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Comment: Re:How is this news for nerds? (Score 1) 1083 1083

"That's not true for gay marriage, where literally nothing but the label on a line on a form changes."

Nothing but a label.

Fair enough, I have a couple more labels I would like to change:
owner/pet to spouse/spouse
no other changes needed.
This is an even better match because just as sodomy is/was illegal in many jurisdictions, bestiality is often illegal now.

And for some of those in the BDSM community:
Spouse/Spouse to owner/slave
or even
Spouse/Spouse to owner/pet

That is just as easy

You are not going to claim that a dog does not love their owner are you? Or an owner that claims to love their dog?

Comment: Re:I can agree to that... (Score 4, Interesting) 176 176

"would have rivaled the old East German Stasi"

Are you kidding me? When was the last time you feared for your life because you said the president is doing a crappy job? How many of your relatives or friends have disappeared into the night?

Hear about what happened to political activists in Wisconsin when they went against the unions or supported those who did?

http://www.nationalreview.com/...

If something similar is going on today, it would be illegal for anyone to talk about it.
So unless you have personally tried to take political action against the President or other entrenched powers, what makes you think you would *not* be given cause to fear for your life and those of your loved ones should you do so?

Comment: Re:I agree somewhat... (Score 1) 108 108

I agree with you, but not completely. For contrast, the Darpa grand challenge led to Google's self-driving car, which is poised to put 3 million truck drivers out of work.

You didn't reply to me, but I'll give it a shot...

Go back 115 years ago and look at how many jobs Horses had in the year 1900. They did everything from move people to haul stuff to ride into war. All those jobs sucked for horses.

Imagine the horses looked at cars and thought, "well, those cars might replace some of our jobs, but as we move into the city, there will be lots of people, so there will be plenty of new things for us to do.

As a human looking back past the year 2000, you know this is absurd, there are few jobs today that a horse can do that pays for its care and feed.

Horses didn't become unemployed because they became fat and lazy, they became unemployable. The horse population peaked around 100 years ago and it has been nothing but downhill since.

It won't happen next year, or even 5 years from now... but at some point... all those drivers, from taxis to trucks, will become unemployable through no fault of their own. They simply will not be able to compete with the cost of a robot.

3 million is a pretty small number, even just talking about jobs in the US.
In 2000 the US population was ~ 282.2 million(google search: united states population) and the workforce participation rate(percentage of 16+ with a job, not sure if it includes those on unemployment benefits, numbers from: http://data.bls.gov/pdq/Survey... ) in Jan was 67.3% giving 92.3 million not-working Americans.
In 2015 that goes to 320.9 million (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States) with a Jan participation rate of 62.9% giving 119.4 million not-working Americans, giving us 27.1 million more 'not working' Americans in 15 years, or about 1.8 million additional per year.
As such 3 million more 'unemployable' over a few years is not that big of a change.

While these numbers might seem alarming, you need only look further back to find that from ~1980 to ~2008 was historically high, and before the 60's it was actually below 60%.

Admittedly there is quite a difference between 'no longer needed'(truck drivers in 2025) and 'not available for employment'(1950's house-wife), as the latter increases the scarcity of labor and thus increases wages, while the other only increases the competition for the remaining available jobs, reducing the cost of labor.

Comment: Re:I love KSP, but sometimes... (Score 1) 99 99

I have to admit the sheer complexity of the paid version is what's keeping me away from paying anything near full price. The demo was fairly simple - attach a stupid amount of boosters to a nose cone and hope for the best, but recently i've been watching lets plays and it seems to be far more complicated to do similar things and i'm just not sure i'll be on the right side of fun vs frustration.

I suppose it depends on how you play.
If you start out in career mode(restricted funds and parts) with hard settings(no revert to launch/hangar for when things go wrong) and just start experimenting, you may well get frustrated if you ignore the contracts(income source) and keep running out of funds.

On the other hand, if you start out with the sandbox mode(no limits on funds or parts) and get the feel of what works and what does not, you should enjoy the game much more.

Alternately you could start in science mode(unlimited funds, but you need to collect science to unlock advanced parts), to first learn the basics then add complexity as you add in new parts.

Also, there are quite a few players who have various tutorials and such on youtube and there should shortly be new ones for the new version. (search youtube for Scott Manley if you want to see plenty of tutorials from a seriously capable player)

If you enjoy fireworks, you may just find yourself making deliberately bad design decisions to see how spectacularly they blow up... (recommend you use sandbox mode for this)

Finally, if there is anything you do not care for or would like to change in the game, 'there's a mod for that.' Personally I like Kerbal Engineer Redux(gives you calculated thrust-to-weight and delta-v per stage both while building and while flying as well as many additional useful details like altitude above terrain and how much higher or lower you would need to be to do a vertical 'suicide burn' to get to 0 altitude and 0 vertical velocity at the same time), and Stage Recovery(in career mode it gives you a partial refund for parts that would survive landing when they leave the physics bubble)

Comment: Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 1) 362 362

To allow the driver to fully hand off control to the car, the car should be able to handle it all. The driver assist functions we have available on certain cars nowadays are a great start in working towards full control by the car: now the car will intervene in certain emergency situations, when that's all settled, we can think about giving off control of the rest of the ride as well. For fully automatic drive, the car should not rely on human intervention, ever.

I think it is perfectly reasonable for a self-driving car to (safely) pull over to the side of the road and come to a stop when there is a scenario which it is unable to handle on it's own.

Situations such as out of gas, major engine problems, tires no longer functioning properly, road closures with no available/allowed alternate route, or other 'I do not know what to do next, so I came to a stop in a reasonably safe location to ask for help' scenarios.

Admittedly you will want some way to verify that the shoulder is present when you do this, but other than that, stopping by the side of the road should be a valid failure mode.

Comment: Re:It is unfair competition (Score 1) 204 204

I cant find any suggestions that people living in areas where the electricity is provided by a municipal monopoly are unhappy with the service or wish they had a commercial operator running things.

Even though I am not within the city limits and cannot vote on city matters, I am still required to use City of Austin electricity.
My last house was also outside the city limits but was not inside the boundaries of the City of Austin electricity.
When I could select my provider, my per-KWH cost of electricity was much lower.
Austin has a very strong green party lobby and a very progressive cost structure for electricity(first 500kwh are less than half the price of the second 500kwh and after that it climbs rapidly, not to mention various fees and such that are tacked on to fund various things I did not get to vote on)

As such I am subsidizing the nearby city of Austin with my power bill and paying for my MUD with my water bill.

I would be more than happy to go back to having a commercial electrical provider were it permitted in my area, my commercial provider was quite happy to adjust my billing cycle to allow me to pay all my bills when I want to, as opposed to City of Austin electric which has refused with some claim about my billing cycle being determined by when the readers are scheduled to be in my area and cannot be adjusted by so much as a single day.

Comment: Re:redundancy (Score 1) 213 213

There are several (4 or 5 iirc) redundant presidents specified in the constitution, the first of which is called the vice president. There is essentially a redundant Washington, DC as well, buried deep in a bunker somewhere. I forget the name of the place, it was set up during the Cold War in case of nuclear attack.

Looks like 17 to me(would be 18 but one of them is a naturalized citizen and thus ineligible)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U...

Comment: Re:When the Hell Has the GOP Done What Obama Asked (Score 4, Insightful) 284 284

political-spectrum-wise, Obama sits right where Saint Reagan does

I'm surprised how many people refuse to admit this...

Hmm...
Regan:
Reduced the number of tax brackets and substantially reduced the top marginal rate
Increased defense spending
Strongly opposed the USSR and 'damn commies' world wide
Used the cold-war arms race(including threats of the 'star wars' system) to bankrupt the USSR and remove them from 'World Power' status
Stood by Americas international allies and faced down potential threats, even if it meant American boots on the ground
Tried to unite the country with patriotism
Repeatedly took his case to the American people to get them to change the votes of their legislators(explaining his position and why it was the right thing to do)
Took a stagnant economy and promoted growth(mostly through lower taxes and consumer confidence)

Obama:
Tax increases on 'the wealthiest Americans' to pay for various programs(including ACA)
Is pumping money into the stock market(either to hide the state of the economy or pay-off contributors, not sure which)
Is standing by while Putin re-builds the USSR
Draws 'red lines' or promotes hash-tags whenever there is something bad happening, but does not back them up.
Puts American diplomats in harms way to prove terrorism is gone, then blames a video when the terrorists show they are not gone
Tries to divide the country with racism(Rev. Al Sharpton; New Black Panthers; Prof. Gates; etc)
Repeatedly changed laws passed by the house and senate by either refusing to enforce them(border/immigration; Black Panther voter intimidation) or delaying enforcement(ACA) under his own authority
Repeatedly lied about his signature legislation to protect it from being seen for what it is.
Took a growing economy and promoted stagnation(mostly through uncertainty and higher taxes intermingled with one time give-aways to buy votes)

Admittedly, they both promoted growth in the stock market, even if Regan did it through growth and Obama is doing it through government backed bonds.
Aside from that, I just do not see it.

Comment: Re:it's a dupe. (Score 1) 187 187

Not everyone will instantly catch that things like changing the shape of your garden or planting a rose bush counts as an 'improvement' and can result in hundreds of dollars in fines.
(Note: the roses I was fined for did not in any way approach the property of my neighbors or interfere with the use of the street or sidewalk, and the only reason I was not fined for enlarging my garden as well was because the board did not bother to read the rules, and by ignoring my initial request, they automatically granted me permission. Not that it stopped them from trying to force me to put it back mind you...)

Comment: More pork? (Score 5, Insightful) 163 163

It would be nice to think that they are attempting to address an obvious problem, but with the TSA, I suspect this is going to be just another opportunity to line the pockets of politically connected people...

Question: if the lines got shorter, how would they gather an audience for their security theater?

Comment: A documented decrease? (Score 0, Flamebait) 846 846

"Journalists take heed: Your coverage has consequences. All those media outlets who trumpeted the global warming "pause" may now be partly responsible for a documented decrease in Americans' scientific understanding."

Really?
More people questioning a theory that is
1) often presented in a more political than scientific way,
2) calls for individual sacrifice for a common good
3) who's most vocal supporters often as not do *not* make those individual sacrifices
4) proponents loudly protest that all objectors are ignorant or politically motivated

During a period when inflation adjusted average personal income is continuing a long downward slide.

And this is a 'documented decrease in scientific understanding'?

How about 'times are tough and people are fed up with being told they need to give up what little they have by hypocrites' as a better explanation?

Comment: Re:Atheism is a religion (Score 1) 674 674

Why are you assuming that the burden of proof is on the person without theistic beliefs?

Agnostics would say "I cannot find a proof either way, so I do not know" and as such need show no proof as they make no factual claims, they only state their uncertainty on the matter.

Theists would say "I believe God exists" and as such may be called upon to try and show a proof for their belief

Atheists would say "There is no God" and as this is a definitive claim, there must be a proof for it to be considered a true fact.

If you make a claim that something is a certain way(such as God does or does not exist), you may be called upon to provide a proof of that.

If you claim that something cannot be known(such as an agnostic claiming it is not possible to know if God exists), you may be asked to provide a proof of that impossibility.

If you merely say "I have yet to see a convincing proof" then you have nothing to prove as you are stating an opinion about your own experiences and not attempting to assert anything as a fact.

Facts can be proved or disproved and any statement of fact can be challenged as such.

Does that help clarify things?

Comment: Re: Already Banned (Score 1) 414 414

A response I've seen to this argument is, "the majority of the population don't murder and rape. So, we don't need those laws on the books about these crimes then?"

Not a stance I personally side with, but "have to do something as the perfect is the enemy of the good" can be a valid argument for gun control bills.

How is that in any way relevant to the argument you responded to?

Its not that laws in general are useless - merely that laws that exist solely as an attempt to keep someone from breaking another law are useless.

A more apt comparison would be:
'Any time you commit a rape, you break 5 laws, why not simplify the books by just combining those all into one law'
That, to me, seems like an eminently reasonable suggestion if the laws are similar enough for that to work.

Comment: Re:good! (Score 4, Insightful) 342 342

You think you do, but if you knew more about how the planet operates, you'd know that a warmer planet won't be as pleasant to live in.

Social evolution can happen at a very rapid pace when needed, so I am not worried about that. Humans can and will adapt as needed.

What I do know, is that Geologically speaking, we are still in an ice-age(inter-glacial period, but still an ice age as we currently have ice-caps), so I know for a fact that earthly life as a whole will be quite happy once we have moved away from the unusually cold climate and can return to a warmer and more fruitful climate instead.

Sure there will be disruptions, but change is both disruptive and unavoidable, so we will deal with it.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman

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