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Comment Re:Now... (Score 1) 412

Ants throwing sand grain sized nukes at us would definitely destroy us and all of humanity as well. There are more termites by weight than humans by weight (unless the McRib sandwich is available year round). If the ants ally with the termites, we'd have no cover from their many-nuke assault.

Your strategy sounds viable, we just send rockets with ants and their nuke sand at the aliens -- they'll never know what hit them. Bonus; if it fails, we got a patsy. No more of those damn red ants biting you at your picknick in Central Florida!

Comment Re:Now... (Score 1) 412

However, even us bumpkins on earth know to throttle down our engines when entering a dock.

The gravitational distortion used to propel the crafts FTL are not likely going to be used -- or at least not at full strength in a confined area as they'd be shifting other ships around as well. Of course any gravity distortion field is likely to have a VERY large area of distortion (like one wave peak to peak the length of a planet) and it would take an order of magnitude less ships to diffuse the light.

HOWEVER, any analysis of the light passing through such a distortion would probably create a very wide gamut of light -- any analysis with a interferometer would show such an anomaly. Since we haven't heard of one - likely no gravity distorting drives.

MY GUESS is that it isn't the star getting dimmer, but an astronomical event that made the star brighter has passed. I'm thinking like the exhaust at the pole of a black hole pointing at the star causing a huge flare. As the orbits of the star to the black hole have passed - it's energetic activity has passed.

I'd look for a black hole above or below the galactic plane of orbit to the West or East of the star for about 20 light years.

Comment Re:The crime of lying to a Federal Agent (Score 1) 81

The sort of people who use "yes I'm a terrorist" as an excuse to remove your civil rights -- or at least load up charges, are the same douche-bags who would falsify evidence because they KNEW you were guilty.

Nobody is convinced by "yes I'm a terrorist" but the dishonest and eager. It seems our local PD mentality runs all the way to our HS. If they can't find real terrorists, they keep lowering the bar to call SOMEONE a terrorist.

I can hear it now; "OK, we didn't find any weapons, but we do know that you lied when you said you packed your own bag. Scum like you will never learn."

Comment Re:Simpler explanation (Score 1) 81

It swells my heart with pride to say that the TSA has caught everyone checking YES on the question; "I am a terrorist and thanks for asking!" And exactly ZERO smart assess who can't help themselves by making fun of Homeland Security have gone unpunished.

To date, they may have saved the planet, or at least dealt with up-armored homeless people before this and the urine smell on subways escalates beyond control. Does all this splendiferous success merit a $1 trillion dollar price tag? Some cynic might say that for $500 billion we could win hearts and minds by building hospitals and schools in the nations that breed terrorism, but those are the same people check "I am a terrorist and thanks for asking!", and we'll take care of them all eventually, as our policies get more invasive and dumber.

Comment Re:The need to fix everyone else (Score 2) 308

I think that if someone brings up "I have a mental illness" that it should be treated like someone broke their leg. You don't have to dance on egg shells to talk about a foot race -- but don't expect the person with the broken leg to keep up. And insulting such a thing, well, then you should be considered an ass, or someone with Asperger or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. That doesn't mean people can't talk about empathy, just that they shouldn't expect you to have any. Maybe everything we find annoying will one day be treatable. It's hard to say what is really in your control or not -- and people without a disorder or who have been around it, won't understand that just a few chemicals can make night and day differences in a person.

If anything, we will find more of us have SOME kind of ailment that has been holding us back. The "self made men" out there will of course, think that we are becoming an "excuse society" urged on by Radio talk show pundits and the like, who make sure any expense that could be borne by big business or government, not take away from paying pundits and billionaires.

We can all sympathize with the cancer patient or the battle scarred warrior with PTSDs (at least we FINALLY call it something beyond Shell Shock). Depression and other ailments can be just as debilitating -- or even more so, yet they don't garner the "respect" of the obvious ailments. "I don't want to" sounds like an excuse, so people without the mental energy to do what they need to be doing, find ways to conceal that they have any problem -- even to themselves.

Comment Re:Good (Score 2) 138

AFAIK, the FBI can't prosecute US citizens for thought crimes.

But how is a website or BBS showing material NOT a thought crime? You might say; the materials are prohibited. But we could outlaw bibles, and then everyone with a bible would be an outlaw. What ABOUT the bible is illegal? Reading the words, of course. They'll say it's possession, but really, it's in what you might learn, think and how it might change your behavior. No clear smoking gun on Pedophilia.

So this is a thought crime. They can see, view and hear but don't DO. Crime is an act that harms people. Until someone actually affects a person or property -- no crime. The only crime is based on prohibited material.

Is the crime in viewing an actual minor, or in viewing someone who LOOKS like a minor -- or a cartoon? What if I'm married to a 26 year old woman who 4 feet tall and looks really cute? Do I go to jail? Sure these people may clearly be looking for kids -- or maybe someone likes tiny women, but how do you define such a thing and does it really matter?

The user in this case is assuming there is privacy. They are viewing material to get stimulated. They didn't touch anyone.

I hate taking the side of Pedos -- but we don't even know if all these people are actual pedophiles. Some of them might just be into extremes and next week they'll be looking at chubby chicks. Some of them may have been abused in the past. If you criminalize this -- you don't have a situation where people can seek help. There are so many cases in our own history where stigmatizing causes MORE of the thing we are trying to reduce.

This is thought crime -- pure and simple. And if the rights of people who have done NO HARM are not considered, as reprehensible as they are, then the long arm of the law might do a reach-around into something else, like colluding with each other to change laws we think are wrong.

Comment Re:Good (Score 2) 138

I agree. While I abhor sexual abuse of children (required statement), it's an easy target of outrage but has far-reaching consequences to charge criminal offenses of people who view such things on the internet. It is a thought crime -- the abuse of the children is the people making the content -- and I think it should end there.

Free access to porn has shown a relative drop in rapes. Violence in games shows a huge drop in violence (relative to the same demographic without video games -- though not sure where they find those anymore).

I think the next battlefield will be on realistic sex robots. People will be morally outraged if they look this way or that. There's no abuse because it's a mechanism. If it stops rapists, sex addicts and molesters from doing damage to real people -- what is the harm?

I think too often we have morals based laws, that don't really meet the public interest of; "what does the most good for the most people?" Sure, we all might be creeped out by someone's preferences, but by not criminalizing the USE of materials, we can better get the CREATORS of harm. And in the future, STDs, Prostitution, and Sexual offenses may take a nose dive as Sexbots hit the scene.

It would be interesting to see the real stats on whether viewing makes someone more or less likely to abuse a kid. Perhaps there's a difference when there is a blog of people reinforcing how "OK" it is. The real question is; what path prevents child abuse?

Comment Re:Who thinks up this shit? (Score 1) 232

I Believe the Mexican police or Federalis have this practice. We might start with the "get the bad guy assets" of course to fight crime and hit the bad guy where it hurts. Eventually, it becomes good funding to enhance law enforcement. Since we still have SOME infrastructure, then people get the idea we can cut taxes without looking at what that means and suddenly the forfeiture becomes a replacement for taxes -- just like a Lottery. And guess who pays more in both "let's not tax" system? You get a cookie if you guessed the poor. People who plead guilty for a lesser punishment because they can't afford to fight any charges -- and before you say it, In Georgia, you have to pay to get a public defender and even then they are too overburdened to do anything but get an automatic reduction -- something any lawyer gets just for showing up.

Well, without getting too far into a rant on how bogus our court system is where the poor are 95% automagically guilty. Eventually the police will just be shaking down people for a fee, or they loser their cars based on "might be used to do something wrong." There are too police who want to make people feel awful. I know when we criticize the police, we throw out that bone that "most police are good" -- I don't think thamanyt's true. Good people with even a little savvy, couldn't in good conscience throw someone in jail for using or selling weed, or for using or being a Prostitute. The people who can afford call girls -- are THEY getting thrown in jail? No. The same downtrodden who procure streeetwalkers are the target. And the best way to get arrested is to hurt the feelings of the cops.

People of good conscience would be squeezed out over time, because the last thing crooked people want is honest people who might turn them in. Civil forfeiture is just one of those things you get a Banana Republic. I feel like our Supreme Court has done an excellent job in this regard.

Comment Re: Climatology (Score 1) 288

I'm certainly not a Liberal, because I remember growing up with them and they were very tactful, never spoke in sweeping generalizations, and were polite. I'm just not happy enough nor educated enough to be a true Liberal. I don't quote Keats nor do I have one sweater vest (OK, just the one).

I'm a Progressive. I'm a pissed of Liberal who believes in Democratic Socialism and enough to make sure nobody slips through the cracks but not centralized planning or a perfectly level playing field that Communism requires (note: Communism does not require central planning). I know we have to guarantee rights and I think going back to stronger restrictions on corporations, as the Founding Fathers intended, is an absolute necessity.

If you did not intend the meaning that your words implied, I apologize, But what I said still applies to what impression most people would construe by your post.

Socialism is the only path right now for America if we want to avoid the dystopian world I believe we are headed for -- and ending the "dollars = votes" lobbying system. Do people honestly think most people will be able to have a decent income in the labor force 10 years from now? Self-driving cars means self-driving trucks and taxis. We can't even count on fast food burger flipping. Free education and healthcare aren't even enough to deal with the indentured servitude we will be facing.

PS.
I'm not sure why I'm making these comments in a discussion of String Theory.

Comment Re:Very few mediums die completely (Score 1) 169

Streaming is dolling out compressed data (usually video or audio) at a rate that the connection and underlying network can consistently deliver, although congestion can cause momentary reductions. So you watch the video, without downloading everything. Downloading requires the entire file, and the data rate fluctuates but can move faster than the guaranteed average data rate that streaming uses -- and it can usually pass more data, especially with a congested connection.

iTunes can allow you to stream music WHILE you are downloading it. So you are left with a complete file -- not a cache of a segment of it. A lot of streaming services don't allow you to save the file and I'm guessing they hash or destroy the cache, which you'll notice when you skip to a prior moment of the stream and you have to wait for it to download enough to buffer, which is the caching of enough data to play at the current guaranteed bandwidth (I'm pretty sure the other term for this QOS; Quality Of Service).

This new Slashdot crowd is making feel a lot smarter than the old Slashdot crowd.

And in case people are missing what "DAT" files means; Digital Audio Tape. it's using a magnetic tape to store Digital Information and was orginally intended as a new audio standard, didn't catch on, and became a way to back up computer files (usually SLOWLY). It's like people thinking that HDMI has higher resolution than the 15 pin RGB cables or DVI. I'm at a loss for any real comparison other HDMI was intended to create a standard AND include DRM (seems they abandoned this because people could just use a TOR for the video and audio and like DRM on a DVD, it just added more costs and support headaches) -- there is likely an upper bandwidth, but I'm not sure what that would be for any of them. Even Vinyl or Cassette Tapes, which are analog, can be used to store digital information -- you just have to encode it a different way, with more checksums and smaller chunks likely, and it isn't as efficient (but it was cheaper). I remember when DAT was expensive, I spent $300 to get a 40 meg external SCSI hard drive and the major investment where I worked was a device that could make a CD-ROM to be used as a master for duplication.

Oh what was I talking about? Get off my lawn!

Comment Re:Very few mediums die completely (Score 1) 169

CDs killed vinyl just as surely as digital has killed CDs. That a few holdouts still use them does not make them any less dead as a mainstream medium. You can still ride a horse if you like, and once a year a significant number of people even watch a horse race. That does not mean that the automobile did not kill the horse.

There is a lot of self righteous Nerdiness that will lambast this comment. Whatever confusion this poster might have regarding Analog vs. Digital, I'm more worried about the extinction of horses, how cars have been killing them, and how riding a horse and watching a horse is a good analogy for digital to analog. If the horse has a bowel movement is that a core dump? -- and If I don't watch it, will I have a checksum error? The mind boggles.

I don't have the Geek cred of many here, but I still do learn a lot even while I see more jokes and errors than before. Slashdot changes, and we embrace the buggy whip again, because it's very Steam Punk.

Comment Re: Climatology (Score 2, Informative) 288

Everything you said just annoys me.

Liberals don't receive any more money from government than do Conservatives. I can't speak for everyone, but WE don't ask for "bigger government" just to get more -- a lot of us might not get welfare. We just have a bigger tribe; meaning, we care about things beyond our family, team, church, country. People. None of us want "more regulations" -- just the RIGHT ones. You know who sponsors most of the regulations? Big companies. You know who does MOST of the Medicare fraud? About 70% or more (if memory serves) by large institutions. "Big" government means nothing. There are about 1 million people employed due to Bush (OK, half of them, maybe) who are in the security, intelligence, and other cloak and dagger organizations. I want that to shrink because MY THEORY of human behavior is the best security is being fair to people and they will not blow you up because they have a shared future and a stake in the community they are now a part of. It's not 100% perfect, but it's a lot better (with historic justification) than the security via intimidation and heavy handed law enforcement.

"view it as a humanitarian crisis so you can convince yourselves (ie rationalize) you are doing the right thing despite fleecing citizens through idiotic taxes, regulations, etc." None of those whine points have much to do with each other. How is Climate Change NOT going to cause a humanitarian crisis? People who can't eat or who are displaced by rising tides or drought will go where they can survive. Not being able to live is a Humanitarian issue, a million people migrating is a crisis. Regardless of "Liberalism" or "Democrat" -- it's going to happen.

"idiotic taxes, regulations, etc. whose costs get passed down to them despite being levied on evil oil companies."
So by this logic, no taxes and no regulations would make things great. I don't like idiotic taxes. Government pays 54% of the bill for medical care in this country, and we spend about 4 times more per person than Germany. I'd much rather pay about 10% more in taxes and stop fearing sickness or retirement. So we pay MORE to get crap. Your co-pay usually is the real value of the service, and the Insurance companies negotiate and pay, then charge the doctors and hospitals more for insurance and pay radio show hosts to talk about torte reform. If they were good for the system; why would they have incredibly huge profits? Paying less than you paid for the insurance is how you make profit. It's an idiotic system. Hospitals also can vary over 9 times in cost for the same procedure -- the competitive market to lower costs is not in effect.

What's idiotic is those Republicans who think they can have two Santa Klaus's. They can get stuff which they happily take advantage of, and not pay for it. Patriotism and fairy dust solves everything. So while you might hear about this or that wasteful boondoggle -- just understand those are tiny fractions of the budget, and usually it's due to a politician paying back a supporter on the country dime. Like the Republicans just in office paying 10X more for mercenaries and failing consultants to provide services that the military provided. That raked in a lot of cash. Just tell us where you would cut the budget to reduce the stupid. Would you let seniors die of starvation or go homeless? You want to shut down the military? How about roads and water? Education? Law enforcement? I mean, seriously, can you just look at a budget sometime and not see that things are allocated for things you get a benefit from?

"costs get passed down to them despite being levied on evil oil companies."
If something costs a certain amount, and every company gets charged the same amount, it becomes the cost of business. IF the costs get passed on, then people will need higher wages, companies that depend on Oil or whatever will raise prices. It's been shown that over time, it creates no real burden as the market adjusts to the higher prices of whatever good. Less oil might be used.

On the other hand, if the company is already making large profits, the marketplace is actually deciding the price. Costs come out of profits, just as every noob learns in economics 101. Though a few courses of Micro and Macro economics, "supply and demand" and people have learned just enough to be annoying. Supply and Demand was the economy 30 years ago. Software companies can sell an infinite amount of applications after they cover the cost of producing the work. Service companies provide services and don't need factories. Cola companies might have to pay 5 pennies more if too many people want their soda which is about 10 cents to produce (marketing and distribution are the real costs). Financial Services companies have accounted for 33% to 50% of the profits in the economy; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... . Note: they don't really make anything, just shift digits. How many digits can we have?

Government regulations can do damage when they cause too much paperwork, barriers to entry, compliance obstacles, and are not fairly applied. For instance; Sarbanes Oxley requires everything to be documented, but not enough budget for people or systems to view the avalanche of paper. Big Finance loves it because it's a huge burden on small and medium sized firms. And then there are companies like WalMart who underpay, and teach employees to use public services. Other companies who pay a fairer wage to keep employees, are damaged and cannot compete. When costs are not level in an industry, the company with the lower costs expands. Thus, you have more employees making less money and using more government resources.

Simpler regulations and enough money to hire enough inspectors and you can help keep business on a level playing field.

I want smaller government; so get rid of the clandestine organizations, HS, and half the military and police (but pay the good troops and cops twice as much). The future is in special ops and drones anyway, since most of our battles are with small militias hiding in populations. I'm all for less taxes and regulations -- but I know we need SOME tax and regulations. I recognize the SMART taxes and regulations. It's like saying carbon dioxide is good or bad. I'm super duper annoyed that I have to explain these things and we can't, like mature adults, talk about specific things and how we would tweak them.

The "free market" is not a reality. But if you want a lot less taxes and regulations, go live in one of the countries where people are leaving in Latin America. How about Haiti? Build your own roads and earthquake proof your house and hire a body guard with an Uzi. I'll go to a "idiotic socialist country" Like Sweden or Iceland.

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