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Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 570 570

Nobody is trying to kill people at weddings. In fact, most of those scenarios would not have happened if there was intelligence it *was* a wedding. The only intel that is usually received is that some high value target was going to be there.

Mistakes are made and perhaps too often. And that *is* a reason to reconsider the drone program. However, that's because it may become counterproductive to defeating the terrorists, not because it is "cowardly".

A terrorist might actually be what used to be called "physically brave" in that they are willing to die or take harm for their cause without flinching. That's important, but they tend to be what is called "moral cowards", because their physical bravery is put to the use of evil.

You can't call a drone pilot a physical coward in the same way. The drone is their weapon. Would you send lightly armored archers into a press of armored cavalry? Hell no. They'd get smashed and do no good. Their weapons are arrows and being light and maneuverable. They're not going to run at and hit knights over the head with their wooden bows or something. They'd get slaughtered.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 570 570

If that's true, why aren't the inventors (or IP creators) of these weapons not rulers of countries or at least receive a sizable royalties from the spoils of war? Don't these weapons win wars? Why do administrator type politicians and capitalist businessmen divvy up lion's share of a country's output and war profit, leaving only scraps for others?

Wait... Are you saying that people who make weapons don't get paid a lot of money for their weapons? Because they do actually make a lot of money.

Do they get to rule the whole country? Not as such, but I'm not sure what it has to do with anything. I think the point being made is that it is silly and counterproductive to be afraid to win a fight with a superior weapon just because the loser might call you a "coward". This is war, not a sporting contest. If you're not fighting a war to win it as quickly as possible, you're doing it wrong. Not to mention that you're condemning more people to more pain over a longer period of time just so you can be called "brave".

Weapons are not of more importance than the soldier wielding them, but they do ensure that an otherwise evenly matched fight has a winner which is the person with the better weapon. Since that is the difference between victory and defeat, weapons are critical, albeit not in the absence of a controlling human.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 570 570

Well there is nothing conspiracy theorist involved in noting that China is working towards parity with the US, and are building fortifications in places like the Spratly Islands.

China definitely could become a threat, especially in their own region, even without matching the US pound for pound.

On the other hand, China having nuclear weapons for years means that a major war with them is still difficult to envision. It could happen, of course, but major wars between nuclear powers are very dangerous and leaders know that.

China's increasing power could allow them to form a bloc, and the bigger danger from that is a resurgence of proxy wars like the Cold War had.

Comment: Re:Eat Me Last (Score 4, Insightful) 369 369

I find it interesting that most movements like this are effectively that.

Religious inquisitions? Basically people falling all over themselves to sell out their neighbors to show their own virtue publicly (while at the same time often hiding their own sins)

Secret police informants? Same.

It's just people trying to fit into what they think society's current target is. It gives them something to be offended at, and sometimes lets them overlook their own sins, and even distract attention away from their own (worse) misdeeds.

Without being able to hear what was actually said, I can't be sure what actually happened at that dinner. It could have been out of context, or wildly offensive. Or actually both based on your perspective and your sensitivity to certain phrases strung together that one person thinks should be funny, but the joke goes horribly wrong for someone else.

I do think, however, that if Hunt was removed for this, there needed to be a much higher bar to removing him and ending his career. And not just because he was a Nobel scientist, but because any person should have the ability to at least have a fair investigation and the benefit of the doubt before action like that is taken. With the knee jerk reactions we are seeing these days to things that are labelled "hate", it is starting to feel like we're losing our understanding of why due process and presumption of innocence is extremely important.

And while I have no intention of telling his critics to stop talking, I do wish they would not take a scorched earth approach. This feels like they're trying to make their point by creating a fear of losing your job to compel compliance, not by educating people.

Comment: Re:Arrest (Score 1) 333 333

Wrecking stuff and attacking innocent people is unacceptable, no matter who does it. I think we need to get over justifications for bad behavior based on this sort of thing. These cabbies are not revolutionaries fighting for freedom, they're fighting for the status quo which is clearly something that could use changing to some degree.

Shitty companies like Uber become popular because status quo bureaucratic scenarios like taxi cab medallions don't get reformed and taxi companies are allowed to become unresponsive to customers. And when customers are not responded to, they stop caring that taxi cab companies start losing jobs. That allows sleazy operators like Uber to elbow in.

Violent strikes perpetuates dislike of cab companies, something that they didn't need help with already and will continue to backfire on them even if the government knuckles under.

Comment: Re:Breach of contract? (Score 1) 242 242

True about papers, but I meant more like questions or specific scenarios presented to them that they need to answer, rather than their selection of what questions they want to answer with their obvious and content-free answers.

Of course, you're right. Then someone would have to read them. And no one does, which is the second part of the problem.

Democracy today is about sound bytes at any level of government above the local. Even then, it depends on the locality. Which shows what we should already know, democracy's great achievement is the consent of the governed, but that should not be confused with the correctness of the position that is being consented to.

Comment: Re:Breach of contract? (Score 1) 242 242

What is the line? Do I promise no new taxes and then suddenly have to fight off an invasion. What do I do then? Or perhaps I have to get clever and not raise taxes and instead order confiscations of property. After all... that's not a tax, right?

The fact is, you're not supposed to elect people based on promises. You're supposed to elect them based on their knowledge and wisdom and let them make the best decisions they can without promises. Certainly look at their past activities, but I'd prefer it if politicians submitted essays with their analysis of certain issues for evaluation instead of doing photogenic TV debates.

Of course, no one does that. And everyone is to blame. The politicians want to get elected so they pander, even if they know they can't keep the promises. The people want their goodies even if they have no idea how to make it happen, so they elect the people who say they will "make it happen". So, both sides play the game of demanding things and having the pols pretend to care about those things.

Comment: Re:Government by the Courts (Score 1) 242 242

Yes, and there is the situation where a promise can be made in good faith, but circumstances do not permit it to be fulfilled.

If you have a no new taxes pledge, but some sort of unavoidable issue occurs which costs tons of money to fix, no one should hold you responsible for having to raise taxes. In that case, voiding your earlier promise is the responsible thing to do, even if it makes you look like a bit of a liar.

Obviously, what you *can* do is evaluate a campaign promise based on the actual likelihood that a reduction will happen. Unfortunately, we tend to punish people who try and explain to us the actual costs of programs we want, so politicians have turned to vagueness and making promises that are more like "nice to haves".

It would be great if we had politicians who didn't do that... but would we actually *elect them*? I don't think we would. If we want health care, we want it provided. We don't want some politician to tell us how much it costs. If we want carbon emission reductions, we don't care what it takes, we just assume that it will be taken care of and any politician who attempts to describe the short and long term effects has their prospects drop like a rock unless they parrot what the electorate wants to hear.

It is easy to say that politicians are liars. The answer that no one appears to be willing to do is to elect entirely honest people.

Comment: Re:The problem is that landfills are too cheap (Score 1) 371 371

Yes and no. It depends on how it is presented. Obamacare was supposed to be supported by either currently uninsured people joining the pool, or people paying a fee for not being insured. Of course, the "fee" is a tax, but that tends to get overlooked by most. (Except it was saved by the Supreme Court specifically because they ruled it a tax.)

Not to mention that a trash "fee" would be a fairly progressive tax. If you don't have a lot of stuff, you're not going to have a lot of stuff to throw away. Many places, trash is hauled by private companies, and they would pass a tax on as a fee. People complain about bills like that, but it is easier to sneak taxes in that are simply passed on by trash companies.

Comment: Re:The problem is that landfills are too cheap (Score 1) 371 371

The attitude he has comes off that way, but I think he has a point.

Time is money. You have unemployed people who probably need a job, and you have people who already have jobs and things to do with their time other than sorting trash.

Why don't we give some people some jobs and don't expect every individual in the US to have to get this right when a much smaller group of specialized workers can do it correctly AND keep the recycling programs from falling apart?

Yes, you could make the effort to sort trash, but as a computer programmer would know, sorting is something we have assigned to computers for a reason: it is a deceptively expensive operation that is better done by a dedicated process which uses an algorithm suited to the task. Better to train a few people to carry out an optimized process than try and train everyone to do that process. Although we tend to use computers today for sorting things, sorting trash would seem to be a complex enough task that you'd still want humans on it. And, while not the most desirable job ever, it IS work in an economy where people would like jobs.

Comment: Re:Tell me... (Score 1) 172 172

I suppose that makes sense for something like an English book, which probably doesn't have to change all that often (although it would be nice if it did catch up with the times and cover newer literature and usage).

I'm not sure that I'd want a science textbook that had been sitting in a warehouse for ten years, though. Maybe not even five years, although I suppose the less specialized basic classes wouldn't really change significantly in a short time.

Comment: Re:Laugh (Score 2) 112 112

Yes. DuckDuckGo bought by Apple due to increasing popularity due to DDG's privacy stance. DDG's privacy stance immediately undermined by being owned by Apple.

It may not be as bad as being acquired by the NSA, but let's face it, no matter how much Apple tries to suggest that they won't change anything... they're going to change things.

Comment: Re:Depends on your perspective and tastes (Score 2) 410 410

It may not be the most common language, but it is probably one of the more useful second languages to know.

Much like Spanish is in just about anywhere urban in the US.

I've been to London exactly once, and I was probably served by more people with Eastern European (likely Polish) names than I was by people with actual English names. It was... odd... but not really surprising when I stopped to thing about it for a second. Just like in the US, it's the immigrants who are doing the service jobs.

Every cloud has a silver lining; you should have sold it, and bought titanium.