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Comment: Except... (Score 1) 311

by argStyopa (#48478647) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

"If we really want our elections to reflect the will of the people,"

What "people", though?

Let me be absolutely clear: gerrymandering is bullshit - I'm *all* in favor of algorithmically-determined districts, such that they conform to:
- must have the same population
- must be contiguous ...that's great, as far as it goes, and in reading the article, that seems to be where they stopped. I'd add one further, complicating factor:
- they have to recognize communities

It's easy enough to parcel a state into clumps of districts with the same population, but if they split (for example) a town's two voting precincts into different districts, that's a failed algorithm. I can't tell from the article how they addressed that. It seems like they may have tried.

The other point is that we need to decide that each person gets one vote. Not "one person gets one vote but because we feel sorry for a specific group we need to twist things to make sure that they have a chance". That - whatever the motivation - is intrinsically antithetical to actual democracy.

Comment: Re:Hide your cables (Score 1) 508

by argStyopa (#48466789) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

(I'm going to assume you're either European or referring to Europe by your snark; we'll just set aside definitions of developed as something we might fundamentally disagree on.)

Critically: the US has an overall population density 1/10 that of countries like Germany. If you can't understand the impact of that, you're not paying attention. Further, the US doesn't have draconian commmunity laws that compel people to only build new homes within town limits, as some Euro states do. (Making the effective density of populated Europe much much higher.) If you buy land in the US, you can usually build a house on it, whether you're in a town or not. Ergo, the ability to quickly/cheaply stretch power to remote locations has more value here. It's a tradeoff that people make in their home choices, whether they recognize it or not.

In places like cities, where population density warrants it, yes, the power cables do usually go underground.

If, as the op asserts, it's an ongoing problem regarding the major lines that feed the municipality, then eventually the municipality will address it with their local utility. If the OP has such a problem with it, and is sure everyone else does, I'm sure it will provide a firm point for them to be elected to the city council to fix it. Or wait, was he not actually looking to get off his ass to FIX the problem, just whine about it?

Comment: Gee (Score 1) 630

by argStyopa (#48461579) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

It's almost like this is a very HARD PROBLEM that hundreds if not thousands of very, very bright people have been working on for years without much success.

Huh. Who'd'a thought?

(I think this entire project, while worthy, shows a staggering level of conceit, if not profound disrespect for brilliant scientists and engineers of previous generations. "Well, if we just get some smart people - I mean GOOGLE smart - and let them think about it, I'm sure they'll find the answer!")

Sometimes the historical ignorance displayed by people today is breathtaking.

Comment: Re:I just don't understand (Score 1) 1088

by argStyopa (#48458871) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

"I don't know if he was guilty."
You should have just stopped there because the rest of your post is essentially: "I don't really know anything except what some media outlets have told me, based on histrionic eyewitnesses and a need to fill a 24/7 news cycle with outrage, but I'm vaguely upset because the outcome doesn't match the presumptions I've come to from this incomplete information."

1) The police have every reason to try to protect their officer. One hopes that they're honest about the data they're presenting, but we've seen plenty of examples of it not being so.
2) the 'community' - from political leaders to thugs that just want to get a new TV, sneakers, and beer from a looting rampage - have every reason to try to see the situation in the worst possible light.

It's abundantly clear (from the physical impossibility of some of their observations) that many of the so-called witnesses are lying. It's possible that the cop is lying.

The ONLY people that ostensibly saw and heard every viewpoint and piece of evidence were the grand jury and the judge. It may not be perfect, but that's as close as we can get to objective.

To be "upset" about something from as peripheral a pov as we have is ludicrous. (To loot a store, or burn a restaurant in 'outrage' is idiotic.)

PS I fail to see how this is "tech news for nerds"?

Comment: Call me crazy (Score 1) 144

by argStyopa (#48458763) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

....but I sincerely hope that my car of the 2030s will be designed by engineers around the necessary performance requirements of the roads of the time, not fucking "design consultants".

I'm more interested in how people repeatedly get paid quite hefty salaries to come up with this overproduced, artiste-crap.

Comment: Sure he didn't (Score 2) 143

by argStyopa (#48458717) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

This is exactly comparable to someone with lung cancer who started smoking in 2002 and saying "I wish I'd known there was a risk."

What he needs to do next is figure out how to frame himself as a victim. If only he was brown or female instead of a fat white man. Everyone knows fat white men are the last approved object of public ridicule.

Comment: Well, not really (Score 1) 306

by argStyopa (#48452087) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

"Gamma ray bursts would wipe out any live more complex than microbes".... ...that is, unless life evolved to use radiation as an energy source.

In other words, a couple of astrophysicists speculate to a degree that's only slightly and unquantifiably less than sheer "wild ass guessing", news at 11.

Comment: I agree with stop & frisk... (Score 1) 474

by argStyopa (#48448713) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

...mainly because the US African American community has major cultural issues with broken families and an habitual acceptance of criminality that not enough of them are trying to fix internally. HOWEVER:

"...Some law-enforcement experts say the NYCLU is going beyond civics lessons and doling out criminal-defense advice...."

Then "some law-enforcement experts" need to pull their head out of their collective asses and understand that everyone - including cops - knowing who has what rights is a GOOD THING, for everyone. Remember the whole "presumed innocent" thing? Stop and frisk is already pushing pretty far into 'unreasonable search' territory; to imply then that the cops are somehow entitled to even push it further if they can bully/trick people into accepting it is frankly bullshit.

Police that act like it's a bad thing to tell kids what their rights are (and how to defend them reasonably and respectfully) during stop & frisk smell suspiciously like thugs with badges, and not police officers doing a difficult, dangerous, and high-stress task as constructively as possible.

Comment: I'm surprised... (Score 1) 78

by argStyopa (#48448195) Attached to: Study: Space Rock Impacts Not Random

...that this is news?

I'm not an astronomer, but I was pretty sure that the idea that the US passes through periodic 'clouds' of debris was as old as astronomy - how is this substantially different than the Leonid (passing through the debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle)or Perseid meteor shower (passing through the debris left by comet Tempel-Tuttle)?

Personally, I've wondered if some of these could coincide with truly massive volcanic eruptions or meteorite impacts historically, the ones hefty enough to land earth rocks on the moon or Mars. Such an eruption would, it seems to me, leave a 'cloud' of very small debris with its own orbit that would logically impact earth's orbit at the point they were created.

Comment: Seriously, who gives a shit? (Score 1) 125

by argStyopa (#48446693) Attached to: 2014 Hour of Code: Do Ends Justify Disney Product Placement Means?

If Disney wants to throw $$ at a meaningful, beneficial event and in return they get to plaster their product placement all over it in ways that don't actually detract from the facts/lesson being delivered - who cares? Hell, I hope it starts a bidding war in which the tutorial characters are eventually covered in ads like an Indy race-driver suit.* The sad consequence would be, of course, the fund swimming in cash. Tragedy!

*I personally believe that someday someone will actually cost-benefit out media advertising and realize it's a 75-year long scam. But that's a post for another day.

The ends DO justify the means, every goddamn day.

Comment: Re:Beware the T E R R O R I S T S !! (Score 1) 441

by argStyopa (#48434573) Attached to: Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

I think the "world police" argument is self-defeating.

First, nobody - even the most ardent interventionist - has ever asserted that the US should send its military to (some godforsaken shithole (GSFH)) because "we're the World Police!".
Suggesting such is prima facie untrue. The only people that even use the term are ironically usually the political left who, if they had their druthers, WOULD enable just such a thing likely under UN auspices. So it's not even the "world police" thing that bothers them, it's that we're pursuing our own interests, because they're presumably too stupid to recognize that every other state on the planet is doing the same thing to the best of their ability. So their real argument isn't that we're acting like "world police" so much as a basic argument against our own success....and that devolves, folks, to simple self-loathing.

US involvement in GFSHs is based on US interests, full stop. Setting aside the public pap of WMDs, it's clear that we went to war in Iraq to protect OIL, because after air, and water, and food, oil's pretty much the most fucking important substance on the planet.

Now, we can argue priorities, cost/benefit, direct self-interests vs enlightened longterm self interest, etc all day long. I might even agree with you on some points, despite our likely opposite political dogma.

But the crux of geopolitics is that EITHER:
- you pursue naked Realpolitik, and act ONLY in your self-interest, or
- you pursue a humanitarian policy of trying to "do good" where you can.

What the naive don't seem to understand is that you don't get to "not play". It's not a choice. If millions are being slaughtered in Rwanda, action OR INACTION is making a statement about US interests, values, and cost/benefit calculations, upon which then other states will plan their expectations about our behavior.

And FWIW, the second policy pole listed above? It's far, far more blood and treasure, intervention, and judgemental side-picking, 'warmongering scumbaggery' than the former.

Basically: grow the fuck up. The world's more complicated than you apparently understand.

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.