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Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 1) 789

yeah, we're robots with no brains. we follow orders. don't question stupid rules and never use human judgement. we are humans, but we should be thought of as cattle.

Hold on...What you're saying suggests to me you may not understand how the process works. Whether or not the father of this family knew it, he was trying to game the system. Sure, he had frequent flyer privileges, but his kids did not. He could have paid extra for them to be up there with him, but he didn't. That's the deal with Southwest. If he doesn't like it, he can fly another airline. Maybe he didn't understand the policy, but the gate agent explained it to him. Here's the thing - he's a frequent flyer. He probably should have known better. Maybe other gate agents have made an exception for him, but they weren't required to. He wasn't entitled to that exception. On other airlines, it would be akin to you buying a first class ticket and two coach tickets and demanding that your coach companions get first class seats...probably bumping two other passengers who paid for those first class seats.

Who should the burden of thinking be shifted to, the airline employees or the traveler? What if you and your companion didn't get to sit together or had to check your bags because this guy's kids cut in line without paying for the privilege (even though you may have)?

I'm not saying that the gate agent acted correctly throughout the course of this (and I don't know if she didn't). In this situation, however, I'm inclined to give her more of the benefit of the doubt than this passenger, given the details of the story.

Comment: Re:Short-Lived? (Score 1) 777

One would kind of hope that the states are doing their own economic analyses. The ones that found a minimum wage hike would be most productive and sustainable for their economies did so; the ones that didn't, didn't. Given how much cost of living and average income vary across the nation, it's hardly surprising that some places would want a different minimum wage than others.

Comment: My favorite test (Score 0, Offtopic) 147

by physicsphairy (#47493089) Attached to: Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

Yes, quantum suicide. The idea is if you attempt to kill yourself, your consciousness persists only in the subset of universes where the attempt fails, and can become justifiably suspicious that, in its own experience, every effort prove ineffective.

However, I think it is a bit small minded to use this only to test the muiltiverse hypothesis. Given that it's true, why not build a huge robust death chamber which you activate based on, e.g., whether or not you win the lottery, whether or not you quantum tunnel to an alien world, whether or a friend comes by with free pizza.

I admit that cruising the multiverse in a giant suicide chamber is not quite as romantic as other science fiction. . . .

Comment: Re:So what? they can be tapped to. (Score 1) 244

by physicsphairy (#47455733) Attached to: German NSA Committee May Turn To Typewriters To Stop Leaks

Okay, but how are you going to conceal a microphone in a room that has gone purely mechanical? A computer gives off all sorts of RF, and is complex enough that there may be other tricky ways of getting information out. Not to mention that America may be the only source of processors and other components.

I'm sure the germans are capable of producing the typewriters completely in-house. Stick them in a well-shielded, soundproofed, unelectrified room, treat any signal as a bug, and it's much harder to get access to the information contined within, especially just by being clever with some transistors.

Comment: Re:Creepy? (Score 1) 106

by physicsphairy (#47455155) Attached to: Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

I feel this technology has the potential to make the problem worse. People will think it is a full solution to driving under imparied conditions and lose all inhibiiton to doing so. The system will doubtless rescue some of them but time will tell whether the mortality rate ultimately goes up or down.

Comment: Re:Maybe, maybe not. (Score 4, Insightful) 749

by physicsphairy (#47452683) Attached to: Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

If the company has access to them and the ability to procure them, what does the physical location of the records or their headquarters matter?

Because they are storing someone else's data. That someone else (and their locally stored property) should receive the full protection of their local laws when dealing with a local subsidiary of an international company. This is not an embassy, it is not considered a territorial extension of the United States. The server is owned and taxed as Irish property. It should require an Irish court order to forcibly extract data off of it, same as it would taking letters out of an Irish safety deposit box (even if the bank had an American presence).

Would we be comfortable with courts in China being able to subpoena any US held data from companies with a Chinese presence? "Sorry Yahoo but as part of your incorporation in China we need you to produce any emails from the personal accounts of Boeing employees held on your US owned servers."

Comment: Re:Maybe, maybe not. (Score 5, Interesting) 749

by physicsphairy (#47452437) Attached to: Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

if a country's legal system has a valid case for something, and issues a court order ordering you to turn something over, you can't just avoid a court order by saying "it's in my summer home in another country!"

That's fine. I'm perfectly okay with saying Microsoft has to produce all of their financial information, legal analysis, etc., when required, no matter where it is stored, as a provision of being legally incorporated in the United States.

Where this gets pernicious is that the data they are being required to present is *not* their data. They are a third party holding the data on someone else's behalf. Note the courts specifically say that this would not be okay if it was a physical document, their reasoning for being allowed to subpoena an electronic document is essentially that it's trivial for them to get away with it.

From the article:

The e-mail the US authorities are seeking from Microsoft concerns a drug-trafficking investigation. Microsoft often stores e-mail on servers closest to the account holder.

So presumably this data belongs to someone in Ireland. It's data which was created in Ireland. It may be data which has never left Ireland. But because they made the mistake of dealing with a US company, the data of an Irish citizen sitting in a room in Ireland where Irish law prevails is now being exported to America without Irish courts having any say in the matter.

Comment: Re:Imperial Police (Score 2) 176

by physicsphairy (#47407695) Attached to: US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

Respecting territorial sovereignty is for when other countries can do something about it. A small island nation of a few hundred thousand people need not apply.

Still, it seems a bit excessive to do an extradition raid for someone who is apparently accused of hacking into zoo and deli websites. His relation to the Russian MP is probably what has earned him the special attention, part of Obama's plan to punish Russia. The message is clear, "Invade its allies and America will spoil your vacation."

What do you suppose the probability is that after some further negotiations the MP's son and Snowden trade places?

Comment: Re:If everyone loses their jobs... (Score 1) 530

by physicsphairy (#47405225) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

Let's say everybody does lose their jobs and is unable to buy goods or services. Is it more likely they will (a) resign to slowly starve or (b) start growing and trading for food amongst each other, providing each other the services they can't get from the robot elite, band together for social protection, etc.?

Shutting someone out from one economy just puts in them in another economy.

Ultimately, even if it costs the unsophisticated people more in time and investment to produce the same goods, the robot elitists don't care about *that* cost, they only care how many of the newly minted Robot Supreme Data Coins the poor humans want in exchange for the same service. That's an arbirtary quantity and the poor humans can always offer a lower bid than the robot automation centers.

But, remember, this whole problem came about because we found such an incredibly cheap and efficient way to produce all our resources. So, even though the humans are going to be forced to trade for what the robot elitists consider virtually nothing, for them it will have vast purchasing power since goods are now so cheap.

In general, I don't think keeping people employed is ever going to be a problem. What the onset of robot workers actually means is that relative income for human workers is increasing to where it is too costly for manufacturing companies to compete for their services compared to the other opportunities they have.

The real problem with super-efficient resource generation is its effect on political dynamics. One person controlling half the economy may be perfectly harmless up to the point where they realize they can use that vast wealth to dictate what laws will be passed. But, who knows, maybe at that point we'll all be so well off that it will actually be harder to buy votes and loyalty than it is today.

Comment: Reform to how we fund elections is primary (Score 1) 117

by PotatoHead (#47390461) Attached to: Lessig's Mayday PAC Scrambling To Cross Crowd Funding Finish Line

Your term limit issue is secondary, as are many other issues.

Whether or not we have term limits is a matter of reasoned public debate. Right now, we can't have that due to the money in politics problem.

It is unreasonable for you to connect your issue to the core, systemic problem of how elections are funded.

That is perhaps the biggest misconception and hangup people have. This isn't transactional politics. It's not like you get something in return, or trade-offs get made. We do that now, and the money biases it away from the overall best interests of the people.

Really, if we reform money in politics, a fair, reasoned discussion will happen. Or, at least a much better one will happen.

Term limits, and other things get decided then, not now.

This is a single issue effort. It is systemic, not partisan, and not intended to remedy anything other than the basic issue of money in politics.

Comment: Re:Distinct DNA (Score 1) 1330

by physicsphairy (#47368849) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Personally, I have no interest in making humanity a race of immortal lineage. People get old and die, I am on terms with that. But I am definitely not on terms with taking a gun and shooting someone, even if they are getting on in years. I imagine a similar argument can be made with respect to abortion vs. "self-abortion."

That said, I'm not sure of their ideological affiliation, as it is also of interest for simply improving fertility, but you'd be wrong to think there's not a lot of research done into improving embryonic implantation.

Comment: Re:a few hundred years earlier than that (Score 1) 1330

by physicsphairy (#47368765) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

It takes a good deal of cynicism to speculate this is about profit, given that
(a) in all cases covering contraception is a whole lot cheaper than providing pre- and post-natal care
(b) Hobby Lobby continues to cover all forms of contraception which are not considered to possibly interfere with uteral implantation
(c) Hobby Lobby has provided health care and decent wages, including contraceptive coverage long before the mandate was passed
(d) They also keep closed on Sundays for religious reasons (Sunday being the most profitable day to be open)
(e) There's plenty of much more expensive things covered -- I'm not aware Hobby Lobby attempting to use legal means to wrangle out of any other form of coverage

Investing in funds which invest in companies which among their portfolios develop the contraceptives is not the same as investing in the contraceptives. But what is being said is that that was an accidental investment, which I don't see as unreasonable to believe.

Comment: Re:Myth: Corp shields you from company failure (Score 1) 1330

by physicsphairy (#47368527) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Absolutely true. But despite the common meme this is not about assigning a corporation personhood. A book is not a person either, but if Congress said "You can say what you want, but we're going to ban your book" you would rightfully be up in arms about it, because the book, while not itself a person imbued with constitutional rights, in some ways acts as an extension of such a person, and therefore receives some comparable protections (if you want to look at it that way).

This is the same issue. Mr. Green's religious beliefs are intricately tied into his position as CEO and his ownership of Hobby Lobby. Funnily enough, no one squawks about him giving Sundays off or paying double minimum wage and offering decent benefits, both of which are driven by his religious convictions. If this was not a closely held corporation I imagine he would have been sued by shareholders for such unprofitable decisions long before the ACA became a concern.

Comment: Re:Myths are socially hilarious (Score 4, Interesting) 198

To be fair, in the domain of common experience a 7' tall ape man living in the pacific northwest *is* far less crazy than the idea of a subatomic particle being in two places at once.

Many scientists of yesteryear were hardly willing to accept such preposterousness, though I imagine they would not have batted an eye at an undiscovered hominid of unusual cleverness. (In fact, sometimes they seemed to be far too trusting when evidence of new hominids was presented to them.) People can go to the zoo and encounter all sorts of species they never anticipated. Where can they experience quantum mechanics?

It's only through substantial and careful methodological treatment of the evidence that we're able to develop the capacity to distinguish truth which contradicts intuition, accepting the fantastic but real and dismissing the common but false.

My wild and probably quite unpopular thinking on this is as such: the people you describe are perfectly reasonable people. They are drawing reasonable(ish) conclusions. They just lack access to the expanded toolset and and supply of evidence modern science has provided. What if instead of calling their theories a bunch of hocus pocus, we simply sent them on the right trail? Used the Socratic method, as it were. They are clearly already interested in the subject of undiscovered species, so "You think there is a wild ape man? Interesting. I wonder how we could prove its existence. What about DNA evidence? There's this great book called 'Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters.' Maybe we could read it to learn a bit more about genetics and see if it helps us come up with any ideas."

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