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Comment: Re:I always insist on paper for vote (Score 4, Informative) 119

by dirk (#48472137) Attached to: Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

Except they still have to be on the voter rolls. It isn't like without voter ID laws anyone can just walk up and say "I want to vote here". There is still voter registration that happens. Unless you know a specific voter and their polling place for each of those people you just picked up, you aren't going to get anywhere at the polling station.

The fact is that most of the voter fraud happens not at the polls but with absentee ballots. Of course the republicans don't want to touch those because they are used by old people and soldiers, which are their bread and butter.

Comment: Re:Hide your cables (Score 1) 497

by dkf (#48466295) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

Not if you have a short circuit. In that case the cable is gone.

What's the likelihood of that happening, versus the likelihood of something happening to an above-ground cable? Note that you should be thinking about putting the cable well down so that you're unlikely to hit it by accident, just like with water and sewage infrastructure (though even more like gas, if you're in an area with it piped in). Heat dissipation isn't a big deal with domestic supply; you use reasonably thick cabling and aren't really carrying that much current in the first place in normal service.

Comment: Re: Civics class (Score 1) 474

by cduffy (#48455001) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

From my perspective, it tends to be the people who say they support "family values" that actually support legal and social measures that keep families small.

Look at who it is defending zoning laws enforcing "single-family household" status as excluding larger chosen (non-blood-related) families, and compare to who it is embracing legal and social norms that allow maximum flexibility in assembling a strong, self-supporting structure from such components as available. Look at who is trying to restrict legal marriage and adoption and who is trying to extend it. Look at the group voting for judges that view large aggregated families-of-choice as evidence of perversion -- from which children should be protected -- and the group voting for judges who view a large, stable support network built from people who love and care for each other as precisely that. I'm all for "family values", in by that one means values that support large and strong families... but if I say "family values" in public to a random stranger, what's going to come to their mind is not the same as what I'm actually referring to.

I say this as someone who is overwhelmingly happy to have participated in the upbringing of children -- two of whom are now legal adults -- in whose genes I have no role, but to whose memes and ethics I am gratified to have contributed. I'm glad to have contributed to the financial stability of their household; I'm glad to have been another person there to help with homework and listen to their stories and serve as a role model and help keep things running. The people who say they support "family values" but who would have broken apart that family? I cannot, at such short notice, find words for the damage I see being done -- or attempted -- in the name of "family values".

*sigh*.

And yes, I know that you're acknowledging much of the above, and that a great deal of my rant (perhaps all of it) doesn't apply to you. Please forgive that. I don't believe your assertion that anyone (for a statistically significant value of same) views state programs as an adequate replacement for having a genuine support structure... but would suggest that, perhaps, there are those who would like those who don't have a support structure to have somewhere to turn.

I've known too many people whose blood families weren't a healthy place for them -- physical abuse and the like. Several of those people were welcomed into a family of choice that gave them the support that they needed -- but not everyone can be that lucky, and establishing social policy in a way that only helps those who are already fortunate... well, there's a lot of that done already, and a lot of people it leaves behind.

Comment: I just don't understand (Score 4, Insightful) 1087

by dirk (#48454673) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

I'm not going to rant about how guilty Darren Wilson was. To tell the truth, I don't know if he was guilty. But I just don't understand how there wasn't enough evidence to at least take this to trial. There were multiple witnesses saying that Mike Brown had his hands up and was not attacking Darren Wilson when he was shot. This alone to me is enough to at least take it to trial and see all the evidence to try and figure out exactly what happened.

Unfortunately, all of the emphasis has been on everything except what it should have been. It doesn't matter what Mike Brown was doing before the confrontation, or if he smoked pot. It doesn't even matter what happened with the struggle at the car (whether Mike Brown dove through the window trying for the gun or Darren Wilson grabbed him and pull him in the window). The only thing that matter is what was going on when Darren Wilson shot Mike Brown. If Mike Brown was standing (or kneeling as some reports say) with his hands up and not attacking anyone, then Darren Wilson murdered Mike Brown. If Mike Brown was charging to attack Darren Wilson when he was shot, then is was a good shooting. Unfortunately, with this grand jury decision, we will never get an answer to that. I just don't understand how with the witnesses that have come forward, they couldn't find enough evidence that maybe there was wrong doing to want all the evidence to come out so we can have answers.

Comment: Re:Argument (Score 1) 110

by jafac (#48453329) Attached to: Top NSA Official Raised Alarm About Metadata Program In 2009

Yes, but even leaking/whistleblowing didn't "work".

A few of us are beside ourselves at the loss of our rights. A large number of armchair hacktivists are outraged that "The Man" is at it again. Most people are like **shrug** ". . . are we safe from terrorists yet?"

There's been no backlash I'm aware of. And no real change in how spying is being done, or accountability, or oversight.

Comment: Hydrogen will never work (Score 1) 281

Unfortunately, Hydrogen won't take off (at least in the US). The reason is fairly simple, gas stations don't want it to. The current gasoline infrastructure won't work as is for Hydrogen, and the gas companies and providers don;t want to retrofit to be able to handle it. Tesla has the advantage of being able to create it's own infrastructure outside of gas stations, since all they need is a power line. But with having to have holding tanks and dispensers, Hydrogen is going to be locked into using existing gas stations rather than being able to easily set up their own. Gas stations and providers aren't going to pay the money to retrofit for Hydrogen until there is a tipping point of people with Hydrogen cars, but that's won't come until there are stations selling Hydrogen to make their cars useful.

Comment: Re:Are they REALLY surge protectors? (Score 1) 233

by dkf (#48448373) Attached to: What is your computer most often plugged into?

I think there's probably less of a problem with voltage drop in electric power circuits built to European standards (and even more so with the massively over-specified UK standards) as the higher voltages mean there's less current in the wire and so less of an impact due to the resistance of the wire itself. That eliminates a lot of the local problems (e.g., due to having kitchen appliances) or reduces them to the level where the switch-mode power supply can usually compensate easily.

I don't know whether the quality of the power delivered by the utility is better. It is for me, but I'm not that far from a major hospital and a major Grid node (and the wires between are underground). I don't pretend that that extends to anyone else other than my immediate neighbours.

Comment: Re:"Random" (Score 1) 78

by dkf (#48448039) Attached to: Study: Space Rock Impacts Not Random

And, similarly, "chaotic" is not an explanation, either.

Would you accept "inherently impossible to predict any significant length of time ahead"? It's all very well to pick on the reason for the unpredictability (be it quantum uncertainty or extreme sensitivity to initial conditions because of non-linearity) but at a functional level, the outcome is similar: some stuff just can't be predicted in detail long term, and will continue to be like this whatever we do.

Comment: Re:In a Self-Driving Future--- (Score 1) 453

by cduffy (#48446921) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

Finding road edge boundaries in snow, at least, is actually a place where existing self-driving car systems do better than humans already. Keep in mind that they're not limited to the visual end of the EM spectrum.

For the rest, I'll defer to empirical studies on effectiveness under varying conditions. It's easy to think of corner cases -- but the real question, corner cases or no, is whether the average amount of liability incurred per hour of driving is greater or less than a human at the wheel.

Comment: Re: In a Self-Driving Future--- (Score 1) 453

by cduffy (#48446869) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

I guess, if you like the state or insurance companies telling you when and where you may travel.

The power of the state is one thing. On the other hand, doing harm to others without means to provide recompense is legitimately immoral even under reasonable Libertarian frameworks.

Motor vehicle insurance allows the externalities which would otherwise be created by individuals defaulting rather than being able to pay off debts they incurred to be priced by the market -- quite transparently, given as the profit margins are known and available to customers as well as shareholders. If you can't pay for the harm you're doing to others by an action, even as aggregated and normalized by the insurance industry, can you truly morally justify that act?

Comment: Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (Score 1) 331

by dkf (#48439917) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Google doesn't have a monopoly on search. Not even close. The only reason they get used is because they're the best. The second that they start sucking, people will leave in droves. It's pretty fucking far from tyranny when any user can go elsewhere. That's not a monopoly.

Google has a much higher share of search in the EU than in the US, so the EU is far more interested in keeping a close eye on what they're doing. That said, the story was about something that the EP is pushing for and they're not exactly the most influential set of people ever (they've got budgetary powers, the ability to vet the Commissioners, and the ability to revise proposed legislation). What's more, it would probably be possible to split the search side from the rest of Google enough to satisfy at least some of the EP without breaking up Google entirely. (Satisfying the whole EP? Might as well ask for something that satisfies the whole of Congress.)

Comment: Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (Score 1) 186

The problem with this is not the way he did it - existing immigration laws have considerable latitude for the executive branch written in. The idea that this is illegal or unconstitutional is going to have a tough time getting through the courts.

The problem with this action is that it's only a temporary patch on the real immigration issues. Maybe it's the best possible for the next couple of years but the real problem is the politics that is preventing real reform. In particular a system that financial rewards the people taking the most extreme and intransigent positions more than moderates.

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