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Comment: Re:Same Thing Almost Happened to Me (Score 1) 536

While I can understand your bitterness, I recall years ago looking at a cute little farm house just outside of town on a few acres of land. It was partially appealing because it was priced low (this was during the go-go housing price inflation of the early 2000s) and a large corner of the property was filled with 2nd (or 3rd) generation woods (weed trees) and that corner looked like a great way to make some money by selling of part of the property to someone to build a house on.

But when you looked into it, you learned that this area was outside of the city water/sewer system, and the soil was dense clay and water logged. There was no place on the corner to put a septic field, and in fact all of the available space for a septic field on the original property was already in use - so the house couldn't be expanded to have more bathrooms, a dish washer, etc.

In some parts of the country, you might have had a chance for some financial compensation from the developer/realtor for misrepresentation of the property if they had claimed that broadband was available.

Comment: Re:There might not be Proper English (Score 2) 667

by userw014 (#49266959) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

Using against the WSJ article ends with this statement:

  • Muthafuckas should not be stigmatized fo' tha way they speak, n' they certainly should not have stupid, made-up linguistic superstitions drilled tha fuck into they heads.

Is this where Hollywood gets it's dialogue from these days?

Comment: Open Source vs. Open Standards confusion (Score 1) 287

by userw014 (#49249973) Attached to: NTP's Fate Hinges On "Father Time"

Information Week is confused about the difference between open standards (TLS, Domain Name System, Network Time Protocol) and open source (OpenSSL, BIND, NTPD). But they're a rag anyway. For that matter, they seem to be confused about the difference between definition and geography - Greenwich Mean Time is a known source of reliable time, as is the US Naval Observatory.

Yes, there's an issue here about a critical component of technology - but the Information Week explanation just contributes to ignorance and stupidity in general.

Comment: Re:Computer abuse and fraud act? (Score 1) 67

by userw014 (#49249865) Attached to: Obama Administration Wants More Legal Power To Disrupt Botnets

The article mentions "certain frauds" but doesn't try to enumerate or summarize what frauds - and I haven't gone looking at the law itself to see what the "certain frauds" is.

Could the new definition include crap-ware pre-installed on workstations or that comes with other downloads? What about phone or tablet apps that download advertising? What affect would this have on the app stores?

Comment: Re:Homeopathy - Faith based treatment (Score 1) 447

by userw014 (#49249199) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

Compared to what? A very small set of largely anecdotal stories from my (then) wife.

My point is that I acquiesced to (limited) homeopathy because I saw it as a harmless treatment that satisfied the need to do something, anything in order to keep marital peace. An ugly reason that vanished when we divorced.

Frankly, most of the treatments for things like aches and nose-bleeds were just something to do to calm the patient (victim?) and let the body's natural processes take care of things. Kind of like the hoary advice of Take two aspirins and call me in the morning but safer. (Aspirin can prevent blood coagulation and lower a fever temperature - which interferes with a conventional medical evaluation.)

It was a way to impose a wait on people unable to accept that.

Comment: Homeopathy - Faith based treatment (Score 1, Interesting) 447

by userw014 (#49245885) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

I wish the article was more than a link to a commercial news site that was itself a link to a press release. There's no direct information here, and I'd have liked to see if the review had included an analysis of any disclosures of funding or affiliations.

Personally, I'm in an annoying position in regards to Homeopathy. My ex got involved in homeopathy for things that conventional medicine didn't seem able to cure or ameliorate - before we divorced. It seemed to help her and it seemed to help our (young) kids when she used it to reduce the duration of a cold or reduce some pain or control nose-bleeds. She'd stick with conventional medicine for real injuries, etc. And because she said that my disbelief interfered with the treatments, and because this didn't interfere with conventional treatments - and because I needed peace in the family, I tried to go along.

But the whole anti-corporate, conspiracy driven, magical thinking defense was hard to accept (although it would make entertaining storytelling.)

Somehow, it seemed to work for her. That's easy to explain away as the "placebo affect", but there's also a social effect too that occurs when you have a community of people you can interact with who will take an interest in you, etc. It's really hard to self-administer a placebo - unless it's wrapped up like homeopathic treatments are. As for the cost of homeopathic treatments - well, they cost more than sugar pills and a kit of homeopathic medicines (with a handy-dandy guide for administration) will set you back a lot of money (especially if you're going through a divorce - ending with loosing your job in the Great Recession). But my (largely unused) kit has lasted me nearly 10 years now, sitting in the back of my linen closet underneath a pile of old towels.

If you can keep your wits about you about using homeopathic remedies only on things that conventional medicine doesn't treat AND which aren't chronic, etc. -- well you might be able to use it successfully. But you're on a dangerous edge. Still, it's better than self-medicating with alcohol or other intoxicating substances. And (potentially) about the same as just ignoring the aches, pains, etc. of life until they get so bad you can barely make it into urgent care.

Comment: Re:Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress latel (Score 1) 517

by userw014 (#49189691) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills
The problem is the vast number of privately funded studies that don't support the funders goals and get buried (i.e.: "negative results".) This is an attempt to prevent the EPA from negotiating to see those results - which they'd probably have to promise to keep confidential in order to have access to them. This allows corporations to prevent the EPA from banning something simply by not publishing negative results.

Comment: Re:Is that really a lot? (Score 1) 280

by userw014 (#49138161) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

The $28000/ drone apprehension figure did include "overhead".

I don't mean to argue that the drone program isn't inexpensive or inefficient - just that without comparing it with other methods (such as active patrols, etc.), the $28000/apprehension figure generates outrage only because $28000 seems like a VERY BIG NUMBER. And if you're going to get outraged by a VERY BIG NUMBER solely because of the metric of VERY BIG NUMBER/apprehension, it might be helpful to have a reference number of sorts rather than the costs people are used to from their daily lives.

Comment: Re:Is that really a lot? (Score 5, Insightful) 280

by userw014 (#49136689) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

The math for calculating this cost is deceptively simple-minded - and the article doesn't offer any way to compare it with other methods.

A (very) brief search for the US Border Patrol budget and apprehensions found these:


or FY2014 budget of $13.6 Billion and 486,651 apprehensions.

That gives an average cost of $27946/apprehension for the entire organization. My (very, very) simple minded calculation is remarkably similar to the Office of Inspector General's figures for just the drone program. If anything, it shows that just introducing drones doesn't change the cost-per-apprehension of the Border Patrol. A more important question would be whether cost-per-apprehension is even a valid metric for the Border Patrol.

Comment: Re:works great on campuses (Score 1) 73

by userw014 (#49073733) Attached to: Cellphone Start-Ups Handle Calls With Wi-Fi

3 years ago, my son went off to college with a Republic Wireless WiFi phone and subscription (early adopter.) His mother got a Republic Wireless subscription too. The lack of a multi-year contract and the low price were the appealing features to them, and there wasn't much in the way of competition back then for something that included a data plan.

My observations are as follows:

  • Young people don't use a phone, they use a portable communications and entertainment device. Voice calls are one of multiple communications methods, and not a very important one. Therefore, voice quality doesn't matter much.
  • WiFi-phones don't work well in environments where the WiFi is locked down tightly (such as hospitals) and BYO Devices aren't supported.
  • My ex doesn't like accepting my calls.

For now, I'm still old school enough to want a phone that'll work in an emergency, in some rural environments where the minor carriers haven't built out yet. But that might change in a few years as I find myself hardly traveling anymore. I don't use a phone as a multi-media communications and entertainment device, but that might change when I replace my old iPhone-4.

A WiFi based phone service with cell-network backup would work for me 99% of the time, but I'm old enough and conservative enough to want a few more '9's.

Another thing I believe is that if WiFi based phone service expands and becomes common for large venues (such as sports stadiums, hotels, etc.), it could result in cell-network based phone service not growing in depth. The combination would reduce the service level expectations of voice service, displacing to more communications via. instant messaging/social networking.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein