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Comment: Re:Price of using scientists as political pawns (Score 1) 342

>Don't get mad at me. I didn't do anything one way or the other.

Yes, you did. You made a variety of assumptions that you expect everyone to accept.

The pure libertarian argument against NPR has nothing to do with "taking sides," but with the principle of state-funded media period.

Comment: Re:No Decent Solution (Score 1) 83

"I wonder just how much the price of groceries would jump if illegal farm labor was shut down. And the absolute bottom line is that reproduction as well as immigration degrades the quality of life for all of us."

Those two sentences are contradictory. Because low-cost consumer staples are certainly included a part of the quality of life that the U.S. enjoys. In terms of economic benefit to effectively the entire population. And there are also indirect benefits in having large economic sectors (agriculture being one) remaining competitive in global markets - that almost certainly provides economic beneifts beyond just the low-wage illegal jobs. (e.g. there's a whole chain of empoyment from domestic agriculture - finance, construction, transportation, research, etc.)

Comment: Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 702

by kogut (#47402059) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

"Only time will tell."

Maybe not. Because when you effectively deter a very low-probability event, you may not ever "know" you've deterred it.

This is why the TSA has a difficult PR task. We spend billions on them, and as far as we can tell they do nothing except annoy us.

But maybe they detered the great Shoe Bomb Epidemic of 2010? Who knows.

Comment: Re:How would this stop the NSA? (Score 1) 63

by kogut (#47306629) Attached to: US Court Dings Gov't For Using Seized Data Beyond Scope of Warrant
>But the government is taking any wiggle room they can find and just ignoring the law, court orders and the constitution The courts are part of the government. Just saying. People increasingly use the term "the government" as some sort of vague, hand-waving pejorative term when referring to some aspect of governance they don't like. Which is kind of sad. In this case we're seeing an example of natural tension between executive power and statutory limitation on that power, as interpreted by the courts. And the court limited the power, in this instance, in no uncertain terms.

Comment: Re:With restrictions (Score 1) 180

> The automated system can identify targets, track them, pursue them, prioritize targets, do basically everything but pull the trigger, but it has to request permission >to fire from a human operator I believe the Phalanx CIWS has a mode where it'll basically go to town on anything in the air that doesn't have IFF. The response time required is too short for human operator confirmation. I believe the AEGIS defense system has similar capabilities, though maybe more human operator oversight on that one. I'm not sure.

Comment: Re:Are we missing the point? (Score 1) 335

by kogut (#38866397) Attached to: Maine Senator Wants Independent Study of TSA's Body Scanners

. Doesn't human dignity require that we treat travellers as people and not the same way that we treat convicts?

Of course. But use of hyberbole doesn't help. Convicts are treated very, very differently than people going through airport security. There are any number of prison documentaries you can view if you don't believe me.

2. Don't these security measures do more harm than good by forcing people to accept a microcosm of "police state" for no discernable benefit?

"Microcosm" is more like it. Yes, a cost-benefit analysis taking into account both monetary and social cost would be valuable. But not easy. The security procedures are a deterrent against rare, catastrophic events, and it's very difficult to prove the effectiveness of a deterrent. Through some combination of intelligence, security, and incompetence, we haven't seen another 9/11, which is good. Where do we draw the line that indicates the reasonable combination of security vs. risk is? I'm not sure. I'm ambivalent on whether these scanners are "overreach." But, then again, I'm a technocrat. I wouldn't mind getting rid of 90% of TSA personnel altogether and having a fully automated line you could just walk through at normal speed, with no waiting (unless you trigger something, in which case a glass cylinder descends around you, and you're whisked off to Stage 2.

Comment: Re:10x Engineer (Score 5, Informative) 253

by kogut (#38284724) Attached to: The Rise of Developeronomics
>I know I could run at 300 lines of C a day Someone call security. We have a mid-level manager masquerading as a coder. I've never met a competent coder who considers lines-of-code/day to be an even remotely useful metric of productivity. Coders who eat through requirements like a shark through chum with tight, transparent patterns...those are the good ones.

Comment: Another Bad Claim (Score 1) 216

by kogut (#38153832) Attached to: 4.74 Degrees of Separation on Facebook
From the linked article: "Somewhat surprisingly, even for individuals aged 60, the distribution of their friends’ ages is sharply peaked at exactly 60." Really bad explanation of the accompanying graph. The distribution for people aged 60 is wildly different than the distribution for age 20. And it's unsurprising that people have friends of the same age.

Comment: Re:Considering the source... (Score 1) 157

by kogut (#38037712) Attached to: Commercial Space: Spirit of Apollo Or Spirit of Solyndra?
Fair enough. But there is no market for deep space travel (I don't think celebrity passengers is a viable long-term business plan), therefore there is no way that the market will pay for it. There is just really no point in sending people into extra-orbital space other than research without much tangible return-on-investment. If the only goal is to make "monumental, iconic achievements" then I don't see much happening without heavy, heavy government subsidy. And you're just arguing for new, different subsidy in place of tired, old subsidy.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein