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Comment: Re:redundant aircraft (Score 1) 103

Bell Helicopter is developing a tilt rotor aircraft for this competition:

If you take the V-22, and remove the Marine Corps' requirements for blade-fold-wing-stow and rotors small enough to launch off of a Marine helicopter ship, you free up a huge amount of design room to increase performance.

Comment: Re:One hundred *billion* dollars? (Score 2) 103

The Army doesn't want Apaches. They want a medium lift technology demonstrator that will replace their Blackhawk fleet while providing much more capability by exploring new vertical lift technologies. Then they'll run separate competitions to scale the technology up and down in size to replace their Apaches, Little Birds, and Chinooks.

Comment: Re:You think? (Score 3, Informative) 374

Today on /. we find out who doesn't know the difference between subsidies, tax deductions, tax breaks, and taxes.

From the linked CNN article above:

Among other things, the measure killed on Thursday would have ended oil production's categorization under the tax code as a form of domestic manufacturing eligible for a deduction worth 6% of net income, according to New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, the bill's author.

The measure also would have prevented oil companies from claiming foreign royalty payments as a credit against American taxes, and cut the ability of companies to deduct numerous costs associated with the drilling process.

So we have a bunch of tax deductions that literally every company in the country is eligible for, but when the oil industry takes them they become subsidies and are bad.


Comment: Re:So....far more than guns (Score 1) 454

by felrom (#47335009) Attached to: CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

Welcome to the world of fighting for gun rights, where among other things:

"Children" killed by guns includes people up to age 35 in some studies.
"School shootings" includes gang violence that just happens to take place close enough to a school.
"People killed by an acquaintance with a gun" includes rival drug dealers who knew each other, one of which kills the other.
"Victims of gun violence" include Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
"Gun deaths" include suicides, lawful homicide (cop-on-criminal) and lawful self-defense (citizen-on-criminal).

MADD and gun-grabbers have much in common when it comes to creative use of statistics.

Comment: Re:So....far more than guns (Score 1) 454

by felrom (#47334903) Attached to: CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

Nobody talks about restricting access to guns for your personal health.

The CDC does. It spent much of the 80s and 90s putting out politically motivated research trying to whip people into a frenzy over the dangers of gun ownership.
The VA does it too. It's been expanding its definitions of mentally defective, all the way to veterans only having slight sleeping problems from PTSD, in order to then prevent them from owning guns.
Hell, not two days ago in Colorado a court upheld the state's 15-round magazine capacity limit under the pretense that it contributes to public safety, only a single thinly veiled step away from claiming it's for your health.

Maybe you're not steeped in the gun rights fight that way I am every day, but that doesn't mean these things simply aren't happening.

Comment: Re:War of government against people? (Score 1) 875

by felrom (#47201487) Attached to: America 'Has Become a War Zone'

There are many ways to obtain a gun in America, with varying levels of records of it being recorded:
1. Buy or transfer a gun through an FFL, in which case a Form 4473 is filled out and kept by the FFL. The ATF, in the course of an investigation can get a copy of this form to see who bought the gun. The ATF cannot legally go around making copies of all 4473s to create a database. The information from the 4473 is required to be kept on file with the FFL for at least 20 years, at which point he can start purging it. If he quits being an FFL before then, he turns it all over to the ATF to keep the records for future investigations. So a few guns that are sold through an FFL will eventually have no record, if he holds the FFL for 20 years after the sale AND decides to destroy the record.

2. Buy a gun in a private sale, assuming your state doesn't require this to go through an FFL (in which case, see #1). Most states require no record keeping for this. Where I live, my only responsibility under the law is to be reasonably sure that the buyer is not prohibited from owning guns. That means I ask, "Are you prohibited?" and if they say no, I can sell it to them with no liability.

3. Receive a gun as a gift. Most places treat this the same as #2.

4. Make your own gun. Most states don't require you to register a gun you made yourself. You must be making it yourself, for yourself. If you later decide you don't want it, you're supposed to transfer it to its new owner via an FFL. Making a gun yourself is much easier than it sounds; I've built an AR15 for myself, it has no serial number on it, there's no 4473 for it anywhere, and it's 100% legal.

So, methods 2,3 and 4 can create new gun owners with no record of it, and method 4 can create new guns with no record of it.
Method 1 can make new owners with no record assuming certain rare events: FFL in business long enough to start purging his books, or his store goes up in a fire and the records are destroyed, or thieves steal the records. In this case the ATF can only learn that a gun existed at some point; they have no idea who the original retail owner was, so their information that it existed is useless.

With home made guns, they don't even have that information.

So, NOT every gun in the US has paperwork for it somewhere, and NOT every gun buyer is on paperwork somewhere, and what paperwork does exist for some guns is 100% useless with regard to locating the gun or its owner.

This whole discussion doesn't even touch on the subject of a more important question: What good do records and serialization do when most guns used in crimes are stolen to start with? Despite what you learned by watching CSI, the answer is a resounding, "Not a whole hell of a lot."

Comment: Re:Does Slashdot suddenly support States' Rights? (Score 1) 96

States no more have the power to regulate guns than the federal government does. Making that lack of power explicit by incorporating the second amendment under the due process clause deprives the states of nothing. Fundamental rights are fundamental rights, whether it's a state government or the federal government who seeks to take them away from you.

The whole Bill of Rights and the idea of natural rights would all become a silly notion were states in possession of the legitimate power to restrict them. I'm talking political theory here, not practice because we all know in practice the government at all levels shits on your rights without the legitimacy to do so.

Comment: Does Slashdot suddenly support States' Rights? (Score 2) 96

Certainly everyone applauding this will agree that similar laws meant to reaffirm second amendment protections are equally necessary, equally valid, and equally worth fighting for!

From the article:

"The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is very clear. It says the government shall not engage in unreasonable search and seizure," said the bill's author, Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu, of Torrance.

Let's try a little modification....

"The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is very clear. It says the government shall not infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms," said no one in California's legislature, ever.

Just remember, when you erode one part of the Constitution, you erode them all. Feinstein wants ALL of your rights. Buuuuut... let's hear your reasons why this is different.

Comment: Re:Pretty chilling honestly (Score 1) 548

by felrom (#46907615) Attached to: Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts

This is a slippery slope situation and should get folks on both sides of the aisle riled up

Frankly, the sheer number of of illegal things that are slippery slopes and should have had people on both sides of the aisle riled up, that this administration has overseen in the last 5 years is so large that I have no confidence that anything will come of this.

I could name a dozen of them, but I know that for each one I'll be bombarded with responses from drones who can only make excuses for why it was legal, or why the people who died as a result weren't important, or why the president admitting it happened doesn't mean it really happened.

This scandal too, will fall by the wayside as the true believers come to the administration's defense.

Comment: Re:Article is Short Sighted (Score 1) 401

by felrom (#46498117) Attached to: NASA-Funded Study Investigates Collapse of Industrial Civilization

Sure there are other possibilities. We're not constrained to only two states: those of an out of control central bureaucracy, or anarchy.

The chief problem we have is people surrendering their power to the government where one of two things then happens: the government abuses that power (ie, recent scandals and abuses at the NSA, CIA, BATFE, IRS, etc), or companies come in and bribe/lobby to gain control of that power and abuse it (ie, the revolving door of executives to administrators, regulatory capture, favorable rules from regulatory agencies; the FCC, EPA, and DOEnergy are big offenders of this type).

If you want to prevent that, you have to stop giving powers to the government. To make an extreme example, let's talk about the IRS targeting of conservative political groups in 2011-2012. How would this have been preventable? Don't have such a labyrinthine tax code that required jumping through flaming hoops. Without a monstrous tax code, there would be no bureaucrats to selectively apply it in order to abuse their enemies.

I don't want to sound flippant, but if you read the constitution you'll see what a limited government looks like. Sadly, two centuries of perversion of the document have brought us where we are today. Congress has surrendered its duty to legislate and instead delegated it to over a million bureaucrats who make rules without votes. The 16th and 17th amendments stripped a lot of the protections we had against an ever-growing and out of control centralized government. The destruction of the commerce clause in Wickard V. Filburn has caused inestimable damage all on its own.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. ; )

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire