Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Suppose a Christian search term was hijacked? (Score 1) 435

by Required Snark (#49780115) Attached to: Creationists Manipulating Search Results
I did not say that any laws would be changed. I did not say it was an act of terrorism, but it would be compared to terrorism. I did not say that that search results would be mandated in any way.

You did not read my post carefully. I said that there would be huge media frenzy, and that political opportunists would use it to whip up public opinion to their advantage.

I wonder about your reading comprehension. You seem to know what most of the words mean, but do not seem to grasp the actual content of the statements. You projected an interpretation that is not in the text. I worry about you. :(

Comment: Suppose a Christian search term was hijacked? (Score 3, Funny) 435

by Required Snark (#49778935) Attached to: Creationists Manipulating Search Results
Just imagine that a common simple search phrase referring to Christ had as it's first result a Satanist site?

It would be a major national news story. There would be editorials in news outlets large and small. Fox News and the right wing press would call it a terrorist act. There would be hearings in Congress, and calls for laws protecting religion. It would be a three ring media circus.

All truths are not created equal. Some points of view are more equal then others.

Comment: Publish and Perish (Score 1) 393

by Required Snark (#49774171) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?
Bad science will inevitably lead to bad real world consequences. Somebody will die.

But who cares, because because you gotta keep turning that endless publication crank. If you don't you might get kicked off the team.

Just visualize legions of white coated scientists chained to their lab benches/computer screens, pulling a lever to get their jolt of drugs injected directly into their veins. If they don't pull the lever often enough they'll go into seizure and break their own backs through muscle contractions.

But it's all good because uncontrolled competition always produces the best outcome. Just ask any Wall Street banking executive who gets a mountain of money no matter how badly they screw up. Just trust the system and you will be safe, secure and happy. Really.

Comment: Windows is a crime (Score 1) 83

by Required Snark (#49773473) Attached to: Attackers Use Email Spam To Infect Point-of-Sale Terminals
Windows in it's default state is dangerous. It doesn't make any difference which version is involved.

Using Windows were there is any sensitive information is the equivalent of promoting criminal activity. The only exception is if the system is tightly configured and continuously updated. In the real world a vanishingly small percentage of all Windows installations do the right thing.

The only way this will ever change is if the organization (or person) responsible for the system is held accountable for any sensitive data leaks. Accountability must include fines, monetary indemnification and criminal liability. In plain English, that means if you screw up and loose someone's private info, you are on the hook for paying a fine and compensating the victim for all their losses, including the time they spend dealing with the mess. And if the breach is significant enough, you should be facing a criminal trial and serious jail time.

If this was in place there would be very few data breaches, obviously. I also think that it would be better for the overall economy, because the cost of data loss would be accounted for. Right now the cost accrues to the victim and so the real economic damage is invisible. It's the same situation as a manufacturing company not paying for waste disposal because they can get away with dumping their trash on the neighbors property.

Of course this will never happen because Profit!

Comment: Re: Tech Replace Mines (Score 1) 106

by Required Snark (#49771069) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?
I completely agree.

Austerity doesn't work. Instead of giving money to incompetent self serving bankers, it would be far better to spend directly on productive economic projects: infrastructure, education, health care. In fact, significantly increased spending on unemployment payments would be better then stock buybacks for the general economy. People on unemployment spend the money immediately which generates immediate real economic demand, a driver of growth.

The reason I did not say this in my post was that I was trying not let it become too long and I wanted to avoid detail that would make things overly complicated.

As long as I'm going into detail, the ideology that you refer to is the F-word: fascism. I hate to use it, because it's just become a meaningless curse word, but it is a term of art in politics. In theory fascism combines the interests of the state, capitalists and workers into a single unified organization. In practice there are a lot of ways to do this, although they share some common patterns. One is that they are authoritarian to a great degree, and suppress (or eliminate) democracy. Another is they foster a demand economy, which is far away from free market capitalism.

Demand economies replace market forces with central decision making. Left wing regimes do this as well. Demand economies fail in one way or another, because you can only ignore market forces for so long before things go bad. An extreme current example is Venezuela, which is suffering a collapse because of ridiculous left wing policies.

In the US and Great Brittan, the right wing demand economy is run for the benefit of the wealthy elites. As I described earlier, that's how low interest rate siphon wealth from the general economy into the hands of the Wall Street elites. It's also why corporate tax rates are at an historic low, and why the 1% have so many tax avoidance opportunities.

Comment: Re: Tech Replace Mines (Score 4, Insightful) 106

by Required Snark (#49767813) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?
Stock Buybacks are driving stock prices.

One big source of demand for stocks in recent years has come from companies buying back their own shares. These buybacks have not just provided extra demand — they have decreased the total supply of shares available. So the buybacks have shifted the supply-demand balance and helped drive stock prices higher.

All these buybacks, which have ranged between $75 billion and $159 billion a quarter for the past four years, have provided a steady flow of demand for shares. As the chart below shows, the buybacks have not been offset by new share issuance, so they have modestly reduced the total supply of shares available for S&P 500 companies. The number of shares outstanding is now lower than it was back in 2005, almost 10 years ago.

This is a direct effect of low interest rates. Companies are taking out loans for the buybacks

Another big source of cash for buybacks, however, has been debt. As the chart below shows, companies have been borrowing like mad in recent years. And they have been using lots of the cash they borrow to buy back their stock.

Why are they doing this? Because high stock prices disproportionally favor the top level executives. The get stock at a discount (stock options) and can game the tax code for lower taxes as well. It's a legal way to loot their companies.

Why are rates so low? Because the previous generation of corporate criminals wrecked the world economy with their greed. Low interest is the way that governments are trying to regrow their economies.

Now governments all over are giving free money to the same group of people (and even the same individuals) who caused the damage in the first place with these near zero interest rates. (For example, the US Federal fund rate for the big lenders is 0.25%.)

Stock buybacks don't grow the economy. There is a direct relationship between the sky high stock market and the long delayed general recovery outside the stock market.

This effectively redistributes wealth upward. The rich get richer at the expense of everyone else.

It's also another bubble. Whenever rates do go up there will be another crash. And given recent history, it will end up turning into another way of stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

Comment: Greece was bamboozled by international banks (Score 5, Interesting) 742

Even though they did not act completely responsibly, Greece was horribly exploited by the international banking community.

Goldman-Sachs was a major player in the destruction of the Greek economy. They set up unsustainable loan arrangements and then bet that Greece would not be able to pay them off.

Goldman Sachs arranged swaps that effectively allowed Greece to borrow 1 billion Euros without adding to its official public debt. While it arranged the swaps, Goldman also sought to buy insurance on Greek debt and engage in other trades to protect itself against the risk of a default on those swaps. Eventually, Goldman sold the swaps to the national bank of Greece.

In light of this combination of arranging structured financing while shorting the customer's debt, Goldman may find itself in a familiarly uncomfortable public light. Goldman has come under a barrage of criticism for structuring mortgage backed securities while its traders shorted that market.

They pulled the same scam on US home buyers that they pulled on an entire country. They originated loans that they knew were going to default. They made money doing that. Then they sold the loans to another sucker. They made money doing that. Then the bet that the loans would fail. They made money doing that as well. In the end, both the US home buyers and an entire country were left with unpayable debts.

Goldman-Sachs was monumentally predatory. As the article says:

Goldman was uniquely well-positioned to understand that Greek debt service obligations were higher than they would have appeared just by looking at its official debt levels, making Greece a riskier credit. This knowledge may have allowed Goldman to acquire credit protection on the trades on the cheap.

If you read the full article it's full of excuses why Goldman was not really a bad actor, but you must remember the source is the Business Insider, and they would happily support selling children into sex slavery if it was legal because Profit!

It's a pure swindle. Goldman had the deck stacked and the cards marked. Even a sovereign government was not up to understanding how a huge banking institution was able to manipulate the financial system to squeeze them dry and avoid any responsibility.

Comment: Re:Starts with a Bang (Score 1, Insightful) 55

by Required Snark (#49765669) Attached to: Universe's Dark Ages May Not Be Invisible After All
You're absolutely right. Ever person who has read Slashdot since it started knows far more about astrophysics then that feeble Ethan guy. He's scientifically illiterate compared to the rest of us.

We all just woke up one morning and said to ourselves "I'm going over to Wikipedia and read about the forbidden spin flip transition of hydrogen and it's relationship to the 'dark age' period when the expanding universe first became transparent to electromagnetic radiation." I know I did.

You shouldn't hold back. Tell the full story. We all know at least as much as the authors of any author who is the subject of a Slashdot posting. Slashdot readers that that superior to everyone else.

Since we are all so damned smart and know so much about everything, the only logical conclusion is that Slashdot should just shut down. It's beneath us. I'm so glad you pointed this out to everyone here. Even given our collective genus, you are slightly superior. I take my hat off to you, sir.

Of course, there is a somewhat simpler solution that you could unilaterally execute that would solve the problem: never log into Slashdot ever again. It's an insult to those of true enlightenment and we should all immediately log off. Leave it to the cretins and let it die the natural death of the stupid. I'm taking your advice, and this is my last time here.

Arrogant much?

Comment: Have you no shame? (Score 1, Funny) 386

by Required Snark (#49756731) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0
It's good to be honest about your past. Nothing is gained by pretending that you were uninvolved in something you once did.

However, like an alcohol or drug abuser who is in a state of denial about their past, you need to reexamine your behavior. You will never recover and regain your sense of self worth until you admit your destructive activities, ask for forgiveness, make amends to those you harmed, and actively pursue a path of helping others. It sounds like you are still obsessing about negative things you should have let go.

Seek help. Do not be ashamed to ask. Although there are some who will hold your previous actions against you, there are still people in the Unix/Linux/BSD community who will help you get to a better place. If you don't feel comfortable with them, try Android. Even if you are scarred by the past, you can still have a better future.

Now get the hell off my lawn.

Comment: Re:Maybe someday we'll know why we invaded iraq (Score 3, Interesting) 231

by Required Snark (#49756629) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails
I quoted Wikipedia articles to verify my statements. Hussein used chemical weapons against Iran when they were fightiing a proxy war for the US and it's allies. I quoted that Wikipedia article too. I showed evidence that the only chemical weapons in Iraq were left over from the Iran-Iraq war.

The justification for going to war was based on all the bad intelligence pushed by the Bush administration. For example Colin Powell said that his incorrect statement to the United Nations were "a 'blot' on his record."

The Blair government in England published the September Dossier claiming that Iraq was seeking yellowcake uranium and that it could used weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes, It was found to be completely wrong: "Without exception, all of the allegations included within the September Dossier have been since proven to be false". An inquiry after the war was told by Major General Michael Laurie, one of those involved in producing the dossier: "the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care."

The British, like the Bush administration, deliberately lied. They did not, in fact, have credible or actionable intelligence.

I pointed out not only that they were wrong about everything, but that they had previously stated intentions to topple Saddam Hussein. If it was a crime investigation, this would supply clear motive.

You have quoted nothing. Your reply is an opinion with no external references. I made a point to quote sources like Wikipedia that have some claim to objectivity.

Bush, Cheney, all the people who signed the PNAC statement, are far right ideologues who instigated an unnecessary war of aggression. They used propaganda and lies to achieve their ends. The result is an unmitigated disaster that has destabilized the Middle East. You are an accessory after the fact and you share their guilt. You are known by the company you keep.

Comment: Maybe someday we'll know why we invaded iraq (Score 4, Informative) 231

by Required Snark (#49756127) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails
Now that the Republicans are so worried about bad decision making in foreign policy, perhaps they will turn their attention to the monumental failures before and after 9/11. You know, like the warning given to George W Bush about the possibility of an Al Queda attack on the US. The one that he and his entire administration completely ignored.

And then there was whole problem of invading the wrong country for the wrong reason. Oops. I wonder how that happened. We still don't know.

None of the hijackers were from Iran. Fifteen were from Saudi Arabia, two from the Emirates and one each from Egypt and Lebanon. Not an Iraqi in sight. The were all Sunni member of Al Queda, and citizens of (at the time) US allies in the Arab world.

And then there was the problem with no weapons of mass destruction. Oops again. There were no biological weapons. There was no uranium separation/enrichment program. "Iraq's WMD capability ... was essentially destroyed in 1991" ... No evidence was found for continued active production of WMD subsequent to the imposition of sanctions in 1991 The chemical weapons that Iraq had in the 1980's that were used against Iran were built using technology imported from the West.

So why was all the intelligence about Iraq wrong? That is an unanswered question. The Republican controlled Congress never stepped up to the plate to ask any hard questions. Gosh, I wonder why?

Of course, there is a clue: PNAC, or the Project for the New American Century. PNAC released a Statement of Principles in 1997 calling for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It was signed by Dick Chaney, Donald Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, Elliot Abrams, Eliot A. Cohen, Aaron Friedberg, Peter Rodman, Henry Rowen, and Paul Wolfowitz, who all ended up working for the Bush administration. One would almost think that they used 9/11 as an excuse and made up a bunch of crap to make it happen.

Back to Benghazi. It was a big mistake and four people died. In Iraq he US military alone suffered 4,425 total deaths (including both killed in action and non-hostile) and 32,223 wounded in action. The civilian death and injured toll is staggering, and still going up.

So fuck the WSJ, and fuck the Republican Party. Collectively they are mass murderers. When they scream about Benghazi it's like child molesters complaining about someone playing their radio too loud. The fact that they have so much power shows that voters in the US have less intelligence then a pack of inbreed poodles.

Comment: What they are saying over at YCombinator (Score 2) 120

The discussion at YCominator has some very interesting comments.

According to an article in Spiegel Online three of the engines shut down during takeoff.

The fatal crash of a brand new A400M military transporter was found to be caused by technical issues. According to information from SPIEGEL ONLINE, three of the aircraft's engines were shut down due to software problems, directly after takeoff.

The cause of the crash of a brand new type A400M military transport aircraft appears to have been identified. According to information from SPIEGEL ONLINE, the engineers from Airbus Military discovered a software problem in engine control unit, that supposedly caused the simultaneous shutdown of three engines.

The investigation produced a clear result: Shortly after the test aircraft took off, the three engines had received conflicting commands and subsequently cut all power.

The pilots, who were testing the A400M, could not have done anything, according to Airbus sources. They still attempted to steer the 45m long plane back to the airport in Seville, but could not control it any more. The aircraft struck a power pole, slammed into a field and burnt completely.

There were also claims that much of the software was written by underpaid inexperienced developers and there was high turn over due to a high pressure environment.

Comment: Fair to whom? (Score 3, Insightful) 387

Microsoft: "Spending money on paper, pencils, whiteboards, and physical books diverts an important revenue stream away from our bottom line. It's not fair."

To be even handed, Apple takes exactly the same position. To view a real clusterf--k, check out the FBI criminal investigation into iPad purchasing at the LA Unified School District.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.