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Comment Re:First sale doctrine (Score 1) 775

You've never read the actual ruling, have you? The court went far beyond the actual legal issues at hand and ruled that not only were slaves slaves, but that everyone who was black was a slave, and that furthermore they had no rights at all in any state (including states that had outlawed slavery). These were new and horrible doctrines, and were completely unfounded by any words in the constitution.

Comment Re:Governkment Meh (Score 5, Insightful) 320

1. "Regulations" are the mechanism society has for enforcing a common concensus. As a society, "we" decided that cholera was bad. The solution (alongside education and convincing, of course) is regulation: all houses in area "x" must have sewer connections and must not have an outhouse. And there's a team of people to take water samples. And there are regulations on how to test the water.
2. Laws are created by congress. There's too many to talk all at once; the solution they and every other large organization in the world have picked is to make smaller groups. These groups are called "committee"s. Are you objecting to dividing into smaller groups and attacking problems in-depth? Or is your object to the word "committee"? Did you know the libertarian party has a committee?
3. There are no "czars" in this government. Some people are more senior, and have more authority; other people are less senior and have less authority. Are you in favor of everyone having the same authority? Or do you object to the word "czar"? Heaven knows it's an objectionable word, but it's one that the media uses to describe otherwise boring titles.
4. I don't understand your problem with agencies. One of the agencies, for example, is the Presidio trust (I picked them at random). Do you object to a group of people, experts in the Presidio, from managing the place? Or is your objection that this group of people has a common name, "The Presidio Trust". Would you be happier if we called them group 184? Perhaps you think that we should simply sell off this land -- does this mean that you think there should be no parks at all?

Really, I don know why you got moderated as "insiteful". It sounds more like "thoughtless".


MIT Unveils First Solar Cells Printed On Paper 125

lucidkoan writes "MIT researchers recently unveiled the world's first thin-film solar cell printed on a sheet of paper. The panel was created using a process similar to that of an inkjet printer, producing semiconductor-coated paper imbued with carbon-based dyes that give the cells an efficiency of 1.5 to 2 percent. That's not incredibly efficient, but the convenience factor makes up for it. And in the future, researchers hope that the same process used in the paper solar cells could be used to print cells on metal foil or even plastic. If they're able to gear efficiencies up to scale, the development could revolutionize the production and installation of solar panels."

Killer Convicted, Using Dog DNA Database 97

lee1 writes "It turns out that the UK has a DNA database — for dogs. And this database was recently used to apprehend a South London gang member who used his dog to catch a 16-year-old rival and hold him while he stabbed him to death. The dog was also accidentally stabbed, and left blood at the scene. The creation of human DNA databases has led to widespread debates on privacy; but what about the collation of DNA from dogs or other animals?"
PC Games (Games)

EA Shutting Down Video Game Servers Prematurely 341

Spacezilla writes "EA is dropping the bomb on a number of their video game servers, shutting down the online fun for many of their Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 games. Not only is the inclusion of PS3 and Xbox 360 titles odd, the date the games were released is even more surprising. Yes, Madden 07 and 08 are included in the shutdown... but Madden 09 on all consoles as well?"

Apple Orders 10 Million Tablets? 221

Arvisp writes "According to a blog post by former Google China president Kai-Fu Lee, Apple plans to produce nearly 10 million tablets in the still-unannounced product's first year. If Lee's blog post is to be believed, Apple plans to sell nearly twice as many tablets as it did iPhones in the product's first year."

Dad Delivers Baby Using Wiki 249

sonamchauhan writes "A Londoner helped his wife deliver their baby by Googling 'how to deliver a baby' on his mobile phone. From the article: 'Today proud Mr Smith said: "The midwife had checked Emma earlier in the day but contractions started up again at about 8pm so we called the midwife to come back. But then everything happened so quickly I realized Emma was going to give birth. I wasn't sure what I was going to do so I just looked up the instructions on the internet using my BlackBerry."'"

Yellowstone Supervolcano Larger Than First Thought 451

drewtheman writes "New studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. University of Utah research professor of geophysics Robert Smith led four separate studies that verify a plume of hot and molten rock at least 410 miles deep that rises at an angle from the northwest."

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Comment Re:Shock Horror - the climate changes! (Score 3, Insightful) 232

No, they're all thick as posts. So dumb, several types of rocks have more intelligence. They are so woefully short of understanding their instruments, they regularly burn down their labs. They have so little knowledge of the animals they study, they leave out saucers of milk for the lions. Heck, most of the vulcanologists think the red oozy stuff is badly made jello!

And they thank you for pointing out that you, a mere Slashdot reader, have managed to understand more about global climate change in five minutes of careful study (six, if you include the fox news commercials) then they've learned in ten years of careful data collection and vigorous debate. Wow! What a champ you are!

Comment Re:A Kid's (7th Grade) Opinion (Score 1) 1073

This may sound a little weird -- but that time you're spending tutoring other kids is going to pay off. There's nothing like teaching someone how to do something to really, really drill it in to you. Earlier in my career as a programmer, my absolute best programming class was the time I spent as a grader for a data structures course -- it showed me plenty of ways to do things wrong, and therefore the best way to get things right.

Comment Re:Disappointing though it may be... (Score 1) 681

The highest rate is 1.5%. Retailers come in at .5%. Again, that's for normal businesses; the highest rates are actually paid by nuclear waste disposal companies.

And yes, one individual business might well swear at the tax -- they can see their overall profits at 3.5% (and as you say, mall retailers in that one survey at 0%), and the individual owner thinks that if only the tax were lower, they would make money. That wouldn't actually change the economics of the situation. If they charge less, the lack of profit means that the business isn't worth it. If they charge more, they lose customers to cheaper stores. If everyone had smaller expenses, everyone would charge a hair less, and the overall profits would be unchanged.

Stated more broadly: if a set of stores can't make money with the .5% tax, they won't make money with a .4% tax, either. Or a .3% tax.

(And BTW: my immediate assumption when I see the phrase 'so I decided to get the fact' is 'that person is a troll'. You're not helping your case by citing as your source an 'ask the expert' column that quote data from shoe stores from 1999. Luckily the facts that they do cite match my pre-existing knowledge, so I'm not kicking about it. But it's not a very definitive set of data.)

Comment Re:Disappointing though it may be... (Score 3, Insightful) 681

Where "taxes the shit out of" means, "swapping a high percent of the net with a much lower percent of the gross". The tax rates are posted at Note that the highest normal rate is 1.5% of the gross (Radioactive waste disposal has a 3.3% tax). Frankly, if that 1.5% is the difference between your small company making money and not, you've got other problems. The B&O tax, by being on the gross and not the net, means that the tax revenues don't totally dry up in bad years.

Comment Re:3D graphics support (Score 4, Informative) 335

It's not three-d graphics. It's layered two-d graphics with interesting transforms. You can make something look like it's flipping in or out, and you can do sprites, but you can't make a fully three-d game (that is, you can't rotate something around with bits sticking out).

Why not? Because this approach gets you a bunch of cool effects without the pain of real 3D programming.

(Disclaimer: I worked on silverlight)

Comment Re:WHO IS JOHN GALT? (Score 2, Insightful) 612

John Galt is the protagonist of an irritating book espousing a failed theology.

I'm sorry -- was that a rhetorical question? How about this, then:
Microsoft could be created in part because of American ideology -- an ideology that pays massive dividends to the rich. Are you Wal-Mart? Isn't it nice that there are good, cheap roads going everywhere. Along these roads are thousands of towns, each of which *could* stop you and make you pay a "customs fee". (they used to do this along the Rhine). But instead the Federal government makes the towns not stop you.

Are you ExxonMobile? We have an army ready to "keep the peace" where you trade, and a Navy to keep the seas free of pirates.

Are a stock trader? We have a host of accountants and lawyers keeping the market fairly honest -- so that everyone in the country trusts your wares.

We are America; our government keeps ua rich.

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