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Comment Re:Just don't IoT (Score 1) 21

As long as there is zero accountability, there is zero reason to do anything about it.

This honestly should be consumer products safety issue, especially for things like the electronics in cars. Like how Microsoft should never have created a web browser so tied-in that it could serve as a vector into the heart of the operating system kernel itself, automakers should never have tied the infotainment systems into the body control and power control modules where anything on those computers could do anything to the operation of the vehicle.

Comment Re:This isn't hard folks (Score 2) 65

Maybe because they don't match the definition of a mercenary?

That's sticky mainly due to the Geneva Convention's definitions for the criteria needed for the label. Given that the United States has been a party to the conflicts in which nonmilitary persons have been hired by the US to participate in, they're not mercenaries by the definition that requires Nationals not affiliated with the belligerent nations. Given that they're generally not hired into infantry or other common roles and are usually used for specialty jobs it's hard to argue that their pay is disproportionate. Given that their roles aren't generally infantry, it's even difficult to claim that they take a direct role in fighting the hostilities. Would someone working VIP security that gets into a firefight with a specific group of assassins fall into the same 'direct fighting' role as a soldier in-uniform on a routine patrol?

Based on the need to satisfy several conditions of the 1977 Amendment, Protocol 1, Article 47, it would be difficult to call people in specialized roles mercenaries. It's a challenge applying even one of the several criteria depending on how taking a direct role is interpreted.

Mind you, I don't think that we should employ so many non-military individuals in the military roles in forward-deployed areas, even in things like the laundry or meal production. I believe that other than the medical corps, every individual providing services to combat personnel should themselves be trained as combat personnel and be prepared to take on that role if necessary. I don't want a bunch of laundry workers or mess hall attendants being unable to defend the base because they're civilians, and as civilians have to be defended by the regular military personnel.

Comment Buy, of course (Score 2) 220

If it's for standard office use or similar, just buy a pre-built one. You can get nifty tiny, silent cases that are vastly overpowered for anything you might want to do with it. If you need more power, I would select the components myself, but leave the grunt work of building to a retailer. Where I live that costs about 75 euro and gets you three years of warranty, so it's a great deal.

Pre-built gaming systems tend to be unbalanced, throwing lots of money at high-end components where only very marginal gains can be expected in actual real-life performance. You don't need "black" CPUs or hand-picked memory, and you don't need dual graphics cards either - unless you enjoy paying through the nose for a problematic component that will be outgunned six months down the road anyway.

As for the notion that you need to build one yourself to prove your manhood: look buddy, unless you soldered your own graphics card or whatever, all you are doing is clicking together some premade components. A monkey could do it.

Comment Re:This isn't hard folks (Score 3, Insightful) 65

Mother's Basements and other places used for self-imposed isolation exist in all places and probably in all cultures.

The biggest problem is finding people that will follow orders when the penalty for not following orders is lower than it is for a military officer or enlistee. That barrier will probably preclude civilian contractors that have never had military service from performing that job. Don't know about former-military civilian contractors though, they might be better at not flinching, but then there's the legality issues surrounding the ramifications of bad calls where innocent people died, or where someone intentionally does something that kills noncombatants. At least in the past civilian contractors had to be present to do the acts that killed innocents such that the country in which the acts were committed could mount something of an objection. What's the law on a civilian remotely operating a machine in a foreign country that's specifically equipped to kill, using that machine to kill? At least a military member could see prosecution if through the military system of justice, but I don't know how well that would work for civilians.

Comment Re:Important to note (Score 1) 392

It's important because this could have legal consequences. And that's the only reason.

If I call a mule's tail a leg, it remains a tail. Schedule I is only significant in the context of legal repercussions. It's not a valid logical category in any other context. It doesn't tell you, e.g., anything about possible medical uses, even though it explicitly purports to.

Comment Re:Important to note (Score 1) 392

They are by no means the most harmful drugs. Belladona would be a good choice if that was what you were considering.

Tobacco and nicotine are two of the most attractive of the moderately harmful drugs. Most people aren't really attracted to strychnine.

What happened is there is a puritanical groups that seized control, and they decided that they had the right to tell everyone what they should be like, and that what they should be like is the way god made them. There are advantages to this as well as disadvantages, so they were able to suppress all except the very most popular drugs. Their success can be measured by the fact that the DEA will prosecute doctors who prescribe too much pain relieving medication. The underlying belief is that if god causes you to feel pain, you should be in pain.

In most cases I believe that drugs should be legal to purchase, and to sell, and to manufacture, and to transport, but not to advertise either directly or through sponsorship of media that use "placement ads" for them. And in this I include pharmaceuticals used to treat illnesses as well as other drugs, and I feel no distinction should be made. (I.e., I don't feel any of them except antibiotics and, perhaps, a very few others should have their sale regulated.)

Comment Re:Important to note (Score 1) 392

That's not a good comparison. LSD is reportedly not addictive. Sugar is. (Mildly if taken in isolation.) Chocolate probably isn't, but it's usually packaged in a form that contains fats and sugar, which *is* an addictive combination.

P.S.: There are addictive personalities, and people who have them can easily become addicted to normally non-addictive substances. And there are also variations among people's chemistries, such that some of them readily become addicted to things that most people don't become addicted to. Reportedly there's a sizable fraction of the population that wouldn't become addicted to opiates. Supposedly when heroin was invented as a non-addictive cough syrup it was tested on 25 people who all happened to be of a groups that didn't become addicted to it easily.

Comment Re:Systemd "Spec" or RFC? (Score 1) 734

It's a source that nobody knowledgeable appears to have contradicted. Challenging the source is reasonable if the information is untested. If it isn't challenged (and I notice you didn't challenge it) then it gains plausibility.

P.S.: Your attack is an actual ad hominem attack, admittedly against a dubious character. But just because the source is unreliable doesn't mean the information is wrong. And it was presented to a vocal audience with many knowledgeable individuals in it. So I tend to think that systemd does provide root services to users without rights to use those services. And this does sound like a dangerous weakness.

Comment Re:Easy solution - COSTCO does it better (Score 2) 470

They also deal with the fleet sales department rather than the retail sales department, and the fleet people just look at the numbers and figure out the dealer's markup and make a fairly quick response.

The best technique is to buy a car out-of-state though. Sales tax is paid to your state, not to the selling dealer's state, and there is no county or city sales tax in the equation. On top of that, if your state requires that the sales tax be based on the MSRP rather than on the negotiated price, this technique makes the sales tax price reflect the actual price, not an inflated MSRP.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.