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Comment Re:But what is the alternative, objectors? (Score 1) 459 459

So what's left, increasing the severity of the economic sanctions? We're pretty much doing all we can in that area now,

That's one idea. The sanctions are clearly hurting Iran. Bigger sanctions would hurt more.

I have yet to hear those on the right propose anything that sounds remotely like a workable alternative to the current deal

The thing that is missing is verification. There is no way of knowing whether Iran complies with the deal or not.

OK, how exactly would you make sanctions "bigger"? I'm pretty sure if it was that easy we would already have done it. We could maybe make things a little tougher in one or two obscure areas of finance, but I do not believe that would lead to a better outcome than this deal. It would just piss off the Iranian mullahs further, and work on a bomb would resume/continue.

As for verification measures, we have none at all right now. Nothing. There's a trickle of humint from spies and defectors, and satellite pics. Neither qualifies as believable verification. The current deal does provide for verification. For the sake of argument, assume we have now gotten the best deal possible using diplomacy. What else is there??

Sorry, I'm still waiting.

Comment Re: awesome? (Score 1) 238 238

That plane was fucking awesome.

I used to think so, still do as far as looks and capabilities go, but it was a bit disheartening to discover that the plane leaked fuel like a sieve. By design! You fill up the leaky tank to get the SR-71 off the ground, but so much leaks out during takeoff that you have to immediately do an in-flight refueling maneuver with a tanker. Only then can you really fly the plane as it's meant to be flown. In the extreme cold of the extremely high altitude the plane is capable of flying at, the engines will get so hot the titanium frame expands, putting a stop to all fuel leaks. Then you are finally good to go!

It is indeed an awesome plane, but you have to admit, that leak-then-refuel thing is pretty lame from an engineering standpoint.

Comment But what is the alternative, objectors? (Score 2) 459 459

Sure, "not everyone agrees", and in particular conservative Republicans are foaming at the mouth, but... The thing is, for all their talk about how this agreement is going to be a disaster for America, I have yet to hear those on the right propose anything that sounds remotely like a workable alternative to the current deal. Say we end up with the deal stopped cold by congress, which could well happen, what then? Sanctions continue, and Iran no longer feels any reason not to go ahead with work on a bomb. Why wouldn't they? How would we stop them? Military force?? Don't make me laugh, that ain't gonna happen. So what's left, increasing the severity of the economic sanctions? We're pretty much doing all we can in that area now, and indeed it has brought Iran to the bargaining table. You want to just toss away the one chance we have to make a deal? It seems to me that if you're going to just say "well, screw that!" in regard to the current agreement, you have to have a better alternative in mind, and I mean something that stands a chance of working. We've got a deal, it's better than what we've had with sanctions in place, why not go with it? If Iran decides to cheat, well, that's the time to start talking tough. All I see now is people wanting to throw away this deal because, well, it might make Obama look good. And it might, but what else is there? I'm waiting to hear of any other plan of action that sounds remotely feasible.

Comment But perhaps it won't work, even if it works (Score 1) 137 137

I remember reading that people who have been blind from birth, who then receive corrective surgery as adults so they can see for the first time, often have real trouble making sense of the new visual sensory data they suddenly have access to. Their brains just aren't able to make use of the data, never having been trained to do so. IIRC some of these people never really learn to see the world the way sighted people do, even though their eyes are now fully functional. I would imagine that similar problems might be encountered by anyone whose eyes and brain are suddenly perceiving "new" colors.

Comment Re:Too many damn immigrants (Score 0) 112 112

Well if they don't like it, then they can go back to their own shitty countries. Im not a racist, but whenever blacks complain about slavery or discrimination here in America, I offer to buy them a one way ticket to Africa. But no. They don't want to go back to that shithole. I'd do the same for Mexicans or Chinese or any other fuckers who complain and cause problems in America, yet none want to go back home. Maybe they should shut the fuck up and realize how wonderful America is compared to the third world shithole from which they emerged.

And I don't really have a problem with whites or Asians. They work hard generally and don't cause violence or do drugs or fight. But the blacks and Mexicans, god, they are the worst. If they start invading your country too, then prepare for your country to start going to hell as well.

Factually incorrect, at least about drugs. Drug use as a percentage of population is remarkably stable across racial lines. Do some research, BLACKS DO NOT USE MORE DRUGS THAN WHITES, if you believe that they do you are indeed a racist. As a matter of fact I don't even know why I'm replying to a -1 post, everything else you say is no doubt equally as wrong, and that especially includes the part about how "Im not a racist".

Comment Re:in other words (Score 1) 194 194

+5, Insightful. What we wanted was health care what we got was health insurance. Not the same thing.

We do not have health insurance anymore. Insurance is "in case ya...", like in case your house burns down or in case you crash your car. What we have now is completely disjointed from the traditional insurance model. You can now drop your insurance, pay a small "fine/tax/whateverObamacallsit" and then purchase the health plan when you need it and then drop it when you don't, which will completely screw up the entire industry. That's not insurance.

Except nobody is going to do this, because for one it's just not that easy to do, but mainly (and this may shock you) because most people do want to have insurance in case of an emergency. I'm no fan of Obamacare, despite the fact that it's been enormously helpful to me personally, and in fact has already quite literally saved my life. Regardless, the ACA was a broken piece of legislation from the start, and the only positive thing I have to say about it is that it's marginally better than what we had before. But I don't believe your particular criticism is valid, and the proof is that the big insurance companies are still making big bucks, for the most part they love the ACA. So what you suggest just doesn't seem to be happening in the real world, at least not so far. This is not to say Obamacare isn't deserving of hundreds of other criticisms, but the "people will buy it only when they get sick" thing doesn't seem to be a real worry, so far.

Comment why "race" doesn't exist (to a geneticist) (Score 1) 541 541

I know I'm wasting my time, especially as a latecomer to the discussion, but I'll say it anyway: with all your (and I include all those making similar statements, not just parent) talk of Caucasian this and Black that, you are overlooking something important. It is meaningless to make references to these groups in a discussion about genetics without first defining exactly what those categories mean genetically. And you simply won't be able to do that, because geneticists currently have no test for "blackness" or "whiteness", in fact there is nothing in the human genome that a geneticist can point to and say, "these genes define blackness, if they are present the individual is black". Nothing like that currently exists for any race, which is why experts in field sometimes say that from a genetic standpoint there is no such thing as race. Without a genetic descriptor for race, the science of genetics can have nothing to say on the subject. Scientists can only look at race indirectly, using various non-genetic stand-ins as methods of racial categorization. This is a big reason why all such studies seem to inevitably end up being open to various interpretations, the scientific tools that could solve these debates once and for all simply do not yet exist.

Comment Re:There is no magic bullet (Score 1) 474 474

As for legalizing highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin, I don't see how decriminalizing them good possibly be a good idea. The addiction rate for these drugs is 2.5 to 3 times that of alcohol.

What are your sources for this statement? Alcohol is much worse than heroin by any measure you wish to use. It's actually more addictive, in that withdrawal from alcohol can kill you, but nobody dies from heroin withdrawal. Furthermore, alcohol is poison to the body, regular use will destroy the liver, kill brain cells at an ungodly rate, raise blood pressure... I could go on, but you get the idea. Heroin, on the other hand, has virtually no negative physical side effects, with constipation being about the worst. You can take heroin every day and live a long and healthy life, whereas alcoholics tend to get sick and die before their time, not to mention "wet brain" which is a term for the mental deterioration that inevitably comes with heavy drinking. You can make statistics say anything you want, but there's not much doubt in the medical community that of the two, alcohol is by far the more dangerous drug. And that fact alone perfectly illustrates the insanity and hypocrisy of the drug war, and why it needs to end.

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 203 203

they arrest him, know who he is and that he is not a threat, realise the charges are more or less for being annoying in public, put him in the holding while processing the paperwork. He asks to make a phone call, they hand him his cell phone, he makes the post while being bored.

They likely never would have allowed it. Knowing cops, they probably didn't know they were allowing it either.

That is, I have no idea how true this would be. It's just a possible scenario to how they could have allowed it without knowing they allowed it. The part that has me is, if it was posted as him, they would have had to get his user name and password else it would have showed as someone else posting it. That's possible with the crap they have to suck info from phones, but it makes the story a little more hard to digest. Of course they could have made him log in and post it. But then Facebook would have an IP set for the police department if you could ever get to the logs.

Yes, he claims they forced him to give up his password, then when they were logged into FB he was forced to dictate a statement to an officer who put it up on his page. The real question is, since when are police knowledgeable enough about social networking to realize that such a public statement would be a good idea for them in terms of insulating them from bad publicity and possible legal repercussions, while at the same time so ignorant as to think that it wouldn't be immediately obvious what had happened once the logs and online records are searched? It'll be interesting to see how this eventually plays out.

Comment Re:One disturbing bit: (Score 2) 484 484

To draw from the analogy someone posted below, that'd be like you buying your own antenna and asking to place it on your neighbor's property because he sits on top of the hill blocking your house. Dynamically assigning a micro-antenna to a subscriber on-demand just blurs the line. (The fact that all this is technically stupid when you could just use a single antenna is simply a consequence of Copyright law creating artificial scarcity and giving content producers a monopoly on distribution.)

What's often forgotten about all of this is that Aereo's model is extremely similar to how cable television companies themselves got started. From what is arguably the first cable company:

The [Service Electric] company was started in 1948 in Mahanoy City by John Walson, who owned a General Electric appliance store. At the time, the surrounding mountains in Schuylkill County made over-the-air reception from Philadelphia television stations difficult. Walson, who was interested in selling television sets through his store, solved the problem by building an antenna on top of the mountain overlooking the town. He initially ran a cable to his warehouse and then to his appliance store, using boosters to enhance the signal. Along the way, he hooked up neighbors to the antenna system. Although there are others who have laid claim to the honor, Walson is often recognized for having built the first cable TV system in the United States.

So, actually I imagine part of the reason you couldn't use a single antenna is because arguably that was the origin of the entire business of cable companies to begin with. Aereo was just replicating the original cable business model, except with a subtle tweak to "personalize" the antennas just a bit. Thus, it doesn't surprise me at all that they lost.

I'm confused. You are saying that one reason this is illegal is because it's identical to how cable got started, but your description of that first cable system doesn't include any copyright concerns, the guy just went ahead and did it... Because, after all, it was a free and freely broadcast over-the-air signal, intended for viewing by anyone living within reach of the transmission (note that Aereo's model also requires the recipient live within broadcast range), and Walson was just helping the signal get to its intended audience. But so is Aereo! So the analogy to me would indicate the exact opposite of what you are saying. Early cable systems in fact did NOT pay copyright fees, those were negotiated later. So by analogy Aereo's business model is completely legal, as legal as those early cable attempts. Or so it would appear from your description, I didn't research it myself.

Comment Not crazy at all (Score 1) 213 213

I believe this is not as crazy as some of us might think. For the sake of argument let’s generalize the problem to the detection of all humorous references not intended to be taken seriously. This is not a trivial task, in fact it may well be beyond the capabilities of current technology. Think about it, we use humor and sarcasm constantly in all kinds of situations, and we take it for granted that our audience always knows enough to discount everything not meant literally. I’ve often thought that if we ever do make contact with another intelligent species, communication might be rendered impossible by this very problem. Imagine a truly alien race that lacks the entire concept of humor... After all, humor is not necessary for effective communication, it’s just something we happen to use really frequently. There’s no reason to think that humor is a universal trait among intelligences, it may well be unique to the human race, a random consequence of our evolution and ancestry. What would a non-humor using species make of our television and radio broadcasts? Would they understand any of it? Think of all the misunderstandings that would arise if everything was taken literally! Mistakes of this nature frequently get made even amongst humans, especially online where emoticons can only partially make up for absent tonal and visual cues. Resolving the serious stuff from the sarcastic background noise of the internet is both a worthy and technically interesting endeavor. I have no doubt that someone will eventually get filthy rich by solving this problem.

Comment Re:Don't bother. (Score 1) 509 509

And that can't happen until you get rid of the current SCOTUS

Or, you know, go the proper way and just change the Constitution. They didn't decide that way because they want an oligarchy, they did it because, OMG!, they decided based on what the Constitution actually says. That doesn't change based on the circumstances. I don't like the results of the decision either, but it's a solid one based in fact, not the dreams of the court's left wing. If somebody found a huge loophole, then we modify the Constitution to fix it. We don't just interpret the problem away, because that means the Constitution's protections are meaningless.

They decided based on what the constitution says? Oh yeah? Well OK then, show me where the constitution says that corporations must be given the same free speech rights as individual citizens. Go on, show me the words. Except you can't, because there's nothing like that actually in the constitution, certainly not in the first amendment. As far as I'm concerned, if you can read that idea into the constitution as written, you can read almost anything you want into it, thereby making the constitution conform to your personal ideology... Which seems to me precisely what they've been doing.

Comment Re:Windows 8.x is un-usable without Start8 (Score 4, Interesting) 200 200

Some particular reason you chose to spend money instead of getting the free and open-source Classic Start Menu (from Classic Shell)? Seems kind of silly.

Anyhow, I happen to think you're an idiot if you can't use the same UI (and by far the most productive one) that's been present in Windows since Vista, namely "hit Start (or the Windows key), type a few letters of the program name, hit Enter". It's faster than any mouse-driven interaction and doesn't require manually finding anything in cascading menus *or* scrolling screens of tiles. But that's just, like, my opinion, man...

It's questionable whether typing stuff, even just a few letters, should always be considered faster and/or more productive than using a mouse. Sometimes, especially on a laptop, it's a pain to keep shifting from mouse to keyboard and back. Besides, since when is running a particular program the only thing you would ever want to do on a given operating system?

Windows 8 if filled with non-intuitive commands, and offers almost nothing of value in return for scaling its rather steep learning curve. It wasn't wanted or needed by anyone outside Microsoft, and it will eventually be abandoned and completely forgotten by everyone outside of a few business textbooks, where it will stand forever as a classic example of a large corporation shooting itself in the foot.

Comment Re:Shouldn't they start out small first? (Score 1) 187 187

With a dead extinct animal? No. The closest thing is an extinct ibex cloned in 2009 (hardly "a decade"), and it only lived for a few minutes --- not exactly a success in my book.

Furthermore, the Ibex only became extinct in 2000, so they had material taken from a living Ibex to work with, a considerably easier proposition. And as you say, even that didn't work.

This is clearly a technology not quite ready for prime time, and certainly not suitable for such a mammoth undertaking as the resurrection of an entire species.

"History is a tool used by politicians to justify their intentions." -- Ted Koppel