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Comment: misdirection (Score 1) 399

by swell (#48038633) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

The magician tricks the audience by directing their attention over there, while over here he is pulling something from his sleeve.

Guns are simply a distraction. A place to focus attention when the real problems are elsewhere. On one hand, you have the question of why do people want to kill people. OTOH there is the vast array of killing methods.

When every person is blessed by these principles:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
  - and when everyone has a fair chance at a good life including medical care, economic opportunity and freedom from oppression, there will be less incentive to kill. Millions of Americans, not to mention those in other countries, have no hope of a good life. They look around at others who have it all, but there is not a pittance for them nor anyone to care for their physical or mental health.

For those who want to kill, guns are not the only resource. Knives might be the obvious alternative, or clubs. But my friend who lived in a rough part of the city used to carry a squeeze bottle of acid as a defense. These are still small potatoes when any interested party can make powerful explosives and chemical/biological poisons that can be widely distributed in air or water, or simply added to Halloween candy.

Are guns such a threat, or are we being manipulated to distract us from the real threats?

Comment: Re:Fine. Legislate for externalities. (Score 5, Insightful) 469

by swell (#48025227) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

you said "These companies are public utilities, that is government granted monopolies that the taxpayer has control over."

Here is the problem in my (USA) area-
The government and the profit-seeking utility are in collusion. The utility wants a rate increase ... they get it! The public is ignored. We once had a strong consumer advocate to counter the powerful utility lobby, but they have been emasculated. The utility is owned by a for-profit company with great resources. They can manipulate the media as well as elected and unelected officials. The taxpayer has no control over them.

Roads are built by government (taxpayers); utilities should be run by government (taxpayers) including water, power, communications and internet. These alliances with profit making companies who have the means to manipulate government cost everyone dearly.

Comment: Re:Should we? (Score 1) 262

by swell (#48012133) Attached to: Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

It will be done, but should it be the USA?

When we went to the moon, we were deep into a PR battle with the USSR. There was a general perception that they were beating us in space. We rallied our enthusiasm and resources and took the Great Leap- sending humans to the moon. We got lucky.

Now we are the leaders in space. We have nothing to prove. Others; India, China, Europe, Russia--are eager to demonstrate their prowess.

Let them. Lives are expendable in many parts of the world. The rewards justify the risks in some places. Anyone who might perish will be remembered as a hero around the world.

But the failure of a US mission would be costly to our worldwide image and to taxpayers. Others will take up the challenge. Let the US support them, encourage them, and stand aside.

Comment: Re:Science vs scientist (Score 1) 794

by swell (#47971559) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Science doesn't always work to the high standards I mentioned. I have a personal interest in some medical research. Unfortunately much of that is supported by drug manufacturers. Their interest is to prove as rapidly as possible that their new drug works and has few undesirable side effects. The research that they pay for is not to DISPROVE anything. And there is nobody with the major investment available to seek a truthful assessment of the drug.

To the extent that someone wants to PROVE something, science will be undermined.

Comment: differentiating science (Score 1) 794

by swell (#47969735) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

This explanation may be helpful to some in explaining a common approach to science:

A scientist has an idea about reality, which she carefully states as a theory. She performs experiments in an effort to DISPROVE her theory. After many experiments, if the theory isn't disproven, she publishes her theory and others will attempt to DISPROVE the theory. If it survives all these tests, it begins to gain respect and may someday be accepted as fact by educated people.

A non-scientist has an idea about reality, and without ever making a defining statement of the idea, proceeds to look for proof that it is true. Contrary evidence will probably be ignored.

Comment: please be specific (Score 1) 504

by swell (#47960313) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

It's been 4 days since the exhaustive Ars review of iOS 8 was discussed here
  http://apple.slashdot.org/story/14/09/17/1553225/ios-8-review/
Have you compared your experience with theirs?
Did you notice the methodical way in which they examined each aspect of performance?

As already stated, your specific device should be mentioned, as well as the conditions under which you are experiencing problems. If a particular app or group of apps are giving you problems, they should be specified. You seem to be pro-Apple, so don't just let this vague complaint hang there.

Comment: California incentive (Score 1) 149

by swell (#47892231) Attached to: Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

In a recent debate with the Republican candidate for governor, Governor Brown had to defend his business incentive policies. Particularly the loss of the battery factory. He simply stated that the incentives that Tesla demanded were too much of a burden on taxpayers in CA. Now we know that he was probably correct.

Comment: older & newer studies... (Score 1) 166

by swell (#47248881) Attached to: "Eskimo Diet" Lacks Support For Better Cardiovascular Health

By the '70s, the Eskimos were already eating Twinkies like the rest of us. The important study of aboriginal diets, including Eskimos, was that of Dr. Robert Price in the early 1900s. This study was conducted when Eskimos were still consuming traditional foods. You can learn more about this at the still vibrant Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation ( http://ppnf.org/ ).

In addition, you may wish to read the cover story of Time magazine which says to Eat Butter. Dr. Atkins advised this over 30 years ago and 30,000,000 people benefited by following his advice. Eat fat, avoid carbohydrates- simple advice but the medical establishment still supports General Mills, Kellogg, and the Wonder Bread lookalikes.

Comment: Re:Cash and checks (Score 3, Insightful) 117

by swell (#47209199) Attached to: Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

"I use credit cards for 99% of my purchases. That way I avoid the issue of dealing with change and refilling on cash. I've never been held responsible for a fraudulent charge."

  - OTOH, I use CASH for 90% of my purchases. Only one retailer (a major online company) knows my card number and they are unlikely to leak it. Similarly I have no revealing 'loyalty cards' for grocery & drug store purchases.

So my wallet is much thinner than yours and I have little fear of identity theft. I carry $200-$400 at all times. If it is stolen, I will be unhappy but not as much as if my identity is stolen.

I don't think it's anyone's business if I purchase adult diapers or pron or medicines or alcohol. Should I reveal that in return for 'rewards'? You will have to decide for yourself if you want to advertise your lifestyle in exquisite detail to worldwide data marketers.

Comment: forget digital (Score 1) 170

""I'm curious whether there are good prospects for 'time capsule encryption,' one of several ways of storing information that renders it inaccessible to anyone until certain conditions â" such as the passage of time â" are met?"

The motivation for this question is vague. It could be that the OP has information about a criminal element that she wants released if she suffers an untimely death. It could be that the OP has solved the problem of nuclear fusion but is not ready to share it yet. The motivation is so vague that there is no way to address the question coherently - let's assume it's just for releasing info at a much later time.

'Time capsule' - I attended a time capsule burial a while back. Someone will dig it up in 100 years. It contains a variety of stuff- printed text, objects & some digital material. The digital stuff will probably be indecipherable with equipment available in the year 2108. The 'time capsule' concept might still be best despite our gravitation to digital and the 'cloud'. Encryption will not be necessary.

Printed text on quality paper should be good for well over 100 years. Physical materials might be the best way to preserve the message. A physical location might be the best place. A simple timer that sets off a weak explosion that exposes the trove might be ideal. Locate the capsule thoughtfully- not in downtown London, not in Antarctica, not in the Mariana Trench. Protect the payload from the elements. The timer & explosives need to survive the time you set. You might offer hints to potentially interested parties about the locale and timing of the release of your important capsule.

But before you go to all this trouble you should ask yourself- what information do you have that might matter to people in the future? Is this just an ego stunt or something that might really benefit someone in that time?

Comment: hype (Score 1) 243

by swell (#47191041) Attached to: New Car Can Lean Into Curves, Literally

The car is designed to ride ~5 inches above the road surface. A normal car like this might tilt 2 degrees in a curve, toward the outside of the curve, causing that part of the car to be ~4 inches from the road surface. This Mercedes could conceivably tilt 2 degrees toward the inside of the curve, causing that part of the car to be about 4 inches from the road.

The total difference between the tilt of a normal car and this Mercedes is perhaps 2 inches. Not at all like a motorcycle tilt in the same curve, in fact probably not detectable by the driver except for the cost of the extra complexity.

Comment: our greatest hopes (Score 0) 267

by swell (#47177201) Attached to: Why NASA's Budget "Victory" Is Anything But

"... putting our greatest dreams of exploring and understanding the Universe on hold."

You talkin' to me white boy?

It may surprise some that not everyone has high falutin' dreams about space exploration. Some people would be happy with a safe place to sleep, relief from disease, or a hot meal. Until those dreams are fulfilled for every human, space can wait.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford

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