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Comment Why they didn't learn (Score 1) 147

You would have thought that our government would have learned when they attempted to ban PGP, decades ago.

The reason they didn't learn is that most people in Congress are lawyers. Lawyers typically have a very poor understanding of technology and computer related issues. In their world, you just pass a law making something legal or illegal and - boom - the problem is solved for all time.

Comment Google may just leave if the taxes are high enough (Score 2) 303

Google has a limit to what it will put up with. They pulled out of China rather than deal with government bs there. The Russian government may not care if they leave, but Google may just decide it's not worth the hassle and pull out if the taxes are high enough. Apple would have to weigh whether sales justify the cost of any new taxes. Russia's biggest problem is that they don't really make anything anybody wants except gasoline and natural gas so being protectionist may have short term benefits for the Russian companies that compete but it doesn't really do anything long term about making anybody outside of the USSR, cough cough, sorry I mean Russia, care about their stuff.

Comment Nothing is settled in the US legal system (Score 1) 136

There are all kinds of holes in your argument, unfortunately. The Supreme Court could hear a new case testing this and completely invalidate the previous ruling or issue a new ruling that partially invalidates it under certain circumstances. It could be legally ruled that while the source code itself has 1st amendment protection, the actual using of the code does not. And if you don't think that's possible, you definitely don't pay a lot of attention to the US legal system where literally anything can happen depending the judge you get, whether you get a jury or have a judge decide the case, and so on.

Comment Rental cars rarely have manuals (Score 1) 564

If you're the type of person that buys a 3500 pound object that can go 100+ MPH and fail to read the manual which results in the injury of another individual, you're an idiot.

Let me guess. You don't go out of town and rent cars do you? I sometimes do. Rental cars rarely have the manual with them. My most recent rental was in late September and I wish that car had the manual with it. I wanted to connect my iPhone to the car's audio system so I could get Google Maps to give me directions over that instead of the iPhone's own speaker. The problem was that previous owners had filled up the audio system's slots for Bluetooth connectivity and the audio system was so poorly designed (it was a Toyota by the way) that I could not figure out how to delete the old entries. I tried everything I could think of to get the old entries deleted and while I could select them, no button I pushed would actually delete them. I had no choice but to use my phone's speaker which was very much inconvenient.

Comment Found out lots of things as a sys admin (Score 2) 142

I've been a Unix or Linux system admin most of my career and I've found out several embarrassing things about co-workers.
1) The first was that two co-workers were using a system I managed with 50 or fewer users to send erotic email to each other. Both were married and not to each other. I'm not sure that there was any real activity going on. They may have simply used email to sort of flirt with each other. But if management had known what they were saying, both might have been fired.
2) The job after that involved my small system admin group (3 people) in the 1990s getting a bounced email message that our manager sent. Back in those days, home internet services were so crappy (AOL and the like) that many IT professionals deliberately used work email for personal things. Turns out that our manager, who was married at the time, was into BDSM and he was looking for partners while on company business in Europe. Our group kept his email to ourselves and we found a way to fix his email problem so that we didn't get any more bounced messages without ever telling him what we saw. He was a good manager, so we didn't want to embarrass him. He did end up getting divorced not very long after that. We weren't surprised.
3) Some years ago due to an email addressing mistake a confidential email between an HR person and someone else in the company ended up going to my group's email and we saw the exact salary of a developer in another department. This developer was, I think (not totally sure about it), in the US on an H1-B visa instead of a green card and was very badly underpaid compared to others doing the same job. This developer was a very well liked co-worker and I felt kind of bad to find out how little we actually paid them. I've believed for years that the worst thing you can ever find out is what kind of money your colleagues actually make. I've seen really gross discrepancies at every job I've ever had with idiots being paid too much and good workers being paid too little. Finding out exactly how bad this is in reality is just terrible.

Comment The truth about China and its influence (Score 5, Informative) 286

From what I've seen, even China is getting sick of North Korean antics and have started applying political pressure behind the scenes for them to chill out. Unfortunately, it seems as though NK is ignoring it and going rogue, which is a really bad idea as it's really only the influence that China wields that keeps them from getting steamrolled by any of several other countries or groups.

If anybody here would like to understand the situation in North Korea better, I highly recommend reading Victor Cha's book _The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future_. Cha worked for the George W. Bush administration and he's an expert on North Korea. Not to digress, but it would really be helpful is President Obama would make somebody in his staff who pays attention to North Korea read this too. Secretary of State Kerry keeps demanding that China do more. If he'd just read the book or have a staffer summarize it for him, he'd understand why they won't.

Here's the deal. North Korea started the Korean War on their own and Mao and Stalin weren't really happy about it. Stalin refused to get involved although he was willing to for Soviet pilots to serve as the de facto North Korean Air Force during the war. China committed troops only when it looked like MacArthur might actually get up to the border with China and possibly invade China. China paid a real price in blood to save North Korea. Mao's own son was killed in the fighting. So while the old line of North Korea and China being "closer than lips and teeth" is no longer really true, China does feel involved because a lot of her soldiers died in that war and they don't want it to be for nothing.

What Kerry, Obama and others in the US need to understand is what Cha points out in his book. Namely, that China really doesn't like North Korea causing problems but it views all possible outcomes of a post-North Korea version of Korea as really bad for China. China feels stuck in that it knows that North Korea's regime can't last forever, but if it puts too much pressure on them, they may collapse soon and remember, they view all post-DPRNK outcomes as very very bad for China. China fears that a unified Korea will have US soldiers stationed in what is now North Korea, so that means right on its borders. China also fears that once North Korea falls, the border will be overrun with North Koreans (there is an area of China near the border that is majority ethnic Korean, so refugees would likely go there) and China will have a humanitarian disaster on its hands that it will have to spend time and resources to deal with. Additionally, in exchange for their financial support, North Korea is basically selling its rare earths to China at below market prices, so China is financially very vested in maintaining this. A unified Korea is not likely to let China continue to destroy the North Korean countryside to get rare earths at a discount. China doesn't see any possible outcome of a post-North Korea world where things aren't a lot worse for China, so they are caught in rarely using the influence they have. However, outsiders, especially the Obama administration, seem to greatly overestimate what influence China actually has. The reality is that China has more influence than they are willing to use, but not as much as everybody else thinks. The Kim regime will do what it can to survive and if that means going against China, no problem there. China is simply never going to stop providing money and assistance as long as the regime exists, so expecting China to do anything but maintain the status quo is not very likely to happen.

Comment Re:No use fighting it (Score 1) 144

I have Amazon Prime and we did some trials of Netflix and Hulu, and I can honestly say that it was disappointing finding nothing I was actively looking for on any of the systems. I remember spending an evening just going through a list of movies I've been wanting to watch for a while, being utterly astounded when none of them showed up on each list. Some movies were classics, some were cult movies, some were "just movies I saw in the 1980s that I'd like to watch again", some were blockbusters that hadn't been in the cinema for a couple of years. And... none were there.

I am so glad to read this. I say this kind of thing all the time. I actually find Amazon Prime's streaming somewhat more useful that Netflix (I have both, but not Hulu). Yet all I hear from co-workers and people on the internet is how their subscription to Netflix only, and that only for streaming, has completely and totally satisfied all their watching needs. The only conclusion I can come up with is that they have very different interests than I do and it may well be that what I like to see is so different from the average American that I'm not going to be satisfied with streaming options any time soon.

Comment Re:Volunteering leaving is a bad thing. (Score 1) 217

But for the company the people who are smart enough to see the writing on the wall, know to jump ship early knowing that they can get a good or better job elsewhere. The ones who stick around are often the ones who lack the experience to see the warning signs, or just don't have the skills to get another job, and gamble on not being the one who gets canned.

In general I agree, but for some kind of weird psychological reason (fear of change?) some people simply will not ever leave a company until they are laid off, even if they know that there is no hope for the job to survive. I've seen this at every job I've ever worked at. Many of these people have questionable skills for sure. In the previous decade my group got told in early July that our jobs would end on Dec. 31 and they were being outsourced to a cheaper country. One of my co-workers stayed to the bitter end and his next job was driving a truck. His skills weren't good enough to stay in IT anymore. I found another job and left a few months after they announced moving our jobs. A guy I worked with a few years ago told me about how he used to work at a bank that got bought by an out of state bank. The out of state bank warned all local IT workers that they would be ending all the local IT jobs and moving them all to their HQ in another state. Employees were warned that there was no future and one day the job would simply end. The last guy left there refused to leave despite the warnings and he came to work one day to be told that his job was over right then and he was out of the street during the beginning of what we call the Great Recession trying to find a new job because despite all the warnings he received, he just wouldn't leave.

Comment Re:Did they spin when they landed? (Score 1) 634

(Hillary already had over 300 of these so-called super-delegates lined up before the first vote was cast, which is more than 15x what she won in Iowa.)

Correct. The numbers I saw indicated that almost half of the super-delegates have already told who they will vote for and about 90% of these backed Hillary. Assuming that the half who haven't indicated a preference vote in roughly the same way, this means that unless Sanders absolutely destroys Hillary in the upcoming contests and wins an insurmountable number of delegates, anything even remotely close is going to give the nomination to Hillary at the convention. If Sanders ends up with a small lead in delegates and loses the nomination at the convention due to the super-delegates, it will be interesting to see if those dissatisfied voters will agree to back Hillary or not. It could end up being a case of Hillary winning the battle (the nomination fight) but losing the war (the general election) although I do think that there are Republican candidates so bad that even a weakened Hillary could defeat them.

Comment Eventually it will get resolved (Score 1) 164

This kind of thing happens all the time in the USA. It will eventually get resolved, but it could take anywhere from a few months to a year or two. What always happens here is that in the end the TV content provider lowers the price they want and the cable TV provider finally agrees to pay a slightly elevated price. I'm sure Sweden will be exactly the same.

Comment Probably not really a big deal at all (Score 3, Interesting) 107

As an American, believe me when I tell you that our government and most of our country (except for a few crazy right wingers) would love for Iran-US relations to improve at least to where each country doesn't cause the other one problems. In fact, I believe that the USA and Iran will one day again be great friends. Whether that is 10 years, 20 years or 50 years from now remains to be seen. But for reasons I won't go into less it digress into a pointless political discussion that never ends, it seems pretty inevitable for me. Just like if you find the average American under 60 years old probably has a very positive opinion of Japan but old people who lived through World War II may still carry some grudges, with time the older generation that hates the other side will die out and the younger generation will reap the benefits of friendship. I don't think having an Iranian on the ISS would be a big deal and if it leads to less tension between the 2 countries, I say "How quickly can we make this happen?"

Comment Why people may not want to confess (Score 1) 228

However, in this case, the people I support the least are the people who took their marriage vows so lightly they're using a website to cheat. It's absolutely disgusting. You get what you deserve. What to avoid the collateral damage; don't cheat. But, since you're past that point; you might as well fess up to it; and make sure you tell your family you're only coming clean about it due to a threat of blackmail. It'll make them see your character for what it really is.

I know a couple of acquaintances (not well but I do know them) who cheated on their wives with co-workers. This has nothing to do with Ashley Madison. In neither case did the wife have any idea. Both guys felt guilt-ridden about cheating, so they decided to come clean. In both cases the marriages were over on the spot. In one case the guy literally got asked by his wife to leave their house immediately and I know this because the guy he stayed with for a while is a friend of mine, not just an acquaintance. Some people really do not respond in a forgiving way to infidelity. In such cases it might be best to either deny it and claim to be an innocent victim or to try for what I'll call "pleading to a lesser charge" by admitting joining the site but denying actually ever meeting any one by it. There's a lot of evidence that a lot of female members were made up and while some spouses may not forgive you for even joining, I guess there's some chance that "It was a huge mistake and I never actually did anything" might work with a few of them.

Comment This has obvious value (Score 3, Insightful) 230

1) China and Russia are likely to do the same thing eventually. Russia in particular is pumping a lot of money into modernizing their nukes. Do we really want to end up having to catch up here?
2) This might make China and Russia less likely to start some crap if they fear that the US might nuke them in retaliation. There are a lot of countries that would be really happy if both China and Russia would calm down right now.

Comment Re:Good luck ... (Score 1) 75

And now a company will patent her genes, and every insurance company will call this a pre-existing condition and deny treatment for anything related to this or its treatment.

Actually in the USA the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) specifically prevents insurance companies from denying coverage because something is a "pre-existing condition". The article linked to seems to imply that the girl lives in the UK so ACA/Obamacare worries are not in play anyway. I can't speak to whether some company would patent her genes in the UK as I don't know the law there, but off the top of my head I would guess that European privacy laws would likely prevent that.

Comment Re:You know? Something here is disturbing... (Score 1) 508

Interestingly enough, Slate leans a bit to the left... and most anti-vaxxers lean very much to the left, so why was the bile necessary?

I can't say I know a lot of anti-vaxxers, but the few I do know are very strongly right wing (wing nuts, to be blunt). They're also not very smart. The most anti-vaccine guy I know a few years was personally convinced that Uncle Sam was going to (by force if necessary) compel him to get a flu shot during that year when there was a shortage of the flu vaccine. He was also convinced that Uncle Sam was going to force his wife and teenage daughter to get vaccinated and he specifically mentioned that he was greatly concerned that his teenage daughter would get autism from the vaccine.

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