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Comment Re:So I have to walk out and not have it at the do (Score 1) 207

The logic is that if I have to put my inclement-weather clothing on and go outside, I may as well do something besides argue with a machine over a pizza. One big advantage of delivery pizza is that I can get it without going outside. If I still have to get bundled up, I may as well get something healthier.

Comment vengeance gradient tunnel vision (Score 1) 152

When the Bible says God made man in his image, it doesn't draw special attention to how God configured the more primitive elements of the human brain such that man was predestined to make our punitive system Old Testament primitive.

There's a memforyless version of justice: do the crime, do the time, get kicked back out into society with no lingering black marks, to sin again or not. This is a nice version of justice because no process treads overtly on free will.

Of course, when a previously convicted sex offender claims his next victim, this model offers little consolation to the inflamed amygdala.

So then we add a term to the equation where the punishment itself has memory, and we naturally set the bar such that the second egregious offence leads to permanent incarceration (or the state entering the business of murdering its own citizens—whatever the perp deserves, there's good reason to think long and hard about the state entering the murder business through yet another door).

Only now we have a circulating army of hardened, motivated cop killers (none of whom sees any upside at all in being captured alive for a second time).

So then we add back into the system a pretense of ongoing slope: hormonal young males convicted of the most severe forms of aggravated assault have no hope of release until middle age has dulled the biochemistry.

For a lesser category of assault, the second conviction is pretty harsh: 20 years—a somewhat palatable number to the victim's family at time of sentencing, but with a hope of parole in half that time (presumptively a large enough glimmer of hope to alleviate rampant cop killing. The victim's family generally have their vengeance dials set to +infinity, but there's maybe 1% of their brain able to grasp that 20 years as "a long time", and so we appease this 1%, as it's the only grounds for compromise available (see God: humanity baked—God eventually sends Jesus to remind humanity that this 1% was not a design accident; 2000 years later, this imperative message from on high is withering on the vine, and in dire need of a booster shot).

Of course, it's not possible to practice actual forgiveness&mashmassive fly in the heaven-endorsed ointment—without creating the possibility that the person forgiven will offend again (with terrible, permanent consequences).

"Well, if only you could predict future behaviour," hisses the snake in the garden.

So we enter the God business, and convene panels or algorithms to assign consequences to people for actions they have yet to commit (because we think they probably might).

Abandon free will, all ye who enter here. There's no other way to slice it.

We can soften the blow of Thoughtcrime Incorporated by not applying it to first-time offenders. Loss of free will now becomes a consequence of your first conviction, should you continue to commit crime.

Our justice system being far from perfect, if you take away free will from first time offenders, you have 100% certainty that the state will remove free will from the totally innocent (and not such a small population, at that—hugely biased toward social groups already disadvantaged).

God has a big problem, now. We're not likely to believe the virgin birth story a second time (it caused more than a few gasps and chuckles the first time around). How does he now send a second, major, corrective message? How does He soberly inform humanity that much of crime stems from self-perpetuating social circumstance, and that humanity would be way further ahead mitigating those circumstances, than parsing recidivism after the four horsemen of violent crime have already escaped the barn?

God puzzled over this for a long time (a very long time, by His standards) and here's what he decided: 600 years ago, He sent us QED. It was just a tiny tweak to our underlying OS, compatible with all previous data, and yet creating whole new possibilities, such as the transistor and the laser.

Now at last, humanity could properly gird its loins against its baked-in brain stem. The derivatives of vengeance, of course, not getting any smaller. But other derivatives, of society in the large, shall eventually gain an equal and offsetting foothold in the analysis of staggeringly large empirical data sets.

While Jesus' message found a ready audience right away, it took much longer to achieve broad acceptance (as generously measured by the proxy of weekly lip service).

Likewise, while the big-data future already walks among us, this will be a long process, too.

Even since that one week long ago of extremely hasty business, God swore off napkin-design efforts for all time. Two hundred years is the new day—a re-calibration factor on heavenly haste in the range of 75,000:1. (God might have overshot the mark just a titch, but good on Him for read and react.) QED was delivered to humanity in the second (long) week after Christ (circa the 15th century CE, just before Copernicus inaugurated a wave of celestial observation that would have precluded this kind of quiet, unnoticed, cosmic microcode update). We're now roughly at day three of the QED era—600 years later—and God's QED moral-imperative enlightenment message is finally starting to cook with gas.

Of course, in the overlap, this transistor business was destined to be applied to the old moral code—with entirely predictable results.

Into every nativity story, just add Santa, and stir. Don't mess with your traditions, or anything, we surely wouldn't want that. In the long run, big data is less about Santa, and more about Jesus, should the species survive to get there.

Comment Compensation for tax code losers? (Score 1) 261

There are in fact people whose taxes will go up, big-time, as a result of the new tax code.

One group that will get it in particular are Apple employees in California.

California has high state taxes, high property taxes, and high housing prices which lead to high mortgages and high interest payments on them.

All of those used to be deductible on federal taxes.

All of those deductions are either eliminated, or capped at a level that bites California residents hard.

People with Apple engineer level salaries will see their federal taxes go up by thousands next year.

Apple may be in part cushioning this blow.

Comment Re:It's their fault! (Score 1) 127

True. And that's why Jesus and Christianity have lasted for thousands of years. The irony is that those who try to teach such things are hated the most, especially by those who (again, ironically) think they are so smart.

Most of the European and US conquerors that have been mentioned were Christian. (France isn't officially, but in practice is. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were not. The conquistadors were Catholic. While there have been Christians with empathy for outsiders (also true of other religions), it hasn't been the majority position over most of history.

Comment Re: No need for it any more (Score 1) 284

The US federal government is explicitly allowed to have an army. It just can't get appropriations for more than two years each. The Founders were indeed worried about the oppression potential of armies (navies are a lot harder to use for oppressing populations), but realized a Federal army would be needed.

Comment Re:The problem with NN is... (Score 1) 342

The decision affects state government and people in states. States have the standing to sue whatever harms their residents, and the AGs are the people that start and run the lawsuits. Standing is not an issue here.

The lawsuit claims that a Federal decision was made outside the legally ordained processes, and is therefore invalid according to Federal law. The validity of that can be determined by Federal courts.

While the Internet is clearly interstate commerce, and therefore under soley Federal jurisdiction, ISPs typically operate locally, and therefore may well be subject to state law. Again, the courts will have to figure that out.

Comment Re:So who are those Attorney Generals? (Score 1) 342

Recently, most of the hyper-partisan stuff has been on the Republican side. Consider the Merrick Garland nomination.

If both parties just concentrated on taking opposing positions, then the positions themselves would be irrelevant, and nobody would campaign on issues as opposed to "our team". That isn't happening.

Comment Re:Another step (Score 1) 72

Neither? Really? You'd honestly prefer to have a 50% chance of having to wait longer to get your information?

Load times for web sites are now under a second - over 100ms is considered slow. I honestly couldn't care less if two sites that are otherwise equally ranked end up sending me to the one that loads in 500ms instead of 50ms.

You must not look at very many web sites. There are plenty with load times of multiple seconds, even on a very fast connection.

What about other characteristics of bad sites? They can be slow, ugly, spammy, malware-laden.

A site that is spammy or malware-laden shouldn't make it into the search index at all. A site that is ugly may still have useful information - and often ugliness correlates quite strongly with utility for technical web pages, so I'd be very unhappy if a search engine decided that I wanted to look at pretty and information-light sites instead.

Information-light sites would score lower on content, so the ugliness factor wouldn't even come into play.

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