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Comment: Re:Whatever way we want it to be (Score 3, Insightful) 253

by NReitzel (#47380465) Attached to: Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

My apologies. I searched myself for the quotation and did not find it. The person in question was Charles Schumer (US Senator), and his remarks were in response to a rather over-the-top NRA assertion that the government was trying to take guns away from "Law Abiding Citizens" subsequent to some multiple shooting event. The event made at least one video outlet -- which is how I saw it -- but apparently was not recorded. This I actually understand, and find nothing nefarious about it -- after all, there was a hugely more serious event to report on.

Since I was unable to provide an actual citation, I did not "name names" -- and the comment was more to illustrate an attitude by lawmakers (not necessarily Mr Schumer personally) that government should have the power to go after someone that "they think" is a Bad Guy, and screw the legal process.

In the US, there have been countless cases of cops trying to charge someone recording their actions on video, because having their actions stand up to careful scrutiny seems (to them) to be an undue burden. The current trend towards categorizing all "illegal immigrants" as drug mules is another example. "They are here illegally, right? So we know they've broken a law." Yes, but _drug mules_ ? That's a stretch.

As a person who witnessed the 1968 events in Chicago, I know that there are some police forces who have the attitude of "We know who the bad guys are and we need to be able to go after them" and the phrase "burden of proof" seems to be missing from their repertoire. Thankfully, in the US, the majority of police forces are not there, at least not yet.

Comment: Whatever way we want it to be (Score 3, Insightful) 253

by NReitzel (#47377829) Attached to: Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

In the post-911 world, police departments all over the world are moving into Orwellian territory. They spot someone that they "know" is doing a crime, and they go searching for a law to hammer them.

With laws that don't sunset, and legislative organizations (worldwide) passing more rules and regulations and laws as fast as they can write them down, the state is moving to consolidate it's power. Once, a congressman from the United States said of his constituents, "There are no law-abiding citizens, there are only citizens who haven't yet broken a law."

Wait for it. The police are choosing to persecute (sic) whomever they want to, and due process seems to be fading into the sunset.

Comment: Everybody skips the interesting bits (Score 4, Interesting) 295

by HangingChad (#47375241) Attached to: Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

Not only did Harold get a dose that was way beyond the LD50 for humans, he lived for 11 more years and died of unrelated causes. His pastor had to convince people he was safe to be around.

Harold was far from the only Tri-Cities nuclear celebrity. There were also stories about guys who would drop their pants and squat over reactor vents until their balls got a little burned. Think of it like a nuclear vasectomy. I never documented any of those stories but there were a lot of them and worse.

One thing I did personally document was that, adjusted for age, the cancer rate for people who worked at Hanford was not statistically higher than that of the general population.

I achieved my own personal notoriety there by accidentally leaving my dosimeter in my shaving kit and leaving that on an orange Fiestaware platter that was so hot it would light up a pancake meter on three scales. A few weeks later I get a panic call from Rad Services asking if I'm okay. Hehe. God, I hated that place.

Comment: Bigger than a tiny house (Score 4, Insightful) 118

by HangingChad (#47372091) Attached to: Chinese Company '3D-Prints' 10 Buildings In One Day

Those structures are bigger and sturdier than a tiny house with the added advantage of being made from recycled building materials.

The real question is structural strength and integrity and what agents are they using to make the mix dry fast. The Chinese could be using some nasty chemicals that wouldn't fly in building materials over here (Chinese drywall anyone?).

Still, if the units end up being even roughly equivalent to poured concrete, I could see living in a printed house, no problem.

Comment: Not news for anyone in the business (Score 1) 121

by HangingChad (#47360575) Attached to: Happy Software Developers Solve Problems Better

Talk about a headline from the No Screaming Shit Department, of course happier programmers are going to do a better job. There's no motivation to do your job well when you're miserable. That's why the team dynamics are more important than individual skill. I've seen one hot-shot programmer with great coding skills and horrendous personal skills totally undermine the team dynamic. No amount of skill makes up for being an arrogant ass.

Comment: Not to mention poisons... (Score 2) 380

by NReitzel (#47327279) Attached to: New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

Well, bureaucratic idiocy ignored, there is another small wart on this process.

Catalysts are very sensitive to "poisons" - chemicals that stop their catalytic activity. Sodium amide used as a catalyst has a vulnerability to a potent catalytic poison - that being water. A little moisture in the fuel tank, a little moisture in the fuel lines, and presto. No catalyst.

I'm not saying it's not possible, I just don't know how one would keep that pestilential dihydrogen monoxide carefully excluded from the process. It's cumulative, every tiny scrap of moisture kills off some of the catalyst.

Comment: About time (Score 2, Insightful) 276

by HangingChad (#47310555) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

It's okay having a no fly list but not having a way to appeal being on it is an abomination. The irony is that sometimes actual terrorists are allowed to fly so they don't get tipped off the US is watching them. That's downright brilliant there. If the US is going to ban someone from traveling, they need to admit it and provide an appeals process.

Comment: Don't mess with "c" (Score 4, Interesting) 347

by NReitzel (#47309903) Attached to: Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

There's an alternative explanation. Space-Time could have non-zero viscosity, and slow down photons.

There are a lot of reasons to consider that space might have a viscosity. For one thing, it would neatly explain the expansion of the universe, without the necessity of invoking dark matter and dark energy.

We live in interesting times!

-- Norm Reitzel

Comment: Useful Technology (Score 5, Interesting) 99

by HangingChad (#47280017) Attached to: Smartphones To Monitor Schizophrenics

As someone who used to answer the 911 psych calls for our volunteer FD in a rural area, a voluntary app like this could be really useful. Where we lived back then first responders were the only regular checks a lot of the psych cases ever got. By the time someone called 911, they were way off the sanity reservation. Then law enforcement got involved and packed them off to primary care. They'd stabilize on their meds, the hospital would cut them loose because they didn't have insurance, sometimes with a couple days worth of meds, and we'd start the cycle all over again. Anything that would alert medical personnel that someone was having a problem and find a way to get them some help before we got a call that they were chasing cows around in the pasture bare ass naked would be a good thing.

I learned that rural areas are full of crazy people because the cost of living is lower and they could be crazy and not bother as many people. It was kind of surprising to find out how many of our neighbors were genuinely, seriously out there howling at the moon loony tunes (technical medical jargon).


IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation 465

Posted by Soulskill
from the conspiracy-theory-activate dept.
phrackthat writes with an update to Friday's news that the IRS cannot locate two years worth of email from Lois Lerner, a central figure in the controversy surrounding the IRS's apparent targeting of Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny. Now, the IRS says there are another six workers for whom the agency cannot locate emails. As with Lerner, they attribute the unrecoverable emails to computer crashes. Among them was Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to Lerner’s boss, then-deputy commissioner Steven Miller. Miller later became acting IRS commissioner, but was forced to resign last year after the agency acknowledged that agents had improperly scrutinized tea party and other conservative groups when they applied for tax-exempt status. Documents have shown some liberal groups were also flagged. ... Lerner’s computer crashed in the summer of 2011, depriving investigators of many of her prior emails. Flax’s computer crashed in December 2011, Camp and Boustany said. The IRS said Friday that technicians went to great lengths trying to recover data from Lerner’s computer in 2011. In emails provided by the IRS, technicians said they sent the computer to a forensic lab run by the agency’s criminal investigations unit. But to no avail.

Comment: Re:SHeriff Michael Gayer (Score 1) 875

by HangingChad (#47202185) Attached to: America 'Has Become a War Zone'

Violence has been trending down for decades

You can't support that conclusion definitively. What's positively been changing for decades is the way police report crimes. That, combined with the sheer numbers of people we're imprisoning, might be contributing to a drop overall level of crime but until there are uniform reporting guidelines, that conclusion is, at best, fragile.

Around here if someone shoots holes in your apartment, unless someone is hit, it gets reported as vandalism, even though most sane people would agree that's a gun crime. If someone pulls a gun on you here, unless it's accompanied by a threat or robbery, it's not considered a gun crime. There was a big stink in the paper about it a few months ago that involved dozens of local PDs. How many other PDs are playing similar games with their crime statistics? Nobody knows for sure. Since that's where the FBI gets their statistics, then garbage in, garbage out would apply.

Not only is UNIX dead, it's starting to smell really bad. -- Rob Pike