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Comment Re:Dissident Speech (Score 3, Insightful) 281

Perhaps it's different in other disciplines, but I've never seen an idea that could negatively affect my funding, and if there were one it would not be a dissident idea, quite the reverse. Grants aren't to prove that X is true, they are to explore the factors relating to X. If someone has an idea that is disruptive to an entire field (everything you were doing is wrong) then that produces more funding, not less, because now there are a whole new range of avenues of investigation. The things that negatively affect funding are (repeatable) results that show something so conclusively that there is no point in ever investigating it again, and those are very rare.

The AGW example is particularly silly, because fields where there is deep division in the scientific community are the ones where it is easiest to get funding, as everyone wants to know which competing theory is correct (or that they're both wrong). Most climate scientists I've met would love for there to be some strong, evidence-backed, scientific theories countering their work, because then their next grant application practically writes itself.

Comment Re:Dissident Speech (Score 1) 281

I very much doubt that. From the politicians that I've met, some honestly believe that what they're doing is for the good of everyone whereas others are borderline sociopaths and are just in it for personal gain with no concern about the damage that they do on the way. Those in the former category are often willing to go along with those in the latter if they think some long-term goal can be achieved as a result, and those in the latter are typically happy to play along with the long-term goals of the former because they're mostly focussed on the short term. If Congress has managed to avoid having any of the second category, then I'd be shocked. From a couple of thousand miles away, it looks more like they're in the majority...

Comment Re:The Blame Game (Score 1) 1532

Well, one simple solution is multi-seat constituencies. This doesn't fix the issue, but it does make gerrymandering harder. You vote for (for example) two candidates, and the two candidates who get the most seats win. If the constituency is mostly Democrat, it will get two Democrats Representatives. If it's mostly Republican, it will get two Republican Representatives. If it's split down the middle, it will get one of each. The more seats per constituency, the harder gerrymandering is.

Another possibility is to have single-seat constituencies, but make them overlap, so that everybody gets to either vote for two or more candidates in different House elections, or (ideally) gets to choose which district they will vote in. This doesn't prevent gerrymandering, but it means that everyone can participate in it, rather than whichever party happened to be in power when they were moving electoral boundaries.

Of course, this doesn't help Republicans who are completely surrounded by Democrats or Democrats who are completely surrounded by Republicans, but hopefully that's a relatively small number, and not too unevenly balanced in either direction.

The real problem, however, is that the USA is a country of 320 million people using a political system that expects complete ideological agreement between most members. You need a system where no single party has close to a majority and so the Federal government has to operate by consensus, not by a small majority forcing its will over a slightly smaller minority. If you want an example of a good system of government to use in this situation, I'd recommend reading the Federalist Papers and the US Constitution...

Comment Re:Link broken? (Score 1) 1191

When you show the grandparent's comment to your overlords, please take the bolded section and print it in 72-point text. The new design is quite possibly the worst thing I've ever seen anyone try to do to Slashdot and it will kill the site. I'm not as active as I was a year ago due to lack of time, but in your statistics last year I was one of the 5 most active commenters for one or two quarters. I would not visit Slashdot if they switched to this abomination.

Comment Re:Relationship between Apple Darwin and FreeBSD (Score 1) 133

Some bits of the FreeBSD kernel make it into the BSD server in the XNU kernel. One of the big ones is the MAC framework (SEBSD), which is shared between FreeBSD and XNU and supports pluggable access control policies. This is used to implement the code signing logic on Juniper routers and the application sandboxing on iOS and OS X. There are some pretty big differences to the VM subsystems on both (they're both derived from Mach 2.5, but they've diverged hugely since then).

Comment Re:but Linux even more so (Score 2) 133

You might want to scan the Android stack for FreeBSD copyrights sometime. Most of the Android libc is a slimmed-down version of the FreeBSD one, and there are quite a few other bits of FreeBSD code in there too. In terms of lines of code, I think there is about as much FreeBSD code in Android as there is Linux code.

Comment Re:The Blame Game (Score 1) 1532

I'm not sure what your point is. In the House, all seats were up for reelection and the Republicans won on seats but did not get the majority of the popular vote, so this means that they represent the will of the people? In the Senate, not all seats were up for reelection, but in the 1/3 that were, the Republicans lost 2 seats overall and lost the popular vote, so this means that they represent the will of the people? In the Presidential election, there is only one seat and it was up for reelection, the Republicans lost both the popular vote and failed to win the seat, so this means that they represent the will of the people?

You can write off the Senate elections as only giving you the views of 1/3 of the country, but you're still left with two national elections where more people voted against the Republicans than voted for them (I'm not sure what the statistics are for third parties, so this may be true for Democrats too) and where more people voted for the Democrats than voted for the Republicans. And yet you still claim that the Republican majority in the House represents the will of the people?

So yes, by the rules of the system, which are arguably superior to the hypothetical rules you seem to wish we operated under, the House Majority Republicans *are* there due to the will of the people, and *do* represent it.

If by 'the people' you mean the commission that defines constituency boundaries, then I suppose you're right. If you mean 'the people who voted' then you are wrong. If you mean 'the people who are eligible to vote' then neither party can claim to be even approximately representing the will of the people.

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman