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Comment Re:Did I miss something? (Score 1) 317

The FAA required a few tests specific to the 787 and its structure. I seem to recall a test where they took a fuselage and dropped it from a particular height to see how well it would deal with such a drop.

My recollection is that the FAA said that the test was passed. Not much information is available on it since they wanted to keep the information a trade secret.

Comment Re:Why are SSNs secret? (Score 1) 112

I think the Swedish experience is that its national ID number doesn't do anything all that significant (none of the purposes you noted here would be severely inconvenienced or affected if you just used another number.)

In short, stealing someone's Swedish number doesn't achieve much.

The US uses the SSN as a gateway to the person's financial history.

Comment Re:Freedom (Score 1) 584

Ballots that can be traced to a voter, or where the voter can be watched filling in the ballot paper, can be bought.

True, but nothing says that I can't videotape myself on my camera phone selecting candidates (either on machine or paper) and then submitting that ballot. (I have uploaded my own absentee ballots online to show people how I voted.)

My point is, there are plenty of ways of showing people how you voted, not having identifying marks on the ballot does not prevent that from occurring.

Comment Re:Barcoding the Ballots. (Score 2) 584

Limiting voting to citizens is assumed to be a universal thing, but it's not. As another poster mentioned, the Commonwealth countries still have a system of voting rights in place between each other. It is a bit peculiar. For instance, a citizen of Jamaica doesn't necessarily have the right to live and work in Britain. However, if they should get the right to live in Britain, they automatically get the right to vote for Parliament. (I believe a Jamaican could not stand for office, but an Irishman can.)

If you did go to Spain or Germany, and you are an EU citizen, you can vote in local elections. Any EU citizen can vote in EU local elections regardless if they are a citizen of that country or not.

In the US, you do not need to be a citizen in order to vote in Takoma Park, Maryland. You need only be a resident of that city. If you remember the move Gangs of New York, a lot of work went into getting freshly immigrated Irish to vote in local elections.

Comment Re:No smiles in Ohio (Score 1) 265

Interesting, I had not heard of that, and I have an Ohio license (and research these issues quite closely.)

The thing that bugs me is that this is an unnecessary public relations problem for motor vehicle agencies. Ok, so your software sucks and can't do facial recognition on facial expressions.

Take one photographs of a neutral expression for the database.

Take another photograph, if the person wants, where they can have whatever smile they want to print on the license card.

Comment Re:Never rely on a single authentication method. (Score 1) 122

The best authentication has three components:

This is an old mantra that I don't think is believed anymore (except by companies that sell biometric systems of course. :)

Numbers 2 and 3 are essentially the same...they are both something you have. The idea that number 3 is somehow different from number 2 stems from the assumption that biometrics does something special, like it's uncopyable. It's not magical though and it really is just something you have.

Comment Re:Motivation (Score 1) 575

is an exceptionally powerful psychological motivational force

I would have to disagree. After all, go to an urban school district and see how powerful that motivational force is for the students there. Even if you visit a lot of good school districts, you'll find that a lot of the students are motivated to play the game and make their masters happy, more than they are actually sincerely learning.

Comment Re:And the unions are pissed... (Score 1) 575

Teachers do get good benefits, government jobs are like that, they get actual pension plans, which is more an indication that everyone else is getting fucked than one that teachers are getting an unfairly awesome deal

There is some evidence to suggest that, economically speaking, the idea that a significant percentage of the population can just stop working when healthy and live off of savings for ten years is simply unworkable in the big scheme of things. You either need people to save a huge amount during your working life, or you need a huge cohort of young people who are productive to pay for the retirees to live.

This problem hit the private sector earlier, but it is beginning to hit the public sector. Public sector pensions are severely underfunded (particularly since 8% growth has been assumed, which is nothing shortly of ridiculous in this day and age.)

Comment Re:It's around everywhere else, too... (Score 1) 374

You can but I'd argue that is a mistake.

Here's an example: we know that women take the trait of masculinity into account when seeking a partner. Studies have shown that the amount of masculinity is correlated with the health care quality of the country they grew up in. A Jamaican woman is more likely to select a man with masculine features--hoping to pass on nice strong genes to her child to survive the many problems of Jamaica. However a Swedish woman will be more likely to take a less masculine more androgynous man. The androgynous man may not pass on the strongest genes, but that doesn't matter in Sweden. What does matter is that the less masculine man is more likely to be a caring, dependable father, which is a nice boon for young Sven.

Without context, the Swedish woman's decision seems to be a step backward. (It certainly would seem that way from the Jamaican woman's point of view.) But in the context of modern Sweden, it's a movement forward.

Comment Re:It's around everywhere else, too... (Score 1) 374

Any trip to Walmart will convince you that the situation today seems less clear, and obtaining children seems entirely disassociated with the ability to attract a mate.

Perhaps actually Walmart shows the opposite--that evolution is quite alive and well.

If we're saying that there is a group of people who are disadvantaged in some way (I guess the thesis on the table is that the Walmart people are less intelligent than others) then perhaps it makes sense for them to start buying lottery tickets--having lots of children--knowing that any one child of theirs probably won't have great genes (and that because of their lifestyle there is no advantage to that one child if they have no siblings) and may not pass them on, but a bunch of children may pass them on, and besides, there may be a bright child in the bunch.

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