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Comment: Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (Score 1) 1261

by Registered Coward v2 (#46772691) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

However, disproving that doesn't prove the opposite, i.e. that mass gun ownership reduces gun deaths or stops crime.

No, it doesn't, and I never said it did. I was just attacking a common talking point for the anti-gun crowd.

Just as I was pointing out flaws in a common pro-gun talking point.

Their gun related suicide rate is one of the highest in Europe.

Well that's no surprise. I'm surprised actually that it isn't the highest in Europe. Maybe the good economy (versus places in Eastern Europe) makes less people suicidal. But is the rest of Europe suicide-free? What are the rates, after you add together both successful and unsuccessful suicides? Having a gun available just makes it more likely you'll succeed; other methods aren't generally as sure-fire (pardon the pun).

The evidence seems to point to reducing the availability of guns tends to lower the suicide rate in those most prone to use a gun to commit suicide; it seems suicide is an act of the moment and a gun gives you, as you point out, a sure fire way to succeed.

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One common argument made for gun ownership is criminals such as burglars won't break into a house with an armed owner yet burglaries are rising in Switzerland.

Burglars, by definition, are people who avoid confrontation. They look for patterns, to see when a house is unoccupied, and break in then so they can steal loot. The people steal face-to-face are called "robbers", or possibly "home invaders". Are there a lot of home invasions in Switzerland? I suspect not. Lots of places have relatively high property crime rates (or just petty crime), with very low violent crime rates.

Again, I am pointing out a common flaw uncommon pro-gun arguments; i.e. burglars won't break into house where they fear an armed owner.

Personally, my experience with guns has me view them simply as a tool. I am not fascinated by them nor do I fear them. They can serve a useful purpose if used properly. I also think there needs to be a middle ground, much as Switzerland has found, between the two camps although I doubt that will ever happen.

In the mean time I find the arguments made by both sides to take great liberty with the facts when making their case; and find it ironic that the NRA and most gun shops will not allow someone to take a loaded gun inside. I like to bring that up when someone goes off the deep end and ask "If more guns make you safe would;t they want armed people where they work?" just as I ask the rabid anti gunner "If you were about to be murdered wouldn't you want to be able to defend yourself?" Then again, sometimes it is just fun to kick the hornet's nest.

Comment: Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (Score 1) 1261

by Registered Coward v2 (#46770515) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

I recall one while I lived there where their was a shooting over a girlfriend;

"A shooting over a girlfriend" does not sound like a "shooting spree" to me, one in which dozens of people are killed. Was this a mass-murder that started as some crime of passion, or was this just someone shooting some other person or two? Murders happen everywhere; if someone used a fully-automatic rifle in an angry rage over a girlfriend, and only killed one or two people (girlfriend and her new boyfriend?), that's not exactly an indictment of automatic weapons. Anyone could easily do the same with a kitchen knife.

Well, there also was the mass shooting (with a SIG) of 14 people at a cantonal meeting as another example.

Anyway, yes, their rules are different, but that wasn't my point. My point was that one of the main arguments trotted out by the anti-gun crowd is that proliferation of weapons necessarily leads to huge number of gun deaths. Switzerland disproves that.

However, disproving that doesn't prove the opposite, i.e. that mass gun ownership reduces gun deaths or stops crime. Most of the gun deaths in Switzerland are from suicides or domestic violence.Their gun related suicide rate is one of the highest in Europe. One common argument made for gun ownership is criminals such as burglars won't break into a house with an armed owner yet burglaries are rising in Switzerland. My point is that Switzerland is not a good example for the argument greater gun ownership is good (or bad) since there are so many other factors at play that to focus on one is misleading.

Another interesting point is the Swiss seem to seek compromise on gun control issues such as limiting ammunition ownership, the need to have a permit to buy or carry a weapon, severely restricting the right to carry in public, even to the point of not giving reservists ammo for storing at home for their military issue weapons.

Personally, I'd be happy to adopt the Swiss model. Considering the country is at #1 or #2 for the highest standard of living in the world, they're obviously doing things right. However, there's no way we could just adopt their laws wholesale, because we don't have to right culture to make that stuff work here. The reason countries like Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries are so great is because of their cultures; their laws and policies are a byproduct of that.

I certainly agree with that.

Comment: Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (Score 1) 1261

by Registered Coward v2 (#46770073) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Yes, they have regulations, but they also have easily-available automatic rifles everywhere. Yes, it's illegal to actually walk around in public with a loaded rifle (unloaded is perfectly OK), and it's illegal to open your government-issued box of ammunition unless you've been authorized to, however if someone wanted to go on a shooting spree, that's not going to stop them. The anti-gun people always make the claim that easily availability of high-powered guns is what drives gun crimes. However, here in the US, we do NOT have easy access to automatic weapons; our AR-15s are all semi-automatic. In Switzerland, most houses have a fully-automatic assault rifle, plus ammunition. If you don't have one, it'd be easy to break in and steal one. Despite that, when was the last time you heard of a shooting spree in Switzerland? Never.

Actually, they have. I recall one while I lived there where their was a shooting over a girlfriend; but I will admit it is rare. However, if you want to adopt the Swiss model lets add universal registration of all weapons, severe penalties for carrying one in public unless you are on reserve duty, mandatory registration with the police in your place of residence, and universal healthcare. Somehow, most of the folks I know who point out Switzerland as a good reason for gun ownership aren't willing to really adopt the Swiss model.

Comment: Re:Legal Analysis (Score 1) 714

One important but often overlooked point in the WS article is how special education classes are setup. As the WP points out, in addition to kids who really need help they become dumping grounds for behavioral problems; as a result teachers have to teach and deal with troublemakers and the administration simply expects them to deal with it.

A lot of the times the kids with behavioral problems also have learning problems. Most or all of the bullies I encountered in school were on the low end of the intelligence bell curve and did not do well in class. Should a child not get an education just because they have behavioral problems? Sure, the kid might be an asshole but usually it is because his parents are assholes, not because of some asshole gene. Strict discipline is important for these students as they likely are not getting that at home but if they need remedial help they should receive it.

Certainly, but in an appropriate environment; not just thrown into special ed because it is a convent dumping ground. In addition, if their behavior disrupts and threatens others then they should be removed and learn there are consequences for their behavior and it will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, many of them can get away with it and thus do not modify their behavior.

Comment: Re:Legal Analysis (Score 1) 714

Here's an interesting article that looks at the legal aspects of this case:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

tl;dr version: The charges are bullshit.

One important but often overlooked point in the WS article is how special education classes are setup. As the WP points out, in addition to kids who really need help they become dumping grounds for behavioral problems; as a result teachers have to teach and deal with troublemakers and the administration simply expects them to deal with it. So, instead of addressing the problems schools simply ignore them; especially since actually taking action and expelling the kid or moving them to a school designed to deal with troublemakers is a long and difficult process. If the teacher is lucky they can document the problems and get the kid kicked out of school or if they are an out of district kid, give them so much work to do that they decide to go back to their original school. No wonder many special ed teachers tell young kids who want to do that to do anything but teach special ed; and the kids who really need help suffer because teachers spend far too much time dealing with troublemakers.

Comment: Re:So Netflix wants to change how it connects (Score 1) 319

You have basically everything backwards here. Netflix is not the comcast customer. Netflix pays their own ISP for their bandwidth already.

True, but Netflix is paying Comcast for a specific level of service. Absent that Comcast has no requirement to ensure Netflix can deliver a decent level of service.

It's not Netflix which is using all this bandwidth on comcasts network - it's comcast customers who are using it. And they already paid for it.

No, they paid for a maximum bandwidth, not a minimum one. That sucks, but that is what Comcast customers are buying.

Comcast wants to bill twice. I am sure they would bill 20 times if they could get away with it. And they are the 800lb gorilla with an effective monopoly position in many markets and no scruples whatsoever. Netflix folded to extortion, and the precedent is certainly not one that will benefit any users, unless it's the users that are also comcast stock owners.

Unfortunately, Comcast's only duty is to maximize its stockholders value.

That said, I've contended for a long time that the looming battle is over the last mile. As Apple and others build up content libraries they will become viable alternatives to cable. As content producers become more willing to make content such as TV shows available shortly after broadcast, at reasonable prices, they will draw in more cable cutters since people are already accustomed to time shifting. I could see a model where you can buy a free or watch ones with ads for free. As people shift the cable companies will look to profit more from the internet pipe - I see tiered services for data amounts as well as speeds becoming more prevalent. Right now, cable is too important for content producers to make stuff readily available on competing services; but as the $$$ potential form them grow they will embrace them. There is no loyalty that 1$ more profit can't overcome.

Comment: Re:So Netflix wants to change how it connects (Score 1) 319

Bullshit. This wasn't a business decision about improving service. This was extortion. Comcast got all the upside (gained revenue from Netflix, plus reduced peering traffic) and Netflix almost broke even (loses payments to Comcast, saves on hosting costs elsewhere). Customers pay Comcast to be connected to the internet at a given speed. They deserve to get the speed they pay for, regardless of where the traffic comes from.

Actually, Comcast customers pay for a maximum speed with no assurances of actually speed. Yea, it's crap that that is the way it is, and I wish Google would wire my area so I could dump Comcast; but the reality is nothing in my deal with Comcast guarantees me any minimum throughput. Unfortunately, any alternatives such as Dish or Clear are worse.

Comment: So Netflix wants to change how it connects (Score 0) 319

with Comcast. This allows Netflix to stop paying others for connecting their services to Comcast's network and gives Netflix's servers a direct link to Comcast. Comcast says "Sure, but pay us to do that." Netflix weighs that cost vs current costs and the benefits to them of ensuring faster streaming and says "OK." Sure they would like to do it for free but ultimately decided paying was the best option. Comcast no doubt wants to find ways to make money as streaming becomes more popular than cable and this is one way to do it. Netflix needs to keep customers happy and Comcast has a way to do that, at a price; and as a result that make a deal. It's a simple business decision on both sides.

While it would be nice to have everything streamed at max speed the reality is Comcast (and others) need to manage the network for all users; and if Netflix is a major bandwidth user then throttling them makes sense; even if it means degraded performance. If this agreement allows fast streaming and has less of an impact on other users then the users benefit as well from the deal.

Comment: Re:Gak (Score 1) 236

Ironically, NASA has almost certainly killed more people with the space shuttle than have died due to ignition switches.

I haven't the slightest idea why they're going to NASA of all places for an engineering audit, whenever there's a shuttle accident it's always transpired that NASA has intractable compliance and engineering culture problems, and lack the capacity to properly validate a tricycle for safety, let alone a mass-produced motor vehicle. Their incompetence has literally cost the US a manned spaceflight program.

They may be taking a page from Jack in the Box, when JITB hired NASA to completely overhaul their procedures after the salmonella deaths. Given NASA's record it's a miracle JITB burgers didn't all subsequently carry Ebola.

Just because your own organization is flawed doesn't mean you are incapable of identifying similar flaws in another. NASA has, as post-event investigations showed, a lot of people who are very capable of doing good engineering work as well as investigative work despite the culture. I would argue they could also be very good at finding similar issues in other companies and recommending fixes.

Comment: Re:Its really up to NASA to decide (Score 1) 236

This isn't rocket science... why ask any scientist less qualified than an astronaut? GM built the lunar module, so NASA is very qualified to stall a car on the moon..

Ignoring the humor in your post and not being pedantic that the LEM and Rover were two different items, NASA has a lot of experience with finding out what lead to a bad decision that result in significant, or catastrophic, failures and accidents. More to the point, if they used what was learned from investigations into what lead up to Challenger and Columbia they could shed a lot of light on GM's corporate culture and decision making process.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Score 1) 236

Following French law, I am a fully qualified certified engineer. Membership in a professional organization is just a north american concept closer to mafia and group self-interest preservation than engineering.

There is a little more to it than that if you want to be able to put P.E. after your name. To become a Professional Engineer (P.E.) you need to get a degree from an accredited university, pass an exam to become an Engineer in Training, have four years of experience under a P.E., and then pass a another exam. You can join a professional organization, in most cases, merely by paying dues. However, you do not need to be a P.E. to call yourself an engineer, unless you are performing certain types of engineering work; and many degreed engineers never get a P.E. because they do not need it in their careers.

Engineer has become somewhat of a generic term that can be used in many ways and doesn't represent any assurance of any sort of education level or certification. To your original point, the engineering profession missed the chance to establish a protective and benevolent licensure organization like doctors and lawyers to help them maintain higher salaries and limit competition. Had the done so you'd probably see a lot less offshoring and H1B visa work because they would not meet licensure requirements and the cost for doing so would make the jobs unattractive. Look at Doctors. To get a US license they need to pass an exam, complete a residency, assuming they can get a match, and meet other requirements no matter how long, or well, they have practiced medicine. The result is very few foreign trained doctors actually are able to ultimately practice in the US.

Comment: Re:Bad idea? (Score 2) 32

I am presuming that the NTIS does not run with massive profits or have staff with obviously higher salaries than elsewhere. In that case the fees they receive would probably go to cover legitimate work - for example, the work of gathering these papers into one repository. Something being publicly available doesn't mean easily or obviously accessible, and gathering and systematizing it is value-adding legwork. Hence given a choice they would either stop doing that, or increase the price of the remaining 25% of papers massively. I don't have direct knowledge of the situation, but it seems like one where there is potential for unintended consequences.

Exactly. I do not know about NTIS, but there are fee for service gov't agencies that charge other agencies for what they do. They differ from appropriated agencies, who get a fixed amount of money from the budget, in that they need to make enough to cover costs. If they don't, they ultimately need to cut expenses like any private organization. In addition, other agencies do not have to use their services, they can buy them on the open market as well if the cost is less.

Comment: Re:What happens now? (Score 2) 147

by Registered Coward v2 (#46727181) Attached to: 'weev' Conviction Vacated

From Wikipedia: "Relief from judgment of a United States District Court is governed by Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[1] The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit noted that a vacated judgment "place[s] the parties in the position of no trial having taken place at all; thus a vacated judgment is of no further force or effect."[2] Thus, vacated judgments have no precedential effect.[3]" That seems to say that he is now in a legal position as if the trial had never taken place. So can he be taken to court in the proper place now?

INAL, but from my understanding of double jeopardy he could be retried. It appears to be a procedural error which would allow a retrial; in this case in the proper venue.

Comment: What is your relationship with the folks whose (Score 1) 450

by Registered Coward v2 (#46716435) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?
machines will get Linux to replace XP? I ask that because you will be the "guy who made us switch from MS" and take the rap for every problem that arises. Document mangled? Blame Linux (and your decision to switch). Missed email? That never happened in Outlook, must be Linux' (and the guy who made us switch) fault. I am not saying that such blame would be reasonable or even that you will get blamed, but there is more to switching than just finding a good distro. Ask yourself, "do I have the time and qualifications to take the issue start will arise, train staff, troubleshot problems, find replacement programs for all that we currently use, etc?"

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke

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