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Comment: Oh thank goodness... (Score 1) 1435

by potpie (#46771445) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment
Because if there's one right that needs to be guaranteed and protected from tyranny... it's the "right" of the armed forces to be armed.

Honestly, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. I thought it was a bit sketchy before what exactly the 2nd amendment meant, but specifying it with this addition really underscores the absurdity of the position.

Comment: Augustus would be proud (Score 2) 383

by potpie (#46094335) Attached to: Congressmen Say Clapper Lied To Congress, Ask Obama To Remove Him
It seems to me that Congress needs to act on this if our children are to have a republic. We've already heard that the Supreme Court, the highest institution of an entire branch of government, "lacks jurisdiction" to review the NSA's secret court decisions, which technically makes their secret court the highest in the land. If the NSA cannot be held accountable to Congress, there goes another branch. This looks like a coup.

Comment: Just theft? (Score 1) 894

by potpie (#45842457) Attached to: US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"
I think it's more likely that a bag handler or TSA agent flat out stole the flutes, and the "agricultural product" excuse is just some run-around style bureaucratic ass-covering. One of our agents stole your things? Oh actually it's because of [MADE-UP REASON], and you need to contact [RANDOM OTHER AGENCY] to deal with it.

Gov't Puts Witness On No Fly List, Then Denies Having Done So 462

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
cathyreisenwitz sends word of a San Francisco trial in which the U.S. government appears to be manipulating the no-fly list to its advantage. The court case involves a Stanford Ph.D. student who was barred from returning to the U.S. after visiting her native Malaysia. She's one of roughly 700,000 people on the no-fly list. Here's the sketchy part: the woman's eldest daughter, who was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen, was called as a witness for the trial. Unfortunately, she mysteriously found herself on the no-fly list as well, and wasn't able to board a plane to come to the trial. Lawyers for the Department of Justice told the court that she simply missed her plane, but she was able to provide documents from the airline explaining that the Department of Homeland Security was not allowing her to fly.

Comment: Re:Fixed (Score 1) 1106

by potpie (#43013305) Attached to: The U.S. minimum wage should be
Hey, AC. I think you are right that nobody has really answered your question as you posed it, but they do THINK that they have. So let me try to couch one of their answers in your question... The fundamental difference between buying labor and buying cigarettes is that the money for the cigarettes just goes into the coffers of the company (and that of the sin tax goes to the government), but the money for the LABOR goes to a living person, who in turn PUTS THAT MONEY BACK INTO THE ECONOMY by spending it. So when minimum wage goes up, spending among consumers goes up, so demand for goods and services rises, and businesses can prosper thus hiring more people at higher wages. And just because we don't know exactly where the cutoff is between a GOOD rise in minimum wage versus a BAD one, that doesn't mean that a cutoff doesn't exist; our economic models are just too rudimentary to map it out exactly.

That's what they are arguing against you, but I say to them that this assumes too much. For instance, if you are making minimum wage--whatever it is--and you find yourself with some money to spare, if you have any sense at all you will SAVE it, so that you have a rainy day fund or use it as capital toward getting/finding a better job!!! The arguments also ignore the fact that not everybody who WANTS a job NEEDS one that pays a living wage, like high school students in the summer. Instead of learning how to participate in the economy, young, unskilled, casual workers like these are generally priced out of the market. But the dark side to the issue is that some will enter the marker NONETHELESS, thus competing with those who ACTUALLY need to make enough money to live on. Then there is black market labor. I had a friend in high school who worked construction, hauling bricks, among illegal immigrants and people on welfare. Illegal labor has no minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage increases the black market for labor, thus giving companies with high demands for unskilled labor further incentive either to hire people illegally, move to a country where it costs less to hire people, or go out of business.

tl;dr: having a minimum wage means having a black labor market, and raising the minimum wage hurts those it is meant to help.

Comment: Who likes Gnome3 as-is? (Score 0) 197

by potpie (#42066175) Attached to: GNOME 3 To Support a "Classic" Mode, of Sorts
I've been using Linux since I was in 6th grade: Mandrake 6.something, Suse 7.something, Slackware 10, Redhat 9, a bunch of smaller live-cd and media-centric distros, Ubuntu, and now Fedora 16. I've used KDE, Gnome 2, Blackbox, Fluxbox, Windowmaker, and flirted with FVWM and a couple others. I appreciate minimal aesthetic and functionality as much as any Linux nut, but this is why I like Gnome3.

No, it's not very customizable. But I find its setup intuitive and functional. No, it's not graphically minimal, but computers are far more powerful now than they were even five minutes ago... Graphic simplicity used to be very important, then it was preferable, but now--I feel--it's okay to have a little eye candy. (Take my words with a grain of salt, though. I have become a casual user over the years.)

Still, they should have kept up Gnome2 the way people knew and loved it.

+ - Bionic Mannequins Spy on Shoppers to Boost Luxury Sales->

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Benetton Group SpA is among fashion brands deploying mannequins equipped with technology used to identify criminals at airports to watch over shoppers in their stores. Retailers are introducing the EyeSee, sold by Italian mannequin maker Almax SpA, to glean data on customers much as online merchants are able to do. The 4,000-euro ($5,072) device has spurred shops to adjust window displays, store layouts and promotions to keep consumers walking in the door and spending.
    The EyeSee looks ordinary enough on the outside, with its slender polystyrene frame, blank face and improbable pose. Inside, it’s no dummy. A camera embedded in one eye feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by. Demand for the device shows how retailers are turning to technology to help personalize their offers as growth slows in the $245 billion luxury goods industry. Bain & Co. predicts the luxury market will expand 5 percent in 2012, less than half last year’s rate.
    “It’s a changing landscape but we’re always going to be sensitive about respecting the customer’s boundaries,” said spokesman Colin Johnson. Others say profiling customers raises legal and ethical issues. U.S. and European Union regulations permit the use of cameras for security purposes, though retailers need to put up signs in their stores warning customers they may be filmed. Watching people solely for commercial gain may break the rules and could be viewed as gathering personal data without consent, says Christopher Mesnooh, a partner at law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse in Paris. “If you go on Facebook, before you start the registration process, you can see exactly what information they are going to collect and what they’re going to do with it,” said Mesnooh. “If you’re walking into a store, where’s the choice?” So far Almax hasn’t faced obstacles to selling the dummy, CEO Catanese said. Since the EyeSee doesn’t store any images, retailers can use it as long as they have a closed-circuit television license, he said."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Aesthetic (Score 1) 635

by potpie (#41920237) Attached to: Microsoft's Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Ads
"no one expects ads in a piece of software that they just paid good money for"

Why not? You pay for cable TV and see ads, you see product placement in the shows you watch between the ads, there's product placement in movies, advertisements for other products on the products you buy, ads for books on the backs of books, and the list goes on. The only thing, I think, that really KEEPS ads OUT of a product is the value of its aesthetic. You'll never see an ad on the back of a fancy-looking leather-bound book, because you're paying for an aesthetic that precludes it. You won't find an ad in, say, a free Linux distro, because the aesthetic of the culture precludes it.

So I think we should look at this from the opposite perspective: why are ads showing up in Windows NOW? It may be a sign that Microsoft's business model is changing in some way, but I think it may have more to do with the adoption of the app-market aesthetic. You may not expect to see an ad in an app that you paid for, but you REALLY wouldn't expect to see an ad in a traditional program like Excel or Photoshop.

Comment: reductio ad deum (Score 4, Interesting) 1142

by potpie (#41694795) Attached to: Ask Richard Dawkins About Evolution, Religion, and Science Education
I am (pleasantly) surprised by how many of my friends have "come out," as it were, as atheists over the last few years. I'm a young person, and I suspect that the amount of closet atheists among younger people (in America at least) is much greater than that among older people. In general, how optimistic are you about humanity getting past religion in the next few decades?

Comment: I have never seen... (Score 1) 1651

by potpie (#41526625) Attached to: To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets
Things I have never seen: 1. a bicyclist obeying a stopsign. 2. a unicorn. 3. a bicyclist stopping at a crosswalk.
Things I have seen rarely: 1. a perfect 10 on the uneven bars. 2. a car passing a cyclist without giving them a berth of at least 2 extra meters.
Things I see all the time: 1. cyclists cutting off pedestrians. 2. cyclists running red lights. 3. cyclists cutting in and out of traffic.

I live by a college campus. I've talked with a campus police officer about all the bike accidents we've had here. He says the overwhelming majority are the fault of the cyclist. Helmets are small potatoes compared to 1. the devil-may-care attitude toward traffic laws that seems to prevail among cyclists and 2. the unsafe piggybacking of considerations for bicycles onto existing roads. Consider the bike lane: it continues straight through an intersection, ACROSS the right turn lane for cars! Furthermore, drivers are not used to this situation because it's both novel and counter-intuitive. Someone please design a better road and let's all tell our cyclist friends to obey the signs.

System checkpoint complete.