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Comment: The word is "neutrons." (Score 1) 305

by localroger (#47707925) Attached to: If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly
Although there is some lip service to seeking "aneutronic" fusion the truth is that fusion is so hard to achieve that we don't have the luxury of being picky about the reactions we aim for, and all the practical ones generate a metric fuckton of neutrons, enough to be lethal even on the other side of thick shielding, enough to induce dangerous secondary radioactivity in many elements, and enough to knock enough atoms out of their place in metal crystalline lattices to seroiusly weaken structures made from elements that dont' become radioactive too. It's a serious enough problem that the first and most important clue that Pons and Fleischmann had not achieved cold fusion was that they were still alive.

Comment: In the US, insurance is a racket (Score 1) 1330

by localroger (#47364591) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception
Nearly everything is much cheaper to an insurance company than it is for you if you walk in the pharmacy and pay for it out of pocket. By not being able to get it on insurance, you lose that discount. Not that it should be that way, but that's how it is, and often that discount is 70% or more because of some foolishness called "differential pricing" instead of by its proper name, "theft."

Comment: Not in the US. (Score 1) 1330

by localroger (#47364563) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception
The most common birth control pill in use in the US costs USD$50 a month not counting the mandatory prescriptions. Many countries do sell them cheaper -- but not in the US, and they are never OTC here. Although free clinics do sometimes hand out Plan B I have never heard of one that dispenses regular non-emergency contraception. And this is where the ruling in question applies.

Comment: Lots of people can't afford a movie a week (Score 2) 1330

Particularly a $12 movie, which is what they would have to cost to equal the cost of the Pill. (Not counting the mandatory biannual medical exams, without which you can't get a prescription.) Ginsberg noted in her dissent that the cost of an IUD is comparable to a month's salary for a person making minimum wage. Then again, I'm sure you'll also agree that the cost of your own vaccines and blood transfusions are also reasonable when those folks start claiming their exemption under this stupid ruling.

Comment: An old neighbor said 5 = bad cop (Score 4, Interesting) 272

He himself retired from the redacted state police after 12 years, some spent undercover. He said that for the most part the idealists who want to save the world get washed out by the corruption by 5 years and anyone who's stayed longer than that is getting more out of it than their salary.

Comment: This has nothing to do with Snowden etc. (Score 1) 134

I'm fully with the "buck stops here" theory of governance. The problem is that this isn't even a buck. How, exactly, do you think that the information that an exploit like Heartbleed exists migrates in a compartmentalized agency like the NSA from the group that identifies it to use in spying to the group that perhaps looks to protect us from foreign spies? How does it migrate to top administration? The answer is that it doesn't. It can't. Maybe it should, but as the NSA (and probably any practially workable version of it) exists there simply is no channel for that information to move from those who are using it to others who might have a need, on wholly different merits, to know it.

It is very unlikely that the guys who discovered Heartbleed as a SIGINT opportunity had any channels at all to warn other arms of the agency that it might be a vulnerability on our side; consider how such channels could and would be misused in so many other situations. The spooks would never implement such a thing. From the SIGINT side Heartbleed is a low-level technical detail, hardly worth the attention of a Civil Service level adminstrator except for the ops that it makes possible.

Comment: The President doesn't micro-manage this stuff (Score 4, Insightful) 134

Really, anybody who thinks anybody cabinet level or higher even knows about this kind of logistical detail is an idiot. This isn't at all like the torture thing which is a basic human rights violation; nobody is questioning the NSA's right to spy on certain people, and this has nothing to do with any accusation that they're spying on people they shouldn't be spying on. This is about technological implementation, and it's part of NSA's purview as a spy agency to explore technologies that further their ability to do their job. Part of that is discovering weaknesses in cryptographic systems which are trusted by the people you want to spy on. Having discovered such a useful weakness they aren't obliged to report it, although they are obliged not to use it (or any of their other techniques) against our own citizens.

Comment: I have always felt coding was a language skill (Score 1) 161

by localroger (#46315723) Attached to: The Neuroscience of Computer Programming
Even though computer languages are different from human languages in major and universal ways we do use the same mental muscles to comprehend computer languages as we do human ones. This is also why it is much easier for children who are exposed to programming early to pick up the knack than it is if they aren't introduced to coding until they are adults.

While computer languages are about math a lot more than human languages, coding isn't really like doing math. It's more like telling the machine how to do math, which the machine then does for you.

Despite all appearances, your boss is a thinking, feeling, human being.