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Comment Nothing can be done... Nothing (Score 3, Interesting) 381

No matter how deep a background check goes, no matter how thorough the inquiry is into a person's character, no matter how many interviews are made of friends and family, and no matter how many polygraph tests are performed, if a person is given a position that requires some trust there is always going to be a chance that this person is going to abuse the trust. Psychopaths and sociopaths the the scariest of these people because they have no problem with lying, are good at it because they are usually good at being manipulative, are often very well liked by family and friends, and can lie without end like a baby-kissing politician running for re-election and still pass a polygraph test.

Perhaps the problem is in the kind of people being sought for these jobs that require great trust. While a person needs to be squeaky clean to get security clearance, perhaps the squeaky clean requirement is causing the government to choose some from the wrong pool of candidates. My experience has been that you will have a better chance of finding an honest man (or woman) by looking at those who have messed up in his or her life, is genuinely repentent, and has demonstrated through years of clean and honest living that he or she is worthy of such great trust. The gratitude that comes from being given this second chance is an incredible motivator in steering a straight and narrow course through life.

Comment Melville Dewey and phonetic spelling (Score 1) 258

Melville Dewey, the progenitor of librarianship in this country and the creator of the Dewey Decimal System for call numbers on books that is used throughout much of the world (including most public libraries in the English-speaking world), was an advocate for phonetic spelling. He often spelled his own name Melvil Dui. However, Dewey was kind of a harmless lunatic and, as I remember, not many took him seriously.

Honestly, can you imagine the difficulty that would be caused by having to learn how to spell words differently after having slogged through years of primary school learning how to spell them the "old-fashioned" way? It would be sort of like the revolution created by Kamal Attaturk created in Turkey by using the authority of the government to abolish the use of the Arabic alphabet for writing Turkish in favor of the Latin alphabet.

Anyway, this nut job who wants to create a whole new letter to replace an archaic one we ditched centuries ago because he's lazy should just go away and get a life.

Comment Another revolution... (Score 1) 330

Today would be a good day to ponder another American Revolution, except that I'd rather not end up in Gitmo or some CIA black prison in eastern Europe being tortured. Besides, as history has shown, in nearly every case revolutions are revolting.

Comment Re:Damn colonials (Score 0, Flamebait) 330

You Brits ought to be thankful for our independence. Without us you'd have been overrun by the Germans twice, be speaking their awful language instead of your own awful language but more flexible language, still bankrupt after two world wars, and would not have been blessed by the Pax American that followed. Given the alternative to a Pax Germania or a , the American version is much preferable I think.

So just what did we Yanks give you?
1. The computer revolution (although the Brits did contribute much in the beginning).
2. Peace.
3. Better tasting food (although an Indian or Pakistani curry blows everyone away).
4. Mark Twain, Steinbeck, Hemmingway, and Melville.
5. Winston Churchill (his mother was an American).

And what did the Brits give us?
1. Their language, complete with its idiotic spellings.
2. Shakespeare, Dickens, and Conan Doyle (well, that's a fair trade).
3. The Beatles (not so bad), Andrew Lloyd Webber (you should have kept him!), and Bob Hope.
4. The BBC World Service.
5. Downton Abbey.

I think you guys got the better end of the deal.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised... (Score 1) 324

Unless my correspondents do as I do and keep most of the letters I receive.

In the days of yore when feather quills touched the surface of handmade rag paper people regularly did this. They also make copies of every letter they sent. That's why we have so many letters of people such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and his wife Abigail Adams. Even if the recipient didn't keep the letter, the copy survived.

Submission + - Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the computer mouse, dies at 88 (

An anonymous reader writes: Douglas Engelbart, aged 88, passed away this past Tuesday night at his home in California.

While the Engelbart name may not be in the mainstream vernacular, his invention fundamentally changed the way we use and interact with computers.

You see, Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse.

It's very rare that someone is able to make a contribution in the field of technology that is not only revolutionary but tangible. The invention of the computer mouse certainly falls within that category.

Engelbart's first mouse prototype, which can be seen below, is a far cry from the slick optical and multi-touch mice of today, but Engelbart's work got the ball rolling and set the stage for the release of the original Macintosh which for the first time made the mouse a household device.

Engelbart's first applied for a patent for his mouse invention in 1967 wherein it was described as an "x-y position indicator."

Notably, Engelbart received no royalties for his invention.

Submission + - Peak Oil site to stop posting new articles (

msevior writes:

A few weeks ago the ISEOF board (The Institute for Energy and Our Future that facilitates The Oil Drum), Euan, Super G, JoulesBurn, and Myself, met to discuss the future of The Oil Drum. A discussion we have had several times in the last year, due to scarcity of new content caused by a dwindling number of contributors. Despite our best efforts to fill this gap we have not been able to significantly improve the flow of high quality articles. Because of this and the high expense of running the site, the board has unanimously decided that the best course of action is to convert the site to a static archive of previously published material as of 31st July 2013. We will continue to post articles up to this date. Afterwards any articles will be held as a public archive into the foreseeable future, so that others can continue to learn from the breadth and depth of knowledge published by our many authors, over the 8+ history of this remarkable volunteer effort.

Submission + - Boston University Patent Lawsuits Hit Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and More (

curtwoodward writes: First, we heard that Boston University — a private, four-year school overshadowed by neighbors like MIT and Harvard — was suing Apple for patent infringement. Well, sure, patent lawsuits in tech are an everyday thing, right? But it turns out this is not a one-off: BU has been quietly filing a barrage of patent lawsuits since last fall, all of them revolving around the same patents for LED and semiconductor technology. And the targets run the gamut, from Apple and Amazon to Samsung and several small companies that distribute or sell LEDs and other equipment. A couple of small guys have settled, but Amazon and Samsung are refusing. Still to come: Apple's response.

Submission + - Android Update Enables Malicious Updates to Bypass Digital Signatures ( 1

msm1267 writes: A vulnerability exists in the Android code base that would allow a hacker to modify a legitimate, digitally signed Android application package file (APK) and not break the app’s cryptographic signature—an action that would normally set off a red flag that something is amiss.

Researchers at startup Bluebox Security will disclose details on the vulnerability at the upcoming Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas on Aug. 1. In the meantime, some handset vendors have patched the issue; Google will soon release a patch to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), Bluebox chief technology officer Jeff Forristal said.

The vulnerability, Bluebox said, affects multiple generations of Android devices since 1.6, the Donut version, which is about four years old. Nearly 900 million devices are potentially affected.

Submission + - Doug Engelbart passes away

lpress writes: If you use a mouse, hyperlinks, video conferencing, WYSIWYG word processor, multi-window user interface, shared documents, shared database, documents with images & text, keyword search, instant messaging, synchronous collaboration, asynchronous collaboration, you can thank Doug Engelbart, who passed away today.

Comment I'm not surprised... (Score 4, Interesting) 324

I write a lot of snail mail. I correspond with people in jails and prisons which usually requires me to use snail mail. Furthermore, I've maintained a long correspondence with a friend. I have his e-mail address and his phone number but we choose to keep our communication limited mostly to paper letters, usually written by hand. I write mine with a fountain pen!

When I learned of the NSA's snooping I was comforted somewhat by the fact that my most private confidential communications goes through the U.S. Postal Service and is not subject to this. Well, I guess not! The supermarket (and the bank) knows what I buy when I use a credit card to pay for it. The various cities and states know where I drive because of cameras. The cops now are installing license plate recognition cameras to record license numbers. Facial recognition software makes it difficult for me to go anywhere anonymously even on foot. Verizon Wireless knows where I am because I keep my phone on most of the time. I'm waiting to have an RFID tag implanted in my forehead!
Pretty soon we're going to be living in a country like the old DDR (that's East Germany to those too young to remember the Cold War) and a spying apparatus like its Stasi. Watch "Das Leben der Altern" (The Lives of Others), a German film of a few years ago to give you an idea of just how invasive this spying became. And this movie is set in 1984. It's much easier now!

Submission + - Scientists Grow Human Livers in Mice (

sciencehabit writes: A Japanese group has generated functional human livers by creating liver precursor cells in the laboratory and then transplanting them into mice to complete the developmental process. Their ultimate goal is to transplant the precursor cells into humans and let them develop into replacements for diseased or damaged organs. The achievement represents a new direction in the use of human pluripotent stem cells, which have the potential to develop into any of the tissues of the human body. So-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are derived from adult human tissue, have the added advantage of producing tissues and organs genetically matched to a recipient, avoiding the problem of immune system rejection. But creating fully mature human tissue in a petri dish has proved a daunting challenge, especially when it comes to producing 3D organs.

Comment Re:So many fears.... (Score 1) 641

Given your user ID probably old enough to be the sperm donor of your sperm donor. And it was called being "hyperactive" when I was a kid. This was 1970, folks. What it means is that I have to really like what I'm doing in order to get into the "zone" to be productive. If I don't like something it has to be imperative with dire consequences if I don't do it for me to get around to doing it. That's ADHD.

Comment So many fears.... (Score 5, Insightful) 641

There are many things to be afraid of. I think my biggest fear is being irrelevant, something I feel greatly sometimes as the young hotshots come up from below and as more gray hairs appear. And because of my ADHD and dyslexia, I fear not being able to use my intelligence when I need to use it because my brain refuses to work.

But there are more terrible things to fear. The wrath of my evil cat when I step on her tail and what she leaves in the kitty litter that I have to clean up are two such horrible prospects. And when I was married, my wife was quite scary at times.

But really, when one looks at the big picture, the only thing to fear is fear itself (as FDR said). Accepting life on life's terms and not wasting time on trying to change things that can't be changed is what's important to me.

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interlard - vt., to intersperse; diversify -- Webster's New World Dictionary Of The American Language