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Comment Re:Response from the White House (Score 1) 583 583

Did any one really think he was going to get a pardon? At least this soon anyway...

Put aside whether or not you think this was a good action, the government can't afford to have anyone who thinks that their personal issue with the government is worth dumping classified information all over the place. Snowden may well be right, and perhaps he'll get his pardon someday, but right now the government still cannot afford to make it look like there is any chance you will get off for breaking the law. And Snowden definitely broke the law, albeit perhaps for a reason that could be justified.

Snowden will get his pardon if subsequent events show that a consensus has formed on whether he did a good thing. However, they want to make very clear to people that you may get vindication, but you will pay for your action in the meantime, so you'd better seriously think over taking the steps you are taking.

This is pure necessity until there is some way found to close the hole that he represents in the process.

Comment Re:Not the best summary... (Score 4, Insightful) 191 191

Government coercion was effective enough to eliminate one or two dread diseases.

I'm not a big fan of government coercion as the solution to everything, but vaccinations are a public health issue where you are affecting more than yourself whenever you sneeze. That means your refusal to vaccinate your child or yourself might condemn people to death who currently have no choice to avoid interacting with you, and no idea if you're someone they should stay away from.

We could suggest that those against vaccines go live in a quarantined compound somewhere and not have to have vaccines, but that would seem to be counterproductive for everyone.

Past outbreaks of diseases currently vaccinated against have probably killed billions of children in the past. There was no home remedy or frontier method of survival. They either somehow fought off diseases like smallpox or measles and possibly were scarred for life, or they simply died. I am not certain what philosophical view, other than some sort of odd Darwinism, would make a return to that scenario attractive.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 3, Insightful) 479 479

The crowd is skeptical because we're being told by everyone, including the researchers, that this should be scrutinized closely because while this might be entirely new science, that is a very high bar to jump over for a reason.

Humanity clearly doesn't know everything about physics, but we know enough that we've done some fairly amazing practical things with it. Recent scientists are not banging rocks together to get sparks, or even walking around poking radium in 19th Century dresses. That means we pretty much know where we think we need to look for new science, and until recently, this was not one of those places.

So yes, being skeptical is a good idea here, although dismissing it outright seems to be unwarranted at the moment.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 1) 479 479

Well it is certainly going to be a novel device, but whether it is merely a parlor trick based on a clever application of known principles or entirely new science, is up in the air.

The problem is that we now have devices that seem to do the thing the first one did, but we still don't know that the device truly works on the principle suggested. There could still be something making it *seem* like it works that way, but it was something else all along.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 1) 479 479

True, but of course, since the EM drive would not have that limitation, it would be able to theoretically attain those stupendous speeds because it will never need to worry about running out of reaction mass and would be able to accelerate for much longer.

Of course, I do think energy will be the limiting factor and will probably stop this from being an accelerate forever drive. Solar is fine and all, but is probably not going to recharge a ship on an interstellar trip enough to refill the batteries needed. You'll need a reactor and nuclear fuel to make a trip like that. Still much better than gigantic tanks of fuel, or massive amounts of solid fuel. Not to mention a lot less complex of a system.

So, it would be a big deal... if it's real. I have to admit, I didn't think it would get this far, but it's still a long way to go before this has a solid theory behind it, let alone becoming a fully operational device. I'm still hopeful but extremely skeptical.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 2) 479 479

True, but this means your source of energy can be very compact and efficient.

For instance, you can employ a nuclear reactor. Still somewhat heavy and complex, but a lot lighter, and much more efficient than having to carry your reaction mass with you just so you can shoot it out the back. If we got reactor design compact and advanced enough, it could actually be fairly simple to operate.

Previously, the only way to make use of nuclear power was to basically accelerate the ship by throwing nuclear bombs out the back. A reactor isn't as dramatic, and doesn't accelerate as drastically, but is significantly more efficient, and reusable (not to mention it isn't a proliferation risk).

That would make it possible for the ship to reach higher velocities as well, since the ship would have less mass, or alternately, be able to have more non-propulsion mass which would be handy in dealing with the other issues with long range spaceflight.

Comment Re:Not the best summary... (Score 4, Insightful) 191 191

It's a good argument for ensuring you don't have half-assed vaccines, which is a legitimate concern.

It's the same problem as those people who are prescribed antibiotics and don't finish their full course: that's how you get antibiotic resistant bacteria. You half-assed the treatment, now the surviving bacteria are the individuals with adaptations that were best able to resist the antibiotic. Usually, the disease would progress where the antibiotic vulnerable bacteria would compete. With the help of the incompletely used antibiotic, there's now only resistant bacteria left to infect a new host.

This is not an anti-vaxxer argument, as those fools think that the vaccine causes problems unrelated to what it is supposed to be preventing (like autism), rather than this case being that the vaccine was simply too weaksauce to do the job right, so it made the problem worse by selecting out the bacteria more likely to succumb to the vaccine-adjusted immune system.

Comment Re:Reaction (Score 1) 566 566

Trump is a populist and an agitator. Those sorts tend to only be "conservative" in the sense that tend to appeal to people who want to keep things the way they are, rather than deal with change.

Which is too bad because conservatives aren't required to like the status quo, although when they want to change it they are defined by being inclined toward graduated, thoughtful change.

I feel a conservative could very easily accept things like non-punitive immigration reform and more regulation of businesses, but they will always shy away from radical change which could do as much damage as simply having letting things go on the way they were. That's why many quite reasonable conservatives do not like the rhetoric of blaming classes of people for the country's problems and don't like the idea that we suddenly need to embrace underpaid illegal immigrant workers when we are facing unemployment of current citizens.

It is important to point out that there are times where radical changes end up working out all right. Liberal, progressive, or conservative does not mean "right" or "wrong". There are many times when you just have to do *something*, because nothing is worse than all possible other options.

However, I am extremely wary of people who preach "change" or revolution constantly, as if everything is a problem that can only be solved by figurative or literal bloodshed. Or people who agitate for anything *NOW*. Most solutions are better off considered as a consistently run, long term, and gradual program, and other changes may be better off not being made at all.

To my mind, the Trumps of the world are just the other side of the coin from the class warfare agitator. Both are applying a deep seated unease with a whole class of people to help them get to power. And Trump might be worse because he's pretty much in this for his own ego.

Comment Re:Reaction (Score 1) 566 566

Seriously? She's making a promise with the implication that she's totally going to do it. There will be no qualifications or restatements during the campaign. Those will start on January 21st.

This isn't about trying, this is about the usual crap where candidates polish up some promises that sound really good to their constituency and make it sound like they have a real plan, when they don't.

I am pretty sure that Clinton actually has an idea what she really wants to do, and she may touch on some of it towards the end of her theoretical term in office. However, she'll mostly do what her party platform is pushing in the meantime. And that plan is both already well known, and won't be touted anywhere because it will be significantly more practical, and significantly less idealistic, than anything you'll hear during the campaign.

Comment Re:She is better then jeb bush (Score 1) 566 566

Ayn Rand at least, was forced to pay into that fund. Why should she surrender her money just because she opposes the program?

It is up for debate whether Ayn Rand could have taken the money that she'd have gotten back in her SS checks and have done better with investing that money or not. The thing is, she had no choice in the matter and it is always supposed to have been her money. It wasn't some sort of government largess, you know.

That's like saying that someone who opposed Communism that waited in a food line in the Soviet Union was hypocritical for taking food from the government while opposing it.

I suppose they have the option of starving themselves to death to make a point, but suicide isn't actually required for you to sincerely believe in something.

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 1) 566 566

We're not okay with campaign spending. I don't think anyone is, but how else do you reach 300+ million people?

And the bigger and more involved the Federal government gets in everyone's daily life, the worse it is going to get. There are people out there who want the government to get even bigger and responsible for more things, yet oddly cannot understand why billions of dollars are pumped into Federal campaigns.

Comment Re: Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 1) 566 566

Tax breaks or subsidies for oil have nothing to do with enriching oil companies. They exist very simply to keep gas prices down so that the government doesn't get lynched when gas suddenly costs 12 dollars a gallon.

I agree that these industries should pay their own way, and they probably could, but allowing oil and gas to become more price volatile would be political suicide, for Democrats as much as for Republicans.

You won't see those subsidies go away until you have been able to get electric cars and possibly trucks on the road in force.

At this point, I'd steer well away from those subsidies if you want to raid something for more alternative power spending. You'll never get it except maybe under Bernie, and hopefully even Bernie isn't dumb enough to try that.

Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 428 428

I couldn't care less what hours the people on my team do per week as long as they are around to help each other out and complete the tasks set for us. Generally, where I work, everyone checks their email at some point at night, so yelling at someone for leaving 30 minutes early is hardly something I am going to do. Besides, if you're going to be working for me, I prefer you not be panicking about having to pick your kids up from school when they missed the bus or some shit. Just pick them up and figure out how you'll catch up when they're tucked into bed or something.

I'm in IT, like many of you. In this world we communicate to executives the amount of time it takes for us to complete tasks and they schedule the roadmap based on that. Sometimes they ask us to prioritize or try to do a stretch goal, but don't think the managers aren't pushing back if that gets out of control. Bear in mind, though, competition is a bitch. If company X eats our lunch on features, we're dogmeat. And if we're dogmeat, people lose their jobs. Execs aren't actually driven by dollar signs, they have golden parachutes. They are personally driven to get shit done and win because that's their personality type. So, yeah, they get a little intense, but even they're not as insane as you think... usually.

Of course, when the tasks are set and the time is allocated, then we do have deadlines. Those are unavoidable. However, if we've done a good job estimating the work, you'll work as much as you feel you can, and the task will get done.

There are only two normal reasons I care about hours. I care about you being there for core hours so that you can interact with your team and anyone else in the company who needs your help. You can't spend all your time working with your Mtn Dew at midnight by yourself in your Mom's basement. You're being paid for your experience as a team player and you need to share.

The second reason is time off. Unfortunately, that is tracked in hours. Don't expect me to be a rigorous jerk about that. It is important that you aren't pulling one over on me, but if you work hard and do a good job, I don't fucking care if you took an extra hour here or there. Just don't falsify shit to the point that it can't be ignored.

And let's be clear. I don't pay badly, and sometimes I pay very, very well. This is IT, not McDonalds. The point is, sometimes people's hands get tied by circumstances, but none of my peers is motivated to grind you down. I'm sure those sorts of sadists exist, they may even be common, but sometimes I simply just can't give you any more.

Please negotiate, by all means, but there's always a ceiling that no one can go above, and that rises and falls based on the bottom line, not based on the merit of the applicant. And it is never personal or done with the purpose of cheating you. Sometimes they may complain when I ask for more for a candidate, but they have never thanked me for saving them money. So what is in it for me to cheat you? Absolutely nothing.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.