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Comment Re:Dose of common sense. (Score 1) 184

Let's say the US banned strong encryption tomorrow. What's to stop someone in another country from posting the source code to a strong encryption scheme?

Maybe he realizes that this is part of how we got rid of "export grade" encryption in the US. Everyone was just writing software in a foreign country and people were importing it. Once you have the Internet, you can't realistically regulate software imports. Not if you're the US and the software is free. So export-grade encryption became simply a penalty for US businesses with little practical effect. At that point, you might as well accept it and change the laws to get rid of the business penalty.

Comment Re:Only if not X-Ray Scan (Score 1) 278

I respectfully disagree re: safety, for various reasons, but it's a moot point. To my knowledge, the backscatter has been completely eliminated now (it was done gradually), as has the "nudie" mode of the microwave scanners. I've seen that cited as justification for this policy change. Which seems fair to me -- those were legitimate concerns that one should be able to use to opt out, but those concerns have been eliminated.

The microwave scanner system actually seems pretty decent. You can see the monitor that they see. The only problem I've had is that it's really sensitive -- not only do you need to completely empty all pockets, but moderately baggy jeans will easily set it off, virtually guaranteeing a pat-down.

Comment Re:the opposite of fiat (declaration) it's specula (Score 1) 291

they will put you in prison unless you get some dollars to pay them with

We eliminated debtor's prisons in this country, actually. While individual states and smaller jurisdictions are, recently, pushing at the borders of this principle, the Federal government still follows it. You can be jailed for cheating the IRS, but you can't actually be jailed just for owing them money.

Comment Re:Fact check or PC checking? (Score 4, Informative) 337

It's immigration (and emigration) whenever a group of people migrate from one region to another, regardless of what the reason is or how they're treated.

It's a little bit of a tricky word territory because it would be inaccurate to call them "immigrants". That word is usually used in modern English to refer to non-forced migration, so could make the reader draw inaccurate conclusions.

It is, though, completely reasonable to put the event under a discussion of "Patterns of Immigration", because that is clearly referring to large-scale movements of people with important sociological and historical impacts. Historically, many major human migrations have been the result of slavery, exile, genocide, and other such unpleasant and rather non-voluntary reasons. They're still called migrations.

Comment Re:Perhaps this explains my Garmin (Score 1) 131

According to this article (okay, okay, the summary), GPS error causes measured distances to be systematically overestimated.

What you're talking about -- a different but noticeable factor -- is that GPS polling frequency causes measured distances to be systematically underestimated. Because it's only sampling once every N seconds and then, because there's quite a bit of noise, applying a smoothing function to the result, it cuts the corners off of paths. It can cause pretty substantial underestimation, even when moving relatively slowly along gently curved paths.

Comment Re:Sunlight has a large electromgnetic field (Score 1) 456

Bullshit. Exposure to RF is inducing cancer because it randomly changes DNA. The dose does not matter in this effect.

Bullshit. Wavelength is not a dose.

Long-wavelength RF, below the ionization threshold, does not cause cancer because it lacks the energy necessary to "randomly change DNA". You're right, the dose doesn't matter -- sub-ionization RF doesn't cause cancer.

Comment Re:Amazon has gone for obfuscation as business mod (Score 1) 259

I order quite a bit from Amazon, including things that split shipments (ship different days or are a mix of Prime and non-Prime). The "Your order [...] has shipped!" e-mails list an amount charged for the items that actually shipped, and these are the same values that appear on my credit card. While the default "Your Orders" view on the website groups things by order (which is not the same as shipment or credit card charge), the "Invoice" link on each order breaks down the order correctly (by shipment, with separated charges). These also match up with credit card charges.

Comment Re:n=6? Seriously? (Score 4, Informative) 96

I know the Slashdot trope is that n is always too small in any study, regardless of the actual size of n.

The sample size you need to demonstrate statistical significance (or, conversely, the level of statistical significance achieved for a given sample size) depends on the behavior you're measuring. If you're measuring a small change in a rare occurrence, you need a very large sample population. If, on the other hand, your hypothesis is "black sheep exist" or "this vaccine reduces the mortality rate of a disease that has an untreated survival rate of 1 in 100,000", then a single occurrence (black sheep, surviving subject) is significant at n=1, and two occurrences out of even a tiny n is excellent.

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It is contrary to reasoning to say that there is a vacuum or space in which there is absolutely nothing. -- Descartes