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Comment Re:War on Terror == War on Everyone (Score 1) 262

Always? I bet you don't recall that Bush II was actually elected on the premise of downsizing the post-cold war military?

Rumsfeld was brought into the DoD SPECIFICALLY because he was a budget-chopper. Crappy wartime SecDef that he may have been, his reason for sitting in that chair was because he was going to reduce the military.

FYI Defense is less than 1/5 of the budget. (19%)
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and safety nets: 55% of the budget...or roughly 3x defense.

And FWIW, personally, I'd be DELIGHTED if the president sat down and gave the Joint Chiefs the mandate of reducing our post-Afghan military by 33%, bases by 50%, and development budget by 20%. Flat cuts, and if it's recommended to go, no senator or congressman can gainsay it in their pork-defense effort.

Comment Credibility (Score 1, Insightful) 117

"While the microbes could speed the plastic's decay, they might also cause their own ecological problems, the researchers say"

And if anyone needed a reason that people don't take eco-nuts seriously, here it is.

Here we have a nice sign that some crappy thing we're doing to the environment might be mitigated in some small way by Mother Nature, and the response is what? Not "great! let's spend time working on other problems!" it's "oh noes, we think there are just other problems we haven't discovered yet".

Just be happy, once, that something is a good thing without always trying to find the lining of doom and gloom and people might not just treat you like the gloomy harbingers you are.

Comment Re:TFA says that they can apply for relief (Score 3, Insightful) 601

Because it's TRUE.

Yes, they can apply for an exemption.
Yes they will PROBABLY get it....but not certainly.

The fact is, if a person/corporation/dog digs up something on their property that someone else thinks is important, why should that property owner pay for it EVER unless they can expect reasonable compensation to at least offset those costs?

Seriously?

The law as written is stupid. If I dig up inuit bones, it's meaningless to me. If the inuit (or more realistically, some caucasian anthropologists, right?) feel what I find is valuable, THEY can flippin' pay for it. If it's not worth them sinking $5000 into the 'site evaluation' plus whatever I want to charge for the inconvenience of delaying my project, then screw them and grind it to dust.

Comment Re:War on Terror == War on Everyone (Score 2) 262

For all of you who agree that this reveals that government is untrustworthy, do you START to understand why some people have wanted to LIMIT the power of the federal (and by extension, all) government to the absolute minimum necessary to fulfill its absolute minimum necessary functions?

As shocked as you may have been at the idea your personal info has been Hoovered by the government for decades, does it give you an inkling of how angry and betrayed the founding fathers - loyal British subjects all - must have been, and at least a taste of the rage they felt at their betrayal by the Crown in 1776, such that they were prompted to design a new government in which the key principle was CONSTRAINING the power of that government? ..Yet, in post after post here for years I've seen the majority cheerfully willing to give that government more & more & more power over everything from education to healthcare.

Comment Re:Bigots who think this is a joke - shame on you! (Score 1) 814

Personally, it sounds like you have a lot of rage.

Nobody on the internet knows you're a dog, so any sort if personal information you provide is entirely your choice, yet from your comment we know that you are:
female
Jewish
"geek" whatever that means, specifically
lesbian
Australian
(there may be more, but honestly once I got the flavor of your screed, I skimmed since it seemed pretty much all the same).

So I ask myself, why does this individual who is in so much pain at their 'victimization' by society then proceed to identify every possible characteristic that might then (if society is as biased as they claim) cause the rest of us 'normal people' to disregard her/his/its* voice?
*please pardon me if my application of pronoun in your case is justifiably tentative

I'm honestly curious?
If 'nobody is listening' to these marginalized categories of people, if you're actually working for change, why

Or, is it perhaps just a giant cry for attention?

The fact is that ANYONE who doesn't fit the 'norm' of a group will stand out to some degree. Male nurses for decades weren't (and in some places, still aren't) taken seriously. Male teachers are still often regarded in some districts as inappropriate for younger children. Show me a stay-at-home-dad that hasn't felt excluded from the social circle of playground parents?

One can make the best of it, and try to slowly change the norm. It's not something that's going to happen in a year, or a decade, or even in one lifetime, as frustrating as that may be to people who WANT THAT RIGHT NOW (ie 99.9% of the population today).

I know I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm going to venture that you're young, angry, probably have body art (piercings/tattoos/both), and often wear clothing or display bumper stickers that are confrontational about your personal choices.

I was at a fast food restaurant, and the young woman in front of me had purple- and pink-dyed hair. I thought she was rather striking, so I was probably staring. She rounded on me, confrontationally, and said "What the hell are you staring at?" My reply was "Um, because you have purple and pink hair?"
My point isn't to suggest that she SHOULDN'T have had colored hair. But to deny that she was an outlier (in this case, by her personal and demonstrative choice) would have been just silly. It's what she WANTED to be, and it seemed a little hypocritical, even in retrospect, that she should have felt entitled to 'not be noticed' when her clear choice was to BE notable.

My suggestion would be that if you spent a little less time jamming your personal life in people's faces, you'd probably find life a lot smoother and pleasant.

I know you (and a number of fellow travelers reading this) are probably in a rage now about my patriarchal tone, inferring that I'm making pejorative choices about your lifestyle. Not at all. But at a certain point you may discover that a lot of your happiness is in your own hands.

My suggestion wouldn't be to write an article about bigotry in the geek community (as you so desperately want to, but curiously phrase as a sort of 'asking for permission' thing?), spend a little less energy obsessing about how marginalized you are, and how unfair life is, and just live it. Love who you want, do what you want, be who you want and you'll be much happier.

Comment Re:Gov. Work (Score 1) 814

"Embarrassed and furious"?

Really?

That's just a touch precious.

I mean, "sorry, but our software is written with the assumption that you're following the binary gender standards which are common to all but a few gender-switching eukaryotes; being that you represent this weird little aberrant population of humans, I'm "embarrassed and furious" that our choices only cover 99.99% of the likely choices".

We don't write our medical software for the possibility that someone will have two heads, yet, such is possible (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abigail_and_Brittany_Hensel). If that/those person/people comes/come up to your desk, would you be 'embarrassed and furious' that your standard software doesn't include that possibility?

And no, honestly, if it takes even 5% more resources to add that possibility into the system, IT'S NOT WORTH IT for the vanishingly tiny proportion of humanity that would thereby benefit.

Comment Re:Average Temp = -1.3 Celsius (Score 1) 106

I don't stick my hand into freezing or boiling water really any more than I have to, but I go outside every day.

I'll cheerfully take my reference points being (broadly) the coldest/warmest people in temperate climes experience personally as far more useful than your particularly arbitrary references, thanks!

Comment OK then, who else? (Score 1) 327

The summary paints a bleak picture, showing how the US has abrogated its role as 'neutral keeper of the internet' (well, the 'neutral' was IMO unjustly implied, but we'll roll with it).

So really, who would be better?
The EU? The UN? China? Some weaker "internet governance" NGO that's even more corrupt and liable to manipulation/blackmail/gaming by state-level actors?

It's not about better alternatives, it's always BEEN about "least worst" options.

And let's remember internet history, shall we?
The US makes a giant, redundant 'network of networks' for government data communication in case of Soviet attack.
They start connecting educational organizations on this 'inter-net'.
Over the span of the next couple of decades, it became broadly available to private users and commercial services but wasn't really exploited broadly until the 'web' made it really user friendly.

Think about that.

Really, what sort of staggering naivete does it take to see a network of communication webs (over which has ALWAYS squatted the US government from its very inception) and NOT assume the US is listening in?

This is in a world in which the US (and any government with the technical capability) has been recording phone conversations and reading telegrams for DECADES before the internet ever was invented.

Comment Re:...and not academic freedom (Score 1) 284

This seems completely reasonable, but what else would I expect from James Bond?

Seriously, though, this is a completely rational point - you own the rights to the material, but since you produced it as an employee, they have permanent license to offer it to their customers.

So why do you let the academic unions make these sorts of statements (effectively) on your behalf? It wouldn't be the first time a union took a strident, conflict-inciting point far in excess of its members' actual desires.

Comment Blah blah blah panic blah (Score 2) 583

Rage all you want against the 'terrifying new revelations' about government data collection, this is the INEVITABLE arc of human societies.

I know Toynbee may socio-historically old-fashions, but it seems a never-ending repetitious cycle: humans scrabble their way out of chaos and savagery, build cohesive societies that take care of basic needs freeing their citizenry to think and dream and grow. Ultimately, the weight of a society exceeds its carrying capacity (largely through the people's ignorance of how great they have it compared to the alternatives) and everything collapses in anarchy and violence, until some inspired individuals lead the way back out of chaos again.

But we're social animals (emphasis on the latter). Freedom is HARD; look carefully behind a student's eyes on graduation day, and you'll see a core anxiety "OK WTF do I do NOW with my life?"

(An aside: I believe that this is the core reason that college is perceived to be so necessary to job-hunters today. It's not the commonly-ranted "companies are demanding college degrees for everything" complaint, that's confusing cause/effect. I believe that the comfort-value of a life-on-rails with few meaningful choices has kept people in school longer and longer. It's simple, lazy, expensive procrastination of "real life" for another 4+ years. Faced with a ridiculous excess of applicants with college degrees, wouldn't you as a business likewise begin to demand them if only as a first-tier way to weed out candidates who ostensibly have fewer skills? If you think about it, it's actually contrary to what they should WANT in an employee, and why a thoughtful HR department should consider carefully if they really want degree-holding applicants, if the degree isn't directly pertinent to the job.)

You can see it too if you play a face-to-face roleplaying game with today's teens, they are literally paralyzed with choices, as opposed to the linear games with fixed, obvious options that they're used to from their PC or consoles.

In a couple of moments of startling clarity from an otherwise vapid film:
"Loki: I come with glad tidings of a world made free.
Nick Fury: Free from what?
Loki: Freedom. Freedom is life's great lie. ...
Loki: Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It's the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel."

They are lines that are supposed to enrage, of course, to light the righteous indignation in freedom-loving Americans (and in fact it's immediately followed by the formulaic 'defense of the lone guy brave enough to stand up' and Capt America's line "You know, the last time I was in Germany and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing."

ANYONE who watches that and doesn't immediately recognize the historical, essential truth of Loki's statement hasn't been paying attention.

As artists have a particularly skillful ability to be succint:
http://i.imgur.com/DrlRmZK.jpg
(sfw)

Personally I suspect that freedom on the level of that envisaged by the Founding Fathers is unsustainable, because it demands a broad level of intelligence, education, the leisure to care about things larger than ones' next meal, and the willingness to put in the WORK. Lying in your hammock isn't freedom, it's the reward of freedom.

Either people are generally too indolent to be willing to work for it (think herd of sheep or cattle, happy to merely have food and get milked/sheared once in a while in exchange for perceived comfort & safety - until the farmer needs meat, but that's in the distant future...), or the governments have figured out that the way to ensure their grip on power is to opiate the masses. Either way, the masses are largely happy with it and always have been.

So stop your screaming and shouting. Ecce homo, indeed.

Comment Re:I remember when... (Score 1) 134

I largely agree with you, and I have both good and bad news:

Good - TV is generally, I believe, killing itself off. The bait/hook ratio (programming/commercials) is far, far too small, and the bait itself (the shows) are mostly vapid, brainless programming equivalent to "Ow My Balls!". It's hard to watch normal broadcast TV without constantly being cognizant that it really IS a visually-delivered mood-altering drug in just about every way.

Bad - I've long thought that it would be wonderful to have TV shut down for a year...unfortunately today I'm not sure most people would notice. I'm one of those 'annoying' guys that 'doesn't watch TV' but I confess that I spend a good hour or two a day on Netflix watching movies, or playing Path of Exile, or whatever. As much as I might rationalize that "this is not as bad as TV", in most of the senses you mention above and in the damage to the body cultural, it's just the same. (Worse, if you extrapolate my ability to filter my outside stimuli to "only the news I want to believe" and interacting only with "people that agree with me" - hell, that's probably actively CORROSIVE to the demos generally.) The internet with it's combination of stimulation, interactivity AND infinite variety has far more potential than TV to soak up people's lives. TV could vanish tomorrow and, aside from Netflix no longer occasionally getting new seasons of "Pretty Little Liars" or "Gossip Girls", I'm not sure many people would care after the first couple of weeks.

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