Forgot your password?

Comment: The pro-life bit seems off (Score 4, Interesting) 616

by swb (#46765701) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Another important frame: Pro Life! Abortion is bad, because it undermines the power of the father in the family. When a teenager becomes pregnant, it's her own fault, and she should live with the consequences. She didn't listen to her father, who is the moral authority and who decides what's good and what't wrong. When an adult woman decides to have an abortion because she wants to work on her career, she undermines this strict-father-morale as well. A career is not for women - they should stay at home and raise the children. Pro Life is not about life, it's about male dominance. Pro Life is not about the life of that baby - they don't care about that baby that probably would have little value to them. Pro Life is not about life, because it's OK to physically attack and occasionally kill people who work at abortion clinics. Casualties of war!

This doesn't seem right. I'm not familiar with pro-life rhetoric being about abortion undermining patriarchal power in the family, usually it seems to be a general attack on women, often no different than opposition to contraception. Usually it seems to be about undermining female sexuality by increasing pregnancy risk, which may affect patriarchal authority coincidentally but not specifically. The other angle seems to be a more general cultural conservatism that sees non-reproductive sexuality as a general contributor to moral decline -- with pregnancy as a non-risk (through contraception and abortion), there's no reason for marriage as a necessity for sexuality since there is no pregnancy.

I think it's even been argued that contraception and abortion actually contribute to male promiscuity since they also free men from the responsibility burden of pregnancy. It wouldn't surprise me if this doesn't tie into some radical feminist critiques of contraception/abortion as having an inherently patriarchal nature, since it eliminates any male responsibility for their sexuality and reduces women's value to that of merely a transactional sexual partner at best When the classist and gender discriminatory nature of economic relations is taken into account, women are further reduced to near-prostitute status, being obligated by both economy and lack of male sexual accountability. Of course I'm not advocating this as being true, but it's not hard to tie it together with this kind of rhetoric.

Comment: Re:The Real Breakthrough - non auto-maker Maps (Score 1) 171

by swb (#46765571) Attached to: How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

I think the whole point of CarPlay is that it's an external display/mirroring solution that takes over the entire in-car display. Knowing Apple, a term of licensing is probably not allowing any overlay or alteration of the display. The only thing allowed is probably switching away from CarPlay completely to show in-car data like the backup camera or car-specific info.

What hasn't been talked about is whether OEM integration with CarPlay to control OEM-specific features like HVAC, audio settings (EQ/fader) or trip computer data currently controlled or displayed on the in-dash display. I can see either Apple providing generic CarPlay apps (eg, "Climate") that tie-in to these OEM systems or some combination of a generic apps and maybe an OEM app that implements these features in CarPlay.

As for taking over/using an OEM display, check out the "Mimicsx2" -- it looks like it implements the bits for using an OEM display with a phone by basically acting as a switcher and touchscreen coupler. I'd call this basically a third party hardware hack for implementing CarPlay-like functionality. It looks interesting, but obviously not nearly as slick as one purpose built for phone integration.

Comment: Is Ebola a "rapid burnout" disease? (Score 4, Interesting) 111

by swb (#46733415) Attached to: Racing To Contain Ebola

I thought I had read someplace that severe hemorrhagic fever diseases (and maybe it was Ebola specifically) weren't large-scale pandemic risks because they incapacitated and killed people too quickly, inhibiting their spread. Whereas other diseases like pandemic flu or smallpox were a bigger pandemic risk because the host wasn't knocked down so fast and could be mobile and communicable for longer.

Comment: If terrorism/sabotage was a real threat... (Score 4, Insightful) 111

by swb (#46728175) Attached to: $250K Reward Offered In California Power Grid Attack

...wouldn't we have seen it by now?

Despite the alphabet soup of government agencies, surveillance and Federal laws, America is a pretty easy place to move around and generally maintain a low profile. And many "critical infrastructure" sites really aren't well defended/guarded -- take your pick, a handful of people with nominal skill and training could cause all manner of chaos.

If the risk of attack was really that great, why haven't we seen it by now?

I always hesitate to ask this question and post too many specific examples for fear of attracting the wrong kind of attention, but let's just take oil refining as an example. The last time they closed a refinery down for maintenance two states away, the price of gas here shot up quite a bit -- we all hear the stories about inadequate refinery capacity. So what happens if 3 or 4 refineries go offline at the same time in close geographic proximity? Are we talking just a buck a gallon price hike, or are we talking shortages worse than the infamous 1970s gas lines along with all the attendant economic disruption?

I think if there were people intent on doing real damage, we would have seen it by now. It's a trivial armchair exercise to think of things that make you go "whoa!" And if you think of actual, organized sabotage involving direct state sponsorship and not just theocratic nutjobs the scenarios get even worse because you're now talking training that goes beyond emptying AK-47s in the desert.

Comment: How enforceable are they anyway? (Score 1) 97

by swb (#46719785) Attached to: MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?

It seems like everyone has to sign these anymore, even me, and I often wonder how many companies bother to attempt enforcement of them for most employees.

Sure, there are high-profile "key employees" who have limited employment options outside of another company doing the same thing, and within an industry you'd be hard-pressed to hide your employment status. A TV news anchor isn't going to don a fake moustache and wig to read the TV news at a competing TV station and fool anyone.

But I think of someone like me, working at a SMB consultancy. If I wanted to work at another consultancy (which, near as I can tell from the boilerplate kind of language in mine is considered competition) it seems like my current employer would have to work pretty hard to enforce the agreement.

I'd quit my job and make up some story about either not having a job or tell them I'm taking a job elsewhere. They'd have to hire a private detective to figure out where I'm working (mine doesn't have an employment disclosure clause). Then they'd have to hire an attorney to go after me.

All this sounds like a lot of money and effort for most employees, all the more so for someone who was really motivated to get around it.

Comment: It depends on your personal control (Score 1) 476

by swb (#46714897) Attached to: New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails

....and compensation.

A lot of people are told to "be available" or told they will be working extra hours, often on short notice, with no additional compensation or time off. Even worse is the unstated assumption that stuff sent after hours will get looked at or that you're paying attention to the non-stop barrage of emails.

Comment: Re:Should be punished (Score 3, Insightful) 322

by swb (#46705615) Attached to: LA Police Officers Suspected of Tampering With Their Monitoring Systems

How do they know it is malfunctioning? It wouldn't surprise me if the system was designed to be tamper-resistant, so they may not have even read-only access to the data collected so they can't even sanity check if it is working.

Maybe an obviously broken antenna would indicate that it wasn't working, but I would imagine that might be assuming a lot about their technical knowledge and they may reasonably assume that some minor damage to an antenna doesn't mean its broken, based on experience with other antennas on other equipment.

I'm sure there's some deliberate malice going on here on some level, but then again, making them wholly responsible for the ongoing technical functionality of equipment they have little or no control or diagnostic ability or skill to manage would be reasonably objectionable.

There's also the unintended consequence of overly-severe penalties, one of which may be over-reporting potential damage due to the risks of not reporting it. The last thing you want is half the cars in a sector sitting in the motor pool and the officers unavailable for calls because they don't know if their widgets are broken.

Comment: Re:BASIC is where M$ got its start (Score 1) 146

by swb (#46703933) Attached to: Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

I used to have the astronaut on the moon ASCII poster in my bedroom in high school.

We used to print them on the DECwriter instead of the TTY33 because they were faster and looked better. The lab nazis would get pissed if they caught you running posters, but it was easier to get away with if it took less time. The TTYs were only viable if you snuck into one of the non-CompSci labs, like in the psychology building, after hours.

Comment: Re:Reading between the lines (Score 1) 256

by swb (#46703061) Attached to: Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

I always thought an electrolysis plant was the ideal power sink/storage system for those renewable energy sources like wind whose availability didn't always line up with grid demand. Another good use would be desalination plants.

I know the processes are "inefficient" but efficiency shouldn't matter much if the input energy is free. It seems more inefficient to build windmills you don't let generate electricity when the wind blows.

"Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished." -- Goethe