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Comment Re:Upset about Georgia Gun Owner Magazine... (Score 1) 109

Which is more likely to abuse the information - a small magazine devoted to individual rights, or the two major political parties?

The tiny gun magazine, of course. The political parties and newspapers actually have reputations to lose.

When did that start? Not in the last couple of decades, anyway.

Besides, have you ever heard how gun nuts talk?

Yeah, all that "we have actual civil rights, and the Constitution codifies them" jazz.

What lunatics.

Comment Upset about Georgia Gun Owner Magazine... (Score 1) 109

...but not about giving your personal information to political parties?

Then you're, well, a little naive. Maybe not a little.

Which is more likely to abuse the information - a small magazine devoted to individual rights, or the two major political parties?

Which of them have the resources to actually abuse that information on a grand scale, including lots of manpower and skilled database programmers on staff?

Of course, the Dems and the GOP probably have most of that data already, but let's not help them fill in the gaps so easily, okay?

Comment Re:Not a new problem, of course (Score 2) 76

That solution might work - but it would have to work on possibly-already-dead tape from the 1960s and 70s (which is often turning into dust already). There's a lot of archive stuff that's been sitting in old storage rooms for decades that's pretty much just a random pile of chemicals by now.

There's also a real possibility that they all got thrown away after I left - since there was nothing to play them on (and not much chance of a replacement at that point), it wouldn't surprise me.

A side note: this same library had a number of nitrate films in the collection, including what was supposedly a copy of one episode of "Victory At Sea," the classic documentary. In particular, they were stored in the middle of the REST of the collection. Extremely flammable and old, degrading nitrate films. When I found the first one, I opened the can CAREFULLY on the concrete loading dock, found it was just mush, and arranged to have it destroyed safely. I spent a bit of the next couple of days finding another dozen in similar condition and disposing of them too.

At least videotape doesn't catch fire so easily.

Comment Not a new problem, of course (Score 5, Interesting) 76

I ran into a related issue about 25 years ago.

I was working in a college media library, and there were several stacks (over 70 tapes in total) of 2" reel-to-reel video tape from the 1960s and 1970s - recordings off air from Public Television, mostly. Some of them were of local shows nobody even seemed to remember, and others were from live performances at the Dallas station or of live feeds from PBS. There was a live Alvin Ailey dance troupe local show from the late 1960s, if I recall correctly.

The problem was that they were recorded in a rare two-inch format - and only four machines that used it were ever even built (no, it wasn't 2" quadruplex, there were still lots of those at the time). I couldn't find a working machine, and the only one I could dig up was missing major parts (like the heads). So unless someone builds a new one from scratch just to read those tapes, all of that is going to disappear - if it hasn't already.

Comment Countdown to Lawsuit in 3...2...1... (Score 3, Insightful) 412

Someone will apply, get rejected, and sue, because they were turned down due to age, income level, number of children, political affiliation, type of job - or any of the other hundred reasons to sue for housing discrimination.

"Highly curated" is just another term for "we don't want your smelly kind here, peasant!"

Comment Re: Deductions (Score 2) 674

...and, again, that "94%" wasn't really 94%.

You really, REALLY need to learn the difference between "marginal" and "effective" tax rates.

"Marginal" would be the "94%" you think they paid. "Effective" would be the much, much lower number they actually paid (30% or less), because they could deduct pretty much EVERYTHING, including that company-supplied summer house (with full staff), the nice apartment in the office building (along with staff), chauffered limo, et cetera - and those benefits weren't taxable, like they are now.

Right now, the marginal rate for someone making a million dollars a year is about 39%. The effective rate is about 29%. Yeah, you might note that rich people are paying about the same percentage on their incomes. You could also notice that middle class and below is paying less (while the bottom quartile or so is getting, effectively, a ten percent bonus from negative taxes).

Capital gains taxes were also much lower than marginal rates - half or less, and in many years, there was NO taxation on many long-term capital gains. There were a lot of (perfectly legitimate and acceptable) ways to avoid paying taxes on what we would call "income" now, but wasn't considered such back then.

Comment Deductions (Score 1) 674

...and that marginal tax rate of 90% featured a ridiculous amount of deductions, along with a lot of things that didn't qualify as "income."

Overall, the effective tax rate (as in the amount actually paid after deductions) was slightly LOWER for rich people in the 1950s than it is right now.

Comment Re:Related? (Score 2) 138

The worker mentioned in the story had a total dose of about 20 millisieverts, and included his work at another plant plus the Fukushima dose. Some reports made it seem higher, but they were adding the 15.7 mSv in twice.

One worker, who was exposed to 670 mSv, has about a seven percent higher chance of developing cancer sometime in his life. The rest had smaller doses.

On the other hand, two workers died from heart attacks brought on by heat exhaustion caused by the radiation suits.

Comment Summary: "It's hard." (Score 5, Insightful) 43

Glossed over in the story: "It's not that hard if you know what you're doing and have some money."

A few notes...

"It could cost $30,000 for a very basic setup." Never mind that someone with that level of skill could save that much in a couple of years. I know people who spent that much on sports equipment in a similar timeframe. Not all hackers are dirt-poor. Or they could get a middle-management job at a distributor and steal a few of the more expensive pieces. Some people have patience, you know.

"It's very hard to do the really subtle and clever things, like drug delivery bacteria." Conversely, it's nowhere near that hard to breed a better form of anthrax, not to mention a whole lot of other microbes. Anthrax is EASY to get - it's found on every continent, and there are regular outbreaks around the world. The same goes for many other nasty diseases.

"You need high-level biocontainment to be safe." But that's not hard to do for small samples, and relies on 1950s-era tech.

"You need very specific training to do it right." Well, thank heavens that we don't have hundreds of people with that sort of training. Oh, wait, we do. Well, at least 100% of them are sane. Er...

"You can't test on monkeys." But you can test on small, isolated communities of humans. By the time anyone notices it was man-made, it's too late. Nothing will happen if the bugs don't work, and if they DO work, it will take more than a while for the government to catch on.

The only issue is production-level amounts - making a few ounces for a major anthrax attack, for example. You don't have to make the cool spore/long-term dispersal agents for this purpose.

Generally, the big blind spot is "someone planning this will want to do it exactly like 1970s germ warfare types did, with tons of long-duration anthrax spores and well-tested lethal strains." Nope, not any more than mad bombers will all make highly-engineered explosives with anti-tamper devices and multiple remote detonators. They'll cut corners, take stupid risks, make a lot of mistakes, and a lot of them will die at home.

But it only takes one.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.