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Comment: What is really happening here? (Score 1) 819

by Bruce Perens (#47930483) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children
We are in a War on Faith, because Faith justifies anything and ISIS takes it to extremes. But in the end they are just a bigger version of Christian-dominated school boards that mess with the teaching of Evolution, or Mormon sponsors of anti-gay-marriage measures, or my Hebrew school teacher, an adult who slapped me as a 12-year-old for some unremembered offense against his faith.

Comment: Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (Score 1) 819

by Bruce Perens (#47930331) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Hm. The covenant of Noah is about two paragraphs before this part (King James Version) which is used for various justifications of slavery and discrimination against all sorts of people because they are said to bear the Curse of Ham. If folks wanted to use the Bible to justify anything ISIS says is justified by God's words in the Koran, they could easily do so.

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Comment: HTML5 is a language. (Score 1) 381

by rjh (#47868549) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

HTML5 is, indeed, a programming language -- at least when paired with CSS3. You can implement Rule 110 in nothing but HTML5 + CSS3, and Rule 110 is known to be Turing-complete. Ergo, HTML5 + CSS3 is capable of any computable process, and is a full programming language.

It's a horrible programming language, but hey, when has that gotten in the way of widespread acceptance?

Comment: Re:Batteries? Seriously? (Score 1) 486

by _Sharp'r_ (#47868013) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

Buying a new fleet of more expensive city buses primarily benefits the politicians who get to decide which of their friends will get to sell the city the buses.

Any arguments around the desirability or suitability of the new buses are just a bonus for their election year propaganda aimed at credulous residents.

So don't worry, they'll come back around to trollies, railways, etc... they just need to allow enough time to pass for voters to forget their last expensive "great" idea.

Comment: Re:Define technology (Score 1) 231

by _Sharp'r_ (#47838419) Attached to: Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

Yeah, I have to resist telling my kids about the natural gas balloons we made for the 4th while unsupervised. As a parent, they're too dangerous.

Fill up a white kitchen trash bag from the stove, tie the end with kite string, unreel the string until the balloon is at least 30-40 feet in the air, then light the end of the string.

Big whump and fireball in the air later, fun was had by all.

Comment: Re:Crowding Out Effect (Score 2) 111

by _Sharp'r_ (#47786157) Attached to: How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

Who'd want 3 different water/sewer systems connected to their house?

Ummm... me?

I'm currently forced to buy water from only the local government-granted monopoly water provider, who has decided not to provide one type of water I want to purchase (greywater) to residential customers. They sell it to commercial customers at1/10th the cost of their potable water lines, but despite the fact that the pipes and infrastructure supporting it are literally 2 feet from my property, I'm classified as residential, so no using greywater for landscaping for me.

There's another potential water provider less than a mile away in a different political jurisdiction who I could purchase from... if it was legally allowed for them to compete here, which it isn't.

The truth is that taking a government-created monopoly and saying that's proof that a market wouldn't support a non-monopoly setup is really saying that the legal framework creating the monopoly in the first place isn't really needed. So let's get rid of the government enforcing monopolies and see what's really a persistent natural monopoly vs what's actually a favor for buddies of the local politicians instead?

+ - Surprise! TSA lied!

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Does this make you feel safer? The TSA has now admitted that it had allowed illegal immigrants to fly without valid identification, something it had strongly denied when news sources revealed it last month.

[A newly discovered TSA] letter confirms that illegal aliens are being allowed to board planes using a Notice to Appear form (also known as I-862), as [union border patrol official] Darby revealed in July. Hector Garza, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) told Darby that Notice to Appear forms can “easily be reproduced or manipulated on any home computer. The Notice to Appear form has no photo, anyone can make one and manipulate one. They do not have any security features, no watermark, nothing. They are simply printed on standard copy paper based on the information the illegal alien says is the truth.”

So, while the TSA routinely sexually abuses American citizens while demanding they provide photo id, the agency has had policies that would allow an illegal immigrant, with unknown background and who has come from outside the country, to board planes using a simple form that anyone can photocopy.

Does anyone but me see something significantly wrong with this picture? Didn’t Congress originally create the TSA to prevent foreign nationals from boarding planes to hijack them?

The TSA is a joke imposed on us by our elected officials and approved of by too many Americans because it allows them to make believe we are doing something about terrorism. Other elected officials and TSA managers and employees than use the agency as a weapon to obtain power and crush the freedom of Americans. In that context, these actions by the TSA, including lying about their policies, make complete sense."

Comment: Re:This is ridiculous. (Score 1) 146

by _Sharp'r_ (#47717869) Attached to: Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners

If you want to get all strict-constructionist on this matter though, planes, cars, buses, and rail didn't even exist when the Constitution was written, so one could argue that there's no Constitutional protection when travelling by anything beyond horseback, carriage, or walking.

This argument doesn't make any sense, and certainly wouldn't to a strict-constructionist.

Either the Constitution was intended to cover any type of travel when originally written, or it wasn't.

If it was, then any type of travel is protected, because nothing in the Constitution authorizes the government to restrict travel.

If (as you argue) it wasn't intended to cover, say, flying, because it didn't exist at that time yet (silly, no one really argues that but let's go with it...), then still, nothing in the Constitution authorizes the government to restrict travel via flying.

The fallacy you seem to be falling into is thinking that the Constitution needs to explicitly permit or protect a particular freedom (like travel) or else the government can do what they want in regards to it. The Constitution doesn't grant people rights and doesn't protect only enumerated freedoms. It enumerates specific powers for the government and reserves everything not specifically granted to the States and the people.So if the Constitution doesn't apply to something, then the Federal government doesn't have any authority whatsoever in regards to that something.

In actual fact, the courts have ruled that any limitation on the fundamental right to travel must pass strict scrutiny. See a few hundred thousand links from Google.

Comment: Re: Disengenous [sic] (Score 1) 306

by _Sharp'r_ (#47583613) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

There are maybe 4 authors that are obviously right wing and published by the big 6 in fiction.

And none of them got started in the last 15 years or so, they're all established names who sell too many books to justify dumping. You know TOR's editors hate that Card is their biggest selling author, but they can't come up with an excuse to drop him as long as he still sells well.

Anyone newer than that will be with Baen, or one of the smaller or indie imprints.

Comment: Re:Disengenous (Score 5, Insightful) 306

by _Sharp'r_ (#47571235) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

As an author, I can tell you that Amazon and their eBook pricing means more money (overall) for Authors. Maybe not for the "best seller"s who don't actually sell many books, but their publishing house prints lots of them and sends them out to stores, so while they end up on the bargain rack or destroyed, they still make the NY Times list based on the lay-down. Yeah, the authors people don't actually want to read will ultimately make less money, but the real authors that people like and want to buy from will make a lot more.

There is currently a battle going on in the industry between the special favorites of the big 6 publishing houses and the midlisters and independents. There are very few authors who can get a reasonable deal out of one of the publishing houses. Everyone else is getting contracts which require them to sign away their works forever, sign away any future works in the same genre, sign away all electronic rights, etc... for a $5K advance on a one or two book contract.

The midlisters and indies are running to ebooks and small publishing houses as fast as they can. It's not a mystery why. Amazon will pay 70% on an ebook. A publisher will typically pay maybe 15% (on poorly documented bookscan sales numbers, even on eBooks, which should be exact!) Where they used to purcahse only limited publication rights, which expired after they took the book out of print, now they want contracts where the author will never get their book back, even if the publishing house isn't actually doing anything with it.

If you are a well-known celebrity, or you sell millions of copies, then a big 6 publisher may work with you on somewhat fair terms. Otherwise, they won't edit you (it's gotten much worse over the last few years), they won't market you and they'll barely make sure your latest book stays on store shelves for a month.

The big 6 publishers are not only an issue in terms of IP rights and author payments, but they are also a very bad gatekeeper. Ever wonder why so many old SF authors stopped publishing and much of what is out there now is crap? It's because they're being picked by a publishing house with a NY "editor" who probably doesn't even like SF. They literally drove popular authors (who wrote what people actually wanted to read) out of the business. If an author sold too much (i.e. more than the editor projected), did they reprint and push the book? No, they'd keep the same print run and just stop publishing it when it hit the number projected as the max, usually tiny. Baen was the only real exception of any size in the industry. Jim Baen also did eBooks right from the start (gave old ones away in order to promote newer books in the same series/by the same author). That's all just starting to turn around because of Amazon, on-demand publishing and eBooks. Old famous authors are even starting to put out the books their publishing house stopped selling, or that they couldn't get published in the first place because it wasn't the editor's latest fad.

Also, the big 6 publishing houses have a massively left-leaning bias. They've spent decades now killing the sales numbers of entire genres because the authors were required to toe the line of the latest politically correct movement. You can date books in some genres by the issues and characters the editors required. Many books that adults like have been pushed into YA categories, just because if it it's not "edgy" enough, the NY editors don't want to buy it. Forget about what will sell, they buy what they'll want to tell their NY publishing friends about at the next cocktail party.

Scalzi is the poster-child cheerleader for the big 6 publishing houses. He's on the "inside" of the publishing establishment and does everything he can to defend them. He could care less about SF authors, just about his publishing buddies.

You want the real scoop on Amazon and Authors? Go look at Mad Genius Club, or According to Hoyt.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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