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Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 452

by ShakaUVM (#48045269) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

In the lead up to the war, yes, old munitions were one of the big reasons for invading. Remember all the weapons inspectors kicking around Iraq?

And no, they're not duds. They were degraded, not harmless. They could still deal a lot of damage.

In any event, the point is that people keep pointing to this issue as an area where Fox viewers are misinformed, but in reality, it is the other crowd that has it wrong.

Comment: Re:Ok, several aspects to this. (Score 1) 497

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48044453) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

First, guns don't protect, never have, never will.

The first eight of your 457 word wall of text shows you're so out of touch with reality that there's no point in reading the rest.

The primary function of guns in private hands is to protect those who carry them. They do that exceptionally well. In criminal attacks, resistance with gun is the most effective way to avoid injury or death. It's substantially more effective than the second best - knuckling under completely - and beats the pants off everything else, from running away, to trying to talk your way out, to resisting with bare hands or other tools. (Resisting with knife is about the worst.)

Research on self-defense is hard, because faiures leave tracks in crime stats while successes usually don't (and often leave the self-defended victim with an incentive to keep quiet about it). Nevertheless, even the first well-run projects were able to put a lower bound of guns preventing or aborting more than six times as many crimes as they aid in committing.

In private hands they're safer than police, too. A defense-with-gun is usually effected by no more than brandishing or occasionally getting off a round in the general direction of the perp. But of those instances where a victim or a policeman shoots someone believed to be a perpetrator, the cop is over 5 1/2 times as likely to erroneously shoot an innocent than an armed private citizen.

My family has substantial personal experience with armed self defense. For just a few examples on my wife's side: In college she was accosted by the rapist in the window, who was dressed in just running shoes and a dirty knife. Fortunately there was a hunting rifle behind the bed: She actually had to go as far as cocking it before he stopped trying to get her to drop it and jumped back out the window - apparently to take it out on another girl a few blocks away, with over 130 cuts while raping her. Her mother defended self and family against a Klan attack with a pistol. (Her granddad was caught away from his gun, though, and had to do his anti-Klan defense with a hammer.) Then there was the aunt, the uncle, ...

At the larger scale it's hard to argue with the fact that the US, founded in a revolution (by religious nut with guns) against their self-admitted "legitimate government" and with over half the adult civilian population armed, has now gone over two centuries without a substantial attack from abroad and only one major internal war, while Europe continues to suffer from genocidal wars, often with multi-million body counts. (With the exception of Switzerland, of course: Every adult citizen there is armed and has had military training. Even World Wars go around them.)

It's also hard to argue with the fact that the US is multi-ethnic, and the common denominator of each of its ethnic groups is that their members' murder victimization rate is substantially less than that of contemporary members of the same ethnic group still residing in their land of origin.

As for resisting an oppressive regime if push comes to shove: We have experiences like "The Battle of Athens" just after WWII, and the documented question from Nixon to a thnk-tank about what would happen if he suspended the presidential election. (Answer: That would precipitate an armed rebellion, and the population was well enough armed that it would succeed.) Uprisings aren't always successful and small or UNarmed uprisings are often put down, sometimes with lots of deaths. (Witness the Bonus Marchers' Massacre.) But recent decades of world politics have shown how effective a popular uprising can be, against even a coalition of world powers and superpowers.

If it came to that in the US, you can expect a substantial amount of the military (especially retirees) to be on the side of the people, along with lots of military equipment raided from armories. (You can see that now in the Middle East. The big difference between Al Queda and ISIS/ISIL is that the latter has bunch of colonels and other line officers, force-retired and blocked from normal politics in the wake of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and overthrow of the Ba'athists - along with a lot of seized military arms. The former is a bunch of terrorists, the latter has a substantial army.

Comment: Re:uhh (Score 1) 499

by Teancum (#48043647) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

No, Elon Musk was actually at a point where not only these companies were in risk of bankruptcy (noting also that he personally guaranteed much of the debt of these companies too, not to mention having fiduciary responsibility over the debt of these companies as CEO), but that he even was in debt at this time too.

You are simply wrong. He was very much at risk of personal bankruptcy too and definitely losing everything he had.

Comment: Re:Profitable, if self-contradictory (Score 1) 499

by Teancum (#48043639) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

I'm glad to know that you are so cognizant of the future that you can possibly anticipate that nobody in the future will possibly develop any sort of technique or capability for capturing or restoring intelligences and personalities of those who currently are alive, may have been in the past, or will be in the future.

That is the kind of prophecy that really requires some sort of religious faith.

I'm not asserting that such technology will ever be developed, but it is silly to think it could never happen too.

Comment: Re:Profitable, if self-contradictory (Score 1) 499

by Teancum (#48043609) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

I would tend to disagree with your assertion. There is something a little different in terms of a soul, or self-awareness, or however you want to describe that thing which is an intelligence. It is more than merely a pile of facts and data.

While the physical structure which is me is certainly a pile of data stored as DNA and developed over time that is my lifetime and the various environments I have lived in, not to mention my memories, there is much more to what is "me" than just that physical structure and data. There is also much more to "you" as well.

This is BTW one of my largest complaints about those who talk about artificial intelligence being something other than a bunch of tools which mimic but never achieve actual intelligence. Those who claim self-aware computers are just around the corner and a few years or decades from being developed don't have a clue as to what actual intelligence involved. This includes those who try to make claims as to how big of a computer must be to have human-like intelligence.

Data without that intelligence is meaningless, which I guess is the point I was trying to make. Yes, that thing which is "me" or my children for that matter does represent a huge pile of data, but I am more than just that data.

Comment: Re:Profitable, if self-contradictory (Score 1) 499

by Teancum (#48043575) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

I wish the internet was any good at preserving information. In reality, I have lost far more data to network servers, including some rather important information, than anything I've ever lost from moves, water damage, or even fire. As a medium of information exchange it works really good, but it does a damn lousy job of preserving data for more than a few years. It is also odd what information does get preserved, as some things sort of stick around and persist for a very long time, while other stuff goes away... and I can't predict at the moment which kind of data will persist in terms of content I've generated.

The only kind of information that I've been able to preserve on the internet for certain is stuff that I am very active in preserving. It really doesn't get saved in multiple locations though.

Comment: Re: Antecdotes != Evidence (Score 1) 424

by jd (#48043385) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

Agreed about anecdotes. However, I can say that I have to reboot my Windows 7 PC weekly because of serious degradation in performance. I have installed a fair bit of software (the PATH can no longer be extended) but there's only about three games (Freeciv, Kerbal Space Program, Elite: Dangerous) and no apps, toolbars or junk. The rest of the software on there? MariaDB, Ingres, GRASS, QGIS (OSGEO is basically Cygwin, so I've now three incompatible Cygwin distros on Windows), HOL 4, Active Python, Active Perl, Erlang, Rust, Blender, PoVRay, BMRT - the sort of stuff you'd expect to find on any PC, nothing fancy.

And Netscape. Which is a horrible resource hog and is honestly not usable in its current form. I have abandoned all efforts to get Chrome usable. I'll probably deinstall both and switch to Amaya. Which barely does anything, but it does it tolerably.

Work continues in this area. -- DEC's SPR-Answering-Automaton