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Comment: Re:Welcome to the USA (Score 1) 97

by physicsphairy (#49362273) Attached to: Commercial Flamethrower Successfully Crowdfunded

While you're linking to youtube, you might checkout the homemade flamethrowers. I can't claim to have made one but plenty of my friends have (including my school physics club). The mechanics of a flame thrower is just a squirt gun + a match. I can buy propane "flame throwers" as is at the local hardware store (used for burning weeds).

Why are people making all these flame throwers? Because something that shoots jets of flame is freaking cool. As far as I could discern on a quick google search, none of them have been used to commit murder.

What I personally find horrific is the idea that anyone would be so afraid of their fellow citizens that their first assumption on hearing they have access to a projectile shooter/flame maker/etc. is "OH GOODNESS HOW ARE THEY GOING TO USE THAT MURDER ME?" I realize unhinged people are out there, and will do bad things, but there are also bears in the woods which could find their way to my house and easily maul me to death. But the statistics are low enough that I don't worry about. I suppose my luck could run out some day, but trusting my fellow citizens not to murder me has worked so far, and I wouldn't care to live any other way. I like the idea of a society and a government that assumes I have good intentions until proven otherwise and I consider it worth some risk to have it even if I am not personally a person who is interested in owning a weapon.

Comment: Re:I suggest a million dollar fine (Score 1) 311

by CauseBy (#49359907) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

I see what you are saying but personally I'm careful when comparing situations to slavery. There is no work situation where you are paid and have the freedom to quit -- even with hardship -- which is tantamount to slavery.

What this is, is a shitty work situation. Not all shitty work situations are 'actually slavery', even hyperbolicly.

Comment: Other technical options (Score 1) 351

by physicsphairy (#49355461) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

What about a limitation on the locking mechanism that causes the door to unlock during significant course corrections and descents at low altitude? (If you really want to cover contingencies there could also be a date-based override code for keeping the cabin locked which the pilots would have to radio for.) That leaves the pilots free to secure themselves in case of an internal upset during a normal flight, but the passengers would be able to mob the cabin in most of these scenarios. You could also add, e.g., buttons in the back of the plane which have to be pressed to unlock the cabin. Not terribly difficult to do if all the passengers see the point of getting in, but might make the logistics of a hijacking significantly more complicated (and impossible for a lone actor).

Comment: Re:Let them sell cake (Score 1) 861

Is me offering to give you something that I have in exchange for something that you have really an "artificial construct of society"? Certainly, we've come up with things like corporations which fit that description, but the mere act of making a living by running a shop is the most basic form of some person using their own resource and ingenuity to put food on their table (through consensual exchanges). I would be okay with saying, e.g., a corporation is a 'public entity' which must therefore, if it exists, serve the entirety of the public. But I find it difficult to believe a self-owned proprietorship should not be seen as an extension of the individual.

Comment: Re:Airplane vs Satellite (Score 2) 103

by CauseBy (#49322645) Attached to: Finland To Fly "Open Skies" Surveillance Flight Over Russia

I don't know. Does Finland have a lot of spy satellites?

I looked it up and found this on Wikipedia: Finland's Aalto-1 Cusesat-satellite (3U) with solar panels is a funded by student nano-satellite project of Aalto University and Finnish Meteorological Institute [2]. When launched (plan was to 2013), it would be the first Finnish satellite. Launch has been procured for the summer 2015.

Comment: Re:surprised? (Score 1) 232

by Charliemopps (#49303283) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

ever notice how the products recommended for your car just happen to be made by the same company that made the car? Ever notice how the manual for your new hiking boots claims they will work best with the leather sealant made by the same company? Ever notice how the helpful recipes found on the packaging of food items happen to have ingredients that all come from the same food company? why would anybody expect anything different?

50 wrongs don't make a right. Consumers have always expected the manufacturers of their products to give them honest advice about how to care for their products and not to use their position as the manufacturer to force you into situations that actually harm your own interests. The fact that most businesses abuse that expectation does not make it any less egregious that Google has followed in their footsteps.

One of the best examples is Transmission oil... The differences between Manufacturer and After market brands is simply patented detergents the manufacturer refuses to license to after market suppliers. The viscosity, temperature expansion characteristics and ware modifiers are all identical, yet they'll void your warranty if you use them. The OEM brands sell from $12 to $50 a quart compared to $5 for an aftermarket, and are clearly a way to further gouge the customer. It's disgusting that these sorts of scams are allowed to continue, but they are, so the best we can do is call attention to them. At least with Google there are alternatives.

Comment: Re:I just don't care (Score 3, Interesting) 232

by Charliemopps (#49303173) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

Google isn't a monopoly, and search functionality isn't a public utility. Google never promised to have its page rankings work in a particular way.

They have a monopoly over the search bar that's dead center at the top of phone that I'm not allowed to remove under penalty of law. So yes, they are.

Comment: The solution to corrupt politics is to regulate us (Score 1) 1089

by physicsphairy (#49296425) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

Note how this legislation continues to be directed at you and me. The solution to corrupt policians involves threatening *us* with fines and prison for not doing our proper bits. It's not as if our elected leaders can help it, they're practically victims! Just going on with the system they've been given by a degenerate populace. No point in cracking down on the way they behave. But eventually in spite of us they will obtain their utopian society, I suppose -- just have to keep restricting us until we get into our thick heads to behave the perfect way they have envisioned for us, and then everything will be swell.

To properly understand what Obama means by the undue influence of money, you have to unpack the political dialect a bit. Obama was ushered into his latest term on a >$1 billion campaign, and has turned his back on statements about lobbyists and public financing, so it's not that he abjures the influence of money in politics. But it is bad when money is wielded to effect by the other party. (The other party is in fact the only one capable of corruption, one's own party might have some rogue individuals who make regrettable decisions, but their political principles are, if anything, redemptive.) This statement comes on the tail of the 2014 election, in which Obama's party was routed, due largely to poor turnout. In general democrats fair better from greater voter turnout. So this would be a nice fix to that, and probably would decrease the influence of money in politics, at least in the sense that it would not longer be needed to mobilizing voters and could instead be spent in focus on telling them which way to vote.

Of course, any electoral change is going to benefit one party or the other, and they will decide their allegiance to it accordingly. But I think it's sound to say any idea that comes out of party leadership is not going to be about "reform" it is going to be about consolidating their own power. Changing election mechanics is not going to be the means of rebuffing them and kicking them out of power. It is going to be the thing to do once we've built up the spine to kick them out ourselves.

Comment: Re:But they help also (Score 1) 366

by akozakie (#49296295) Attached to: Uber Shut Down In Multiple Countries Following Raids

Do you even know anything about cab service here? I live in the very centre of the city, the densest area there is. Still, under 15 minutes, less than 10 minutes for most calls. Cab companies have car age requirements just as Uber does. The company I use - 6 years max (after yesterday's trip I just wish they would also ban overuse of air fresheners, the guy must have had a non-functioning nose). I don't even know what a Crown Vic is (now I do, thanks, Google), this is Europe. And trip time is really a small part of the price, distance is far more important (in my experience traffic changes the price by at most 10%).

In other words - thanks for confirming my point, your license system is broken.

Comment: Re:But they help also (Score 1) 366

by akozakie (#49295069) Attached to: Uber Shut Down In Multiple Countries Following Raids

Then your license system is broken. Where I live, the average waiting time is - in my experience - well under 15 minutes. The driver knows the city well (2M city, over 500 km^2). The fare is posted on the door, clear and predictable. The quality of the car depends on the choice of company - more pricey ones tend to have much better cars, the cheapest are not so good, but still, average. No room for Uber in my opinion.

There are pathologies, of course. There are ways to cheat the system and operate without a license (you need to do this "occasionally"), so a bit like Uber. I've tried those a few times, they are indeed a bit cheaper but only one driver knew how to get to my destination (a fairly well-known street) without a GPS and most of them drove extremely carelessly and, when traffic allows, way too fast. There are also some licensed drivers tampering with meters (they are risking very high fines). Some (non-company) licensed taxis have prices set to the official maximum and hunt for foreigners in most popular places - fully legal, but not really moral. But if you know all that... Why Uber? Get rid of the knowledge of the city guaranteed by the exam, the requirement of a good car, etc?

Comment: Re:It's a scam (Score 1) 169

by Charliemopps (#49284255) Attached to: A Mars One Finalist Speaks Out On the "Dangerously Flawed" Project

I, and many others, have been saying this was a scam from the start. It's not "dangerously flawed", because there will be no voyage. They're just preying on dreamers.

I make a point to make this comment every time I see a story about this. The number of people from all across the internet that jump on me and freak out is insane. Mars One is a cult.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan