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Comment: Re:More than PR (Score 1) 355

by brianerst (#49750895) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

The first and third cases involve policy (should the government kill Americans without benefit of trial while not actively involved in an imminent threat to life and should the government sell and encourage the use of surplus military equipment to local police forces) while the second is about technique (if you have to shoot someone because they are an active, imminent threat to life, he doesn't care if you use a gun, a drone or a lightsaber).

There's nothing particularly flip-floppy about those three statements. You have to actively spin them to make them conflict.

Comment: Re:More than PR (Score 1) 355

by brianerst (#49750813) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

Actually, the religious zealots tend to be for sentencing and prison reform too (prison ministries like Chuck Colson's have had a big effect on evangelicals). So, while you may not be able to count on them for total WoD reform, there's a subset of issues where you have a massive majority - liberals, libertarians, Buckleyite conservatives and evangelicals.

Comment: Re:It wasn't a filibuster (Score 1) 355

by brianerst (#49750745) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

It didn't pass. Paul stopped 11 minutes before midnight to allow the possibility of a compromise whipping of the USA Freedom Act (which didn't happen).

Paul is against the USA Freedom Act (which he considers weak sauce compared to an outright repeal/sunsetting of the Patriot Act), but all the other anti-Patriot Act Senators are for the UFA. This was his compromise with them, not with the pro-Patriot Act Senators. As the "filibuster" technically took place during the discussion of a separate bill, the Patriot Act extension couldn't be brought up until that other bill was tabled or voted on. Paul didn't leave enough time to do that.

Comment: Re:They're called trees. (Score 1) 128

by brianerst (#49500923) Attached to: Breakthrough In Artificial Photosynthesis Captures CO2 In Acetate

There are two main sources on that page for forest numbers - the World Bank and an About.Com page. The World Bank numbers are what are being used for the individual countries. The US + Canada number is a misreading of the page, which is about the entire North American continent (including Mexico). The page gets its data from the UN Food and Agriculture (FOA) Forestry site, which uses a different method of determining forest cover as they are primarily concerned about forests as an agricultural product.

Comment: Re:What's with the inclusion of "climate change"? (Score 1) 92

Not funding but mission creep. It's endemic with any NGO - once the original raison d'être disappears, rather than fold up shop, they just move on to the next bit of do-goodery. Sometime, that's a good thing - the March of Dimes built up a working infrastructure for funding polio eradication and decided to broaden the scope from eradicating infant paralysis (polio) to general improvement of infant health once the fight against polio was (largely) won.

Other times, it leads to ridiculous concepts like atomic scientists trying to remain relevant by adding climate change and life sciences (on which they have no expertise) to their already somewhat dubious atomic clock (again, they had little expertise in balance of power diplomacy and had no real idea what the true level of threat of nuclear war was).

Comment: Re: In other news (Score 1) 609

by brianerst (#49236471) Attached to: Clinton Regrets, But Defends, Use of Family Email Server

You seriously think the Democratic bench is stronger than the Republican one? Speaking as someone who was very aware that Obama was going to blow out both McCain and Romney, 2016 is shaping up as a bad Democratic year. Hillary is the Democrats best bet - Warren is not a good campaigner and really only has rabid support among the most progressive wing of the party. Anthony Weiner couldn't even stay in the NYC Mayoral race without self-destructing.

If Hillary implodes, it's going to be a brutal blowout unless O'Malley can get some traction and the Republicans nominate from the bottom half of their bench (Jindal, Santorum, Huckabee).

Comment: Re: In other news (Score 1) 609

by brianerst (#49236435) Attached to: Clinton Regrets, But Defends, Use of Family Email Server

Not actually true. Two of her aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, used addresses too. So any communications between the three of them are potentially lost.

I'm too lazy right now to find an unbiased source of the info but I originally heard it on NPR yesterday. First Google search lands here. The latest NYT articles definitely mention Abedin having a clintonemail account.

Emails between Abedin, Clinton and the wife of the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi apparently fell into the memory hole. Not really interested in the Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy chatter but this was backdoor diplomacy that should have had some sort of record, even if it ended up classified.

Comment: Re: White balance and contrast in camera. (Score 1) 420

by brianerst (#49154049) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

I can switch the perspectives if I scroll the picture. If the picture comes into frame from the top (shoulders), it's white/gold. If the picture comes into the frame from the bottom (hem), it's blue/black. The top is far more "golden" while the bottom is far more "blue".

Comment: Re: Java is Pascal++ (Score 1) 492

by brianerst (#48902691) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Then you didn't do it far enough back. The entire concept of a virtual machine was popularized by the UCSD Pascal p-system (BCPL had the O-system in 67 but no one used it). Not only was it the precursor of the JVM (James Gosling called the p-system the main influence on Java's VM) but it also virtualized the entire OS - UCSD Pascal was one of the three original packaged OSs for the IBM PC.

Even Wirth created p-system/p-code style Pascal compilers. Until the advent of Compas/Turbo Pascal, Pascal was hardly ever compiled into machine code.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito