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Comment You don't miss out on much anymore (Score 1) 190

Desktops, laptops, and new windows phones can all run the exact same programs now as I understand it, hardware allowing. That's what Microsoft has been working on for the past five years, cutting down the system requirements for windows on all platforms and unifying all the market segments of computing under more or less one operating system so programs can be written just once and target every device type.

Dealing with a shitty, highly limited app ecosystem in Windows phones is ending. Windows phone could have some of the *best* app support in a couple years, let alone the worst.

Comment What proportion are legacy? (Score 1, Interesting) 191

You're really trying to portray Harvard as a place where the average undergrad simply bought their degree outright, and presumably has no business attending a world-class institution? Really? The legacy rule may be stupid, but speaking as if it dominates their entire undergraduate program sounds positively moronic. Plenty of rather brilliant people with no legacy have exited Harvard, including very recently.

Not to mention the admissions department doesn't simply tell the entire school what to do and who to accept for *everything*. Speaking as if not just the university at large but each and every club or intercollegiate team are beholden to legacies is doubly moronic. You truly believe the faculty who spend their time with the debate team care so little about their job they'll just accept every damn kid named Kennedy or Rockefeller with no regard to talent and waste their time chaperoning rich morons about the country losing debates right and left?

Legacy lets some idiots through, yes. Harvard gets ***WAY*** too much money, literally more than they know what to do with, while good state schools and smaller private schools get less than 1/10th as much endowment for far more students, yes. But they're not just a pile of cash-crazed morons who worship at an altar of solid gold and let the rich kids do *anything* they want. They're still a fantastic school.

Comment Yeah, that's sound about right (Score 4, Insightful) 228

Yeah, deliberately and knowingly entering reserved airspace dozens of times probably should earn someone a hefty fine, or rather should really earn prison time. Doodling around in the flights paths of commercial airliners constitutes a ridiculous and needless risk if the FAA complaint is accurate. People hate the idea of the FAA controlling drones, but the FAA will *need* power over drones if their pilots keep acting like reckless fuckers.

Maybe Congress could get off their ass and give the FAA a specific, bounded mandate for controlling and allowing drone flights so airspace regulations doesn't descent into a quagmire of confused case law and bureaucratic over-reach like the ATF handling of firearms has become. There's options, but again if drone pilots don't practice some fucking sense the realistic options for minimal regulation will just keep diminishing.

Comment Tesla is not a Big Three company (Score 3, Insightful) 451

The so-called Big Three automakers in America are Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Tesla has yet to ship even 100,000 vehicles in one year; the rest each have over a dozen models that ship that many, several that ship well over a million, and there's a few models between them that ship into the tens of millions.

Sorry to be so pedantic and punchy in correcting this, but I think it's a little annoying - bordering on delusional - how often slashdot people, reddit people, etc. give Tesla and SpaceX credit for things far, far beyond what they've actually accomplished so far. Those companies have impressive potential, but they're **far** from replacing Chrysler, NASA, Lockheed, or any other the other entities in their markets.

Submission + - Nasdaq will use bitcoin blockchain for stock records (

RobinEggs writes: US technology stock exchange Nasdaq is preparing to store the transaction records of pre-IPO stocks in the blockchain data for bitcoin. The blockchain function of bitcoin is a public file recording the creation and transactions of all bitcoins in existence in perpetuity; every bitcoin and fraction of a coin can be traced all the way to its first owner. Everyone running a bitcoin miner participates in group validations of the blockchain and any additions to it.

Because the blockchain is a highly distributed and persistent file that never discards any data, and is always available for anyone to examine worldwide at any time, it makes an intriguing place for public disclosure of trades and ownership in other defined, limited commodities as well. The pre-IPO trading for a stock is much more limited, so it makes a good starting point in this experiment.

Using the blockchain for recordkeeping does not mean Nasdaq has adopted the bitcoin currency, only that they're using bitcoin's network. Nasdaq does not appear to have a public position or a financial interest in bitcoin as a currency or commodity.

Comment Oligarchs aren't the Borg (Score 4, Informative) 99

Not all the rich and powerful got there the same way, and they don't all have the same goals. Some extremely large and influential companies lobbied *against* this merger, including (but hardly limited to) Netflix and Google, because their owners thought the merger could lose them money.

The oligarchs in America work together on plenty of issues, this just isn't one of them.

Comment Dead until 2016 or 2020 anyway (Score 4, Insightful) 99

The next time we have FTC and FCC leadership appointed by a Republican they'll just try the merger again, and they could easily succeed. I just don't think allowing the merger would seriously hurt the Republican president who did it. Republican strategists have their voters so anxious and paranoid over emotional topics like terrorism, gay marriage, marijuana, and immigration that who exactly would change their votes over internet service? Who would help the socialists take over and the floodgates open and another 9/11 happen just for ethical billing and some decent customer service?

No one who believes their lies would ever vote D or I for such a trifling issue.

Comment Re: Should come with its own football team (Score 4, Insightful) 102

There *is* no lack of qualified graduates. Haven't you been reading the other stories the last five years on slashdot about companies literally attending seminars about how to legally *avoid* American candidates by doing the legal bare minimum to hire an American before hiring an H1-B? An H1-B they were specifically targeting from the very beginning, regardless what American candidate might through sheer luck or connections actually find the job they were trying to hide?

What about the stories in which at least one of the same companies who signed this letter got caught colluding to suppress wages and reduce employee mobility in Silicon Valley, by refusing to hire employees away from other top companies?

Pumping more and more and more money into education is flooding the market, not meeting a need. It's just another step in the quest to manipulate their labor supply until they can get top dollar talent for bargain basement prices.

Comment I'd rather piss on Satan's Hoof (Score 1) 240

I'd do that before I'd go around threatening a federal judge. And releasing their home address, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc. *is* threatening a federal judge. You're being incredibly naive if you think otherwise.

I'm not saying judges are or should be untouchables. Not at all. Uncover and post every academic, financial, and personal acquiantance or interaction they've had since pre-school. That's useful and necessary oversight. But you do **NOT** post how to physically find them, interfere with their identity, or directly communicate with them outside of the courthouse. That's completely undermining the judiciary system. If a judge can't throw the book at someone for fear of their own life and safety, everything can fall apart.

A judge should be documented and attacked (figuratively) in the press, in the commons, and in the courtroom. But absolutely not after they remove their robes, not unless *they* do something to undermine your safety or their professional capacity *outside* the courtroom.

And I know some of you are saying "The judges are part of this shit, the militarizing of the police force, the war on drugs, etc. They have no right to privacy, who says they even deserve a right to safety for their complicity in this shit that kills and imprisons hundreds of thousands of US citizens?" Well who do you think has the power to directly *stop* those things? Without bloodshed? Yeah, the legislature can slowly change the laws until maybe police aren't carrying assault rifles regularly and aren't breaching your house without even knocking on the door...or the judiciary could become much more hostile to approving those warrants *today*. The public opinion is very obviously turning against total criminalization of narcotics and hallucinogens, against mass incarceration and crushing legal fines, against civil forfeiture and no knock raids. A judge can see this: they're generally very smart people. Make it clear that you respect them and expect them to uphold the will of the populace. Convince a judge that no knock warrants or the war on drugs are unconstitutional and they might do everything within their power and discretion to block those things. They have *huge* discretion, too. They say "I don't think you've met the measure of this code or the 'test' for getting this type of warrant." and that's the largest possible roadblock most police forces can encounter in pulling off something sinister. Just raiding shit with no warrants still isn't that easy, and it's not something any cop can just keep doing, no matter how good the Blue Wall is in a given town.

So make your choice. Either make the judiciary fear for their lives and give them serious pause about whether to jump deep into bed with military police forces, or treat them as allies who you will protect and honor. Make them feel safe and important *yourself*, while being firmly clear you want all this bullshit to stop, and maybe they won't want to support military policing or drug warrants so much anymore. Either make them afraid, or appeal to their pride an dignity. Which one do you think has a greater upside potential here?

Comment Except when profit actively undermines charity (Score 3, Insightful) 284

The process of earning your profit can easily counteract the effects of spending your profit on charity, however. The wealthy often realize this paradox when they begin "giving back". The Gates Foundation itself has been accused many times of investing in things that completely undermine its goals. This editorial from 2014 is just one example.; I recall hearing similar claims about investments in totally different industries almost 10 years ago

How you get your profit makes a big difference in what net accomplishments your money can achieve. If your earning provides great support to systems that keep poor countries unstable or work against universal improvements for humanity, but then you wish to spend your profits on humanist goals, then what was the point? I'd rather you'd just become a janitor instead of digging holes in human society and then desperately filling them back in, hoping you might create mountains in the process.

Comment For fuck sake, the IRS isn't what you think it is (Score 1, Informative) 372

>The IRS, in particular, expects taxpayers to keep records FOREVER (or until you die and your will is probated)

What? Where are you getting this nonsense? The IRS does not expect you to keep records for your *entire life*. That's absolute moronic drivel. In fact, the IRS doesn't require you to do *anything*; it's congress that writes the tax code. Not just a different entity, a completely different branch of government. The IRS isn't some extra-legal entity that makes up their own rules to inflict on citizens and delights in making them difficult.

Anyway, you're required to keep records until the audit window for tax returns dependent on those records expires, no longer. Rarely will an individual have to keep any record of any kind longer than 7 years after the last filing year that record affected; the vast majority of records can be destroyed after no more than 4 years, and almost all people can fit the documents they're required to keep longer than 7 years in a single manilla folder (if they have any at all).

Are you just one of those people who think the IRS are evil because of your strict constructionist views, or something? Maybe you live in a compound in Idaho? Because this whole "IRS is evil and seeks out ways to fuck and/or control the average taxpayer in service of XYZ political force" notion is just so fucking far from the truth I seriously wonder what kind of willful ignorance or bizarre lies someone must experience to believe it.

Comment Is this a joke? (Score 4, Informative) 68

You're really not seeing how a rough picture of the perpetrator could help solve crimes, simply because many people will share the same rough picture and have some similar underlying DNA?

Right now DNA often comes in near the end of an investigation; you have to select people to test based on traditional detective work, and then you must legally acquire their DNA to match with your sample. If suspects don't want to give you DNA simply because you asked nicely, you have to be fairly sure of their guilt - and able to convince a judge of why you're sure - before you can get their DNA involuntarily. If this test became effective, the sample you got at the beginning would show you who among the likely suspects to test against, and probably lower the bar for getting legal clearance to take their DNA.

Not to mention you clearly have no clue how DNA testing really works; if it's important you can and will be able to match a decent sample to one and only one person. There are commonplace genetic tests that can produce 1 in 10 trillion profiles of a person's or sample's DNA to match against. The fact that this DNA processing produced a rough sketch matching X number of people is irrelevant when you'll be able to narrow that group to very few or one with the most basic detective work.

Comment Sex+Gender = Lots of combinations (Score 1) 462

A lot of this comes down to sex vs gender.

Sex is your biological status: what organs and hormone levels do you have, and how have they developed? Sounds straight-forward, at least at first.

Gender might be defined as a social role and group identity you take on which is influenced most significantly in most people by their sex. So most people pick from one of the two massively dominant genders, wind up pretty content about it, and have organs matching everyone else in their camp.

But what if you have testes and breasts? And hormone levels pretty much in between the standard man and the standard woman? You might end up legally forced to adopt an 'official' sex based on your chromosome data or what went on your birth certificate, perhaps, but does that help you pick a gender? Does that actually reflect your sex? Probably not. Do you identify more with another sex? What about another gender? If you want to change over, how much will you do and what changes are possible?

The organs you have, the hormone levels you have, and how you feel about them all affect what sex you become and what gender you select. People who aren't comfortable being a traditional man or woman and sleeping with the opposite are simply trying to work out all the permutations and nomenclature now that they're somewhat more free to do so.

If a given person is polite about it and doesn't expect you to memorize a bunch of fluid terms to use for them or coddle their sexuality more than you would anyone else, just let it be and don't worry about the variety of possibilities. They'll work themselves out and they aren't likely to affect you. If they're a dick or an irrational activist about it, and there's plenty of those also, just ignore them and/or fight to keep them from defining your life any more than you're allowed to define theirs.

You can look into the definitions in any Women's or Gender Studies website; or you can ignore it for now and simply be a decent human being to the people you meet, ignoring their chosen combination unless they step on your own rights.

Every little picofarad has a nanohenry all its own. -- Don Vonada