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Comment: Wrong tag (Score 0) 224

by Prune (#49755503) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

I'm tagging this story "election2016."

How about "USAelection2016"? While Slashdot has always been somewhat US-centric (or, really, North America-centric), the level of unapologetic chauvinism here has gotten worse over the years. This site has a significant non-US user base and readership, and a lot of articles posted regarding international situations (UK government spying, EU IP laws, etc.). US posters and editors ought to maintain at least an iota of respect for the rest of the world, or risk alienating a good chunk of Slashdot's audience.

Comment: Re: Mixed reaction (Score 1) 318

by Prune (#49728701) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States

the amount of stuff that gets made

Gets made from what? Things don't ultimately belong to you, as demonstrated by the fact that eminent domain exists and gets exercised even in a place like the US, where the government can forcefully take possession of any land within its territories and give you money in return (in its currency, of course) -- because it has sovereignty over it. Until you have absolute sovereign title over the land you consider your property, it's not really yours and you don't have real economic freedom, just the illusion of it.

All we have is all we make

This is also BS. You don't make anything; you just transform (usually minimally) bits and pieces whose provenance is ultimately from the land which you do not own. The idiocy of your comment is further highlighted by the fact that the majority of what is considered value is in intangibles which have even less to do with the physical world than fiat currency -- a trend that will continue.

Comment: Re:Problems (Score 1) 164

by Prune (#49728577) Attached to: Wind Turbines With No Blades
I thoroughly enjoyed your response-sequence to DrYak and dave420 (420+environmentalist, what are the chances!). To be honest, though, I have my background biases as well that helped motivate my response above: I'm a fan of nuclear power (which, by the way, causes far less human deaths per terrawatt-hour generated than wind turbines); and also, as an avid hiker, I have great aesthetic objection to wind turbines.

Comment: Re:Sales call confused with news (Score 1) 386

by Prune (#49728401) Attached to: Microsoft To Teachers: Using Pens and Paper Not Fair To Students
I'm strongly pro-handwriting -- and even dabble in calligraphy -- though I'm a software developer. Having said that, I live in Vancouver, where the Georgia Straight is published, and I'd like to caution those who would use it as a source of information: it is a shamelessly radical leftist publication.

Comment: Re: Mixed reaction (Score 1, Insightful) 318

by Prune (#49728327) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States

They first confiscate it from you and me, whether we want it or not.

A common misconception, but one that doesn't match reality. Governments create money through the treasury and central bank (a.k.a. federal reserve in the US). Government spending doesn't proceed from money taken in by taxation; rather, money is created ex nihilo and electronically credited to appropriate accounts, then spent. There's no constitutional requirement that the money removed from circulation by taxation has to balance spending in pretty much any developed country in the world: the two are not operationally linked. Indeed, one of the major purposes of taxation (besides reducing the money supply) is enforcing the use of the official national currency -- and that's why you can only pay your taxes in that currency. Tax "revenue" is not for extinguishing debt. And the debt issue itself is another one attracting misunderstanding, because of the tendency by people to apply microeconomic "common sense" to macroeconomics, which is a well-known fallacy. The majority of the debt of a nation like the US is just a number registered between treasury and central bank/fed, and is like debt between husband and wife, pretty much an accounting fiction that doesn't have to be repaid (reducing it, however, makes for good politics); of the rest, much is held by nationals, not foreigners/foreign governments. This configuration gives governments great power to influence their economies through control of the money supply, something they have exclusive legal power to as monetary sovereigns**. Whether this is generally done correctly, incompetently, or abused, is a matter of politics. I'll point out this, however: the common argument against government spending -- inflation -- only applies when you're close to full employment; otherwise, spending feeds aggregate demand rather than inflation.

** The glaring exception being, of course, the euro currency, which nicely shows how attempting a monetary union without having a fiscal and economic union only benefits those who can maintain a trade surplus (Germany), thus beggaring their neighbors in classic mercantilist manner.

Some further reading: http://bilbo.economicoutlook.n...

Disclaimer: my post is descriptive, not prescriptive. I'm simply pointing out how things are, not passing judgment on whether this is how they ought to be, and will keep my opinion to myself as I've no interest in a political discussion on Slashdot.

Comment: Re:If it works (Score 5, Insightful) 164

by Prune (#49707103) Attached to: Wind Turbines With No Blades

Cats kill at least an order of magnitude more birds than windmills do. [implication: it's not worth worrying about wind turbines killing birds]

Almost every time bird-killing wind turbines are discussed, someone posts this non-argument.

Let's apply well-known Slashdot troll NatasRevol's logic to other things:
- Heart disease kills at least an order of magnitude more people than diabetes. [implication: it's not worth worrying about diabetes killing people]
- Windows runs on at least an order of magnitude more personal desktops than Linux. [implication: it's not worth being concerned about the Linux desktop experience]
- Slashdot user BarbaraHudson posts at least an order of magnitude more troll posts than NatasRevol. [implication: it's not worth being annoyed at NatasRevol shitposting]

And then there's this: how many eagles and other large threatened and endangered birds are cats killing?

Federal Court Rules Massive Wind Energy Project in Violation of Endangered Species Act

Comment: Re:Good riddance (Score 1) 648

by Prune (#49706397) Attached to: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Gets Death Penalty In Boston Marathon Bombing
BarbaraHudson is a well-known troll on /., but I'll bite: it serves the purpose of giving the justice system the moral high ground. Else, it's just vengeful retribution and doesn't rise above his level. And to preempt the fundamentalists who are itching to whip out the Old Testament's eye-for-an-eye: any Christian theologian will confirm that the New Testament supersedes the Old Testament.

Comment: Re:Take the responsibility onto yourself (Score 1) 532

by Prune (#49633441) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery
Unless its 's too urgent and you can't wait for a throat swab result to come back identifying the strain (and thus most appropriate antibiotic -- or even if it's bacterial in the first place), you shouldn't be popping just any random antibiotics, and neither should your doctor be prescribing them. People with attitude like yours are contributing to the ever more serious global antibiotic resistance threat. Doctors here now generally exercise this patient restraint, with the exception of the old dogs that can't learn new tricks.

Comment: Re:Take the responsibility onto yourself (Score 1) 532

by Prune (#49633405) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery
I don't know about the US, but the tendency here in Canada (at least with younger doctors who didn't get used to prescribe antibiotics like candy pills the way old ones do before resistance became a big deal) is to not rush to antibiotics before the throat swab comes back, not just because it may not be bacterial, but because different bacteria are best targeted by different antibiotics. Using the wrong or just any generic wide-spectrum antibiotic still contributes to the resistance problem. In the past, these tests were mostly done only after a first-line antibiotic treatment failed, but that's changing.

Comment: Mod parent up (Score -1, Troll) 164

by Prune (#49583749) Attached to: The United States Just Might Be Iran's Favorite New Nuclear Supplier
It's a ghastly arighmetic, but it ought to be done: a nuclear strike against Iran would kill many, but it can decisively bring the country to its knees and nip in the bud a coming clash of civilizations that would in the long run result in far more deaths and suffering.

This would work best if it's part of an operation against Iran's larger and even more dangerous ally, Russia. Don't forget that the US has come to be in a position where it can execute a pre-emptive counterforce nuclear strike against Russia: http://belfercenter.hks.harvar... The silo locations are known and the mobile katyusha launchers are being tracked. That only leaves submarine launches as a retaliatory possibility for the russkies, which would be sufficiently few to be mopped up by missile defense. Given the Russian populace's fervent nationalism, their deep-seated need to be ruled by tyrants -- from the tzars through the commies to Putin, and their propensity to export their brotherly love to their unfortunate neighbors, justification for neutering the evil now is easy to come by.

Any fellow Canadians reading my post: lest you disagree, I remind you the Russian bear has its eye on the whole arctic, and the current framework under which negotiations over territory are unfolding is but a game: a signature to any resultant agreement will be no more binding to the Russians than their signature was on the Budapest Memorandum of 1995 which gave Ukraine security assurances in exchange for them giving up their nuclear arsenal. The Russian doesn't understand diplomacy, agreements, international law, or honor -- he only understands force, and perceives the lack of aggression as weakness.

Comment: Mod parent down for citing known crackpot site (Score 1) 314

by Prune (#49573675) Attached to: Feds Say It's Time To Cut Back On Fluoride In Drinking Water

interact biologically [] is a well-known crackpot and conspiracy theory outlet. Among various outrageous articles and radical political views, they even became a channel for pro-Russian propaganda in regards to the war in Ukraine. Anyone who cites information from the same outlet that produced works of journamlism like North Korea, a Land of Human Achievement, Love and Joy is a fucking tool.

Comment: Re:It's all about the dosage (Score 1) 630

by Prune (#49561851) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame
I forgot to mention an important consideration: one also has to take into account the tradeoff compared to using lots of sugar/glucose/HFCS/etc. While, optimally, intake from both groups should be restricted, I know that's not realistic for many people. I'm lucky in that my metabolism and insulin sensitivity allow me to handle large quantities of the high glycaemic index foods I love, but if you also have a sweet tooth -- depending on your genetics -- the artificial sweeteners may be the lesser evil.

Comment: It's all about the dosage (Score 1) 630

by Prune (#49561759) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame
Aspartame and a few of the other artificial sweeteners are excitotoxic (they overexcite some neurons to the point of death). For example, see and other research like it. The main counterargument is that studies showing excitotoxic effects in vivo have always been done with doses significantly higher than would be ingested using regular consumption of foodstuffs in which artificial sweeteners are used (indeed, a benefit of advanced artificial sweeteners is that they reach the threshold of sweetness when very dilute). While even a good deal of overconsumption of artificially sweetened soda drinks may not reach the amounts having been shown detrimental. However, I've found no safety evidence either way regarding very long term exposure at lower intensity, over decades. For me, that's cause for caution and limiting consumption (though even I don't totally avoid it, and that's from someone that doesn't particularly like the taste of soda drinks).

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton