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Comment "Well regulated" does not mean restricted ... (Score 1) 1148

and defeat the purpose of the 2nd amendment

With registration you can still have guns, so what is the purpose you refer to? The "A well regulated Militia the" part? We have a national defence agency that doesn't rely on guys with muskets any more. I don't see a no registration clause to the amendment in any event.

Actually we do rely on the "militia" for national defense. The "unorganized" component of the federal militia basically consists of all able bodied men of military age. Its something entirely different from the national guard, the federal law defining it specifically says so. You are in it by being an american citizen that meets certain criteria. The is no enlistment, no signing up, you are born (or naturalized) into it. During times of national emergency you can be transferred from the federal militia to the army or navy reserve. In other words conscripted, drafted, into the military. Such conscription is a major option for national defense.

As for "muskets". The colonial militia members sometimes had state of the art firearms for the day, better than standard issue military firearms, i.e. rifles rather than muskets. Rifles having greater range and better accuracy.

As for "well regulated", the 18th century usage of the word was referring to being equipped and practiced sufficiently to be useful. Its not referring to government imposed restrictions regarding ownership. Note that "well regulated" does not necessarily mean showing up on the town commons for drills. Owning a rifle and using it for hunting was considered sufficient, hence the "unorganized" part of the federal militia that has absolutely no obligation to enlist, show up for practice or training, etc.

Basically this topic is far more complicated than most realize.

Comment Re:Both a computer and history twat ... (Score 1) 143

Sure. But it's not really news, is it?

Good thing we have the stuff that matters category too.


Perhaps you should include reading comprehension & logic in your awesomely broad range of studies, because nothing that you say invalidates my point that it isn't news.

Sorry, the reading comprehension and logic fails are entirely yours. That "stuff that matters" comment I made earlier. Guess where it comes from? Slashdot's self description: "Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters". Slashdot is widely characterized as a "science and technology" site. You are wrong that posts need to be news and you are wrong that its an intersection not a union.

As I mentioned elsewhere, its useful to point out to impressionable youth that the concept of "hacking" does not solely apply to computers and computer controlled devices. That elegant improvised solutions with materials at hand applies to a broad set of areas. So, this story is something that matters to nerds with respect to this notion and others.

Comment 70% is passing, 80% of questions are known ahead (Score 1) 203

This sounds like the required Federal testing for students. The Feds give out the information that children must know, and so the administration teaches the children that information.

Are you familiar with the FAA written exams for private pilots? Passing score is 70% and 80% of the questions are known ahead of time. These questions are from exams from previous years, unchanged, and these exams are available for study and practice. The 20% of questions that are "new", largely old questions with the given numbers changed.

Comment Add SW update to smog check ... (Score 1) 203

Lets see how many people bring their VW in to have the ECU s/w updated. I mean without an EPA threat to brin them in or else. I'll bet that most people will weigh a little higher NOx emmissions against driving a gutless pig and not find time to get it in to the shop.

Their state could do it. Want to re-register your vehicle, show us your software update certificate. It could be another checkbox on the smog tests that many states require every year or two for registration.

Comment Re:VW Diesel's do have low polluting exhaust ... (Score 1) 203

How the software cheats is to turn off the emission controls if it looks like someone is actually driving.

Does that mean "wheels spinning" as opposed to just "engine revving"?

Not necessarily. It could mean looking for driver inputs. Steering wheel, accelerator pedal, brake pedal, etc. Things characteristic of actually being on the road.

Comment May be viable for gasoline engines too (Score 1) 203

FWIW if the emissions controls are controlled by software then disabling them to boost performance may be just as plausible a tactic for gasoline engines as diesel engines. Of course the payback may be smaller and so the risk/reward to an automaker may not tempt them so much. However some hobbyists may disable their emissions even for a minor performance boost when modifying their car.

Comment VW Diesel's do have low polluting exhaust ... (Score 4, Informative) 203

It's especially difficult to clean NOx from diesel engine exhaust because unlike gasoline engines, the exhaust contains lots of extra oxygen. Diesels need special NOx-cleaning devices which add cost and weight, and can seriously limit performance in some situations.

No. It is no longer especially difficult because VW and other diesel makers have already solved this problem. Every cheating VW diesel on the road can have low polluting exhaust. The hardware and software is there, already installed and operating. That is how they pass emissions tests, the software enables all the emissions controls. How the software cheats is to turn off the emission controls if it looks like someone is actually driving.

The fix is a simple software patch to stop turning off the emissions controls.

The downside is that performance and mileage will be reduced.

Comment Both a computer and history nerd ... (Score 1) 143

I always thought it was intersection, not union. Perhaps I should submit a story about Roman manipular tactics during the late republican period?

Man did that sarcastic remark backfire. I am in fact both a computer nerd and a history nerd, happy to read classics like Bjarne Stroustrup's "The C++ Programming Language" and Titus Livius' "The History of Rome". Well, the 2,000 pages of Livy's work that has been discovered. So feel free, submit your work.

Comment Re: What? (Score 1, Informative) 143

Hack either means security breach, or an awful clusterfuck, as in hackjob.

No, among techies, "hack" has for decades also meant clever and innovative and unexpected solutions to a problem or want/need. Your security breach definition evolved from the preceding definition.

Comment Re:News for history nerds... (Score 4, Interesting) 143

Not sure TV, cable, or movies are places to learn our history. And sadly, History Channel has fallen apart.

The HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" are pretty good from a historical perspective. Very respectable adaptations of books written by a well regarded historian who did great research or written by veterans themselves. Read them all plus Winters' book. Sledge's "With The Old Breed" was probably the standout for me among the veteran's books. Very well written, of course he had been a university professor for decades by the time he authored his book.

HBO's "The Tuskegee Airman" seemed a respectable attempt at telling that story. It may have been a little more fictionalized given its time constraints, more composite characters and coalescing of events for example, but it certainly seemed far better than the Lucas "Red Tails" mess from a historical perspective. "Red Tails" went from beyond dramatic license and into cartoonishness IMO.

Comment Doesn't matter if war is large or small ... (Score 3, Interesting) 143

Um, who is getting shot at in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere? Dumbass.

If I remember correctly, the annual death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan is roughly the same as... one day on Omaha Beach, or about six hours on the Eastern Front.

I grew up around a WW2 paratrooper, Normandy, Holland, Bastogne (frostbite), Germany (shot). According to him it didn't matter if the war is big or small, popular or unpopular. Bullets and shrapnel do the same thing to a soldier. Getting shot at is getting shot at, whether you are alone, one of ten, or one of a thousand. If you went into harms way for your country you deserve respect, period. That was his lesson during the Vietnam war. Can't imagine him having a different opinion for Iraq or Afghanistan. Especially since I've seen videos of troops from his unit, then 502 PIR now 502 INF, doing room clearing in an urban settings. Something he did in Europe and disliked very much.

Comment Moderates usually put down the fanatics ... (Score 1) 662

The problem is that there is a significant minority of Muslims who are willing to kill to spread or defend (including against the slightest of insults) their interpretation of Islam. Historically moderates who were quite happy to interact and trade with non-Muslims would keep these guys in check. Moderates who in fact considered these fanatics Islamic heretics. This is not my interpretation. This is how members of the Saudi royal family explained things to TE Lawrence during the first world war. According to these Muslim royals once or twice a century these heretics would rise and have to be put down by the moderates who correctly understood Islam. Lawrence was then advised to travel in Bedouin clothing with a Muslim guard because if spotted by one of these fanatics he would be killed for nothing more than being a Christian in Muslim lands, even though he was under the protection of the Saudi King in Mecca.

Now if the billions of moderate Muslims would do something about the hundreds of thousands of fanatical heretical Muslims causing trouble, then the narrative about Muslims would change very quickly. Right now these fanatics are allowed to thrive and expand and dominate the news, to create the misperception of Islam. Its not Fox news creating this misperception, its these fanatics doing so. It would also be beneficial to moderate Muslims to do so not only to correct the public misperception but due to the fact that Muslims are far more often the victims of these fanatics than anyone else.

A modern twist on things, some of the modern heretics in Saudi Arabia have access to oil profits and being a bit smarter than some of their peers have taken a more low key and long term approach. They have taken a path of evangelism rather than direct action. For many decades now they have used these oil profits to build mosques and madrasas and support like minded imams to promote their heretical interpretation of Islam. While these "educational" efforts are not necessarily producing fanatics who take terroristic actions they have been increasing the percentage of Muslims who while not fanatical themselves are somewhat more tolerant of fanatical interpretations of Islam, considering such interpretation old fashioned but valid rather than heretical. Tolerance for the heretics has been increasing over the decades. Admittedly still a minority opinion but a disturbing trend. A trend that should disturb and motivate moderate Muslims to actions as well.

Comment Doubly so ... (Score 2) 158

If anybody didn't see this coming with this kind of thing, they're hopelessly naive. When they brought this in people were saying this is exactly what would happen.

Doubly so since this was a United Nations scheme.

Here's an idea, let these same people, the United Nations, come up with an unpublished scheme for nuclear weapons inspections. Oh wait, we're already doing that.

Comment No financial gains for one particular choice (Score 1) 108

What's the problem with selling dead baby parts? I could see there being a problem with killing the baby after it's born to get those parts, but otherwise, what exactly is your problem?

I believe women have the right to choose, however this issue has several problems. History and economics prove that you often get what is rewarded, and what is being reward here is parts. So Planned Parenthood has an incentive to produce parts. Back to the idea of women having a choice, abortion is one of several choices. Now if the people presenting the options to a woman have a financial interest in one of those options then that one option will be presented as the preferred option. In other words there will be a persuasive element by Planned Parenthood for the financially advantageous choice. Planned Parenthood is supposed to be a neutral party fully informing a woman of all her choices.

Plus there is the treatment. There are many ways to perform an abortion. The problem with selling parts is that Planned Parenthood has been choosing methods based on what will best produce sellable parts, to avoid damaging parts. The only considerations in choosing a method should be the woman's safety (avoiding damage that could impair reproduction in the future) and recovery (faster recovery time, fewer side effects). As a matter of fact federal regulations mandate this, selling parts can not be a consideration in choosing a method. Planned Parenthood seems guilty of violating these regulations.

Furthermore the negotiating of prices for parts, maximizing payment, is evidence that there was a profit motive not simply a recovery of harvesting costs. Harvesting costs would be a known cost to state to parts buyers.

Planned Parenthood needs some serious reforms and likely new leadership. To defend them in a case where there is absolutely wrongdoing is political zealotry. Wrong is wrong. Fix the problem, no financial gains for one particular choice.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen