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Comment Curious (Score 1) 359

Uh, it's perfectly possible to be a sociopath and also do good and important things.

The personality part is interesting because it shows that Assange's personality is both what enabled him to accomplish all he did with WikiLeaks, and what sabotaged his efforts to make WikiLeaks into something even bigger and more powerful. His fallings-out with other WikiLeaks people predates much of the external pressure. Based on many sources, he strikes me as a deeply flawed individual who has accomplished great things. It's sad that he has not been able to accomplish more.

My guess is that history will show him as paving the way for Snowden and other future leakers. He'll be remembered more for the way his actions changed the discourse and environment for transparency than for his actual technical accomplishments. His personality will be an afterthought.

Comment Re:Fireworks in 3...2...1... (Score 1) 1251


So now "between and man and a woman" is now "men paired with women." Even you can see those aren't the same thing.

But read up on it. You'll find that there have been Western institutions of pairing a man with multiple women. There have been institutions of pairbonding of men (specifically monks). There have been institutions of spouse ownership. You only have to go back a short way to find that the "traditional marriage" is a fairly recent invention. Again, read Coontz (yes, I know you won't, but she has a hell of a lot more documentation than I'm going to post here).

And hey, if we're going for "tradition," why not go whole-hog? Let's bring in all of the possible traditions. Widows must marry their brothers-in-law. Adulterers must be killed. Anyone who disgraces the family honor must be stoned. These are marriage traditions that go back thousands of years too.

Comment Re:Fireworks in 3...2...1... (Score 1) 1251

I think what we can say is that marriage has been between a man and a woman for thousands of years.

You think wrong. Marriage has been a quite varied institution even within the narrow stricture of "Western" culture over the past few thousand years. A good starting point if you want to learn is Stephanie Coontz's book. But there is a great deal of actual research on the subject, which would be well worth your time to look into.

It has nothing to do with political correctness to point any of this out. It's simple fact.

Comment Re:Missing alternative (Score 1) 587

Somewhere at home, I still have a page ripped from one of the early Byte magazines with an ad for a "Density Doubler" cassette interface for the TRS-80.

It also prominently featured the word "whopping" along with "virtually unlimited storage." I think it would put up to 300kb on a 30 minute tape, and also increased the baud rate to 1000 (the default was 500, unless I'm forgetting).

Those 87kb floppy disks looked small compared to that massive tape capacity!

Comment Re:Missing alternative (Score 1) 587

Same problem here, different platforms. First computer was a TRS-80 with 4kb. Now even my phone has 32Gb, although if you want to get technical about it and talk only RAM, I'd have to go to my notebook which has 16Gb.

I still have a stack of (doubtless unreadable) 180kb and 360kb ssdd and dsdd hard-sectored 40-track floppies in the garage somewhere.

Comment Not a storm, an earthquake (Score 1) 398

The wife took CERT training.

As a result, we've got several layers of preparation: a bug-out bag good for a few days, a bug-out crate that we could get in the car and that would last us a week or two, and smaller stashes in each of our cars. My car is AWD, and I have a winch, spare tire, and empty fuel containers in the back. We have cell phones, crank-operated cell-phone chargers, crank radios, and out of town contacts who will relay messages for us.

There's a generator in the garage with a siphon for gas, although it's never been used. We have a 2.2kW solar array on the roof, which can (with a few shunts) operate off-grid.

There're water purification devices (both electric and hand-pumped) in several kits, in addition to an 80 gallon rain barrel in the back yard.

Then there's the arsenal to defend all this stuff, including both firearms, claymore mines, and more analog stuff for later, like crossbows and trebuchets.

We've hidden caches of food, clothing, medicine, fuel, and ammunition throughout the nearby hills. I have a GPS and spare batteries in each bug-out kit with the coordinates written in waterproof ink on tin sheets.

(While the wife went to CERT training, I went to "How to Sell Your Startup to VCs" training, where I learned to be a pathological liar.)

Comment Coincidence... or not. (Score 2) 112

Over the weekend, I got a lot of spurious charges on the credit card I use for my Linode account. Charges from several different countries, for various amounts that looked like automated "is this card valid?" type probes. The bank shut it down, but not before I got paged a bunch of times.

Then again, the odds are just as good that a waiter at some restaurant uploaded my number to some IRC channel to get back at me for my guest's order being too complicated or something.

Comment Re:As stupid as Rock the Vote (Score 1) 97

How can you possibly cast an informed ballot before the first debate?

You don't serious think that the "debates" are actually debates, do you? If that's where you got your information about the candidates, you're going to be just as ignorant as the people basing their votes on TV News and other scripted sound bites.

Your only reasonable way of assessing a candidate is to look at a) voting records and/or legislation sponsorships as applicable, b) primary campaign funding sources, and c) all the other spin. This gives you some insight into what (if anything) they've done, who they're beholden to, and, lastly, what they want you to think they represent.

Comment Conservatives versus Conservatives (Score 1) 1128

The problem with this study is that it's from the US-ian perspective that lumps several separate and unequal groups into one uncomfortable amalgam. "Conservatives" can be one or more of the following: a) fiscal conservatives (e.g., "Chamber of Commerce Republicans"), b) social conservatives (e.g., the "bring back the pre-60s culture" crowd), c) small-government conservatives (i.e., libertarians), or d) religious lunatics bent on theocracy.

Groups like "d" are going to be fundamentally anti-science, for obvious reasons. Others may or may not be anti-science; for example, libertarians are generally against "big science" funded by the government.

Note that "Liberals" also comprise a similar hodge-podge of groups with different beliefs (some of which share a knee-jerk anti-science response), but that's another topic.

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