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Comment Re:Hey US... (Score 5, Funny) 650

Maybe Snowden should go to China. Now, if the US places sanctions on China, that would be funny.

The sanctions law will probably be so hastily/poorly written that if Snowden ever returns to the US, the US will have to sanction itself :-)

[ If we could ever harness the power of all our politicians' knees jerking, all our energy problems would be solved... ]

Comment Re:High risk (Score 3, Interesting) 390

Then you've never heard of the CAN bus, which is in use on every car produced since 1996. You'd have to avoid anything with obvious wireless access, which means no lock/unlock/panic/remote start systems, and likely not even a car radio since many are on the bus as well.

No, ODB-II was mandated on every new car sold in the US starting in 1996. CAN didn't gain mass adoption for quite a while yet (I have a 2001 with out it and just replaced a 2004 not too long ago that didn't have it).

All of the things you listed as not being possible without CAN were also around long before CAN (and well before ODB-II (though entirely unrelated) was mandated).

Even for the cars that are built today, there are still a fair number that do not have any wireless access to the bus (e.g. cars without OnSTAR or the like). I just bought one in fact. The wireless access was his concern and he still has plenty of options to avoid that while still having all the other benefits of a CAN based car.


Norwegian Town Using Sun-Tracking Mirrors To Light Up Dark Winter Days 143

oritonic1 writes "During their long, cold winters, the Norwegian town of Rjukan doesn't enjoy much by way of daylight—so the town (population 3,386), installed three giant sun-tracking mirrors to shine a steady light over a 2000 square foot circle of the town square. From Popular Mechanics: 'Call it a mood enhancer. Or a tourist attraction. But the mirrors, which will be carried in via helicopter, will provide an oasis of light in an otherwise bleak location at the center of the 3500-population town. Three mirrors with a total surface area of about 538 square feet will sit at an angle to redirect winter sun down into the town, lighting up over 2150 square feet of concentrated space in the town square. A similar idea exists in the Italian village of Viganella, which has used brushed steel to reflect light since 2006.'"

Comment Re:Hey... (Score 3, Interesting) 248

If Dish Network want to re-broadcast something, they need permission. If they want to alter it, creating a derivative work for commercial use, they need further permission.

I don't know how Dish works currently, but when I had their service the receiver hooked up to a antenna for OTA bradcast TV, separate from the satellite dish. Dish Network was not rebroadcasting it.

And if fast-forwarding through a copy of some content that you possess (whatever its origin) is "creating a derivative work", then anyone using any sort of reference book who doesn't start reading it from the beginning each time is screwed.

I used to have (well, still have but never use) a ReplayTV PVR that had a similar commercial skipping feature. (There was a lawsuit about it but it was dropped when the company went bankrupt; later models omitted the feature.) All it did was automate what I'd been doing with a VCR (yes, I am ancient of days) for years, hitting fast-forward to skip the noise. So long as the device is just fulfilling the request of its user to skip forward to a different part of the content, there is no "derivative work", no "rebroadcast", and the data's so-called "owners" can get stuffed.

Comment Re:They can try to defeat te tech (Score 1) 248

Given a copy of the broadcast on a computer with a jog wheel to control the fast forward and rewind, I doubt it would take long, especially given that most ads are scheduled to occur at more or less standard intervals. It can't be harder than what people with DVRs have to put up with now to fast forward past ads.

Comment Re:Occam's Razor (Score 1) 93

Nope, that bathroom was never visited by the cats, and only rarely by humans. It was a spare bathroom and didn't get much use. That's why we locked him in there. Also, it was tile, so it was very easy to clean up. And I don't remember him peeing in there at all or making any kind of mess; he happily used the little litter box I made for him. When we let him run around the rest of the house, around the cats (for supervised play), he didn't cause any problems at all. If it weren't for the smell (of the ferret himself, not his pee) I probably would have wanted to keep him.

Comment Re:Already happening (Score 3, Interesting) 867

It's already "nationalized", it's just run as a private corporation rather than a Federal agency. It's actually much better that way; most Federal agencies are horribly mismangaged and wasteful; the USPS is actually extremely efficient and well-run. If it weren't for Congress meddling with it, at the behest of lobbyists, they wouldn't have this problem, and they'd be profitable. Also, the USPS has been independent since 1971; that's long before UPS and FedEx were the heavyweights they are now.

Turning it into a Federal agency wouldn't change Congressional meddling. Congress can just as easily meddle with a Federal agency as with a government-owned corporation, and actually moreso. As a separate entity, it's easy to see how the USPS is doing and it has more isolation from stupid politics; Congress has to actually pass laws and such to affect the USPS's operations and behavior. A Federal agency, OTOH, is completely up to the whims of the guy in the White House (as well as the budget-makers in Congress), and things there can change radically every time someone new is elected or Congress decides to do something stupid like cut their budget. The way it is now, Congress has no real say over the USPS's budget or how they handle their money, except for legal mandates like this stupid pension-funding law. Congress can't just yank their funding for no reason, the way they can with every other Federal agency; the USPS is entirely self-funded, and uses no taxpayer money to operate. Change that to a Federal agency, and its revenues would go into the Treasury, and its operating costs would come out of the Treasury, being entirely comingled. It'd be very easy for Congress to simply defund the USPS (regardless of how much money they're making in revenue), cripple it, then point to that and say "look! It doesn't work! We need to eliminate it!" and then pass a new law to eliminate the USPS altogether, or sell it off to a private corporation.

Maybe you should try actually educating yourself about the USPS and the issues involved, and also about how the US government works (which obviously you don't know much about, since you're not American, obvious by your spelling of "nationalise"), before spouting a bunch of nonsense.

The only way to fix the issues facing the USPS is to fix the US government itself, and the corruption which has completely taken it over. The problems with the USPS are just minor symptoms of much, much larger problems with the US federal government, all caused by extreme corruption, turning into an entirely undemocratic, mercantilist/corporatist (some might say fascist) government. The way I see it, it's entirely hopeless at this point, and the only thing to do is wait for it to collapse under its own weight, just like the Roman Empire did.

Comment Re:Already happening (Score 2, Informative) 867

The USPS wouldn't actually be in the red if it weren't for the stupid rules congress imposed on them a few years back where they are the only federal entity that has to have 100% retirement funds paid for (my understanding is the industry standards are 10-15% funded) In fact they were doing fairly well until the change.

You understand correctly. From USPS Healthcare Expenses (and other sources):

Since 2006, the Post Office has been legally required (by Congress) to pre-fund health benefits for future retirees (for the next 75 years) at a cost of around $5.5 billion a year.

Comment Re:Already happening (Score 3, Informative) 867

You don't seem to understand how the USPS works. The USPS is NOT part of the government, it's a government-owned corporation. That means it has to run its finances exactly the way every other company does: it brings in revenue from customers, and then spends that revenue on expenses (operating expenses including salaries, capital expenses, and employee pensions). If they hire more people, then they have to raise their prices to pay them, which means more people switch to shipping stuff by UPS/FedEx, or they just don't send any mail at all. The USPS gets a lot of its revenue from junk mail, unfortunately. If they jack up the price of sending junk mail, then the junk mailers will send much less of it, which equals much less revenue from the USPS to pay all these new employees, which means they go bankrupt.

The USPS is, in fact, quite reluctant to hire ANY new employees at this time, because it costs so much, since they have to pre-fund every employee's pension fund for the next 75 years, thanks to the stupid law Congress passed in 2006 (with both Dems and Reps, so save your partisan bullshit). This is why the USPS has been moving to shut down Post Offices and instead encourage more franchise operations, called CPUs (contract postal units); the franchise operations act as postal clerks and handle normal mail duties like any PO location, but they're separate companies and not USPS employees so the USPS doesn't have to deal with any pensions for them.

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