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Comment: Further on Li, Chan, Norris, etc. (Score 3, Informative) 167

by fyngyrz (#48471455) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

Sorry, didn't quite mean to submit there.

TKD is a very specialized sport art. Very limited engagement rules and a complete lack of tools for dealing with anything but an upright, sparring style opponent relegate it to at best a functional niche limited to kicking (which any well rounded martial artist can convert into a different engagement, ground for instance) in the course of which instantly defanging most of the TKD stylists tools. TL;DR, TKD is more of a sport than a martial art. I should know; I'm dan-ranked in it within the context of the Korean taekwondo jidokwan, one of the earlier kwans that preceded the establishment of the WTF and ITF collaboration / standardizations.

Chan's martial arts background spans several styles (Shaolin gongfu, taekwondo, and hapkido), and consequently is broadly based with ground, standup, upright grappling, locking, striking, blocking, kicking, footwork and defensive components. He is by *any* sane measure a much more well rounded martial artist than Norris (and if you just admire kicking skill, I'm surprised you didn't bring up Bill "superfoot" Wallace.)

Li started training at age 8. He won his first national championship at age 11 -- remember we're talking about China here -- he traveled to more than 45 countries as a member of the Beijing wushu team. He held the title of All-Around National Wushu Champion from 1974 to 1979. He trained in internal and external styles, as well as the (then) required shíba ban bingqi (eighteen arms or weapons.)

(Please excuse the mangled pinyin; I don't use pinyin much, preferring actual hanzi, and traditional hanzi at that. (hanja for you TKD folks.) But slashdot doesn't support them (why? some geek site, lol)

Further, he practices wushu, which looks cool but is not a very effective martial art.

Wushu means "martial art." It doesn't tell you squat about martial art effectiveness, other than that the practitioner, like a "martial artist" in the US, practices some martial art or arts. You should have a look right here so next time you use the term wushu in the context of a Chinese martial artist, you actually know what you're saying. Although, technically speaking, just like gongfu (doesn't really mean martial art at all), the term carries implications you might not initially grasp; for instance, to a Chinese, a Korean TKD master is both a gongfu and a wushu master, plain and simple. Which again demonstrates that wushu doesn't mean anything even close to what you thought it meant.

However, your previous statement is worse in that it amounts to a blanket dismissal of all of China's martial arts, which is nothing short of ludicrous. Combined with your bewilderment of both Chan and Li's training backgrounds, your credibility is somewhere south of zero on this matter.

Comment: Expatriate woes (Score 1) 190

by fyngyrz (#48471213) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

I'll breathe a sigh of relief when I have alternative citizenship.

You think? So you haven't had the appropriate discussion with a tax professional familiar with expatriate situations, then. You're in for one seriously depressing conversation. Some locations are worse than others due to local issues in the country of desired residence (the UK is one of these, for instance... your in-country tax load would be very high, starting with VAT and petrol and employment of UK+US tax specialists and going downhill from there -- read this and weep), but you will soon find out just how hard Uncle Sam has worked to make your choice to reside elsewhere a very, very difficult one to follow through on after just a short taste of the many US tax-related downsides, never mind what your ultimate destination country has in store for you.

Comment: Re:He still plead guilty to something ... (Score 1) 190

by fyngyrz (#48471141) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

It's not just the chance of long jail terms: benefits of pleading out can include huge financial benefits (trials are extremely expensive), huge time benefits (trials take a long time during which uncertainty and pre-trial restrictions take a very real toll), may pose the difference between not just guilt, but they type of guilt -- felony or misdemeanor, conviction or adjudication withheld, witness activity or fines or restitution instead of part or all of a jail term -- but yes, on top of all that, you know they will throw the book at you if you don't comply with their desire for you to plead out.

The system is, in terms of serving justice, utterly, completely broken by the plea mechanism.

Comment: Re:He still plead guilty to something ... (Score 1) 190

by fyngyrz (#48471083) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

There is a pretty strong correlation between pleas and guilt. Not perfect but not worthless either. Increasing that correlation is the goal.

There is absolutely no way of determining that under a system where pleading out offers less of a downside than going to trial. And that is not only the case in the US justice system, the benefits usually swing so hard towards the "you'd be better off with a plea" side of the scale that you'd have to be batshit insane to go to trial. The monetary, time, future employment issues and reputation costs provide more than sufficient downside, but even the benefit of knowing what you face as opposed to what you apparently don't is highly compelling (Ex post facto laws can change the evaluation down the line, but of course it's far too late then),

Comment: Paper trail (Score 1, Redundant) 104

by steveha (#48471025) Attached to: Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

Should we go back to paper ballots?

Yes, yes, yes.

I live in the Seattle area of Washington State. We used to have a nearly perfect system and I would like to see it adopted everywhere. (We now have mail-in voting only, which is convenient but I worry about fraud.)

Here's the perfect system:

Ballots are stiff paper/very light cardboard, printed with oval "bubbles" next to the things for which you can vote. You vote by filling in a bubble with an ink pen.

Once you are done voting, you feed the ballot into an optical reader over a collection bin. If you have made any obvious mistakes (such as voting for both candidates for a single position) the machine kicks the ballot back out to you; you then get a fresh ballot and vote again.

Once my wife had a little ink smudge on her ballot, and the machine kicked it back. It was designed to err on the side of absolute clarity; if it accepted a ballot, that ballot was unambiguous.

The optical reader keeps an unofficial tally, and at the close of voting the tally is forwarded to the state elections department. An unofficial but very accurate result is available within an hour or so of the end of voting.[1]

There are physical paper ballots so there is a literal paper trail. Recounts are easy.

There is no "hanging chad" problem; the optical scanner at the polling place makes sure that each ballot is unambiguous.

Then all you need is a good "chain of custody", making sure that all ballots are delivered (and no fake ballots are introduced into the counting).

[1] Of course, absentee ballots will also be counted and the absentee results will not be available that fast; but non-close election results will be known that fast.

Comment: Re:Because it's Jackie Chan (Score 2) 167

by fyngyrz (#48470981) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

What's kind of funny is that the meme invokes Chuck Norris, a complete hack of a martial artist who came to fame in a time when crude technique was the general order of the day (Bruce Lee notably excepted.) Then you invoke Jackie Chan here, who is really pretty good; but you also disrespect Jet Li, who is nothing short of an awesome martial artist. 1-2-3 in skill inverted to 3-2-1 in offered kudos. All I can conclude is that the public has a very weird perception of martial artists.

Comment: Oh no, you di'nt go there... compulsion... (Score 2) 167

by fyngyrz (#48470933) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

Costs are often through the roof with these technologies; mounting complexities and steep installation costs result in flash peak expenses that only gutter out after years of trussing up the math in spreadsheets. Tiling the cells can shake out some additional margin, but just the thought of it gives me shingles.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn