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Comment Re:Decriminalization in Light of the Drug War (Score 1) 640

I can't speak to an individual officer's experience.

And it hasn't gotten to the point of military or paramilitary involvement here (in the US) because for the most part, it's still bad guys killing and kidnapping bad guys.

But more than 400 kidnappings in Phoenix in 2008 points to the problem.

Plus, much of the anti-cartel action in Mexico is the same security theater employed by TSA here. It's all for show. Keep the gringos happy about the "War on Drugs."

My point was to show that it is happening here (even if not to the same magnitude, but certainly the same degree), and to call to light the fact that one of the solutions most likely to fix the problem is the legalization of marijuana. When booze was re-legalized, the wheels fell off the gunbattles in the streets of Chicago, the church-basement murders and the rest of what now resembles life as usual in Mexico.

Comment Re:Decriminalization in Light of the Drug War (Score 1) 640

Bullshit. Do a little poking around in San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, LA, Houston, and El Paso, and you'll see very quickly that narco violence is at the same degree in the US as it is in Mexico. Sure, it may not be at the same frequency, but it's getting there.

Drug rips in the form of home invasions are becoming quite common, kidnappings for extortion (drugs or money from other cartels or factions) are very common and good ol' fashioned outright murder is not uncommon at all.

Granted, we don't hear as much about it because often it's badguys killing badguys. When we do, it's usually because some doofus hit the wrong house, or the kidnapee himself was an innocent; possibly only related to a rival.

Cartels are driven by the artificially high prices of drugs (especially marijuana) and fight with eachother either for access to more trade routes, access to more drugs, or shockingly, personal insults and vendettas.

No, no one likes the cartels. But the solution is the same as that which finally brought about the end of the American booze cartels of the 1920's and 1930's.

Qualification: I am a journalist who very often covers narco violence and cartel activities in the US, and northwestern Mexico.

Comment Re:Bye, bye. (Score 1) 881

Translation: "We have tons of traffic on our site that generates no revenue at all, so plans are in place to pare that back to core consumers that support our product."

Seriously, newspapers are faced with a huge problem, and it's not the Internet. They can continue to peddle the dog shit that passes for news these days in an attempt to capture the eyes of everyone cheaply, or they can refine their product to the point it has real value and seek to peddle it to those who can afford to pay for it.

Freeloading traffic to a site is great when you're trying to sell something other than the site itself. In the case of journalism, the information itself is what needs to sell.

Comment Re:I'd love to be plagiarized like this... (Score 1) 132

That traffic brings in absolutely no money at all.

Most national advertisers can do much better campaign-wise than advertising in newspapers or on their Web sites.

And does a flowershop advertising in a paper in in New York (or Phoenix or Chicago) really give a shit if someone in Nebraska glanced at an ad for the flowershop hundreds of miles away?

I think the next step for news agencies is to turn off the Web sites to the public, and only sell content to the people willing to pay well for it.

Industry magazines do it all the time. Last I checked, National Journal was well over $3,000 per year and people were happily paying it.

Who cares if you get a bajillion majillion hits? Click does not equal cash.

Comment Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (Score 1) 349

Which is my point exactly. The original, one-of-a-kind painting is worth a lot more than any large-volume reproduction. Picasso's work is likely still under copyright (whether the term is too long or not is not my subject here).

That allows people to buy/lease rights to make poster reproductions and turn a reasonable profit.

Work I sell at galleries commands much higher prices than machine prints and posters I sell online. But copyright allows me to be the one to determine how that work gets sold. In other words, someone else can't just start making posters of my work and selling it.

Comment Re:Why consider this for academics but not music? (Score 1, Troll) 349

Who modded this insightful? I'm not trolling, but the fact that copyright allows labels to benefit from sales more than artists is THE FAULT OF THE ARTIST for signing away forever and ever rights in exchange for an advance from the label. Especially since today a record label is largely obsolete.

But yeah, ruin it for everyone because you don't like David Geffen or the teeny bopper shitheads who know nothing of the world and are willing to sell what proves to be millions, if not billions, of dollars of music for and advance that works out to be pennies on the dollar, but will slake their beer, coke and hooker binges until they have to keep releasing shitty album after shitty album as indentured servants paying off a lien.

It is copyright that ALLOWS individuals to make a living simply by being creative. How, again, does making a living making some form of art hamper creativity? I hear that all the time, but NO ONE has been able to flesh it out.

Academics (or anyone else) can ALREADY cite papers within their own. When was the last time that someone got sued for a cited quote and an entry for the source of that quote in a bibliography or footnote?

It sucks that stuff costs money, I guess. But take away the profit incentive for people who research, write books, record music, take pictures and make movies and you'll see all of it wane and disappear.

There is a certain amount of creative talent that can emerge when you can dedicate your life to the pursuit of your interest. I get a lot more work done by doing it full time, rather than working at McBurger or Ikea or Lawfirm 1120 and playing in my "spare time."

The solution is to educate people about what copyright is, how it applies to them, and how to use it effectively.

As the US and most industrialized nations shift part of their economies away from manufacturing and raw materials to information, copyright becomes an absolutely more necessary protection for the economy.

I'm not saying it shouldn't be fair, but why shouldn't I have the ability to make money as a photographer because you want to download the new Metallica album for free so that they can "make it up on concerts and t-shirts?"

Comment Re:As a male... (Score 1) 834

I may be prejudiced as a heterosexual male, but women are designed better, or at least more multifunctional, than men. And we chose our mates more on appearance then women do. Perhaps because historically, women wanted men who were hunters and killers. Occupationally, that line of work does not yield pleasant, soft-skinned appearances.

Besides, does anyone of any gender and sexuality actually find the male reproductive apparatus attractive? What about the seemingly random patches of hair that appear all over the place?

When women are active, for the most part, they tone and yet retain visually appealing curves and shapes. When men work out, we get bulky and bulgy.

Certainly men can be attractive, but I think it's more in the face and general appearance and styling than the "complete package."

Women's bodies are multifunctional. Enough strength to perform tasks, and the room and structure to have and support babies.

Men's bodies are bulky with thick bones and big muscles designed for little more than acts of violence, killing prey/rivals and moving heavy objects (like carrying the kill back to camp).

And we have millions of years of evolution (if you're into that kind of thing *wink*) that has prepped us for that, with a very, very tiny fraction of our history where those traits aren't really necessary for the vast majority of men.

Diabetes and other diseases of relative lethargy may be our evolutionary hurdle for adapting to our newfound automation and sedentary ways.

Comment Re:As a male... (Score 1) 834

I'm married, and have no desire for kids. Nor does my wife. We're happy with the committed companionship and the structure of household life, but are completely happy without kids.

It's weird, though, because all our married friends say we'll change our minds about kids. While we're certainly still inside child-bearing age, we're reaching the point where it would be impractical; maybe even dangerous for her or the kid.

And I have lots of family with either one child or, in more cases, no kids regardless of marital status.

This is not to sound prejudicial, but merely to add anecdotal information to the discussion.

I have experienced that the higher earning, more educated and/or more self-employed my peers are, the less likely they are to have and want children.

My wife and I aren't high earners, but she's a journalist and I'm a self-employed freelance photojournalist and documentarian (we never work together). We're also both very "degreed." In another case, a good friend of mine is a doctor. Married 12 years and he and his wife have no kids. Our accountant has been married for over 30 with no kids (no desire to have them), and my engineer neighbor and his wife have one, with no plans for more.

My parents were both highly degreed and well employed and they only had two kids. From a biological standpoint, they replaced themselves and nothing more. Knowing my brother's interests, it's unlikely he'll have kids either. Could be the death of the bloodline.

Conversely, in public and in the field on the job, I notice more people who seem to be of average education and average or below financial means with several children. Children to an extent that high-earners would be unlikely to comfortably afford. I don't know if the kids are their cause for being scrapers-by, or if there is another cause. And I'm not specifically talking about "welfare queens" having kids just for the check.

I have begun to wonder if there isn't some social factor that keeps the more educated and higher-earning folks from wanting children? Certainly, there are exceptions (this isn't even a rule)

And it's not that we're in a huge, sprawling urban area. We're in a city of half a mil, with a total metro population of about 1M.

If my hypothesis holds water, is it a choice thing, or is it an evolutionary thing? The more you're "worth" from a financial and raw material standpoint, the more you consume from a raw material standpoint. Could this be some self-limiting mechanism to keep our human overhead down?

In my work, I have seen people literally living off a few hundred calories per day and a couple bucks per month and expanding their family. It's not a life I'd want to live, but from an evolutionary standpoint, we don't need computers, rocketships and cubicles. We need to pass on our best genes to the next brood. That apparently requires very little resource to do.

Comment Re:Big deal (Score 1) 665

But you do have to have some understanding of what you want done before you can expect any hired expert to fix it appropriately.

You also have to know enough to sort out the good experts from the bad. To use your dental example, it's best to have an understanding of what is involved in a wisdom tooth extraction, and the reasons they might need to be extracted. I was lucky, and had a childhood dentist who recognized that I had a big enough space in my jaw that I could at least let the wisdoms grow in before having them yanked (cheaper and less painful). As it works out, once they were in, he said I could keep them. 15 years later, they're fine. But my new dentist (other guy is long since retired) keeps talking about how I should have them out, despite there being no clinical reason.

It's good to have a cursory knowledge about cars so that you can ask the mechanic pertinent questions and avoid being fleeced.

I know that life has become busier and more complicated at the hands of an ever increasing and more complicated set of tools we use daily, but users must still bear the responsibility of at least a basic understanding of what they're using.

And it can only help. I'm actually quite handy with vehicle diagnostics and repair. I don't do every repair myself, but if the time and tools are there, I'm known to do it myself. And that leaves me money to spend paying someone else to fix the stuff I have no idea about. Like washing machines.

Comment Re:Should there be date stamps on movie DVDs? (Score 1) 274

I have a classical music CD from 1985 or '86 that has had no special treatment other than being kept in its (probably) original case, in the same closet I keep all my other CDs in. It plays perfectly, but I had to check since I made MP3s of it about a decade ago.

I also have photo backup CDs that were authored back when the Nikon D1 was the flagship DSLR (~2001 or so) and they're fine, although they're not really in use as backups anymore.

DVDs that were burned five or so years ago still work.

I think it really comes down to using discs gently, not leaving discs in your car/trunk and, like nearly everything else, limiting UV exposure.

In terms of the new 1,000 year DVD, for the amount of mission critical data I'd need to back up, I'd be looking at tens of thousands of dollars in outlay for the discs. Cheaper, better and more effective to buy an endless stream of the new hard drive of the day and do it that way.

Comment Re:They're asking the wrong questions, as usual. (Score 1) 383

Just wanted to say that I agree with you.

In addition to the BMI hocus-pokery, I really think that we've become too statistically oriented in medicine.

Sure, modern medicine allows us to head-off or cure diseases that even a few decades ago would have been game-enders.

It's good to have an honest, fairly frequent assessment of where you're at physiologically.

But it's probably even more important to maintain a very moderate lifestyle. Eat when you're hungry, drink when you're dry, get a reasonable amount of exercise and spend some time on your ass.

If any of those activities cause problems, you might have a larger, underlying issue; and you definitely need to make some changes.

Listen to your body, above all.

Comment Waste of Time (Score 1) 252

While I understand that attendance is compulsory at this particular university, the courses I took that required attendance here in the states were, with a few exceptions, generally a complete waste of time.

Funny that none of my major or minor courses required attendance (except for project presentation days; my project and other people's), and nearly all of my general education courses did.

And the gen-ed classes were definitely not college level courses. They seemed designed only to help the DIV I athletes float a passing GPA and to keep students in school longer. Most were taught exclusively from the texts (or a book the instructor wrote), and were often taught exclusively by GAs.

While I believe in educational access for everyone, we really need to stop lowering the bar educationally to make 4 year university available to everyone.

If these gen-ed courses were more interesting and challenging, I would have been much more willing (or at least compelled) to attend. Instead, I generally showed up on the first day along with all the Family Sciences majors and football players, and never returned until midterms and finals.

Comment Shenanigans (Score 1) 75

Working journalist here...

Public notices are a Good ThingTM, but there is no real journalistic scrutiny as a result of them appearing in a newspaper; or anywhere else for that matter.

Most of the stuff that's required to print as public notice out here is liquor license applications, articles of incorporation, DUI checkpoint locations and open meeting schedules (not even the minutes).

If I did my job based only on what public notices and press releases I received from the government, I'd never get anywhere at all.

As a journalist, you learn pretty early on that the story usually isn't what the government IS telling you, it's what it ISN'T telling you.

That being said, the government should be required to make public notices available somewhere accessible (general rule of thumb is available at the library and beyond) because people might want to know about a new liquor license being issued or the city council meeting schedule.

But that's not really where the stories come from. It's one of the few remaining "easy money" opportunities for the newspapers.

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