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Comment: Re:Expectation of privacy? (Score 1) 210

by slew (#49625577) Attached to: Police Can Obtain Cellphone Location Records Without a Warrant

Is it legal for MetroPCS to hand over the data, presumably in violation of their privacy policy and CPNI laws?

Most policies have a convenient *out* in that they allow themselves to give out this data so that they can stay on the good side of the government. CPNI deals with sharing data with other private parties, not government.

FWIW, Here's what a MetroPCS's subscriber agrees to let the company do with private information when signing up for their service (basically anytime anywhere they feel it's worth it for them)...

We may disclose Personal Information, and other information about you, or your communications, where we have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary:

* to satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request;
* to enforce or apply agreements, or initiate, render, bill, and collect for services and products (including to collection agencies in order to obtain payment for our products and services);
* to protect our rights or interests, or property or safety or that of others;
* in connection with claims, disputes, or litigation – in court or elsewhere;
* to protect users of our services and other carriers or providers from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful use of, or subscription to, such services;
* to facilitate or verify the appropriate calculation of taxes, fees, or other obligations due to a local, state, or federal government; or
* in an emergency situation.

Comment: Re:Lives be damned (Score 2) 314

I don't know if sloppy practice explains the earthquakes in Oklahoma, though.

Apparently the common practice of injecting waste water (which predominantly originated from waste water used to help reactivate conventional oil wells, and only sloppy hydro-fracking waste water processing to a lesser extent because it is more recent) deep underground into other depleted oil wells which were targeted for storage can explain the uptick in earthquakes in Oklahoma and around the Midwest.

The theory goes that when this injection practice started years ago the storage wells were empty, but as these storage wells filled up, more pressure had to be used to inject the water and this triggered the more recent seismic activity. Apparently this theory was corroborated by researchers correlating existing known faults and the locations of storage wells.

Sadly, this "sloppy" practice of injecting waste water into depleted wells continues unabated...

Comment: Re:Possible explanations (Score 1) 407

by slew (#49617423) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

AFAIK, the main theories bandied about for how a reaction-less drive might work come down to basically harnesses some sort of Mach's principle effect (e.g, Woodward effect) which would be analogous to using "friction" from fields (usually EM) setup by the rest of the universe and/or somehow exploit the creation of quantum vacuum virtual particles to supply some local reaction mass and using a form of magnetohydrodynamics for propulsion.

The physics loophole that they seem to exploit is that in our description of physics, not all vacuums are created equal (e.g., a vacuum in one frame inertial of reference is generally not actually a vacuum in another frame of reference when a vacuum is thought of as a volume of space where distant fields cancel each other out). This indirectly questions the nature of the frame of reference in the asymptotic limit of space from which we might define an "absolute" vacuum. You might also think of it as asserting that maybe there is actually an aether of some sort?

To provide a car analogy, people are suggesting that wiggling in an asymmetric way and effectively using vanishingly small amount of friction supplied by the rest of the universe can get you moving in one direction kind of like getting your car moving when it's stuck in snow with (almost) no traction. It doesn't take much traction to get you going in the right direction as long as you are wiggling the right way...

Comment: Re:Nothign new here (Score 1) 542

by slew (#49615873) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

I thought it's outright illegal to ask age-related questions to candidates?

Unless it relates specifically to the job (e.g., if you need to be 21 not 18 to get a professional car license, or if you are near a mandatory age of retirement such as being 60 when a pilot must retire at 65).

However in this specific case, I suspect Comcast may be under a government consent decree to collect this information to verify compliance with prior age discrimination investigations by the EEOC (e.g., DeJoy vs Comcast)...

Comment: long history (Score 1) 83

by slew (#49595523) Attached to: American Psychological Association Hit With New Torture Allegations

The APA has been collaborating with the military for a long time.

I suspect the first large scale collaboration between the APA and the military started with Robert Yerkes back in World War I. Back then the controversy was eugenics (more specifically to justify the popular idea of the mental inferiority of and second wave European immigrants and African Americans).

Apparently, this time it was to attempt to assess enhanced torture methods in use for "safety, efficacy, and health impacts".

Somehow, it never seems to go well when these two organizations start cooperating...

Comment: Re:John Carmack is "only" a multi-millionaire (Score 1) 76

by slew (#49595113) Attached to: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Launches Its First Rocket

John Carmack is "only" a multi-millionaire but there is Armadillo Aerospace. Carmack always could do more with fewer resources.

Although the original Armadillo Aerospace as funded by Mr. Carmack is effectively no more, in true trickle down form it has been resurrected as a kickstarter campaign...

Given that their goal is only $125K and Carmack spent $8M, they would be attempting to do something with even *fewer* resources...

Comment: Re:It is better (Score 1) 123

by slew (#49580807) Attached to: Crowdfunded Android Console Ouya Reportedly Seeking Buyout

If I really want a share of the business, nothing stops me from going to them directly and offering that.

Although there is nothing that stops you from going to a company and offering them some money for a share of the company, there is probably something that prevents them from taking you up on that offer: the SEC.

You can of course always give your money to the company (e.g., kickstarter), but your money is not legally protected the same an investor (e.g, share of the profit, no liquidity, etc). Basically the SEC rules say you can only invest in a non-public company if you are qualified investor (basically have enough money so that you can lose your shirt on this investment and/or you know the principals of the company well enough like friends/family, random people on the internet don't qualify).

Even if you are a qualified investor, a company can only take on so many investors before it is required by the SEC to file financial reports. In practice this means companies can only really accept a few big investors unless they want to be a semi-public company subject to reporting requirements (and the financial costs and scrutiny they bring). Most companies when they reach the stage of a semi-public company, they just do an IPO to gain better access to capital markets.

However, there is a loophole in the law so that small investors could put their money in an specialized "investment" company and that investment company can perform the investment in a startup as a single qualified investor on behalf of the small investors (because the investment company itself is subject to reporting requirements). The problem is that to date, no companies emerged as "investment" companies for crowd-source investors to invest in startup companies. I guess that is probably because of the risk and the overhead of being a middleman company is not compelling given the potential return of starting such a company.

Comment: Re:Which patent trolls ... (Score 1) 40

by slew (#49562791) Attached to: Google Launches a Marketplace To Buy Patents From Interested Sellers

Patent trolls are simply motivated by money, and they hardly care about being anonymous (or shamed). I suspect that all this will enable is patent sellers to create a virtually unstoppable army of mini-patent tr0lls that brings the industry to it's knees.

Mini-patent tr0lls will exactly how real-estate tr0lls currently work. Real-estate tr0lls buy up irregular lots (often thin-strips of property that border streets and various rights-of-way) that appear to have no commercial value, but they use them hold them hostage when a developer want to develop the adjacent land and shake them down for lots of money. Of course you really have to know the terrain and the local real-estate market (not to mention schmooze with local planning officials and city council members) to execute this strategy, but if often doesn't take much money. And why yes I have direct (painful) experience dealing with real-life real-estate tr0lls when my parents were trying to develop a subdivision.

Tragically, the MLS (multi-list service for property) made this real-estate tr0ll strategy available to less sophisticated investors in a similar way the MLS enabled small-time chinese investors to invest in the real-estate market in the US. Even though all real-estate transactions (principals and the sale price) are public record, there are so many of them, it creates a form of anonymity.

This new breed of patent-tr0ll instead of having lots of money, will instead use their domain knowledge to looks for specific low-cost patents that they can use to hold the industry hostage. Using this type of patent clearing house will make it easier and lower risk and multiply the number of people trying to do this. Maybe I should think seriously starting a new career as a mini-patent tr0ll... Or maybe I can just patent the idea ;^)

I don't think a patent clearing house like this is even *remotely* a perfect solution and will likely just trade a few well funded pariah patent-tr0ll companies (e.g., intellectual ventures), for a virtual army of anonymous mini-patent-tr0lls...

(f.y.i, used "tr0ll" to avoid the lameness filter)

Comment: So where do these super-teacher come from? (Score 1) 352

by slew (#49562351) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

My guess is that people aren't born super-teachers, but cut there teeth in classroom getting direct feedback on what works and what doesn't. If we eliminate the path to create new super-teachers, how will we ever update these "super-lectures". Even if you believe that these core subjects don't change, you must be forgetting about the ever-present "politically-correct" movement (which will no doubt render recorded versions of lectures obsolete after about 10 years and even likely forcing the super-teacher into oblivion as their clever stock presentation becomes dated).

To pick a more droll example, look at comedians at the top of their game. Nearly all of them still pop-in to dive comedy clubs to test their new material before unrolling it to a more general audience.

If we ever go down this route, we will be dooming ourselves like the companies (or countries) that allow brain-drain until they can't recreate the magic that they had originally.

I guess it makes me sad that people even want to suggest this route. They have to know what the end result it if you kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Maybe that's the one lesson they never learned in school...

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 2) 533

by slew (#49506999) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

That would work if the power distribution network was ideal and didn't have any resistance/reactance.

In real-life, the spike from all the solar installations would cause network instability unless controlled distributively (i.e. measured and limited at the spike sources). The question of who would pay to maintain that type of system is one of the major issues that needs to be solved. Of course the people who pay for solar want to shove all the power they can back on the grid to help subsidize their costs, so it unfortunately, isn't in their best interests to limit power to promote grid instability (unless they would be causing electrical fires on their own property/equipment), and the power company wouldn't want to help people cut the cord, so here we are...

Comment: Re:And once this school fails to get women interes (Score 1) 599

Can we drop the pretense that "computer science" in high schools is nothing more than programming and turning out code monkeys.

In my experience, "computer science" in high school wouldn't even qualify anyone for being a code monkey...

If by high school you haven't taught yourself programming, you aren't going to learn it taking a class in high school or community college or even university well enough to code yourself out of a paper bag.

If you finally do learn programming later in life, it will probably later when you actually have a job (or if you are one of those recent folks that are learning to code in a boot-camp).

Comment: Re:Feminism ruins society again... (Score 1) 599

I doubt that the STEM program at the mixed school my son would have to go to if I lived in this district will be on par with the shiny new facilities at the new school that specializes in STEM (for girls). Separate...but I doubt equal.

Since this is the LAUSD, perhaps of those schools will probably get those ipads with pearson software... Since they aren't buying that stuff anymore, maybe the larger population will get something "better"...

I don't put much faith in the LAUSD in making this type of school work. If I were in the district, I wouldn't be opposed on the grounds that it is unequal opportunity for boy/girl students, but that it's likely to be a FUCKING WASTE OF MONEY that could be better spent elsewhere...

On the other hand, sometimes, you might just win, by losing.

If I set here and stare at nothing long enough, people might think I'm an engineer working on something. -- S.R. McElroy

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