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Comment: Re:Great one more fail (Score 1) 576

by PopeRatzo (#47919385) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Tell that to conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, who said he believes semi-automatic rifles are great for women because they don't have to worry so much about aiming.

Believe it or not, this is a common trope in the gun community. They need lots of bullets in case they miss.

Comment: Re:Great one more fail (Score 1) 576

by PopeRatzo (#47919341) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

You will find that all of those quotes except that of George Mason are fraudulent.

The actual Thomas Jefferson quote is, “No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements]“

The George Washington quote isn't found anywhere but on Second Amendment activist sites. It doesn't appear anywhere in Washington's papers. The first quote, which you attribute to Alexander Hamilton, is usually attributed to Samuel Adams. The only problem is, Adams never said it either.

That's the thing about this Second Amendment "movement", which as I said, started in the 1980s. They lie. They make stuff up. Maybe they don't realize that people can check these things, or maybe they don't care. As I said above, it tells you everything you need to know about the intellectual honesty of the pro-gun movement.

Comment: tanslation for the masses: (Score 3, Informative) 98

by nimbius (#47918557) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked
Tim cook, talking head who has only ever held managerial roles in various fortune 100 companies, expels platitudes about the sanctity of the iGalaxy for users who slept through FISA and NSA backdoors and only recently began giving a shit when selfies and nudes were leaked from the magical cloud by notorious hacker 4chan.

Comment: its apples device, not yours. (Score 3, Interesting) 212

by nimbius (#47918289) Attached to: Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album
Once a company can questionlessly assert the music you like, add and remove content, and that content is no longer in your immediate control, then no, its not your device. One could argue that the DRM structure imposed upon apple devices alone should be enough to convince the buyer to re-evaluate their purchase. Apple users should seriously question what it is that theyve invested in, if anything, and review the terms and conditions of their iPods, Pads, and music service to determine just what it is they dropped $200 or more on to listen to the music they like.

And if it comes to it, consider alternatives. You're the customer after all and your privacy and conditions should largely be non negotiable. Amazon sells DRM-free music, as does beatport. Use LibMTP for your mtp transfers, or better yet pick a device that hasnt adopted a slower, serialized transfer standard designed to cripple the users rights.

Comment: AT&T is only doing this for one reason. (Score 2) 203

by nimbius (#47916507) Attached to: AT&T Proposes Net Neutrality Compromise
AT&T is reaching out and offering a nicely wrapped turd to customers because its seen SOPA and PIPA go down in utter flames thanks to internet advocacy. We may not have caught Kony 2012, and ALS certainly wasnt cured with a bucket of ice, but the fact remains that internet users have inundated social media as well as the FCC formal request system with insistant pleas for net neutrality. AT&T is at a weak point, as its general position of ramming controversial and problematic legislation through in order to lube the wheels of its moneytrain has run into a plutocrats biggest problem. Namely, that if regular people are all allowed to vote and voice their opinions individually, your ability to control the outcome in your favour is eliminated. Its why we have the electoral college instead of an FCC-type system that permits individual input.

So stick it to these assclowns. Keep fighting.

Comment: Re:Car Dealers should ask why they're being bypass (Score 1) 138

by PopeRatzo (#47916171) Attached to: Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

Though assuming you were Musk and were putting some stores out there for people to look around... how would you structure it?

Keep his idea of the slick showroom, but leave out the Apple geniuses.

Put all the data online and populate the store with the equivalent of well-trained booth-babes from both genders. Have a kiosk for payment. Low overhead. Have a couple of cars for test driving.

By the way, I finally drove a Tesla a little bit. They're really nice. The chair of my wife's department at the University bought one and he had us out to the house for a BBQ a few weeks ago. Let me cruise around his tony suburb for a little bit. I love driving a car without engine noise.

Comment: Re:Where the pessimism comes from. (Score 4, Insightful) 167

by hey! (#47915329) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

I'd argue that we do try to write about the future, but the thing is: it's pretty damn hard to predict the future. ...
The problem is that if we look at history, we see it littered with disruptive technologies and events which veered us way off course from that mere extrapolation into something new.

I think you are entirely correct about the difficulty in predicting disruptive technologies. But there's an angle here I think you may not have considered: the possibility that just the cultural values and norms of the distant future might be so alien to us that readers wouldn't identify with future people or want to read about them and their problems.

Imagine a reader in 1940 reading a science fiction story which accurately predicted 2014. The idea that there would be women working who aren't just trolling for husbands would strike him as bizarre and not very credible. An openly transgendered character who wasn't immediately arrested or put into a mental hospital would be beyond belief.

Now send that story back another 100 years, to 1840. The idea that blacks should be treated equally and even supervise whites would be shocking. Go back to 1740. The irrelevance of the hereditary aristocracy would be difficult to accept. In 1640, the secularism of 2014 society and would be distasteful, and the relative lack of censorship would be seen as radical (Milton wouldn't publish his landmark essay Aereopagitica for another four years). Hop back to 1340. A society in which the majority of the population is not tied to the land would be viewed as chaos, positively diseased. But in seven years the BLack Death will arrive in Western Europe. Displaced serfs will wander the land, taking wage work for the first time in places where the find labor shortages. This is a shocking change that will resist all attempts at reversal.

This is all quite apart from the changes in values that have been forced upon us by scientific and technological advancement. The ethical issues discussed in a modern text on medical ethics would probably have frozen Edgar Allen Poe's blood.

I think it's just as hard to predict how the values and norms of society will change in five hundred years as it is to accurately predict future technology. My guess is that while we'd find things to admire in that future society, overall we would find it disturbing, possibly even evil according to our values. I say this not out of pessimism, but out my observation that we're historically parochial. We think implicitly like Karl Marx -- that there's a point where history comes to an end. Only we happen to think that point is *now*. Yes, we understand that our technology will change radically, but we assume our culture will not.

Comment: Where the pessimism comes from. (Score 4, Insightful) 167

by hey! (#47914675) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

The pessimism and dystopia in sci-fi doesn't come from a lack of research resources on engineering and science. It mainly comes from literary fashion.

If the fashion with editors is bleak, pessimistic, dystopian stories, then that's what readers will see on the bookshelves and in the magazines, and authors who want to see their work in print will color their stories accordingly. If you want to see more stories with a can-do, optimistic spirit, then you need to start a magazine or publisher with a policy of favoring such manuscripts. If there's an audience for such stories it's bound to be feasible. There a thousand serious sci-fi writers for every published one; most of them dreadful it is true, but there are sure to be a handful who write the good old stuff, and write it reasonably well.

A secondary problem is that misery provides many things that a writer needs in a story. Tolstoy once famously wrote, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." I actually Tolstoy had it backwards; there are many kinds of happy families. Dysfunctions on the other hand tends to fall into a small number of depressingly recognizable patterns. The problem with functional families from an author's standpoint is that they don't automatically provide something that he needs for his stories: conflict. Similarly a dystopian society is a rich source of conflicts, obstacles and color, as the author of Snow Crash must surely realize. Miserable people in a miserable setting are simply easier to write about.

I recently went on a reading jag of sci-fi from the 30s and 40s, and when I happened to watch a screwball comedy movie ("His Girl Friday") from the same era, I had an epiphany: the worlds of the sci-fi story and the 1940s comedy were more like each other than they were like our present world. The role of women and men; the prevalence of religious belief, the kinds of jobs people did, what they did in their spare time, the future of 1940 looked an awful lot like 1940.

When we write about the future, we don't write about a *plausible* future. We write about a future world which is like the present or some familiar historical epoch (e.g. Roman Empire), with conscious additions and deletions. I think a third reason may be our pessimism about our present and cynicism about the past. Which brings us right back to literary fashion.

Comment: Re:Moot point... (Score 1) 191

by cold fjord (#47914613) Attached to: New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

Like every other part of the Constitution and the law the 4th Amendment has specific meanings. Unfortunately many people here fail to understand that and think it has unlimited scope and whatever meaning they can dream up and ignore the actual law. You aren't going to get it right like that.

Comment: Re:When the cat's absent, the mice rejoice (Score 1) 283

This particular fact is rife for abuse, because as far as the Courts are concerned it's very hard to be unsuspicious and black at the same time.

What a pity, I thought you had more on the ball than going there, especially since it is nonsense. Well, ... it's worse than nonsense.

The Check that keeps this power from being abused isn't that some third party with unique legal knowledge (ie: the Courts) safeguards the people's rights, it's that there's a paper trail and any officer who has a habit of arresting people for no damn good reason is gonna have to explain himself to his superiors.

I guess you haven't heard of the JAG corp, military judges and magistrates, military courts, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, review of sentences, or much else involving military justice. Would it surprise you to learn you might be missing out on some inportant details?

None of that comes from the Constitution proper. It comes from statutes. And the rights granted under the statute are much more limited.

Members of the mlitary have Constitutional rights.

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