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Comment Re:Not the best summary... (Score 1) 156 156

Unfortunately it's against that law to just leave you to die for your own stupidity in such cases and society invariably ends up bearing the costs. It's far less expensive to vaccinate people than it is to deal with the fallout from not doing so. Up until we can agree that you can contractually permit society ignoring any consequences for your poor decision, the pragmatic solution is to require it.

One could also take a position that not vaccinating your children is tantamount to neglect as they are incapable of making such a choice at that age and you're merely forcing your own beliefs on the child whether they would objectively want to make that decision in later life or not. Again, were there a system by which society could be absolved of having to deal with the consequences of an individual's poor decisions, this wouldn't be an issue, but we do not live in that world.

It's not morally justifiable, but the laws that are in place make coercion necessary from a financial point of view. If the government is going to force me to pay for something, I'd like to pay as little as possible and that means vaccinating the population to the greatest extend possible.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 5, Interesting) 360 360

Skepticism is healthy, and when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. However, this is being repeatedly validated by multiple credible sources, which means that it should be accepted. If the crowd here is skeptical, it's only because we've see so much junk science over the years that has been latched onto and all the damage such things do. Look at the anti-vaccination movement, which has resulted in an increase in cases of diseases that were practically non-existent for decades.

Everything that's generally accepted today went through similar amounts of skepticism at some point and was borne out by repeated studies to prove its validity. Anything less and you've got something more akin to a religion and articles of faith.

Comment Re:I don't think it's a ho-hum (Score 1) 245 245

I disagree. Canada is just as bad as the U.S. in some regards. For example, if you want to purchase blank media, you're paying a piracy tax to the media companies because they lobbied that legislation successfully. There are plenty of other examples of the Canadian parties bending to the whims of various special interests.

From a purely theoretical stand point, it's a lot easier to lobby/bribe a party (single entity) than it is to bribe a large number of individual representatives. You even point out that the individual MPs are simply expected to vote with their party. Given that most probably don't understand the stuff they're voting on (same thing in the U.S. for most topics and the average Congress critter) voting the party line is an easy cop out, so it only becomes a matter of getting the person pushing the party line in one's pocket.

I think that there are better solutions for dealing with lobbying issues such as enforcing single term limits for every position at a federal level and forbidding collecting campaign contributions or campaigning while holding office. The only way to bribe a representative would be to do so before they are elected and because they can only have a single term, there's no incentive for them to stay bought.

Comment Re: Kickstarter forever (Score 1) 83 83

Just because you're not receiving ownership of the company does not mean it isn't an investment. Whichever dictionary Google uses for results defines the word as follows:

the action or process of investing money for profit or material result.

The Kickstarter backer rewards or eventual product is the material reward in this case.

Also, have you ever heard the phrase "Improving education is investing in the future of our country." or something similar to that effect? Clearly no one is talking about owning some part of future generations or anything along those lines.

Comment Re:The important details: Slower and over 540$ (Score 1) 75 75

The E series (6 core, no graphics) tends to trail the regular release by almost a year. The 6-core Haswell chips just came out last September, whereas Haswell launched in the summer of 2013. We probably won't see the first 14 nm 6-core parts until Broadwell comes out. Anyone who's looking to buy high-end Intel CPUs is probably well aware of this.

Comment Re:I don't think it's a ho-hum (Score 5, Insightful) 245 245

I think the biggest problem is that a two party system completely dumbs down the whole process of government and removes nuance. If you're pro-gun, you pretty much have to be a Republican and if you're pro-gay, you pretty much have to be a Democrat.

Remove the winner-take-all election contents and rather divide districts such that they elect several representatives from each district. This eventually leads to choices that don't exist along party lines and you can find a candidate that more closely represents your views (e.g., pro-gun, pro-gay, anti-abortion, pro-immigration, etc.) that has a reasonable chance at election.

Any changes that make it more difficult for political parties to operate would go a long way towards improving the country. Politicians would have to start voting their own mind, or better yet talking with their electorate, rather than simply falling into line with the party, and there would be less pandering to small, vocal parties that serve as important parts of the political parties' bases.

Comment Re:It's evident that mgmt is running out of scapeg (Score 5, Interesting) 455 455

Perhaps they're also looking for ways to annoy enough people into quitting so that they don't have the pay out any severance when the next round of layoffs starts. This seems like something that would push a few people over the edge, though I suspect it might be some of their better workers. Then again, the current suit only cares long enough to hit some bonuses based on poorly chosen metrics in order to cash out with a golden parachute while the company collapses.

Comment Re:Spreadsheets (Score 3, Interesting) 142 142

You can use them for about anything where you need to keep track of some data and a database is overkill. Back in the day, I had a teacher using spreadsheet software for a grade book that could automatically sum the scores and apply a curve instead of having to do it all by hand. My brother would keep track of online auction data in a spreadsheet. I've seen a few people use them to make a quick and easy chore list for their kids. They're also useful for kids who want to make some simple graphs or charts for a school report. There are probably dozens of other ways that people use them on a regular basis that I might never imagine myself.

Comment Re:Insurance Costs (Score 1) 252 252

I don't see how that precludes that average Joe from owning it. It only means that they'll be having it drive for Uber or some similar service while they're at work on not using it. Obviously not everyone will do that or even want to do that, but so long as it makes financial sense to do so, enough people will.

Comment Insurance Costs (Score 1) 252 252

Possibly as soon as you factor in insurance costs. Assuming that autonomous vehicles can live up to some of the hype related to safety, the insurance premiums should be a pittance compared to what many people currently pay. If you have a car that's only likely to be at fault (or better yet, in an accident at all if it can drive defensively well enough) in the event of catastrophic failure, it should cost far less to insure. The initial cost may be higher, but could be amortized over the length of its ownership in lowered insurance premiums.

To some extend that does make it more of a luxury item, but many products start off that way until economics of scale and market competition can drive down the prices. Also it's interesting it that based on insurance costs, the value proposition for an autonomous vehicle improves for people who are the worst drivers. Reducing accidents on their end goes a long way to making the road better for everyone.

Comment Re:Finally! (Score 4, Insightful) 151 151

For a long time I didn't mind having ads enabled on Slashdot as they tended to behave well, but recently they've been beyond annoying. They make noise and eat inordinate amounts of CPU time for no purpose. When will advertisers realize it's better to make a simple ad that's respectful to the audience than to make one that no one will ever care to look at? I don't doubt that they can get by fine in general when advertising to the unwashed masses, but this is a tech site and the users are no strangers to ad-blocking plug-ins or other means of never viewing their content.

Comment Twitter (Score 4, Insightful) 169 169

I'd almost immediately consider anyone making a threat on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media site to be among the least credible threats. Anyone stupid enough to blab about those plans in public is too much of an idiot to get anywhere close to successfully accomplishing such a thing.

The more credible threats are the ones posted on message boards or in chat rooms or other small corners of the internet where like-minded folk gather. Most of what you find there will still be people bouncing words and ideas around their little echo chamber, but a few might be crazy enough to try. Even then, I'd be far more concerned with the people who makes threats about shooting up a mall or blowing up a school as that's a far more attainable goal on a much softer target.

Any threat worth devoting resources to stopping is likely to be using encryption or avoiding the internet as much as possible and trying not to draw attention to themselves.

A better system would be to look at the online history and behavior of any individuals who have committed acts of terrorism or engaged is mass shootings or other violence to see if you can identify future cases based on any common behavior. That would be a far better use of resources than keeping tabs on some Jimbo who's always spouting his mouth off about the gov'mint being evil.

Comment Re:Yep, keep searching (Score 0) 423 423

I almost believe that Obama wanted them to do so, because it's such a ridiculous complaint that one, immediately lowers the credibility of anyone complaining about it (at least in my eyes), and two, keeps them focused on something ridiculous and harmless rather than find a better avenue of attack.

If I were running for office, I'd probably start some ridiculous rumor about myself that is utterly incredulous in the hopes that my detractors pick up on it and run with it. It's just going to make their side look worse, and the more I ignore or deflect on the matter, the more they'll think they've found something and focus on it, which just makes them seem even more crazy and out of touch.

The most compelling reason to dislike a group often comes from the extreme elements within that group. PETA and Greenpeace didn't become loathed because of attacks from the outside, but rather from the actions of radical members of those groups that are often out of touch with reality. Dump as much fuel on that fire as possible and even the rank-and-file will become alienated with the group.

Comment Re:Bed Nets (Score 1) 34 34

Why aren't the locals buying bed nets themselves?

I'll guess extreme poverty is the reason, but they're not going to be buying the vaccines either, so it seems like we should be spending money on the bed nets as the cost-benefit ratio is going to be better. That doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't also do vaccination where possible, but it seems like from an economic point of view, the bed nets are what aid money or humanitarian groups should be focusing on.

Comment Bed Nets (Score 1) 34 34

From the article:

Prof Adrian Hill of the Jenner Institute, Oxford, said he was pleased and encouraged by the EMA's decision but added that the vaccine was not a "magic bullet".

He said: "A bed net is more effective than this vaccine, but nonetheless it is a very significant scientific achievement.

While research into a vaccine is great, why haven't we focused efforts on supplying bed nets for everyone? I'm assuming that they'll cost less than the vaccine per unit and they also have the advantage of being reused.

Many people write memos to tell you they have nothing to say.