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Comment: Re:Probable cause (Score 4, Insightful) 208

by jc42 (#47419055) Attached to: Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On

I have nothing to hide, except the pron from my wife (she found it already) so why would I care what the FBI does? They aren't going to act on any of this unless these people actually plan to do something criminal and in that case, they should.

If you think you have nothing to hide, you should probably spend a bit of time studying the history of the FBI. Leading an exemplary life has never been a protection from them, if they suspect you may be part of whatever conspiracy is popular at the time. A few decades ago, it was Communists, and having no connection to any Communist organization was never protection from them or their colleagues in organizations like HUAC. It's quite clear that the "anti-terrorist" push nowadays is no more concerned with whether you have anything to hide; if they need a scapegoat and you're handy (perhaps because your name is vaguely like some name on one of their lists), they'll go after you and make your life a hell on Earth.

Having "nothing to hide" is one of the most naive misconceptions going around, and has been for at least a century. Dig into the history of the FBI and assorted other similar organizations. Google can find a lot of it for you. Then come back and tell us again whether you have anything to hide.

(And they probably already have a copy of your pron collection, added to their own. ;-)

Comment: I wish there were more stories like this (Score 4, Insightful) 88

by damn_registrars (#47413941) Attached to: The Billionaire Mathematician
Unfortunately, very few people who complete a PhD in this country go on to acheive much financially. Even as the chair of a math department his salary was dwarfed by that paid to the football coach of the same university. It is sad that research pays so poorly in this country in spite of its great benefits.

Comment: This should surprise nobody (Score 1) 341

by damn_registrars (#47412433) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies
The insurance industry has owned Washington for some time now. Naturally they would be able to get away with this kind of invasion of privacy with zero backlash. In 2010 the insurance industry started cashing in on their investment by pushing through the ACA bill, but that is only the start of it.

Comment: What happened to Scheme? (Score 3, Interesting) 394

by damn_registrars (#47410417) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language
The overwhelming majority of CSci graduates that I have known started undergrad by learning Scheme. IIRC that language was actually built for the purpose of teaching the fundamentals of programming. Why was it replaced (beyond the fact that hardly anyone in the real world uses it)?

Comment: Re:Hello Americans (Score 1) 329

by jc42 (#47404073) Attached to: On 4th of July:

being assholes is the america way

Now, now; that's a feature of humanity that's spread quite evenly throughout all societies. Yes, it's the American way, but it's also the British way and the Italian way and the Iranian way and the Chinese way and the Tahitian way and ...

Americans have no particularly valid claim on assholeness (assholicity? assholitude?). Look around yourself, and if you don't see any, it's probably because it's you.

Comment: Re:It's Okay (Score 1) 688

by jc42 (#47396623) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

Over here in the US, the fascist conservatives equate anything not as fascist as them to be socialists.

Actually, here in the US not one person in a million can tell you anything at all about what fascism stood for. The term is now just one of a growing list of political insult terms with no actual content.

Of course, the fraction of Americans who can actually define socialism or liberalism or any other -ism isn't much larger than one in a million. Such terms are really just the modern equivalent of tribal names. You're expected to hate anyone with a label different from yours, but you're not expected to actually know the meaning of any of the labels. Once you understand this situation, American political rhetoric becomes much more comprehensible.

Comment: Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (Score 0) 200

by jc42 (#47391053) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Ridiculous? As a pilot I don't want people's toys flying around in my airspace. Hit a plane and there's a real chance you'll kill someone.

If you're a pilot who's "airspace" includes a volume in which a fireworks display is scheduled, please informs us of that fact, because I don't think I'd ever want to be a passenger in a plane controlled by a pilot like you. The possibility that your plane might hit a drone would be the least of my worries. ;-)

Comment: Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (Score 1) 200

by jc42 (#47391043) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Read about the new ridiculous rules the FAA imposed about drones...

Until some moron flys one into the path of a commercial airliner, small plane, or helicopter, and people die - than it's "why isn't the FAA doing something about this?"

Rules won't stop someone from doing that because it's obviously intended to try to hurt someone. I say try because in a battle between a jet engine with the power to push 400 tons of steel into the sky VS a drone I'm going to put my money on the jet engine lasting long enough for them to turn around and land again.

Wait; there were jet aircraft flying through the fireworks display's volume? How did the drone miss getting a picture of that? That'd have been really fun to watch, especially when the fireworks started hitting the airplane.

(Given that there was a fireworks display going on in that airspace at the time, I'm kinda doubtful that there were any pilots in the area who weren't well aware of them. And I also sorta doubt that there were any children running around under the fireworks. That's usually strongly discouraged at fireworks displays, and this one was over water. ;-)

Comment: Who designed this one? (Score 1) 245

by damn_registrars (#47383683) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E
The model E looks awful in comparison to what we've seen from Tesla so far. The Roadster, the S, and the X are all great looking cars. The E looks like it was co-designed by Nissan or Kia. If they shortened the E by around a foot by lowering the roof line it would look much better.

I do like the idea of finally seeing a RWD sedan for $30k or less for sale in this country again, though. The big 3 have been completely ignoring this market for a long time and the Asian car makers have basically never even acted as though it ever existed.

Comment: Re:So what you're saying... (Score 1) 66

by damn_registrars (#47379391) Attached to: Why capitalism works

Is the presumption then that natural market forces (ie, not regulations from governmental forces) will prevent the employers from either colluding against employees or from buying each other out?

The presumption is that due to differing currencies between markets, with such small governments, there will be natural monopolies or oligarchies of single industrymen and maybe an apprentice or two. And that the control will be social- you are not likely to cheat a neighbor that you have to continue to live with.

The last part, which I put in bold, seems overly optimistic to me. I'm not sure that social pressure was ever a solid deterrent for cheating one's neighbors.

Now whether separate currencies will help to suppress it is another matter. I'm not sure though how a large country such as the US, which presently has one currency, could realistically split up into a large number of city-states where each has their own. The division of the country does not seem that outlandish but the division of the currency seems like a big problem.

It would seem that you would eventually end up with markets where > 90% of the population is involved in food production or trades that exist to aid in the same. To me that seems to operate counter to the types of gains in efficiency that we have tended to celebrate in the past century or so.

Yes, and that's the point. Efficiency reduces the number of jobs available drastically, and centralizes ownership of first level maslow industries such as food, shelter, clothing. This is a great thing for the few centralized aristocrats, but a negative thing for consumers and workers.

I'm not sure that the loss of efficiency is a net gain for many people. While it would put a lot of people to work would it not also leave a lot of people to find themselves in jobs with no demand? If everyone is producing food, shelter, and clothing, then what happens to the demand for computer programmers (for example)? To me it seems that you are calling for a deterioration of society as we know it (I don't mean simply by reduction of that one job that I specified but others as well).

Comment: Re:What's your argument? (Score 1) 9

Minimum wage is supposed to be a reflection of the cost of living (not necessarily enough to fully cover the cost of living, but enough to be a meaningful step towards is). This of course makes a federal minimum wage fairly useless for many parts of the country as minimum wage is not even remotely close to the cost of living, but the idea is to try to at least give working people (of course you've demonstrated plainly your disdain for working people in the past) a chance to try to exist.

So while Walmart is, in that town, paying quite a bit more than the federal minimum wage, they are not actually paying a wage that is in any way adequate for someone to live there. Put it another way, if the cheapest room you can possibly rent in town is $2,000 per month and the only job you can find in that town pays $1,500 a month would you take that job or go look elsewhere for work?

That said Walmart is known for keeping large number of people (ie, its own employees) on food stamps across the country (and beyond as well).

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