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Comment: Re:So... (Score 1) 295

If Lloyd Blankfein and others who attested to the veracity of their financial reports even after they were repeatedly warned their mark-to-market was completely unrealistic, which in turn led to the largest financial disaster in over 70 years, are not being prosecuted for false reporting, I don't see why the police should be.

Especially as in this case no one was harmed. Can't say the same thing about the millions who lost their money or homes, can you?

Comment: Re:Cosmic Baking (Score 1) 79

by smooth wombat (#47423867) Attached to: Study: Why the Moon's Far Side Looks So Different
But later, Earth got into drugs and became like Lindsey Lohan.

But drugs are cool. I'm always told how great it is to do drugs. Just look at Elvis, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cory Monteith, Dee Dee Ramone, Jim Morrison and whole host of others who extolled the virtues of drugs.

P.S. If Lohan would drink water instead of alcohol, she'd look (and feel) a lot better than she does.

Comment: Re:Lawn Dart Alert! (Score 1) 354

by smooth wombat (#47423511) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

You need to qualify your statement about large quantities overcoming a qualitative difference with the following: had Hitler not ordered a full stop of the Panzers before they reached Moscow and given Russia six weeks to rearm, reorganize and regroup, Russia would not have been able to deliver the large quantities of tanks it eventually did.

Go read "Hitler's Panzers East" by Stolfi for a fantastic discussion of why Germany beat Russia in World War II except for the fact Hitler meddled in operational control.

Here's a brief synopsis: the German military laid out the plans necessary to defeat Russia before the winter set in. Without exception, they met every single objective in the time allotted and in some cases ahead of schedule.

Before the halt ordered by Hitler, there was only one remaining pocket of strong resistance in the South. Russia, at that point in time, had no other forces available to offer any significant resistance to the German armies anywhere in the country. Had he wanted to, Guderian could have literally driven his 2nd Panzer Army into the streets of Moscow in late August.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 4, Insightful) 586

by causality (#47415533) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

But the real problem is this impression that you have to be born 80% as smart as Einstein to get into this field, and that the learning curve is impossible for regular people. That's totally wrong. Average intelligence plus persistence is all you need.

What you really need is to deal with this anti-intellectualism that's so popular in the culture today, and replace it with genuine curiosity, a joy of discovery, and a delight at learning new things.

Do that, and the rest will naturally follow, and not just in software development.

Comment: Re:What's the point (Score 1) 349

by smooth wombat (#47409105) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies
Really, the best thing we can do now is to make sure everyone is healthy and educated and happy.

If the idea is to make people healthy so premiums go down, Obamneycare is a complete failure in that aspect since the smokers, obese, alcoholics and drug users don't have to change. They can continue doing what they're doing, secure in the knowledge that someone perfectly healthy, such as myself, is forced to cough up their money to pay for the bad choices these people make with their lives.

So, what other excuse are you going to use to try and justify having the government reach into my bank account if I don't pay for someone else's medical insurance?

Comment: Re:It's Intended (Score 4, Interesting) 136

by causality (#47389651) Attached to: Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine

in some cases they're no better than gambling (ie: buy tokens to feed into this jackpot like system to win a random digital item!)

Not that I disagree with you, but what part of the gaming industry isn't preying off of exactly the same neurons as gambling? Nearly every game, be you buying the game itself, in-game purchases, or DLC, is getting its revenue almost entirely due to exploiting pleasure-seeking behavior.

Gaming typically relies on skill, not chance. If you play most games long enough, you'll be able to consistently beat certain levels. If you win at the roulette wheel, you're no more likely than before to win again. That's the difference. Otherwise, "exploiting pleasure-seeking behavior" could be stretched to describe every last industry in existence beyond the sales of food, water, shelter, and basic utilities.

With the model of directly purchasing the game itself (and no in-game purchases, like standard PC/console gaming) you can at least read about the game and have a reasonable expectation about what you are paying for. The real problem with in-game purchases is that the game is "free" or low-cost in the most technical sense, but after you invest many hours advancing the game you find that you can't really prosper without making additional purchases. It could be construed as a form of bait-and-switch.

The other problem would be that many of these games are aimed at children who make purchases the parents later get stuck with, but this problem begins in the home and should be solved within the home by actual parenting. That's not as convenient as using the tablet like a cheap babysitter but it would certainly be more worthwhile. If you wanted to solve this by government action, that's simple too: declare that these purchases are contractual in nature (the parent agreed to pay charges made to the phone bill or whatever) and that minors who make them cannot be held to a contract, therefore the companies cannot collect money when children make them. *Poof* - end of shitty business model.

Comment: Very bad car analogy (Score 3, Insightful) 255

by smooth wombat (#47378077) Attached to: Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

The car analogy is so flawed it really should be removed from the story for this significant reason: cars are designed to move people and stuff. They can be used to commit crimes, but that is not their intended use.

Tor on the other hand, is explicitly designed to allow people to remain anonymous, to prevent detection. While honest people most certainly use Tor, so do criminals and it is because of Tor's intended purpose that the police are justifying their actions.

Before anyone flames me, I am not justifying what is taking place. I am only giving a much better explanation than that ridiculous car analogy for why this is taking place.

Comment: Re:Not surprised (Score 2) 170

by Sobrique (#47374759) Attached to: Privacy Oversight Board Gives NSA Surveillance a Pass

There's always always a balance. The police have powers to investigate the innocent. They're innocent because they're - legally - innocent until _proven_ guilty. Which means - by definition - the police are always targeting 'the innocent'. There's a bunch of rules to limit this, including not least a system of warrants - to do certain things to people, you need to be able to convince a judge that they're sufficiently dirty to be worth further investigation. But they're still - in the literal sense - still innocent at that point, because you haven't proven their crime in a court of law.

It's not a perfect system by any means, but it mostly works - _generally_ the bad people get caught and punished, and the good people are protected. But sometimes there are abuses, and part of the point of any system of justices is that it has to accept the inevitable - that sometimes you'll get it wrong.

But it's generally accepted to be one of the least bad options.

Comment: Simple solution (Score 3, Insightful) 578

by smooth wombat (#47367513) Attached to: Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

Put a small shield along the side of the timer so the drivers can't see the timer.

I know, I know, the solution doesn't involve some convoluted, drawn out, highly technical, over-engineered process so it will never be implemented.

Instead, we'll go out of our way to find the most convoluted, drawn out, highly technical, over-engineered, and expensive, solution and claim we're making progress.

Them as has, gets.