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Comment: Re:Go MS! (Score 1) 198

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48609877) Attached to: NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

Remind me again who's been in charge of charge of the House, the Senate, and the White House for most of Obama's tenure? Sure, a Republican was pushing for this pork. But it passed a Senate and a White House both controlled by Democrats, either of which could have easily stopped it. Neither did. In fact, depending upon the timeline (which I'm too busy to fully look up at the moment), it's possible the Democrats were in control of the House as well at the time this was going on. I can't recall exactly when the Republicans took over the House.

The truth here is the entire system is contemptible. Both Republicans and Democrats bear equal responsibility for this debacle. And to suggest there aren't billions and billions of dollars of pork barrel projects championed by Democrats is disingenuous at best.

Comment: Re:We've already seen the alternative to regulatio (Score 1) 93

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48524821) Attached to: A Backhanded Defense of Las Vegas' Taxi Regulation

Regulations can suck, but they don't -have- to.

Like any tool, regulations can be abused. That's why We The People should be especially vigilant in allowing them to be established in the first place. As hard as I might try, I can't find anything in the federal and state Constitution that empowers the government to look out for me making shitty decisions. Therefore, the government has no business saying who can or cannot drive a taxi. If Uber gives shitty service, they will fail because the market will MAKE them fail. It's not the government's job to choose winners and losers when it comes to providing voluntary services.

These regulations are protection rackets, no more, no less.

Comment: Re:We've already seen the alternative to regulatio (Score 2) 93

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48524777) Attached to: A Backhanded Defense of Las Vegas' Taxi Regulation

Come on, man; nobody in the nerderati even knew about taxi regulations until we started talking about Uber.

Actually, anybody who knows anything about how labor unions -- and, in the case of Las Vegas, the spectre of organized crime syndicates -- use their political muscle to destroy free market competition knows pretty much whatever they need to know about this situation. Uber/Lyft represented a threat to the government-enforced near monopoly of the taxi market, using laws created by labor unions and pitched to politicians in concert with generous campaign contributions. Business as usual.

Comment: Re:More detailed ratings are a good thing (Score 1) 642

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48406777) Attached to: Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

On the flip-side of this though is the MPAA. They are not a government organization, nor are they mandated by the government. They do possess quite the power to stop certain things from being shown in movie theaters though. Plenty of producers have forced the editing of movies so they could avoid certain ratings. And we are not even allowed to know who the people are who produce the ratings, or how they are created. It is a black box that controls what gets shown in theaters. Check out the movie "This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)" [] if you want more details.

Ironically, the MPAA you cite possesses no power that the public doesn't give it voluntarily. The MPAA puts ratings on its movies. Movie theaters show these movies to the public. These theaters are under no obligation to ban unrated movies. That they have collectively decided to do so is a social phenomenon, not a regulatory one.

In this sense, the MPAA has no more power than, say, Consumer Reports Magazine. If I decide to open a theater chain showing any movie, regardless of rating, nobody can stop me. But my success will depend upon the public's willingness to ignore that lack of rating. Honestly, it might make a fun social experiment to see what would happen, but I lack the funds and time to do it. I suspect the results would surprise the MPAA, as social and moral attitudes have changed markedly in the last several decades. I don't think many people really care all that much about ratings anymore. It should be enough to note if a movie contains "adult content" or is "suitable for children" and that's about it.

Comment: Re:I can see the curiosity aspect.. (Score 3, Insightful) 187

Can't you be spending your time doing something more productive?

Consider that any successful experience in cloning anything adds to our knowledge base about cloning. By perfecting cloning, we can do a lot more than just bring back extinct species. We could, for example, grow entirely new organs cloned from your body to replace damaged or failing ones, organs that could be transplanted into you without fear of tissue rejection. Further, the practice of being able to reliably modify cells at the genetic level can lead to all sorts of other benefits in medicine, biology, and even far-flung fields as nanotechnology when you consider the scale you have to work in.

The whole "can't you spend your time/money better" argument is pretty short-sighted when you consider the enormous ancillary benefits. It's like saying why bother going to the moon when you can spend money on Earth. But without that impetus, we might not have the very computers and Internet you're currently using to read this post, or lasers to correct your vision, or lightweight, strong materials used to make the planes you fly on, or the fuel cells used to power zero-emission vehicles, get the idea.

Stop thinking in checkers. Think chess. It's not the current move that matters; it's the move you make three moves from now that wins the game.

Comment: These idiots are going to ruin it for everyone (Score 1) 132

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48380671) Attached to: Drone Sightings Near Other Aircraft Up Dramatically

Expect to see them heavily regulated or banned soon.

Exactly how are they going to ban them? Short of banning them completely from stores -- a heavy-handed move that would likely meet significant legal obstacles -- they're going to be out there. You can't control where people fly these things, either. You could try jamming commonly-used RC frequencies to stop people from manually flying them here or there, but you can't stop someone who might pre-program a GPS-guided drone to deliberately go into controlled airspace without also jamming GPS -- and that would piss off too many people. And if that fails, really determined bad guy/idiot could put together an inertial guidance setup and *still* get into your airspace.

The only way to be sure is to shoot them down, but that's also impractical. These things are here to stay. I'm not saying I like it anymore than you because, I agree, some fool is going to fly their shiny quadcopter into the intake of a plane during takeoff and kill a bunch of people. I just don't see a way to stop them that's both legal (i.e. respects the safe, legal use of drones for legitimate purposes) and practical (you can't just shoot them all down).

Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 1) 651

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48051817) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

Technology has been in an arms race between arms and armor since the first man picked up a stick. One thing that stands out is that armor always is playing catch up. I don't see that changing. Even a mythical force shield would just create the atmosphere for a weapon designed to pierce it.

The issue here isn't to go after the weapons. Nor is the issue to develop defenses against the weapons. The issue is to go after the men and the mentality that would use them for ill. If this sounds like racial profiling and pro-active anti-terror ops, you're right. I'm not debating the morality of them, I'm just saying I see no other option.

Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 1) 651

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48051777) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

The truly scary time will come when the same is true of more serious weapons, like chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons. As technology progresses these may become more accessible to individuals as well. It will be an interesting world when the disgruntled kid at school can just blow up the city instead of shooting up the school.

Agreed. And the worst part is, I don't see a way to defend against it in a passive sense. Imagine, if you will, a scenario were a single bad guy could personally possess and use a weapon with the capability of killing tens of thousands of people. It's not a big stretch to see that coming to pass in the next half century. If such a weapon were easily portable, easily concealable...what can you do to stop it? The answer is, you can't. At least not once the weapon is in his possession and close to the target.

As offensive as it may seem to civil libertarians, isolationists, and non-interventionists, the only way to stop such an attack would be to pre-emptively seek out such plots and terminate them in their infancy. Waiting until they're actualized is too late. How can civil liberties be preserved in such a scenario? I honestly don't know. People won't tolerate a government that won't protect them. Nor will they tolerate an external entity -- state or non-state -- that incubates such activities. The world is going to be a much more dangerous place sooner than anyone thinks.

Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 1) 651

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48051737) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

No, if a cop/soldier shoots and kills someone, it's much better PR for the government if that person is armed.

The best martyrs are unarmed and offer only passive resistance.

But you miss the point. If I'm unarmed, the government has no need to use deadly force to remove me. A few flashbangs and a SWAT team and there's very little I could do about it without my own stash of firepower.

Comment: Missing the point (Score 4, Insightful) 554

I think this minimum spec idea misses the point. We're talking about an operating system, not an application. The OS should provide a platform (and, to a certain extent, services) upon which users will run the applications that actually get things done. The OS shouldn't have huge minimum specs because it's supposed to be relatively unobtrusive. When we start trying to load the OS down with all kinds of things that ought to be done with apps, we end up with a bloated mess, a one-size-fits-none concept that inconveniences everyone equally. I'd much rather they kept the specs low and pared some of the fluff from the OS instead.

Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 4, Insightful) 651

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48040157) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

I think your post, while well thought out, misses the point of an armed citizenry. No one is realistically thinking a lightly-armed, poorly-trained citizenry can effectively wage war against a well-equipped, well-trained professional military force. Nor do I think anyone is suggesting a straight up guerrilla-style campaign for asymmetric warfare.

No, the point of an armed citizenry is to give the government pause. An unarmed populace can be brought to heel without much in the way of bloodshed. But an armed populace? Even a lightly-armed one means the government can't just march in and round up potential dissidents. There is the strong possibility of a firefight. Sure, the little guys will probably lose. But it means the government must escalate to lethal force just to get started on whatever nefarious course it may be planning for its citizens.

In a way, it's little like conventional vs. nuclear combat between nation-states. When both sides were purely conventional, wars were fairly common (call this analogous to both sides being armed with swords). When one side has nukes and the other does not, the side with nukes gets its way pretty much whenever it wants without ever having to drop a nuke (analogous to a police state with a disarmed citizenry). But when both sides are equally armed with dangerous weapons that require either side to really think about whether they want to invite a deeply damaging and dangerous get very few actual wars (analogous to an armed state and armed citizenry).

If I'm unarmed and the government (for whatever reason) decides I need to be removed, not only can I not stop them, but I probably can't even inflict significant harm on them. They will most likely even take me alive, without a protracted fight. The risk to them in this case, both in blood and bad PR, is minimal.

If I'm armed and the government (for whatever reason) decides I need to be removed, they will most likely succeed. I will, however, most likely succeed in causing casualties and/or making a big PR spectacle of being taken down. I might even achieve martyr status if I'm killed, causing a PR debacle for the government. The government will want to avoid these things, thus they will try to find means other than brute force of arms to remove me. Or they might not remove me at all, deeming the political risk too high. This is why we need to be armed. Not as a credible army-in-waiting, but as a deterrent.

Comment: Re:Ethernet still the best (Score 1) 260

by prisoner-of-enigma (#47721329) Attached to: How many devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi?

It still raises the question of exactly what you plan to do data-wise that will require 40Gbit Ethernet. While I admit nobody knows what the future holds, we can make reasonable extrapolations. Word and Excel documents aren't going to magically ballon in size. It's highly unlikely you run a 100TB database on your home server. MP3's and even FLAC audio files aren't magically growing in size, and even some new fangled HD audio format an order of magnitude bigger wouldn't stress GigE. Your Internet connection isn't going to be 40Gbit anytime soon (and even if it was, your ISP is unlikely to provide an upstream link that isn't woefully oversubscribed). Netflix 4K streaming already works fine over typical 20Mbit Internet service. And as I stated in earlier posts, even Blu-ray's, which are the higest definition standard media currently available for sale (with no real successor in sight) peak at 40Mbit/sec with average bitrates well below that.

The only conceivable thing that's even remotely close to logical would be uncompressed 4k video editing. And most people do that off high-speed local storage array or, if you're a big boy, a Fibre Channel array. If you've got the need for a FC array at home...well, my hat's off to you. You're unique.

Comment: Re:Ethernet still the best (Score 2) 260

by prisoner-of-enigma (#47721249) Attached to: How many devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi?

Seriously, unless you plan on having the need to stream uncompressed 4K video to every corner of your house, Cat6A is ridiculous overkill. The average Blu-ray video stream is well under 40Mbit/sec, and that's decent HD for almost anyone. 4K could maybe quadruple that (depends on codec) but you STILL have plenty of bandwidth for something like that in plain Gigabit Ethernet. Hell, you could put perhaps 6-8 4K streams on GigE and still be fine.

And there's really no logic in trying to future-proof your home network for something that's not going to be remotely affordable until maybe 10 years from now (have you priced 10Gbit gear lately???). In that time frame, lots of things can and will change and the likelihood of you still wanting AND being able to use that Cat6A for its original purpose is dubious.

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