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Comment: I'm no engineer, but (Score 1) 161

by argStyopa (#46797515) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper least according to the summary, wasn't this a little histrionic?

"Without the tuned mass damper, LeMessurier calculated that a storm powerful enough to take out the building hit New York every 16 years." In other words, for every year Citicorp Center was standing, there was about a 1-in-16 chance that it would collapse."

No, the "lack of a tuned mass damper" was already presupposing that the POWER was out. The power doesn't go out in NYC all that often, and even if it did...Would it have been impossible to have, I dunno, 5 backup diesel generators tested in rotation every day to provide emergency power to the tuned mass damper in the event of a coincidental power outage AND storm?

Comment: I think AGW is largely a scam (Score 0) 339

by argStyopa (#46789975) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

...but I agree with the interpretation of the law.

IANAL, but if there is indeed an exemption section to the VA FOIA that states:
"Data, records or information of a proprietary nature produced or collected by or for faculty or staff of public institutions of higher learningâ¦in the conduct of or as a result of study or research on medical, scientific, technical or scholarly issuesâ¦where such data, records or information has not been publicly released, published, copyrighted or patented." ...then pretty clearly this data is very specifically exactly that, exempt from the FOIA.

*PERSONALLY* if the research was funded by public funds, I find such an exemption execrable, but it's the law and its authors that are at fault, nor Mann at all.

PS and tangential to the point of the OP: Slashdot, it's fucking 2014. Perhaps we could invest in modern posting tech that lets us paste things like biased quotes without getting crap codes like âoe ?
Or maybe convert all postings to monotype courier, so we're reminded that slashdot's still only a handsbreath above a BBS?

Comment: Re:Hypocrisy abounds (Score 1) 804

by argStyopa (#46782167) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

To the Left, yes.

My favorite question to Democrats is: Quick, tell me 5 things that George W Bush said that were commendable.

I can easily find 5 banal positive things that Obama, or Kerry, or Clinton said that I agree with, despite disagreeing with them politically. I don't find them evil, just ignorant or misprioritizing things, so it's simple to find basic human statements I agree with.

If you can't find 5 positive things to say about your opponent, you're a zealot, and any discussion you enter is a waste of time.

Comment: Re:Gentrification? (Score 2) 358

by argStyopa (#46765835) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

I'll use Thomas Sowell's example: People like to live by water, on a shore.
There is only X shoreline.
There are two ways to apportion that shoreline.
1) money: let people buy and sell it, or
2) you can divide it up, and give a piece to everyone; of course, this results in uselessly small pieces (and you have to forbid transfers or you end up with #1), complications with inheritance (is it heritable? How do you deal with death? Marriage?)

The problem with #1 is that as the resource is finite, the prices will become very, very high.

San Francisco is a wonderful location but is extraordinarily geographically constrained. Which do you want: a dictatorship that controls everything and allocates places to people according to what they think is fair today, or a "free" market where prices skyrocket to their value and prevent any but the super-wealthy from living there?
You can't have both, as I suspect that the inefficiencies of trying to chart a middle course make it the worst possible choice.

Comment: Hypocrisy abounds (Score 1) 804

by argStyopa (#46765771) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

What's so hilarious is that to most of the commenters here, the Koch Brothers exemplify the absolute evil in the system whilst (and simultaneously) George Soros is merely 'doing the right thing' and 'helping people speak truth to power'.

One party is clearly the party of business, and business wields a lot of money. Hell, one whole tv network is dedicated to pushing their views.

The other party has draped themselves in the flag of victimhood, somehow managing to portray themselves as the oppressed when they a) are the majority, b) spent 57%(!) more in the last presidential election. They have a much smaller media network overtly supporting them, but 8-9/10 of general journalists sympathize and vote with this party.

In my view, BOTH parties are corrupt, nepotistic heads of the same beast. The idea that you support one side or the other is a Hobson's choice that keeps us running around the wheel, generating funds.

Next time someone from "the other party" pisses you off, think for a second if they weren't prompted to it by rabble rousers on their side SPECIFICALLY to make you angry. Ask any stage magician or pickpocket: controlling your attention is 90% of the trick.

Comment: Re:No shit, Sherlock (Score 1) 135

by argStyopa (#46755229) Attached to: U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

As Ike mentioned in his speech widely remembered for the line 'military-industrial complex':

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

....and the bit people don't seem to remember, nor take as seriously:

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

The pernicious influence of this 'Federal technical complex' has led to an entire generation of scientists who believe that the only credible source of funding must be the federal government.
It is absolutely certain that there are some HUGE projects that need the resources of government, no doubt. But you know what? Not every bloody thing *needs to be researched*, nor does that research need taxpayer dollars.

I know, the idea that research needs to demonstrably benefit the taxpayer to be federally funded sounds like an idea that would come from (shudder) Republicans, but when we're overspending our budget by 30%+ every year to the tune of nearly $1 trillion, we can't afford everything we want, only what we clearly need.

Comment: Slashdot settings help please (Score 4, Interesting) 163

by argStyopa (#46748877) Attached to: The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

Let's say hypothetically a slashditor (let's call him "Supnezmas"), when not posting duplicate articles from 2 days before, has a major erection for some web commenter (let's call him "Notlesah, Ttenneb").

How could I edit my settings so that worthless shit articles from "Supnezmas" referencing this "Notlesah, Ttenneb" were somehow downrated to oblivion so I don't see them anymore, ever? Is there a filter I can apply?

Can I "foe" an editor based on context?

Comment: Re:What is going on?? (Score -1, Troll) 163

by argStyopa (#46748281) Attached to: The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

I'd like to know who the flip is XanC, since you asked the SAME question I did, and I got -1,Troll while you got +5 Insightful?

Note however that I *entirely* agree with you.
Is there a /. editor trying to build a buddy into a web celebrity?
FWIW, I *still* don't really get why Ze Frank is a weblebrity, either. How does one make a living doing that?

Comment: Can they pay back the $$ they stole? (Score 1) 38

by argStyopa (#46740043) Attached to: US Takes Out Gang That Used Zeus Malware To Steal Millions

If not, throw them into a wood chipper.

Seriously, if the potential reward for crime is in the $million$, the odds of getting caught are probably low, and the punishment is a handful of years in prison - why would anyone NOT commit such a crime?

Most of the people I know work their lives as wage-slaves for 8+ hours a day, for decades, for a fraction of that (and what they get, a giant chunk goes to taxes).

Comment: Drilling down deeper (Score 4, Interesting) 386

by argStyopa (#46723819) Attached to: UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

I would also point out that the "US" - commonly condemned in such statistics - is probably the least homogenous country in the world. As such, it's probably useful to look at the state by state rankings, both positively and negatively:
(ranked by deaths per 100k)
1. District of Columbia 30.8

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen