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Comment Re:Class Difference (Score 1) 671

The United States DOES have the *lowest* levels of economic mobility in all of the western world.

It is not a caste system, but it is most closely resembling it amongst "European" countries.

The highest mobility occurs in places like Denmark and Norway, where your parent's education and income has a startlingly low correlation with your future income (where the correlation is almost linear in the US). Places like France and Canada fall somewhere halfway in the middle...

Food for thought.

Comment This just in (Score 1) 640

This just in.....

It is STILL over 1000 times more dangerous to have a backyard swimming pool than an airport that gets hit with a bomb every 20 years.

Perspective, people....

Tragedy, yes. Bad people, yes.

ZOMGWTF, hide the kids! No.

Comment Re:Low success rate? (Score 1) 205

Actually, given the massive money spent to build and promot the AMBER alerts, a substantial number (as in 1000%) more children would have been saved from death by spending that money on things like pool safety enforcement, suicide prevention, automobile safety, industrial chemical disposal regulations, etc.

I saw a study a few years ago, that the number of billions of dollars spent on the AMBER alert system would have been more than 10x as effective in almost 30 different government programs at preventing childhood death and serious harm. Sports accidents, car accidents, cancer, poisoning, pool accidents, natural disasters. These are all substantially more risky to children than abduction, but the 5000 kids who die of drowning in swimming pools each year don't make it on the evening news, so they don't seem to matter.

Of course, actually saving kids wouldn't quite placate the Nancy Grace "ZOMG the poor abducted children" crew quite as effectively. They are about sensationalism, not actually helping society.

Sigh.

The reality is "if it was only one child" argument is a red herring, because it indicates "if we didn't do this, we wouldn't do anything". In reality, it is a bunch of competing interests and we have to choose the optimal one. It's not a choice of "this or nothing" but often proponents of these silly programs pitch it that way to garner public sympathy.

I think AMBER alerts are terrible, a waste of money, and merely a balm for busybodies who want the self-affirmation of "helping children" or "catching perverts" when really, we're just chasing after a bunch of jealous boyfriends and ex-husbands most of the time anyway.

Comment Re:Low success rate? (Score 1) 205

Actually, given the massive money spent to build and promot the AMBER alerts, a substantial number (as in 1000%) more children would have been saved from death by spending that money on things like pool safety enforcement, suicide prevention, automobile safety, industrial chemical disposal regulations, etc.

I saw a study a few years ago, that the number of billions of dollars spent on the AMBER alert system would have been more than 10x as effective in almost 30 different government programs at preventing childhood death and serious harm. Sports accidents, car accidents, cancer, poisoning, pool accidents, natural disasters. These are all substantially more risky to children than abduction, but the 5000 kids who die of drowning in swimming pools each year don't make it on the evening news, so they don't seem to matter.

Of course, actually saving kids wouldn't quite placate the Nancy Grace "ZOMG the poor abducted children" crew quite as effectively. They are about sensationalism, not actually helping society.

Sigh.

Comment Re:Did You Even Read the Article? (Score 2) 237

I would suggest that anything that can survive the highly oxidizing environment of an oxygen-saturated solvent at -100C in pitch darkness is probably not going to last long in the ion-saturated solar heated environment of the upper atmosphere, even if it were to escape.

But that is presuming that there is sufficient pressure to force fresh water through miles of solid ice at -100C temperatures without freezing anyway, which there probably isn't.

Even if there is, I would wager that they thought of this and have a "stopper" of sorts in place.

Of course, I would have figured that TransOcean would have put one on their oil rigs too, and we know how that turned out.

Comment Re:Look Up (Score 4, Insightful) 237

Except that's not even true.

His approval ratings are higher than Bush or Carter, he has had more victories for his agenda than most presidents in the first two years, has an astoundingly high approval rating OUTSIDE of the US, certainly higher than Bush and even Reagan during his first two years.

While the health care thing is probably a non-ideal solution, it is apparently too painful for republicans to realize that it was an almost exact copy of the bill originally drafted by Bob Dole and rejected by democrats for being "too conservative". Frankly, it sounds like partisan hackery or talking-point-itis to claim he's the most incompetent president on record.

Comment Re:double standard (Score 1) 611

uhm, it is not a pseudo-random in a true sense. The number generator is DESIGNED to output only a fraction of the input.

It's also true that some machines are set to higher numbers than others in order to attract attention.

They intentionally change the odds on you on the fly when they need to collect more money. Of course, this is regulated by a minimum percentage by most gaming boards, but there is no upper limit. It might be in a casino's favor to put a machine that pays out over 100% sometimes near a high traffic area to attract attention. Of course, they can change the odds at will, and probably often do.

But when the odds go against them, rather than being strictly under their control, it's a federal offense.

Comment Re:Sounds kinda French (Score 1) 535

Your post was pretty insightful until the last sentence.

The US is still in the top 10 percentile of "right leaning" countries. The Obama administration would be conservative by the standards of almost any other western democracy, and a far right wing conservative by the standards of some.

Comparing the US to China or Cuba makes the rest of your post shrivel and stink.

Comment Re:I have to deal with this all the time.... (Score 1) 945

The problem here is that SEVEN carriers carry almost all traffic in the US. Most smaller cities are only served by four or less.

If you live in Portland, you have three choices in peering. All of them are large corporations. If those three decide to block your traffic, you have no recourse other than to leave the state, or invest $100 billion in creating a new backbone, and then arrange peering agreements with all of these companies AND provide direct connectivity to the content you want published.

The problem isn't necessarily Fox News, because they have a substantial demographic, but rather, for smaller groups. Sure, it is nice to think about blocking the KKK or something similar, but what about other somewhat fringe groups like radical libertarians. The first amendment says the government cannot prevent their speech, but what if three major backbone companies decide to restrict it? They are effectively wiped away. There is no "soap box" if you are compelled to stay inside your "virtual" house by corporate owners.

The government stepped in (rightly) when the 19th centry mega-corporations began to dictate local laws with their wholly-owned corporate shantytowns, where employees were required to live.

But in a digital era, when more jobs are going online and most communication is online, a corporation restricting speech is just as dangerous as the government doing it, because the corporation is the de-facto government of the internet, by the nature of their control over its traffic...

Unless there is some rule that says otherwise.

I regard net neutrality akin to the first amendment or the anit-monopoly laws in "meat space". They are simply that important.

Comment Re:The evil "American Right"... (Score 1) 945

Socially, America is in the 90th percentile of "right" leaning countries.

There are plenty of issues where it falls "extreme right" in the midst of few peers, such as Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.

There are other issues where the US is "center" by the rest of the world's standards (not just talking Europe). There are virtually NO issues where the US falls left of center by a global standard.

Just sayin...

Comment Re:Not news, and not a simple debt collection, eit (Score 1) 115

Well, this is understood, but how do you do that?

This guys was forging documents from his circuit agreements and things. You can't call Verizon to ask about someone else's account. You have to rely on the documentation the colo gives you.

I would bet that at least one of those 300 customers had asked for proof of current accounts and things like that and was provided such (fradulently) by the colo owner.

It's too bad they had to be pulled in. It seems to me that the FBI could have made an effort to clone the systems and at least return some of it.

The CPU/RAM/Motherboard of the systems in question is NOT of value to the investigation, other than for leverage and fear and financial detriment.

The companies who had their systems taken would probably have not balked at all if the servers had been returned in a week, without drives. I'd wager they may even pay the costs of having the drives forensically duplicated so they could get their stuff back online. That is much cheaper than the business loss that was a result.

Of course, everyone should do backups, etc. It just seems rather strong-arm to take that much equipment, including power strips, cabinets, rack mounting gear, third party documentation and the like.

Comment Re:Not news, and not a simple debt collection, eit (Score 1) 115

It is old news, yes. But tell that to the 300 OTHER businesses who had their equipment siezed, 100 of which subsequently went out of business, likely at least partially as a result of this FBI action.

Seizing the power strips and cabinets and even the books full of system documentation from OTHER COMPANIES not involved in the fraud, other than to be physically located near the suspected fraud.

That's the news, if you ask me.

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