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Comment: Re:software dev vs programmer (Score 3, Insightful) 80

by mrchaotica (#49376759) Attached to: IT Jobs With the Best (and Worst) ROI

First of all, quit being obtuse.

Second, train engineers are not the "original" engineers. The original engineers were people who designed siege engines (hence the name) for warfare -- ballistas, trebuchets, battering rams, etc. -- as well as fortifications. Military engineers predate trains by several thousand years.

Third, the second-oldest type of engineering is "civil engineering," and is named such because "civil" is the opposite of "military." Civil engineering is also several thousand years older than trains.

Oh, and by the way: the word "engine" didn't originally have anything to do with internal or external combustion; the Latin root word translates roughly as "a produced thing," or an object created by ingenuity. So in the truest sense, an engineer is anyone who uses his ingenuity to build something.

The only reason railroad engineers are called such is because presumably the earliest ones built the damn locomotive as well as operated it. Besides, the US and Canada are the only places that call people who drive trains "engineers" anyway -- everywhere else calls them "drivers," "operators" or "pilots."

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 854

Obviously, the state not allowing itself to intervene is obviously not an exercise of the power of the state - it's an exercise in restraint of said power.

The actual discriminatory power in this case comes from the individuals and corporations that discriminate - if there are none willing to do so, or if there are few enough and their scale is small, then it's all of no consequence. Even if said discrimination is pervasive, it is still limited to what private entities can legally do - so it's a very far cry from what government-powered discrimination can do (for example, it is not legal for corporations in the USA to summarily round up their customers and murder them in gas chambers; or to incarcerate them because they married a person of a different race).

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 2) 261

by mrchaotica (#49375645) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

Have you seen our tax code? When I took Federal Income Taxation in law school, I had to get a copy of the tax code, and it was about six inches thick. (I don't remember, or care, if or how much it was annotated.) That's a mighty long list of exceptions to consumption tax.

First of all, income tax is production tax, not consumption tax, so you've got your thinking backwards to begin with.

Second, just because the current implementation of the income tax is riddled with loopholes and power-grubbing statist bullshit, doesn't mean it has to be. A progressive income tax could be as simple as setting tax rate = f(income) where f(income) is a sigmoid curve such that f($0) = 0% and the limit as income approaches infinity is 100%. Politicians would fight over the parameters, of course, and most people would need a slightly fancier calculator to compute it, but the end result would fit on a page.

In contrast, to make a sales tax progressive it must be complicated, because somebody has to decide which goods people at each income level should be "allowed" to afford. In contrast, a simple sales tax where all goods are taxed at the same rate would be inherently regressive because low-income people spend 100% of their income buying stuff while high-income people don't.

+ - Cancer researcher vanishes with tens of millions of dollars->

Submitted by jd
jd (1658) writes "Steven Curley, MD, who ran the Akesogenx corporation (and may indeed have been the sole employee after the dismissal of Robert Zavala) had been working on a radio-frequency cure for cancer with an engineer by the name of John Kanzius.

Kanzius died, Steven Curley set up the aforementioned parallel company that bought all the rights and patents to the technology before shuttering the John Kanzius Foundation. So far, so very uncool.

Last year, just as the company started aproaching the FDA about clinical trials, Dr Curley got blasted with lawsuits accusing him of loading his shortly-to-be ex-wife's computer with spyware.

Two weeks ago, there was to be a major announcement "within two weeks". Shortly after, the company dropped off the Internet and Dr Curley dropped off the face of the planet.

Robert Zavala is the only name mentioned that could be a fit for the company's DNS record owner. The company does not appear to have any employees other than Dr Curley, making it very unlikely he could have ever run a complex engineering project well enough to get to trial stage. His wife doubtless has a few scores to settle. Donors, some providing several millions, were getting frustrated — and as we know from McAfee, not all in IT are terribly sane. There are many people who might want the money and have no confidence any results were forthcoming.

So, what precisely was the device? Simple enough. Every molecule has an absorption line. It can absorb energy on any other frequency. A technique widely exploited in physics, chemistry and astronomy. People have looked into various ways of using it in medicine for a long time.

The idea was to inject patients with nanoparticles on an absorption line well clear of anything the human body cares about. These particles would be preferentially picked up by cancer cells because they're greedy. Once that's done, you blast the body at the specified frequency. The cancer cells are charbroiled and healthy cells remain intact.

It's an idea that's so obvious I was posting about it here and elsewhere in 1998. The difference is, they had a prototype that seemed to work.

But now there is nothing but the sound of Silence, a suspect list of thousands and a list of things they could be suspected of stretching off to infinity. Most likely, there's a doctor sipping champaign on some island with no extradition treaty. Or a future next-door neighbour to Hans Reiser. Regardless, this will set back cancer research. Money is limited and so is trust. It was, in effect, crowdsource funded and that, too, will feel a blow if theft was involved.

Or it could just be the usual absent-minded scientist discovering he hasn't the skills or awesomeness needed, but has got too much pride to admit it, as has happened in so many science fraud cases."

Link to Original Source

Comment: So What (Score -1, Flamebait) 182

by sexconker (#49375255) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

So what? Are the poor entitled to brains of a specific size?
Will the government be passing out brains? Will the bottom of society become dependent on welfare brains? Will the middle class ultimately have to pay for all of it while still suffering from diminutive brain size compared to the upper class? Will the top 1% control 99% of grey matter?

Comment: Re:How did they get caught? (Score 2, Insightful) 98

by sexconker (#49374919) Attached to: Silk Road Investigators Charged With Stealing Bitcoin

You're an idiot.
All transactions on the Bitcoin block chain are public.
It is fucking trivial to trace X Bitcoins going from Wallet A to Wallets X,Y,Z to Wallets B1,B2,B3, C1,C2,C3, D1,D2,D3, etc. A 4 year old could do it.

Identifying the owner of a wallet is fucking easy too. Anytime someone converts it to fiat currency they have to use some sort of exchange or deal with an individual willing to buy Bitcoin for cash. Every major exchange now collects and verifies personal information. Every major exchange has been tapped by the authorities.

Comment: Re:Senator Barack Obama voted for RFRA in Illinois (Score 1) 854

What makes you believe that those are Cook's personal politics, and not Apple's corporate politics? If corporations are persons, then they can also have legitimate political positions.

Also, why do you believe that this is ruining the corporate image of Apple, rather than enhancing it?

Comment: Re:Businesses Have A Right to be Jerks (Score 2) 854

From past experience (e.g. Jim Crow), we know that in some cases allowing people to discriminate results in discrimination so pervasive that it severely affects the targeted group - basically, they're unable to obtain the services anywhere, or they can only obtain them for significantly higher prices or significantly lower quality.

Comment: Re:We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service (Score 1) 854

So out of curiosity, are those signs that say "We reserve the right to refuse serve to anyone" legal? If they are, then why would they need to pass this law? If not, does a business have the right under ANY circumstance to refuse service to someone outside of where the law demands it (like a bartender refusing to serve an intoxicated customer)?

It is generally legal to refuse service to anyone, except for certain explicitly protected categories (gender, age, religion etc). The catch is that on the federal level, the said protected category list does not include sexual orientation. In some states, it is protected on state level. In some, it's not protected on state level, but is protected on the municipal level. The latter is especially common in large metro areas (which lean liberal pretty much everywhere) in otherwise conservative states.

So, basically, the reason why that law makes a difference is because it overrides various municipal bylaws prohibiting such discrimination, and carves out a religious exemption that pretty much anyone can arbitrarily claim in practice.

And yes, businesses can arbitrarily discriminate in other ways. They can refuse to serve intoxicated customers, for example, or people with mustaches (though in some cases discriminating based on some trait can be illegal if it is found that in practice it results in clear discrimination against some protected class by virtue of correlation).

Are businesses considered to be public and therefore must be open to everyone or are they considered private and open only to whomever the owner wants (like a private club)?

They can be either, it all depends on how you set things up. If you have some notion of membership, and only serve members, then you can apply pretty much arbitrary filters for people wanting to become members, including those protected classes - i.e. it's perfectly legal to have a whites-only private club, for example (though of course you'll get a lot of flak in the media as soon as it comes out).

Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.