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Comment: Re:Major changes in many countries (Score 1) 333

by ninjagin (#49721505) Attached to: Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine
Here in Colorado, there's a bunch of crime centered around grow facilities (robbing them) and robberies and burglaries for the cash being transported. It's one of the main reasons why the state is lobbying very hard for banking regulation reform at the fed level, for example.

Comment: Re:Random Thoughts (Score 1) 328

I live close to Denver and we had a 4.5 about 4 years ago. My house is about 110 years old and it cracked the plaster. About six months later, we started seeing the "learn about fracking" ads on TV -- sponsored by some petroleum institute mouthpiece. The ads are still running. Your nose for BS is very keen, and I have no doubt that you are right.

Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 1) 678

by ninjagin (#49513491) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

:) I live in Colorado, and we have our own water problems. (Though less of them, of late, but it's always been really dry out here.) Our snowpack fills a bunch of rivers. At the same time, our glaciers and year-round snowpack are fading, and that takes a lot of elasticity out of the supply. It'll be dry times up here, too, before long (again?), and there's nobody around to pump water to us.

There's a lot of agriculture out here, too, but it's nowhere near the scale or variety of California. I suspect that this is why New York isn't, for example, a big producer of almonds. It's dead last, in fact. So yeah, you can grow "food crops" in the northeast, but not nearly as many different ones, and not nearly as productively/cheaply.

Comment: I've met Shatner ... (Score 1) 678

by ninjagin (#49511431) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California
... and he's kind of a jerk. It doesn't surprise me that he's thinking about simplistic, over-costly "solutions" to the problem. Note that he's going to give the money as political campaign donations to whatever politician says that they'll build it (if he doesn't hit the mark, which he has no hope of hitting). Politicians all tell the truth, too, right?
All we see here is a pretty obvious play that Shatner is making to aggrandize himself and magnify his political influence... with other people's money. It's all about him making himself a bigger celebrity in political circles. Free dinners of chicken and peas, and easy, casual podium gigs he can write off.

Comment: The milli-wave scan always alarms on my ... (Score 1) 294

... back sweat. I'm not kidding. I travel frequently out of DIA. I wear a backpack over a light jacket, and the middle of my back (right between my shoulder blades) always gets identified as a pat-down area for investigation. My shirt is inevitably damp in that area. The nice TSA people gently rub my back as I wait for my bag to roll out of the X-ray machine. If it wasn't such a stupid process in its entirety, I might think it was actually kind of nice... like a spa or something, only with blue rubber gloves and more ick.

Comment: With the exception of C ... (Score 1) 220

by ninjagin (#49416571) Attached to: How would you rate your programming skills?
... I'm self-taught. This means that I mostly know how to learn how to code in different languages (java, perl, scripting, some proprietary odds & ends thus far), but it also means that I probably don't know best practices very well and am prone to hacks. This would make me a novice, but I gave myself an aspirational "intermediate". I suspect that I'm not entirely alone in this, but it's hard to see around all the boxes of stuff mom keeps down here in the basement, so I'm not sure.

Comment: I don't do facebook (Score 2) 394

by ninjagin (#49393197) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Living Without Social Media In 2015?

... and yet I do have a LinedIn account... and I still have a few active circles in Google+

I ended up at LinedIn just because it was the easiest and simplest way to keep tabs on people I used to work for and with. It's handy for that.

As for Facebook, I just don't have any reason to use it. I like my current active circle of friends and we call and email each other directly when we want to be in touch. I'm not interested in the time-sink that it is for so many people. I keep hearing tales from friends about the politics of "friendship" and all the goofy crap they get from people they really don't know, or don't want to know anymore.

I also don't want to share a whole lot of stuff with the wide-wide world. I don't want to read what other people are sharing. I just don't care about that crap.

This notion that Facebook is a kind of adjunct to a resume is a little disquieting. I mean, if someone wants to know more about me, all they have to do is suggest that we go out for a long lunch or maybe a beer after work and I'm happy to talk about just about anything. No window dressing, nothing in print. If someone wants to get to know me, they can do exactly that, with me, in real life.

Fortunately, I am also old enough that not having a Facebook page isn't so unusual in my age group. So at least I have that.

Comment: So this is "hacking" weight loss? (Score 1) 496

by ninjagin (#49328849) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

Maybe I'm the only one, but I read TFA and I don't see any hacking going on, here. What I saw instead was a pretty sound approach to health and wellness through dietary changes and continued moderate exercise. I don't see what's been "hacked", here. The "eat less and exercise" approach, wonder of wonders, seems to have worked again!

Honestly, I like hearing about experiences like this, because it gives me hope that I can make my own similar lifestyle changes, but there was no "hack" involved here -- no shortcut, no fast-track, no way to get it done without the work and self discipline. When I get a good checkup at the dentist, am I "hacking" dental hygiene? I think not.

Comment: ... I've used these kiosks! ... (Score 1) 97

At the ATL airport. Pretty whizzy. I think it may have actually sped up the process. The only strange part was you basically move through a set of various stations and checks, like 4 or 5 before you finally talk with an agent about declarations at the end. It was pretty streamlined and pretty easy to use the devices.

Comment: Re:I for one (Score 1) 1089

by ninjagin (#49296735) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US
Isn't it a main responsibility of POTUS to lead and manage the legislative branch?

Well, no, it's not. The primary function of the POTUS is to be the chief executive of the administration. That is, all the agencies, administrations and departments of the federal government. So, along with that comes the responsibility to make appointments to the various non-legislative parts of the government... the dept of justice, for example. So it also goes with firing the other executives in federal government.

The influence of the POTUS on congress is really very small. He can offer vision or direction to the congress from the standpoint of what laws he says he will sign or veto, and the POTUS is going to lay out his direction every year in the state of the union address, but he has no vote in the making of legislation, no leadership role on any committee, and no legislative responsibilities other than the enacting or vetoing legislation at the end. There is a little niggle in that the president can convene or adjourn congress on the occasion of sweeping national tragedy, attack or martial law, but those are true rarities. The VP is the president of the senate, and that means he can cast tie-breaking votes in the event they are needed, but even this is a very limited role in the congress. One would suppose that the VP, if casting such a senate vote, would reflect the position of the administration and by extension the chief executive, but that's not written anywhere. In the early days of the country, the vice president was the guy who came in second in the presidential race, and had opposing views.

There's also the POTUS role of commander-in-chief of the armed forces, which he has for practical decision-making. We have the joint chiefs, but ultimately it's the president that is the one with the responsibility for what they do.

The POTUS is the single highest representative of the nation in foreign policy, and as he holds the top position over the secretary of state, he's responsible, ultimately, for making treaties with foreign nations.

That said, at the minimum, his rubber stamping of extending the Patriot Act perfectly demonstrates how his actions differ from his campaign platform and his ability or need to stand up for the people that elected him.

Well, anyone can hazard a guess, but I think history will probably treat him better than you think it will, though I do agree that he hasn't lived up to expectations. I'll also add that expectations were set uncommonly high. Between the time he got elected and when he took the oath, he was given a pretty cold and deep soak in the dirty bathwater from the previous administration -- and by that I mean extensive debriefing by the leaders of all the various departments of the government in the outgoing administration. Anyone with half a brain would change their opinions when presented with the real-life playbook left my the former tenant of the white house. I have no doubt that the national security stuff in particular was especially hard for him to change course on, as it wasn't part of his set of strengths. We were also at war in 2 places at once and he didn't want to be in any more of those, so he was pretty hawkish about looking out for threats.

Anyhow, I'll close with the observation that many people missed about him from the start. He was, and is, very much a person who wants consensus. He was far far too willing to kowtow to the demands of people that wanted him to leave the status quo in place -- and here I'm talking about the neocon chickenhawks and the big wall street banks. He did not, as most presidents do, clean house at the justice department and remove all the bush-era appointees, for example, even though they all got their JDs from Oral Roberts U and Liberty U and were diametrically opposed to everything he wanted to see. He let them stay, as a conciliatory gesture, hoping that it would earn him a place at the table with his nominal opposition. What he took awhile to learn is that he could not make nice with these people. They would never accept partnership with him. They would not work to higher goals if it meant having any kind of agreement with him. We saw it in congress, especially. So here's a guy who really did want to make things work and was ready to give a little on a few things to show he could be a good partner, but what he gave his opposition they ended up taking and running away. I can only point to the tone he began to set in the days just after this most recent midterm election, which was much more strident and decisive than anything he'd said previously.

So, while you will say he's bound to be seen as a flash in the pan, he is the president we had in the second most damaging collapse in the world economy in 80 years, he was the only president to enter office while 2 simultaneous foreign wars were in full-swing, he was the only president to be able to change a health care system that was basically unreachable for almost a quarter of the nations people, and he's made very real progress in world diplomacy in areas that the nation hasn't ever touched before -- Iran and Cuba, mostly. Sure, he's a polarizing figure, too. If he were a flash in the pan, nobody would notice and nobody would care.

No, he's not perfect, and there's a lot I was hoping he'd do that he has not (getting rid of the TSA, undoing the bloated bureaucracy of the DHS, closing GITMO, retiring the Patriot act, dampening the NSA powers, etc.) but I think it's been pretty good on balance and he'll get a fair treatment by the history books.

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton