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Comment The mathematics is only a model of the physics (Score 5, Insightful) 429

Please. Mathematics provides a basis to model the physics. The mathematical model is not the physics. Models fit the physical world remarkably well, but not perfectly. For example, the equations of Newtonian mechanics fit the observed world very well until we could measure relativistic effects accurately. There are singularities in many of these equations where the behavior of the model may not fit the actual physics. To assert that properties of the model at obvious singularities "proves" the physics should be looked at with a great deal of skepticism.

Comment Re:West Virginia too (Score 2) 468

A list of who voted absolutely must be maintained as an essential component of election integrity. In Virginia, you identify yourself, and observers from both parties sitting at the table note your name. They mark it in the Big Listing Book, and then you vote. So both parties know whether you showed up -- and it IS public information. The bonus intimidation seems to be a recent development, and not at all an enhancement.

Comment Re:Calls from Credit Cards on "Suspicious Activity (Score 2) 78

Good points. Nonetheless, the credit card issuers still have an incentive to minimize fraud, if only to avoid the hassle of fighting with the merchants over who's to blame for the loss and how much they are liable for. They would much rather enjoy wallowing in the usurious interest rates and substantial transaction fees they charge than spend time in court with the merchants.

Comment Re:Calls from Credit Cards on "Suspicious Activity (Score 1) 78

Because under US law, credit card companies are liable for the cost of credit card fraud above a nominal amount, they have strong incentives to continuously search for and attempt to block fraudulent transactions. I don't think there is any comparable legal driver that forces health providers to bear the financial cost of similar fraud from patient info loss, nor are they necessarily "in-line" to see the exploitation of information stolen from them. Moreover, the health care industry sees their mission as serving patients and collecting all the money they can get for that, not as guarding IT systems from compromise. We should not be surprised that no hospital calls to tell us about suspicious use of our patient info.

Comment Re: Chip and PIN (Score 1) 210

I'm curious how this will work for internet transactions though, unless they expect everybody to have smartcard readers

My guess: more businesses will be pushed towards PayPal, which will not use the extra verification, the PayPal fees amounting to a "security surcharge" / insurance policy for the extra risk of such unverifiable transactions.

Remember that under US law, when you pay via credit card, you have rather strong protections that largely take your side when you dispute whether a merchant delivered what you ordered. No such provisions exist when you pay using PayPal. This is especially valuable in the era of internet ordering, rather than brick-and-mortar purchases.

Comment Re:White House is way ahead of its time. (Score 4, Insightful) 231

The hypocrisy is that the party currently occupying the White House has gone to extraordinary efforts to apply big data analytics to identify and exploit the very differences (race, income, ethnicity, education, etc.) that this article decries in order to maximize their political gain in elections. They go to great lengths to discriminate along the same factors that they want other organizations to be blind to. To quote from just one article describing Obama's 2012 campaign:

"To derive individual-level predictions, algorithms trawled for patterns between these opinions and the data points the campaign had assembled for every voter—as many as one thousand variables each, drawn from voter registration records, consumer data warehouses, and past campaign contacts. ... The efficiency and scale of that process put the Democrats well ahead when it came to profiling voters."

So, exploit the demographics (e.g. profile and discriminate) when it helps your party, but wag your finger at the rest of the world when they do it even "inadvertently".

Comment Re:Saves about $38 million in taxes - NOT (Score 2) 86

Your math skills need considerable upgrade. Making conservative estimates (ignoring deductions, using the unmarried tax rates, etc), a $60K job pays $3700 per year in Iowa state income tax. 84 of those amounts to $310,800 per year. 10 years brings $3,108,000 to the state. In 100 years, the state will not recoup the $38 million in taxes from worker income taxes alone.

Math is more informative than off-the-cuff assertions. Embrace it.

Comment Re:Specialized Pieces (Score 1) 355

And you have started your kids off into a future where they have learned to construct and invent, rather than just swipe and consume. They are building and reinforcing the pathways in their brains that will serve them (and ultimately society) much better than the kids who "can use an iPhone!". And it's a lot of fun! We need a world with more kids like yours.

Comment Re:"Proof" (Score 4, Informative) 612

Extraordinarily well said. The mathematical model is NOT the actual physics. It is only a very useful abstraction that happens to fit very well with the observed state of the physical world today. To the extent that the mathematical model helps us understand the physical universe, it is quite useful. Extrapolating the model back to its mathematical origin (the zero point) does not "prove" that the universe exploded into existence as an infinitesimal point at time 0. It should raise suspicions that the model might not be quite such a good fit to the conditions that existed at that time as opposed to the conditions that prevail today, 14+ billion years later.

Comment Re:Because Hollywood. (Score 1) 544

And you, sir, have hit the nail precisely on the head. 60 Minutes never has been a news show -- it has always been an entertainment show featuring somewhat sensationalized "investigative journalism". You should never be surprised that shock entertainment, "gotcha" editing, and enhanced video clips win out over actual facts and integrity as presentation values at CBS.

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