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Comment: Re:**waves arms wildly** (Score 1) 106

by mellon (#47456687) Attached to: Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

Essentially you are saying that you would rather risk crashing your car than have the health insurance companies know your health status. I think there's a teaching moment in here somewhere. If we can't admit to the system that pays for our health care that we have health problems, something is badly broken. If this is the model for why a car being able to tell you are impaired is "spooky," I think the problem is not with the car.

Comment: A story about Damian... (Score 4, Interesting) 132

by rjh (#47384857) Attached to: Damian Conway On Perl 6 and the Philosophy of Programming

At OSCON 2006 I was sitting in one of the green rooms (the spaces set aside for speakers before presentations). My laptop was open and I was happily hacking away on a project. As I killed a bug and checked the code back in, I muttered under my breath, "Python, I love you. You make the hard stuff so easy."

I noticed a few seconds later the room had gone utterly silent. I looked up, and sitting at the table across from me was Damian Conway, tapping away on his own laptop doing his own thing. I blinked a couple of times and suddenly noticed the entire room was expecting a Perl-vs-Python argument to erupt.

Damian looked up from his work, noticed everyone was looking nervous. He looked over at me, I gave a "I don't know what's up with them, uh, help?" look and a shrug.

Damian then looked back at the crowd and grinned. "Listen, the only thing I love more than Perl is well-written software, even if it's written in Python." He looked back over to me. "Kill a bug, didja?" I nodded. He gave me a smile and a thumbs-up, then returned to his code. I returned to mine, and after a few seconds the room let out his breath.

I love Python. But the only thing I love more than Python is well-written software, even if it's written in Perl. :)

Comment: Re:Classic Obama (Score 1) 211

Obama actually wasn't in favor of passing "Obamacare." That was Pelosi. Obama very nearly decided not to bother. Get your history straight. Obamacare is one of the most recent examples I can think of of Congress doing its job. And if you think I'm an Obama shill, you are just looking for a fight, because I agree with Obama about half the time at best. I'm sure you can find a better Obama shill without looking too far.

Comment: Re:Classic Obama (Score 2, Interesting) 211

No, you're not getting me. I am not saying Obama is good or Obama is bad because of his good or bad qualities as an autocrat. I am saying he is good because of his good qualities as an executive. The stuff he's doing as an autocrat I sometimes agree with and sometimes disagree with, but it shouldn't be something he has to do as an autocrat. Congress should be doing the right thing, and it's not. We could debate the merits of the various executive orders he's given since he came into office; I certainly understand why he's been acting as an autocrat. Congress wants him to be an autocrat: they've made that crystal clear. But that's the problem. Congress is supposed to be making these policies, but they have abdicated them to the executive. First with Bush, by letting him do things they shouldn't have let him do. Now with Obama by forcing him to set policies they should have set, because they will not govern.

We clearly don't agree in general, but if you think it's okay for Bush to be an autocrat, you can't turn around and say it's not okay for Obama. And if you think it's not okay for Bush to be an autocrat, then we agree; the question is what to do about it.

Comment: Re:Classic Obama (Score 5, Insightful) 211

It's really simple. I do not think Obama is perfect and wonderful. But I think he is less harmful than Bush Junior was, because he's competent. He gets things done. I don't like everything he gets done, but he is the head of the executive branch, not the legislative branch. It's his job to get things done.

Expecting the president to change laws is treating him or her like an autocrat: a king. The president is not supposed to make policy; he or she is supposed to implement policies made by congress and the courts. What sucked about Bush was that he thought it was his job to "lead the nation" and he did a piss-poor job of it, with Congress' help.

We really need to get over our collective feudal attitude toward the presidency. The founding fathers understood that the president was not a king; George Washington famously refused to be named king. Why have we forgotten this principle?

Comment: Re:Piracy Warnings (Score 1) 135

by mellon (#47325319) Attached to: MP Says 'Failed' Piracy Warnings Should Escalate To Fines & Jail

Decreasing government revenues is a choice, not an inevitable outcome of some fundamental change in society. Part of the nature of the decreasing revenue is that we keep moving more and more discretionary spending into corporate welfare, like private prisons. The best part about this is that the worse you treat people in need, the more likely they are to wind up in prison. $$$.

Comment: Re:Well, this won't backfire! (Score 1) 268

by mellon (#47319495) Attached to: Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

Required for what? Fairness, or not getting sued? For not getting sued, you are right, but my point is that Wikipedia actually has a serious problem with the way it does BLP articles, one that I don't think can be readily addressed by the current BLP policies. By "problem" I mean that it's producing articles that aren't accurate or useful, not that it's going to get sued. I really don't think that suing them will work to correct this problem, for the precise reason you state. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to fix this, because as far as I can tell Wikipedia isn't taking the problem seriously. I don't expect this lawsuit will change that, because I don't expect it to succeed.

Comment: Re:Well, this won't backfire! (Score 2) 268

by mellon (#47314683) Attached to: Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

It's not that simple. The problem is that dirt sells, so for any given interesting person, there is always dirt. Getting reliable sources to say anything else about the subject of the BLP is harder, because good news doesn't sell. So if you are a person who is prominent in a small community, and you get famous because of an exciting news story, you wind up with a BLP page that makes you look like a scumbag, and says absolutely nothing about whatever it was that got you prominent enough that a gossip story about you was able to make the news. I've seen this happen to a couple of prominent figures. It's unfixable, because a gossip column is more reliable than an organizational web page. Personally, I count myself lucky that I don't have a wikipedia biography.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys