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United States

Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy 712

Posted by Soulskill
from the cats-and-dogs-governing-together dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University have concluded, after extensive analysis of 1,779 policy issues, that the U.S. is in fact an oligarchy and not a democracy. What this means is that, although 'Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance,' 'majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.' Their study (PDF), to be published in Perspectives on Politics, found that 'When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.'"

Comment: George Carlin nailed it (Score 2, Insightful) 582

by RogueWarrior65 (#46747107) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

"Hello. I'm a famous person...and I'm for sale. Do have a product or a business that needs promotion? Do you sell something worthless? Something no one will buy because it's poorly built and doesn't work properly? Likely to come apart at high speeds? Perhaps with toxic side effects? Well, I'm here to help you. I'll take your product and I'll sell it to them because they trust me. That's right; they trust me because...I'm a famous person."

Now will somebody please explain to me why people shouldn't listen to this particular celebrity but we should all listen to and shout hosannas to the rogue's gallery of celebrities James Cameron got to spout off in his global warming movie.

Comment: Equusearch is a non-profit organization (Score 1) 214

by RogueWarrior65 (#46737155) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

It's not about making money in this case because Equusearch is a non-profit and asks for no money from families or local law enforcement agencies. Speaking as a member of a search & rescue group, we're all volunteers and pay for all of our own equipment. Pretty much the only thing we get reimbursed for is fuel and that comes out of a state search & rescue fund. That fuel money is only given out on actual missions. Training expenses are all on our own dime. The Feds don't pay for anything.

That said, a UAV or a human piloted helicopter isn't a magic talisman that allows you to find the subject. If the subject is under a few feet of brush or tree cover, you won't see them from the air. Aerial vehicles are another tool in the toolbox. There are a few benefits to a UAV. One is it's significantly cheaper to operate. A jet ranger helicopter can cost well over $600 an hour to operate. A Robinson is cheaper but still expensive. A UAV can be programmed to take hi-res photos in a grid pattern for later review. Multiple people can review the imagery because different people will notice different things.

Now, as to federal regulation, this kind of B.S. makes our job exceedingly difficult if not impossible. Here there are several designated "wilderness" areas. Nobody is allowed to take a motorized vehicle into them even for matters of public safety. In fact, helicopters aren't allowed to land. They have to hover and touch a skid to off load search personnel. That's a very very dangerous thing to do. Then there's the BLM. These morons pull the same crap on so-called state trust land. Don't get me started on their incompetence when it comes to managing wildfires. Then there's the National Forest Service. Recently, they've unilaterally decided to close off a huge percentage of the roads in the forest. But they don't physically close them off. You're supposed to know which roads are open or closed and the only official map has no topographic features on it...at all. If you're on one, they can give you a ticket. Volunteer search & rescue folks are not exempt.

Which brings me to the FAA. Legally, they have no leg to stand on when it comes to UAVs. They keep referring to a 2007 policy hoping nobody will know the real deal. It's not an official regulation, only a policy recommendation. IMHO, what the FAA is doing as well as other federal agencies is trying to rule through intimidation and policies that would make Kafka envious. They know they're full of it but they also know that the average citizen doesn't have the resources to fight them in court.

Science

Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover 290

Posted by samzenpus
from the nothing-new-under-the-sun dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "John Horgan writes in National Geographic that scientists have become victims of their own success and that 'further research may yield no more great revelations or revolutions, but only incremental, diminishing returns.' The latest evidence is a 'Correspondence' published in the journal Nature that points out that it is taking longer and longer for scientists to receive Nobel Prizes for their work. The trend is strongest in physics. Prior to 1940, only 11 percent of physics prizes were awarded for work more than 20 years old but since 1985, the percentage has risen to 60 percent. If these trends continue, the Nature authors note, by the end of this century no one will live long enough to win a Nobel Prize, which cannot be awarded posthumously and suggest that the Nobel time lag 'seems to confirm the common feeling of an increasing time needed to achieve new discoveries in basic natural sciences—a somewhat worrisome trend.' One explanation for the time lag might be the nature of scientific discoveries in general—as we learn more it takes more time for new discoveries to prove themselves.

Researchers recently announced that observations of gravitational waves provide evidence of inflation, a dramatic theory of cosmic creation. But there are so many different versions of 'inflation' theory that it can 'predict' practically any observation, meaning that it doesn't really predict anything at all. String theory suffers from the same problem. As for multiverse theories, all those hypothetical universes out there are unobservable by definition so it's hard to imagine a better reason to think we may be running out of new things to discover than the fascination of physicists with these highly speculative ideas. According to Keith Simonton of the University of California, 'the core disciplines have accumulated not so much anomalies as mere loose ends that will be tidied up one way or another.'"

Comment: Re:What BS (Score 1) 177

Actually, it doesn't require much expertise at all. All you need is a frequency-hopping radio, an amplifier, and perhaps a directional antenna, all of which can be obtained for not a lot of money on the interwebs. Then you simply blast the drone with RF noise thus drowning out the operator's transmission. Most 2.4GHz R/C radios these days have a failsafe feature which gets engaged when the receiver no longer can hear the transmitter. That failsafe puts the servo outputs into a preset position. If it wasn't set for hovering throttle level, which is entirely possible, then gravity takes over.

Comment: Re:There are already plenty of US STEM workers (Score 3, Interesting) 325

by RogueWarrior65 (#46641519) Attached to: FWD.us Wants More H-1B Visas, But 50% Go To Offshore Firms

So then why does Zuckerberg desperately want to hire foreign workers? If he really needs workers and can't find the skills he needs with US workers, then they aren't being trained in currently marketable skills (I believe that based on personal experience) and he should fund training for the skills he needs which would take less money and time than a four-year college program. If he needs workers but doesn't want to pay what Americans are willing to work for then he's no different than every other company that outsources to China or wherever and any claims of altruism are total B.S.

Comment: A modest proposal (Score 1) 325

by RogueWarrior65 (#46639281) Attached to: FWD.us Wants More H-1B Visas, But 50% Go To Offshore Firms

Why doesn't Zuckerberg take what amounts to beer money for him and give out a few hundred full four-year scholarships for STEM programs to native-born Americans? He could take the interest alone (at 1%) for one year on his net worth and foot the bill for probably a thousand students.

Comment: But will it tell you to punch it on yellow? (Score 1) 364

by RogueWarrior65 (#46639211) Attached to: Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

"I watch you very carefully. Green mean go. Red mean stop. Yellow mean go very fast."

Seriously, assuming that this isn't an April Fool's joke posting, this tech now effectively gives more control to the big brother folks running the traffic control centers. They could retard the timing of the lights to slow people down. Some irritating bureaucrat wants his limousine to get across town faster? One phone call and the lights all favor his route. How long will it be before self-driving cars have to check in with the traffic control center to get a speed request approved?

Quark! Quark! Beware the quantum duck!

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