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Comment: Terrible AND inadequate (Score 0) 114

by Primate Pete (#49397715) Attached to: DHS Wants Access To License-plate Tracking System, Again
I'm not sure how to connect "virtually every adult driver in the U.S.," with "Its database grows by 2.7 million records a day."

That would amount only a handful of observations of each driver per year, average. Still a privacy violation, but not very useful if the interest is in building a model of an individual's behavior or knowing the individual's current whereabouts.

One of the risks here is that the system will seriously jeopardize individual privacy at the same time that no useful benefit will be created. This has the potential to void even the morally bankrupt "the end justifies the means" argument for the system.

Comment: We had this when I was in school.... (Score 4, Insightful) 213

by Primate Pete (#49317341) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"
It was called vocational education, and it prepared people for skilled blue collar work. The purpose-driven approach wasn't really geared toward a liberal education or to prepare students for self-determined careers, but it did prepare people to work in auto repair shops, to fix HVAC systems, and so forth. It is not clear to me how the Helsinki system will prepare students for university work in liberal arts, sciences without immediate/clear applications, philosophy and mathematics, and so on. I assume they've thought about it, but I don't get it.

It should be a concern.

Comment: Re:Next RadioShack (Score 4, Insightful) 105

by Primate Pete (#48980205) Attached to: Staples To Buy Office Depot For $6.3 Billion
As I recollect, Staples does huge business with small and medium companies, mostly on a delivery basis. Having been in their stores, I doubt walk-in customers are a large part of their revenue. One potential outcome here would be for Staples to close its retail locations (they suck) so that that the better-stocked Office Depot can handle individual/walk-in customers while the Staples brand focuses on the B2B market via internet & delivery.

That said, I don't have a good feeling about the decrease in the number of office supplies stores near my home, which WILL decrease my options.

Comment: New Career Options (Score 2) 70

by Primate Pete (#48609571) Attached to: Webcast Funerals Growing More Popular
I'm pleased to hear about this, because I've been considering a career change. Nice to know there are some new options:

DJ = Death Jockey -- provide color commentary

Emcee - Mortician of Ceremonies ("Hi, I'm Ebeneezer Grimsuit, and this is "Good Mourning America....")

...it's a very slow day at the office.

Comment: Opinion and experience.... (Score 1) 70

by Primate Pete (#48608911) Attached to: Webcast Funerals Growing More Popular
We had a death in the family. An older person.

The rest of the family was scattered across Europe, North America, and Asia. We had about 30 people at the ceremony in North America, and nearly as many watching by Skype from around the world. It was a good thing.

You may or may not want this for yourself or your loved ones, but I cannot imagine why funeral directors-- craven, predatory businesses--would be entitled to an opinion on the subject. I'm also annoyed by the failure to recognize that many families and traditions cremate or otherwise dispose of the body, but of course this point exposes the argument about needing a body for the family to grieve properly as the nonsense it is.

This just seems like another attempt by the funeral industry to exploit grief for proft, hoping to find a way to extract a few more dollars (maybe by renting larger rooms?) from people that have already been bilked out the cost of "deluxe" caskets.

Comment: Re:The sheer stupidity bothers me... (Score 1) 772

by Primate Pete (#48558611) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations
So you're proposing to replace torture with brain surgery? How is that better? Why would we think that the detainees would provide better evidence under surgery than under water boarding and hummus enemas? The interrogators still wouldn't have the means to evaluate the responses, and would just accept the answers that match their preconceptions.

Comment: Re:It was an almost impossible case to prosecute (Score 1) 1128

by Primate Pete (#48457531) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

... Nonetheless, it was an immensely difficult case to build for the prosecutor as the only person alive who knew what happened was the one who pulled the trigger....

By which logic, nobody should ever go to jail for murder. After all, the victim can't testify...

Comment: Re:Coding, maybe. Science for sure. (Score 1) 163

by Primate Pete (#48423081) Attached to: Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)
Yeah, coding would be good knowledge for people on the hill, especially in the light of legislation about H-1 visas and the like. No disagreement.

That said, I think general science literacy would have greater overall impact and make a greater positive impact on my life and my confidence in the direction that things are going.

Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky