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Comment: What the article doesn't distinguish... (Score 1) 353

by bmo (#49809959) Attached to: How Elon Musk's Growing Empire is Fueled By Government Subsidies

...is that funding promising but currently expensive technology that can have big payoffs in the future for society is far different than corn or oil subsidies.

Or military subsidies.

Inflammatory article is inflammatory.


P.S. I was going to use "nascent" as the word up there but didn't like it so I used a thesaurus. Pubescent is a synonym. That would have made the sentence far more interesting.

Comment: Re:For a stimulating usage... (Score 1) 132

Surprised that there is only one post pointing this out. Non-crap manufacturers typically make them rechargeable, as opposed to filling landfills with used alkaline cells.

What, why are you looking at me like that?


(it says "submit" on the button. yes, oh yes.)

Comment: Re: Article is trole. (Score 1) 344

by bmo (#49794083) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

You can thank Steve Jobs.

He was adamant that Flash should die in a fire, and IIRC, he disallowed Flash support for iOS. He did what everyone else wanted to do but were afraid of pissing off the customers who just "had to have their youtube." This triggered the exodus from proprietary video on the Web.

I'm not an Apple fanboy. The only Apple thingy I owned was an iPod 5 Video. The following iterations are impervious to Rockbox, so I've never bought them. But I give credit where credit is due.

Side note: Silverlight was so much better. It performed better in a Windows virtual machine on Linux than Flash did natively on any platform. Unfortunately, it too was closed and [soupnazi] "no silverlight for you" [/soupnazi] if you use Linux, like me.

HTML5 is good enough. At least it's a standard.


Comment: Article is trole. (Score 1, Troll) 344

by bmo (#49789843) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

Article is obviously written by an iOS fanboi.

The reason why people switching coming from Android is because the rest of the pack is simply too small.

Microsoft powered phones don't exist in the real world. I have yet to see one. They are apocryphal.

Before I get piled on by Softies, I have to point out that your fearless leaders ignored the smartphone market until it was too late. The "let the other guys do the pioneering and go in later to use dodgy tactics to muscle into the market" doesn't work all the time. And this time they ceded the market to everyone but them.


Comment: Re:What a guy (Score 3, Insightful) 389

by bmo (#49786339) Attached to: Obama Asks Congress To Renew 'Patriot Act' Snooping

When Palin was selected to be McCain's running mate, she had the highest approval rating of any of the 50 governors.

The only surveying company to come up with that is some podunk company in Alaska. Just because it's on Wikipedia doesn't mean it's meaningful.

Then the left wing media went to work and convinced all the mindless cretins like yourself that she was the devil incarnate.

She is the epitome of someone who is both stupid and suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. Her speeches are pure fucking word-salad. They are unlistenable, because they contain not just no information, but rather /negative information/. I cannot stand to listen for more than 20 seconds at a time. To make me actually listen to a whole speech would entail something like what happened to Alex in "A Clockwork Orange." After which, you would have to commit me via an IEA to a mental hospital.

"Grow a brain."

You forgot the "Morans."


Comment: Re:Hidden features (Score 1) 302

by bmo (#49729013) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Skills Do HS Students Need To Know Now?

I had to look up how to do comments on a Word document. The Microsoft page walks you through a bunch of stuff with the Ribbon, and not a single hotkey is mentioned.

In LibreOffice Writer, it's ctrl-alt-c, which is a whole lot quicker than dealing with the ribbon, especially if you are editing someone's manuscript and have to stick a ton of comments in.

Word allows audio and handwritten comments, at the expense of making the interface stupidly complicated. This is not useful.


Comment: Re: pro government insanity (Score 1) 133

by bmo (#49675119) Attached to: FCC Tosses Petition Challenging Its New Internet Regulations

Do I you think a greedy bank would give a sub prime loan knowing that the borrower is going to default? A greedy bank will give a sub prime loian every tme if it knows it can repackage and sell the loan to the federal government

This explains exactly why you don't understand what was going on.

The banks *farmed out* their loan operations to mortgage brokers. Private ones. Ones that didn't give a /shit/ about whether or not the borrowers could pay them back.


Piecework without QC gets you CRAP. Guaranteed. Every. Time.

And these banks accepted all these crap loans, rubber stamped them, and with the AAA rating, fobbed them off to every investor house on the planet.

You have this fantasy that it was the banks' loan officers making the loans and not private contractors. That was no longer the case with the new deregulation. Yes, the brokers were supposed to follow the same rules. They didn't. Because their jobs were not dependent on making good loans. Their jobs were dependent on how many loans they could make.

>implying the banks were selling purely to the government

No, no they weren't. They were packaging them up and selling them to the likes of Magnetar and Bear Stearns. Whether Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac existed at all is irrelevant when they had so many private buyers.

I get it, you're one of those "all government is bad" people. The thing is that none of this would have happened if the Bush administration's regulators and the Federal Reserve hadn't had a totally hands-off approach to policing this shit.

"We had no idea this would happen" - everyone who was supposed to be watching the cookie jar.

Bullshit. Absolute utter bullshit. If they didn't know what was going to happen, how did Magnetar make out so well? They saw it coming, and so did anyone who wasn't turning a blind eye. Everyone who treated these vehicles as cash and rated them as such willfully closed their minds to the fact that the music was eventually going to stop in the financial game of musical chairs. FFS, I knew the game was up when I heard Alan Greenspan spout off that people should take out variable rate mortgages at the same time mortgage rates were the lowest they had been in 40 years. I saw it coming because it wasn't my first rodeo. I, my parents, and a ton of other people around me, were direct victims of the RISDIC scandal. People I knew killed themselves.

Greenspan claimed personally that he didn't know what was going to happen. I could grow roses for billions of years on that bullshit.

As long as people thought there were dumber greedy idiots to sell to, they'd be fine.

They eventually ran out of idiots.

Tens to hundreds of thousands of people should be in jail over this. But the Obama administration turned a blind eye to it too when it became his administration's problem and simply continued the policies of GWB (the new legislation has no teeth). Because of this, we are being set up for another round of this shit in another 10-15 years. It disgusts me.


Comment: Re:pro government insanity (Score 1) 133

by bmo (#49669749) Attached to: FCC Tosses Petition Challenging Its New Internet Regulations

whole thing never would have happened.

Oh look, one of those people.

Bear Stearns (or anyone else for that matter in the private market) doesn't get any of the blame for what they inflicted upon themselves? That the ratings agencies are totally innocent of cooking the books when it comes to classifying mortgage backed securities? That the ratings agencies /defended to the death/ the right to "free speech" for putting out objectively fraudulent ratings?

Nobody else would have been in the market if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weren't there? Really?

You are delusional if you think FM and FM not buying these loans would have made even the tiniest dent in the scam.

Clueless isn't enough of a word.


Comment: Re:pro government insanity (Score 1) 133

by bmo (#49668409) Attached to: FCC Tosses Petition Challenging Its New Internet Regulations

>who was buying the loans

Everyone. Everyone from 401Ks to mutual funds, to hedge funds, cities, states, CALPERS - i.e., Wall Street and eventually you through your ownership of a CD or something.

They were all bundled up with AAA class loans and called "mortgaged backed securities." AAA on the top, junk on the bottom. And then labelled "AAA" quality - same as cash. Which they obviously were not to anyone paying attention.

Magnetar saw what was going on and bet against all that.

"A hedge fund named Magnetar comes up with an elaborate plan to make money. It sponsors the creation of complicated and ultimately toxic financial securities...while at the same time betting against the very securities it helped create. Planet Money's Alex Blumberg teams up with two investigative reporters from ProPublica, Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger, to tell the story. Jake and Jesse pored through thousands of pages of documents and interviewed dozens of Wall Street Insiders. We bring you the result: A tale of intrigue and questionable behavior, which parallels quite closely the plot of a Mel Brooks musical. (40 minutes)"


I had a mortgage broker (at a fly-by-night) tell me before the crash that the only thing I needed to qualify for a loan was to breathe. This was in spite of all banking regulations about credit scores, income, etc. The broker simply fobbed the loan off to BoA or some such. It was then /their/ problem.

It horrified me, considering what I saw was happening with the price of real-estate.

It literally was criminal levels of fraud. The prisons should be filled with these people.

Yet we need less regulation, if you talk to Libertarians and Republicans.



Comment: Barren Landscapes. Related. Depressing. (Score 4, Insightful) 146

by bmo (#49607477) Attached to: Empty Landscape Looms, If Large Herbivores Continue to Die Out

Copypasta from FARK. Slightly cleaned up for formatting.

Rik01 4 hours ago
Folks have heard me biatch about changes in my own city in the State of Florida -- and changes in the State itself. Basically the response has been (1) progress old man, (2) change the onion on your belt, (3) yelling at clouds, (4) who cares -- it's Floraduh!

However, these changes have been going on in other states.

I've watched politicians promise Eco-improvements with one hand and sell the voters down the river with the other. [For example] We had a massive oyster bed in the Indian River placed off limits to the public for preservation and ecological reasons for close to 20 years. That thing had huge oysters in it and the water in its cove was nearly crystal clear. The local police arrested scores of people sneaking down there to poach oysters and the shores were dotted with piles of empty shells. The cove was absolutely packed with the things, no river bottom exposed. Then, during the Housing Boom, an upscale development went it around it. Since the cove was too shallow for wealthy owners to park their boats at the planned docks behind the cove-side homes, it was dredged. No warning to anyone who wanted to get these delicious oysters. Dredges came in, ripped thousands of them out and disposed of them. The cove is now full of dark water and few oysters, making a lot of folks like myself wonder why we preserved them.

Water use in the state has quadrupled. Florida used to be very swampy, but the water table was shallow. Now, after sucking so much out and changing the lay of the land, plus paving over every square inch they could, we're the capitol of the US when it comes to sink holes. Water shortages began to pop up years ago, where before, we never had any.

Millions of acres of wild woods have been developed, endangering a host of native species of animals we used to have and the amount of fish in the rivers has diminished to the point that you need a license and a fishing season for Mullet -- once so plentiful that it was considered 'garbage fish' and caught mainly for bait. Within the last 40 years, the Indian River has to be closed to shellfish harvesting and fishing periodically during the summer because of massive human fecal bacteria contamination.

The previously crystal clear air of my seaside town now shows signs of grey pollution. They stopped dump burning ages ago, along with burning huge piles of used tires. Land clearing agencies have to use these massive air blowers that surround burn pits to burn stumps and brush with, creating a hotter, less smoke making fires. However, the local traffic, even with more eco-friendly cars, has quadrupled and quadrupled again. Their lesser pollution has, by the sheer weight of volume, has surpassed that which was present in times of less pollution control, when you used to have 'smokers' rolling down the roads.

Major advertising campaigns have convinced the public that instead of one or two cars per family, everyone except the dog needs one, plus a couple of ATVs, a boat and a couple of those fast, small watercraft good for nothing except going fast on the water and making a lot of noise. Prior to that, dirt bikes were the thing, tearing up thousands of acres of wild woods and chasing out local animals for fun. To round things out for the macho man, we have air boats, running on aircraft engines, no mufflers, tearing up the diminishing acres of wild swamps and annoying the crap out of neighbors when the owners 'test' them in their yards.

We have fewer forest fires than when I was a kid, thanks to sophisticated fire equipment -- but then again, the acres of undeveloped woods has fallen by 3/4, so there's less to burn. Where lightening would hit decades old pine trees and forest floors thick with dry pine needles, it hits houses, paved streets, power poles and grassy lawns.

My yard has an 'old growth' pine in it. Around 60 feet tall and nearly three feet around. It was 6 feet tall when we moved in around 1958. Across the street used to be a forest of even older trees, around two miles square. Some reached 100 feet tall. That area is now made up of a couple of housing developments. 98% of the trees are gone.

The main drainage ditch in front of my home, which was shaded by Oaks along the banks, was more like a shallow creek, brimming with clear water, frogs, colorful minnows, several types of turtles -- including the irritable snapper -- gar fish and other freshwater versions. Us kids played in it, sheltered from the hot summer sun. Now it's a deep, sluggish stream of dark water, covered by algae, few minnows and most of the Oaks were removed when the housing developments went in. Their 'salvage ponds' drain into it. Even if I was a kid, I wouldn't want to play in that mess.

Yet according to statistics, we need more homes because rents are too high because people can't buy homes whose prices nearly doubled due to the Housing Boom.

We had a landmark here made by a great old man called Ralph Waldo Sexton, who did much for the community with his wealth and eccentric ideas. The land was deeded to the city with the restriction that it never be town down. The city agreed -- until explosive development hit and a business needed the tiny patch of land to add to it's parking lot. The city had let the landmark deteriorate anyhow (known as Sexton's Mountain) and as the value of the Oceanside land soared, that plot became worth much more than the hand built land mark.

They sold it and it was plowed under and paved over. Adding to the destruction of the beach itself from over development. Even the Great Red Land-crab Migration, that used to cover blocks in hundreds of thousands of the small crustations, covering the land for blocks in nearly a solid wave has stopped.

Their nests on a swampy salt marsh have been plowed under as houses went up and covered every square foot, which means a lot of cranes and other animals who fed on them are gone also. Plus their holes helped the ground absorb rain water, which filtered into the aquifer -- those hundreds of thousands of gallons of which now roll off the paved streets and manicured lawns and harder fill into the salt marsh waters and out into the sea.

Each time a politician enacts an eco-friendly program, he quietly passes two which undermine the efforts of the first and benefits development companies or other businessmen. When we had a good city manager who was not thrilled with explosive development, he didn't last long. Appointed by the Mayor, he was removed and his replacement arrived, all hyper about explosive development.
So, now you all can see the nationwide results -- and it ain't gonna stop anytime soon. We protected the birds -- and they tore down the forests. Gopher turtle nests could stop a development -- until no one noticed them until after the bulldozers had plowed them under. We built a huge, new eco-friendly dump, closing all of the others -- and then they had to sink huge pipes into it to vent the not-so-eco-friendly methane gas, making no attempt to even capture, compress it and use it. (You can smell our dump long before you see it.) Around the 4th of july, dump managers are secretly terrified some kids with fireworks might manage to ignite some of those vapor spilling pipes.

Crime, illness, irritability and cost have soared within my city. We went from a small Mayberry-type jail to a fortress-like prison, plus built a sprawling juvenile facility. Where you could walk the streets at late night with no fear, you need to go in groups now. Home burglaries have just soared. (I even got hit, for the first time in over 50 years.) We had 4 good schools. Now we have about 10 mediocre ones and they have chain link fences around them. Kids are no longer allowed to play on the exercise fields during summer vacation. Shootings are on the rise.

The cost of living keeps climbing. More and more funds are needed to keep the infrastructure going to maintain the city and county, while they keep reducing benefits for the workers who do the actual work. We now spend millions a year on keeping our beaches nice -- something they did for just a few thousand 30 years ago when thousands of folks didn't tear them up and build right up against them.

BTW, rents here are just obnoxious, unless you want to live in a place made up of termites and roaches holding hands. We were also a major citrus provider -- but the majority of the old, labor intensive groves which produced magnificent fruit have been sold and housing developments put in their place. (It takes 4 years of work to prepare the ground for citrus saplings then another 4 years to harvest good fruit. Working in a grove for the summer was almost every high school kids rite of passage. Old, established groves were gold mines.)

I once reported a new Sea Turtle Nest I found on a beach, not wanting the heavy, tractor-like sand groomers (yeah, we have to have those now) to roll over it and crush the eggs. The response I got from the Federal and State agency I contacted was 'what do you want us to do about it?' Yet had I dug up the eggs to move them, cops would have popped out of the weeds to arrest and fine me.

I think the beach groomers crushed the nest.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp