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Comment: Re:Obsessed with keeping government out of busines (Score 1) 289

by youngatheart (#49721407) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

It's different because you can be called to court and/or have your property confiscated if you don't pay for municipal broadband and not even Comcast can do that.

I'm in favor of municipal broadband, and in one of the places where the state decided not to allow it, so I have strong feelings about the stupidity and blatant disregard for the good of the public that has been evidenced by my so called representatives.

Despite my preferences and irritation the difference between government and private enterprise is blindingly obvious.

  • Can Comcast representatives arrest you?
  • Can Verizon seize your property if you don't want to pay for their service?

The idea that

the government entity receives no unfair treatment and has to play by the same rules as every other company

has no basis in reality. Government has rights to force you to do things and private enterprise doesn't. That's what government is.

Comment: Re:New Mexico already has a newspaceport (Score 2) 57

by Teancum (#49673257) Attached to: Construction At SpaceX's New Spaceport About To Begin

Because SpaceX is using the New Mexico spaceport.... too!

That facility is mainly going to be used for R&D testing of their recoverable rocket systems, such as what they've been doing at their Waco facility with the Grasshopper series of flights. At the moment, they are hoping to use one of the rocket cores built for a regular flight and doing the reuse testing in New Mexico... with the much higher altitude flight clearance they can get in New Mexico which simply isn't permitted in central Texas.

Besides, the spaceport in New Mexico is mainly built for sub-orbital flights and doing stuff like launching the Virgin Galactic space planes. Who said it isn't in use?

Comment: Re:Compare an expected cost, to an actual cost? (Score 3, Insightful) 57

by Teancum (#49673213) Attached to: Construction At SpaceX's New Spaceport About To Begin

left the US with no manned launch capability and no heavy lift rockets Let's hope history will not repeat itself.

What is to compare here? This is a private launch facility that will likely never see any crews launch from this location, as it will be mainly commercial communications satellites and a few other commercial payloads that will be flying from Texas. It is also being built with mostly (but certainly not exclusively) private funds with the idea that the company building this facility will use it to earn a healthy profit from its activities.

There is no history to actually repeat in this situation, other than following the history of other commercial launch endeavors that simply went bankrupt. SpaceX, on the other hand, seems to be profitable and doesn't show signs at the moment of even struggling to make payroll. Far from struggling to make ends meet, they are doing some serious capital expenditures to expand their existing business. This launch facility in Texas is proof that SpaceX plans on increasing their launch rate considerably over the next decade or more.

+ - The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden - journalist Seymor Hersh tells a different story

Submitted by zedaroca
zedaroca writes: Pulitzer-winning journalist Seymour M. Hersh wrote on London Review of Books a 10.000 words piece on the killing of Osama Bin Laden, quoting American and Pakistani officials. According to his piece, the US had intelligence and operational help from Pakistan (by getting out of the way).

It began with a walk-in. In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIA’s station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad.


Kayani eventually tells us yes, but he says you can’t have a big strike force. You have to come in lean and mean. And you have to kill him, or there is no deal,’ the retired official said. The agreement was struck by the end of January 2011, and Joint Special Operations Command prepared a list of questions to be answered by the Pakistanis: ‘How can we be assured of no outside intervention? (...)

So far, at least NBC has backed up part of Hersh's report.

+ - Rand Paul Will Filibuster PATRIOT ACT Reauthorization-> 1

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike writes: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said this week that he intends to mount a fight against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the post-Sept. 11 law that gives the National Security Agency much of its authority to conduct surveillance programs.

"I'm going to lead the charge in the next couple of weeks as the Patriot Act comes forward. We will be filibustering. We will be trying to stop it. We are not going to let them run over us," Paul told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Monday.

The Patriot Act expires June 1, but Congress must effectively renew the law by May 22nd because of a scheduled weeklong break. Paul, a civil libertarian who hopes to capture the 2016 Republican nomination for president, has consistently spoken against reauthorizing the law, going so far as to oppose a 2014 bill that would have ended controversial NSA phone record collection because it left the government's broad authority to conduct surveillance intact.

Link to Original Source

+ - World's Most Dangerous Driving Simulator->

Submitted by agent elevator
agent elevator writes: Lawrence Ulrich at IEEE Spectrum has an interview with the maker of a simulator for professional racers, the $54,000 Motion Pro II from CXC Simulations. It conveys amazingly fine sensations including: the feel of the car's tires wearing out or the car lightening as its fuel dwindles. It also has the kick to make you really feel a crash: “If you hit the wall in an Indy Car and don’t take your hands off the wheel, you’ll break your wrists... Our wheel is a one-to-one replication of that, but we don’t turn it up that high. It’s the first time we’ve been able to replicate racing forces so high that it introduces liability questions.”
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 302

by youngatheart (#49634853) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

Many times I've given a ride to someone I didn't know. Sometimes, it has been somewhere I wasn't planning to go. I've been the kind of person who doesn't ask for anything in return, but I don't think it would have been immoral (or against the law.) If I had, should I have been legally obligated to get the same insurance as a taxi company?

I suspect the reasonable difference between doing something for someone as a favor to be repaid, and doing something as a job, would be "obligation."

If I agreed to do transport because it was my job is obviously a taxi service. Compare that to agreeing to take someone somewhere with reasonable payment. There is a difference between being acting as a taxi service and being a reasonable guy. The question I have is: Does an Uber driver have an obligation or are they agreeing without obligation to do something?

Comment: Re: Good (Score 1) 302

by youngatheart (#49634741) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

Do they though?

A taxi is in service when they are in a company car and obligated to take work, while an Uber driver doesn't share that obligation.

That's a significant difference... but maybe I'm wrong about the difference between an Uber driver and a taxi driver. I'm interested if you have documentation you can cite to show they have the same obligations?

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 302

by youngatheart (#49634731) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

Claiming "I'm not a taxi company" while providing exactly the same services as one is disingenuous at best, and outright fraud at worst.

Do they?

I've never used Uber, and I don't have all the necessary information to make the call myself. Do taxi's have an obligation to provide a service without putting themselves "on the job" and Uber drivers have an obligation to provide service or is it only when they decide to take a job?

I suspect the problem that KS is struggling with is that taxi drivers are obligated to do things while they're in service (pick up someone) that Uber drivers aren't (they don't have to take fares.)

If there is a difference between the obligations of an Uber driver and a taxi driver, then it is reasonable to expect them to be subject to different laws, but if they have the same obligations, then it is fair to expect them to be subject to the same laws.

Does an Uber driver logging in to an app have the same obligations as a taxi driver? That's the key issue and I really am looking forward to a well documented answer.

Comment: Re:Sounds completely reasonable (Score 1) 302

by youngatheart (#49634661) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

Continuing your tradition of replying to yourself with another thought: Does logging into Uber's driver app mean you're at work?

Requiring commercial insurance when you're driving a stranger for money makes sense, but I believe Uber already does that. Requiring commercial insurance when you log into an app isn't something that affects anyone but Uber. After commenting I realized the key idea here is obligation. Until I clock in at work, I don't have an obligation to work. It is reasonable that I should abide by work rules and laws concerning my work when I have an obligation to be working. When I have no obligation to be working, then it is reasonable that I don't have a legal obligation to do extra things required when I am working.

Help me out here: Does an Uber driver have an obligation to do work when they log into the app? I think it's reasonable to require commercial insurance when obligated to do work. Do Uber drivers have that obligation when they log into the App and does Kansas' new law recognize the difference between an Uber driver who isn't obligated to do work and one who does?

Comment: Re:Sounds completely reasonable (Score 1) 302

by youngatheart (#49634609) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

Thanks for giving me the feeling I'm not alone in wanting to identify my governmental philosophy as libertarian but finding the general portrayal of that term distasteful.

I'm a hacker and I'm a libertarian but I'm not okay with engaging in illegal activities and I'm not okay with anarchy. By the common interpretation, if I call myself a hacker then I'm saying I'm doing something illegal and if I call myself a libertarian then I'm saying I'm against all government and law. I don't really care about the words themselves, but I do wish there were simple words to say I exercise my legally protected freedom to use the things I own to accomplish things they weren't designed for, and I believe the role of government should be to protect freedom, particularly where freedom of individuals is conflict. (I can commit murder without consequence is freedom that conflicts with the freedom of my neighbor [who has it coming] to live and make [irritating] choices.)

The role of government in my view, is to protect the public from choices people make that inhibit the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. The role of law in my view, is to make it possible to identify instances where the individual cannot be permitted freedom to make choices that will keep others from having freedom.

I think that if I were seated with the founding fathers at a table where we all had a chance to speak, they'd agree with my simple ideas and dismiss my contributions as so basic as to not warrant further discussion. If I could then spend a couple hours describing the outcomes of their decisions (and actually convince them that the future I come from is real,) then I think they would feel both proud and dismayed.

After discussing the issue KS is dealing with, I think they'd say that the idea of correcting the law so that it is applicable to everyone is noble, but the idea that people are responsible for actions that fail to directly involve participating is one that should be carefully and very specifically limited.

Logging into an app doesn't mean you're working unless it comes with an obligation to do specific work.

Comment: Re:Uber cars not covered by insurance (Score 1) 302

by youngatheart (#49634463) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

I really like the choice of analogy. I've never used Uber and don't expect to anytime soon, but I'm torn between wanting people to act responsibly (have reasonable insurance) and wanting to see stupid bureaucratic laws (you're commercial because that prevents competition) improved to be understandable and reasonable.

I believe there are a lot of US citizens like me who engage in and abstain from behaviors because it is critical to our employment while we're not actively doing the work we're paid to do. I went to bed early last night because I needed to in order to perform well at my job, got up early today, and I bathed, and I stayed sober, and I drove to work and I took an elevator and I logged into my computer but only then did I start to be considered "doing my job" even though everything leading up to that point was necessary to perform my work. Up until I logged into my computer at my job, I don't think my employer would assume any liability for anything happening to me. It is at that point which I would consider myself at work and I think the law would consider me at work. If I were a chef, I don't think the definition would change at all.

Uber drivers are apparently considered to be at work by this law even before they get to the point when they're actually doing the thing they get paid to do, unlike my situation where I'm not at work until I'm actually prepared to begin doing the thing I get paid to do. That strikes me as unfair.

Sticking to the chef analogy, lets say I'm a freelance private chef, which I think is a pretty good parallel. The expectation I'd have for my job is that I'd get paid starting at the time when I arrive at my destination and am ready to begin cooking. That leaves out the drive to the location, the shopping and planning prior and any semblance of sobriety I felt obligated to maintain. Apparently if I work in Kansas as a freelance private chef, however, I'm on the hook for being on the job from the moment I open my email to see if I have any jobs today.

No job works like that. Cab drivers are on the job when they get in the company vehicle and turn on the dispatch radio, but Uber drivers aren't in a company vehicle and logging into the app is the equivalent of me checking my email.

I grok the problem Kansas is trying to resolve: Kansas requires specific things in order to participate in a market in order to keep the public safe and Uber is not participating in that market in the expected manner and so didn't expect to have to follow the rules that didn't seem to affect the parts of the market they weren't participating in. When you have a situation where the laws don't fit the behavior and you think the laws should be applicable, it is absolutely correct to modify the laws.

So I'm happy to see Kansas taking the approach they have to a problem of legal loopholes by closing the loopholes. At the same time, I'm concerned that in the process, they're also eroding the freedom to engage in commerce without an unreasonable legal burden. If the same thing happened to freelance chefs, they'd go from being able to provide a reasonable service at a reasonable price to being out of business with no gain to the public.

If an Uber driver isn't actively doing something they're paid to do, why are they forced by legislation to do something nobody else logging into an app is forced to do?

I honestly believe that the answer to my question is: This is to use the law to create an artificially high barrier to participating in this type of activity in order to protect the status quo at the cost of the public good. I'm interested to see any better explanations.

Comment: Re:Silly (Score 1) 118

by youngatheart (#49545627) Attached to: Swallowing Your Password


In this scenario, you have a public key and a private key embedded, you identify yourself with the public key and the validating system encrypts something with that public key, then passes you the result which you can then decrypt only by using your private key.

Ergo: "pass on a piece of information describing yourself to another party without that party having to know that information already to validate it" and also prohibiting the possibility of a replay.

The key to PKI is that you can encrypt something for me that you cannot decrypt but I can.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"