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Comment: Re:and they use cash businesses as examples (Score 1) 424

by Thangodin (#48235903) Attached to: Law Lets IRS Seize Accounts On Suspicion, No Crime Required

The problem is that it's a political trap. Any attempt to roll back these laws will result in some political opponent charging them with being soft on drugs, crime, terrorism, etc. And America now has a legislature that can't get anything done anyway, because there are a large number of people in office who make their name by blocking everything, including initiatives originally designed by their own party.

So the war on drugs, a bipartisan effort that resulted from this kind of rhetoric, has now created the largest incarceration rate since Stalinist Russia, militarized police that look and act like an occupying army, and now, the right to take whatever you have without justification. Law enforcement is simply taking advantage of a paralyzed government to do whatever they like, because you can't bring them to task. Instead of getting the job done, elected representatives are spending all their time bickering about faux issues like Benghazi, Affordable Health Care, etc, while the real issues which should have libertarians and Tea Partiers screeching just get ignored.

Hmmm... it's almost as if they actually don't care after all...

Comment: Re:forensic 'science' (Score 1) 135

by Thangodin (#47858167) Attached to: New DNA Analysis On Old Blood Pegs Aaron Kosminski As Jack the Ripper

There is also the fact that Kosminski's personality profile fits that of a serial killer, he had a deep hatred of women, and he was a butcher (and had a knife that matched the cuts). Being a Polish Jew, Kosminski was a likely match for the person who left the 'Jewes' graffiti. This being the case, and with the already prevalent anger against Jews and immigrants in the wake of the murder and the news of the graffiti, it seems likely that the police actually knew they had their man, but did not want to prosecute him publicly for fear of starting an anti-Jewish progrom in London. So they locked him away and made certain that he could never get out.

Shortly after the anniversary of the murders, there was a television special where several experts were asked to weigh in on who the killer was. The most qualified person on the panel, a woman who worked on investigations of serial murderers, said that Kosminski was the obvious suspect, but the audience went with the Queen's Doctor theory because of a TV special that offered that theory--despite the fact that at the time of the murders, said Doctor had already suffered a stroke, and had lost the use of one of his hands. Conspiracy theories always favor the most powerful agencies for events of broad prominence; this is why large government conspiracies are always favored over individual (Lee Harvey Oswald) or small group (Al Quaeda) actors.

Comment: Re:If you can be replaced for $10/hour... (Score 2) 441

by Thangodin (#47733845) Attached to: Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

There is something going on here that no one seems to be talking about: the collapse of markets.

Karl Marx made one chilling prediction: when the workers did not have the money to buy the goods they produced, markets would collapse and capitalism itself would collapse. Henry Ford beat Marx when he paid his workers an unheard of $5 a day, creating in a single stroke the blue collar middle class and a market for his own goods. And this made America an economic powerhouse, not just for it power to produce, but for its power to consume. Gaining entry into that market is sufficient to make other nations bend over backward. It is the main well of American soft power.

Until now.

With the growth of capital intensive, rather than labor intensive, manufacturing, the wealth from the manufacturing industry is concentrated in a few hands, and markets continue to shrink even as productive capacity grows. Marx has become relevant again. In the early 2000's, when I heard about the shenanigans in the banking industry, I pessimistically predicted that these idiots would make Marx relevant again. And they have. Now I'm afraid that our new aristocracy will make Lenin relevant again. And believe me, you don't want to make Lenin relevant.

So that means we are going to have to employ people, and pay them a decent wage. Yes, even those that are less than the best and brightest, because being less than bright, they will find stupid ways to make money, most of which will land them in jail. And we have a burgeoning prison industry that would love that, but the prison industry is bankrupting us. Where once we had employment for ditch diggers and farmhands, now those jobs are done by machines. So, yes, we need to find something that they can do, and pay them for it. And it would cost far less to employ the barely literate as street sweepers and park gardeners, with a decent wage, than to house them all in prisons.

If you think you are immune to this trend, please keep in mind that one of the main thrusts of high tech research now is AI. Medicine and law are already within the scope of work that can be partially automated by AI, but the goal is to produce systems that can produce code on demand. And then, we will all discover what the blue collar worker had been experiencing for decades.

But the one percent cannot support capitalism, certainly not when they're own markets are dying.

We need to figure this out. And soon.

Comment: Re:Taking responsibility? Ha! (Score 1) 511

by Thangodin (#47562489) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

When I was with a startup during the dot com era, it seemed to me that the worker bees were on speed, while the executives were on coke. I could see what the worker bees were doing, but nothing else could explain the decisions made at the upper levels. The incentives were pretty obvious--long hours without sleep, and demand to be 'on' regardless of circumstance, and the arrogance that comes with mastering a small domain and thinking you've mastered everything (see Dunning-Kruger.)

Personally, when I was tired, what I craved was sleep. But that was frowned upon. You can see why so many did drugs.

Arrogance, though, is a major consideration. Notice the parent comment: If you take drugs and get addicted... but no one plans to get addicted. Oh, take drugs by all means, just don't get addicted. They take drugs to cope, and as they are masters of the universe, they could not possibly get addicted. Besides, it's just to meet this deadline... and the next... and the next...

The entire culture is a massive fuck-up. Tired people make mistakes, and mistakes cost money. In the 1850's they discovered that 40 hours a week was the sweet spot for productivity, and every generation since has had to discover the same thing the hard way. I cannot count the number of projects I have seen crash and burn because of this bullshit.

But fuck it. We're John Galt. We can do anything. Just another bump to get me through...

How's that working out?

Comment: Re:Separation of Concerns (Score 1) 391

by Thangodin (#46608223) Attached to: Toward Better Programming

It's an odd thing, but I've worked in game development and business software, and game development has much simpler requirements. You know what looks and feels wrong, but business software is a matter of opinion--lots of opinions--and those opinions contradict each other. To give one client what they want, you may end up screwing all the others--and it becomes your fault that you cannot be all things to all people. At some point, you have to tell people that if they want X, it will be slow, limited, and DO YOU REALLY FUCKING NEED THIS, because often they don't.

We need to learn to say no. And not just to our clients, but to our salesmen, our managers, and our project managers. Because saying yes to one client might mean saying no to a dozen others.

Comment: Re:I'd say Great Idea (Score 2) 192

by Thangodin (#46199421) Attached to: Cops With Google Glass: Horrible Idea, Or Good One?

Agreed. Where cops are required to wear surveillance gear, they are on their best behavior, because the video is available in court--this has already been demonstrated in the EU. And that's not up to the chief of police. Your lawyer can demand it. And Google glass feeds to the Google servers, not the police station. Ultimately, the cops don't own it, so they can't just delete or edit what they don't like, they can only modify their copy, which is not the master, which your lawyer can request. So they will be very careful to make sure that nothing incriminating appears in the feeds.

This is surveillance of the cops as well as citizens--souveillance, not just surveillance. Read Contrary Brin to find out what souveilance is. All the conspiracy theorist here need to take their tin foil hats off for a moment and try to understand what this really means.

Comment: Re:Trying to censor decenting opinions is bad scie (Score 4, Insightful) 314

The issue here is that the ideas have been picked apart long ago by the scientific community. But these journals are not meant to address the scientific community. They exist to provide industrial boilerplate as quote fodder for politicians and pundits. The real target is people who don't know any better. Even when the journal has been discredited, they will still quote it, because few people will know that it has been discredited.

A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth has its boots on. That is the whole point of efforts like these.

Comment: Re:If they are SO REALLY CONCERN about religion .. (Score 1) 674

by Thangodin (#45667181) Attached to: New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason

No, the point was not that they don't like religious people. The point was that they don't like religion, and the undue influence of religious leaders.

I have noticed that there are a thousand Richard Dawkins on the internet, and all but one of them are made of straw. You have just made that a thousand and one. Slate has an article by someone who claims that Christopher Hitchens was wrong when he thought that banning religion would fix the world. Except that Hitchens never called for a ban on religion, and he certainly never thought that eliminating religion would solve all the world's problems. The number of people misrepresenting Hitchens has skyrocketed, because no one would dare do it while he was alive. And that makes me suspect that they know they are lying.

If you are going to criticize someone, could you please exert the slightest rudimentary effort to understand what they did in fact say. I'm quite certain that 99.9% of the disputes on the internet would vanish if people could just learn to listen.

And before you say that we don't understand religious people, please be informed that most of the atheists I know were devoutly religious for most of their lives before becoming atheists, and we not only understand it, we were there, which is more than I can say for most of the people slinging this nonsense. The deepest theological conversations I have ever had took place in atheist meetups, between former believers who understood theology very well--in fact, it was theology that made them atheists. And yes, this includes Muslims.

Please take the time to become likewise informed.

Comment: Re:Just to be real clear: (Score 1) 23

by Thangodin (#44980853) Attached to: Read it and effing weep

If the monopoly is not run for profit, it can. Executives of health care insurance companies take home bigger bonuses than bankers, and spend more money in lobbying than the oil industry. All of that was money that was supposed to be going to health care.

The U.S. spends 20% of it's GDP on health care, while most other first world nations spend about 12% and cover more people. Many European countries combine public single payer with public and private health care providers, and this seems to deliver the best results for the least money. And the 20% in the U.S. does not include the cost of medical bankruptcies, or the cost of lost opportunities caused by people who are afraid to strike out on their own and start their own business because their health care is tied to their job, and entrepreneurship means going without medical insurance until your business is a success. The American health care system strongly discourages entrepreneurship.

Meanwhile, companies that want to hire the best are saddled with the additional cost of expensive health care insurance. Even with the dollar at par, Canadians are cheaper to hire because the company doesn't have to carry this cost. And because private health care operates with small sample sets of people for a single company, actuarial tables don't work, because outliers are more frequent, so the companies demand more for insurance than average rates would suggest. The best way to bring costs down in insurance is to insure the largest number of people possible and spread the costs more evenly. This is precisely what public, single payer systems do. And they also do not result in a balkanized health care system, where your insurance may not cover you at the closest hospital, or even in the town that you happen to be in.

Comment: Re:Rupert Grint? (Score 1) 249

by Thangodin (#44462057) Attached to: New Doctor Who Actor To Be Revealed This Sunday

I'd be interested to see what Grint could do with the role, and I wouldn't count him out for the future. And no, he's not 12 anymore (making a movie at 12 doesn't make you 12 forever.) The most exciting suggestion was Tilda Swinton; she would be magnificent! And yeah, the Catherine Tate thing could work too; the Doctor is dead--oh, wait, remember that there was a hybrid...

Comment: Re:nature and consumers (Score 1) 358

by Thangodin (#44409539) Attached to: GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

GMO does not mean Monsanto, unless you have a large anti-GMO movement. The anti-GMO movement is the best friend that Monsanto ever had. Thanks to you guys, Monsanto will rule the agricultural world.

Here's how it works. A small company engineers a new crop that can be grown in third world conditions and dramatically increase the food supply. But they need to obtain clearance, which, thanks to the anti-GMO movement, they can't get. For that they need lots of money and lawyers. So they go broke, Then Monsanto comes along, buys the IP for a fraction of what it took to produce, and they do have enough money and lawyers. And because there is actually nothing wrong with GMO foods, they win, because unlike anti-GMO activists, the court has to listen to the facts, and Monsanto brings it to market--probably modified to be a terminator crop (by the way, Monsanto did not invent this, and many of the seeds that you buy for you garden will not produce offspring.)

So keep up your good work. Monsanto thanks you. Without you, they could not do what they do.

Comment: Re:nature and consumers (Score 1) 358

by Thangodin (#44409507) Attached to: GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

You're talking about monoculture. This is the rule with crops bred the old fashioned way, not the exception--the orange crop is a monoculture, and that's why they're having this problem. Bananas are having the same problem. We've actually gone through three types of bananas. There is a blight that is wiping out the current monoculture, and after that, there will be no large sweet bananas unless we engineer something that can resist it. This has absolutely nothing to do with genetic modification.

Comment: Re:nature and consumers (Score 1) 358

by Thangodin (#44409467) Attached to: GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

And don't forget that there is a natural source of radiation--the Sun. And all of this happens with that too.

Oh, but it's natural. That makes it much better than GMO. Yeah. So is cyanide, mercury, cancer, and bubonic plague.

By the way, genetic modification is the one source of mutation where we know what effect it has, because we are actually trying for it. Random mutation can produce anything, including produce that is highly toxic.

Comment: Re:What?!? (Score 1) 322

by Thangodin (#44003709) Attached to: World Population Could Reach Nearly 11 Billion By 2100

Agreed. What they are predicting is not a population increase in Africa, but a devastating population collapse. What Africa is currently undergoing is the baby boom, when a scattershot reproductive strategy (have lots of kids, no birth control, and hope some live) meets modern medicine. But Africa does not have the food, resources, or social capital to support this, unlike the first world during their baby boom. Emigration is not an option either; the first world has already begun to face the limitations of cultural assimilation, realizing that a large population from a culture with low social capital cannot reasonably be expected to assimilate to the norms of a country with high social capital without massive disruption. The habits and traditions just aren't there. Tribal warfare--gang violence--and zero sum economics (you get rich only by taking from others; a common idea in Europe until only three or four centuries ago, and probably less) are still the norm in sub-Saharan Africa. They're like us, but a few centuries back.

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