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Comment: Re:Yet another unconstitutional law (Score 0) 326

by ral315 (#43512625) Attached to: Senate To Vote On Internet Sales Tax (For Real This Time)
Article 1, Section 9 does not apply to the states, it applies to Congress/the federal government, in that Congress cannot institute a federal tariff on exports from states. Nothing in this section is applied to the individual states. Not to mention, as another poster mentioned, this is not a tax on exports, it's a tax on imports.

Comment: Misleading (Score 5, Informative) 106

by ral315 (#39836487) Attached to: FCC To Require TV Stations To Post Rates For Campaign Ads
This is technically true, but that's not the story. The story isn't that the rates will be available, it's that we'll know how much candidates spend, and where they're spending it.

The rates themselves are, by law, the lowest rate that the stations charge (to avoid stations charging different rates based on whether they support that candidate) - so that's not really that informative. It's actually knowing that Candidate X purchased 800 points of TV time in Market A and 1200 points in Market B that is interesting. Currently, this information is available, but only by driving to the stations during business hours to view them, which is of course not very useful.

Comment: Re:Excellent news for Unesco (Score 1) 735

by ral315 (#37914310) Attached to: US Defunds UNESCO After Palestine Vote
This has nothing to do with the current administration. As the article (and the summary!) clearly state, the law that requires ending UNESCO's funding was passed in 1994. Maybe they would have done so anyway, but as it stands, it was not a choice, it was them following a law passed 17 years ago.

Comment: Re:Soaring costs? (Score 1) 62

by ral315 (#35815610) Attached to: Census Tech Makeover Includes Innovation "Oasis"

You'd need more than 50% to not return the form before it would make any practical difference at the statistical level.

Except that the census isn't designed solely for macro-level statistical information. One of the most important roles of a census is determining a city/county/state's population, which is used to allocate funding, and determine the number of representatives in the US House and state houses/senates, which does have a significant impact on the makeup of those bodies.

Return rates are not uniform across the board. Large cities are notoriously under-counted, because of the difficulty of counting the homeless population, renters, those who move during the course of the census, those who do not speak English (even though the Census prints in multiple languages, return rates are still lower among non-English speakers), and various other groups that tend to be much more prevalent in large cities than in smaller cities and more middle-class suburban neighborhoods. This map of Census forms returned county-by-county provides an interesting look at the issue. While the percentages can't be considered completely accurate due to issues like vacant apartments, etc, there's still significant variance. In New York state, for example, mail return rates per county range from 43% to 84%. That's a staggering variance, and when it comes to ensuring that residents have adequate funding and representation, having fairly accurate results is essential.

As an aside, statistical sampling for the census has been discussed in the past to avoid these issues. I'm not opposed to using a reasonable sampling technique, so long as it accounts for areas with statistically low return rates. However, Republicans oppose sampling because they feel it overcounts groups that tend to vote Democratic (and, Democrats tend to support sampling because they feel it's a more accurate count). In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that sampling cannot be used to determine population for the purposes of apportioning US congressional seats, and while it could be used for drawing state/local lines and for allocating federal funds, it's such a political football that it probably won't happen in the foreseeable future.

Comment: Re:Casino's blaim bugs all the time. Its a scam! (Score 1) 479

by ral315 (#32473406) Attached to: Malfunction Costs Couple $11 Million Slot Machine Jackpot
As has probably already been stated, that's 4.2 billion pennies - i.e. an integer overflow. I agree that slot machines shouldn't have these issues, but by the same token, if a machine whose posted top prize is, say, $10,000 says that I won $42 million, I would expect that there's an error. Similarly, if my bank has a computer error and tells me that I have an extra $1 million in my account, I wouldn't expect them to honor the error.
Mozilla

+ - Mozilla admits Firefox is flawed just like IE-> 1

Submitted by jdelator
jdelator (1131933) writes "In a public mea culpa, Mozilla Corp.'s chief security officer acknowledged today that Firefox includes the same flaw that the company called a "critical vulnerability" in Internet Explorer during a two-week ruckus over responsibility for a Windows zero-day bug.

"Over the weekend, we learned about a new scenario that identifies ways that Firefox could also be used as the entry point," said Window Snyder of Mozilla. "While browsing with Firefox, a specially crafted URL could potentially be used to send bad data to another application.

"We thought this was just a problem with IE," Snyder continued. "It turns out, it is a problem with Firefox as well.""

Link to Original Source
Privacy

+ - MySpace finds 29,000 sex offenders among users

Submitted by StonyandCher
StonyandCher (1121349) writes "MySpace has identified more than 29,000 registered sex offenders among those registered to use its site — more than four times what the company said in May it had found from an investigation, according to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

"[The 29,000] includes just the predators who signed up using their real names and not the ones who failed to register or used fake names," Cooper said in the statement. Cooper is one of eight state attorneys general who asked MySpace in May to turn over the names of users who are registered sex offenders.

In May, MySpace reluctantly revealed it had uncovered 7000 sex offenders."
Operating Systems

+ - Is Gentoo in crisis?

Submitted by
TheCoop1984
TheCoop1984 writes "A recent article on distrowatch, and an extended thread on the gentoo forums, have pointed out that gentoo is not what it used to be. Daniel Robbins came back and went again after only a few days, developer turnover is as high as ever, personal attacks on the mailing lists are common, and people are generally not happy about the current state of affairs. Is gentoo rotting from the inside, and can anything be done about it?"
Security

+ - Chinese figher plane and missile up for sale

Submitted by
Madas
Madas writes "Apparently a Chinese man has up for sale from his "personal collection" a Jian-5 fighter jet as well as a Red Flag 2 surface-to-air missile. The auction has been running on www.taobao.com for a while. The seller said that the missile has been disarmed and for a small fee the items can be disassembled and reassembled at the winning buyers site."
Communications

Trolltech Qtopia Greenphone and SDK Review 37

Posted by Hemos
from the for-the-wee-little-ones dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Greenphone comes at a time when there are countless mobile Linux platforms, but not many of them are open for easy development. This little device aims to fill a niche for a community-oriented mobile development platform. How does it perform? Linuxlookup.com has the Trolltech Qtopia Greenphone and SDK review."
The Internet

+ - Only six steps?

Submitted by
Kenny Millar
Kenny Millar writes "It has long been said that there are only six steps between you and anyone else on the planet. (Lets call him/her 'the other guy')
i.e. 'You' know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows 'the other guy'

But can the same be said about the internet?
i.e. is Your web page linked to a webpage, which is linked to a webpage, which is linked to a webpage, which is linked to a webpage, which is linked to a webpage, which is linked to 'any other specified webpage'?"
Math

Wednesday Is Pi Day 282

Posted by kdawson
from the secant-tangent-cosine-sine dept.
mrbluze points us to an AP writeup on the upcoming Pi Day — 3-14 (which some will observe at 1:59 pm). The article notes: "[T]he world record [for reciting the number Pi] belongs to Chao Lu, a Chinese chemistry student, who rattled off 67,890 digits over 24 hours in 2005. It took 26 video tapes to submit to Guinness," and mentions in passing a Japanese mental health counselor who last fall recited 100,000 digits, but did not choose to submit proof to the record book.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau

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