like you're pushing a button."
          Technician: "But I don't want to break the machine! It is a masterpiece!"
          Manager: "Fine, fine, just, um, just point at the button with your finger. And touch the button. Yes, yes, that looks convincing."
          Technician: "Does it really look like I'm pressing it?"
          Manager: "No, you look stupid. But just stay there, like that, alright?"
          Technician: "Stupid Americans. No wonder their economy sucks."

Comment: LFTR (Score 4, Interesting) 217

by Pollux (#48171655) Attached to: Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

I love the idea of LFTR. Honestly. A thousand years of cheap and plentiful fuel, simplified nuclear design, smaller physical footprint, lower risk of cataclysmic meltdown & resulting fallout, waste having a much lower half-life, no CO2 emissions...

But it's still an idea. After Oak Ridge, there's been no government-led development of LFTR reactors in the states. Our only hopes at present are either with the Chinese or a private company called Flibe Energy that's trying to gather investment funds to build LFTE reactors for army bases.

Comment: All doublespeak (Score 5, Insightful) 223

by Pollux (#47886115) Attached to: U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

Terrorists did not take away our freedoms. They were only successful in killing 2,996 people and causing about $19 billion in property damage. We gave our own freedoms away.

And in more doublespeak, Obama shared this with us today:

“We carry on because as Americans we do not give in to fear. Ever."

Nope. Americans never give into fear. We also don't allow virtual strip searches at airports, we don't allow the federal government to spy on our private cellular communications, and we guarantee all political whistle-blowers immunity from criminal charges.

Comment: A lesson in warrants and probable cause (Score 2) 790

I understand your concern about corporations breaching your 4th amendment rights, but your reasoning is misplaced. In fact, this case is a great example of the 4th amendment being followed, not circumvented.

The 4th amendment does not guarantee protection against search and seizure; it limits when and how searches and seizures can be exercised. Here's a portion of the 4th amendment for you: "...no Warrants shall [be] issue[d], but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In this case, Google's tip was not used as evidence to convict this man of a crime. Google's tip was used by police to justify probable cause that a crime had been committed. (This does not mean he's guilty of the crime, only that there's a greater likelihood that he committed it than he didn't.) The police used this information to obtain a search warrant. I'm sure that the evidence they used to convict him was gathered through the exercise of that warrant.

Google's tip is no different than a tip coming from any other source. Say a bank teller (for association's sake, let's say the bank was incorporated) was just depositing some money for a customer who drove up to her window, and she saw in her security camera what she believed to be a missing child. She calls police and reports what she saw. The police go to the bank and look at the recorded camera footage and agree that the image captured does resemble a missing child. They grab the license plate number from the footage, trace the registration to its owner, obtain a search warrant, go to the owner's residence, search the premise, find the child, confirm it's the missing child, and convict the individual of kidnapping (and probably a host of other charges to boot). In this circumstance, private information (whether an e-mail sitting on Google-owned servers or a bank's CCTV DVR) shared with police is used to meet probable cause and obtain a warrant. And in both circumstances, a search and seizure is warranted.

If you want to minimize your risk of a warrant being issued against you, don't display evidence of a crime outside of your own home. (And when the police come knocking on your door and politely ask you, "May we come in?", unless they flash a warrant in your face, don't be polite back.) And while IANAL, for more information about the 4th amendment and warrants as written by one, I strongly recommend you read The Illustrated Guide to Law. Very, very informative.

Comment: Wrong conclusion... (Score 1) 230

by Pollux (#47442885) Attached to: Geographic Segregation By Education

The research shows a clear trend of the desirable cities becoming even more desirable, to the point where it's almost a necessity for city planners to lure college graduates or face decline.

I drew a different conclusion from this article. I know the article's focus was on attracting college graduates so that the city can prosper, but I instead considered the contrapositive: If a city is not prospering, then it has a lower-than-average percentage of college graduates. I see it as another confirmation of residential segregation.

More and more, there is becoming a "separate and not equal" divide in communities based on their socioeconomic status. As a teacher, I see it all the time in schools: there are some schools that leverage the taxpayer for new buildings, new technology, higher salaries, and less stressful work environments, while many others struggle due to an inability to levy. Instead of governments focusing on what to do about producing and/or attracting college graduates, perhaps it should instead consider what to do about the absence of them in their community.

Comment: But now... (Score 4, Insightful) 1330

by Pollux (#47355713) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Corporations are people too.

As in the Citizen's United case, this ruling is a complete perversion of constitutional rights on the American Public, and both as abominable as Plessy v. Ferguson. Here's the train of logic that the majority took:

1) Take a piece of legislation originally designed to protect sacred American Indian worship sites, though more broadly individual religious freedoms,
2) And extend those freedoms to corporations with this hocus-pocus incantation: "The purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees." (573 U.S. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Syllabus, pg. 3)

And while I was never a fan of Ginsburg in my younger years, given the recent evolution of the SCotUS, that opinion is rapidly changing, especially when she has this to say on the matter (573 U.S. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Ginsburg dissent, pg. 14):

Until this (Citizens United) litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law...the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities. As Chief Justice Marshall observed nearly two centuries ago, a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.” (Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 636 [1819]).

Should just rewrite the Preamble of the Constitution now to read, "We the Corporations of the United States..."

Comment: Re:If you have nothing to hide... (Score 2) 249

by Pollux (#47317415) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules Cell Phones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant

That is the exact argument that justifies a police state. Do you want a society where you can be searched at any time by the police to see if you're guilty of a crime, even when they do not have reasonable suspicion of you committing a crime? You, your parents, your friends, and everyone you know will always be treated as though you're guilty of something, and the police's job is just finding out what that something is.

Comment: What's the point? (Score 4, Interesting) 118

a group of internet industry executives and politicians came together...

Did this individual seriously believe he could make this audience of industry executives and politicians feel shame? What next? Will he tell a serial rapist to feel remorse? Will he tell a psychopathic murderer to feel empathy?

These people are incapable of feeling shame. It's what's made them so successful in the first place.

Comment: Re:Chicago Blackhawks too? (Score 1) 646

by Pollux (#47270623) Attached to: Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

Actually the term "nigger" has become so offensive that just stating it is somehow offensive.

"Dear Momma -- Wherever you are, if you ever hear the word "nigger" again, remember they are advertising my book." -- dedication written in the book Nigger, by Dick Gregory

Go ahead. Use the word. Advertise his book. (I've personally read it...good read, especially the 1st chapter.)

Comment: You're not thinking like a CEO... (Score 2) 289

That 20c saved isn't passed onto the customer. It's pocketed by the corporation.

Quality is no longer a characteristic business compete with. Why spend another 20c making a better product? It's the age of Amazon.com, and all anyone cares about is the lowest price. So, corporations have a new recipe for success:

1) Buy your competition to reduce competition.
2) Collude with your remaining competition so that everything is made in China and is sold at the same price.
3) Nickel & dime the consumer to maximize your profit.

By the time the business goes bankrupt due to piss-poor products and a loss of customer faith, the execs have already leached away all its capital. Once an exec makes it to the top, what incentive do they have to do what's best for the company or the consumer?

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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