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Comment owned and operated by tva.gov (Score 1) 290

It was owned and operated by Tennessee Valley Authority, http://www.tva.gov/

Until the early 1960s, there was plenty of private coal activity in the area. The problem happened after the government tried to do something other than govern. (Government does the best job of governing, running courts, etc. Their track record in industry isn't good.)

Comment oddly, programmers more injury prone than firefigh (Score 5, Funny) 379

Where I work, we have several divisions.
One division trains firefighters and EMS. We have an incredible training facility, so not only do we teach Firefighter I, we also train veteran firefighters on extra-hazardous stuff like oil refinery fires. They also teach search and rescue in our rubble piles and collapsing buildings.

Another division trains cops, tactical drivers, etc. That division includes an on-staff sniper.

A third trains people to work on high voltage electric lines.

Then there is my division, "administration". We're the IT people, bookkeepers, etc who keep the agency running. Guess which division had the worst safety record last year. Yep, us nerds. For my employer, the people clicking a mouse had more injuries than the people putting out big fires, crawling under collapsed structures, or performing dynamic entries (seat raids).

Yes, we nerds are suitably embarrased by this fact.

Comment agreed. Republicans did get tea partied, Obama (Score 1) 320

That's certainly true. Alot of the old school republican seats did get taken over by the tea party candidates. They also lost the white house after Bush, so there were SOME consequences for the party.

Will the democrats have consequences for putting up Obama and Pelosi? We shall see. They do have the advantage that Bush's last year or two were bad, so Obama's suckage doesn't contrast as much. Had Obama followed Reagan, the sudden drop in effectiveness would have been far more visible.

Comment you can't PASSIVELY. You can ACTIVELY. See NFL gea (Score 2) 653

Have you noticed all the T shirts and other gear with NFL logos on them? Those are made and sold by other companies with the permission of the NFL.

What a trademark holder is not allowed to do is sit silently, allowing infringement, implying that it's okay while other people build businesses around the mark, then suddenly sue five years later. If you want to allow someone to use your mark in a certain way, you have to explicitly grant permission for a specific use for a specific period of time. That way no-one is confused as to what you're allowing.

Comment you propose a DOS against yourself (Score 1) 162

A) The internet isn't the only avenue of attack. So no, unplugging from the internet doesn't ensure security. Google "stuxnet" some time for a fun example.

B) Unplugging the POWER cord would greatly decrease the chance of a system getting hacked. However, that still leaves the system perfectly insecure because a secure system is defined as one that is assured to continue to provide correct functionally in the face of adverse conditions. When you remove functionality, you're performing a DOS attack against yourself.

The other day I was shopping for a safe. For $13,000 you can buy a safe made of steel and concrete several inches thick. For $39, you can rent a demolition saw, which will cut through several inches of steel in 80 seconds. Tell me again how simple it is to make things secure.

Comment on that topic (Score 1) 320

> people being highly informed and engaged in the political process. This is irrespective of the economic/political ideology - this is not a left/right thing.

That brings up another interesting topic. I'm reminded of Ross Perot taking out 30 minute television spots in which he displayed various graphs trying to educate voters about economics. Contrast that with the left in America "All these people don't have health insurance. We should pass this 1,000 page bill without even reading it because ... Hope and change!"

In the US, it seems to me that in the US, the fight is often between the left saying "wouldn't it be great to give everyone free _____. Let's do it!", followed by the right interjecting "well you see, nothing is really free. To pay for that would cost $XX billion, and the budget forecast ...". From where I sit, it appears that the left does a great job politically selling the headline, the five second pitch for something that sounds great. The conservatives have done a relatively poor job explaining the implications of the proposals, informing voters why "fuck those rich people" isn't actually a solution to anything. Therefore, the evidence suggests that informed voters are precisely what the left doesn't want. Many on the right have tried to educate voters, but the voters are more interested in watching American Idol.

Comment the SYSTEM includes 1st amendment, whistle act (Score 1) 320

The system includes the first amendment and the diligent journalists it encourages. If the NSA chief had his way, we'd know nothing. A system includes all of the interacting parts.

If the voters interact with the policy making, they are by definition part of the system. If we abdicate our responsibility and don't take any action, we are definitionally not part of the system anymore.

Comment intrigued and annoyed (Score 4, Informative) 40

Your comment got me reading his work. As a time geek who has been going around bitching about wildly out-of-sync clocks in clusters and other tightly coupled networks, his ideas interest me.

For anyone else who is mildly curious, here's a very short summary of his key idea, as I understand it from a brief reading:

In a cluster, you sometimes need to know which of two events should be considered "first". For example, if one process writes some state data and another process reads it, you need to know whether the read comes first and should get the old value, or if the write comes first, so the read gets the new value.

System clocks aren't perfectly synchronized. With multi-Ghz processors, events can happen so fast that the system timestamp isn't accurate or precise enough to identify which request was sent first.

To solve the problem of knowing which request is considered first, you can use a counter. Each request includes it's counter value - request #1, request #2, etc. If the receiving system keeps track of the highest counter and overwrites any "past" values with its own current "now" counter, it can put requests into a defined order.

Comment You can a) get out of Detroit and b) run for city (Score 1) 320

Cities and states screw things up too, of course.
If your city, day Chicago, gets completely infested with dirty politicians for years and they royally score things up, or start tapping your phone, you can get the hell out of Chicago.

You can also directly affect local politics in a way you can't affect Washington so easily. It's much easier to keep on eye on the guy down the street than some guy thousands of miles away in Washington. I even considered running for an office in my county, and I probably would have won. There's no way I'll ever win the presidency. I can damn sure win a seat on the school board, though. Since I can be on the school board, but I can't run the department of education, local control is inherently more democratic.

Comment it is exposed (Score 1) 320

> A good system of governance should transparently expose, prevent, stop, and/or negate criminality.

We're talking about it. It's exposed. We have no fear of talking about. The politicians in Washington are worried that we're talking about it.

Is there any other system that exposes problems to the extent that the US system does? It's damn sure not perfect, obviously. This crap does get exposed and published on the front page, though.

Another important consideration after exposure is ACCEPTANCE (or lack thereof). In many countries, rampant bribery is exposed. Everyone knows about it, and everyone participates. It's accepted as normal. The US wasn't that way. When our leaders were busted, their career was over. Then there was Marion Berry, Ray Nagen, etc. They got caught and then re-elected. That, I think, is a big problem. Exposing this stuff is half of it. The other half is for the electorate to not put up with it.

The other day Obama said he would veto a bill declaring that the president must _obey_the_law. Putting aside minor arguments, his official position is more or less that he doesn't have to follow the law, that he's above the law. Is this nation to be ruled by properly passed laws, or ruled by a personality? Are we going to put up with this?

Comment Re:drawing straws between finalists works (Score 1) 152

You end up with a lot less "publicity driven voting driven by funding from biased sources" when no amount of money can buy win. So long as people contribute $X, enough to get your message out, the person with ten times as much money has little or no advantage - both names go into the hat. Campaign finance has extremely diminishing returns. If, in a given race, it takes $1 million in publicity to get 20% of the voters, two million will get you to 25%. Three million will get 27%. Ten million will get 35%. A hundred million will get 45%. One major reason for the ridiculous amount of money spent in elections is that candidates are chasing that last half of a percent. If you say that a 1% lead doesn't matter, that means 20% of the money doesn't matter.

* numbers are not accurate, but illustrate a point that is correct.

> Even so, to me it looks as if the system that you have proposed will act so as to maintain and increase the concentration of wealth and power among those that already have it, and squeeze out those on the edges of power.

In fact, it has not, precisely because "those on the edges of power" have an equal chance of getting elected - if they are truly on the edge.

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Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato