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Comment: Re:Are you kidding (Score 1) 665

by bill_mcgonigle (#46768487) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

I have no interests in controlling women's reproductive lives, but as a Catholic I believe life begins at conception, and abortion is murder.

I don't disagree with you, but what matters in public policy is actions, not sentiment.

The operative question is whether you believe society is better off by imprisoning mothers who get abortions.

It's possible to both believe it's murder and to believe that imprisonment/prosecution is not the correct response. Don't be fooled into the "insult/vengeance" paradigm that we're told by civil religions to be essential. I'm pretty sure you'll find the opposite recommendations in the Gospels.

And, BTW, this is why "the issue" cannot be resolved by our current system of governance - it's located directly at the insult/vengeance nexus. Until we can get past legislating revenge the "two sides" will never find any common ground.

Comment: Baloney (Score 1) 88

by bill_mcgonigle (#46768339) Attached to: Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

I cannot believe the summary. Thousands of Slashdotters here already knew that elevator cables need to be super strong and that carbon nanotubes are the only calculated material that can do it and that spinning long nanotubes is a technological problem.

The Google research team did not discover these things - they're smart guys, they already knew this.

So, venturing further into the story will be a waste of time. If Googlers did spend time on space elevators, then they probably did learn some new things. But they may well be keeping that knowledge in the "deep freeze"r for when they can make some money at it.

Comment: Re:Polution tax (Score 1) 138

by bill_mcgonigle (#46768213) Attached to: Pollution In China Could Be Driving Freak Weather In US

Hey! That's a good idea. Put a 500% tariff on everything that's not made here. Who care who makes it?

Brazil does this. Since Nikes cost $300 a pair, the local manufacturers can get away with charging $165 for a pair of sneakers. That's just under a week's median wages.

All these policies do is keep the people poor. It's a non-zero-sum game with losses on all sides.

Comment: Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (Score 5, Informative) 1200

by bill_mcgonigle (#46768039) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Everyone should be armed.

This is how Switzerland does it. They haven't been in a foreign war in two hundred years. Even Hitler decided not to try it.

Their crime rate is very low and they actually have a civil defense plan that doesn't involve people hiding in closets and hoping somebody shows up to save them. Plus, obviously they don't need to incur all the costs of foreign wars, so they can run data centers, banking platforms, and ski resorts instead.

Comment: Re:Get rid of income Tax (Score 3, Insightful) 401

If you want to talk overall economic health, taxation does not really impact it since all those tax dollars just go strait back into the economy anyway.

Please remove this falsehood from your economic system. If you take productive money and piss it away on boondoggle projects instead of useful purposes then it's a complete loss for the economy. The entire premise of capitalism is that money that gets invested into useful purposes (production equipment, invention, entropy-reducing services) multiplies the value of that money over time. All spending is not created equal (so far from it)! Hanging fiber optics on poles and getting drunk are not equally beneficial!

it tends to skew who pays and who does not

Everybody pays. The producers add their tax burden to the cost of goods. The study from Harvard econ. sets the price of goods as 22% higher (average) than they would otherwise be without the income tax. When that single mother is buying a $3 loaf of bread for her kids' school lunch, more than fifty cents of that is going straight to pay the income taxes of the people in the supply chain. That's why it's the most regressive tax possible. People can only pretend that it's progressive if they completely ignore second order effects and beyond.

Comment: Re:And they've already stopped (Score 4, Interesting) 279

by bill_mcgonigle (#46757985) Attached to: OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

$30,949 is how much the OpenBSD Foundation received in donations in 2013. That has to get fixed as their expenses were $54,914 and only a one-time transfer from an old account covered the deficit.

The community that depends on OpenSSH, OpenNTPD and the like needs to figure out how to support these projects.

Personally I'd like to see the Foundation offer targeted donations to specific projects with a percentage (~20% perhaps) going into the general operations fund. I bet there are a bunch of people who would throw a hundred bucks at OpenSSH but would be concerned that a general donation would go to some odd thing Theo is doing (whether that be fair or not).

And if "Fixing OpenSSL" were one of the donation options, then hold on to your hats - I think we're all in agreement on this. We do know that the folks currently working on the projects are paid by others but if the Foundation can get enough money to offset expenses then it could actually do some development work and possibly finally take care of some sorely-neglected tasks on a few of these codebases.

Comment: Re:And they've already stopped (Score 0) 202

by bill_mcgonigle (#46753349) Attached to: Mozilla Appoints Former Marketing Head Interim CEO

They cancelled this policy [nytimes.com] almost immediately after it was brought to light.

Here's the thing: the data mining apparatus and amount of data entry required to get to this point must be enormous. Finding all of the information required to get to the point of issuing seizures of refunds would require complete integration of all SSI payment history, all tax payment history, family histories, movement pattern tracking, etc.

There might even be a tie in to NSA/"not-TIA" to enable this, since the scope is so large. They probably started putting out bids for the work shortly after the law changed in 2008 and have only recently yielded results.

It's not going to be turned off just like that.

Comment: Re:And they've already stopped (Score 1) 614

by bill_mcgonigle (#46753321) Attached to: IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

They cancelled this policy [nytimes.com] almost immediately after it was brought to light.

Here's the thing: the data mining apparatus and amount of data entry required to get to this point must be enormous. Finding all of the information required to get to the point of issuing seizures of refunds would require complete integration of all SSI payment history, all tax payment history, family histories, movement pattern tracking, etc.

There might even be a tie in to NSA/"not-TIA" to enable this, since the scope is so large. They probably started putting out bids for the work shortly after the law changed in 2008 and have only recently yielded results.

It's not going to be turned off just like that.

Comment: Re:Useless (Score 1) 181

by bill_mcgonigle (#46747275) Attached to: First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

your car is not oriented so as to illuminate it.

That's a good point - I tend to rely on my navigation device to get some forewarning of the curve and slope of the road ahead just because on a dark and winding road there's no way to see very far ahead.

Then again, glowing roads won't work to entirely replace this when the road winds around a hill or mountain. But more passive safety devices are still a good idea if they can help a little bit. It seems like rumble strips - they don't do anything for most people most of the time, but they do a great job for a few people every once in a while.

Comment: Re:It's time we own up to this one (Score 4, Insightful) 149

by bill_mcgonigle (#46730301) Attached to: NSA Allegedly Exploited Heartbleed

This was a failure in the Open Source process.

Indeed. People have been saying for years that the OpenSSL code leaves much to be desired but nobody dares fix it because it might break something (needed: comprehensive unit tests).

There's been a bug filed for years saying that the code won't build with the system malloc, which in turn prevents code analysis tools from finding use-after-free conditions. The need here is less clear - leadership of the project has not made such a thing a priority. It's not clear that funding was the sole gating factor - commit by commit the code stopped working with the system malloc and nobody knew or cared.

Sure, a pile of money would help pick up the pieces, but lack of testing, continuous integration, blame culture, etc. might well have prevented it in the first place.

We still have sites like Sourceforge that are solving 1997 problems, like offering download space and mailing lists when what we need today is to be able to have continuous integration systems, the ability to deploy a vm with a complex project already configured and running for somebody to hack on, etc.

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