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Comment One word: Teledildonics (Score 1) 536

The real money will be in virtual sex. When they can build sex robots that are connected to the internet (or whatever replaces it) and the bots can transmit whatever they experience to another human in real time, that's when things will get interesting. Note that such an arrangement would appear to invalidate a good bit of the argument against sexbots described in TFA.

Comment now it's a fake bomb (Score 1) 956

They knew damn well it was not a bomb unless they are so dumb that they have no business teaching children. Absolute bullshit.

Actually, the police are now saying that they knew it was not a real bomb all along. Apparently the new story line is that they detained him for making a fake bomb, if you can believe that. I'm sure the story will change again soon, since the only thing that was ever going to explode here was the story itself.

Comment pathetic (Score 1) 591

Republican politicians do not just have to think about the will of the voter. They have to think about the will of the Republican base, because voter appeal won't matter if they don't get on the ballot at all. The republican base is not representative of the population in general, and they are always assessing if candidates are sufficiently devout.

Yes, it's true the Republicans have to think about the will of their base. The really unfortunate fact is that the rightist base has proven to be rather biddable, they'll believe whatever they're told as long as the one doing the telling is a well-known Conservative Icon. Think right-wing talk radio hosts, religious leaders, rising-star politicians, etc. and the websites and online communities that support them. From these sources the Conventional Wisdom of modern American Conservatism is distilled and dispersed to the Red State faithful, who are happy to lap it up. Such Conventional Wisdom is never questioned, alas. So if you're a strategist for the Republican party, all you really need to do is buy yourself an established Icon or two to "fire up" the base, in whatever manner you wish to, and... Ta-da! It's done, they'll believe what you want them to, regardless of any contradictory evidence.

It's not a pretty picture, but that's how it works. Science or reality never even enter the picture. It's the only explanation for why these people still believe in things like tax cuts for the rich stimulating the economy and creating jobs. I mean, they've had something like 20 years to see EXACTLY how ineffective such policies truly are, but Conventional Wisdom still says they work, so expect all the Republican candidates to include them in their platforms. It's pathetic.

Comment You joke, but... (Score 1) 130

could well be used by the criminal organization to torture and/or murder fellow citizens. Therefore I say we should ban the use of all forks and knives until proper surveillance on forks and knives can be obtained. I'm tired of putting forks and knives into the hands of our criminals!

Hah! You've ironically brought up one of my personal pet peeves of the post 9/11 era. In my area of the country at least, I kid you not, sometime after 9/11 the local supermarkets and Walmart all stopped selling boxes of plastic knives. Really! You could not buy a box of regular plastic picnic-type knives. I eventually discovered you could get them as part of an assorted plastic eating utensil package, but plastic knives on their own by the box were out! You could not buy them, anywhere. I tried asking the staff at various stores what was going on, but all of them claimed to know nothing about any ban. The fact remained that boxes of plastic knives were no longer being stocked, just spoons and forks. I had to buy the assorted boxes just to have knives at all, it was crazy! This behavior seems to have finally changed only in the last few years, since most places now seem once again to have boxes of plastic knives... But WTF!!! What was the point of the ban, FFS??? It remains a complete mystery to me. I mean, you could always get metal knives at these stores, really sharp ones, even! Just not plastic, not on their own. Very weird. This country definitely lost a good part of its sanity and common sense following the 9/11 attacks. I can only hope that eventually common sense, like the ubiquitous plastic knife, will once again return to the good old USA. Don't hold your breath, though.

Comment Re:Call me crazy, I disabled Windows 7 from updati (Score 1) 867

....on all my computers. In fact, I did that quite some time ago, when the first rumors of MS installing malware started circulating. I did that encouraged by one of my laptops on which the Windows 7 had updates disabled for years, and I got no viruses, malware, or other unwanted software. It seems that your computer's safety is almost entirely a question of common sense and not falling for social engineering tricks.

I should add that I have ClamWin Antivirus running on all my machines, including the one that didn't have updates for years. It's the most lightweight, least intrusive AV I've ever seen, and I highly recommend it.

I basically did the same thing long ago on my Sony VAIO laptop running Vista. Hell, I never even installed SP2! And you know what? The computer still runs fine, maybe a tad slower because of 7 years accumulated Windows Rot, but I've never had any problems with viruses, or now that I think about it even so much as a single problematic BSOD, which is pretty amazing. The funny thing is that Vista was so hugely reviled in its day, but now I'm really glad I never tried to upgrade or downgrade, since Vista seems to be the last version of Windows immune from the current round of MS mal-loading. The lesson I guess is that proper security-minded behavior by the user counts for more than the OS or even the virus scanner. Don't do dangerous things online, it's that simple.

Anytime a program wants to go to automatic updates, I make sure the setting stays on "notify me first". And when a program decides that that option will no longer be offered, well, that program ceases to be updated on my machine, forever. Note that I'm not advising anybody to do as I have done, it's admittedly potentially dangerous, but it's worked for me, so far.

Comment a moribund industry that must change (Score 2) 155

Have you considered that maybe technology has outpaced the regulations in a taxi industry that has become terminally moribund? This is quite clearly what has happened, and everything could be easily addressed simply by updating the pertinent regulations that govern the industry, but that will NEVER happen, at least not in time to accomplish anything meaningful. Somehow, through some mutant form of regulatory capture, the taxicab business in most urban areas has become a dysfunctional chimeric melding of regulator and regulated, a single conjoined entity that is completely incapable of forward movement, forward thought, or in fact significant change of any kind. The sad fact is that Uber and its ilk will very likely destroy the current system entirely before any meaningful change in regulation occurs, which perhaps is a blessing because that will make it much easier to start over from scratch when the inevitable complete regulatory rewrite finally occurs. The cab companies and their regulatory pets/masters have proven incapable of providing the kind of service Uber does, and they will pay the price for their inability to adjust to the new reality. Forced rapid change in a well-established market is seldom pretty, but if you sit back and let it all play out, in a few years you'll see new cab companies working under new regulations providing new and improved services that will probably look a lot more like Uber than the old medallion taxi fleets. It's inevitable.

In other words, it's just progress, folks, nothing to see here, move along...

Comment and yet... (Score 1) 275

Like a few years ago, people saying "we can all have healthcare like VA provides, they do a great job". Well, the VA is a giant government bureaucracy, with all of the problems that come with a giant government bureaucracy. It's when we pretend that more government bureaucracy will make things more efficient, less costly, or faster that we get in trouble.

And yet, the multiple giant private bureaucracies we have in the US health insurance system seem to perform so much worse (by cost, outcomes, pretty much anything you want to measure) than the big government bureaucracies managing the healthcare systems of just about every other modern industrialized democracy.

Comment Re:What's really shocking about this (Score 4, Informative) 213

What's really shocking is that the police invested any effort in tracking down a mobile phone thief. The victim must have been someone with influence.

Yep. In at least one case mentioned in TFA the phone was taken from a police facility parking lot. You know that phone had to belong to a cop. From the article:

In Baltimore, at least, it’s how the police tracked the man they suspected stole a phone from the back seat of a car parked outside the city’s central booking facility in 2009. Two days after the theft, an officer said in a court filing that detectives found Danell Freeman holding the phone in the doorway of an East Baltimore public housing complex. The court filing did not say how detectives knew to look for the phone there, but a police surveillance log indicates they used a stingray.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get that level of service if my phone was taken.

Comment Re:Yes (Score 2) 698

If the Police can have it....then so should we the citizenry....

This is a more significant point than you might think. The court in this case specifically cited the fact that stun guns are not used by the military:

there is nothing in the record to suggest that they are readily adaptable to use in the military

But as you say they are used by our increasingly militant police force. It seems to me a good lawyer should be able to use the judge's own words against him, making the case for stun gun rights by pointing out the growing police usage, which is patently only a step away from military use. Frankly, I can't see these bans being upheld by a supreme court that has already struck down outright bans on handguns.

Comment Re:I have a suspicion (Score 1) 110

My impression of so-called 'junk DNA' is that they're like some conditional (if/then) statements in a programming language: the condition required to run that code may rarely, if ever, occur, therefore that code sits there 99.9999999999% of the time doing absolutely nothing. Except, of course, for that one time when it does run. We've made much progress in the last 100 or so years with regards to understanding the mechanisms of life, but we're far, far away still from understanding all of it.

Hmm, Mod Up or Reply, tough choice, but I have to go with reply - hopefully someone else will mod your comment up - because I agree with you completely. The old "90% of the brain is unused" thing is exactly the right comparison to make, one I've been using for a long time whenever the subject of junk DNA comes up. The fact is that nature simply doesn't operate so inefficiently. The idea that evolution would have maintained huge tracts of completely unusable genetic code serving no purpose at all for millions of years makes about as much sense as an incredibly complex and highly evolved organ that is only 10% functional, it's just not gonna happen. Evolutionary pressures ensure that over long periods of time truly unneeded pieces of an organism are either turned to other useful purposes, or lost altogether (although there may be a vestigial period before that happens). I'm fully confident that there is indeed a purpose, possibly several purposes, to the large noncoding regions of DNA in the human genome, and just because we don't yet know exactly what that purpose may be is no reason to be calling those regions "junk".

Comment insurance company greed (Score 1) 204

In the United States, which is where California is, comprehensive insurance does not cover business-use of your vehicle.

The thing is, I think in every state in the US (may be wrong) every single driver MUST by law have liability insurance for every vehicle they own. The cost of this insurance is dependent on many things, but the amount of miles driven on a particular car per year is one of the main determinants. So as long as people are honest and stating the true amount of miles driven each year, it's difficult to see how any further insurance can possibly be needed just because someone delivers pizza. Everyone is already covered, period. Note that we're talking about pizza delivery and similar professions only, jobs that don't add any liability factors beyond the amount of miles driven. When you add passengers to the mix there is indeed an increase in liability, so this argument does NOT in fact apply to taxi drivers or absolve Uber. But passenger pickup should be the sole exception, for everything else no further insurance can possibly be needed. Requiring extra insurance for a delivery person smells of insurance company greed, to me.

Comment Re:Right to travel...? (Score 1) 264

Not a REASONABLE choice.

This is what happense when people relenquish CONTROL. Homeland security and their TSA dogs were supposed to just keep everybody safe, but we see it is much more than that. It's only a matter of time. until they expand on the information they require. They have already asked me for the name of Facebook account, and other information; disinformation can be useful. I provided them with nothing because "I don't have one".

TSA is also located in train stations and bus stations, and we already have Border Patrol with checkpoints far away from the border, and other law enforcement setting up checkpoints in other parts of the country, and the judges are just going along with it, which makes them accessories, or just plain stupid. They have metal detectors and police in schools, and there are rumors of Metal detectors and armed guards being set up at movie theatres and malls.

This is exactly what the Nazis did. It's what happens in all totalitarian societies, when powerful people get into political offices, and those people need removed. And many people are convinced that peaceul solutions are no longer an option.

I, uh, can't say that I agree with everything you've said (hint: parse preceding phrase carefully), but it could well be posts exactly like yours that eventually land people on the no-fly list. And I certainly wouldn't count on posting as an AC to shield you from anything.

Oh yeah, it's getting scary in America, alright.

Comment seriously, enough about IDs and illegals (Score 3, Insightful) 393

You do realize that even the most rigorous ID check in the world wouldn't have stopped an election from being subverted if these machines were used, right?

I'm tired of hearing biased party hacks and online wingnuts rant about "voter fraud" and what must to be done to stop it. The fact is, it's very hard to swing an election using ID-related fraud, and there's no evidence to indicate it has ever been a real problem or might have swung an election - and don't bother with that rabid reply with links to an example, it might possibly have happened once or twice in some insignificant local race somewhere, but that's completely irrelevant when at the same time WE HAVE STEAMING PILES OF SHIT LIKE THIS MACHINE BEING WIDELY USED MAKING IT TRIVIAL FOR SOMEONE TO ALTER EVERY SINGLE VOTE CAST IN ANY MANNER THEY WANT!!! So spare me the crap about ID laws being essential to combat fraud, those shouting that the loudest somehow managed to say nothing about the glaringly obvious potential for major fraud with electronic voting machines, despite those vulnerabilities being fully pointed out at the time by various security experts. Those detailed reports were completely ignored by the same folks claiming to be so concerned now.

The real agenda behind voter ID laws is insultingly obvious.

Comment Re: Weather forecasting has a way to go (Score 1) 43

Weather often varies dramatically over small distances. It may be sunny at the studio and raining 1/2 a mile away where you are. Rain predictions are not 50% chance that a given spot will get an inch of rain. The prediction is that 50% of a large area will get a inch of rain. Big difference between those.

Not exactly. From the wikipedia Chance of Precipitation page:

if there is a 100% probability of rain covering one half of a city, and a 0% probability of rain on the other half of the city, the POP for the city would be 50%. A 50% chance of a rainstorm covering the entire city would also lead to a POP of 50%. The POP thus usually expresses a combination of degree of confidence and areal coverage.

Note that the Storm Prediction Center uses a different method when they give percentages for tornadoes and other severe weather. A 25% for tornadoes on a SPC convective outlook graphic means there is a 25% chance of a tornado within 25 miles of any given point in the area outlined on the map. As an aside, 25% using this method is pretty damn high, so if you ever see that indicated for your area you should really pay attention.

How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One to hold the giraffe and one to fill the bathtub with brightly colored power tools.