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Comment: Re:Thoughtcrime (Score 1) 430

by vk-agency (#31872250) Attached to: Innocent Until Predicted Guilty

you'd realize that the idea is to use this technology to differentially sentence offenders based on the likelihood of recidivism

Yes -- and what that means is, we're GUESSING that you'll do something, and then ACTIVELY punishing you for our guess.

It is straight-up thoughtcrime. There's no excuse for it at all.

The very idea of justice requires that society reacts to what you do as an individual, not what other people we think are similar to you have done in the past. People are individuals. You start treating them as a commodity, you've stepped beyond the pale.

The entire thing is repellant and reeks of a complete lack of critical thinking.

Comment: Re:Only useful when analyzing groups (Score 1) 430

by vk-agency (#31872148) Attached to: Innocent Until Predicted Guilty

Your counterexample is not valid. With respect to insurance payouts, people are essentially fungible, in the sense that it doesn't matter (to the insurance company) whether they pay person A or person B for an operation whose statistical likelihood is 50%. Whereas with respect to punishment, sentencing, and treating a person like a criminal, people are very much NOT fungible.

Keeping the context the same, the system does see individuals as fungible in the justice system. Prosecutors are very much focused on statistics, and on conviction rates -- not on the fair determination of guilt or innocence. Once you are in the system, you're absolutely guilty and they're not going to let you off without some kind of admission of guilt -- plea bargain, etc., unless you have one *hell* of a case and consequently the judge and/or jury sees it your way. Which isn't very likely. The presumption, society-wide, is that the reason you are there is because you are guilty. That's not the way it's supposed to be, but it is the way it *is*.

If you keep the view that it matters to the person what happens, the insurance example fails -- it very much matters to the person if their claim is settled fairly, or not, the same as it matters to the person involved with the justice system if their case is settled fairly, or not. But it doesn't matter to either the insurance company or the justice system what the consequences are for you. Both are constructed with the goal of not doing you any favors; the insurance company will try not to pay you, and the justice system will try to declare you guilty of something, coerce you into a plea bargain, etc.

Our legal system is very much machine-like and not at all tightly tied to justice or the welfare of the individual. It is misleading (or painfully naive) to imply otherwise.

Comment: Please. (Score 1) 403

by vk-agency (#31044402) Attached to: India Ditches UN Climate Change Group

For example, this year is tied for the warmest year on record EVEN THOUGH WE ARE IN THE SOLAR MINIMUM.

The solar cycle "minimum" reflects a relatively low count of sunspots - areas of magnetic and particulate disruption on the sun's surface. It does not in any way serve as a complete description, or even a reliable indicator, of the amount of thermal energy contributed to the earth's atmosphere by the sun. The earth's atmosphere's response to the solar particulate emission and magnetic field changes wrought by sunspots tends to be more related to radio propagation than anything else. That, and induced electrical currents in susceptible equipment.

The sun could grow 10% in size, emit not a single sunspot, and fry us - thermally - where we stand in very short order. Not that it is likely to, but the point is, the solar cycle that you hear being called the "minimum" is not a thermal transfer indicator.

Comment: All those numbers, and you got it wrong anyway. (Score 5, Insightful) 403

by vk-agency (#31044330) Attached to: India Ditches UN Climate Change Group

However, GHGs are by far the largest factor, and of those, CO2 is the largest.

No. Water vapor is the largest greenhouse gas factor by a large margin. It completely swamps any possible CO2 contribution because, unlike CO2, which remains generally stable regardless of atmospheric temperature change (that's most of the basis for the claim that CO2 will incur warming, in fact), the evaporative cooling process accelerates enormously when the atmosphere warms. Warm water goes up, radiates at least half its heat spaceward in energy ranges that CO2 is largely transparent to, and then comes down (much) cooler. This cycle serves as a self-regulating heat pump from surface to space. Heat radiated in this manner is gone forever.

The real question here, especially after the scandals of the tweaked data, the lockout of contrary input, the use of glacial statistics that were entirely false, the unforgivable falsification of the "hockey stick"... the real question is: Can we call AGW good, established science?

To answer that question, one asks: Does the the global warming hypothesis give rise to models with testable predictions? Yes. There have been numerous models.

So, critically, are the results of the models compatible with the predictions made? If so, we have a theory.

But the answer to that is a resounding no. We have this stall in temperature rise; we have the failure of all the models to predict results across all latitudes at once; we have sea level changes that don't match the predicted results; we have wildly varying predictions from different models indicating fundamental disagreement among the AGW hypothesis proponents. In many cases, the models results are not in yet (predictions are for the future, and the future, to be blunt, is not here yet) and so we literally have no results at all -- merely speculation based upon models that have demonstrated themselves to be flawed over and over again. So it tuns out that we have no more than an unsubstantiated idea, a hypothesis with holes in it.

Given this situation, we reasonably can, and we should, ask the proponents of the AGW hypothesis and the resulting models to go back to their workbenches and refine those models until the predictions work out to within a reasonable margin of error. When they get it right (and they may yet do so), that is the time to get behind policy decisions that use the science -- because when the predictions work, then it is science, in the sense that now, finally, one has a theory.

Right now, AGW is a hypothesis, no more, and an entirely unsupported one at that. We don't actually know what our contributions to warming or cooling are, consequently deciding to spend huge amounts of money and effort to further muddy the waters is foolish in the extreme.

Comment: Re:While Grayson can be entertaining (Score 1) 549

by vk-agency (#30548748) Attached to: Florida Congressman Wants Blogging Critic Fined, Jailed

No, I'm approaching this as if you've argued that government will provide a superior service. It won't.

I did not so argue. I said they could. The reason I take that position is because they have an innate advantage no private concern can match: 100% decoupling between their operating costs and continuing viability and the job they do. This is, as we know, also part of the reason they can (and often do) perform poorly. That's a matter of getting better at government. I think it can be done; I reject your argument that government is inherently going to wreck anything it touches. I drive on marvelous highways over immense amounts of area; I visit finely conserved parks of great beauty; I have crossed some of the most beautiful bridges in the world, I have been inside, and used, the library of congress, and I have experienced the stunning beauty of monumental art in the nation's capital and elsewhere. Government can do things well. Does that mean they should get a pass here? No. It means we should try, rather than cowering in our boots because we know also that government has failed us in other areas.

Not even considering *profits*, any company that accepted them would only stand to lose money. Lots of money.

The entire point of an insurance pool is to put small investments from everyone in to cover the cases where the few need lots spent on them. Not everyone will. It's odds, that's all. To reject those known to already need help is poisonous, and not in keeping with the idea behind the pool in the first place (except as to save money for a profit making enterprise.) Fees need to be designed to cover everyone. Not just the presently healthy.

Insurance companies insure against future misfortune, the couple you spoke of is well past that point.

Not if the congress and senate can sort out the difference in the bill that passed the senate tonight, which is very likely. That selfish definition will be down the drain, and good riddance. To lock someone out because they got sick before someone else did is childish on the one hand, and straight up cruel on the other. I maintain that everyone should be covered, period. Then if or when becomes a non-issue.

So what you're saying is I should give up my benefits so that we can all have equally bad care, instead of trying to improve the situation of those at the bottom.

No. I'm saying you should have your benefits, and so should they. How you got to the point of making the above statement, I can't imagine. I'm saying that in order to improve the situation of the people at the bottom, we need to make them healthy so they can work; not ask them to work in an unhealthy condition - perhaps for decades, and with no certainty they will even get there - until they can pay some middleman more than the membership of a pool is actually worth.

Equal opportunity does not mean equal results.

Again, I never said it did. But it does mean equal opportunity. Or at least it should.

How many of those 35 million are without health coverage by choice?

I don't know. I'll readily stipulate some largish number of them are. Still, we don't let people skip primary education, either; and why? Because that leaves them as a load on society, unable to cope well. Precisely the reason we should ensure they are as healthy as possible. Unhealthy people screw up the system for everyone else, putting others at risk if the issue is disease, turning in lower performance, and suffering unnecessarily.

Comment: Re:While Grayson can be entertaining (Score 1) 549

by vk-agency (#30540548) Attached to: Florida Congressman Wants Blogging Critic Fined, Jailed

You're approaching this as if I had declared that eliminating private insurers was the only factor. It isn't; and there is no question that some people get adequate care. However, some people don't. I know a couple -- personally -- the lady has diabetes, some kind of serious thyroid issue, and is a breast cancer survivor. She is very careful about her diet, exercise, sleep... but her condition is deteriorating regardless. She cannot get health insurance. The fellow has bad knees, a tumor or just some kind of lump in the back of his left eye, a hernia, outdated eyeglasses he can barely see through, and his teeth are in just awful shape, to the point where you can see how much pain he is in just by looking at his face. Often, he can't eat, because his gums are so inflamed. Sometimes when he does eat, the pain causes him to vomit. He can't get insurance either. Neither one of them can afford to purchase care, or is able to go into debt to a degree such that they could pay for the care they need - no spare resources. They both work; he makes 18k and she makes about 6k. They're nice people - smart, too. But circumstances walked them down near the bottom of the economic ladder, and when their health went... there was no safety net.

These are the types of people the system, as is, simply does not serve. They are outliers in the health sense, and while they aren't the average person, then again, they aren't all that rare. Both are in their fifties. It's not enough, in my opinion, to just shrug and say "oh well" and let them suffer. Even the changes that look like they're going through congress and the senate won't help them until what, 2014 or so, at which point the insurance companies will finally have to take people with pre-existing conditions. There's no telling at what cost to the applicant at this point, either, so who knows if even that will help.

I'm not pointing at England or Canada or anywhere else and saying "do it that way." I'm just saying that one of the things that needs to be done is to remove the profit motivated, skimming entities from the middle of the process. They add cost, and they deny people care, and they aren't part of the actual medical process - they are not the sick, and they are not the health professionals. So in addition to doing things in a moral and rational manner on all other fronts as well, we need to eliminate the parasite in the middle - the insurance company. This is precisely the type of thing government can be good at -- because their salaries and bonuses and perks don't have to depend upon how many people they deny service to.

It seems truly obvious to me that maximal health is as important a basic factor for maximum productivity -- personal, state, national -- as is education. I honestly cannot understand why people in the USA, of all places, where equal opportunity, as best as we can manage, is such a strong basic precept... I can't understand why they want to skimp. How can we look at people suffering and be ok with it? How can we penny pinch in the face of it? Do we look at a child down a well and say, hey, that's going to cost a lot to get her out of there, too bad? No, we call in all the heavy equipment we can find, fifteen different fire departments and fly in a ten million dollar Japanese pipe-crawling robot prototype. Truly, I don't understand how we can let (approximately) 35 million people sit at home (presuming they have a home) suffering from all manner of medical problems that we are fully capable of addressing, or at least, ameliorating.

And in the meantime, we're spending trillions on warfare in order, as near as I can figure, to provide corporate welfare for the military industrial complex.

Maybe I'm just stupid. But I really don't get it. And it makes me very angry.

Comment: Re:While Grayson can be entertaining (Score 1) 549

by vk-agency (#30530182) Attached to: Florida Congressman Wants Blogging Critic Fined, Jailed

If they're [insurance companies] placing their profits before people's lives, they're doing it wrong.

Insurance companies operate with an inherent conflict of interest.

They sell a product that is marketed as something that will pay money out to cover when misfortune descends upon the purchaser of the product. However, they are beholden to investors that make increasing amounts of money based upon the degree to which they do not pay out under the same conditions.

It was a mistake to ever allow insurance pooling to be a profit-making enterprise. The nature of it is such that it will only work well if that conflict does not exist, and that can only be accomplished if the decision to pay is based entirely upon the merits of the situation, rather than profitability.

Successfully indemnifying people against misfortune is, in large numbers, a matter of understanding the relevant statistics, the speciality of actuaries. An open profit requirement is a toxic ingredient in such an undertaking, absolutely guaranteed to damage the process. Which is exactly what we see here in the USA.

Everyone should be covered; everyone should be paying a rational proportion of the total cost correlated to their income; and that should be the end of it. The fact is, the open capitalist model is not the best model for everything, and particularly not for those things that are basic to the population's health and education.

It is my opinion that the government should create a fund equal to two years of medical costs as they are known to be today, use that fund to pay the costs for the coming year, and at the end of each year, adjust the taxes to cover the previous year, rinse and repeat. The system will continue to be severely broken until or unless insurance companies are removed from the equation entirely.

Comment: Re:Physical Security Systems (Score 1) 112

by vk-agency (#30454706) Attached to: What Is the State of Linux Security DVR Software?

ok, Multiplexers don't usually have a VGA output, so you are probably working with BNC input CRT monitors, correct?

The DVR has a VGA output that can display 1, 4, 5, 9, 11 or 16 of the cameras at once, as well as a host of status icons. It is controlled with an IR remote. I fed that to a 1:4 VGA buffer/driver/splitter that can drive up to 100 ft of cable per line, and we have four VGA monitors at various places in the building we can look at for a quick update.

There is also a BNC video output with the same content, and we use that right at the DVR when we're setting the output mode with a composite video display. For playback and search, we tend to use the client because the IR remote bounces terribly -- one press is often seen as multiple presses at the DVR, and you're as likely to end up in the wrong menu as not. The IP client is considerably less powerful, but it at least does what you tell it to.

What box do you have? I would need the actual manufacturer and model to help you with any specifics

It's a Luxor, 16 channel as mentioned. OEM labeled with SuperCircuits, so unclear what the Luxor model is, although in the upper right corner of the IP software, it says "Luxor Flagship" which I suppose could be the model. It has an integrated DVD drive for backup, if that helps. Though I think you've probably already answered my question -- no support software except from Luxor (and I already tried them... that's why I know it's ActiveX based - they told me.)

Comment: Re:Physical Security Systems (Score 1) 112

by vk-agency (#30451694) Attached to: What Is the State of Linux Security DVR Software?

Why do you believe you'll get better performance on the Mac?

I don't "believe" it, but I am hoping for a better client at some point, and I'd really like to dump the Windows requirements. I'd be grateful for a better client on Windows, even. I just prefer the Mac, Macs are what we use around here for most things. There's always Parallels, after all.

If you have VGA monitors and splitters something isn't designed correctly.

I'm sorry, what? Are you saying I should parallel the monitors somehow? I'm really not following you here. These monitors are located 50...100 feet from the DVR; I'm not at all sure how you'd do it otherwise. Please enlighten me.

If you use mostly direct monitor viewing, then you probably don't need a client system, unless you need to review stored video.

We do a mix; we use the VGA monitors to allow us to see a 16-camera multiplex (usually), the client lets us grab any one camera at a time on a Windows desktop or some combination if we like. Mostly we let the 16-camera VGA monitor setup serve until we have specific needs. It's a large building, and it isn't always convenient to get to the DVR.

If you have an IE client, use a normal workstation for the search functions only when you need it.

IE... Internet explorer, perhaps? The client is some kind of stand-alone app thingee. Doesn't run in a browser, if that's what you mean.

Most DVRs have a spot/alarm monitor output, which can often be programmed to sequence between camera views.

Yes, the VGA output does this (or can, anyway.) But that doesn't help us with remote playback, search etc., that requires the client. And the client is really pretty miserable.

Comment: Re:Physical Security Systems (Score 1) 112

by vk-agency (#30450718) Attached to: What Is the State of Linux Security DVR Software?

We have a 16-channel security DVR, standalone, purchased from a large security camera vendor, with their OEM label (they didn't make it, but I don't know who did.) It has 16 video inputs, and 16 monitor outputs (for video.) It also has a VGA output. It can be monitored over the network using a Windows/ActiveX client called "J2K D1.31." We use all 16 camera channels.

The network client runs under Windows, and also under Parallels on the Mac. I've been searching for some time for a Mac native or xwindows-portable to Mac solution for some time without any luck at all. Not just to get rid of the Windows machine, though that'd be a blessing -- also to get a better performance client with more tools and options.

If anyone has any tips here, I'd really appreciate it. The client is annoying enough that we do most monitoring using actual VGA monitors driven from splitters. Makes for a lot of extra hardware lying around!

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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