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Comment Re:Looking forwards (Score 1) 181

I find it hard to decide whether banning human assistive technology in sport is a good thing.

My issue with this stuff is it's all so arbitrary. Hockey players aren't forced to use sticks improvised from re-used household materials. Tennis rackets aren't reduced to whatever hardcover books the players can find laying around. Swimmers aren't required to don industry-standard street-wear. No. Organized sports allow their participants and technology to optimize... until suddenly they don't. The argument is usually "we want a level playing field", but that's still rubbish. Somali kids don't have access to the carbon-fiber gear kids in the US have. Even access to health-care and nutrition isn't balanced world-wide. When athletes are required to be raised from infants on the borderline-sufficient foods that some people live on, then we can call things "fair". Until then, I don't see a meaningful difference between steroid-use and nutritionally-balanced breakfasts, between cutting-edge broom-heads and custom-fit swimsuits. These gentleman's agreements are bunk, making the very idea of sports competitions a joke. These are not the best of the best, they're the best of what they feel like allowing - for now.

Peoples talent level is arbitrary also. No one is arguing that you should handicap more talented athletes. The point is to provide a common set of equipment to everyone so that the best athlete wins and not the guy with the most money. It's impossible to balance it out completely, as you've pointed out. People who come from abundant wealth will have more time to devote to their sport. Since they already have this advantage over the Somali swimmer, why would you let them wear a full body suit that has less drag than a person's skin? You're just increasing the gap instead of trying to close it. It leads to poor competitions and nobody wants to watch a complete blow out. Especially when that blow out is due to an obvious discrepancy in financial resources.

Comment Re:Looking forwards (Score 4, Insightful) 181

Cycling, despite all the drug problems, is kind of in a similar place right now. You can go buy a road bike right now, that weighs just over 10 pounds. But the pros are restricted to using bikes that weigh at least 15 pounds. Some pros have even been known to add lead weight to their bike in order to not run afoul of the minimum weight limit. Note: This is completely within the rules.

I think that at the amateur level, there should definitely be rules about what kind of equipment you can use. Otherwise, many people who might end up being great at the professional level will never get there, as they were discouraged by the fact that they are continually losing to those with more money.

On the other hand, the professionals, with rich sponsors, it makes little reason to try and limit specific technologies. Obviously you want to disallow anything that would make the athletes unsafe. You probably also want to keep the general idea of the sport the same. Such as no recumbent bicycles in bike races meant for upright bikes. But limiting things like the fabric on curling brooms or the shape and material of your swimsuit seems like it's pushing things a little bit too far.

Even at the professional level there will disparities between what one team can afford and another. That is why some sports instituted things such as salary caps. The point is to keep the playing field level for all. I think that makes sense at every competition level. Of course, it'll never be completely level as those with money can devote more time and money on practicing and coaching. But at least you can guarantee that everyone is using roughly the same equipment. I'm not saying you should specifically disallow technology like this. I just think that the competition is better when there is some common requirement for equipment. It allows the athlete to shine and not the gear.

Comment Re:The hype is over. Scrum remains. It works. (Score 1) 371

We're using Scrum. One of the many variants of it. A simplified version of scrum suitable for agency work. Simply getting around a board, away from the keyboard, standing, talking (timeboxed) writing cards and moving them around makes things better and enhances team communication and interaction.

That the overblown hype and overengineering and the holy wars about how scrum is to be done is over is a very good thing. Hype ends, Scrum remains. I think it's a very good think that this was a big fasionable thing and that Agile (sometimes contradictory to Scrum btw.) brought back the focus on results and regular customer interaction.

I've never actually worked with a team that has done scrum properly. It's usually poorly managed and a waste of time.

Comment Re:Quicker (Score 1) 488

After the experience my brother had taking in refugees from hurricane Katrina I would be very hesitant to house any refugee with me directly. He had three different sets roll through his place, all of them stayed for free. I think the first one stayed a few weeks, the next one a month or two, and the last close to 6 months. They all ruined his property, though to different degrees. They stole from him. They did not treat him or his property with any respect whatsoever. No, if I am going to help refugees, I'll help support the Red Cross with time and money. It's much less stressful than letting one of them live with you.

Comment Re:Simple problem with a simple solution (Score 1) 131

As a sailor who use GPS alongside traditional navigation: stop using devices that poll and insert a new leg on your route every 5 seconds. If you lower the polling frequency to f.e. every 1 or 2 minutes this problem goes away. I realize that this doesn't work for people who insist on taking their morning run zig-zagging through city blocks.

I've honestly never had this be a serious problem when running. I've even compared it to chip times at running events and the pace my GPS puts me at is typically within a second of the official race time. Now I've never tried this in NYC or somewhere else with serious urban canyons, i have done it in other cities with blocks of tall buildings.

Comment Re:Years and years ago... (Score 1) 214

Did you end up having to pay an early withdrawal penalty for that check? Or income taxes? I mean, that's still probably a win, but it seems that there would be complications.

That was almost a decade ago and the IRS never asked for anything. I never got a tax bill, or a form from the company indicating that i had withdrawn from a retirement account. I just took the money and ran, so to speak.

Comment Re:Don't even need to board it ... (Score 1) 400

I'm a frequent flier, and the extended search happens regardless of watchlists. I get it randomly about every 30 flights - 2-3 times a year. It's a bit annoying as it takes me out of the priority line, but the extra search is not really that extensive - a palm check for chemicals and a few extra questions.

Granted, frequent fliers know how to expedite these things: look bored, tired, and very slightly annoyed. Have everything exactly in order. Fly carry-on. Have your FF badge visible and be part of TSA-pre or whatever you can find.

I don't know if I fly as frequently as you, but it may have something to do with your name, heritage, or something else. I'm a tall white guy - I look German. I've accrued approximately to 750,000 miles since September 11th, 2001 and I have only had extra screening once. That was after they found some homemade electronics in my carry on luggage that had a pair of AA batteries hooked up to it. The extra security in that case was them running it through the x-ray machine at different angles for a half an hour (it was in a metal tin). Then they asked me what it was for, said it was cool, and asked if they could take some pictures of it to share with DHS HQ as an example of benign homemade electronics. Apparently the TSA agents are supposed to get training in such things. I have never opted for TSA Pre-check and never advertise that I am a frequent flyer.

Comment Re:Years and years ago... (Score 1) 214

They're just waiting for the interest to build up -

You should probably get something in writing from them saying that you don't owe anything.

As long as the GP has filed their taxes and keeps a copy of the filing records, the IRS only has 3 years to claim back taxes. You should keep your tax records for a minimum of 8 years as they can go back much further if they claim you never filed. I would recommend keeping your tax records indefinitely.

Comment Re:Years and years ago... (Score 3, Interesting) 214 company's accountant told me that someone in Los Angeles had used my SSN and the IRS was trying to garnish my wages. She told them that I was certainly not Mr. Aguilar and that I was not responsible for Mr. Aguilar's debt to the IRS. Seems like a simple thing but she was not supposed to tell me about the incident. Because if the proles ever found out how often this happens, they'd lose faith in the integrity of The System. I, as the taxpayer and rightful SSN holder was never contacted by the IRS to either collect money or warn me that there was someone out there using my SSN, possibly ruining my credit.

I Had someone using my social security number for work once upon a time. Their company had a mandated retirement program. The IRS never complained about my taxes, even when I e-filed. One year I got a check in the mail for ~$5000 from a company I had never heard of, nor worked for. It was nowhere near me. My social security number and name were on the check. I called them up and asked them if there was some sort of mistake. Got transferred around and ended up talking to someone from HR and accounting in a conference call. They said they weren't allowed to give me any info about who had been using my info but said since it was clearly my name and social security number, I was welcome to cash the check and the money was all mine. Sometimes identity theft can work in your favor!

Comment Re:Probably not a coincidence (Score 1) 214

It's more likely that the algorithm used to generate SSNs, given the same input data, generates the same output.

The "algorithm" is "pull the next number off the list". My sister and I were born in different states, two years apart ... and we have different first names. My parents requested SSNs for both of us at the same time, and they were given two consecutive numbers.

By consecutive I assume that you mean that you have something like 11 and she has 13 or whatever. The SSA has never given out consecutive numbers. They give out odds and then evens and this has always been the case. See Wikipedia. We have a string of consecutive even numbers in my family - four in a row, in fact.

Comment Re:Samples are "de-identified" (Score 2) 187

From TFA: "And CDPH says the blood spots are de-identified and can’t be tracked back to the child." I don't see the issue here. This helps with medical research.

Also from TFA:

But Yaniv Erlich with Columbia University and the New York Genome Center said there’s no way to guarantee that. His research demonstrated how easy it is to take anonymized DNA, cross-reference it with online data and connect it to a name. “You need to have some training in genetics, but once you have that kind of training the attack is not very complicated to conduct,” he said.

Comment Re:Only a problem if it's not anonymous (Score 1) 187

If the DNA information is just collected and stored anonymously, with no record of WHOSE DNA it is, I don't think it's a problem. It's useful for compiling statistics and doing studies. However, if law enforcement is interested in this data, it sounds like they are actually keeping track of who the DNA sample came from. Just make it anonymous.

According to an expert who was interviewed for the article (forgive me for RTFA), it is not difficult to deanonymize this sort of DNA data. Supposedly a layman could do it with proper training and that it is trivial for a DNA expert.

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison