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Comment Re:Until they can't (Score 1) 575

Unless we are going to have immigrant get scanned in everywhere they go

Credit cards? You could require people with visas to be paid only through special accounts accessible by card. Mind, I'm not saying you should. But you'd have a lot of incentive for them to "check in" regularly and data about their habits which would probably lead to detectable changes even if they handed off the card. Of course, with premeditation, human beings can still disappear, but it might be evident when it happens and where to start the investigation.

Comment Re:Glad they didn't read the books (Score 1) 195

There's a rather large gap between writing "a rape occurred" and graphically depicting it. If the events were related by characters secondhand, I'm willing to bet no one would care. GoT does deserves 1st amendment protections, of course, but I can sympathize with people who find it troubling that extended depictions of torture and rape are considered entertaining.

Comment Re:The men in grey suits are upset (Score 1) 206

This latest scam valuation (Microsoft buying 0.2% of the company at 100 million while actually getting a side deal of Uber implemented on its Phones and Cortana) is just another scam from them.

Comment Re:GTFO! (Score 1, Interesting) 480

They evidently don't like it, but it's pretty dumb to quit because someone else got a raise, esp. when it means the CEO is now making less than you. I suppose the story was supposed to be "CEO sacrifices pay so engineers can upgrade Escalades to Ferraris," which of course would have been very heart touching.

Comment Re:Raising questions about freedom of speech? (Score 3, Insightful) 298

There is also nothing in the constitution that says any entity must allow you to use their property at the exclusion of others in order to express your speech.

Correct. Only a government entity (such as the city) must allow you equal access to their public resources (such as this park) without using forceful intervention (such as sending in police) to suppress it.

the city said no if a wanted criminal and fugitive from law would be a party of it.

Free speech is about the speech, not the person speaking. Otherwise we should not have any problem, e.g., banning Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. After all, Marx is dead -- and was never a citizen -- so surely his right to free speech would not be infringed by the ban.

Comment Content producers (Score 1) 141

Writing a joke is hard work. Sure, it's 140 characters, but it can take a long time of searching out inspiration, research, and then writing and rewriting to get it in its punchiest form. Most of us come up with good ones on our own every once in a while, but producing enough to sustain an online following can be a heavy investment. It's no surprise the producers are leaning on twitter for some protection of their reputation and/or livelihood.

As usual, though, it is misguided. The difference between a successful joke and a failed jokes is precisely that the former is likely to get repeated. It's half the reason people follow this accounts and watch comedians is so they can borrow material to entertain their friends and romantic interests. Maybe that's not 100% honest but that's a part of what's driving your traffic. Some jokes have to be told from your perspective -- a citation ruins the humor. (Or you've modified it and citing now would be entirely honest.) Sometimes you remember the joke but not where it came from. That's part of the life of a joke.

But it is strikingly dishonest when you have other accounts stealing material wholesale, morning radio programs running your material without credit, and traffic-generating pages copying it verbatim (except for the citation). Whether that should invite legal response I don't know, but it should certainly invite some shame.

Comment Re:Mars is stupid (Score 1) 136

All very good points, but let's consider that colonization may involve a bit of compromise. Maybe in the best case we continue to need respirators and good shelters. Is that unacceptable? Doesn't mean it's not useful to increase the surface temperature, release certain gases, start some form of food production.

The stability and accessibility of Mars remains very important at our present stage of technology. We aren't going to wait for terraforming to complete before we start colonizing. It's a major advantage if the process is easy to monitor and interact with, if resources are easy to extract (mining), and equipment failure is less of a concern (no caustic substances at 500C).

In the end, it's probably better to get more practical experience at terraforming something else before we start on our #1 target anyway.

Comment Re:Project administrators held PRC passports! (Score 1) 142

Technically speaking, the previous elected administration was also the Obama administration. And however outdated the security practices might have been under Bush, they are at least 7 years more outdated today under Obama, which is not an equal failing. Notably, the cyber aspect of national security has become much more pointed in the years that he has been in charge. You can give Obama a pass if you honestly don't think it should have been a priority, but most would consider national security should be one of the presidents' top priorities. In any case, if you want to distribute some of the consequences to Bush, I suppose we can go egg his house or something, but the practical side is that however much accountability we are willing to assign to previous administrations is that much less incentive for the present administration to take this seriously.

Comment Re:Thank you - just PR for his presidential run. (Score 4, Interesting) 385

It was never feasible for him to block the bill, so I don't see why details of, e.g, when he did it would be important. The purpose was to raise awareness and I've seen quite a bit of coverage including major political sites like DrudgeReport so I would say whatever his notions were they worked out rather well. If it is a call to the masses then it makes sense to give them time to digest and react (hopefully with a call to their representatives) before the actual bill.

As is, are we under the impression that once in office Rand Paul will abandon the cause? Because if not, as the chief executive he would certain have the ability to direct these agencies differently. Personally, this convinces me he would be committed to doing so.

Comment Re:Americentred worldview (Score 2) 164

If Slashdot's editorial duty is to emphasize news items based on their humanitarian importance, it fails with every article that isn't about death, poverty, slavery, etc. Of course, then it wouldn't be a tech website and we probably wouldn't visit it, so that all is fairly moot. This is about Dan Fredinburg because he was relevant to tech and known in our community (and he's certainly worth remembering as a person as well, regardless of what else is in the news). It's not here because it was the most important thing to happen in the past week.

I think it's on us to give the events in Nepal their due emphasis. Personally, I have donated to Doctors Without Borders, which is sending medical aid. I invite anyone else to do the same, and maybe to bring up the topic with family, friends, and coworkers.

But I am very glad and thank you for remembering the other Nepali. Maybe if we let the editors know that we would like them to setup a donation button or organize something in that vein so we can help out as a community, they would oblige.

Comment Alternatives to Mendeley (Score 1) 81

Personally I have found Mendeley frustrating to use anyway. Seemed more interested in shiny features than working well. Wasn't very good at maintaining its bibtex file (which could be a problem using it with other programs) and expected you to have digital references only.

JabRef is a great multiplatform reference manager which combines excellently with Docear for writing a paper/thesis/dissertation (Docear lets you organize your references and annotations as part of your outline). I have also found it worth it to run PDF-XChange Viewer under WINE. It is unfortunately not open source but it supports any feature you can think of for annotating PDFs and integrates nicely (with a bit of non-windows setup) with Docear.

Zotero is another great reference manager. I have also heard good things about BibDesk (OS X only).

Comment Re:Personal morality and pandering (Score 1) 653

Last time I checked, Tim Cook was a US citizen so it hardly seems inappropriate to hold your own country to a higher standard than places where you don't actually get a vote. Furthermore it's a little hard to criticize a foreign country for something that your own country is doing. Fix your home first and then you can hold the moral high ground.

This is one of those things which would sound wholly reasonable if you weren't comparing the EXECUTION OF HOMOSEXUALS for being homosexual to whether every smalltime shop is legally compelled to service their weddings. The former is so many orders of magnitude worse that I am amazed we are even making the comparison. Any influence a boycott can have in one of those countries is worth a thousand times what it can have here. In fact boycott or not I offer a decent person should avoid doing business in those countries just because of the sheer moral discomfort of being in any way remotely affiliated with them.