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Comment: Thanks for the cite. (Score 1) 440

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48191563) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

No. In the U.S. cartoon images ARE protected by the First Amendment. This was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002. (Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002)). Sometimes our Supreme court DOES get it right!

Thanks for the cite!

I'm really happy to be proven wrong on this one.

Comment: Re:Bruce, I know why u r disappointed. Let me expl (Score 1) 180

So, I see this as rationalization.

The fact is, you took a leadership position, and later turned your coat for reasons that perhaps made sense to you. But they don't really make sense to anyone else. So, yes, everyone who supported you then is going to feel burned.

You also made yourself a paid voice that was often hostile to Free Software, all the way back to the SCO issue. Anyone could have told you that was bound to be a losing side and you would be forever tarred with their brush.

So nobody is going to believe you had any reason but cash, whatever rationalization you cook up after the fact. So, the bottom line is that you joined a list of people who we're never going to be able to trust or put the slightest amount of credibility in.

And ultimately it was for nothing. I've consistently tried to take the high road and it's led to a pretty good income, I would hazard a guess better than yours, not just being able to feel good about myself.

Comment: Re:This could be really good for Debian (Score 5, Insightful) 495

by Bruce Perens (#48188887) Attached to: Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork
I am beginning to be wary of systemd, but no. I am talking about anal-retentive policy wonks who believe they only make the distribution for themselves and have (perhaps without intending to) systematically marginalized Debiian and made the project a whore to Ubuntu.

Comment: Constitutions CAN be useful, if honored. (Score 0) 440

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48188597) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

Yeah, this is stupid. You can't sentence people for drawing and using a paper and pen, whatever the content of their drawing, ...

Sure "you" can. This was in the UK. They don't have First Amendment protections, so the law is what's passed and enforced.

Last I heard, some jurisdictions in the US have some similar anti-pornography laws, banning drawn images. In the US the anti-pornography laws are justified against the clear prohibition on such laws in the First Amendment by claiming the purveyors of pornography are part of a conspiracy with the pornographer who abused an underage child by photographing her.

Obviously this justification is bogus when the image is drawn. So while the prohibition is on the books, I understand the authorities are reluctant to actually enforce it against anyone who has enough money to appeal it. So they tend to use such laws only when they can't find (or plant) any actual child pictures on a target(s) they've raided, but still really want to jail them and seize their assets, or as a "pour on the counts" measure when knocking the law down wouldn't do much for the accused.

(I think the underage are underripe and have no personal interest in such fare. So I don't follow the issue closely, except when someone threatens to post such stuff on a system I administer. Maybe somebody else, with more reliable and/or up-to-date knowledge, can comment?)

Comment: How about an insulated box at the counter? (Score 1) 320

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48188411) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

Even if the Nevada health department DID have an objection, what's wrong with having some ice bags in an insulated box at the counter and calling THAT a "cooler" or "icebox"? It wouldn't need to be powered, because it would be kept cold by the steady flow of fresh bags from the supply truck.

You'd have to run it as a FIFO, to avoid having bags sitting there for hours. (Bag porters put 'em in one end, clerks pull them out at the other - or put a moving partition in and run it as a circular buffer, so you don't have to slide them down. No additional communication between counter workers and bag-porters is necessary, because the available open space signals when more bags need to be toted. Only downside I see is that if/when the counter is about to close, you need to signal the porters to stop, to avoid having unsold bags in the cooler that need to be ported back to the truck to keep them from melting during the break.)

Such a local buffer would do all you want, without leaving the ice bags sitting on a counter in the desert. Also: The ice would be seen by the customers to be fresh, rather than partially melted while waiting to be picked up.

Comment: I had one for a while. (Score 2) 291

It was a military surplus rifle that had been "sporterized" (mainly by cutting the stock down to a more civilian profile).

The Enfield has an interesting history: Back in the period leading up to WWII the British mmilitary had a good idea the war was coming. The army was armed mainly wiith the Lee-Enfield bolt action rifles and they knew they needed a good slect fire automatic/semiautomatic rifle to replace them, least they be outgunned. But they debated over WHICH design to pick for so long that, when the Blitzkreig brought the Germans into a faceoff with the British, the autos weren't yet deployed.

It turns out that the Lee-Enfield action has a number of features that make it VERY much faster to operate than other bolt-action military weapons of the time. The bolt has a very small throw angle. It has rear, not front, locking lugs (out where there's lots of clearance and little stress and opportunity for dirt to gum them up). The action is almost glassy-smooth. The bolt ball is located where it can be opened by the thumb, while slapping it closed with the palm, doesn't require accurate positioning of the hand, and guides the hand back to the correct position to fire, letting the user's attention remain on the target scene and sight picture. It cocks on closing (rather than on opening as Mausers do), dedicating essentially all the energy on opening to case extraction, rather than splitting it with spring-cocking and keeping the opening and closing work closer to equal.

The result is that, with a modicum of practice, a rifleman with a Lee-Enfield can achieve higher firing rates than the operator of a machine gun. (Machine gun rates are deliberately limited to make them easier to control and aim, avoid wasting ammunition, and reduce overheating, burnout, and jamming.) It can't keep it up as LONG, because the Lee Enfield has a small, fixed, magazine. But it can fire a couple fast, controlled, bursts - just what is needed in many situations - using a powerful rifle cartridge.

By comparison the Germans were armed with things like the recently developed "assault rifle" - a short-barreled select-fire rifle (for easy handling in cramped hallways or popping up out of a tank hatch), firing a low-powered cartridge. (Militaries had figured out that a gun should be designed to WOUND, not kill: Kill a soldier and you take one out of action - wound him and you use up him, his buddy, a medic, and a lot of infrastructure and supplies taking care of him and shipping him back home.)

The Blitzkreig stormed across much of Europe and encountered only limited resistance, typically armed with the likes of the slower bolt-action Mausers. Then they came up against the British. They knew the Brits were armed with bolt-actions and believed their own propaganda about their lack of resolve. So they expected to sweep them up as they had their previous encounters. They came charging out, and were blasted back, repeatedly, by withering fire. There are records of communications from the front where the officers were claiming all the Brits were armed with machine guns. (I hear one of these records is a recording - with the officer in question being killed in mid-message by a round from one of those Lee-Enfields.)

Comment: Medicare needs a separate number. (Score 1) 59

We have the same thing here in the US, but good luck getting a new SSN if it gets compromised.

What bugs me is I've been refusing to give out my SS# to any operation that didn't have a federal mandate to get it for decades - since at LEAST the '80s.

Then I aged into eligibility for medicare - and other health insurers insist that, since I'm eligible, they'll only pay the difference between my coverage with them and what Medicare pays (which is most of the bill), even if I don't collect from Medicare. Not collecting from Medicare would be a financial disaster.

But Medicare's I.D. is the social security number with a single letter appended to it. Every clerk at every doctor's office, clinic, hospital, pharmacy, etc. that I interact with gets my SS#. Ever such operation's database has my SS#. I went to Costco for a flu shot, so now Costco has my SS#. Every store's database is a chance for a cracker to collect it. Every clerk is a chance for some crook to tempt them and buy it.

There was recently an article wringing its hands over the discovery that people over 65 have a higher incidence of identity theft. Well DUH!

The solution would be fore Medicare to assign a separate medicare number for making claims and otherwise interacting with them - something randomly picked (not algorithmically generated from the SS#, which would return to the current case as soon as the algorithm leaked), and only paired with the SS# (if at all) in a database in the relevant government department.

Comment: Issue was whether there were NEW ones. (Score 2) 376

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48154393) Attached to: Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq

As I understand it (in hindsight):

- Saddam was supposed to stop his production of new WMDs and estroy the old stuff.
  - He apparently complied, at least with stopping new production. (His guys - maybe at his orders, maybe on their own - apparently hid some of the key components of the nuclear program so it could potentially be restarted at some later date without starting from zero.)
  - But a lot of the old stuff was still around.
  - Meanwhile, he had enemies all around, and one of the deterrents was that they thought he had all this nasty weaponry.
  - So to keep them at bay, he made it look to his neighbors like he really was posturing about stopping and destroying, while still having much and making more. ("I got rid of all that stuff." Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) As a "good client dictator" he counted on the US diplomatic and intelligence communities to know that he really did it, was tellnig the truth to us, and putting on a show for his neighbors.
  - Unfortunately for him, the show he put on for his neighbors convinced the US that he still had and was still making. Oops!
  - Meanwhile, his neighbors planted stories, disguised as intelligence reports, about his continuation. (One such that hit the press was the forged documents for the "yellowcake" uranium ore purchase. The guy who fabricated it bragged about it after the war.)
  - So the US decided he'd gone (too) rogue and had to be taken out.
  - The US went in looking for the NEW stuff and the CURRENT production and research. Oops! Didn't find it. Found a bunch of old stuff, but that didn't support the argument for going to war. Either it didn't exist (and the US had done a BIG boo-boo) or it was just well enough hidden that it hadn't been found yet.
  - So it was politically expedient for the administration to not mention the old stuff while they kept looking for the new stuff they still believed was there.
  - It was also politically expedient for the opposition to crow about not finding the stuff that was the reason for the war. The old stuff weakened the message, so they didn't mention it.
  - Most of the mainstream press was solidly in the opposition's pocket. So they didn't mention the old stuff, either. This made any reports of it from the remainder of the press look like a pro-administration fabrication.

Thus, if you weren't watching many sources and making really good estimates of what was correct, important, fluff, and/or fabrications, you either didn't hear about the old weaponry or thought such stories were disinformation, and came away with the idea that there wasn't any WMD material to be had in Iraq

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid

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