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Comment: Re:Lawrence (Score 1) 73 73

I think the fundamental difference here (so to speak) is that ISIS is not a fundamentalist uprising. Oh, sure, they claim to be a religious movement, but everyone in the region does. Fundamentalism, in any religion, is not typically accompanied by using sexual slavery as an incentive to get young men to fight for you (ISIS has quite the flexible and convenient moral code).

My understanding of ISIS (mostly from a Muslim Arab coworker, so of course my "expert" could be wrong) is that they're "religious" in the same way Scientology is: they have all the trappings of religion, but it's all quite contrived. They emphasize whatever parts of scripture helps their goals and ignore the rest in a very obvious and transparent way that fools almost no one. It's not that they're murdering "moderate Muslims" per se, they're simply murdering anyone who speaks up about how evil they are, or simply speaks against them, whether on religious grounds or any other grounds.

There are many other places in the world where IMO the problem really is religious fundamentalism, but those guys aren't raising armies and conquering vast territory. Even in Afghanistan it's just one tribe after another, not a united fundamentalist army.

I think it's a mistake to confuse the problem with fundamentalist Islam in other parts of the world and other cultures with ISIS and the Arabian Peninsula.

Comment: Re:Fee Fees Hurt? (Score 2) 252 252

There have been 3 Slashdot stories about specific cases that I remember. (This isn't about "anti-child porn laws", but about very specific "block this list of sites at all ISPs" laws). I remember the UK for sure, the other 2 my memory fades on the details: it had become "oh, this shit again" by then. Give a crooked politician a tool like a blocklist and it will be abused.

Anarchy scares people

WTF is wrong with people these days? Any comments about "maybe a tiny bit less overwhelming government power" are always met with this "but anarchy is bad!" BS. Neither extreme is good, OK? "Regulate nothing" and "regulate everything" are both dystopian ideas.

Comment: Re:Fee Fees Hurt? (Score 2) 252 252

Oh? Familiar with safe spaces? "Triggering"? Colleges in the US are fraught with students claiming emotional distress over a speaker whose politics don't match the groupthink exactly. (This really happens). I can only hope this problem is contained to the US, but we've raised a large group of people so fragile that ideas contrary to their beliefs are considered emotional distress.

But what does it matter if the government is dishonest? Give a government any tool which allows them to jail someone for speech, and it can be twisted far enough to fit the government's needs.

Comment: Re:Fee Fees Hurt? (Score 1) 252 252

The claim is that it won't create "a right to be offended", because the term "Serious emotional distress" is supposed to exclude mere outrage. Nor embarrassment, anxiety or worry.

It always starts that way, and usually ends at "say anything that offends the ruling party and they throw your ass in jail". On the internet this seems to happen at internet speed, to. Most countries that forced ISPs to block a list of "child abuse/exploitation" IP addresses or site, which of course were not made public, only took 3 years or so before opposition party's material mysteriously was being blocked. Funny how that works.

The only real way to protect speech critical of the ruling party is to protect all speech (we're talking at the criminal level here, not torts for libel etc). Anything else is the camel's nose under the tent.

Comment: Re:Once Again (Score 1) 138 138

are saying that taxing people diverts spending away from non gov't goods and services, you are wrong

No, I'm saying that government spending does that, regardless of whether the revenue comes from taxes, borrowing, or glowing presses. Collectively we make what we make (goods and services), and whatever portion of that GDP is diverted into government hands is just that much less for the people (except for the remarkably tiny percentage of government spending that actually goes to needed infrastructure, perhaps, but that's almost a rounding error in recent budgets).

the economy is in a slump; in that case, gov.t spending is good

Oh, yes, it worked so well for the Greeks, I'm sure it will work just as well for us. It's individual consumer spending that has pulled us out of every recession, and that waits on stability more than anything else. The best thing the government can do in a recession is: change nothing: no new regulations, no obviously-temporary programs. Historically people start spending again once they feel they've adjusted to the "new normal".

your idea that lower taxes = more productivity is just wrong in some, and perhaps most circumstances

Again, spending, not taxes, is what affects efficiency, not productivity. "Broken windows" are great for productivity, but do nothing to actually make things better.

Comment: Re:They could save space (Score 1) 120 120

Facebook seems to have your friends in mind, at least for now. They have a system where old photos are store quite cheaply, because they simply fail to display the first time you try to view them. By giving up on storing them in a way that can serve a web page hit, Facebook can be quite cheap (though I hear they use powered-down HDDs, not optical - and Western Digital has a new line of HDDs just for this purpose).

Comment: Re:How much?!? (Score 1) 138 138

That's enough to buy half an F-35C!

Well, we need to buy something to replace aging airframes, so it might be better to say "we could save that just by building a one new F-15 instead of a new F-35". (Seriously, I'm as hawkish as they come, but the F-35 isn't the answer, and fortunately we haven't shut down F-15 production).

Comment: Re:Once Again (Score 1) 138 138

The government can only print dollars. It can't print goods and services, so you're still diverting those goods and services (whatever the government is buying) away from the people. Also, there is a high "frictional" cost to an unstable currency - it's just an inefficient waste, so, again, less goods and services for the people.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 814 814

The S/VTOL version makes sense. It's an upgrade from the Harrier, and while it's a shitty air-to-air plane, a shitty bomber, and a shitty close air support plane, it's much better at all 3 roles than having no plane at all. For a VTOL role, that's what matters. For a standard runway plane, it's just evenly shitty at all roles,without much to redeem it (though it will do just fine against low-tech opponents even so).

It's been called the Bradly Fighting Vehicle of fighters, and I think that's an apt comparison. OTOH, the BFV evolved into something quite useful, and who knows, this might too.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 5, Insightful) 814 814

Originally, the F22 was to fill the air superiority role (and it does that better than any fighter ever made), and the F35 was the mish-mash of other roles. Everyone following this stuff knew the F35 wouldn't be great at any one particular role, but for dogfighting it was always a joke - and really, that was OK, as the F22 had its back if needed. But we stopped buying F22s way too soon, we don't have enough, and the huge R&D costs weren't spread across enough planes.

The F35 always seemed like the result of no clear charter for it's role: "just do everything". It's not a bad plane for the requirements as presented: for a jack-iof-all-trades plane it's great at nothing, but it's really as good as you could reasonably expect given the lack of a specific role.

The Air Force also has a problem that we've spent too long dropping bombs on opponents with no real air power. We should be using actual bombers for that role: far cheaper per bomb, but fighter pilots run the place. As a result, we get fighters trying to be bombers on top of everything else, and no plans to replace the aging bomber fleet anytime soon (admittedly, a B52 is fine vs an opponent who can't shoot back, but even the B1 is getting old vs an opponent who can).

Comment: Re:Paywall (Score 1) 153 153

Modern VBA is modern Visual Basic, which is C# without the curly braces, right? With either language you have full access to the .NET runtime and libraries, including LINQ. Excel has an OLEDB connector to let you use a spreadsheet as a (slow, single-user) DB. You can put all these pieces together to do "real programming" under the covers of Excel (at least for single-user use cases).

In fact, the open source Linq to Excel project does it all for you, or at least it's recommended by Stack Overflow. Might be worth a look.

Comment: Re:No shit ... (Score 1) 133 133

First thing I do with a new browser is change my default search to DuckDuckGo. I wish I could say I was entirely living a Google-free life, but I do watch YouTube. Is there some way to do that without any Google/DoubleClick tracking cookies - anyone know? I'd be far happier with no Google account of any kind to tie anything to.

But, sadly, most people still give their personal details to Google in particular to sell, and that means if you're trying to launch a new product, you have to care about Google search results.

Comment: Re:Well, well, well. (Score 1) 316 316

What does "given a pass" mean? I'm sure we'll hear what went wrong, and what they're changing to prevent it, before they launch again, just as with the failed landings. And of course we don't know what the failure rate is yet - my point was that "cheap" will make a higher failure rate acceptable for a lot of payloads. Of course I'd hope that as their process matures they'd continue improving both cost and reliability, but realistically it will take hundreds of launches to have a chance of both "good" and "cheap".

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?