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Comment The Bill Needs Another Clause (Score 1) 353

The Bill should have another clause that sets pi = 3.2 exactly and e = 2.7 exactly.

Encryption is just applying mathematical functions to strings of numbers. As long as pi and e are irrational and transcendental, no universally applicable "backdoor" can exist.

The solution is for the legislature of New York to declare that pi = 3.2 exactly and e = 2.7 exactly.

Comment Guidelines Deny Science (Score 5, Informative) 274

"Boozing is unsafe at 'any level', thunders chief UK.gov quack: Show us your science. What? You mean you don't have any?" By Andrew Orlowski in The Register on 8 Jan 2016 at 16:02

The government's chief advisor on health ignored more than 80 studies to produce her new Puritanical guidelines on booze -- which asks Britons to forego their Friday drink.

Civil servant Dame Sally Davies has drawn up the lowest recommendations in the West: there is no "safe drinking level", her team declared.

The question is what justification was used to get there. The answer isn't pretty for "evidence based" policy.

Repeated studies have shown that alcohol in moderation prolongs life: it reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. In fact the benefits of alcohol in preventing strokes and heart disease are far clearer than the negatives of drinking.

* * *

Davies ignored over 80 studies and metastudies showing the same J-curve of risk. If you drink nothing, you're at greater risk of heart disease, strokes and living a shorter life than a drinker. The health risk falls for moderate alcohol consumption, with optimal consumption of around 20g (two pints a day for me), then rises for heavy drinkers.

Instead, as Davies isolated, some highly selective statistical methods were used instead. Compare the error bars to the data point. One is bigger than the other.

Yet even here, the researchers found a RR (relative risk) of below 1.0 for almost all groups. Davies simply threw out the evidence that didn't fit what she wanted to say (i.e. almost all of it) and highlighted the evidence that did.

Comment Re:Whoa! Consider the Law (Score 2) 737

In 1931 a book was published in Germany, Hundert Autoren Gegen Einstein (A Hundred Authors Against Einstein), a collection of criticisms of Einsteinâ(TM)s theory of relativity.

When asked about the book, Einstein retorted by saying âoeWhy 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!â

Percentages of anything are utterly irrelevant to the evaluation of scientific matters.

Comment Re:Lenovo Tab 2 A10 (Score 1) 283

I will also endorse Lenovo Yoga Tablets. The bulge on one edge holds standard size LiIon battery cells. Using standard batteries makes the machine less expensive (8", $200, 10" $250), it also provides twice as much power as other machines with custom batteries. The bulge acts as a handle or, if the cover is flipped out, a stand. The machine has a slot for a micro SD card up to 64GB. Durable. Reliable.

Comment Re:Exceeds state authority (Score 2) 192

There are many claims of authority by regulatory bodies. Some of them are constitutional.

The FAA must rely on the grant of power in Art 1 Sec 8 of the constitution to regulate commerce among the several states.

Airliners bound for other states fly over my house every day. I concede the FAA's authority over those airplanes and their flights.

OTOH, a little drone flying barely above the treetops has a far slimmer case to be part of interstate commerce.

Federal jurisdiction over use of the air is not unlimited, and cannot be used to displace state jurisdiction on non commercial uses of airspace in realms that are clearly not part of the commercial airways.

If we look at other forms of transportation we will see a similar pattern. Federal jurisdiction over commerce does not immunize truckers from state rule about safe driving. Federal jurisdiction over navigable waters does not preclude state regulation of fishing boats and fishermen.

I personally guess that California's right to regulate the use of airspace below 500 feet outside of airport landing zones is constitutional and will be upheld if the law is enacted.

Yes, IAAL.

Comment Just an ordinary user who is a poor typist (Score 1) 698

Yes. Caps Lock is useless to me. One of these days I will install a utility to disable it.

Other keys:

I use : about ten times for every ; I use. Why aren't they in the opposite order.

In the old typing days. the . and , keys were often doubled, i.e. shift . was . and shift , was , It was actually faster for me that way. I don't use < and > enough to have them on that part of the keyboard. Ironically, on /. you have to type four characters to make those things appear.

While we are moving > and < can we move [ and ] and { and }. I actually use ( and ). If they were down on the [ and ] keys, it would save me some effort. I know that some programers use { and } a lot, but ordinary users don't.

Also, even in this internet age, I use ? which is part of ordinary English grammar, a lot more than /. Why not put / with \ and send | to some place where kind folks can give it a nice home? Then double the ? like the . and the ,

I would also like to say that I like and appreciate my right mouse button. I know it is anathema on Macs, but Windows makes good use of it.

Comment My Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (Score 3, Interesting) 134

I bought a new Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon. It weighs 2 lbs 12 oz 1270 g. A bit more than the LaCie. OTOH it is built to Thinkpad standards so it is quite rugged. The keyboard is excellent. The machine came with Win 7 professional and no bloatware. It has a 500 GB SSD. It is fast and easy to use. I love it, and think the money was well spent. The battery life is excellent, it will run all day in ordinary usage. (i.e. not playing streaming HD video).

Comment Zero first-world nations still use imperial ... (Score 2) 273

Including the US.

Much of commerce and daily life in the US uses a customary system of measurements that traces its origins to England, before the revolution.

In 1859 the UK adopted a reformed and rationalized system of weights and measures that was binding on itself and its Imperial possessions, including about a quarter of the Earth's surface at that time.

The US did not adopt that system. Although in 1959, the US and the Imperial system countries adopted a common definition of the yard in SI units.

There are extensive differences between the US customary and Imperial systems, especially in units of volume and in larger units of weight.

All of this is explained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST, a division of the US Department of Commerce [nist.gov]] in Appendix B "Units and Systems of Measurement Their Origin, Development, and Present Status" to their publication Handbook 44 "Specifications, Tolerances, and Other Technical Requirements for Weighing and Measuring Devices" [PDF].

While we are correcting misconceptions, the SI system (often called metric) is lawful in the US, and has been so since 1866, and dominates several important activities, such as health care, and the military. What the US has not done, and probably will never do, is outlaw, the customary system.

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