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Comment Re:Going to Russia for safety from the US. (Score 2) 536


I love my country. I love our heritage, and the spirit of the people who are giving healthy, skeptical attention to its direction.

I understand that many of We The People are, by virtue of the flaws that make us human, unaware of the problems or the threat they pose. They do not make me ashamed; it is the nature of humanity that not everyone will see the same problems at the same time. When a problem first arises, nobody knows about it, and gradually the awareness spreads. We are in the early phase of the problem becoming visible to the broad public.

What I am ashamed of -- or, more accurately, displeased with -- is those who are profiting by guiding us further into the jaws of authoritarianism. Some are ignorant, some show callous disregard. The worst genuinely believe they are entitled, or destined, to rule.

I am not ashamed of my country. I am displeased with those enemies who would harm it for their own gain.

Comment Oh dearie me no (Score 4, Informative) 103

The only metric being optimised is profit for $BIGCO's owners; the wellbeing and prosperity of Iowans is irrelevant. Ask Indian farmers how Coca-Cola bottling plants (and bottled water plants) are helping THEM.

You're aware that data centres like this employ about 50 people, right? This is not a business that sustains the local economy.

Slashdot's libertarian reptile brain really should try harder.

Comment Re:I blame the american people (Score 2) 172

As long as they can get their weekly does of the Kardashians, Americans just don't give a shit about their freedoms anymore.

Fat, dumb, and happy. That's how the emperor of Rome did it, and that's how our government is doing it now.

We already know that part. Is there nothing more to say? Add something to the conversation, don't stop with the trite half-witticism. How do we jar them out of their complacence? Or if we believe they are beyond redemption, how should that affect we who can see?

How do you explain this to those you know who are disinclined to understand or to care? How would you capture the spirit of an otherwise good person who is narc'd out on teevee?

What of the narcotic effect of the media? Is media the problem in itself; the catatonia-inducing pablum industry run wild on excessive copyright revenue resulting from an ever expanding regulatory monopoly? Excessive filthy luchre turning otherwise honorable people against their better intentions?

Should we harden ourselves to their self-inflicted plight? Forge ourselves into victors of this increasingly distorted society, so that we can gather more of the ill-distributed booty for ourselves? Should we seek to turn the distortions against the machine itself?

Or something else -- what's your take? What lies a little further down the contemplation path, beyond "people are fat and stupid"? Merely moaning that The People are fat and lazy is a tired and uninspiring refrain. Give us something from inside you -- what do those roadweary observations mean to you?

Comment Censorship v. Forum Moderation (Score 1) 406

Nowadays I think that not every opinion needs to be tolerated. I find it completely acceptable to censor certain comments and encourage others to censor, too.

And from the article:
We need to find solutions to the fanboys and one of the solutions I came up with is to block them on my blog posts.

Moderated forums are not identical to censorship. Censorship is the attempt to prevent an opinion from being expressed. Moderation can have the objective only to prevent disruption of a particular forum, and not be an attempt to suppress an opinion. It is certainly possible for moderation to approach censorship in effect, depending on the prominence of the forum to the topic in question and the concentration of the authority to moderate, but moderation is not necessarily censorship and should be considered in context.

Comment The Zazi Lie (Score 4, Informative) 419

The ... program helped the NSA stop a 2009 al-Qaida plot to blow up New York City subways.

That is at best an extreme exaggeration of the value of the cell phone records. I'm sure his data was in the database, and was probably accessed after he was discovered, but his plot was discovered as a result of monitoring that was (or easily would have been) warranted.

Wikipedia: Operation Pathway:

On November 9 2009 The Telegraph reported that the operation produced the tip that lead American security officials to place Najibullah Zazi under investigation. British security officials were reported to have intercepted an email from a Pakistani planner to Najibullah Zazi containing instructions on how to conduct his attack.

The Telegraph: British Spies / Zazi:

The alleged plot was unmasked after an email address that was being monitored as part of the abortive Operation Pathway was suddenly reactivated.

Operation Pathway was investigating an alleged UK terrorist cell but went awry after the then Met Police counter-terrorism head Bob Quick was pictured walking into Downing Street displaying top secret documents.

Eleven Pakistani suspects were arrested immediately after the gaffe but later released without charge.

However, security staff continued to monitor the email address which eventually yielded results.

Comment How about longer name fields while we're at it? (Score 1) 814

Many customer record databases don't seem to allot more than ten characters to given name or surname, with some stopping at eight or nine which make even less sense. How many people are actually named "Christophe", "Stephani", "Angeliqu", "Elizabet", "Gwendol"? Not nearly as many as get mail that way. It's been an issue for a long time, and now you're expecting databases to be updated for gender changes?

Try telling a utility company sometime that you un-duplexed a building and you need service to the whole building under one address some time. They'll typically ask which address you want the bill delivered to and which one gets the service or something equally asinine.

Comment Re:More Booth Bros & Babes (Score 2) 737

Most women I've known are attracted more to a thick wallet. I've seldom seen one trade down, if you know what I mean. Often I've seen them leave the cute hunk once they get a few years of just getting by and land the ugly engineer. Just sayin'.

You raise a strong point. I think there's a function of age involved, at least in my observations. I have some friends who are DJs, and through them I have been friends with a number of very attractive women. When we became friends, they ranged from late 20's to mid 30's. They were very focused on guys with big pecs and sick abs. I was a little jealous, but hey, they're my friends, and they were having fun so I'm happy for them.

Now, as they're in their mid 30's to early 40's, most not yet having settled down, there is a great deal of reevaluation going on. The party boys they have been with haven't really made much of themselves. Now they're looking for more substance (success is a big part of it, but it's bigger than that).

And here's the part that is a bit painful to see in people I care about: They're realizing they are no longer the hot commodity. Having not spent too much time on their own educations or careers, they are wondering if their window is slipping past. Same can be said of some of the men I've known -- particularly those in young-mans careers (eg: I know some investment bankers).

Here's the truth that runs throughout it all though: The sooner a person comes to terms with reality and accepts themselves for who they are, the happier they are. By miles. The lies are poison.

Comment More Booth Bros & Babes (Score 3, Insightful) 737

While there are fewer 'booth babes' than in earlier shows (and while some are trying to bring balance by adding 'booth bros')

Now that is a solution I can get behind. I'm not a hot guy. But I'm not full of shit either -- I know that straight women like hot guys, just like straight men like hot women. There's a hundred thousand years of evolution behind it. Pretending it is not true is stupid. Women are naturally drawn to men with a pronounced V shape from their waist to their shoulders -- a trait I do not posess. And men are naturally drawn to big chests. That is reality.

You can argue that it is not sound economic policy, because it directs consumer spending in ways that are not reflective of product quality. Fine, let's talk about that, and maybe start by making advertising not count as a business expense for tax purposes. But if you are upset because it is objectification (or, more realistically, because you are, like me, not hot) -- you've got to get over it. Pretending it is not true is just lying to yourself. It will not change reality.

Comment Re:what makes you worth tracking? (Score 1) 364

what makes you worth tracking? ... do you really think that there is a guy sitting in the NSA tracking you for no reason?

What makes you think collaborative filtering and similar analyses are done one person at a time? The state of the art is done with linear algebra and similar maths, and solves simultaneously for each individual in the sample set.

Comment Re:Critical Tool (Score 1) 568

I know plenty of people (mostly liberals) complained when the warrant-less wiretaps happened under Bush.

As it happens, I know plenty of people (mostly liberals) who are complaining about the warrant-less wiretaps happening under Obama. The few people I know who still don't have a problem with it are right wingers (though most of my right wing friends are just as pissed as the lefties).

This isn't about left and right -- it's about authoritarian versus American.

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