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Comment: Re:In related news (Score 1) 242

by AK Marc (#48925851) Attached to: Dish Network Violated Do-Not-Call 57 Million Times

Pretending that a huge block of bonds are an asset is standard answer from the 'SS is healthy liars brigade.'

So all the retirement accounts that count bonds as assets should instead wipe them off the books, showing a massive loss?

Like most companies (see Ireland) you can keep books that have debts and assets from other companies under the same ownership.

The US government doesn't have an asset if it buys its own bonds. But the SS fund most certainly does. The problem is the people who fail basic accounting, asserting their misunderstanding is reality, when reality disagrees.

Comment: Re:First they came for... (Score 1) 127

by fyngyrz (#48925721) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

if the positive influence outweighs the negative

The problem here is who defines positive or negative. When you go with the majority or those who otherwise hold the most power, that rules out gays right out of the gate -- because gays are a minority and hold less power.

If you ask the minority/less-powerful what the positives and the negatives are, you're going to get a very different answer than if you ask the majority/powerful. Quite often, the minority/less-powerful answer will be the correct one.

a bastardized influence, in order to exist, is still an influence, and better than no influence at all... this is called realism

Actually, I think it is more accurately described as cowardice. YMMV, obviously.

Comment: and... (Score 1) 375

by fyngyrz (#48925483) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

The rest of us may gape in amazement at the fact that you're willing to shell out a premium for an inferior product, but that's fine as long as you believe it isn't inferior.

...and some of us will gape in amazement that you're willing to subject yourself on a permanent basis to a vastly inferior operating system just to save a few bucks on cheap hardware. Lotta gaping going on WRT both sides of the coin, apparently. :)

Comment: 40 years? No. (Score 1) 224

by fyngyrz (#48925303) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

Nor was the new testament written and compiled over 2000 years.
More like 40 years max for both.

The NT has appeared in many distinctly different versions. Bishop's bible, King James, and so on. Because of the nature of the source material (Greek, Latin, Aramaic) the act of translation is prone to producing differences. The "modern" versions often read quite differently.

For instance, Matthew 5:18:

King James: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

God's Word: I can guarantee this truth: Until the earth and the heavens disappear, neither a period nor a comma will disappear from Moses' Teachings before everything has come true.

New Living Translation: I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.

...and so on. And that's without the various doctrinal interpretations that vary over the years and the various people who further interpret the text to others.

Those differences can be huge. The context of the above is with regard to the continued relevance of the laws of the old testament. Jesus (the speaker) says that until heaven and earth pass away (which I think we can go with "hasn't happened yet"), the law remains in place. But that doesn't stop entire Christian sects from trying to claim that the OT has been superseded in its entirety by the NT.

Comment: Re:Frickin' Lasers! (Score 1) 228

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48925075) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

You can get around this by using an array of lasers, each of which is individually rather harmless, but focused together would be enough to destroy such a target. The "danger area" would be restricted to the focal point. Anything outside/beyond/inside that point would receive much less laser power and likely escape damage.

Now if your drone is using active terrain masking, that makes it more difficult to hit at range. However, such a system would probably require a human remotely controlling it, making that susceptible to jamming. I don't think automated terrain avoidance (in real time) is practical just yet for anything a non-military entity could get its hands on. And in any event, such a terrain-avoidance system would likely need its own sensors (radar/lidar) which could be detected, jammed, or both.

Comment: Re:Stronger regs ? Try a better radar (Score 1) 228

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48924983) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

If you shield a drone it becomes heavier and then needs to be bigger. Also at that point the drone needs to either be self guiding or have a communication/control system that won't be knocked out. You get the old little more weight little more propulsion to carry the weight cycle going and all of a sudden your drone isn't small anymore.

So what's your point? That a more capable drone is also bigger? So? So what? That's obvious. Do you think the added size/complexity of such a thing would be any impediment whatsoever to a determined aggressor? If you want to penetrate controlled airspace to do something nefarious, you're perforce going to want something that's difficult to detect, difficult to jam, difficult to shoot down, and has enough payload to carry whatever you need to cause the damage you're looking for.

That seems an incredibly strong statement. So strong that it looks like it doesn't have enough thought behind it.

Really? Then let's hear your alternative options. I already covered sensors and weapons, but let's recap. Radar is vulnerable to stealth, so it won't do the job alone. Lidar is too short ranged to do the job alone. Acoustic is even worse. But put together, a web of such sensors would be very difficult to overcome. If there are other sensors out there that are even remotely applicable, please enumerate them.

As for weapons, you have only three options: ballistic, missiles, or directed-energy weapons. Ballistic weapons have all kinds of downsides, from trajectory computation to wind to limited ammo, not to mention the inevitable collateral damage from misses (of which there will be MANY). Missiles have similar downsides. DEW's have (almost) none of these, the sole one being the potential for (minor) collateral damage in the case of a miss. You could even potentially mitigate this by using an array of low-power lasers, individually almost benign, but focused together to take down a drone.

Comment: Re:radar would have no problem distinguishing quad (Score 1) 228

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48924865) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

This assumes you can get a good doppler signature on the rotors at all. I'm not an expert on radar/stealth construction, but I know a fair bit about it. A rotor made of radar-transparent (or absorbent) material would make it rather hard to detect, at least until it was well within range to do damage.

Comment: Up, up and away (Score 1) 224

by fyngyrz (#48924813) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

Hang a lighter-than-air balloon off the top of the elevator. If the balloon pops, the force is released from the balloon cable (which can be very short) and the brake engages. No counterweight or long cable required. Now you have the same energy requirements for lift (because the balloon is countering the weight of the unloaded elevator) and you can go back to considering how to create rack and pinion out of short rail sections (to allow for flex) plus power pickup of some kind (induction is an excellent candidate, because you can ensure that the energy pickups are very close to the sources during all operations. Fractions of an inch should be entirely practical.)

The only real problem is all of our bloody balloons leak. :)

Comment: Apparently, it is complicated. (Score 1) 127

by fyngyrz (#48924563) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

If you dont like it, dont look at it, its not that complicated.

Historically speaking, in the USA, it's been quite complicated: here, it's "if you don't like it, make a law against it" and that's about the way it continues to stand. How many cities and towns have rules about which magazines can be visible behind the counter? What about the FCC's various forbidden words? What about laws like "you can't put a flagpole / antenna / old car on your lawn"? And so on.

Comment: What do you mean by tolerance? (Score 1) 127

by fyngyrz (#48924395) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

In the US, the concepts of censorship and freedom of speech are inextricably bound up with speech to, for, and about government. It is not something that extends to the private sector in any legal sense. For instance, you have a case when you observe that the FCC won't let you say words 1-7 because that is actually government censorship and the 1st amendment does not contain, suggest or imply exceptions for unpopular or offensive speech. But you don't have a case when I apply exactly the same restriction in some non-governmental venue I control.

IOW, there's no legal requirement at all that I allow you to say whatever you want in my home. There's no requirement at all that I allow you to say whatever you want in a comment on my blog. And there's no legal requirement that Facebook must allow you to say anything in particular, either, or even that it allows you membership.

That doesn't mean you can't judge them on that basis; and therein lies the basis for "toleration", but it does mean that legally speaking, you don't have any support at all. All you can gain are the opinions you can sway -- and here in the US, anyway, the majority has long since demonstrated it does not care if Facebook controls its content and its membership and the identities used.

Comment: Ah, Democracy (Score 1) 127

by fyngyrz (#48924181) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

He just wants to make a mainstream product, which means conforming to the mainstream social norms - no matter what country you are operating in. This is not a big deal.

I take it you do not understand the concept of the tyranny of the majority. It's not exactly an insignificant issue, particularly when it is used to prohibit speech by whoever isn't popular with the majority as Facebook does.

Comment: First they came for... (Score 3, Insightful) 127

by fyngyrz (#48924141) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

When Facebook's TOS disallows gays from being members in places where fundamentalist Islam is dominant, will you continue to defend them? How about women? If women are forbidden to post and/or become members, is that ok?

Where should we draw the line between "we should keep some channels open for the privileged" and "we'll not be enabling that kind of repression"?

The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.