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Comment: And on the minus side... (Score 1) 57

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49501301) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society
While this sometimes pays off, when circumstances line up correctly, it is vital to keep the limitations in mind:

Lower cost has made it much more likely that random bystanders have some level of video recording, rather than none; but entities with ample resources also take advantage of reduced costs, which is why, say, nontrivial areas of the developed world are effectively saturated with automated LPR systems. There is a win for those cases where it previously would have been the word of someone who counts vs. the word of some nobody; but elsewhere reduced costs and improve capabilities make having a big budget and legal power even more useful.

Improved surveillance only changes the game at the 'evidence' stage. If legal, public, or both, standards aren't sufficiently in your favor, improved evidence is anywhere from irrelevant to actively harmful. You can have all the evidence you want; but if the DA refuses to indict, or the 'viral' pile-on targets the victim rather than the aggressor, it doesn't help you much. Had McHenry's tirade been a bit cleverer, or her target a shade more unsympathetic, odds are good that the attendant in question would be being hounded as we speak.

Comment: re: Socialism? Not such a great answer ..... (Score 1) 58

by King_TJ (#49501121) Attached to: For the most recent tax year ...

Both of the major political parties in the U.S. are FULL of liars and opportunists. That's the nature of politics.

That doesn't mean you can't have the occasional sincere person who affiliates themselves with one of the 2 big party platforms, simply because it's practically a requirement to get elected. And then, it turns out they actually want to do things that help the average citizen -- not just further their own agenda.

IMO, if you want some real relief from excessive taxation, your best bet is looking towards the candidates who seem to best fit the mold of independents, yet are running as Republicans or Democrats anyway.

Socialism, IMO, solves nothing. Each country has its own unique problems and situation, so you can't just do a direct "America vs. Canada" comparison and conclude that it's a "better deal to live in Canada". People keep trying to do this with the neutral countries too (Denmark, etc.) -- yet they're ignoring major differences, like the amount of land belonging to the nations. Sure, they give you all kinds of government benefits like free healthcare and large amounts of paid time off from work if your wife has a kid. But they also tax people at a higher rate than the U.S. does, on the whole, to accomplish it. And there total population is much smaller. There are things you can do pretty easily when you don't have to scale it up too big. But then you're also stuck living in a nation that has fewer good job opportunities because there are simply far fewer square miles of space where people would open new businesses and create things.

The U.S. needs some serious political reform .... but not a change of basic principles of governance. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and overall concept of being a Democratic Republic are pretty solid.

If the U.S. only did ONE thing; putting a cap on military spending to no more than 2% of the annual GNP, it would cut the budget deficit in HALF -- and would be right in line with the budget most nations have for the military.

Comment: re: woman in Oregon (Score 1) 257

by King_TJ (#49500249) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

The original story I read was the one shared by KPLR TV (channel 11) in St. Louis:


But this story has been edited since I first read it last week, as far as her punishment for the offense. (I even shared it on Facebook last week and it received comments from people who read the link and were outraged that she received such a light sentence for the crime.)

Perhaps it was in error, since they now give a date she's supposed to return to court and only speak of her being released on bail in the meantime.

Comment: The important question... (Score 3, Interesting) 130

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49498339) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt
The article does not mention where the cost of this error is going to fall. This seems like an important detail. On a sufficently complex project, one of the bevy of subcontractors fucking something up isn't a huge surprise; but I would be very, very, disappointed if NASA wasn't able to contract sufficiently vigorously to make the vendor eat the cost of delivering the goods as specified, rather than paying them for their effort no matter how well or badly they do.

Comment: Re:30 day suspension of pilot's license for prev. (Score 1) 257

by ScentCone (#49496901) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.
I don't believe you actually need a pilot's license to fly anything characterized as an "ultralight" aircraft, as these tape-and-balsawood gyrocopters appear to be. Doesn't mean the FAA can't fine your ass, of course, when you do dumb crap like flying a possibly deadly set of large rotors right past crowds of tourists at low altitudes in an urban area like DC.

Comment: Another load of Federal B.S. (Score 5, Insightful) 257

by King_TJ (#49496469) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

It was abundantly clear that this guy did this act as a political protest and informed people in the press a YEAR in advance that this was his plan. Secret service officials were informed about it and determined the guy wasn't a psycho or had a criminal background or anything else alarming, so they basically ignored it as a non-concern. Then, days before he did it, he let people know he was about to do it, too!

If you wanted to give him a slap on the wrist... say, a fine for violating the rules on airspace? Sure, I think he even fully expected as much. Perhaps confiscate his gyro-copter too. Whatever.... But banning him from setting foot in the District of Columbia and talking about YEARS of prison time? That's outrageous.

Just last week I read about a psycho woman in Oregon who bashed a guy's skull in with an aluminum baseball bat on their first date, when he went out there to finally visit her in person after a 2 year long online relationship. They only gave her a sentence of a few MONTHS in jail for the incident, despite her planning the whole thing and getting another woman to assist her with it - AND saying she got the idea from something she read or saw that said it only takes 7 pounds of pressure to snap someone's neck. Which person are you more concerned will do people physical harm in the future??

Comment: Re:Yeah, why not looking for ant-tools? (Score 1) 88

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495677) Attached to: World's Oldest Stone Tools Discovered In Kenya
Alas, the only known emergent sentience is the one that exists in the neuron colony inside each of our skulls; but there are some pretty damn cool sub-sentient emergent behaviors even in quite limited organisms. Bacteria in biofilms do some very impressive things, as do slime molds when they form masses.

It's too bad that (to the best of my knowledge, and I've hunted a bit), no organisms have evolved to exploit RF signalling. It's not inconceivable, loads of organisms use electrical signalling internally, a fair number have magnetic sensory structures, and a variety of common metals are amenable to biological chemistry if you need a better antenna; but that's the sort of thing that would make linking multiple nervous systems with reasonable speed and without direct contact possible.

Comment: Re:Buyer's remorse (Score 1) 319

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495603) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan
I would hope that, should any impropriety be found in the contracting process, that the superintendent and any collaborators are dealt with as harshly as possible.

As for Apple, I'd be curious to know how much terminating the deal would involve for them. Obviously they'd rather have the sales than not; but there is a big difference between 'not making sales we had previously expected to make' and 'large piles of used inventory being returned and/or inventory prepared for this specific contract now without a destination.'

Particularly if it is only the former, Apple might well cave(not for honor's sake; but because an 'iPads in Education Program a Giant Clusterfuck; Lawsuits Fly!' is not a headline that Apple PR wants running any longer than necessary); if it's the latter they might be harder to convince.

Comment: Re:Sign off. (Score 1) 319

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495547) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan
In fairness to Apple, they have been working to improve the situation, and things are better now; but the state of the possible when this program started(~2 years ago) was rather less pleasant. They started tightly wedded to the 'device basically has one user, who has an account directly with Apple and a CC number on file' model; and it has been a rather slow path to getting support for a model where things like 'applications owned by the institution' actually works smoothly.

Apple's first-party support for remote management is still better than Android's; but their grip is tight enough that it is them or nothing, while Android is all over the map; but 3rd parties can actually offer options without the keys to the OS.

Comment: Re:Sign off. (Score 1) 319

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495447) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan
Wow, asking you to do the work so that they can deliver a sales pitch is really, really, nervy.

Are you running something in-house(or off the shelf but fairly heavily specialized) enough that they couldn't just put together an equivalent test environment on their end and use that for the sales pitch, or are they actually that lazy and entitled?

We certainly deal with doing the various things required to make what our users choose work; that's sort of what they pay us for; but I wouldn't have imagined a salesweasel demanding that I set up their tech demo for them.

"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity." - David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"