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Comment: Re:Cashless can't happen, here is why ... (Score 5, Insightful) 482

by arth1 (#47446257) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

The ONLY thing required for this to happen is secure communications.

That's like saying "the ONLY thing required is world peace".
What admins and engineers have known for a long time, and which people like Snowden provided evidence for is that secure communication is not a given, and highly unlikely to be an option for the masses.

If the government won't let people have a shadow economy they can't monitor or control, expect physical alternatives to take their place. There's plenty of precedence for turning to valuable metals when the currency cannot be trusted. And there are examples of governments banning both gold and silver trade as a kneejerk reaction, but that just moves the market to something else.

Comment: Re:LEDs (Score 1) 240

by arth1 (#47446001) Attached to: My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

I'm switching out my lightbulbs - to halogen lights.
I can't stand the visible flickering of LED lights, nor that they don't light in a continuous spectrum. Some colors will show stronger and some less in LED light, which irritates me.
It's like listening to music with an 18-band equalizer, and three random knobs turned all the way up, and the rest down.

Halogen lights don't have that problem, and you can get them in many color temperatures. They're far more efficient than regular incandescent bulbs, while still having the advantages of an unbroken spectrum and little flickering. They're also safer for the environment to dispose of than LEDs.

Comment: Re:result of the lab/funding system (Score 4, Interesting) 106

by pavon (#47444997) Attached to: Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing

I would even argue that as long as the students who did most of the work have their name listed as first author, there is nothing wrong with this arrangement. I dropped out of my master's program after the first semester because I was being pushed to publish, but wasn't being plugged into any research existing programs. Every "unique" idea that I thought of turned out to have already been studied exhaustively back in the 70's or earlier. All the favorite students in the grad program were people who ignored this inconvientent fact and managed to get rehashed bullshit accepted into conferences.

Several years later I went back to school at a large state U that plugged me into the work they were doing, showed me what the state of the art was and where there were gaps that hadn't been researched in detail. Without building off the ideas of my advisor I would have never been able to do meaningfull research that progressed the state of the art, and would have had nothing worth publishing. He deserved to have his name on my papers.

Comment: Re:Garbage In (Score 1) 231

by arth1 (#47442941) Attached to: Avast Buys 20 Used Phones, Recovers 40,000 Deleted Photos

Out of the 2 Android phones that I have had, zero of them came with Facebook preinstalled. I blame the mobile phone provider.

Your blame is at least partially misplaced. Manufacturers also bundle software, regardless of the carrier. The last two Android phones I had were bought directly from the manufacturer as never-locked phones (not to be confused with unlocked, which means the carrier lock has been removed). Yet there still was plenty of bundled and uninstallable software, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Drive, Hangout and Picasa apps and integration for pretty much everything. I have disabled more than 20 bundled apps.

The manufacturer assumes that everyone uses the big social media sites and want to tell their friends (and their friends) about everything they do, including what music (or audio books) they play, what pictures they take, and where they currently are.

It's good that social exhibitionism became acceptable (thanks to Jennifer Ringley more than anyone), but that it became the norm to the point that it's bundled is something I strongly object to. It's like buying a toilet and finding out that it (unadvertised) comes with wan connected crotch cams that can't be removed, just temporarily disabled.

Comment: Re:Airspace (Score 1) 191

by danheskett (#47440893) Attached to: FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

The problem is that you presume that you should have more access to the air space than anyone else. You shouldn't. For a long time the cost made access to air space prohibitive except for a small class of wealthy individuals or large companies. That's over.

It's time to make it fair. You have no greater claim to airspace than anyone else. Your desire to tool around in an aircraft for hobby in no way supersede my desire to do the same with an UAV.

Comment: Re:The FAA needs to follow the law. (Score 1) 191

by danheskett (#47440879) Attached to: FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

The administration takes laws (like their own favorite, the ACA), and completely ignores hard-wired dates and other requirements as it suits them for political leverage with the portion of the voters to whom they pander. Happily, that particular instance is about to be challenged in a civil suit coming out of congress - that's very good news.

This is not exactly true, but the spirit is right.

Any administration has two prerogatives that they exercise:

1. Upholding and enforcing the laws, "faithfully". This is the ultimate judgement question. Imagine that Congress passes law intended to allow any person to breathe free, and that the penalty for violating that law is death. But Congress makes a mistake and passes language that says "one person may breathe free". Is the President required to go around, arresting and trying people for all breathing free, when only person is supposed to breathe free? No, he is not. That is the essence of "faithfully".

2. The FAA, like DHS and many other agencies, have prevailed upon Congress to grant their administrators massive deference to the implementation of rules and application of law. This is a worrying trend that has gone back many decades, but has really picked up in the last 20 years. In the past, Congress would work on bills in committee and in markup and in conference, to implement many of the smaller and fine details in the law.

Laws like the ACA are said to be very long, but really, they aren't that long. Most of it is technical wording to amendment the text of other laws or titles. In terms of detail, there isn't as much as you might think. And it's full of certifications, "as the director sees fit", and other various elastic clauses.

This administration especially has focus on passing laws that have very little meat to them excluding a set of broad goals and somewhat corresponding powers. Almost all of the commonly cited abridgements of the ACA fall into one of three categories:

a. A portion of the law that was left to the descretion of the Director.

b. Unenforceable - i.e. whatever the law says, it must be real and practiacable, or it is not enforceable by a Court. If the law says you must grow wings and fly away by August 1st, 2014 and you fail to do so, you can't be held to penalty by a Court. The same is true of the ACA. If they say all employers must provide accetable health insurance by a certain date, and a list of acceptable health insurance is not developed, then the penalty is not enforceable in Court. It's a matter of due process.

c. A portion of the law that creates no grieved party that has standing. This one is most interesting to me personally. Imagine a law passed that says that if certain conditions are met by two other parties, I am a poopy pants. Who can I see for my poopy pant status? The answer is: probably no one. There is no harm, so there is no basis for a successful suit.

In the end, your spirit is right though. The question is: what is the recourse when the Administration does not follow the law. The Courts can intervene, but in a practical sense, the Court has limited enforcement options.

The answer is: Congress can cut off the money. Unfortunately, the only House that can appropriate money is also hopelessly broken and run without really any interest in governing. For example, with this FAA thing, in the past, say when the House was run by Speaker Tip O'Neil and the White House was controlled by Republicans, Congress knew how to keep the White House on a tight rope. That House often attached funding directly to enforcement and deadlines. They would insert language into must pass bills, like funding appropriations, for things that they wanted done by the Administration. These were small-ish things. It would be perfectly in tradition to design funding for the FAA to ensure that the FAA met the legally required deadlines, by inserting language into funding appropriations that, say, reduced FAA funding for executive salaries and benefits by 1% for each day past the deadline that the rulemaking dragged on.

Unfortunately the current GOP really has no taste for governing. This type of thing requires a staff that is very competent, who have some weight in the Administrative branches, and who know the in's and out of policy. Whatever their strong points, the current GOP House really has no skills for actually making policy. Picking huge political battles that nearly break the government, only to cave at the last minute, is probably the most this GOP can accomplish. It is a complete and total myth that they can't do anything with just one House of one branch of government. The reality is that, properly managed, the GOP controlled House could force the Administration to do almost anything. Their problem is that they gave away the power of the purse for the length of their entire term. A huge,huge, huge mistake since that is their only power.

In fact, the best thing they could have done is only appropriate money month by month, and make the directors of each agency come and justify their funding requests every month for the entire two year terms. (But of course, that means less time for all the other important stuff they do.. like... err, well, I'm sure it's out there).

Comment: Re:Tea-Bagger Click Bait (Score 1) 191

by danheskett (#47440791) Attached to: FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

You may have a point about low-wage labor, but it's lost on the fact before 1940, the Federal government didn't even know about foreigners inside the borders of the United States. Up until then, aliens who could physically get to the US didn't even have to register, and did not have to do or not do anything special.

Comment: Re:Not a rule (Score 1) 191

by danheskett (#47440779) Attached to: FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

Rather, the FAA is drawing a different line here.

It's quite a bit worse because they aren't drawing a line. Is there any rule making that has completed that supports their commercial vs. non-commercial claims. And it's not clear that the FAA is enforcing any existing promulgated rule or regulation.

Their actions against commercial drone operators just appear to be arbitrary.

Comment: Re:Why are the number of cabs [artificially] limit (Score 1) 89

by arth1 (#47436569) Attached to: Lyft's New York Launch Halted By Restraining Order

It's rather the opposite. When people take a cab, they don't take a car, and won't spend time driving around looking for a parking space.
Having enough taxicabs also reduces the amount of drink driving, which is a serious problem here in the US.
And you free up parking lots and parking garages, which can be used for other infrastructure, which reduces the need to travel even more.

I've lived in cities with plenty of taxis, and I've lived in cities with next to none. The cities that had a surplus of taxis also had the least amount of traffic problems.
London has around twice as many taxicabs as New York City, for a comparable population size. Other European cities have an even higher ratio of taxis per citizens, with a 1:100 ratio not being uncommon. And those cities have the least amount of problems with automobile traffic too.

Comment: Re:I hate to imagine it (Score 1) 124

by arth1 (#47431477) Attached to: Child Thought To Be Cured of HIV Relapses, Tests Positive Again

If the reinfection is also from the mother (which is what is most likely)

How can you say that is most likely?
HIV does not spread easily. The panic times when people wore gloves and masks around the HIV infected are long gone, thankfully. The HIV virus spreading to family members is quite rare.
Diseases staying dormant for a long time is, however, not unusual at all.
So again, on what basis do you draw the conclusion that a re-infection is most likely?

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