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Comment: Re:I hate to be this guy... (Score 5, Insightful) 119

Here's how the war on poverty is doing:

Thanks for the link, it has some numbers that show how relatively little NASA costs.

From the article:
  The government has spent some $22 trillion on means-tested welfare programs since the War on Poverty began (in constant 2012 dollars).
This does not include Social Security, Medicare, nor unemployment insurance.

All of NASA's spending since 1958 totals 790 billion (inflation adjusted).

This provides some data on the direct benefits of the space program:

Keep in mind that without the space program, there would be no DirectTV and we would be dependent upon Comcast.

Comment: Re:Most taxes are legalized theft (Score 1) 245

by clovis (#47922323) Attached to: New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

The link is to the word "steal", but because theft is the act or result of stealing, we should go with "steal"

to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force

See the part about "without permission or right". It's "without permission" and "the right" part (among other things) that makes taxation and theft two different things.

Comment: Re:I hate to be this guy... (Score 4, Informative) 119

...but people are still dying of starvation and lack of water on THIS planet. =\

I know space exploration is very important, but shit, let's get real here. I feel guilty driving a newer model Honda Civic knowing that if I bought something cheaper I could maybe feed someone less fortunate.

That's a good point, and that's why we spent several trillions of dollars on welfare and foreign aid since the space program began.

The question you didn't ask, but should, is "What are our priorities in spending?"
You say welfare is more important than space exploration. It appears this is correct because we spend vastly more money on welfare.
Nasa takes about a half percent of the federal budget. What percent would you have it be?

Here's where all the money is really going. This kind of shows how relatively trivial is the amount we're spending on NASA.

Comment: Re:Most taxes are legalized theft (Score 2) 245

by clovis (#47921077) Attached to: New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

General forms of taxes are legalized theft anyway. When the government just takes money away for their "general bucket", it is nothing more than stealing.

Once in a while it is time to go pedantic.
Words have meanings. We can string words together without regard to their meanings, and create an aphorism that sounds good, but it leads to logical incorrectness and a misunderstanding of how things work. It would be better if you were just gibbering.

Taxation is not theft. The two words describe different circumstances and processes. The outcome may be the same (your stuff is gone), but they are two different words with different meanings.

Comment: Re:Not much different than the fire starting laser (Score 1) 177

by clovis (#47915123) Attached to: How Governments Are Getting Around the UN's Ban On Blinding Laser Weapons

Does anyone give two shits what the UN says, I mean really?

The soldiers care.
The US is a signatory, and the US military has given long prison sentences to its own soldiers who have violated the Army's Rules of Engagement which are an extension of the Geneva Conventions.
BTW, 1995 Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons is part of the Geneva Convention on the conduct of warfare. It's not simply a UN resolution.

Comment: Re:One of those strange rules of war. (Score 2) 177

by clovis (#47915089) Attached to: How Governments Are Getting Around the UN's Ban On Blinding Laser Weapons

Yes. That is exactly the rule. Weapons that are intended to injure but not kill are illegal, weapons intended to kill are ok. Injuring someone because you tried to kill them and missed is considered acceptable, because not everyone has perfect aim.

No, that is not correct.
The Hague and Geneva conventions forbid "To employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering"
There are endless misconceptions regarding the Hague and Geneva conventions. Please read the actual text of the Conventions and updates. There are many surprises such as the circumstances that allow the execution of random civilians as punishment for the behavior of others.

Here is a link to the Hague Convention.
"Annex to the Convention: Regulations respecting the laws and customs of war on land - Section II : Hostilities - Chapter I : Means of injuring the enemy, sieges, and bombardments - Regulations: Art. 23."

The same web site includes the Geneva 1949 convention and subsequent updates (including the blinding laser weapons article)

Regarding other posts, nowhere are any type of bayonets mentioned. Almost no type of specific weapon is mentioned.
Many people confuse the US Army's rules of Engagement with the Geneva convention.
The ROE is much more specific and is the source of many of the things that people mistakenly believe are forbidden by the Geneva Convention.
FYI, the use of .50 cal machine gun against individuals is not forbidden in either place. No one knows where that story began.

If I am incorrect, please show exactly where it can be found in the Conventions.

Comment: safety deposit box in the bank (Score 1) 256

by clovis (#47911611) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

The things I care about a lot I copy to a hard drive once a year or so and place them in my safety deposit box at the bank. Some things I also re-copy to DVD's.
It's affordable and easy to access long-term storage. It's also about as fire-proof as you can get, and I suspect that it would be about as EMP proof as you can reasonably expect outside of a mountain. There is near zero chance of flooding where my bank is, but that may be a concern in other locations.

Comment: Surprise! Summary has wrong information (Score 3, Interesting) 198

Summary says: "It logs the non-clinical information on 80 million people in Britain"

Well, yes it does hold clinical information. That is a big deal.

From the UK's HSCIC web site there's more (and authoritative) information on SPINE
"The Summary Care Record:
SCRs provide emergency and out-of-hours healthcare professionals with faster access to key clinical information, including details of allergies, current prescriptions and bad reactions to medicines. The Summary Care Record helps to ensure continuity of care across a variety of care settings, and is provided by the Spine."

Having or losing corrupt information in a clinical record is a good way to kill some random person. However, it is a summary, so if a physician suspects a problem in the summary, they can go to the patient's main record. Getting prescriptions crossed can also be problematic for the patient.

Ignoring the NOSQL issue, I wish we had something like SPINE here in the USA.

Comment: Re:why no RICO act charges? (Score 1) 200

It's only supposed to shield you from financial liability, not criminal liability.

True, you're right about that and it's supposed to work that way.

Sarbanes/Oxley and RICO cases against corporations are a good example (all two or three cases). But in practice incorporating works out to protect the owners/officers from almost anything they do that would have quickly resulted in an indictment had they done it as an individual.
The need for passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley shows how corporate officers had historically dodged responsibility for their malfeasance.
That is, with the exception of one unforgivable crime in the USA: making insufficient campaign donations.

Comment: Re:I now know what age Russell Edwards is (Score 5, Funny) 135

by clovis (#47846123) Attached to: New DNA Analysis On Old Blood Pegs Aaron Kosminski As Jack the Ripper

This is slightly off-topic, but why this?

...businessman Russell Edwards, 48, bought the shawl...

Why do they throw his age in there? Why does it matter? Is that in any possible way related to the story? I'm not calling out this story in particular, I see this all the time. I'd like to know the motivation behind the trend.

My first thought when I heard he had the bloody shawl was that he was the Jack the Ripper. Who else would have such a gruesome souvenir? But, then I saw that he was only 48 and not 148, so I now know it wasn't Edwards after all.
That little fact saved me a lot of time from writing a "I know who Jack is" book. Unless the 48 not 148 was a typo.

Comment: Re:why no RICO act charges? (Score 1) 200

The much bigger question here is why aren't the executives of the relevant firms being criminally prosecuted under the RICO act? If we really want to see an end to these kinds of practises, a few of the people at the top need to be seen doing the perp walk. Fining a few of the world's richest corporations even a few billion dollars will be totally ineffective, they'll just put it down as a cost of doing business and I can guarantee you they won't then start to hire each other's staff aftewards.

Almost the entire point of forming corporations is to remove the owners from having personal liability for the actions of the corporation.
It doesn't always work, but usually it does.

Comment: missing outhouse. (Score 1) 230

by clovis (#47839145) Attached to: Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

My neighbor down the road had, or rather used to have, an outhouse.
This outhouse was last seen perhaps 50 feet in the air. It appeared to have been rapidly disassembled by whatever caused the ascent..
Unfortunately, whoever did it had approached the outhouse through the woods, and had not taken the trouble to notice that aforesaid neighbor appeared to be having a family reunion in the back yard that day. I truly hope that none of the outhouse parts landed on the tables they had setup with food.
I still cannot believe how fast and how far those old geezers could run.
Sadly, they weren't fast enough to catch certain 16-year olds who remain unidentified. And alive.

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.